The Top 10 Green Cars

The top 10 Green Cars: Electric Vehicles, Diesel-electric hybrid, Petrol-electric hybrid

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1. Vauxhall Ampera

Extended-Range Electric Vehicle

175 mpg

The Vauxhall Ampera is an electric car, with a zero-tailpipe emission range of up to 50 miles. When that range is reached, it can then switch to its onboard petrol range-extender generator, which charges the battery rather than powers the wheels, and keep on driving. So it’s an electric car with no range limitation. The Ampera’s official fuel economy is 175 mpg, equating to 40 g/km CO 2 , but this really depends on how the car is used in real life; the idea is to drive the Ampera in its electric mode for as much of the time as possible and avoid using the petrol generator. Even though it’s not on sale in the UK until early 2012, if you’re thinking of buying an ultra-efficient new car in the next year then you need to be aware of the Ampera. It’s eligible for the government’s £5000 plug-in car grant; even after this it will still cost £28,995, but it should be much cheaper to run than a conventional car. Read our full Vauxhall Ampera review .

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2. Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4

Diesel-electric hybrid

74.3 mpg

The Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 is the world’s first diesel-electric hybrid car. It can drive for between 2-3 miles on electric-only power, it can then use its diesel engine on a long run, and it even has four-wheel drive capability, when the diesel engine powers the front wheels and the electric motor powers the rear wheels. If the hybrid battery depletes, then the car will charge it back up again during driving and braking. There are two 3008 Hybrid4 models – one emits 99 g/km CO 2 and returns 74.3 mpg; the other emits 104 g/km due to having larger wheels and tyres. The 3008 Hybrid4 costs £26,995, and the 99 g/km model is exempt from the London Congestion Charge. Read our full Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 review .

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3. Nissan LEAF

Electric

Mpg: no petrol or diesel required; recharging cost should be less than £2 for 100 miles

The Nissan LEAF is the world’s first mass-produced all-electric family hatchback, needing no petrol or diesel, and it has zero tailpipe emissions. It’s extremely smooth, refined and quiet to drive, and has no gears or clutch. It has an official range of 109 miles following a full charge; we would suggest that a minimum range of 80 miles is achievable under typical real life driving conditions. Once the battery is depleted, you then need to plug it in to recharge it; using a domestic electricity supply, this could take around 11 hours. The LEAF costs £25,990, after the government’s £5000 plug-in car grant. This may sound a lot for a car with a range of not much more than 100 miles, but it is extremely cheap to run (Nissan calculates that it costs just £1.78 for 100 miles), it has excellent tax incentives for business purchases, and Londoners will save on the Congestion Charge. Read about what it’s like living with a Nissan LEAF .

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4. Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Electric

Mpg: no petrol or diesel required; recharging cost should be less than £2 for 100 miles

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV is an all-electric car with compact dimensions, making it ideal for use in cities such as London. The car is also rebadged as the Citroen C-Zero and the Peugeot iOn. Like the Nissan LEAF, because it’s an electric car, it has maximum torque from standstill, giving it a feeling of excellent ‘linear’ acceleration, which has to be experienced to be fully appreciated. The i-MiEV has an official range of 93 miles before you have to plug it in and recharge it. Recharging should cost less than £2, and of course all electric cars are only zero-emission at the tailpipe; the CO 2 is emitted at the power station, so to be truly zero-emission, electric cars must be recharged using a renewable energy tariff. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV costs £23,990 after the government’s £5000 plug-in car grant. See more details about the Mitsubishi i-MiEV .

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5. Toyota Prius

Petrol-electric hybrid

72.4 mpg

The Toyota Prius is regarded as the original hybrid and it’s now in its third generation, so most areas of weakness have been eliminated. The Prius has a petrol engine along with a battery and electric motor, and all of these elements work together to give optimal fuel efficiency – the Prius has an official combined figure of 72.4 mpg along with 89 g/km CO 2 emissions. It’s possible to drive the Prius for a short distance in electric-only mode; when the battery runs low then it will switch to running on the petrol engine, and this will recharge the battery to allow more zero-emission driving. A petrol-electric hybrid is likely to give best miles per gallon in mixed urban/out-of-town driving rather than on long journeys. The Prius starts from £20,845. There’s also the smaller Toyota Auris hybrid , and a Plug-in Prius is coming soon, which is expected to emit just 49 g/km CO 2 and achieve 134.5 mpg fuel consumption. Read our full Toyota Prius review .

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6. Lexus CT 200h

Petrol-electric hybrid

68.9 mpg

The Lexus CT 200h shares the same basic petrol-electric hybrid powertrain with the Toyota Prius, but it’s in a more premium package in the Lexus. The CT 200h’s official combined economy figure is 68.9 mpg, and it emits just 94 g/km CO 2 . This means it has a company car tax liability of just 10%, there’s no road tax to pay, and it’s exempt from the London Congestion Charge. As with the majority of hybrids, the CT 200h comes with Continuously Variable Transmission. The CT 200h costs from £23,485, so around £2600 more than the Prius. Lexus also has other hybrids in its range including the RX 450h , and the new GS 450h is coming soon. Read our full Lexus CT 200h review .

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7. Honda CR-Z

Petrol-electric hybrid

56.5 mpg

The Honda CR-Z is the first ‘sporty’ petrol-electric hybrid. The 2+2 coupe offers a fun driving experience along with 56.5 mpg and 117 g/km CO 2 . There are diesel sports cars that can achieve a higher miles per gallon figure, but the CR-Z offers a petrol-powered driving style with lower particulate and NOx emissions than diesel engines, so it’s more suited for city use. The CR-Z also has a manual gearbox rather than the Continuously Variable Transmission that is normally favoured in hybrids. The CR-Z costs from £17,695. Read our full Honda CR-Z review .

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8. BMW 520d EfficientDynamics

Diesel

62.8 mpg

The BMW 520d EfficientDynamics shows that even large company cars can be economical whilst also delivering good performance, as it combines 62.8 mpg and 119 g/km CO 2 emissions with a 0-62 mph time of 8.2 seconds and a top speed of 144 mph. This 520d uses BMW’s EfficientDynamics technology to ensure maximum miles per gallon. In addition to Auto Start-Stop, an optimum gearshift indicator, Brake Energy Regeneration and Active Aerodynamics, the 520d ED has low rolling resistance tyres on Streamline design alloy wheels and a longer final drive ratio to reduce engine revs at motorway speeds. All this results in a company car tax liability of just 13%, which is highly impressive for a car in this class. The BMW 520d EfficientDynamics costs £30,435. There’s also the BMW 320d EfficientDynamics which returns 68.9 mpg along with 109 g/km CO 2 emissions. A new 3 Series will be here soon. Read our full BMW 320d EfficientDynamics review . See more details about the BMW 520d EfficientDynamics (full review coming soon).

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9. Kia Rio

Diesel

88.3 mpg

The Kia Rio, in 1.1 CRDi form, manages a highly impressive 88.3 mpg along with 85 g/km CO 2 . This makes it the UK’s most economical conventionally-powered car. Because it’s a diesel, it’s not as green as an electric car, and a petrol-electric hybrid is likely to be cleaner in terms of emissions that impact on local air quality. However the Rio is ideal for out-of-town journeys, when it should be possible to achieve some excellent levels of economy. The latest Rio also drives very competently, and is attractively priced at £11,895. See more details about the Kia Rio 1.1 CRDi .

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10. Skoda Fabia Estate Greenline II

Diesel

83.1 mpg

Just to prove that you can also buy estates that are economical, the Skoda Fabia Estate Greenline II has an official combined fuel economy figure of 83.1 mpg, which equates to 89 g/km CO 2 emissions. It achieves this excellent level of economy thanks to a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder turbodiesel engine, along with an engine stop/start system which Skoda estimates saves up to 7.7 mpg in city traffic. Being an estate, the Fabia is extremely practical. It’s also relatively affordable at £14,420. Read our full Skoda Fabia Estate Greenline II review .

See our Green Car Guide for the most economical cars in ten different categories.