Need to drive but want to save the planet while you're at it? One of these eco-savers should see you right 1 Toyota Prius T3
CO2 output: 89g/km
Fuel economy: 72.4mpg
New, third-generation of this clever car promises exceptionally low emissions and terrific fuel economy. Uses a 1.8-litre petrol engine, teamed with an electric engine that runs off batteries stowed aboard the car. Electric motor takes over when trickling through town on a light throttle and petrol engine joins in when more speed or power is required.
The cabin is roomy enough to take a family on a long trip and there's space in the boot for their luggage, too. Light steering and an auto gearbox make it easy to drive, although the body shape cuts rearward visibility enough to make it awkward to park.
There's two other, dearer models in the range, costing up to £21,230, but only this T3 (which is the cheapest) manages the 89g/km output figure. For a family car, it's expensive to buy, although it promises to hold on to more of its value over time than similar 'conventional' cars
If you want a frugal, low CO2 car that's full-sized and asks nothing extra of you, this is the best for now.
2 Honda Insight
CO2 output: 101-105g/km
Fuel economy: 61.4-64.2mpg
Volkswagen Golf-sized Insight is (like the Prius) a hybrid, meaning that it teams a small petrol engine with an electric motor. Toyota’s Prius is the best-known of such cars and Honda has offered previous hybrids, too. But the main thing new about the Insight is its price. At several thousands of pounds cheaper than the Prius, it comes to market as a direct price-rival to conventional cars such as the VW Golf and Ford Focus.
If you like your cars high-tech and different, you’ll love the Insight because its twin-level dash is a riot of gauges and charts telling you what each of its two motors it up to. The background to the digital speedo even changes colour to show whether you are driving economically. To drive, the car is an acquired taste and its auto-only transmission won’t suit all. But it is different – and green – without costing more, and that’ll appeal to many.
For the full motors.co.uk review – and video - of the Honda Insight, click here
3 Ford Fiesta Econetic
CO2 output: 98g/km
Fuel economy: 76.3mpg
Drives like a proper car and, indeed, is one. Has a conventional 1.6 litre turbodiesel engine that pushes out 88bhp and it’s no slowcoach, reaching 60mph from rest in just longer than 12 secs. Achieves its exceptional clean running and fuel returns by clever tweaks to its engines management and gear ratios, plus touches such as thin-running oil in its gearbox and easy-roll tyres. The suspension is lowered, too, to improve the car’s wind-cheating profile.
Otherwise, it is just like any other Fiesta: big for a small car, very roomy and cleverly laid out inside, with dash controls laid out like the keypad of a mobile phone. It’s expensive for a supermini, an impression confirmed once you step inside and notice the cheap appearance and feel of some interior plastic trim. And, despite the stiff prices, you won’t even see alloy wheels, but budget-style steel items finished with plastic trims.
Still, if you want a frugal, low CO2 conventional small car, this has the best economy and emissions figures for now.
For the full motors.co.uk review of the Fiesta Econetic, click here