The Clean Machines?
Eco-friendly or merely green gimmicks? Our road test team delivers its expert verdict on the new Ford Focus ECOnetic – as well as seven other cars which profess to save not only the planet, but also your wallet...
Are there any environmentally friendly cars that will make you go green with envy, or will their real-world running costs leave your bank manager feeling blue?
We all know that lowering emissions and increasing fuel economy are major Government priorities for motorists – and car makers are catching on to the new wave of eco-enthusiasm. Each manufacturer has a different solution, ranging from the launch of standalone green models to low-CO2 sub-brands. But all aim to offer genuine benefits to the environment… and your pocket.
Carbon dioxide emissions can now make or break a new model. The gas has become the yardstick by which a car’s ‘greenness’ is measured. For UK buyers, there can be no more significant launch in the low-CO2 world than Ford’s ECOnetic range. The first model to wear the badge is the recently revised Focus, and we’ve brought it together with seven other models that stand out for their eco-friendly aspirations.
Another efficient newcomer is Skoda’s Fabia GreenLine, which lines up with its low-CO2 VW Group rivals: the Polo Bluemotion and SEAT Ibiza ECOmotive. We’ve also assembled a trio of petrol/electric hybrids: the popular Toyota Prius, Honda’s oddball Civic Hybrid and the executive Lexus GS450h.
Completing our group is a car that doesn’t shout about its eco credentials. The MINI Clubman Cooper D is fitted with BMW’s Efficient Dynamics package.
So which cars offer genuine environmental benefits and which are built to cash in on our desire to go green? It’s time to find out.
In this review
- 1Introduction - currently readingEco-friendly or merely green gimmicks? Our road test team delivers its expert verdict on the new Ford Focus ECOnetic – as well as seven other cars which profess to save not only the planet, but also your wallet...
- 2Honda Civic Hybrid ESGutless electric motor hampers the saloon
- 3Lexus GS450h 3.5 V6 SEDoes saloon deliver on promise of its technology?
- 4Toyota Prius T SpiritWorld’s best-selling hybrid continues to impress
- 5SEAT Ibiza EcomotiveA taste of eco cars to come from the Spanish firm
- 6VW Polo BluemotionStyling and engine tweaks help Polo clean up act
- 7Mini Cooper Clubman DDesirable package adds green features to the mix.
- 8Skoda Fabia Greenline 1.4 TDiNip and tuck makes the Czech five-door even more efficient.
- 9Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi ECOneticIs hatch best-seller an even stronger proposition with eco changes?
- 10Facts and figures