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The best eco-friendly cars offer low emissions and excellent fuel economy, or in the case of sustainable electric vehicles (EVs), zero tailpipe emissions and fantastic driving range. If you’re looking to lower your carbon footprint, then be sure to read on to check out our top 10 best eco-friendly cars.

Benefits to eco-friendly vehicles

Today, environmentally-friendly cars are more accessible and useable than ever before. Electric cars now boast fantastic battery range and quick charge times, whilst a wide selection of hybrids and plug-in hybrids produce low CO2 emissions and excellent fuel efficiency. There are lots of other benefits to eco-friendly vehicles as well. Typically, greener cars:

  • Release less harmful chemicals into the air – better for human health and the planet
  • Use less fossil fuels and emit less CO2 into the air, reducing your carbon footprint
  • Emit less greenhouse gases in general
  • Are cheaper to run with low running costs
  • Can be Exempt from the London Ultra Low Emissions Zone and Congestion Charge
  • Can enjoy additional benefits, such as lower road tax in the first year and lower company car tax

Top 10 best eco-friendly cars

When it comes to a list such as this one, nowadays it would be easy to fill it with electric vehicles, but then it’d be little more than a top 10 of EVs albeit with a different title. And not every motorist is ready to make the switch, as EVs are not yet ready to suit the needs of every driver (though they are now very close to the mark). So, instead we’ve split the ten autos on this list into two segments: the first five are some of the best eco-friendly electric cars from different sectors. Similarly, the last five (6-10) are some of the best vehicles for the environment with the lowest CO2 emissions, again from a variety of different classes to showcase the fact that green cars can suit a wide variety of lifestyles. Please, read on to see our top picks.

1. KIA E-NIRO

The Kia e-Niro is one of the most complete EV family cars on the market and a leader of the mainstream electric vehicles with a real world range up to 282 miles (potentially more if you drive very carefully). To get this leading range you’ll have to opt for the larger 64kWh battery, as the entry-level 39kWh battery has a lower range up to 180 miles (which is still great if you’re predominantly a city driver). Nonetheless, they are both quick to charge, with a 100kw direct current (DC) charging the lithium-ion polymer batteries up to 80 per cent in only 54 minutes.

The small SUV is also practical and spacious and actually quite good fun to drive, thanks to sprightly acceleration and precise handling.

Best features:

  • 64kWH range up to 282 miles
  • Quick to charge
  • Practical, spacious, and sprightly

USED PRICES FROM £30,000

2. TESLA MODEL 3

Launched in 2017, the Tesla Model 3 is a best-selling car on the cutting-edge of technology. It’s packed with futuristic features and high-tech kit, as well as a lot of driver safety aids.

It is also a powerhouse of a car and not just as an electric, but even compared to combustibles, with supercar worthy acceleration. The top-spec models, for example, can achieve a lightning quick 0-60mph in just 3.1 seconds.

Opt for a Long Range variant and the Model 3 also enjoys a class-leading battery range of up to 360 miles.

Plus, if you upgrade to the Full Self Driving package for roughly £5,000, you’ll get a wealth of additional tech that will ensure the Model 3 can drive itself, although you will have to wait for incremental updates from Tesla and a change in motoring laws to be able to use the full extent of the car’s autonomous features.

Nevertheless, the Model 3 is quite simply one of the best electric cars on the market.

Best features:

  • Long Range spec = 360 miles
  • Cutting-edge technology
  • High-performance power

USED PRICES FROM £37,000

3. NISSAN LEAF

Where Tesla revolutionised the electric car showing the world what an EV could do, the Nissan Leaf can be said to have popularised this type of vehicle bringing affordable electric motoring to mass market.

Released in 2009, the spacious hatchback has long been at the forefront with its battery range, which has no doubt added to the car’s success. The latest models continue that trait with an excellent range up to 239 miles.

Another facet that has no doubt played in the Leaf’s success is the fact that it is very easy to drive, with an innovative ‘e-Pedal’ which allows you to control your speed with just one foot, utilising regenerative braking to boost the car’s range when you lift off the accelerator.

Best features:

  • Best range up to 239 miles
  • Easy to drive
  • Innovative ‘e-Pedal’

USED PRICES FROM £6,000

4. VOLKSWAGEN ID.3

Replacing the e-Golf, the Volkswagen ID.3 is VW’s purpose-built all-electric model that’s set to take the market by storm. In its styling, it is essentially a futuristic electric version of the Golf, whilst in its layout it is more like the Passat, providing a more spacious cabin.

It’s a great looking car and it is fun to drive too, with quick acceleration, excellent traction, and no gear shifts (except to put it into reverse with a rocker switch).

The sustainable car has a choice of batteries too, all of which have fantastic range. Depending on the battery and spec you choose, the car can manage from 205 to 342 miles, which is very impressive.

It’s also quick to charge so will fit a variety of lifestyles with ease.

Best features:

  • Range from 205 to 342 miles
  • Quick to charge
  • Fun to drive

USED PRICES FROM £31,000

5. PORSCHE TAYCAN

When it comes to eco-friendly sports car then the Porsche Taycan is the leading choice. The all-electric vehicle has a range up to 279 miles (when at cruising speeds) and it supports the latest superfast 270kW chargers, which will charge the Taycan up to 80% battery capacity in as little as 23 minutes, so you can be back on the road in no time.

It’s also a sports car that you’ll want to try on a track day, with blistering performance and incredible supercar beating acceleration, achieving 0-60mph in a mere 2.8 seconds.

On regular roads, the Taycan is also well-suited for everyday use, enjoying good levels of practicality as a four-door saloon, including a suitably plush and comfortable interior. As you’d expect from Porsche, the Taycan is very stylish and a lot of fun to drive.

Best features:

  • Range up to 279 miles
  • Supports superfast charging
  • Incredible performance

USED PRICES FROM £92,000

6. RANGE ROVER EVOQUE

A best-selling car for Land Rover, the Range Rover Evoque enjoys all of the typical features that you’d expect from the premium marque.

It is good to drive on the tarmac and just as capable off the beaten track. It has that go-anywhere capability typical of the brand and it is able to tackle harsh terrain with ease, proving to be a class-leader in the domain of off-roading.

Furthermore, it has a very high-quality interior and striking good looks. Not bad for a car that is only in its second generation having been introduced in 2011.

In addition, the Range Rover Evoque has very low C02 emissions if you opt for the P300e PHEV (plug-in hybrid) version, making it an eco-friendly choice for driving around town or off-road in the wilds. The

P300e PHEV also offers excellent fuel efficiency too, with a claimed fuel consumption of up to 201.8 miles per gallon (MPG) and just 32g/km of CO2 emissions.

Best features:

  • Lowest CO2 emissions = 32g/km
  • Great on and off the road
  • High-quality interior

USED PRICES FROM £43,000

7. AUDI Q5

Unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show in 2008, the Audi Q5 is the mid-range SUV in the German marque’s sports utility vehicle line-up.

As you’d expect from the renowned company, the car enjoys good levels of refinement and a premium finish, standing its ground against other luxury SUVs with leather upholstery, heated seats, and a host of features. It’s a great car for families and it is nice and comfortable to drive too.

Whilst it might seem surprising for people to see a larger vehicle make this list, as a plug-in hybrid variant the Audi Q5 is surprisingly eco-friendly and fuel efficient.  The 50 and 55 TFSI e plug-in hybrid variants both have impressively low CO2 emissions of just 55-62g/km and 59-60g/km, respectively.

Best features:

  • Lowest CO2 emissions = 55-62g/km
  • Comfortable to drive
  • Premium cabin

USED PRICES FROM £42,500

8. HYUNDAI IONIQ

Setting its sights firmly on the Toyota Prius, the Hyundai Ioniq is an eco-friendly car offered as a full electric or with the choice of hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrains.

It is a very quiet and comfortable hatchback that enjoys neat styling with clean lines and a smooth finish.

When it comes to CO2 emissions the Ioniq is better for the environment too. The hybrid version produces just 79g/km, whilst the plug-in hybrid is even better with a claimed 26g/km and incredible fuel efficiency up to 256.8mpg – although both of those figures will depend entirely upon how you drive the Ioniq and how frequently you rely on the electric range, which is just under 40 miles.

Best features:

  • Hybrid CO2 emissions = 79g/km
  • Quiet and comfortable
  • Neat styling

USED PRICES FROM £11,000

9. FORD FIESTA

Introduced to the world in 1976, the Ford Fiesta is a class-leading supermini with one of the best driving experiences in the segment, aided by superb handling that is very precise and responsive.

The Fiesta enjoys good looks too, with a stylish exterior and a nice cabin that offers a good amount of space. Furthermore, it has a good reliability record and a five-star safety rating.

It also comes fairly well-equipped as standard, including an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Opt for the 1.5-litre TDCi Econetic diesel engine and the Fiesta will provide low running costs with up to 88.3mpg, as well as producing CO2 emissions of just 82g/km, proving better for the environment and your purse at the same time.

Best features:

  • Lowest CO2 Emissions = 82g/km
  • One of the best to drive in sector
  • Stylish exterior and nice cabin

USED PRICES FROM £15,000

10. FIAT 500

Popular with young drivers and urban commuters alike, the Fiat 500 is a funky little city car with an iconic design and chic styling. The stylish looking vehicle perfectly captures that retro modern look, plus it comes with a wealth of personalisation options, so you can tailor its exterior and interior to your own tastes.

On the road, it’s great for city driving and for commuting to work, providing good miles per gallon and low running costs.

However, it is certainly a vehicle that is more about the style than the substance, as much a fashion accessory as an auto – and that’s no bad thing when the car is this good looking.

The hybrid version makes the Fiat 500 an environmentally-friendly fashion accessory as well, with claimed CO2 emissions of 88g/km.

Best features:

  • Hybrid CO2 Emissions = 88g/km
  • Funky stylish looks
  • Wealth of personalisation options

USED PRICES FROM £11,000

Looking for an eco-friendly car to drive on the daily commute? Check out our huge range of cars available at Motors.co.uk

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