What Car? Green Awards 2010 - Family cars

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  • The greenest cars revealed
  • 10 categories covered
  • Find out the winners, here
Best Buy Volkswagen Passat 1.6 TDI 105 Bluemotion
The Volkswagen Passat is already a very accomplished family car that’s a long way ahead of many other rivals in the class.

Read our review of the VW Passat 1.6 TDI 105 Bluemotion

If you want to travel green as well, though, it’s a sure-fire winner.With carbon dioxide emissions of just 114g/km, the Passat Bluemotion is one of only two family cars to get into road tax band C, which will cost you just £30 a year. The other is the Passat Bluemotion Technology, which emits 118g/km.

Peugeot’s 407 1.6 HDi and the Skoda Superb 1.9 TDI Greenline are the next best for CO2, although with emissions of 129g/km they’re hardly nipping at the VW’s heels and cost an extra £90 a year to tax. The Volkswagen’s lower emissions also mean that it can outdo its rivals in the fuel economy stakes as well. Go for
the full-blown Bluemotion version – we think you might as well since it’s only £345 more – and you’re looking at an amazing official fuel economy figure
of 64.2mpg.

While it’s true that you’re unlikely to match the official figure in reality, our real-world tests have shown that Bluemotions do a much better job of living up to the lab figures than many other eco models; you’ll sail past many a petrol station.

Improved aerodynamics, longer gearing, low-rolling-resistance tyres and engine stop-start all contribute to that great CO2 figure and impressive fuel efficiency.

Super-low emissions
The Passat’s other emissions are also super-low. Both NOx and particulate emissions are held firmly in check and meet the most stringent Euro V standards.

The best news of all is that the Bluemotion is able to do all of this without asking you to make a single compromise. The 1.6-litre diesel engine produces 104bhp, which might not sound like a lot for a car of this size, but it also churns out 184lb ft of torque, which makes the Passat easy and nippy to drive.

While the gearing is longer than it is in other Passats, it’s not so long that it compromises the way you have to drive the car. The same cannot be said for many other eco-minded family car models, where you can end up changing gear just to keep up with traffic.

The steering is also well weighted and assured, grip is good and the Passat rides superbly. You’ll find acres of space whether you’re sitting up front or in the rear seats, or when loading bags into the boot.

Quality is top-notch, too, and there are no short cuts on creature comforts or safety. Front, side and curtain airbags are all present and correct,
along with stability control, alloy wheels, air-conditioning, electric front windows, an iPod-compatible stereo with eight speakers and cruise control (a big plus for a car that’s so composed and comfortable on
the motorway).

All of the technologies that make the Passat so green are tried and tested, and the car is proving to be robust and reliable, so you shouldn’t find yourself with any mechanical issues.

The VW badge on the bonnet also helps with the Bluemotion’s resale values, which stand at a decent 38% over three years. That’s better than most family cars and a considerable improvement over the Peugeot 407, which holds on to just 25% of its original price after 36 months and has the worst resale value of all of the Passat’s rivals.

You may think a green car is one you have to have, rather than one you actually want. The Passat Bluemotion proves that simply doesn’t have to be the case.

Green car fact file: family cars

Best Buy up to £18,000
Skoda Superb 1.9 TDI Greenline
Price £17,785
Target Price £16,665
CO2 emissions 129g/km
NOx 0.21mg/km
Particulate emissions 0.01mg/km
Av economy 57.7mpg
Green verdict
Being green isn’t everything,
so thankfully the Superb is also big, well built, well equipped, comfortable and affordable

Best Buy £18,000 and over
Volkswagen Passat 1.6 TDI 105
Price £19,710
Target Price £18,226
CO2 emissions 114g/km
NOx 138mg/km
Particulate emissions 0.38mg/km
Av economy 64.2mpg
Green verdict
If keeping your family's carbon footprint to a minimum is your top priority, you can't do better than the Passat Bluemotion

In association with...

What Car? Green Awards 2010 - Executive cars


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