What Car? Green Awards 2010 - Small family cars

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Best Buy Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105 Bluemotion 5dr
Thes days Volkswagen's Bluemotion tag is as synonymous with green motoring as Prius and Insight. The latest version of the Golf has got the green credentials to give any hybrid a fight; its carbon dioxide emissions are a paltry 99g/km and average fuel economy is 74.3mpg.

Read our review of the VW Golf 1.6 TDI 105 Bluemotion

Those are impressive figures, which come courtesy of the Bluemotion’s substantial array of energy-saving measures. As well as an already-frugal 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine, the car has engine stop-start, longer gearing and brakes that recycle energy otherwise lost as heat. Add low-resistance tyres, a gearshift indicator, an aerodynamic bodykit and lowered suspension, and you end up with the cleanest, most economical Golf ever.

Still a Golf
The best thing about the Bluemotion, though, is that it has lost none of the virtues that make the Golf the finest family hatch money can buy. For a start it’s brilliant to drive. Well-weighted steering and sharp, composed handling make it fun on a twisty road, but not at the expense of comfort – the ride always stays smooth and well controlled. Refinement is right out of the top drawer, too, so it’s as accomplished on the motorway as it is everywhere else.

The interior is just as impressive. Most cabin materials have a squidgy, soft-touch feel, and even those that don’t have a rubberised finish to make them more appealing. The slick switches also contribute to the Golf’s classy ambience, and every single one is well positioned and clearly marked. There’s lots of space inside and there’s a large, well-shaped boot, making the Golf all the car that many families will ever need.

Not cheap, but discounts and residuals help
Granted, the Bluemotion isn’t cheap, but you’ll get a fair discount from the £18,685 list price, and the strong resale values will help make it more affordable because you’ll get so much back when you sell it. Don’t forget those ultra-low running costs, either.

The equipment specification is based on the Golf’s S trim, so air-con, a CD player, electric front widows and remote central locking are standard. The Bluemotion also comes with alloy wheels, as well as the Golf’s usual raft of safety kit, including seven airbags, active anti-whiplash head restraints and a stability system.

So, as well as being impressively green, the Golf is classy, well made, practical, safe, brilliant to drive and an affordable long-term investment. What more could anybody want?

Green car fact file: small family cars

Best Buy up to £15,000
Kia Cee’d 1.6 CRDi 89 Ecodynamics 2
Price £14,955
Target Price £13,485
CO2 emissions 110g/km
NOx 0.020g/km
Particulate emissions 0.200g/km
Av economy 67.3mpg
Green verdict
The ultra-clean Cee’d has much of the latest energy-saving technology, and it’s availableat a very competitive price

Best Buy £15,000 to £19,000
Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105 Bluemotion 5dr
Price £18,685
Target Price £17,507
CO2 emissions 99g/km
NOx 0.00129g/km
Particulate emissions 0.10g/km
Av economy 74.3mpg
Green verdict
All the Golf’s usual plus points wrapped up in a highly efficient package. As packages go, it’s a pretty tempting one

Best Buy £19,000 and over
Toyota Prius 1.8 VVT-i T3
Price £19,505
Target Price £18,374
CO2 emissions 89g/km
NOx 0.006g/km
Particulate emissions na
Av economy 72.4mpg
Green verdict
The world’s most iconic green car has always been one of the best, and the latest version is better than ever

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What Car? Green Awards 2010 - Family cars


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