Kia Picanto 1.0 1 Air
Superminis are inherently eco-friendly because they're small and light, but Kia's new Picanto is greener than most. Yes, some eco-special diesel 'minis emit even less CO2, but it's just as important to consider other local pollutants – particularly when talking about cars that spend much of their lives buzzing around urban areas.
That's why in many ways petrols are a greener choice. The Picanto's tiny 1.0-litre engine emits 25 times less NOx than a diesel Ford Fiesta Econetic's, for example, and less than any other pure petrol or diesel car in this year's Green Awards. Also, being a petrol, its particulate emissions are so small they're not measured.
All this will help keep your conscience clear, but it’s the sub-100g/km CO2 emissions that'll save you money, because the Picanto is exempt from road tax and the London Congestion Charge. Average fuel economy of 67.3mpg is also hugely impressive.
Admittedly, the Picanto isn't all that exciting to drive. Its three-cylinder engine needs to be worked hard if you venture outside the city limits, and the steering is vague. In other ways, though, the baby Kia is remarkably grown-up. The cabin is surprisingly classy for such a cheap car, and the driving position isn't the 'sit-up-and-beg' sort that blights the majority of budget motors.
We think '1 Air' trim makes the most sense. It gets the all-important air-conditioning, electric front windows and Kia's famous seven-year warranty, but crucially doesn't push the price into the territory of full-size superminis such as the Ford Fiesta.
1.2 Pop S/S
Target Price £9900
CO2 113g/km NOx 0.032g/km
Particulate emissions na
Average economy 58.9mpgFord Fiesta
1.6 TDCi 95 Edge Econetic 5dr
Target Price £13,989
CO2 95g/km NOx 0.152g/km
Particulate emissions 0.16mg/km
Average economy 76.3mpg