Winner Green cars Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi 90 Style 5dr Year ’08/08 Price £7765 Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best, and if you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint and save some money, then this humble Ford Focus fits the bill perfectly. It doesn’t employ a sophisticated hybrid system, or rely on exotic fuels like bio-ethanol, but instead uses diesel power to deliver a knock-out green punch.
A year’s road tax will set you back just £30, and if you cover 12,000 miles a year your annual fuel bill could be as low as £990.
This Focus is fitted with a 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine that develops 89bhp, but there’s also a 108bhp version. We’ve chosen the lower-powered model because it’s the more fuel-efficient (at an average of 62.7mpg) and isn’t much slower. Both cost the same to tax each year.
At a glance, it’s impossible to tell the 89bhp 1.6-litre diesel from 108bhp version, because they’re visually identical. The easiest way is to check the car’ V5C logbook to ensure the CO2 emission figures match.
Judge's view James Gibson, branch manager, British Car Auctions Blackbushe ‘The Focus is the perfect lesson in how to be green: it drives well, has excellent economy and running costs, suits families and singles alike, and does it all with “style”.’
Don’t let the fact that it’s got just 89bhp put you off, because it develops loads of torque. The Focus has always been good to drive, and it manages to combine nimble, surefooted handling with decent ride quality.
The Style model is the entry point to the range, but it still comes with alloy wheels, air-conditioning and front electric windows. It also has a diesel particulate filter to catch polluting debris.
The Focus is as safe as it is green, with a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating, ISOFIX seats and seven airbags as standard. There are loads of examples on the used market, so you’re best off scouring the internet to find the best models and prices.
There’s also a Focus Econetic model with the same engine, but the standard car is much better to drive and live with.
Need to know
Power 89bhp Fuel economy 62.8mpg 0-60mph 12.6sec Max speed 110mph Insurance 14
Road tax £30 CO2 emissions 118g/km Euro NCAP rating 5/5 Reliability rating 4/5 Service intervals 12,000 miles
Toyota Prius 1.5 T3 ’08/08, £9075 The second-Prius broughtgreen driving to the masses. It’ll do an average of 65.7mpg, and prices are reasonable thanks to a high number of vehicles on the used market. It doesn’t have the pulling power of diesels, but reliability is excellent.
BMW 318d SE ’08/58, £15,245 Classy and clean, the BMW 3 Series is surprisingly economical for a compact executive saloon. Efficient Dynamics technology helps it to average an impressive 60.1mpg, yet it’s also a cracking car to drive. Even better, it remains competitively priced.