Greenest small family cars

16 June 2008
Toyota Prius

We list the five cleanest cars in the small family category and recommend three which we think you should consider.

What Car? Recommends
1 Toyota Prius 1.8 VVT-i T3
In the past, you had to compromise to go green, but not with the petrol-electric hybrid Prius. It combines low running costs and incredibly low emissions (just 89g/km) with excellent practicality and an easy driving experience. Yes, it's a little dear, but we expect resale values of this model to be strong; and, besides, the all-round merits of this model make it worth the price.

2 Volvo S40 1.6D DRIVe S
This was our 2009 Green Car of the Year, and although it's now been overtaken by the Prius, it remains a fine choice. The key to its impressively low CO2 emissions of 104g/km is a stop-start system that's beautifully smooth in operation, working well with the frugal diesel engine. Add in the classy cabin and the fine blend of ride and handling, and the result is a very appealing small saloon.

3 BMW 118d ES
BMW knows how to mix power and efficiency. The 2.0-litre diesel emits 119g/km of CO2 and manages 62.8mpg. That's almost identical to a Ford Focus Econetic, yet it produces 143bhp - 35bhp more. Like the Focus, the 118d has a filter that traps harmful particulates, too. ES trim level means you still get alloy wheels and air-con, too.

Greenest small family cars
1 Toyota Prius 1.8 VVT-i T3    89g/km   VED Band A   72.4mpg
Honda Insight 1.3   101g/km   VED Band B   64.2mpg
Volvo S40 1.6D DRIVe S    104g/km   VED Band B   72.4mpg
Volvo C30 1.6D DRIVe S   104g/km   VED Band B  72.4mpg
Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI 105 Bluemotion   107g/km   VED Band B  68.9mpg