Best used green cars (and the ones to avoid)
Thinking of buying a used electric car or hybrid? We take a look at the second-hand green cars that are worth your cash...
7. Toyota Prius
As a minicab, the Toyota Prius has become truly ubiquitous, but that’s to the used buyer’s advantage, because it means they’re everywhere. Obviously, you’ll need to choose with care, but do so and a Prius will reward you with miles of reliable service, plenty of room and, as long as you stick to town driving, very impressive fuel economy. Okay, it’s hardly the most exciting thing on the road and its ride comfort is so-so, but if what you want is an easy and undemanding way into family-friendly green car ownership, this is it. Plug-in models are rare and still command good money, and expect to pay more than £20,000 for the latest (and much improved) Prius.
Blending the Audi A3’s classy interior and smart looks with plug-in hybrid power, the A3 e-tron offers the best of both worlds. Very few family-sized cars are as nice to drive and as pleasant to ride in as the A3, and this version only adds to its appeal. If it fits into your lifestyle and you can plug it in regularly you'll find it a cheap and economical way of getting around, too. Only a fairly steep price prevents it from finishing even higher in the rankings here, but if you’re willing to stretch your budget a little, it's a genuinely good all-rounder.
The Nissan Leaf has been the best-selling electric car for a while now, and that bodes well for used car buyers, because it means plenty of choice on the market and low prices. Keep in mind that the cheapest Leafs will have a leased battery, though, meaning there’s a monthly charge to pay. But even with this extra cost, you should still find a Leaf is a very cost-effective alternative. The only drawback with the Leaf are some reported issues of overheating and faulty charging, this caused by its battery pack being air-cooled rather than liquid cooled. This money buys you the first-generation car. Spend upwards of £20,000 to get the much-improved second-generation Leaf, with better road manners and a longer range.
4. Hyundai Ioniq
If you want to switch to low-emissions motoring without breaking the bank a used Ioniq is a great proposition. A barely two-year-old example offers a great saving on the new price, and the Ioniq hybrid drives pretty much like a conventional petrol car. It's a supremely polished package, being cheaper to buy and nicer to drive than its obvious rival, the Toyota Prius. It's well equipped, too, and comfortable. Theres also plenty of room inside for a family. You can choose your Ioniq as a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid or a fully electric car, though we swing towards this hybrid version as the best all-round bet.