The top environmentally-friendly new hot hatchbacks

We all try to do our bit for the environment, and ideally wed love to be able to use public transport wherever possible in order to keep the roads clear, emissions low and pay a little less in the way of tax. Unfortunately, as public transport hasnt seen the government investment its needed over the past few years, driving is still a necessity for many people, particularly in more rural parts of the country. It is possible, though, to be both green and a motorist.

For a car to be environmentally friendly, it doesnt need to be electric. When you mention eco-friendly cars to people, many of them will recoil at the thought of having to charge their car for four hours every twenty miles, but technology has come on a long way since then. Indeed, your car doesnt need to even be a hybrid in order to qualify for the lowest tax band. The Peugeot 308 1.6 Blue HDi, for example, is a five-door 6-speed hatchback which puts out just 82g/km of CO2 and will get you a combined fuel economy of 91mpg. And guess what? Its not even a hybrid. Similarly, the Citroen C4 Cactus puts out 100hp, whilst still only adding 87g/km of CO2 to the atmosphere and yielding 83mpg combined. The Renault Clio 1.5 Expression+, on the other hand, is almost a grand cheaper and gets an extra 5mpg with 4g/km less CO2 pumped out.

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Put simply, there are a number of options available for the environmentally-conscious motorist of today. And you dont even need to worry about losing your street cred by zipping around in a French hatchback, either. The Chrysler Ypsilon, for example, gives you both the brand credibility and the environmental benefits, putting out just 99g/km of CO2 and thereby falling into the lowest tax band, with an out-of-town MPG of just 74.3. To travel 100 miles, then, youd be looking at a total cost of £9.

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Other environmentally-friendly options which still carry some street credibility are the Mini Hatch 1.5, which gets 83mpg and puts out just 89g/km of CO2 and the Suzuki Alto 1.0, which may only get 64mpg but it does have the same carbon emissions as the Chrysler Ypsilon (and therefore the same tax bracket), but will set you back just a shade over seven grand, which is peanuts for a new car. The only cheaper options are the Dacia Logan or Sandero, which cost six and seven grand respectively, but get under 50mp and put out more than 135g/km of CO2, meaning the money you save will end up being lost on fuel and tax anyway. The Chrysler, on the other hand, costs £13,250 for the 0.9 TwinAir, although the 1.2 model is almost three grand cheaper whilst not being a whole lot more expensive to run (118g/km of CO2 and up to 65.7mpg).

Long-term costs also need to be taken into consideration. Manufacturers such as Chrysler and Suzuki are known for their build quality and the cost of future repairs should be much lower than it would be with some of the French-manufactured cars which can be plagued with future problems in some cases. Of course, as with any new cars, its impossible to know which manufacturers and models might develop problems in the future so its entirely your choice as to how much you allow that to sway your decision.

It largely depends on the financial cost and your own environmental credentials and ethics. If youre looking for the most environmental car you can find, without worrying about the initial outlay or the brand recognition and reliability, there are a number of options available to you, from the Peugeot 308 to the Renault Clio. However, if youre able to spend a little more initially in order to save on future repairs and are simply looking for a more environmentally friendly car than you currently drive, you really cant go wrong with options such as the Chrysler Ypsilon, Mini Hatch and Suzuki Alto, all of which will improve your environmental impact whilst allowing you to continue with many more years of hassle-free motoring.

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