The Insider: The Fiesta goes green and makes a splash

There was a time when choosing to buy a green car simply meant deciding on a automobile that was available in a particular paint colour: a humble lime Mini, perhaps, or a Jaguar decked out in traditional British racing green. But we now live in an age when a documentary about global warming can win an Oscar and the question of carbon footprints is increasingly one of the most important things a car buyer can consider.

This is not only because modern motorists have suddenly found an ecological side to their conscience. The cost of oil may have tumbled in recent weeks – leaving the managers of petrol stations with some breathing space before having to worry about a lack of digits on their giant forecourt pricing signs again – but helping to preserve the environment still means preserving the petrol pounds in your pocket, too.

It is no mere coincidence, then, that one of the best value cars on the market has "eco" in its name. The Ford Fiesta Econetic has recently been declared the best value green car by the consumers' group Which? and, according to its manufacturers, offers a fuel consumption rate of 76.3mpg. What's more, its 1.6 litre, turbo diesel engine produces the lowest carbon emissions of all mass-produced cars on sale in Britain, at 98g/km. And by falling below the 100 mark, the Fiesta Econetic scrapes into Band A of Vehicle Excise Duty – meaning it's free of road tax. The most basic three-door model retails at £11,845, while the five door variety begins at £600 more.

For some readers, the word "diesel" might have stood out back there. However, the general consensus is that diesels no longer deserve their old reputation for offering a less rewarding driving experience and growling like a Rottweiler with a sore throat; in fact, some would argue modern diesels make for a nicer drive than their petrol rivals.

Fairer to consider is the stubborn factor that, although diesel engines are more economical, petrol remains noticeably cheaper at the pumps. If this means petrol still wins your vote, the Suzuki Splash, according to Which?, is the next best value alternative.

The Splash comes with a 1.2-litre, 86bhp four-cylinder engine, although there is also a 1.3 litre diesel model available. Its carbon emissions are less impressive than the Fiesta Econetic, its 131g/km placing it in Band C of VED. This translates to an annual charge of £120. However, this little car maintains its value for money thanks to a spacious interior, and even the basic model offers a wide array of modern features. These include air conditioning, remote central locking and an electronic stability programme to prevent skidding during emergency manoeuvres. All in all, the Splash is worth a look at £8,999.

What to look out for: Questions to ask yourself

Where will the car be used?

There can be big differences in a car's fuel efficiency depending on whether you're predominantly a city driver or someone more often found on the motorway.

Diesel or petrol?

Diesel models are more expensive to buy and their fuel is more costly. But diesels are more economical, so if you tend to drive a high number of miles at optimum fuel consumption, they can work out cheaper in the long run.

What tax band does it fall under?

There are now seven bands of Vehicle Excise Duty according to emission levels, ranging from zero to £400 per year.

What's the real fuel consumption rate?

The official figures don't always match up with reality on the road, so check independent guides for a better idea of exactly what the hit to your pocket and the environment might be.

The Insider is written in conjunction with the consumers' group Which?. For more information on the best green cars visit their website www.which.co.uk/cars or buy a copy of the 'Which? Complete Guide to Greener Driving' at high street retailers for £6.99. To get three issues of 'Which?' magazine for £3, call 01992 822800 and quote INADVICE.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
Researchers have said it could take only two questions to identify a problem with alcohol
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Trust Accountant - Kent

    NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

    Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

    £18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

    Law Costs

    Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

    SQL Developer (Stored Procedures) - Hertfordshire/Middlesex

    £300 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer (Stored Procedures) Watford...

    Day In a Page

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style