This post comes from UK car leasing and contract hire company, Nationwide Vehicle Contracts.
For many years now, car manufacturers have invested huge sums of money and vast quantities of research and development resources into producing increasingly greener vehicles. Although these projects are likely to remain works in progress for a while yet, the consumer finally has a viable choice of models that offer more environmentally friendly driving. Here are five that are likely to be popular with motorists all over the world.
This award-winning hybrid was named North American Car of the Year in 2011, and for good measure it scooped the European Car of the Year title in 2012. Badged as a Chevrolet in the USA, Holden in Australia, Vauxhall in the UK and Opel in continental Europe, the Volt begins journeys as an electric car before its gasoline-powered electric generator kicks in to expand the range. As well as the fuel economy, reviewers were positive about the comfort of the ride and the overall aesthetics of the car.
In practical terms, the Nissan Leaf is the first mass-produced fully-electric family saloon, and with continuing improvements in fast-charging technology it promises to be a winner with consumers in many countries. It’s inexpensive to run, and many parts of its bodywork are made from recyclable materials. The Leaf first came to our showrooms in 2011, and because it produces no greenhouse gases it’s likely to become increasingly popular in the coming years.
Perhaps the best-known green car of them all, the Toyota Prius was the first hybrid vehicle to be mass-produced. In the US alone, more than a million models have now been sold, although it should be pointed out the first generation went on sale back in 1997. The latest version is the third generation, and it features an aerodynamic design, low fuel consumption figures and a famously quiet engine.
Released to a waiting public in 2010, the Honda CR-Z serves as a welcome reminder that being a greener driver can also be fun. Regarded by many as the world’s first sports hybrid, it has a distinctive design that bears plenty of comparisons to the almost legendary CR-X. The low co2 emissions and the impressive mpg figures enable it to be particularly efficient in the city, and traditionalists will love the fact that it has a manual gearbox – an unusual feature in a hybrid.
Amid all the euphoria surrounding electric engines, it’s reassuring to know that good old-fashioned petrol cars can still be relatively green. The Kia Rio boasts a hugely impressive 88mpg, a figure that ensures fuel efficiency even in the congested cities. The latest generation, the third, was debuted at 2011’s Geneva Motor Show, and immediately inspired admiring glances from some major players in the industry. With ever-dwindling oil reserves in the world, the Rio is likely to become an important asset in the coming years.
Green cars have a long way to go before they replace conventional vehicles. If you want a car that is currently in the middle, why not look into smart contract hire?