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Australia’s Most Environmentally Friendly Cars

Hybrid car being recharged

As people become more aware of the impact of their consumption on the environment, it's no surprise that more individuals are making the switch from petrol guzzling cars to more environmentally friendly models.

Thinking of upgrading to something more environmentally-friendly or are you just curious about the most fuel efficient options available in Australia? We’ve got you covered with the top ten most eco-friendly options across electric vehicles, hybrids and fuel powered cars.

What are Australia’s most eco-friendly cars?

Gone are the days when you had to choose between a petrol or a diesel car. Over the past few years electric and hybrid vehicles have hit the Australian market, taking environmentally friendly vehicles to a whole new level.

But how do these different options stack up against each other in terms of CO2 emissions? To make your life easier, we’ve put together a list of the top ten most environmentally friendly vehicles across the three different fuel categories based on data, information and stats from the Australian Government’s Green Vehicle Guide*.

Electric vehicles

It probably comes as no surprise that the most eco-friendly cars are those that don’t use traditional fuel like petrol, diesel or gas. Instead, electric vehicles rely on a lithium-ion battery to power their electric motors. Electric vehicles need to be externally charged, but with more public charging stations popping up over the country, topping up your electric car while on the road is becoming less of a challenge.

If you’re looking to eliminate fuel altogether, here are the top ten performers based on CO2 emissions from the Green Vehicle Guide:

  1. Hyundai IONIQ: Topping the list of the most efficient electric vehicles is the Hyundai IONIQ. With up to 311kms of driving range on a single charge, the IONIQ is the ultimate in zero-emissions driving.

  2. Hyundai Kona: Next off the rank is the Hyundai Kona, Australia’s first 100% electric compact SUV. Featuring regenerative braking you can recharge the battery as you coast or break to extend the driving range.

  3. Tesla Model 3: Synonymous with electric driving, the Tesla Model 3 was built with safety in mind. Leave to charge overnight and enjoy a full battery for the following day.

  4. Lexus UX 300e: Enjoy zero tailpipe emissions with Lexus’ first all electric vehicle. Featuring a high output motor and high capacity battery, you can travel up to 360km on a single charge.

  5. Kia Niro: This all electric SUV features an incredible range of 450kms with fast charging capabilities. Designed for maximum safety, the Kia Niro includes a range of enhanced driver assistance systems to keep you safe behind the wheel.

  6. Renault Kangoo ZE: The ultimate zero emissions delivery van. Charge the Renault Kangoo ZE from empty to full in just six hours with a 7kW fast charger.

  7. Mercedes-Benz EQA: With intelligent driving assistance systems and comfort-enhancing equipment, the EQA delivers an exceptional electric driving experience. Charge at home or on the go with Australia’s largest EV charging network.

  8. Kia EV6: Featuring a sleek and sporty design the EV6 is stylish as it is functional. This crossover SUV has been specially designed to keep you focused, comfortable and safe.

  9. Tesla Model S: Travel up to 652kms on a single charge with the Tesla Model S. The Tesla Model S is renowned for its unrivaled performance.

  10. Mini Cooper SE: Get all the great features that a Mini is known for with the added bonus of 100% electric power. With a range of 233kms, it’s perfect for city driving and short commutes.

Hybrid vehicles

If you’re not quite ready to fully commit to an electric vehicle, then a hybrid car is the next most eco-friendly option. Hybrids use a combination of an internal combustion engine with an electric motor to get moving.

Some electric motors don’t need to be charged externally. Instead, the electric motor is powered by a battery that’s charged by capturing energy generated during braking. Alternatively, Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) provide the option to recharge the batteries through a plug-in electrical connection or other compatible charging equipment.

If you prefer the benefits of fuel and electric that hybrids provide, here are the top 10 performers with ranking, data and information taken from the Green Vehicle Guide based on CO2 tailpipe emissions:

  1. Hyundai IONIQ PHEV: Topping the list for both electric and hybrid vehicles, the Hyundai IONIQ PHEV delivers a dynamic and sustainable driving experience by merging the advantages of petrol with an electric powertrain.

  2. Kia Niro SUV: This sporty SUV seamlessly combines petrol and electric power without the need for external charging.

  3. Lexus NX 450h+: Combining high performance with low emissions, the NX 450h+ is Lexus’ first ever plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). Enjoy up to 87kms of electric-only driving range.

  4. Mercedes-Benz 177 A Class A250e: The A Class features increased power and torque, reduced fuel consumption and maximum efficiency with the same unmistakable feeling of driving a Mercedes-Benz.

  5. Audi e-tron Sportback: Awarded Drive Car of the Year 2021 Best Electric Vehicle, the Audi e-tron Sportback guarantees sporty performance and reduced emissions driving.

  6. Peugeot 3008 GT Sport Hybrid AWD: This hybrid SUV offers up to 60kms of electric driving range. Featuring a range of innovative technologies, the Peugeot 3008 has been designed with your wellbeing and safety top of mind.

  7. MG HS PHEV: The MG HS PHEV uses Intelligent Hybrid Energy Management that adapts power output to the road conditions whilst learning the driver’s individual driving style for the most efficient operation.

  8. Peugeot 508 GT Hybrid Fastback: This hybrid sedan combines elegance and performance while offering up to 55kms of electric-only driving range.

  9. Mitsubishi 21MY Outlander PHEV ES: Featuring dynamic performance, exceptional economy and low emissions the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV provides a superior driving experience.

  10. Mitsubishi Eclipse-Cross PHEV: The Eclipse-Cross combines performance and aesthetics with SUV practicality. Enjoy the combination of efficient electric driving with the long-distance capabilities of a petrol engine.

Petrol vehicles

Although electric and hybrid vehicles are arguably the most eco-friendly options, there are a number of petrol options that will appeal to the environmentally conscious. These days car manufacturers are doing their best to design efficient vehicles that produce fewer emissions and with constant advances in technology fuel-powered vehicles are more eco-friendly than ever.

If you plan on sticking with fuel powered vehicles for now, here’s a look at the top 10 performers with ranking, data and information taken from the Green Vehicle Guide by CO2 tailpipe emissions:

  1. Mini F56 Cooper D: Topping the list of the most fuel efficient petrol vehicles is the Mini F56 Cooper D. With an impressive fuel consumption of 3.7 L/100kms, this Mini is efficient while retaining the nimbleness Mini’s are known for.

  2. Skoda Fabia: Smart, spacious and efficient to boot, the compact Skoda Fabia is ideal for inner-city driving.

  3. Suzuki Swift AZ GL: This iconic hatch is both affordable and fuel efficient consuming just 4.6L/100kms.

  4. BMW F22 2 Series 220d: This sporty BMW coupe offers an agile driving experience paired with a highly efficient 6-cylinder petrol engine.

  5. Suzuki Ignis: One of Australia’s smallest and most affordable SUVs, the Suzuki Ignis ranks close behind its sister vehicle, the Swift, in terms of fuel efficiency. Compact enough for comfortable city cruising, the Ignis affords a little more room and clearance.

  6. Mitsubishi 20MY Mirage ES: The stylish Mirage boasts outstanding fuel efficiency using just 4.7L of fuel per 100km, so you can travel over 700kms on a single tank.

  7. Audi A3 Sportback: Not only are the hybrid Audi Sportbacks an environmentally conscious choice, but so are the petrol-based versions. Boasting a consumption of just 4.2L/100kms, the Audi A3 Sportback is one of the most efficient hatchbacks on the market.

  8. Audi A3 Sedan: This compact luxury sedan combines striking design features with advanced technologies to offer an unparalleled driving experience. Enjoy a combined fuel consumption of just 4.8L/100kms.

  9. Alfa Romeo Giulia: Enjoy stylish Italian design and optimal fuel efficiency with a consumption of 4.2L/100kms.

  10. Volkswagen MY21 Polo: Winner of the Drive Car of the Year 2021 Best City Car, the VW Polo combines efficiency with interior space, comfort and advanced safety and technology.

How does your car stack up?

Keen to find out how your ride compares to other options out there? Thanks to the Australian Government’s Green Vehicle Guide, comparing the CO2 emissions of different vehicles couldn’t be easier. Use the site to view the top CO2 performers and sellers, compare vehicles, search for specific vehicles or use the fuel calculator.

Whether you choose electric, hybrid or fuel powered, opting for a more eco-friendly option is still hugely beneficial for the environment. Buying a new car is a huge investment, so make sure you do your own research so you get a vehicle that best suits your needs. Once you’ve got your new set of wheels, get protected. Check out Youi’s range of car insurance to find a policy to suit your needs.

*These are the top performing vehicles by CO2 tailpipe emissions as at the 12th April 2022.