Which is greener, a new BMW 320 D M Sport saloon or a tiny Volkswagen Fox?
The answer, you would be surprised to know, is the BMW. But why?
Small cars have not advanced in terms of engine technology, with most manufacturers recycling old engines they have used for many years. In the current economic climate, it doesn’t make sense to spend £50 million on the latest engine developments for a car you can only sell at £7000. Much better to invest in a big engine for a big car you can sell at over £20,000. And this is what the prestige brands have done with innovative technology including stop and start engines, ultra-refined injection systems and low friction tyres.
The BMW 320 D M Sport emits only 128g/Km of CO2 and the VW Fox 144g/Km. And at 58.9 MPG, it is a real economic marvel. The VW Fox is 20% less efficient at 46.3 MPG.
Comparing the leanest, greenest Audi A4 model to the Vauxhall Corsa 1.0 12 valve engine, the difference is stark. The Audi 2 litre diesel ‘stop and start’ engine emits only 129 grammes of CO2 per kilometre, with the Corsa pumping out an extra 5 grammes per kilometre.
But the Audi does 57.7 miles per gallon, whilst the Corsa does 7 miles per gallon less. In real life conditions, the Vauxhall is likely to do much worse. Underpowered engines tend to get worked harder, revved more, and deliver less miles per gallon.
Last in the comparison is the Mercedes C220 CDI Blueefficiency. This also achieves 58.9 MPG on the combined cycle, and delivers a paltry 127g/Km of CO2. That’s around the same as the previous Toyota Prius, the darling of the green car crowd.
So before you rush out to buy the tiniest car you can find to protect the environment, think again. Compare the emissions and CO2 of the latest models, and you might find you can get a much better car that you can fit the whole family in.
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