There’s a surprising variety of choice for new car buyers searching for a no-nonsense vehicle with both low CO2 and a low purchase price. Today there are more than a dozen different cars on sale in the UK that can duck below both 100g/km and £10,000.
Here are some of the current crop of cars that manage to put the eco into economy...
First up is a vehicle that isn’t really a car, but the charming Renault Twizy surely deserves a mention nonetheless. Costing from just £6,690, this tiny two-seat electric runabout is both very green and very basic – even doors are an option. But while its tailpipe emissions are zero and initial purchase price is temptingly low, a Twizy is unlikely to be the cheapest vehicle in this list to own and run. Renault will charge an inescapable £45 to £67 per month to lease the battery, depending on mileage and contract length.
Euro NCAP: Not applicable
If my research is right, Suzuki’s Alto is currently the cheapest four-seat car to limbo under 100g/km, costing from £7,195. The very similar Nissan Pixo (the two are essentially the same car with different badges) costs slightly more at £7,250. Both are built in India, no doubt with that market, rather than Europe, front of mind. As you might expect when you’re this close to the bargain basement, equipment is sparse and a trip to the options list might be wise to add, for example, a full complement of airbags.
Euro NCAP: three stars (2009)
It’s comforting to know that cost-cutting doesn’t have to mean compromise on safety kit, as proven by Korean maker Kia. The sharply styled little Kia Picanto comes with anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and six airbags as standard at every trim level, including the most basic Picanto that emits 99g/km and costs from £7,795. As with all Kias, this compact supermini is reassuringly backed by the firm’s comprehensive seven-year warranty.
Euro NCAP: four stars (2011)
The Citroen C1, Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo are again effectively one car with different badges, as all are built in the same factory from much the same bits and pieces. The two French-labelled cars start at £7,995, while the Aygo costs from £8,535. Citroen dealers are the most likely to offer a discount, which should make the C1 the best value of this trio. Despite a 2012 facelift and tweaks that brought CO2 down to 99g/km, these are no longer the freshest cars on the block – indeed at seven years old, they are pretty much ready for retirement.
Euro NCAP: four stars (2005) – note that tests became tougher from 2009
Another set of near identical triplets is sold as the Skoda Citigo, Seat Mii and Volkswagen Up. Similar in conception to the C1, 107 and Aygo, this much newer trio aim to provide the same recipe of inexpensive transport but without a cheap and nasty feel. To get under 100g/km you must select a Green Line edition Skoda, Ecomotive version of the Seat, or BlueMotion Technology variant of the VW, which means starting prices of £8,890 for the Citigo, £9,180 for the Mii and £9,440 for the Up. All three cars have won praise for quality and should also prove safe – they can all be kitted out with a City Safety crash-avoidance system and still creep under £10,000.
Euro NCAP: five stars (2011)
Smart’s ForTwo two-seater is widely praised for its compact dimensions and just as widely criticised for its terrible, jerky gearbox. Starting at £9,200, the 71bhp Micro Hybrid Drive model isn’t actually a hybrid but delivers a CO2 score of 97g/km in basic Pulse trim. A more plush Passion version creeps up to 98g/km and has a list price of exactly £10,000 – an unusually round figure for an unusually egg-shaped car. Safer than it looks due to its cage-like steel chassis, the Smart is nonetheless now an older design, due to be replaced in 2014.
Euro NCAP: four stars (2007)
Given the list of cars above, Hyundai is perhaps optimistic in asking £9,345 for the 99g/km, 1.0 Blue variant of its i10 city car – most customers shopping for an i10 will be drawn to 108g/km versions that aren’t quite so clean but save up to £1,000 off the list price. Launched in 2007 and facelifted last year, the i10 is no longer box fresh but is very well equipped, dependable, gains wide praise for its quality and comes with a five-year warranty.
Euro NCAP: four stars (2008)
And finally, one of the newest cars on the market scrapes into this list with its entry-level offering. The brand new Peugeot 208’s most basic model, the three-door Access 1.0 VTi, starts at £9,995 and offers a 99g/km CO2 rating. While it’s undeniably better looking than the outgoing 207, the new Pug hasn’t received the rave reviews its maker would have liked – with ride, handling and ergonomics coming in for criticism in the motoring press. But the entry-level 208 is both the biggest and newest car available in the UK under both 100g/km and £10,000, which has to be worth something.
Euro NCAP: five stars (2012)