Buying guide: 25 best eco-cars for every occasion ‒ city cars

Five runabouts with a conscience



Our pick

Renault Twingo TCe 90
£11,695, 65.7mpg, 99g/km

Renault Twingo
Dismissed by some as shopping trolleys, city cars are some of the most innovative vehicles on the road, cramming four passengers into a parking-friendly shell with enough space for shopping, and squeezing power out of tiny engines. One of the best is the Renault Twingo: fun to drive, good to look at and (just about) big enough in the back. The 1-litre three-cylinder engine is the most frugal, at 67.3mpg, but it has performance akin to that of a mobility scooter. Most buyers will want to sacrifice a couple of mpg for the turbocharged TCe 90.

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BMW i3
£25,680 (after £5,000 government grant), 118-mile range, 0g/km

BMW i3

Electric vehicles make perfect city cars: their swift acceleration helps them take advantage of gaps in congested traffic, and limited range is not a problem when journeys are a few miles long. If it weren’t for the high price, this car would be top of the pile. It seats four in comfort and is more than capable of motorway speeds.

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Toyota Yaris Hybrid Icon
£16,195, 80.7mpg, 75g/km

Yaris hybrid
Londoners will welcome its CO2 emissions of 75g/km, which make this Yaris exempt from the capital’s congestion charge. (It applies to cars emitting 76g/km and above.) The hybrid system is well suited to stop-start city driving but it’s a good choice only if you rarely stray out of the city: performance above 50mph is dismal.

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Also consider

Renault Zoe Expression
£13,995 (after government grant), 90-mile range, 0g/km

Renault Zoe
This would be an unbeatable city car if it weren’t for the monthly cost of hiring its batteries — at least £70 — which makes it as expensive to run as a petrol model.

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Mini Cooper D
£16,450, 80.7mpg, 92g/km

Mini Cooper
Diesels aren’t ideal in town: lots of short runs can clog their exhaust pollution filters. If you do regular long trips, though, the Cooper D is fun and frugal.

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