RAC Cars News


Buy a clean and green car for less than £6,000

By raccars Published


If you're looking for a clean and green car, electric and hybrid vehicles are the way to go.

As hybrid and electric cars shake off their niche status and enjoy an ever-increasing market share, it's becoming clear that the green car is here to stay. While they are still more expensive to buy than their combustion-engined counterparts, the used market for hybrids and EVs is starting to look interesting. For a long time an unknown quantity, the clean and green car is starting to look like a bargain for economy conscious used buyers.

A clean and green car on the used market

BMW i3

Released in 2013, the i3 was something of a game changer in the clean and green car industry and went a long way towards earning mainstream status for the sector. As a range extender it offers versatility in the form of a two cylinder petrol generator which helps the i3 to achieve a 205 mile range. You can charge the battery from any domestic socket and a full charge takes about eight hours. Alternatively, you can buy a home charging unit for about £300 and get a full charge in four hours. Fast charging points take about 30 minutes to give you an 80 per cent charge.

The i3 has been reported as pretty reliable thus far, barring the odd electrical issue. As a BMW, residual values are strong so a 63 plate model with 24,000 miles on the clock still commands up to £20,000.

Honda CR-Z

The CR-Z was a 2+2 coupe hybrid available from 2010-2015. For some reason it never really got a solid foothold in the market, despite bold, modern looks and impressive performance. As a hybrid you don't need to worry about range limitations. Once you've run out of electric power the 1.5 litre petrol engine will take over. 60mph arrives in 9.1 seconds in return for 56.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 117g/km. That's not exactly speedy but the CR-Z is surprisingly good fun to drive, with lively handling and excellent stability.

It's certainly been a hit among those who did buy and there are no reported faults to speak of. You can expect to receive change from £6,000 for a 2010 Sport edition with mileage of 44,000.

Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf was released in 2011 and has fast become Britain's best-selling electric car. Essentially it's a practical and user friendly small hatchback offering very low running costs and rather staid driving dynamics. A domestic socket isn't the best way to charge it up, taking up to 12 hours to complete a full charge. You're better off spending 30 minutes at a fast charging point in return for an 80 per cent charge.

Cold weather can have a detrimental effect upon range and there have been some problems reported with flat start-up batteries, but nothing too concerning. For £7,000 you should be able to get a 2014 model in 80kW Visia Flex trim with low mileage. The battery is available on a Flex Lease scheme.

Mercedes-Benz E 300 Hybrid

The E-Class was always refined and comfortable, and adding an electric motor only makes it more so. Available in saloon and estate formats, it comes with a 2.1 litre diesel engine with 201bhp, with an extra 27bhp from an electric motor. The result is 64.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 116g/km, while the hybrid equipment has been cleverly fitted in without compromising on interior or boot space. Early models had some problems but these were swiftly ironed out and you can expect to pay £15,000-£16,000 for a 62,000 miler saloon from 2013.

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