RAC Cars News


Take Care When Choosing Greener Engines

By raccars Published

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Most of the major manufacturers are now offering a line of super efficient and clean new engines - some are so efficient they can compete with hybrids in the clean and green stakes. For example, VW has its BlueMotion range and Mazda has SkyActiv.

However, buyers usually have to pay a premium to choose these engine ranges over standard models, calling into question the alleged savings achieved by using less fuel.

As an example, Skoda's most efficient engine range is called Greenline. A Skoda Octavia Greenline costs £590 more than the average Octavia, with the Greenline engine a development of the company's 1.6 litre TDI SE model, but engineered to use less fuel and reduce CO2 emissions. However, based on a 10,000 mile annual average, the Greenline version saves its owner fuel to the tune of £132 per year, meaning that it would take about five years or 44,811 miles to recoup the extra spent on the higher purchase price.

As both the Greenline and its standard equivalent are in the sub-100g/km CO2 emissions category, both are exempt from VED, so the Greenline doesn't offer any additional savings on road tax. Ultimately, the only real savings to be had from buying a Greenline model are by those who cover very high mileage.

A similar situation occurs with the Ford Fiesta. A three door Ford Fiesta Zetec model with a 1.25 litre petrol engine costs £12,945, while the same model with a 1.0 litre EcoBoost petrol engine costs £1,000 more at £13,945. The EcoBoost version does cost £30 less per year in VED and is more efficient than the older petrol model by £220 per year, based upon an annual mileage of 10,000 and official MPG rates.

That means that it could take 52,857 miles or more than five years to recoup the cost of the more expensive EcoBoost engine. As with the Skoda Superb Greenline, there are significant savings to be had by high mileage owners, while company car drivers will benefit from lower taxes, but for the average driver, the fuel savings alone hardly make it worth the extra purchase price. On the other hand, the perky little EcoBoost unit does boast more power than its 1.25 litre equivalent, which is probably a more convincing selling point.

Ultimately, you should carry out a little research to work out if an ostensibly more efficient engine is really worth paying more for, if its benefits don't really coincide with your driving habits.

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