Q&A: Most economical cars under $30,000?

Want to be 'environmentally-friendly', but on a budget? Here are your options.
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Hey CarAdvice, I am looking to buy the most environmentally-friendly car I can afford. What are my options at the lower end of the market? Thanks! – Alice

Kez Casey

If you're looking at environmentally-friendly through the lens of fuel consumption, then cars like the Volkswagen Polo (which uses 5.0 litres of fuel per 100km), Toyota Yaris (4.9L/100km) and Suzuki Swift (4.8L/100km) top the list.

If you wanted something a little taller, it might be worth looking at a compact SUV, like a Volkswagen T-Cross (5.4L/100km) or Skoda Kamiq (5.0L/100km).

By far the best performers from a fuel-use perspective are the Toyota Yaris Hybrid (3.3L/100km) and Toyota Corolla sedan Hybrid (3.5L/100km) however, in both cases the hybrid systems use a small battery to power the petrol-electric hybrid system.

Obviously the mining of the metals, transport, and manufacturing for those batteries has an added environmental impact (although to what extent I don't know, I'm sorry), however, the wider view is that this is offset by the efficiency gains.

In any case, all of the above should come in under $30,000, though may vary slightly depending on options and your locations.