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
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.
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.