Looking for an environmentally friendly family car? Motoring journalist Tim Barnes-Clay looks at five of the best.
Next to buying a house, purchasing a car is one of the biggest acquisitions you’re likely to make.
While you'll want to be certain to choose a vehicle that suits your family, more of us are choosing cars that are also environmentally friendly.
Here we list our pick of the green motors available to buy today.
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron
The 2014 World Car of the Year added the potential for zero-emission motoring to its repertoire when the A3 Sportback e-tron became the first plug-in hybrid to join the Audi range last year.
The five-door compact hatchback combines a conventional 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine with an electric motor to deliver impressive performance, exceptional efficiency and, equally crucially, complete freedom from range limitation.
The e-tron is capable of covering up to 176.6mpg with CO2 emissions of just 37g/km.
With the combination of electric motor and combustion engine, an overall operating range of up to 584 miles is possible.
What’s more, the green Audi is good for a 0-62mph sprint of 7.6 seconds and a top speed of 137mph.
Priced from: £34,950
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
If there’s a sport utility vehicle (SUV) that may change the way we think about electric and hybrid cars, it’s Mitsubishi’s Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV).
It’s a straightforward family motor that doesn’t cost a bomb and is exempt from road tax and the London congestion charge.
It uses both electric and petrol power and can travel 32.5 miles on battery juice – more than enough to accommodate most daily average journey distances.
The impressive electric range gives the vehicle significant environmental credentials.
It emits just 44g/km of CO2 and the official combined fuel consumption figure is 148mpg. The PHEV will do 0-62mph in 11 seconds and has a top speed of 106mph.
Priced from: £28,249
Ford Mondeo Hybrid
Within two months of launch, the all-new Ford Mondeo was voted Britain’s Best Family Car by UK Car of the Year judges.
Better still, the Mondeo Hybrid combines a specially-developed 2.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and battery for a combined mpg of 67.3, reaching 100.9mpg for urban driving and emitting just 99g/km of CO2.
In other words, this eco-friendly Mondeo offers the best of both worlds: the enhanced efficiency and reduced emissions of electric power, and the range and performance of a traditional engine.
Top speed is 116mph and 0-62mph can be done in 9.2 seconds.
Priced from: £24,995
Based on the multi-award-winning VW up! city car, the e-up! comes in one high-specification trim level.
With zero tailpipe emissions, a range of up to 93 miles in optimum conditions, and a full charge taking less than nine hours from a standard household socket, the five-door e-up! is as practical as it is environmentally friendly.
The e-up! can achieve a top speed of 81 mph, while it can easily keep up with traffic thanks to a zero-to-62mph time of 12.4 seconds.
Priced from: £24,525
Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S is a five-door electric car that delivers 312 miles on a single charge.
With an outstanding safety record, and accelerating from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds, the fully electric Model S breaks the mould.
There’s even a Model S iPhone app which puts Model S drivers in direct communication with their cars anytime, anywhere.
Owners can use the app to check on charging progress, start or stop charging, and heat up or cool down the Model S before driving (even if it's in a garage).
Benefits include zero road tax, zero showroom tax, and exemption from the London Congestion Charge.
Priced from: £55,335