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Which? reveals holes in eco-car claims

Investigation shows big variation in fuel savings

Eco cars: Corsa ecoFLEX

Corsa ecoFLEX saves just £19 in fuel after 10,000 miles

‘Eco’ cars can save you cash, but you’re just as likely to cut your motoring bills by improving the way you drive, a Which? investigation has revealed.

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Researchers compared eco versions of popular cars like the with their standard ‘sister’ models, and found significant differences in the savings they offered.

While the 2.0-litre Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion saved £135 over 10,000 miles, the smaller Vauxhall Corsa ecoFLEX was streets behind, only saving £19.

Eco cars

Eco cars are simply tweaked versions of popular models, offering lower CO2 emissions and more miles to the gallon. But they often have higher list prices than ‘standard’ cars, which can offset any fuel savings.

What’s more, Which? found that all of the eco cars it tested took longer to slow down than their regular counterparts. When braking from 62mph, the 1.4 TDI took 41m to stop – that’s 4.5m more than the ‘ordinary’ Fabia. The 2.0-litre TDI VW Passat BlueMotion, meanwhile, (which had the shortest stopping distance among the eco cars tested) took 2m longer to stop than its less-efficient sister model.

Which? motoring editor Richard Headland said: ‘Eco cars are good for company car users who want to cut their tax bills, but their cost premium and driving compromises may prove too much for low-mileage drivers – especially when it comes to safety issues such as longer braking distances.

‘Improving your driving technique is just as likely to cut fuel bills and CO2, and remember that it pays to keep your car and in good condition.’

Petrol v diesel

To see how long it would take you to offset the cost of a diesel car through fuel savings, check out our handy petrol v diesel calculator.


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