Green car ratings reveal best and worst

Choosing the greenest model that meets your needs is good for the environment and your wallet.
 
Learn more
 
 
 
 
 
  • Updated:28 Jul 2006
 

01 .Introduction

Toyota Car

In brief

  • The government’s Green Vehicle Guide compares the emissions and fuel consumption of all new car models.
  • For each 10,000 km you drive, each L/100 km less fuel consumption saves you $130 (based on $1.30/L).

Why go green?

By taking the green rating into account when buying a new car, you can reduce your impact on the environment and save on your fuel costs.

Reducing environmental impact

  • Road traffic is a major cause of air pollution in urban areas, producing harmful substances such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons.
  • It’s also responsible for about 13% of Australia’s carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.
  • In addition, diesel models emit particulate matter (tiny particles that can be inhaled).
  • Differences between the emission levels of new cars are significant — and not just between different car categories, but also between models within the same category.

Lowering fuel consumption

The amount of carbon dioxide a car produces is directly linked to the type of fuel it uses and its fuel consumption.
With fuel prices on the rise, a fuel-efficient model also means more money in your pocket: for every 10,000 km you drive, each L/100 km less fuel your car consumes than another model saves you $130 (based on a fuel price of $1.30).

How to choose a green model?

The government’s Green Vehicle Guide allows you to compare the environmental impact and fuel consumption of all new passenger and light commercial vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes.

Each version of each model gets a star rating, with five stars being the best. The rating takes into account the car’s emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants. The website also tells you what type of fuel the car uses, and its fuel consumption.

Our tables show you the ratings for the best (4.5–5 stars) and worst (one star) performers, as well as for the 20 best-selling models on the market.

Fuel type differences

  • A litre of LPG contains less energy than a litre of petrol, so LPG consumption per 100 km is higher than petrol consumption for models that have LPG and petrol versions. However, it burns a lot cleaner than petrol, so emissions are lower.
  • On the other hand, diesel versions are usually more fuel-efficient than petrol versions of the same model. However, they produce particulate matter and higher levels of nitrogen oxides, so their air pollution rating is lower — the one-star list is entirely made up of diesel vehicles, mainly large 4WDs.

Image source: TOYOTA

 
 

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02.Best and worse green ratings

 

Results table

Full results for all models are shown in the table below.

Best & worst green ratings
Make / model, current models as of May 2006
(in order of overall points)
Star
rating1
(5 stars = best)
Greenhouse rating2
(10 = best)
Air pollution rating3
(10 = best)
Fuel type Fuel consumption4
(L / 100 km)
The best
TOYOTA Prius 1.5 L, hatch 5.0 8.5 8.5 Electric / regular unleaded 4.4
FIAT Punto 1.4 L, manual, sedan, 3-door and 5-door 5.0 8.0 8.5 Premium unleaded 5.9
CITROEN C3 1.6 L, manual, hatch 5.0 7.5 8.5 Premium unleaded 6.2
MERCEDES BENZ A150 1.5 L, manual, sedan 5.0 7.5 8.5 Premium unleaded 6.7
HONDA Civic Vti / VTiL 1.8 L, manual, sedan 4.5 7.0 8.5 Regular unleaded 6.9
MERCEDES BENZ A200 2.0 L, manual, sedan 4.5 7.0 8.5 Premium unleaded 7.4
MERCEDES BENZ B200 2.0 L, manual, sedan 4.5 7.0 8.5 High-octane premium unleaded (98 RON) 7.4
TOYOTA Corolla 1.8 L, manual and auto, hatch / sedan / wagon 4.5 7.0 8.5 Regular unleaded 7.2–7.5
HONDA Civic Hybrid 1.3 L, sedan 4.5 8.5 6.5 Electric / regular unleaded 4.6
HONDA Civic Sport 2.0 L, manual, sedan 4.5 6.5 8.5 Regular unleaded 7.9
LEXUS GS450H Hybrid 3.5 L, sedan 4.5 6.5 8.5 Electric / premium unleaded 7.9
SMART Fortwo 0.7 L, auto, convertible and coupé 4.5 8.5 6.5 Premium unleaded 4.8
VW Bora 2.0 L, manual, sedan 4.5 6.5 8.5 Premium unleaded 8.1
VW Golf 2.0 L, manual, hatch, 3-door and 5-door 4.5 6.5 8.5 Premium unleaded 8.0
VW Jetta 2.0 L BLR and BVY engines, manual, sedan 4.5 6.5 8.5 High-octane premium unleaded (98 RON) 8.2
The worst
FORD PH Courier XLT Hurricane 2.5 L, manual, ute, 4WD, crew cab and super cab 1.0 4.0 0.5 Diesel 10.6
LAND ROVER Defender 2.5 L, manual, 110 wagon and 130 cab-chassis 1.0 4.0 0.5 Diesel 10.5
NISSAN Patrol 3.0 L, wagon, manual and auto, 5 and 7 seats 1.0 4.0 0.5 Diesel 10.7–10.9
SSANGYONG Korrando 2.9 L, auto, wagon, soft and hard top 1.0 4.0 0.5 Diesel 11.3
TOYOTA Landcruiser 100 4.2 L turbo, manual and auto, wagon 1.0 4.0 0.5 Diesel 11.0–11.2
NISSAN Patrol 4.2 L, manual, wagon, 5 and 7 seats 1.0 3.5 0.5 Diesel 11.6
TOYOTA Dyna Single Cab 3.0 L, manual, cab-chassis 1.0 3.5 0.5 Diesel 11.9
TOYOTA Landcruiser 78 4.2 L turbo, manual, wagon and cab-chassis 1.0 3.5 0.5 Diesel 11.7–12.0
NISSAN Patrol 4.2 L turbo, manual, cab-chassis 1.0 2.5 0.5 Diesel 12.9
TOYOTA Landcruiser 100 4.2 L, manual, wagon 1.0 2.5 0.5 Diesel 13.0
TOYOTA Landcruiser 78 4.2 L, manual, wagon and cab-chassis 1.0 2.5 0.5 Diesel 13.1–13.6

Table notes

1 Star rating This is based on the combined point scores of the greenhouse and air pollution ratings. For example, a five-star rating requires at least 16 points, 9.5–11.0 points score three stars, and a model with less than five points only one star.

2 Greenhouse rating This is based on the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions measured during the standard test for the fuel consumption label. The amount of CO2 depends on the fuel consumption and the type of fuel. As an example of how the ratings relate to each other, a car with a score of 5 produces about twice as much CO2 as one scoring 8.

3 Air pollution rating As examples of how the scores relate to each other, a petrol or LPG model with a score of 8.5 emits only about a third of the amount of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and hydrocarbons (HC) of a car scoring 6.5, which in turn only emits half the amount or less of a 5-point model. The rating isn’t based on actual emissions, but on the emissions of NOx and HC, as well as particulate matter for diesel vehicles, that are allowed under the emission standard to which the model is certified for the Australian market.

4 Fuel consumption This is the figure you’ll find on the fuel consumption label each new car has to display on its windscreen. It’s based on a mix of city and highway driving in controlled, standard laboratory conditions, so the results are comparable across car categories. However, real-life driving conditions, your driving style and the car’s condition are likely to be different, and real-life fuel consumption is therefore usually higher than the label figure.

03.How top selling models rate

 

This table shows how top selling cars rate for green credentials

How the 20 top-selling models rate
Make / model (in order of sales ranking according to VFACTS, May 2006) Star rating1
(5 = best)
Greenhouse rating2
(10 = best)
Air pollution rating3
(10 = best)
Fuel type Fuel consumption4
(L / 100 km)
HOLDEN Commodore Executive 3.6 L, auto, sedan and wagon 3.0 4.5–5.0 5.0 Regular unleaded 11.0–11.2
HOLDEN Commodore Executive 3.6 L, auto, sedan and wagon 3.0 4.5 5.0 LPG 16.1
FORD Falcon XT 4.0 L, manual and auto, sedan and wagon 3.0 4.5–5.0 5.0 Regular unleaded 10.6–11.1
FORD Falcon XT 4.0 L, auto, sedan and wagon 3.0 5.0 5.0 LPG 15.9
TOYOTA Corolla 1.8 L, manual and auto, hatch, sedan and wagon 4.5 7.0 8.5 Regular unleaded 7.2–7.5
MAZDA 3 2.0 L and 2.3 L, manual and auto, hatch and sedan 3.0 5.5–6.0 5.0 Regular unleaded 8.6–9.3
TOYOTA Camry 2.4 L, manual and auto, sedan 3.0 5.5–6.0 5.0 Regular unleaded 8.9–9.9
TOYOTA Yaris 1.3 L and 1.5 L, manual and auto, hatch and sedan 3.5 7.5 5.0 Regular unleaded 6.0–6.7
HYUNDAI Getz GL / SXI 1.4 L and 1.6 L, manual and auto, hatch 3.5 7.0–7.5 5.0 Regular unleaded 6.1–7.1
HOLDEN Astra CD / CDX / CDXi 1.8 L and 2.2 L, manual and auto, hatch, coupé, convertible, sedan and wagon 3.5 6.0 –6.5 6.5 Regular unleaded 7.8–8.7
HOLDEN Astra CDTI 1.9 L, manual and auto, hatch 3.5 6.5–7.5 5.0 Diesel 6.0–7.1
TOYOTA Hilux 4x4 4.0 L, manual and auto, cab-chassis and ute 2.0 3.5 4.0 Regular unleaded 13.0–13.3
TOYOTA Hilux 4x4 3.0 L turbo, manual and auto, cab-chassis and ute 1.5 5.0–5.5 0.5 Diesel 8.5–9.5
FORD Territory TS / TX / Ghia 4.0 L, auto, wagon, 2WD and 4WD 2.5 3.5–4.0 5.0 Regular unleaded 12.2–12.8
FORD Focus CL / LX / Ghia / Zetec 2.0 L, manual and auto, hatch and sedan 3.5 6.5–7.0 5.0 Regular unleaded 7.1–8.0
TOYOTA Hilux 4x2 2.7 L and 4.0 L, manual and auto, cab-chassis and ute 2.0–2.5 3.5–4.5 4.0 Regular unleaded 11.0–12.6
TOYOTA Hilux 4x2 3.0 L turbo, manual, cab-chassis and ute 1.5 5.5 0.5 Diesel 8.6
HONDA Accord Euro base model / Luxury / Sport 2.4 L, manual and auto, sedan 3.5 5.5–6.0 6.5 Premium unleaded 9.1–9.4
TOYOTA RAV4 2.4 L, manual and auto, wagon 3.0 5.5–6.0 5.0 Regular unleaded 9.1 - 9.6
FORD Falcon Ute RTV / XL / XLS / XR6 4.0 L, manual and auto, cab-chassis and ute 2.5 4.5–5.0 4.0 Regular unleaded 10.6–11.3
FORD Falcon Ute RTV / XL / XLS 4.0 L, auto, cab-chassis and ute 2.5 5.0 4.0 LPG 15.9
HOLDEN Ute base model / SV6 3.6 L, auto, ute 2.5–3.0 4.0–5.0 4.5 Regular unleaded 11.0–12.2
HOLDEN Barina 1.4 L, 1.6 L and 1.8 L, manual and auto, 3-door and 5-door hatch, sedan and Combo van 3.5–4.0 6.5–7.5 5.0–6.5 Regular unleaded 5.9–7.8
MAZDA 6 2.3 L and 2.3 L turbo, manual and auto, hatch and sedan 3.0 5.0–6.0 5.0 Premium unleaded 8.8–10.5
TOYOTA Prado 4.0 L, manual and auto, wagon 2.0 3.5 4.0 Regular unleaded 13.2–13.5
SUBARU Forester X / XS 2.5 L, manual and auto, wagon 3.0 5.5 5.0 Regular unleaded 9.6–9.7
SUBARU Forester XT 2.5 L turbo, manual and auto, wagon 3.0 4.5 6.5 Premium unleaded 11.1–11.4

Table notes

1 Star rating This is based on the combined point scores of the greenhouse and air pollution ratings. For example, a five-star rating requires at least 16 points, 9.5–11.0 points score three stars, and a model with less than five points only one star.

2 Greenhouse rating This is based on the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions measured during the standard test for the fuel consumption label. The amount of CO2 depends on the fuel consumption and the type of fuel. As an example of how the ratings relate to each other, a car with a score of 5 produces about twice as much CO2 as one scoring 8.

3 Air pollution rating As examples of how the scores relate to each other, a petrol or LPG model with a score of 8.5 emits only about a third of the amount of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and hydrocarbons (HC) of a car scoring 6.5, which in turn only emits half the amount or less of a 5-point model. The rating isn’t based on actual emissions, but on the emissions of NOx and HC, as well as particulate matter for diesel vehicles, that are allowed under the emission standard to which the model is certified for the Australian market.

4 Fuel consumption This is the figure you’ll find on the fuel consumption label each new car has to display on its windscreen. It’s based on a mix of city and highway driving in controlled, standard laboratory conditions, so the results are comparable across car categories. However, real-life driving conditions, your driving style and the car’s condition are likely to be different, and real-life fuel consumption is therefore usually higher than the label figure.