THE Hyundai Kona and Renault Zoe have both scored top marks in the latest Green NCAP tests which evaluate the performance of low emission vehicles.
The tests combine measurements from extended laboratory testing with relevant real-world driving studies which enables the Green NCAP ratings to offer the best of both worlds in terms of evaluation.
The rating scheme now adds the assessment of greenhouse gases to those of clean air and energy efficiency, providing even more broad and comprehensive information for consumers. The tests are separate to the regular Euro NCAP programme.
After the Hyundai and Renault, which both gained five star ratings, came the Toyota C-HR which was rated at 3.5 stars.
Green NCAP says the Toyota improves efficiency by utilising hybrid technology alongside its petrol engine and does so to better effect than the similarly-poweredHonda CR-Vwhich was awarded 2.5 stars.
Three popular superminis - theVW Polo,Renault ClioandPeugeot 208- were also included in the latest test with all rated as three-star vehicles.
At the other end of the scale, the large people-carriers -VW Transporter,Mercedes-Benz V-ClassandVauxhall Zafira- get no better than 1.5 stars, mainly because of their weight and poorer aerodynamics.
While effective after-treatment means they control pollutant emissions well, they require a lot of energy - fuel - to move their weight around. The SUVs emerge little better than the vans with, on average, just over two stars.
In the large family car class, theMercedes-Benz C220dattained three stars while theBMW 320dandVW Passat 2.0 TDI2.5 stars each.
The Mercedes, in particular, impressed with its control of pollutant emissions which, while nowhere near the zero tailpipe emissions of electric cars, nevertheless demonstrated what can be done with good engine design and exhaust after-treatment.
Niels Jacobsen, chief executive office of International Consumer Research and Testing and President of Euro NCAP, said: "I'm proud that Green NCAP can now share the most comprehensive, in-depth rating on the environmental impact of new cars to help consumers make sustainable vehicle choices.
"Green NCAP's rating scheme has been comprehensively overhauled and now also include an evaluation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions as well as Clean Air and Energy Efficiency.
"As we measure only tailpipe emissions, electric cars naturally come out best in this round of assessments. However, Green NCAP will continue to evolve and we plan to include well to wheel emission measures and, ultimately, life-cycle analysis as a baseline for future ratings."
No plug-in hybrids were included in this round of tests but the first will be included the next round, expected in February of next year.
Going forward, Green NCAP says it plans to further extend its analysis from ‘tank to wheel' to ‘well to wheel' and take account of the ‘upstream' emissions involved in the manufacture of fuels or in the generation of electricity.
In total 24 cars were tested in the current round and other models included were the Audi A4 which scored two stars, the BMW 3 Series at 2.5 stars, the Kai Sportage at 1.5 and the Nissan Qashqai at 2.5