Top down this summer: The Top 5 Eco-Friendly Convertibles
Enjoy hammering the throttle down the freeway and feeling the wind rush through your hair? Here are a selection of five of the best convertible cars that will help save the earth and save you money in the long run.
There are few better ways to take on the highway than in a convertible. Cruising along the open road with the wind rushing through your hair and the sun in your face is an exhilarating experience unmatched by more traditional means of transportation. With increasing concern about the environmental impact of motorised transport, and the increasing costs of fuel, there has been a push towards more fuel efficient vehicles. We explore some of the best options for an eco-friendly thrill ride.
Mini Cooper D Convertible
The ÖKOTREND Institute for Environmental Research analyse and evaluate products and companies in a variety of industries to assess their environmental credentials. Beyond simply assessing fuel consumption and emissions, the ÖKOTREND Car Environment Review looks at production, procurement, logistics and recycling from an environmental viewpoint. The Mini Cooper D Convertible was awarded first place in the 2013 convertible category and it’s easy to see why.
Whilst retaining many of the elements that define Mini Cooper’s distinctive style, the Mini Cooper D has been fully re-imagined as an environmentally friendly convertible. Armed with a 82 kW/112 hp four cylinder diesel engine, the Mini Cooper D Convertible consumes only 4 litres per 100 kilometres and only 105 g/km C02 emissions. The BMW group have long pioneered the production of energy efficient cars and this sporty offering echoes the group’s commitment to sustainability. More than anything else, though, it’s a fun and affordable ride.
Whoever said driving an environmentally friendly car couldn’t be fun obviously hadn’t sat behind the wheel of a Fiat 500. With sleek lines, a stylish interior and a delightfully retro shape, this is a great all around car aggressively priced to compete with low-budget Asian vehicles.
What really sets this cute hatchback apart, however, are its environmental credentials. Touted by Fiat as the “greenest petrol car in the world,” the 63 kW (85 HP) 500 TwinAir petrol engine delivers enough power to handle urban commutes without hassle while reducing emissions. In fact, Fiat as a whole has both reduced its average emissions by 15 percent and been judged to be the greenest car maker in Europe over the past five years.
In 2012, barely 3 percent of vehicles purchased in the U.S. were hybrids, but as infrastructure improves in providing accessible power, so too has the public's appetite for electric cars. Toyota pioneered the concept with the now ubiquitous Prius, but Smart have brought something a little different to the table. The third generation Smart ForTwo all electric convertible is the first of its kind, allowing eco-conscious drivers to still get that airblown, windswept look whilst cutting their emissions.
Designed for urban environments, the unique design and tiny form factor of the ForTwo make it a perfect car for getting around town and squeezing into all of those parking spaces everyone else could only dream of fitting in. Highlighting the modernity of the vehicle, the designers of the ForTwo have adopted a decidedly minimalist aesthetic in the interior, which will appeal to those that prefer sleek and smooth to all the bells and whistles.
With a 1 litre, 70 horsepower engine, this won’t be the car to win you any glory in the local drag racing circuits, but if you’re in the market for a great, all around car that can manage 90 miles before needing a recharge, the Smart ForTwo could be just the ride you’re looking for.
Volkswagen Beetle TDI Diesel
One of the world’s most iconic vehicles, the Volkswagen Beetle first burst into the public consciousness in 1938 and is the longest running and most manufactured car of a single design platform, worldwide. The Volkswagen TDI Beetle is the evolution of the Beetle, featuring a 2.0 litre turbo charged diesel engine in the form factor that has captured a place in automotive history: twenty-eight miles per gallon in the suburbs and an astonishing 41 miles per gallon on the open road.
Years ago, fuel was bountiful and significantly more affordable and diesel was often passed over as a viable option, but with oil prices exponentially increasing, diesel is shaking its stigma and becoming a consideration for many motoring enthusiasts.
WIth easy access to all of the car’s cabin controls and console, this Beetle’s interior is sleek and well designed.
Audi TT Roadster 2.0 TDI Quattro
Easily the most expensive of the list, the Audi TT Roadster is an unabashed luxury vehicle boasting not only a sporty exterior and impressive performance but matching it with incredible fuel efficiency.
Lightweight and agile, the aerodynamic sportster features a 170 hp, 258 lb-ft 2.0L TDI engine and delivers speeds of zero to 100 km per hour in 7.5 seconds and achieves top speeds of 226 km per hour. The fuel economy of the Audi TT Roadster 2 TDI is an impressive 5.5 litres per 100 kilometres and only 144 g/km of CO2 emissions, making this car the perfect synthesis of performance, looks, handling and fuel economy.
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