Top 10 least green cars of 2015

As things wind down for Christmas, we thought we'd take a light hearted look through the huge amounts of information in the Next Green Car database, and see if we could find the least green cars of 2015!

More than just a list, we share the whys and wherefores behind the least green models, and share a few facts and snippets of information that came to light during the search which we hope you'll enjoy. Cars are listed alphabetically by their NGC Rating (NGC), with fuel economy (MPG) and carbon dioxide emissions (CO2 g/km) provided.

1. Aston Martin V12 Vantage S: NGC 100 - MPG 17 - CO2 388 g/km

The famous British marque might be one of the coolest brands in the world, and the favourite steed of 007 on the big screen, but Aston Martin maxes out on emissions and our NGC Rating. Every car from the company comes in with an NGC score of 90 or higher, while all but a handful emit CO2 emissions of 300 g/km or more. The V12 Vantage is powered by a 6.0 litre V12 engine and, in coupe form with Sportshift transmission, is the least green of the Aston Martin stable according to our figures. The two-seat sportscar completes the 0-62 mph sprint in 3.7 seconds but, returning 17 MPG with an 80 litre tank, will cost you around £83 to cover just under 300 miles!

Aston Martin V12 Vantage

2. Bentley Mulsanne: NGC 100 - MPG 19 - CO2 393 g/km

We shouldn't really be surprised about the Mulsanne's appearance on this list of least green cars - its 6.75 litre V8 engine can trace its lineage back to the 1950s after all. Of course it has seen many revisions and updates since then but the basic architecture remains the same, despite seeing dramatic improvements in power, fuel economy and emissions. It currently boasts twin-turbochargers to help a car that weighs more than 2.5 tonnes hit 62 mph from zero in just 4.9 seconds. This weight and engine does guzzle petrol at a rate of 19 MPG though, giving a range of 400 miles on a tank that would cost a chocolate bar short of £100 to fill up.

3. Ferrari FF: NGC 100 - MPG 17 - CO2 380 g/km

This family sized hatchback/estate seats four and has a good amount of boot space. However, considering it costs almost £230,000, is produced at the Ferrari factory in Maranello, and is fitted with a 6.3 litre V12, that's about as far as you can compare it with the likes of a Ford Focus. In what is an unusual car for Ferrari in general - a sportbrake - the FF also features four-wheel drive to make it more unusual still. Performance is naturally a high priority for the FF with a top speed of 208 mph and 3.7 second 0-62 mph time, but you will only be able to cover 340 miles between top-ups and a full tank will cost almost £95.

Ferrari FF

4. Lamborghini Aventador LP-700-4: NGC 100 - MPG 18 - CO2 370 g/km

There are few who will be surprised to see Lamborghini on this list. The Italian manufacturer consistently makes some of the most dramatic and fastest cars in the world and the Aventador, fitted with a 6.5 litre V12 engine, is no different. With four wheel drive, a seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox and 700 hp under the driver's right foot, it is perhaps to be expected that the familiar acceleration test is completed in less than three seconds. Drive sensibly in one and a range of more than 350 miles might be possible though you will spend more than £90 filling the tank back up.

5. Maserati GranCabrio: NGC 100 - MPG 20 - CO2 337 g/km

With connections to Ferrari and a famous Italian sports car name, the convertible Maserati is great to look at, but its green statistics make less cheery reading. The 4.7 litre V8 emits considerably more than 300 g/km CO2 which is far from great (over triple what you get with an economical hatch), especially considering the more powerful V8 Jaguar F-Type's figure sits at 255 g/km. You could run an F-Type and Renault Clio for the same level of emissions as the Maserati. The GranCabrio will cost almost £78 to travel 330 miles with its 75 litre tank.

6. Mercedes Benz G63 AMG: NGC 100 - MPG 21 - CO2 322 g/km

The G63 AMG is very much a car from a by-gone era - a time when 4x4s were designed to cope with actually being driven off-road, like the Land Rover Defender. The difference between the Mercedes and Land Rover is that the German machine has been developed into a high-end luxury car that will go almost as fast through a desert as it will on the road. The AMG fettled G63 version of the G-Wagon, which was first produced in 1979, is powered by a 544 hp 5.5 litre V8. That power goes through all four wheels and drags the 2.5 tonne machine from 0-62 mph in 5.4 seconds, though it will only return about 20 MPG. The range is one of the best in this list, though it will cost £100 to fill it up - and that's at today's currently (reasonably) low prices.

Mercedes G63 AMG

7. Rolls Royce Phantom: NGC 100 - MPG 19 - CO2 349 g/km

Another car that could have been made for this list, the Phantom - in Extended Wheelbase form - is the archetypal luxury saloon. It costs more than £300,000 for a 2.5 tonnes vehicle that is powered by a 6.75 litre V12. This produces 460 hp and a huge 531 lb ft of torque, allowing for a wafting driving style rather than something racier and closer to the Aston Martin's. With the largest fuel tank on the list and a sub-20 MPG fuel economy figure, the Rolls Royce will cover 418 miles in total at a cost of more than £100.

8. Vauxhall VXR8 GTS: NGC 100 - MPG 18 - CO2 373 g/km

In a list populated with Italian exotica, British luxury and German solidity, it might seem strange to see the name Vauxhall here. However, the VXR8 GTS is no typical Vauxhall - in fact it's really an Australian-built Holden, another General Motors brand. Coming from Holden's Special Vehicles department, the VXR8 GTS packs an old-fashioned American V8 found in the previous generation of Corvette, among numerous others. A typical muscle-car V8, it's large, powerful, lazy and developed from a unit that was built when emissions simply didn't matter. The Vauxhall has a supercharged 6.2 litre V8 that produces 585 hp and more torque than the Rolls Royce. However, that performance comes at the price of being included on this least green list. With emissions of 373 g/km CO2, it's one of the worst offenders here and has one of the smallest ranges too at 289 miles - that less than the electric Tesla Model S!

Vauxhall VXR8 GTS

9. Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: NGC 99 - MPG 20 - CO2 315 g/km

Like the Vauxhall VXR8 GTS, the Jeep also has a big ol' lump of American V8 engine under the bonnet. The 6.4 litre Hemi V8 SRT8 model works along the same sort of lines as the Mercedes G63, namely that a huge car needs a huge engine to go quickly. The 0-62 mph time for the large SUV is completed in 5.0 seconds with the trade off being a CO2 figure of more than 300 g/km and less than 21 MPG expected. In reality it will likely be even less than that thanks to the nature of the 468 hp unit under the bonnet. The 93 litre tank will currently cost about £95 to fill and that will allow you to cover almost 410 miles.

10. Infiniti QX70: NGC 96 - MPG 22 - CO2 316 g/km

Another manufacturer that wouldn't have immediately made it onto many people's list of the top 10 least green cars is Infiniti. It's QX70 features a 5.0 litre V8 petrol engine though that produces 390 hp. Considering the large size of the engine and the relative low weight of the car - 2.1 tonnes - it is clear that the unit is not the most efficient around no matter how you measure the statistics. This will shift the QX70 from 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds but will only return 22 MPG. It will cost just under £93 to fill up the tank for a range of 435 miles.

Final thoughts...

The costs to fill the tanks of the above cars have been mentioned to allow some comparison between more conventional models. A typical Ford Fiesta for example, Britain's best selling car, comes with a 1.0 litre petrol engine that emits 99 g/km, returns about 66 MPG and costs less than £15,000. It will cover around 630 miles on a tank that costs £43 to fill up at average petrol prices of £1.03 per litre.

Another car that is a regular sight on UK roads is the BMW 320d which, in ED Sport Auto trim (a favourite of fleet buyers), emits 104 g/km CO2 and will average 69 MPG. To fill up the tank will cost £60 which will then offer a range of 865 miles.

It is also interesting to note how certain manufacturers did across their range. Every Rolls Royce model has the highest NGC rating of 100 for example, with the lowest CO2 level coming in at a whopping 327 g/km. Aston Martin runs it close though as the least green manufacturer with no model awarded an NGC Rating below 90. One or two model brands like Lamborghini and Corvette are ignored as they are even more specialised than the four or five model manufacturers such as Bentley and Ferrari.

For the record, after noting down the worst offenders, we find that Citroen is the best green manufacturer overall (on the basis of NGC Rating and CO2). The Grand C4 Picasso is listed as the least green Citroen on sale but it's worst figures come in at NGC 44 - MPG 49 - CO2 134 g/km. It's stablemates DS Automobiles and Peugeot also perform well, with the latter probably coming home closer to Citroen had it not got the RC-Z coupe on its books.

If you have significantly less than £300,000 to spend on a new Rolls, and are still looking for an economical yet practical car, do take a look at our Top 10 green cars to watch in 2016. Alternatively you can use our New Car Search.

Next Green car 2015

Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:22nd Dec 2015

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