Dacia Spring ranks as top eco-friendly car in Kindest Car Index

  • MoneySuperMarket has ranked 260 cars in its Kindest Car Index
  • The cheapest EV is the Citroen Ami quadricycle at £8,000 
  • The most eco-friendly cars are the Dacia Spring and Toyota Prius
  • Dacia Spring due for UK launch in October
The Dacia Spring

The Dacia Spring is due to arrive in October 2024 and will enter the market as the second cheapest EV in the UK

The Dacia Spring and Toyota Prius have been labelled as the most eco-friendly models currently on the market, according to Money Supermarket’s latest annual Kindest Car Index

The Index analyses and ranks the top 260 most animal and environmentally-friendly cars across the world. The animal-friendly element refers to the interior materials used. 

Each vehicle is scored on their lack of leather content, carbon emissions and insurance group, to help eco-conscious drivers choose a car as the demand for sustainable living increases and consumers seek to reduce their carbon emissions and impact on the environment

According to a recent EEA report on electric vehicles, the GHG emissions of electric vehicles, including the production phase, were between 17-30% lower than the emissions of petrol and diesel cars.

Sara Newell, insurance expert at MoneySupermarket, said: “In recent years, we’ve seen a growing trend among car makers to use more ethically-minded materials as they look to become more sustainable and appeal to more environmentally-conscious drivers.”

The definitive list sees the likes of Mercedes, Volkswagen and BMW, some of the world’s largest brands ranked, with both independent cars and overarching companies analysed. 

Ranking last for individual cars is the Audi R8 with 291 CO₂ g/km, although it is currently being phased out of production. 

Subaru has been determined as the least vegan-friendly manufacturer with 0% vegan-friendly cars, and sits alongside brands like Hyundai, Mazda and Audi. 

Newell continued: “Vegan-friendly interiors have become especially popular in electric cars, with most electric vehicles in our study offering at least some vegan options.

“Traditionally, leather interiors were a sign of quality and luxury in cars. However, our study shows that things are changing. Today, even cars at the highest end of the price range offer vegan interiors, although in some cases you may have to pay extra”. 

As well as ranking poorly, Audi charges extra for leather free materials, as much as £2,580 more on top of the £86,500 asking price for the Audi E-Tron GT. It is the only manufacturer to do so. 

According to the study, the most vegan-friendly brands are Vauxhall, Ford, Dacia, Land Rover, Mini, Polestar, Smart and Tesla. All contained vegan-friendly interior options for the steering wheel and seats. 

The Toyota Prius has long been an earth-conscious choice for drivers due to vegan material, zero-emission and low insurance.

However, the Dacia Spring, due to arrive in the UK in October 2024, will enter the market as the second cheapest EV in the UK, following in the footsteps of the £8,000 Citroen Ami quadricycle, which has only two seats

At £14,345, the Dacia Spring is nearly £20,000 cheaper than the Prius and is expected to land in a low insurance group. However, any modifications must be declared.

“For those looking to switch out leather parts for animal-free materials, while your interior is unlikely to impact your insurance costs significantly, you do need to tell your insurers about any modifications. Undeclared changes to your vehicle could result in your insurance being invalidated altogether,” said Newell. 

There is an association between leather and luxury, and high-end car manufacturers such as Porsche still champion the idea in older models. However, newer models include leather-free trim options, showing a shift towards an eco-friendly attitude. 

Brands like BMW and Volkswagen who didn’t fare too well in the Kindest Car Index have a lower percentage of vegan-friendly vehicles due to older models decreasing their score, but their newer models are now offering cruelty-free interiors.

Written by:
Louise joined The Eco Experts as Editorial Assistant in April 2024. She is a talented artist who has a keen interest in solutions that lead to a more environmentally-friendly future.
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