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Australia’s green cars 2022

Looking for a car that is more eco-friendly? Find out which models impressed in the Finder Green Awards 2022.

Between increasing fuel prices, the rising threat of climate change and pledges from car manufacturers to eventually only offer electric models, sustainable vehicles are becoming increasingly mainstream.

Currently, most cars run on fossil fuels like petrol or diesel. This is a problem because burning these fuels releases emissions into the atmosphere that help to speed up the global warming that is a key part of the ongoing climate crisis. These exhaust pipe fumes are not just bad for the environment though. They also have a detrimental effect on air quality which in turn can lead to health issues in people exposed to them.

It is for these two reasons, alongside pressure from governments and consumers, that many car manufacturers are taking proactive steps to incorporate sustainable vehicles like electric cars into their offering, reducing or eliminating the need for fossil fuels. As part of the 2022 Finder Green Awards we once again went looking for our Green Car of the Year and you can see the winner and finalists below.

Green car of the year 2022

Green Car of the Year 2022: Hyundai IONIQ Electric

Proving to be the leader of the pack in the Australian EV landscape, this is the second year in a row that the Hyundai IONIQ Electric has won our Green Car of the Year award. Zero tailpipe emissions, impressive third-party reviews and an accessible price point all contributed to the Hyundai IONIQ Electric taking the win.

While this was a closely contested category, the Hyundai IONIQ Electric broke away thanks to a few key metrics.

The Hyundai IONIQ Electric topped the board for stated energy consumption with the lowest electricity usage per 100km driven figure for any entrant. It also came in at the most accessible price point in the category with a manufacturer's recommended sale price of just over $50,000 at the time of writing. As an electric vehicle the IONIQ also scored maximum points for having zero tailpipe emissions.

2022 Green car of the Year finalists

Hyundai IONIQ 5 Electric

Hyundai logo

The Hyundai IONIQ 5 was a close competitor in this category. In addition to zero tailpipe emissions, the IONIQ 5 scored well for additional features by offering fast charging and minimising its environmental impact through the use of eco-friendly and sustainably sourced materials. It also received the highest score for its third-party reviews.

This model does come in at a higher price point though, starting at $71,900, making it a more pricey option than the IONIQ Electric. It also did not score as well for energy consumption, with more electricity used for every kilometre when compared to the other IONIQ.

Kia EV6 Air RWD

Kia logo

Our second finalist was the Kia EV6 Air RWD. This model is also fully electric boasting zero tailpipe emissions. Our assessment team also scored the Kia vehicle well for its use of recycled materials as part of the interior. Sections of the EV6's dashboard and centre console are clad in recycled plastics, equivalent to 107 plastic 500ml water bottles per car.

The EV6 scored well across the board but couldn't quite compete with the IONIQ Electric on metrics such as energy consumption and price. At the time of scoring, the EV6 was available for $67,990; however, recent increases in material, production and logistical costs have seen that increase to $72,590.

What makes a car green?

  • Environmental criteria (85%)

The bulk of the scoring in this category is made up of the general environmental performance of the vehicle. This looks at data relating to emissions, fuel and/or energy consumption, as well as any other sustainability features the car may have.

When it comes to emissions, we assessed the tailpipe emissions of the car, as well as its estimated fuel lifecycle emissions. Both of these are metrics that are recognised in the government's Green Vehicle Guide.

We also wanted to know the stated energy consumption of the car. This was assessed as kWh/100km with a lower kWh figure contributing to a higher score. Where relevant, we also looked at the fuel consumption of the car per 100km driven.

All entrants also had the opportunity to share any other features of the car that help reduce its environmental impact to be taken into account in the scoring process.

  • Other criteria (15%)

We also wanted to assess the accessibility and actual performance of the car and to do this we looked at 2 metrics.

The price to purchase the car did play a part in the scoring as this can be a barrier for consumers going green with their car. A Finder survey of 928 drivers in April 2022 revealed that 21% wouldn't consider buying an electric car because they feel it's too expensive.

Finally, we asked our entrants to provide expert ratings from well-regarded industry review sites such as Drive, CarsGuide and Exhaust Notes Australia to name a few. This provides an important third-party snapshot of the car's overall performance.

Green car of the year award methodology

The table below shows a more detailed breakdown of the scoring. If you're interested in more details you can view the 2022 Finder Green Awards entry criteria document (PDF).

Eligibility criteria: Car must be available to buy new in Australia at the time of entering the 2022 Finder Green Awards.

Environmental criteria:Other criteria:

Environmental performance (85%)

  • Tailpipe emissions
  • Fuel lifecycle emissions
  • Fuel/energy consumption
  • Other sustainability features

Price and critical reception (15%)

  • Price
  • External third-party reviews

Other sustainability initiatives (7%)

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