What are the top selling green cars?

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on April 30, 2020
What are the top selling green cars?

Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

Some lenders in Australia are offering discounted interest rates on car loans for cars that are considered ‘green’. You might be surprised to know which cars qualify.

Australia has traditionally loved its dinosaur-burning, fuel-sucking V8 engines. However, as we look to a cleaner, greener future, many have made tracks to purchasing more eco-friendly, fuel efficient vehicles. This has given rise to the question: Shouldn’t we be rewarded somehow for opting for a green car?

As Kermit says, it ain’t easy being green. The mere tingly feeling in response to saving the dolphins isn’t enough. This is where green car loans step in, often with a discounted interest rate over regular car loans, but what cars qualify? More might qualify than you think.

In the market for a green car? The table below features car loans with some of the lowest fixed interest rates on the market for fuel efficient vehicles.


VariableNew1 yearMore details

Electric and Hybrid Car Loan

    FixedNew2 yearsMore details
    • Quick application process and no monthly fees
    • Low fixed interest rates with terms of up to seven years
    • New car loans cover cars up to 3 years old

    New Vehicle Fast Loan Low Rate

    • Quick application process and no monthly fees
    • Low fixed interest rates with terms of up to seven years
    • New car loans cover cars up to 3 years old
    FixedNew, Used5 yearsMore details
    • Quick application process and no monthly fees
    • Low fixed interest rates with terms of up to seven years
    • New car loans cover cars up to 3 years old

    Fixed Car Loan (with Low Emission Vehicle discount)

    • Quick application process and no monthly fees
    • Low fixed interest rates with terms of up to seven years
    • New car loans cover cars up to 3 years old

    *Comparison rates based on a loan of $30,000 for a five-year loan term. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Rates correct as of May 24, 2022. View disclaimer.

    What qualifies as a green car?

    Across the different lenders offering green car loans in Australia, the criteria for what qualifies as a ‘green car’ can vary. Generally, all lenders encourage interested customers to get in touch to find out if their desired car qualifies.


    Online lender loans.com.au says a car is likely to qualify for its low rate green car loan if the car is:

    • a new or a demonstration vehicle
    • more fuel efficient than average for a car of its size
    • a hybrid or electric vehicle

    Some models belonging to the Mazda 2, Ford Fiesta, Honda Jazz and Volkswagen Golf range fit this criteria, according to loans.com.au.

    But it’s not just small cars and hybrid/electric vehicles that qualify. As stated, the car needs to be more fuel efficient than average for a car of its size, so you may find there are some fuel-efficient utes, four-wheel drives and vans that are eligible.

    In the interest of full disclosure, Loans.com.au and Savings.com.au are both part of the FirstMac Group.


    Victoria-based mutual bank BankFirst offers its green car loan to borrowers purchasing cars “with CO2 value of 180 g/km or less”, as rated by the Australian Government’s Green Vehicle Guide website.

    Some examples of cars that BankFirst lists as ‘green cars’ that qualify for its loan include the Toyota Corolla, Kia Cerato, Mitsubishi ASX and ‘most Nissan X-trails’.

    Bank Australia

    Bank Australia offers a 100 basis point interest rate reduction and a waiver of its $150 establishment fee to car loan borrowers purchasing a “low emission vehicle (LEV)”.

    According to this bank, a car may qualify as an LEV if it is “Pure Electric, Plug In Hybrid Electric, Regenerative Hybrid or the internal combustion engine produces less than 125 g/km Tailpipe C02 (g/km) as published by Green Vehicle Guide”.

    This green car criteria is more stringent than other lenders', so bigger cars that aren’t electric or a hybrid are less likely to qualify.

    Top eight selling green car list

    We’ve picked eight cars from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries' top 20 selling cars for 2019 which are likely to qualify for a green car loan with one or more lenders in Australia.

    We’ve also assessed each model’s combined carbon emissions on the Government’s Green Vehicle Guide, expressed as g/km.

    8. Volkswagen Golf

    VW Golfs are nearly as synonymous with small cars as Corollas, and have been a staple for more than 40 years. The 1.4L 7 speed auto 110TSI hatch variety emits just 128g/km.

    7. Mazda CX-3

    Mazda’s little SUV the CX-3 is popular with a broad range of drivers. The 1.5L 2WD turbo diesel model emits 125g/km.

    6. Subaru Forester

    Loved by soccer mums, the gluten-intolerant, and off-road enthusiasts alike, the mighty Forester may qualify as a green car with some lenders. Emissions start from 152g/km for the 2.0L engine and 168g/km for the 2.5L engine.

    5. Toyota Camry

    This one is a slam dunk for Toyota, as all hybrid cars are typically included on any lender’s 'green car list, of which in the Camry line-up there are a few. The hybrids emit between 96g/km and 103g/km.

    4. Mitsubishi Outlander

    Chances are you might have forgotten about the Outlander in the sea of SUVs for sale, but it’s on this list of green cars. Two models feature - the ‘PHEV’ range by default as they are plug-in hybrids, and the 2.4L petrol variety. The hybrid models emit just 41g/km, while the 2.4L petrols start at 166g/km.

    3. Hyundai i30

    Ah yes, the car my grandma used to own - the venerable i30. The manual version emits 119g/km, while the auto emits 124g/km. Who knew stick drivers were the superior race?

    2. Toyota Corolla

    What list would be complete without mention of a Corolla? There are quite a few hybrid Corollas to choose from, and emissions are as low as 81g/km.

    1. Ford Ranger

    Loved by tradies and weekend warriors alike, Ford Rangers with engine capacities up to 2.2L may make the cut as a green car with some lenders. The manual model’s emissions start at just 169g/km, while the 10 speed auto’s start at 177g/km.

    Saving.com.au's two cents

    As more effort is made to go green around the world, vehicles and the daily commute are under increased scrutiny. It could be tempting to replace that older clunker in your driveway, but first consider if you can afford a new, green car. A green car may not be expensive in the grand scheme of things, but in our research, cars older than a couple years often fail to make the cut. This is because qualifying cars usually need to be new or demo.

    As well as this, the Green Vehicle Guide doesn’t take into account the total amount of carbon emitted in manufacturing and shipping the vehicle to our shores. So, even though your desired car may have low emissions, the manufacturer may have burned a bit of oil to make the thing. All in all, it doesn’t make much financial sense to toss a perfectly reliable vehicle for a new car just because it’s green, but then again, humans aren’t rational creatures, so do what you like - just do your research beforehand.

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    Harrison is Savings.com.au's Assistant Editor. Prior to joining Savings in January 2020, he worked for some of Australia's largest comparison sites and media organisations. With a keen interest in the economy, housing policy, and personal finance, Harrison strives to deliver and edit news and guides that are engaging, thought-provoking, and simple to read.

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