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6 Eco-friendly Cars for the Conscious Singaporean Consumer

Eco-friendly city district © Boyko.Pictures

Let’s face it––the greenest transport options out there are walking, cycling, or taking public transit. Cars aren’t the most planet-friendly objects around.

But there are many legitimate reasons to own a car in Singapore. What if you have to commute from an area with few reliable public transportation links? Or, you might have several kids with competing school and after-class schedules. Your grandmother might suddenly start having regular appointments at the hospital across town. Your job might require multiple home visits in a day (think about a plumber or air-con repairman!)

Driving a car isn’t necessarily just for fun––it can make our lives that much easier. So if you have to buy a car, you may as well choose one with the lowest carbon footprint possible!

Green Hybrid Technology © Carlos Perez

Two main factors to consider when purchasing an eco-friendly car are the environmental impact of fuel emissions, and the long-term footprint of car manufacturing. The latter is an important consideration: some newer hybrid cars take more energy and raw materials to manufacture, which increases its carbon footprint. That being said, overall emissions are likely to be lower in the long run.

Hybrids and electric vehicles have become increasingly popular in the last few years. With so many to choose from, where do you start? Here are six models we like:

Corolla Hatchback Hybrid © ST Auto

#1: 2020 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Hybrid

If you’re in the market for your first compact car, the new Toyota Corolla Hatchback Hybrid is a great choice. We’ve written about it before, but it bears repeating––we love its safety features, above-average fuel economy, and sheer reliability. The EV mode helps keep emissions lower, and your tank of petrol will go that much further overall.

On top of that, it comes with a relatively affordable price tag (for an imported Japanese car), even with the COE and other fees factored in. We think it’s an all-round winner in a sea of eco-friendly car choices!

Toyota Camry Hybrid © ST Auto

#2: 2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid

A Toyota Camry has always been one of the safer options out there, in terms of style and practical considerations. A family-friendly sedan rarely ever turns heads (unless you have one with a sexy red interior). Nevertheless, what the new Toyota Camry Hybrid lacks in pizzazz, it delivers in comfort, reliability, and value for money.

As they’re both Prius alternatives in the Toyota lineup, the Camry Hybrid is often compared to the Corolla Hybrid. However, we think it’s a mild case of apples and oranges (why compare a compact car to a sedan?) The Camry is more spacious, accelerates and drives faster, and has a slightly higher safety rating. Its larger fuel tank combined with EV (electric vehicle) capability means you’ll be refueling less often overall. As such, you’ll pay a bit of a premium for the Camry over the Corolla.

Tesla Model 3 © Automotive Rhythms

#3: 2021 Tesla Model 3

We couldn’t have a list of eco-friendly cars and not include the world’s most famous electric vehicle brand, even if we don’t sell their cars! This year, the Tesla Model 3 became the world’s best-selling electric car ever, with more than 500,000 units sold to date.

Besides the fact that it’s 100% electric (duh), the Tesla Model 3 is simply sleek and beautiful––you’ll be turning heads parking this anywhere in town. Looks aside (check out that all-glass roof), it has a driving range of about 420km per charge. Pretty good, if you ask us.

Firm, stable handling aside, we also love how quietly it accelerates and drives: no engine noises means less noise pollution. It performs well on the safety feature front, too: good emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warnings are just some of its offerings.

Out of all the Tesla models on the market, the Tesla Model 3 is relatively inexpensive. (It’s a compact luxury car, so it’s still quite a bit of money.) Think of it as a starter Tesla for those with reasonably well-padded wallets! The company also appears to have plans to set up shop in Singapore, so you can expect to see a few of these super sexy EVs zipping around town in the next few years.

Honda Shuttle Hybrid © Wikimedia

#4: Honda Shuttle Hybrid

With its responsive, comfortable handling, the Honda Shuttle Hybrid is a very respectable choice if you’re in the market for a hybrid. Best for everyday commuting, official fuel efficiency figures suggest that you’ll get 34.3km out of every litre of petrol. In practice, you’re more likely to run closer to 19–25km, though with cruise control that might go up to 30km. Either way, these are very decent figures.

The Honda Shuttle Hybrid is also a car for people who like their buttons and gadgets. Let’s rattle a few off: cruise control, paddle shifter, sports mode, leg brakes, multi-function steering, electronic parking brake button, keyless engine start…

But the best thing about this car is how spacious it is. Groceries, strollers, golf bags, suitcases, and friends to drop off? No problem––the capacious Honda Shuttle Hybrid can handle it all. The boot alone holds 470L of cargo, rear passengers have plenty of legroom (your tall friends will love you), and if you’re transporting large items, you can fold the rear seats up. A word of warning: the boot door opens upwards, which can be a tad awkward in a tight parking space.

#5 Honda Fit Hybrid

Think of the Fit as the smaller sibling to the Shuttle. It’s incredibly capacious (for a little hatchback), with fantastically practical boot capacity (345L, and 1314L when the seats are folded flat). For a “subcompact” city car, this is no mean feat. We really love its bright, spacious interior.

It’s not the quietest hybrid in existence, especially on the highway, and sound insulation is not the best around. Still, this isn’t a major deterrent for us. The Honda Fit Hybrid’s fuel economy means it’s cheap to run, especially if you’re primarily driving within the city, so it’s a great choice for a first car purchase. Just don’t expect to go super fast, especially as it becomes a little unstable after 90–100km/hour speeds.

#6 Toyota Yaris Cross Hybrid

Buyers in the market for a more rugged-looking hybrid will find plenty to like about the new Toyota Yaris Cross Hybrid, the brand’s only small SUV with a hybrid system.

This compact SUV is a great all-rounder for the active traveller, particularly if you opt for the four-wheel drive version rather than the standard front-wheel version. What’s the difference? Essentially, the all-wheel version has an extra electric motor, making it a more powerful car. A nice choice for trundling through the mountains on a weekend road trip through Malaysia!

Similar to other Toyota hybrids like the Prius, the hybrid version of the Yaris Cross runs on petrol, but with an EV setting. Fuel economy is decent but not outstanding for a car like this: official figures set fuel consumption at 4–5.4L per 100km driven, but this can go up to 7L per 100km in practice, depending on your use case. It’s not perfect, but like most Toyota cars it’s comfortable and easy to drive.

Price-wise, the Yaris Cross Hybrid is not the most budget-friendly compact SUV around, particularly compared to its petrol-only version. But, we think it’s a solid choice in this category, and we expect future permutations to be even more competitive.

Considering an eco-friendly car? Head on over to ST Auto for a test drive with our friendly sales staff. Call +65 6464 9098 or email us at

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