Best Euro 6 Cars

8 minutes Published: 12/10/2020
Emily Hanson

Do you remember where you were during Dieselgate? If you’re not familiar (where have been, under a rock!?), Volkswagen got in a lot of trouble. They rigged their cars to alter their “official” diesel emissions figures. The numbers that came out of the test procedure were A-okay. But in actual fact, Volkswagen cars were pumping out 40x more nitrogen oxide than the legal limit.

Emissions testing has become stringent in recent years. In 1992, European Union regulations were placed on all new cars in a bid to improve air quality. It started off with the Euro 1 standard, which meant every new car had to have a catalytic converter fitted to reduce exhaust emissions.

Since then, the Euro standard regulations have evolved, going through Euro 2, Euro 3, Euro 4, and Euro 5 before settling on the new Euro 6 standard (established in 2014, revised in 2015).

To meet Euro 6 standards, there are limits to how much Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Hydrocarbons (HC), and Particulate Matter (PM) cars can emit. Measures like installing diesel particulate filters (DPF) have helped manufacturers make strides to meet emission standards. The SMMT says that pretty much every car manufacturer has met Euro emissions standards since 2015.

For more accurate results than laboratory tests, the EU introduced a “Real Driving Emissions” (RDE) test to reflect real-world emissions and driving conditions. They also brought in a World Harmonised Light Vehicle Testing Protocol (WLTP) to replace the old NEDC test. Portable emissions measurement systems are used to record emissions now.

How can you trust that your new vehicle is suited to the “low emissions zones” and “ultra-low emissions zone” (ULEZ)? All you need to do is check if it’s Euro 6 Emission Compliant. If it is, the ozone layer thanks you!

If you’re environmentally-minded, you owe it to yourself to have a look at our best electric cars and best hybrid cars! If you’re not quite ready, check out our best low emission cars

1. Mazda Cx-5

RRP: £23,440 - £33,535 | From £249.60 per month to lease
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.2
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: SUV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 152g/km

Pros

  • It has the steering and handling of a sports car but in an SUV.

  • Upmarket, great quality interior materials and design.

Cons

  • No manual transmission option.

  • More spacious competitors.

Mazda was years ahead of the harmful-pollutant-reducing-game. The CX-5 actually met Euro 6 standards way back in 2012 - 2 years before the standard even came into force!

The Mazda CX-5 only has an automatic transmission. They claim that it emits between 128 and 150g/km in CO2 emissions and its combined fuel consumption is between 37 and 38mpg, which is nothing to be sniffed at!

Mazda’s SKYACTIV-D Diesel and SKYACTIV-G Petrol engines are available across the full Mazda range and they more than meet the Euro Stage 6 emissions standards.

The SKYACTIV technology is more efficient than traditional diesels, leading to more complete combustion, stopping Mazda vehicles from puffing out excessive amounts of noxious gases. It extends the ignition time by using a lower compression ratio (14:1, the lowest in the world!), and this allows the air and fuel more time to mix together.

If you want a family SUV that’s safe to drive and easier on the environment, the CX-5 is a top pick.

2. Mercedes E Class Saloon (2016)

RRP: £36,955 - £56,540
  • Doors:
  • Engine:
  • Fuel:
  • Body: Saloon
  • Drive:
  • CO2:

Pros

  • Excellent breadth and variety of standard features (you’d hope so for the price!)

  • Can do 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds.

Cons

  • Vinyl seats. Hmm.

  • Compact cargo capacity in comparison to others in its league.

Being friendly to the planet doesn’t mean you need to drive around in a teeny, affordable city car. We’re taking a side step here to something a little more luxurious - the Mercedes E Class Saloon.

The E 220 d SE Saloon with diesel engine and 9G-Tronic transmission emits 122g/km of CO2 and has a combined fuel consumption of 51.4mpg.

Which? tested 61 cars for their NOx emissions and found that this engine produced just 0.023g/km of NOx, compared the 0.08g/km Euro 6 limit.

In the same test, they found that most of the cars produced 3.5x the limit, so you can feel safe knowing your Mercedes E Class isn’t poisoning the atmosphere!

3. Mini Hatchback

RRP: £12,180 - £31,065
  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 216g/km

Pros

  • Economical to run.

  • Dashing retro good looks. A classic.

Cons

  • Not much back seat space.

  • Quite a firm ride.

Since 2016, every new MINI built meets Euro 6 emissions standards and the classic MINI Hatchback is always a firm favourite to turn to, capable of 46.3mpg and emitting 122-125g/km of CO2.

MINI is part of the BMW Group, which is one of the only 3 car makers featured in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices Index every single year since 1999. This eco-conscious mindset has clearly filtered into MINI engineering.

All MINIs have TwinPower Turbo engines. These combine turbocharging and direct fuel injection to improve the efficiency of combustion, helping to reduce the emission of NOx by 90%!

4. Volkswagen Tiguan Estate (2016)

RRP: £22,325 - £39,495
  • Doors:
  • Engine:
  • Fuel:
  • Body: Crossover SUV
  • Drive:
  • CO2:

Pros

  • Comfortable and spacious, perfect for 5 fully grown passengers.

  • Great array of driver aids.

Cons

  • Not got sporty, sharp handling.

  • More horsepower than competitors.

You didn’t think you’d see a Volkswagen on here after dieselgate, did you? Well, after the manufacturer threw the vehicle emissions regulations out the window and scammed the public, they’ve had to move very, very swiftly to win back trust.

The Volkswagen Tiguan received an A rating from the Equa Index, an independent emission analytics organisation. Its 2.0 TDI 2WD 6-speed manual engine gives you a combined 58.9mpg and emits just 125g/km of CO2.

Volkswagen uses AdBlue to make their engine systems less polluting in a process called “Select Catalytic Reduction” (SCR). AdBlue is a liquid that’s injected into the exhaust gases, breaking down harmful nitrogen oxides into plain old nitrogen and water.

At least after dieselgate, you can be pretty confident that Volkswagen isn’t going to make the same mistakes.

5. Honda CR-V

RRP: £25,735 - £38,465
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.2
  • Fuel: P, D, H
  • Body: SUV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 115 - 235g/km

Pros

  • Awarded the maximum 5 stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests.

  • Spacious - loads of seat and boot room.

Cons

  • The infotainment system is a bit clunky.

  • CVT gearbox is quite slow to react.

SUV-lovers far and wide, listen up! The world’s most popular SUV car, the Honda CR-V, is Euro 6 compliant. Since 2012, the CR-V has outsold all of its closest competitors. With so many on the road, it’s very good news that it’s not contributing terribly to air pollution.

The CR-V is one of the few petrol cars (with a petrol-hybrid alternative) on this list. The SE 1.5 VTEC Turbo 2WD petrol engine with manual transmission gives you a reasonable 38.2mpg and emits 143g/km of CO2, which is not bad considering its size.

It uses a lean NOx trap to limit its emissions output.

6. Audi A3 Sportback

RRP: £23,070 - £37,840 | From £202.63 per month to lease
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 3.2
  • Fuel: P, D, H
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 250g/km

Pros

  • Speedy acceleration: 0-60mph in less than 6 seconds.

  • Precise steering.

Cons

  • Rear seats are teeny.

  • Cargo area is quite small.

Audi is owned by Volkswagen (eek!) but it’s still earned a spot on this Euro 6 cars list. The A3 made the cut. We would’ve included the A6 but we’re still waiting for things to cool down with their emissions-tech related recall.

The weight of the A3 has been kept low by using aluminium and high-strength steel. This light framework means that the fuel economy is better and CO2 emissions are lower. The 2.0-litre 148bhp petrol (35 TFSI) engine returns a great 43.5mpg and 121g/km.

The Audi A3 Sportback also uses LeanNOx trap technology to reduce its output of harmful nitrogen oxides.

7. BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

RRP: £24,650 - £38,170 | From £378.18 per month to lease
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 1.5 - 2.0
  • Fuel: P, H, D
  • Body: MPV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 42 - 152g/km

Pros

  • Incredibly smooth performance from the 8-speed automatic transmission.

  • Loads of standard safety features.

Cons

  • Hefty price hikes if you want extras added on.

  • Just an ickle back seat.

Which? found that the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, teamed with a 218d Active Tourer Steptronic Diesel Engine (what a mouthful…) produced just 0.014g/km of NOx. Wow. We clearly couldn’t have a Euro 6 cars list without it.

BMW uses TwinPower Turbo engines and BMW EfficientDynamics technology to make their cars as clean and efficient as possible.

All of their diesel engines boast progressive turbocharger technology, variable turbine geometry and common-rail direct injection. All of this fancy jargon basically means they’ve optimised the engines to ignite fuel more efficiently to reduce the output of pollutant material.

8. Skoda Superb Hatchback

RRP: £24,235 - £40,525 | From £312.25 per month to lease
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 3.6
  • Fuel: P, D, H
  • Body: Saloon
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 235g/km

Pros

  • An electric panoramic sunroof makes the cabin nice and bright inside.

  • Impressive boot space.

Cons

  • Quite a vocal diesel engine.

  • Others have sharper handling.

The Skoda Superb Hatchback is another A-graded best Euro 6 diesel car, according to the EQUA Air Quality Index. Its 1.6 TDI engine has CO2 emissions of just 110g/km and manages 52.3mpg. A great one for the budget and eco-conscious motorist.

What Car even awarded it Car of the Year 2019 in two categories: Estate Car and Executive Car Less Than £25,000.

The Superb is a superb car (I’m sorry, but it is just a great word to describe it) and it deserves a place on this Euro 6 cars list.

9. Volvo V60

RRP: £33,700 - £51,750 | From £275.52 per month to lease
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 3.0
  • Fuel: P, D, H
  • Body: Estate
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 237g/km

Pros

  • Tight, agile steering.

  • Very pretty.

Cons

  • Lacks legroom in the back seat.

  • Some owners have complained about the warranty coverage.

The Volvo V60 is a nice, clean estate car. It’s clean in two senses: in aesthetic design and in the engine.

The V60’s 2.0-litre diesel engine is one of the cleanest on the market. The 148bhp front-wheel-drive automatic emits a low 123g/km of CO2 and its MPG is around 38.2mpg.

Volvo also uses the fantastic AdBlue technology, so drivers can sleep soundly knowing that their car is being kind to the environment.

10. Ford Ecosport

RRP: £17,075 - £23,135
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 1.5
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Crossover SUV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 149g/km

Pros

  • Packed with safety and driver-assist tech.

  • A good amount of storage and rear-seat space.

Cons

  • Average reliability score.

  • An automatic transmission isn’t as precise as it could be.

Ah, trusty Ford. You were wondering if we were going to round off this Euro 6 cars list without bringing Ford into the mix, weren’t you?

The Ford EcoSport is the second-ever car tested by Which? to produce a NOx level that’s less than 0.01g/km. They measured an absolutely piddly 0.009g/km. That’s crazy.

There are three petrol and two diesel engines to choose from. The 99bhp 1.5-litre diesel is the best value for money, returning 56.5mpg and emitting only 111g/km. It’s 1.0-litre 3 cylinder petrol engine has won the International Engine of the Year Award six times though - you’re spoilt for choice.

Ford says that the EcoSport was “designed to provide the ideal balance of power, performance, and low emissions” and we say they’ve done exactly that.

Summary

If you’re not quite ready to make the full commitment to an electric vehicle, this Euro 6 cars list has hopefully helped you narrow down your choices for your next set of wheels.

Euro 7 is coming in 2020 and with electric and hybrid technology sharpening at a rapid rate, you might not want to take a leap and buy a car which could become outdated in a short period. Leasing could be a great alternative, allowing you to make small monthly payments over a set number of months.

For a round-up of the best low emission cars, check out our blog. If you're ready to embrace an electric feature, have a look at our best electric cars and best hybrid cars! You can also check out our full lists of electric car lease deals and hybrid car lease deals.