By Lewis SmithÂ
Cars promoted as eco-friendly were criticised yesterday for pumping out up to 56 per cent more carbon dioxide than the manufacturers claim.
Three models, including the Honda Civic hybrid, performed so badly in tests that their environmental claims were dismissed as a gimmick.
A further five vehicles, including Volkswagenâ€™s Polo BlueMotion, hailed as Britainâ€™s greenest car when it was claimed that it emitted less than 100 grams of CO2 per km (g/km), failed to match the claims made by their makers.
Road tests were carried out by Auto Express magazine, which accused manufacturers of attempting to cash in on concerns about global warming.
David Johns, the magazineâ€™s editor, said that demand for eco-friendly cars was rising rapidly but it could be hard for consumers to determine what was â€œtruly green or just pure gimmickâ€.