In the current economic climate the average consumer is being forced to look for lean, green cars, for reasons both economical and ecological.

Now, this isn’t just a focus on cheap initial savings, but a more of a long-term consideration of the ongoing running costs of a vehicle.

Cars with a fuel consumption of over 70mpg used to be the stuff of (boring) dreams, but now they are everyday reality - a reality that is available on a whole host of vehicles.

Oh, and since low fuel consumption generally relates to low CO2 emissions other considerations such as road tax and company car tax will be lower too. So, not only is your conscience clear; your wallet is that little bit bulkier too.

We’ve come up with a top five of the most desirable vehicles that fall into the sub-100g/km of CO2 as well as offering a combined fuel consumption rating of at least 70 miles per gallon.

They’re not just economical, they’re also excellent:

5th Place: Smart Fortwo cdi

The Smart Fortwo normally ranks a bit higher in the economy stakes, in terms of mileage and CO2 emissions. Unfortunately, this top five isn’t based purely on figures.

Therefore the Smart city car falls down massively from an emissions-based first place, to a lowly fifth based on the fact that it’s only a two seater. When the Fortwo is compared with the rest of our elite top five, it’s not that surprising that a two-seater is able to eke out a couple of extra mpg.

The Smart car is also quite expensive to buy, at around £8,000 to £14,000.

Vital Statistics: CO2 emissions = 86 g/km, official fuel economy of 83.1mpg combined.

4th Place: Citroën DS3

The DS3 signals a return to a more exclusive range for Citroën, signified by the DS tag. The majority of DS3s will not fall below the 100 g/km threshold, but 1.6-litre HDI 90bhp engine variant just sneaks under.

Often likened to the Mini, the Citroën DS3 is both a good looking car with hot hatch desires, and economical.

As you might expect of a DS model, it’s not as cheap as some of the other contenders and comes in at number four because of this; it is priced at around £13,000.

Vital Statistics: CO2 = 99 g/km, official fuel economy of 74.3mpg combined.

3rd Place: Ford Fiesta Econetic

It’s difficult to compose any general top five without including the supermini heavyweight. With the addition of the low-consumption, low-emissions Fiesta Econetic model to the range, there was no way it could be missed from this one either.

The 1.6-litre TDI offers a punchy drive as well as being cleverly economical and extremely reliable. The Fiesta has been around for 30 years and it’s easy to see how, especially when economy is added to its growing list of strengths.

Vital Statistics: CO2 = 98 g/km, official fuel economy of 76.3mpg combined.

2nd Place: Toyota Prius T3

The Toyota Prius is one of the long-standing members of the green elite and it is capable of going for 716 miles on one full tank.

The hybrid drive Prius is slightly larger than the other members of the top five and it should be commended for that.

The mid-size hatchback also has a wide variety of technology that allows it to deliver such impressive stats, including three possible driving modes, depending on your mood.

As you might expect, it’s not cheap for all of the above: priced at anywhere between £17,000 and £24,000.

Vital Statistics: CO2 = 89 g/km, official fuel economy of 72.4mpg combined.

1st Place: Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion

The perfect synergy of conscience clearing emissions, economical fuel consumption and an enjoyable drive, more powerful and refined than the green tag would suggest, and it can all be found in this hatchback.

Standard Golfs are more commonly aligned to the hot hatch credentials of the GTI and the Bluemotion is a long way from matching that reputation. Yet the benefits of this machine off set that minor issue.

Our winner is stylish and refined, as you would expect of a Golf, but magnified. The eco-focused engine delivers a hushed resonance to the vehicle creating a premium quality feel to this lovely machine.

The Bluemotion version of the international best seller is available in three or five door hatchback guises. The compact family car, like the Prius, also scores well on size.

The VW hatchback has a lowered suspension and is fitted with a 1.6-litre TDI engine capable of 62 mph in 11.3 second to give a near perfect combination of efficiency, performance and style. Not cheap at around £18,000 but worth it.

Vital Statistics: CO2 = 99 g/km, official fuel economy of 74.3mpg combined.

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