Kinder Cars Index: lists the most eco-friendly cars on the road

Latest News’s Kinder Cars Index lists the most eco-friendly cars, as well as ones that are kinder to animals, using leather alternatives in interiors.

Is your car vegan? Probably not. But it can be eco-friendly and kinder to animals.

A study by has listed the Kinder Cars Index, which is a guide to cars that are eco-friendly and drastically cut down on animal products. Renault Twizy has emerged as the kindest, most vegan- and eco-friendly car out there, closely followed by Renault Zoe Polestar 2.

Salman Haqqi, consumer spending expert at, told the Vegan Review: “More people than ever before are making an active effort to live cruelty-free and low impact lives. However, buying a car is still a bit of a minefield for vegan motorists as animal products are used in the manufacture of the steel and rubber that makes up the car itself.”

But it is possible to have vegan-friendly interiors. That has led to many car companies creating their own artificial leather alternatives, which include Ford’s Sensico, BMW’s Sensatec, Mercedes’s Artico, Lexus’s NuLux, Toyota’s Softex, Alcantara, and Dinamica (also known as Miko Suede).

“A recent report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders found that UK electric car sales increased by 78% between 2019 and 2020,” said Haqqi. “This demand for more ethical options is helping to shape the car industry with brands including Tesla, Ford, Toyota, and BMW all offering vegan-friendly leather alternatives in some of their flagship models.”

The report also suggests some ways to make your car more vegan- and eco-friendly. You can change your steering wheel, gear stick, handbrake and seats to faux-leather. The rubber used in tires are strengthened using animal-derived stearic acid, but brands like Michelin use stearic acid obtained from other sources. While not fully vegan, it’s still preferable to the former option. You can also buy cruelty-free cleaning products like sponges, cloths and detergents, and also recycle vehicles by purchasing used cars.

The study analysed the entry-level models for all cars and noted each of their carbon emissions. It also talks about Tesla and Prius, both of which have leather steering wheels that lower their ranking. But it adds that Tesla can change the steering wheel to a vegan-friendly leather alternative for free on request, while Prius can also switch the wheel to one made from foam or Toyota’s alternative, Softex.

“For some people, their car is the one necessary evil that it’s just not possible to go without,” added Haqqi. “But to help mindful motorists minimise their impact as much as possible, we looked at the leather content and carbon emissions of some of the most well-known manufacturers to find the kindest cars that are available to buy today.”

The top 10 kindest cars

  1. Renault Twizy
  2. Renault Zoe
  3. Polestar Polestar 2
  4. Honda Honda-e
  5. Nissan Leaf
  6. Vauxhall Corsa-E
  7. Hyundai Kona Electric
  8. Hyundai IONIQ Electric
  9. BMW i3
  10. Volkswagen ID.3

The top 10 cars with leather-free interiors

  1. Renault Twizy
  2. Renault Zoe
  3. Polestar Polestar 2
  4. Fiat 500
  5. Citroen C1
  6. Dacia Sandero
  7. Volkswagen Up
  8. Vauxhall Astra
  9. Skoda Fabia
  10. Renault Clio

The top 10 cheapest zero-emissions cars

  1. Renault Twizy – £10,995
  2. Skoda CitiGoe – £17,455
  3. Seat Mii electric – £19,800
  4. Renault Zoe – £26,495
  5. Honda Honda-e – £26,660
  6. Nissan Leaf – £26,845
  7. Vauxhall Corsa-E – £27,665
  8. Volkswagen e-Golf – £28,075
  9. Kia e-Nero – £29,595
  10. Hyundai Kona Electric – £30,150
Anay Mridul
Anay Mridul
Anay is journalism graduate from City, University of London, he was a barista for three years, and never shuts up about coffee. He's passionate about coffee, plant-based milk, cooking, eating, veganism, writing about all that, profiling people, and the Oxford Comma. Originally from India, he went vegan in 2020, after attempting (and failing) Veganuary. He believes being environmentally conscious is a basic responsibility, and veganism is the best thing you can do to battle climate change. He gets lost at Whole Foods sometimes.