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The Greta effect? Better environmental credentials move up the priority list for Britain's car buyers 

The Greta effect? Better environmental credentials move up the priority list for Britain's car buyers 

 Impressing the neighbours with a high-riding SUV or high performance car may be falling out of fashion as new research reveals quality of life factors emerging as the most important features of a car for today's car buyers. 

Environmental credentials have moved most strongly up the list of priorities for people choosing their next car, new research has revealed. But other factors relating to comfort, safety are also increasing in importance as car-buyers' tastes change. 

According to 705 car owners questioned by the online car supermaket, the 'green' credentials of a car have overtaken insurance costs for the first time since research into car choice priorities began in 2017. 

Although the traditional priorities of purchase price, fuel economy, style and comfort remain dominant, the 'green credentials' of a car have seen the biggest shift in significance for buyers among a list of 12 priorities. 

Car owners were asked to rank the features of a car in order of importance and financial considerations again topped the list, in the form of purchase price and fuel economy. 

But interior comfort has now overtaken exterior styling. Along with the apparently increased interest in a car's impact on the environment, this shift prompts analysts to speculate that greater appreciation of features relating to quality of life may be at the heart of changing consumer tastes. 

The marked increase in environmental considerations as an important factor is the biggest change in priorities since 2017 when 'green credentials' were at the bottom of the list of issues that mattered to car drivers. It follows a period of increased exposure for environmental campaigners such as the young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and more controversial activities by the international Extinction Rebellion movement. 

Another change in the priority features list for car buyers is crash safety replacing the latest technology and gadgets as the seventh most important consideration. analysts point out that this also arguably falls under the heading of issues relating to quality of life. They also suggest that the overall theme of impressing the neighbours with a car's perceived image and performance may be falling out of fashion in favour of drivers picking a car that makes them feel good about their environmental impact and comfortable in the cabin. 

Christofer Lloyd, editor of, said: "At first glance the changes in consumer priorities when choosing their next car are subtle, with only the green credentials of a car moving by more than one place in the chart. However, the theme is one of image and performance falling away as the most important factors and being replaced by qualities that make us feel better, more comfortable or safer. 

"It is tempting to speculate that as well as the increase in media coverage of environmental activism over the past couple of years the popular idea that the coronavirus lockdown made many people re-think their priorities may be translating into a change in priorities for car buyers. 

"While value for money and affordability remain the clear leaders in our list of car choice priorities, it seems that most changes are now in favour of factors which rank comfort, safety and impact over image, performance and in-car gadgetry." 

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