More so today than ever before, auto manufacturers are focusing resources on creating environmentally friendly vehicles. In addition to helping people save money on gas, these vehicles can do wonders for the environment.
Those who are in the market for an eco-friendly vehicle have many options. Here are five of the best models on the market:
1. Toyota Prius
For many years, the Prius has been the number one choice among those interested in buying a hybrid vehicle.
In addition to its standard model, the Prius now comes in an all-electric plug-in version.
- The Prius is known for its reliability. This is backed up by many years of good service to drivers throughout the country.
- Superior fuel economy, checking in at 51 MPG in the city and 48 MPG on the highway.
- Above average safety scores.
- Low quality interior when compared to similar vehicles.
- An overabundance of road noise, despite a relatively comfortable ride.
- Lack of power from the 1.8L 4-cyl. hybrid engine.
2. Nissan Leaf
Starting at approximately $35,000, this all-electric vehicle is growing in popularity across the US.
It is rated at a gas equivalent of in-city 106 MPG and has a range of 73 miles between charges.
- Top safety pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
- Plenty of torque, allowing the driver to get up to speed quickly.
- LED headlights. This is another eco-friendly feature, as they last twice as long as traditional bulbs.
- Higher price when compared to the Toyota Prius.
- Confusing dashboard can be a challenge to learn.
- Five to eight hour full recharge time.
3. Mitsubishi i-MiEV
Despite its many features and benefits, the i-MiEV is often times overlooked in the world of eco-friendly vehicles. However, its status as an all-electric vehicle is sure to change this in the near future.
With a gas equivalent of 126 MPG, the i-MiEV is rated higher than the Nissan Leaf in terms of energy savings. That being said, it only has a range of 62 miles.
Without any incentives, the average price of the i-MiEV is around $30,0000.
- The American Council for an Energy-Efficiency Economy named the i-MiEV the greenest vehicle of 2012.
- In addition to being all-electric, many parts of the i-MiEV – including the panels and bumpers – are made of recycled materials.
- Larger size. Although the i-MiEV may not appear big from the outside, it actually has more space than many competitors.
- Price can skyrocket without incentives.
- Inventory. Unlike the Prius and Leaf, you may find it difficult to locate a i-MiEV for sale in your part of the country.
- Inability to travel long distances. With a recharge time of seven hours, this is a good choice for city driving but not for long distance travel.
4. Lexus CT 200h
Those who are interested in a luxury vehicle that is also eco-friendly should consider the Lexus CT 200h.
Although it uses the same engine as the Toyota Prius, the luxury features ensure that it is a step up.
With its Eco Mode the CT 200h can achieve 43 MPG in the city.
- The ability to go all-electric when driving under 25 MPH in the city.
- Multiple options that push it into luxury vehicle territory.
- Sport editions for consumers who want to be eco-friendly without giving up everything.
- The price can push $40,000 as options are added.
- Fuel economy is not nearly as good as other options.
- The CT 200h is the smallest Lexus model, making it a bad choice for those with a family.
5. Ford Fusion Hybrid
With its affordable price tag and high MPG, the Fusion Hybrid is stealing hearts all over the country.
The Fusion Hybrid has a starting price around $20,000. However, as you add options it can easily reach $30,000.
For 2013 models, drivers can expect 47 MPG in the city.
- A nice blend of eco-friendly driving with price and features.
- Consumers can choose from multiple options, including four engines.
- All-wheel drive model for those who live in areas that receive snow.
- Despite its many engine options, including a 3.0 liter V-6, the Fusion Hybrid lacks power under the hood.
- Many are unimpressed with the appearance.
- Price can quickly climb as options are added.