Thinking of finally making the jump from gas guzzler to green? You should. More people are concerned about their car’s carbon footprint, but it’s not just about Mother Nature anymore. An eco-friendly car is also more fuel-efficient, and would save you more money on petrol. So before you think about taking out a car loan to buy your car, here are the top five eco-friendly cars of 2012.
Volkswagen Passat TDI
The Passat TDI is not a hybrid; it’s actually a diesel car. And yet, it’s one of the best eco-friendly vehicles of the year. How is this possible? That’s because he Passat TDI is the most fuel-efficient sedan that isn’t a hybrid. Here’s proof: its city mileage is 30mpg, while its highway mileage sits at 40mpg. Since the car is loaded with an 18.5-gallon tank, it will be a while (upwards of 600 miles) before you’ll need to make a stopover at a filling station.
The problem with fuel-efficient cars is that they’re usually small. However, the Passat TDI is anything but little. In fact, it has a sizeable trunk and a spacious backseat that’s comfy even on long road trips (the seat, not the trunk).
According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the Mitsubishi i electric car is the greenest car in the United States, and with good reason: it almost never needs any petrol. It has an astonishing gas mileage equivalent of 126mpg for city driving and 112mpg for highway driving. Granted, recharging the car takes a bit of time (22.5 hours at 120v or 7 hours on 240v), but it reduces driving costs by about 75 per cent when matched up against other compact cars.
The Mitsubishi i handles pretty well too. It’s pretty good at cornering and can give you some oomph even at slower speeds. And don’t let the small frame fool you—it’s comfy, even if you’re tall.
If you want an eco-friendly car, you can’t go wrong with the Nissan Leaf. It has an remarkable gas mileage equivalent of 106mpg for city driving and 92mpg for highway driving. Because of this, driving around in a Leaf is really cheap—as cheap as almost $600 per year. The hassle here is its long recharge time, which is almost the same as the Mitsubishi i. But still, there’s no denying that the Leaf is one of the best eco-friendly vehicles right now, despite being Nissan’s first mass-market, all-electric car.
It’s a bit more expensive than your average eco-friendly hybrid car, but the Chevrolet Volt is worth every penny. Its gas mileage equivalent is an impressive 95mpg for city driving and 94mpg for highway driving. Unlike the Mitsubishi i, the doesn’t take as much time to charge: only 4 hours on 240v or 10 hours at 120v). When electric and petrol are combined, you can squeeze 375 miles out of this bad boy.
More importantly, the car is a smooth ride, whether you’re on petrol or electric. And our favourite part: the Volt looks nothing like a hybrid.
Toyota Prius C
It’s cheap and fun to ride; that’s how we’d describe the Prius C hybrid. And since its water pump and air-conditioning is now run electrically, there’s lesser hassle and your maintenance expenses should be eventually reduced. But aside from its eco-friendliness, the Prius C is also a safe vehicle to drive; it has good handling and comes with nine air bags.