Kelly Blue Book, ultimate authority on all things with four wheels and an engine, has come out with its Top 10 Green Cars for 2010. The list has foreign and domestic vehicles, and measures “green cars” on the basis of fuel economy, carbon dioxide emissions, safety and “driving enjoyment.” While the “green” rating of a vehicle can be measured many ways, these are the green cars that Kelly Blue Book employees will likely be seen driving.
10 – Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
Anyone who calls hybrid vehicles “weenie” or “weak” needs to meet the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid. Able to tow almost 3 tons, this hybrid SUV has a full-sized body, a heavy-duty engine and gets 22 mpg. That’s not a fuel economy rating to write home about, but 6 mpg more than the non-hybrid version.
9 – Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Though the company has faced recall problem after recall problem, Toyota vehicles offer some of the most well-tested hybrid technology. The Highlander Hybrid will reportedly seat seven (though cozily) and gets up to 26 mpg. Standard all-wheel drive and multi-year reliability make it a good family car choice without the pain at the pump.
8 – BMW 335d
It’s a fancy-schmancy BMW, so the 335d has creature comforts most people barely dream of. The 6-cylinder engine runs on diesel, so with 36 mpg highway and 27 mpg overall, the BMW 335d rivals some hybrids for efficiency.
7 – Honda Fit
Even Kelly Blue Book admits that other Hondas get better gas mileage, but it gives the Honda Fit (31 mpg) a spot in its list for other reasons. The Fit Sport has paddle shifters that give a feeling of power without sacrificing environmental impact.
6 – Ford Escape Hybrid
The Escape Hybrid, at 32 mpg, is a green ride that still has the room of an SUV. Made by SUV and crossover giant Ford, The Escape Hybrid has lots of “little touches” that make it a better ride. Parallel parking assistance, integrated blind spot mirrors, and the (perhaps controversial) infotainment system vault it up to number 6.
5 – Mini Cooper
One of the many jewels in Fiat’s vehicular family, the Mini Cooper gets 32 mpg. While the Mini E is being tested in some cities, just about anyone can get this minuscule green car ride. That is, if you can fit in it.
4 – Volkswagen Golf TDI
Volkswagen, originators of the high-efficiency diesel engine in mass market cars, has won again with the Golf TDI. With huge amounts of low-end torque and 34 mpg, this roomy beauty gives plenty of power to match the fuel economy.
3 – Ford Fusion Hybrid
Almost breaking the 40 mpg barrier, the Ford Fusion Hybrid gets a combined 39 mpg. With an LCD gauge cluster that makes car-geeks’ hearts go pitter-patter, the Fusion Hybrid also has plenty of mid-size sedan room.
2 – Honda Insight Hybrid
The least expensive hybrid on the market, the Honda Insight tops out at $23,810 and 41 mpg, fully loaded. A decent audio system, voice-activated navigation, Bluetooth and more can make you forget that your ride is helping cut down on fuel usage, too.
1 – Toyota Prius
The grandfather and still champion of hybrid efficiency, the newest Toyota plug-in Prius gets 50 mpg. Solar-powered ventilation and other green technology gives this hybrid plenty of green cred – and the gas-assisted engine won’t die out a third of the way through your road trip.