Best Hybrid and Green Cars of 2010

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CarReview_Best_Green_Car_2010By Alex Kramer

What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago gas was cheap, the SUV was king, and fuel efficiency was one of the last things car buyers were concerned about. Surprisingly, it was also ten years ago that Honda and Toyota introduced a seemingly radical technology that involved strapping batteries and an electric motor to a gas engined car, creating the first hybrids.

Fast forward ten years and the traditional SUV has all but died out, gas is $3 per gallon, and hybrids are as common as apple pie. More importantly, awareness of global warming and our dependence on foreign oil, along with a depressed economy, has made fuel efficiency a far more important criteria for car buyers. This, in turn,  has spurred the automotive industry to pursue smaller, cleaner and more efficient designs. The result is a plethora of choices for buyers seeking a more fuel efficient, greener set of wheels.

Although hybrid cars are perhaps the most effective way to significantly increase fuel efficiency, with 9 out of the top ten most fuel efficient cars featuring a gas electric drivetrain, not everyone will be happy with the increased cost and performance sacrifice that often comes with hybrid ownership. Luckily we now also have a new generation of clean diesels that are nothing like the noisy, smoke belching diesels of the past, instead providing excellent performance along with hybrid worthy fuel efficiency. And for those who are wary of all of this alternative technology, there are finally plenty of efficient, well made small cars available in America.

To come up with our top 5 green cars of 2010, we looked for cars that not only achieve excellent fuel efficiency, especially when compared to other cars in the same segment, but also deliver when it comes to performance, build quality, and value. Although arguments could be made for including other models and there are definitely other excellent choices out there, we feel that the 5 cars listed below represent the best green cars for 2010.


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  • derek says:

    We drove the Lexus CT200h and liked its multiple personalities. With its hybrid drivetrain, the CT200h can be miserly on gas as any other high mileage car, but not look like a candidate for the slow-lane. Literally flipping a switch (or in this case a knob) to “sport” mode wakens the tiny beast within and the fun factor increases 10x. Add to the mix the utility of a hatchback and 40 mpg, and the CT looks pretty darn good. Follow the link to read our full review of the Lexus CT200h.

  • francois says:

    Great variation in the list! I’m glad you put some variations on the theme as not all green cars have to be small and boring.

    The TDI golf is cool and everything with that engine qualifies. The Jetta, Golf, Audi A3 tdi are great driving cars. I drove gently on a Golf TDI on the freeway and got 55 mpg!

    This Lexus CT 200h looks awesome as well. It’s a Prius but it looks good and hopefully drives good.

    I’m still waiting for a hybrid Diesel. That would be a category killer.

  • Alex Kramer says:

    Although poking fun at some of the premium hybrids might seem easy to do, there are several reasons why the Lexus is a legitimate green alternative. First, comparing a Chevy SUV with a 4-cylinder engine to a V6 powered Luxus Hybrid SUV is an apples vs. oranges comparison. Compared to, say, a Cadillac SRX, the Lexus gets considerably better mileage. Second, mileage claims based on EPA figures are very misleading. In our testing, the Lexus 450h achieved 28 mpg, and we don’t tend to drive conservatively. Most conventional V6 powered SUVs achieve well under 20 mpg in real world driving. This makes the Lexus over 50% more efficient than comparable non-hybrids in its class, which is a more substantial increase than many other hybrids can claim.

  • Peter Anastopulos says:

    How in the World could you include the Lexus Hybrid 450H which is beat mileage wise by the Chevy Equinox.The Equinox with out the hybrid technology get’s better mileage cost half as much.As I am sure you know building a hybrid in the Toyota does is a very dirty proposition .At 60 thousand dollar RX450h has become a fashion statement but it’s a joke.Who are you kidding it’s not a Green car by any means and if you want to save gas there a lot of more practical way’s to do it with out spending 60 large.

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