Monday, March 7, 2016

10 Greenest 2016 Cars

1. 2016 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

Compiling a “Green Score” of 63 out of a 100, the 2016 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive has the highest rating for a passenger car ever recorded by the ACEEE. Although there is an all-new 2016 gas-powered Smart, the electric version carries on this year with the old body style. That’s OK because the egg-shaped design continues to make the car feel roomier on the inside for the two-adults-only seating than one expects and it’s still small enough to fit into even the narrowest parking space.
An EPA driving range of 68 miles may be less than the Chevrolet Spark EV, but it offers something no other electric car can: the option to drop the top. 

Base price: $25,000
Fuel economy rating: EPA city/highway combined 107-mpg-equivalent

2. 2016 Chevrolet Spark EV

Slotting into the number two spot with the same 63 Green Score as the Smart ED is the Chevrolet Spark EV. It’s a zippy, fun little city car that can whisk from 0 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, and a sport-tuned suspension gives it a planted feel. There’s way more room for four adults inside than its diminutive exterior suggests, and features numerous storage cubbies. With a full charge, Spark EV has a rated range of 82 miles, but only Californians and Oregonians share the fun; it’s a compliance car that will be replaced by the 200-mile driving range 2017 Chevy Bolt that arrives in December in all 50 states.

Base price: $25.120
Fuel economy rating: EPA city/highway combined 119-mpg-equivalent

3. 2016 Toyota Prius Eco

When it comes to gas mileage there are actually two versions of the all-new 2016 Toyota Prius, and the new Eco model now reigns as the fuel efficiency leader among vehicles without a plug. It’s the lightest and most aerodynamic member of the Prius lineup and is essentially a base model Two with a smaller lithium-ion battery pack that is lighter than the old-school nickel-metal-hydride pack used in the entry-level Two.
Buyers will still get the aggressive styling, vastly updated interior and new all-independent suspension that delivers a more satisfying ride.

Base price: $25,535
Fuel economy rating: EPA combined city/highway 56-mpg

4. 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf

Volkswagen’s e-Golf is arguably the best handling of small EVs, and for 2016 the new entry-level e-Golf SE makes it affordable at under $30,000. The powertrain is unchanged, with an electric motor producing 115 horsepower and 199 pounds-feet of torque driving the front wheels. Despite its all-electric power, the e-Golf makes almost no compromises in terms of performance. A 24.2-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack provides enough storage capacity for an EPA-rated 83-miles of driving range.
The car is sold only in California and 10 other markets, so check availability.

Base price: $29,815
Fuel economy rating: EPA city/highway combined 116-mpg-equivalent

5. 2016 Kia Soul EV

Kia’s Soul EV has an unmistakable quirky charm, which by its self will attract perspective EV buyers. Kia upped the attraction level for 2016 with a new entry-level model, the EV-e, that cuts the price $2,000, but it’s only available in California. Even with the lower price it is loaded with standard features including heated front seats, a 6.6-kilowatt on board charger and a DC fast charge port. The cabin is roomy for the class and is a comfortable place to hang out, just like the Soul’s fun lovin’, cool, hip hamster spokesmen do.
The ride is comfortable and extremely quiet and the EPA’s 93 mile driving range provided by the 27-kilowatt hour battery pack makes it a contentious competitor to all the other small top-selling electric cars.

Base price: $32,775
Fuel economy rating: EPA city/highway combined 105 mpg-equivalent

6. 2016 Toyota Prius C

The Prius C (C for City) received a makeover last year and the changes make the little city car look more like a coupe rather than a block on wheels. However, the biggest change is something you can’t see — the C now offers Toyota’s Safety Sense (C) system, which includes a low-speed pre-collision system, lane-departure assist, and automatic high beams. Unchanged is an interior with uninviting hard plastic and a ride that can be harsh at times.
While rear seating can accommodate two, the C is best suited for two front seat travelers. Yes, there are some drawbacks but if you’re looking for the best fuel economy with a budget price, you can’t do better than the Prius C.

Base price range: $20,395
Fuel economy rating: EPA city/highway combined 50 mpg

7. 2016 Nissan Leaf S / Leaf SV

Nissan’s Leaf is by far the most popular electric vehicle in the world, but buyers still wanted more driving range and Nissan came through with a larger battery pack for the 2016 SV and SL models. The new battery upgrade, going from a 24 kilowatt-hour unit in the base S model to one with 30 kWh of capacity in the SV and SL, increases driving range from 84 miles to 107 miles. Regardless of the model, all abound with technology and an interesting array of features.
Since day one, the Leaf has been lauded for driving “like a regular car,” and that remains for all versions.

Base price S: $29,860

Fuel economy rating S: EPA city/highway combined 114 mpg-equivalent

Base price SV: $35,050

Fuel economy rating SV: EPA city/highway combined 112 mpg-equivalent

8. 2016 Ford Focus Electric

Ford’s Focus Electric Green Score of 57 made it the number 10 Greenest Car of 2016. This four-door hatchback has the same handsome appearance as the gasoline-powered version of the car, which received refreshed styling for 2015. Employing a 143 horsepower electric motor, Focus Electric is one of the more rewarding pure-electric cars to drive. It largely acts the same as any Focus found at a Ford dealer.
It offers many features that make it an enticing EV package, including an EPA estimated driving range of 76 miles, which is within the daily driving distance of 75 percent of American drivers.

Base price: $30,045

Fuel economy rating: EPA city/highway combined 105 mpg-equivalent

9. 2016 Chevrolet Volt

With a Green Score of 56, the Chevrolet Volt, along with the following Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, round out the 12 Greenest Cars of 2016 list. The 2016 Chevy Volt ushers in the second generation of the world’s most popular plug-in hybrid. Volt operates entirely as an electric car for its first 53 or so miles after receiving a full charge. Then a 1.4-liter gasoline-powered engine takes over most of the workload, adding an additional 367 miles of total range when the 8.9-gallon gas tank is full.
The all-new Volt not only has more all-electric range, it’s quicker, has a more pleasant design, offers an interior that receives a generous dose of refinement and cost less.

Base price: $33,995

Electric Fuel economy rating: EPA city/highway combined 105 mpg-equivalent
Gasoline Fuel economy rating (EPA city/highway combined): 42 mpg

10. Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

The only turbocharged hybrid in the compact-size segment, Volkswagen’s Jetta Hybrid is also the only model to feature a dual-clutch automatic transmission in the class. Add an independent rear suspension borrowed from the sporty Jetta GLI and you have a hybrid car that can be appreciated by car enthusiasts who may have trepidations that going green means driving boredom. But the other half of the Jetta Hybrid’s resume is about fuel economy.
For a hybrid this size, Jetta’s EPA fuel economy rating of 42-mpg city/48-mpg highway and 45-mpg combined is just OK. It can be a fuel-efficient car that does fairly well against other hybrids or, it can be on the threshold of a sports sedan, carving corners on your favorite backcountry roads.

Base price: $31,940

Fuel economy rating (EPA city/highway combined): 44 mpg


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