Green is good. Nah, for real, who doesn’t want to drive a safe, comfy, fuel-efficient car that cares about the world we live in and has little to no emissions? I know I do. So what does a vehicle have to do to get that honorable “Green” label? Have an electric plug? Prevail at fuel economy? No, it has to have an environmental impact, meaning forget about those nasty gasoline engines and prepare for EVs (electric vehicles) to conquer the world. Therefore, as far as I’m concerned, the less emissions the greener the car. Works for me! By the way, there’s this ACEEE organization (the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy) that makes lists with the most environment-friendly cars for a living. They’ve got all kinds of ranks and ratings and so my list of the Earth-happy cars will be partially (heavily, rather) based on their work. Ford, Nissan, Volks, Chevy – they all have top-notch hybrids /EVs on the market today, but it was Toyota who first introduced the tech with low emissions and high fuel-efficiency, so, let’s not forget about that. Promise you won’t? Ok, let’s start then!
#1 – The Ford Focus Electric
Believe it or not, ever since 2011 the Focus Electric has remained practically unchanged in terms of powertrain. However, that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most environment-friendly cars in the world. It’s got 3.27miles per kw-hour in city driving (the EPA calls it the 100MPG equivalent, so it’s the same thing) with a total score of 57 sharp. And that’s why this model is considered to be one of the most economical ones on the market today. The good news is we can all expect the new (and, hopefully, redesign) Ford Focus Electric later in 2016, which will give the already solid car a good boost up the ladder. But right now it’s a bit behind the pack, even though you’ll still get a comfortable interior with good material quality and seats, a generous pack of features/equipment with the standard trim and a pretty nice exterior.
#2 – The Toyota Prius
This legendary hybrid baby from the Japanese giant is still, after a couple of decades of domination in the segment, ruling the fuel-efficiency game. And let’s not forget the almost futuristic design that Toyota decided to go for this year: that edgy and even aggressive front grille along with those sporty taillights is something to look forward to. Besides, the 54 miles per gallon in routine crusin’ down the city blocks make it one of the most economical gas-powered vehicles to ever grace the roads with. Add in the low curb weight of about 3K pounds and a total score of 58 from ACEEE and you’ll get a pretty sweat deal. With a starting price-tag of 24.2K, LED lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, a stylish interior (stylish? In a Prius? Oh yeah), improved suspension and all kinds of technological features that deal becomes even sweater. Did I mention the intriguing new design? Well, it’s pretty great.
The Most Environment-Friendly Cars :#3 – The Toyota Prius Two Eco
Hey, I told you that the Prius is a living legend and the pioneer of this whole “Preserve the Earth” agenda, so, here goes the second edition (or, rather, model). Actually, there are a lot of Prius cars out there (5 in total), including the super-economical C and the largest V. So, what’s so great about the Two Eco? Well, how about an affordable price-tag (starting with 24.7K) and a super-impressive efficiency of 58 miles per gallon in the city! Yes, nobody really expected that, but there you have it. The Toyota Prius Two Eco beat the Chevy Volt and the big-bad Tesla in a fair fight. Now, if you’re not a citizen of California (shocker, not everybody is!), then this record-breaker from Toyota is your last stop. It’s got a score of 61 and is, all things considered, the most environment-friendly cars (and the most efficient) in 2016. At the end of the day Toyota is always ahead of the game when it comes to fuel-efficiency and the green factor. For about 15 years this car has been the best on the market, so, even though the next two contestants are higher up the list, I wouldn’t consider the Prius #3 – only #1.
#4 – The Nissan Leaf
Speaking of Prius’s biggest rivals to date I gotta mention the Leaf from the “friendly” Nissan (they’re both from Japan). For 2016 this go-getter introduced the SV edition with a 107-mile range and a total score of 60. The S version, on the other hand, is good for an 83-mile range, but the score is higher – 61. The Nissan Leaf is an EV down to the core, and together the SV and S models earn a rating of 60. And I have to say that after the now-iconic Tesla model S (which, unfortunately, couldn’t make the list), the SV has the greatest range on the market: the combined efficiency rates at 114 miles per gallon. If you go to the official web-page you’ll see the slogan: 100% electric, 100% fun. Honestly, that’s the best description for this car. The starting price is 34K for the SV version, though (29K for the S model and 37K for the SL model), so, don’t let that cute little grille fool ya: that’s kinda steep.
The Most Environment-Friendly Cars : #5 – The Volkswagen E-Golf
As far as old-timers go, the Golf is right there among the very best. The E-Golf, in turn, is definitely one of the best electric vehicles on the planet. With 116 miles per gallon of combined efficiency this German guest easily makes it to the top-5 list of ACEEE’s rating of the most environment-friendly cars of 2016 with a total score of 61 (just enough to beat the Leaf). Much like the other contestants today, the strongest suit of the Volkswagen E-Golf is impressive economy in city driving. And despite the fact that sales haven’t been ground-breaking here in America, over in Europe it’s still quite a popular pick and the customers praise it for being affordable, comfortable, reliable and efficient.
#6 – The Fiat 500E
However, if you do happen to be a proud Cali member, let’s proceed with the ACEEE list and talks about 2 more cars that put the green idea ahead of everything else. The first model is the tinny-tiny Fiat 500E: it’s an EV compliance car that’s only available in a couple of states in West Coast. The few lucky ones who do have access to it can enjoy the 112 miles per gallon (the equivalent, of course, not the real thing) and the almost class-leading score of 62. So, if you’re thinking about buying a laid-back and cute little car to drive on mighty highways across those beaches and palm-trees, the Fiat 500E might just be your perfect pick. However, for a starting price of almost 32K that doesn’t seem to me like a really good investment for that hard-earned money. Hit me in the comments if you think otherwise.
#7 – The Chevy Spark EV
Ok, this is the last car in our list and that automatically makes it the most environment-friendly cars 4-wheeler in the world. Honestly, I wouldn’t ever think that of all the big Japanese manufacturers (Toyota being chief among them) and the green-loving European brands it would be an American company that manages to create the greenest ride out there. Again, it’s an EV model, so, that means compliance is in order; however, it’s a big cheater, because aside from Cali and Oregon it’s also available in Maryland. Go figure! With an equivalent of 199MPG and a total score of 63 in the ACEEE testing the Chevrolet Spark EV is a sure thing. For 25.5 thousand dollars you’ll get 327 pound-feet or torque and a zero to 60 miles per hour jump in 7.2 seconds! Plus, it’s quite feature-packed and will take care of you with up-to-date safety equipment and super-cozy seats that you can travel all day in.
Watch this video: Eco-Friendly Cars of the Future – TechnoBuffalo’s Driven.