Green cars don’t have to have gray personalities. Too many gas misers range from dull and dowdy to downright dreary to drive. However it’s still true that the easiest way to help the environment, minimize your very own contribution to global warming, and clean up air is to burn less fuel. So, we’ve compiled a list of the 13 nicest cars to operate a vehicle that beat 35 mpg in our testing.
These are all cars that we’ve found enjoyable to operate a vehicle to one degree or another. A couple of are purely electric, many are hybrids, and we’ve thrown in several fuel-efficient diesels for good measure. Check our ratings and comprehensive reliability data before making one last buying decision, (See our help guide fuel economy.) And while a number of these are the greenest of the green.
Overall, the Tesla Model S is our Top Pick associated with a car in the marketplace. And even better, it will get the equivalent of 84 mpg only using clean electricity. Our testers found it exhilarating to drive, with excellent handling and abundant power, while still being very practical and efficient.
The Toyota Camry Hybrid and the Ford Fusion Hybrid get impressive mileage while still being richly appointed and pleasurable to drive if you want something more conventional and less expensive. The Fusion, in particular, is amongst the nicest-driving hybrids we’ve experienced. So, is it’s upscale twin, the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. And judging from reaction on the street, both are true head turners. (See our guide to hybrids and EVs.)
The Ford C-Max shares all the Fusion Hybrid’s European-car road manners in a roomy hatchback that will carry plenty of stuff. It doesn’t get the EPA-advertised 47 mpg, nonetheless its 37 mpg overall remains impressive in comparison with other small wagons.
You can’t get it wrong with Toyota’s upscale hybrids based on the Camry if you want something a little more luxurious and still with proven top-notch reliability. Browse the big Avalon Hybrid, with plenty room to stretch out. Or, the slightly smaller but better appointed Lexus ES 300h. Both got 36 mpg overall in our tests.
Another consideration is the comfortable and roomy Volkswagen Passat TDI. We found it quick and nicely finished, and while it’s not as nice to drive as previous Passats, it can go almost 700 miles on a fill-up with an incredible 51-mpg on the road.
Volkswagen isn’t known for hybrids, but we found the Hybrid version of the Jetta to be smooth and refined. Plus, it gets better fuel economy than the Jetta TDI–37 mpg overall vs. 34, respectively.
If you need an all-electric car, and don’t wish to pay Tesla prices (starting around $70,000), the Ford Focus Electric and the Nissan Leaf get among the best energy efficiency of the cars we’ve ever tested. We found the Electric being the nicest version of your Focus, as well as the Leaf proved very competent. But both are limited to a variety of about 75-80 miles.
Finally, the Chevrolet Volt gets electric-car efficiency as soon as the battery is charged, and it will run on gasoline when necessary, in order to drive on electricity and don’t want to worry about EV range. It costs about 50 % as much, despite the fact that it’s less nice to operate as the Tesla. We averaged the same as 99 mpg in electric mode and 32 mpg when it switched over to gasoline.
The ubiquitous Toyota Prius is still our mileage champ for gasoline cars-44 mpg overall. It’s comfortable and roomy, even though the engine can often be grating as well as the handling is secure, when a bit dull. (The Prius topped our list of best values. View the complete report.)
There are an increasing number of green choices on the market, addressing the many definitions of green. These are some appealing choices, but you may also consider some the thriftiest midsized and small cars, if saving fuel and/or owner costs is your goal. (Learn how to get the most mpg at this time.)
See our list of best and worst cars for fuel economy.
Ford Focus Electric Fuel efficient hatchbacks $40,990 107*
Nissan Leaf Fuel efficient hatchbacks $35,430 106*
Tesla Model S Luxury sedans $89,650 84*
Chevrolet Volt Fuel efficient hatchbacks $43,700 61**
Toyota Prius Fuel efficient hatchbacks $26,750 44
Ford Fusion SE Hybrid Family sedans $28,290 39
Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE Family sedans $29,052 38
Ford C-MAX Hybrid SE Wagons $26,685 37
Volkswagen Passat TDI SE Family sedans $28,665 37
Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Fuel efficient hatchbacks $28,055 37
Toyota Avalon Hybrid Large sedans $42,501 36
Lexus ES 300h Luxury/luxury sedans $44,107 36
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Luxury/luxury sedans $41,915 35