Website Editors Name Top 10 “Green” Cars of 2011



The editors of Kelley Blue Book’s www.kbb.com, the leading provider of new car and used car information, recently named the Top 10 “Green” Cars of 2011.

In this annual list, especially timely this year due to rising gas prices, the kbb.com editors present a variety of fuel-efficient vehicles worthy of buyers’ consideration. The coverage includes detailed EPA-estimated fuel economy numbers and editorial commentary on why each model made this year’s top Green Car list from kbb.com.

 

In addition, Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence recently announced the latest March 2011 survey data detailing consumer sentiment and opinions on gas prices, showing that gas prices are increasingly influencing car shoppers’ vehicle purchase considerations. The number of survey respondents reporting that gas prices have changed their mind about the vehicles they are considering increased five percentage points from 30 percent in February 2011 to 35 percent in March 2011. Further, the amount of respondents who identified better fuel economy as the primary reason they are looking to purchase a new vehicle also has been on the rise. The number increased from 6 percent in January 2011 to 15 percent in March 2011.

On average, consumers taking the March 2011 survey said that a vehicle would need to get at least 26.2 highway miles per gallon in order for them to consider it for their next vehicle purchase.

To be considered for the Top 10 Green Cars of 2011 list, each vehicle was required to offer fuel economy and CO2 emissions superior to the bulk of vehicles in its class, and at the same time provide all the safety, creature comforts and driving enjoyment that would make it pleasant to own.

One of the key trends the kbb.com editors identified this year is that fuel-efficient conventional gasoline cars are making their own statement with combined EPA fuel economy numbers in the high 30s and highway ratings nudging over 40 miles per gallon. Since these vehicles also are significantly less expensive than hybrids, the kbb.com editors expect them to have a big impact with consumers who are staring $4-per-gallon gasoline right in the face.

The following is a list of select choices from the Top 10 Green Cars of 2011 list, along with editors’ comments:

2011 Nissan Leaf (99 mpg equivalent)

With a groundbreaking combination of range, room and price, the Nissan Leaf is the first all-electric car for the masses. The EPA says the Leaf will deliver 73 miles per charge and the equivalent of 99 miles per gallon. But that’s not the only thing green about the Leaf: recycled materials made from home appliances, old car parts and plastic bottles are used extensively throughout the vehicle. The limited range disqualifies the Leaf as an option for some drivers, but for those who can swing it, the Nissan Leaf is the real deal.

2012 Ford Focus (31 mpg – 28 city/38 highway)

Impressive fuel economy is just one of the things we like about the new 2012 Ford Focus. Among our favorite features are its excellent handling, impressively outfitted interior, sweet Euro styling and the availability of cool features like Ford’s Sync entertainment and communications system. You can even equip the Focus with Ford’s highly impressive auto-park feature. And for maximum efficiency, Focus sedan buyers can add the SFE package, upping highway fuel economy to a solid 40 mpg.

2011 Toyota Prius (50 mpg – 51 city, 48 highway)

The original hybrid for the masses is still the segment’s heavyweight when it comes to getting the most miles for your gallon. Whereas some efficiency-focused cars require an adjustment in driving habits to wring the most out of the vehicle’s fuel-saving technologies, the Prius allows you to drive as you normally would and still see mpg returns that you can brag about during your semi-regular visits to the gas station.

2011 Volkswagen Golf (34 mpg – 30 city/42 highway)

Interested in saving the planet but don’t want to stop having fun? The punchy, sticky, miserly Golf TDI just might be the instrument of good you seek.

We’re longtime fans of the Volkswagen Golf lineup for its European driving feel, hatchback utility and interior quality that outclasses anything else in its class.

When outfitted with the automaker’s ubiquitous 2.0-liter turbo-diesel engine capable of delivering quick launches and 42 highway miles per gallon, you can feel especially good behind the wheel.

2011 Hyundai Elantra (33 mpg – 29 city, 40 highway)

There are now a few non-hybrid compact cars that deliver highway fuel economy of at least 40 miles per gallon, but the 2011 Hyundai Elantra is the only one that does so in every trim.

In addition to the impressive efficiency, we’re fans of the all-new Elantra’s bold sheet metal, stylish interior and attractive list of standard and optional features.

For the remaining five vehicles on the Top 10 list, including full editorial commentary and reasoning behind each of the editors’ picks, visit the Top 10 Green Cars of 2011 story in kbb.com’s Latest News section at http://www.kbb.com/car-news/all-the-latest/top-10-green-cars-for-2011.

For more arts & entertainment news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.

 

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