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Top Picks for Green Drivers

Someone has to save the world, not to mention saving some money. Earth-friendly cars include gas/electric hybrids, diesel cars and even a few fuel-sipping gas-only cars. Our list included cars from our Best Bets and models we've driven since, and from there we considered gas mileage and drivability.

 Best New Car for Green Drivers
2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI
Starting MSRP $27,645

The Passat TDI clean-diesel returns to our list because of its excellent efficiency and drivability without compromise, unless you consider pumping diesel instead of gas a compromise. For a car of its size, the four-cylinder gas-powered Passat gets an impressive 28 mpg combined city/highway, but the TDI automatic's EPA-estimated 30/42/34 mpg city/highway/combined raises the stakes, and the six-speed manual increases the combined figure to 35 mpg. Gasoline-electric hybrid sedans typically sacrifice trunk space and suffer some quirky driving characteristics not found in the Passat TDI. With its impressive highway mileage and long range, it may be the ultimate road-trip car.
   
 
 Best Deal for Green Drivers
2015 Nissan Versa Note
Starting MSRP $16,255

Before there was high-tech, back when more efficient cars always cost less, fuel-sippers used to look a lot like the Nissan Versa Note: small, lightweight and modestly powered. With EPA-estimated mileage of 31/40/35 mpg city/highway/combined when equipped with a continuously variable automatic transmission, the Note hatchback rivals some hybrids. Its wee 1.6-liter four-cylinder produces 109 horsepower, which provides workable acceleration unless you load up the car and tackle a hill. Unlike those old misers, the Note offers surprising interior volume. With a starting price of $16,255, it's the most affordable of our eco-friendly recommendations.
   
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Suggestions for Green Drivers
2014 BMW i8  Recommended for Green Drivers BMW i8 (2014)
Starting MSRP $136,650

If we had our choice, the i8's range would be longer than its EPA-estimated 15 miles and its mileage better than 28 mpg, but we admire its electric-front- and gas-rear-wheel drive and the excitement it brings.
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2015 Chevrolet Volt  Recommended for Green Drivers Chevrolet Volt (2015)
Starting MSRP $35,155

Though plug-in vehicles have been a tough sell, especially with low fuel prices, the Volt's gas-powered range-extending generator remains its ace in the hole. The Chevy combines this capability with more than the token EV range of some plug-in hybrids.
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2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid  Recommended for Green Drivers Ford Fusion Hybrid (2015)
Starting MSRP $27,300

It's no longer the class leader, but with its EPA-estimated 44/41/42 mpg, the Fusion Hybrid remains a solid choice with the lowest starting price among hybrid sedans. It shares the gas-only Fusion's excellent ride, handling and stunning looks.
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2015 Honda Accord Hybrid  Recommended for Green Drivers Honda Accord Hybrid (2015)
Starting MSRP $30,125

With its EPA-estimated mileage of 50/45/47 mpg, the Accord Hybrid puts Honda back on the hybrid map — and atop this class. Though the trunk is slightly smaller than the gas-only version, the hybrid is, overall, an Accord. Just eco-friendlier.
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2015 Lexus GS 450h  Recommended for Green Drivers Lexus GS 450h (2015)
Starting MSRP $62,255

Hybrid veteran Lexus hasn't always found the right mix between efficiency and power. With the GS 450h, Lexus gets it right with its EPA-estimated 29/34/31 mpg, a healthy boost above the 23 mpg combined city/highway earned by the gas-only V-6 version.
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2014 Tesla Model S  Recommended for Green Drivers Tesla Model S (2014)
Starting MSRP $70,890

Battery-electric cars don't get a lot of respect now, mainly because range limitations deter buyers. It costs more than a few other electric vehicles combined, but the Model S can go an EPA-estimated 208 miles per charge. It gives us hope.
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2015 Toyota Prius  Recommended for Green Drivers Toyota Prius (2015)
Starting MSRP $25,025

The Prius is long in the tooth. It needs to be quieter and more refined with better interior quality and features, but it's here for a reason: high mileage. Even now, its EPA-estimated 51/48/50 mpg is nigh unbeatable.
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