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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
2014 Nissan Leaf
Starting MSRP $29,650

Cited every year since its introduction, the Nissan Leaf vies again for the top spot thanks to changes that have made it more accessible and desirable: a drop in the base price of almost $6,500 and the option to recharge twice as quickly — roughly four hours where it used to take eight — on a 240-volt, Level 2 charging system. Due to overly optimistic expectations, electric cars looked down for the first couple of years, but they're clearly not out. Public charging stations continue to spread, and EVs prove cheap to own, making proven plug-ins like the Leaf more viable than ever.
   
 
 Best Deal for Green Drivers
2014 Toyota Prius c
Starting MSRP $19,890

The Toyota Prius c was a long time coming. After the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius began the hybrid revolution, automakers went a bit haywire, hybridizing everything from luxury cars and sport sedans to full-size pickup trucks and SUVs, some of which weren't even very efficient. No one took the Prius' winning formula — exceptionally high mileage and affordability — and did the obvious thing: go smaller and cheaper. Toyota finally has with the Prius C, a kid brother that sacrifices some room for a lower price and a 53 mpg city mileage estimate — the best you can get. What took so long?
   
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Suggestions for Green Drivers
2014 Chevrolet Volt  Recommended for Green Drivers Chevrolet Volt (2014)
Starting MSRP $34,995

Introduced as the solution for people who want an electric car but can't be bound by range limitations, the electric/gasoline Chevrolet Volt is still going strong in its fourth model year, with good reliability and exceptional owner satisfaction.
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2013 Lexus CT 200h  Recommended for Green Drivers Lexus CT 200h (2013)
Starting MSRP $32,960

Though it's not related mechanically, the Lexus CT 200h recalls the Toyota Prius c: smaller, more affordable and more efficient than its brand's many other hybrids, rated 43/40 mpg city/highway. It happens to be fun to drive, too, and boasts excellent reliability.
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2014 Lexus GS 450h  Recommended for Green Drivers Lexus GS 450h (2014)
Starting MSRP $60,510

One of Lexus' first models to host a hybrid drivetrain, the early GS sedan wasn't a competitive car, or even very efficient. The new generation is a gem, though, and the GS 450h version gets a respectable 29/34 mpg.
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2014 Toyota Prius  Recommended for Green Drivers Toyota Prius (2014)
Starting MSRP $25,010

Some hybrids are richer and/or more refined, but the Toyota Prius dominates hybrids by providing exceptional mileage at an affordable price. A smaller package would be worth the price, so Prius' roominess and utility are icing on the efficiency cake.
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2014 Volkswagen Golf TDI  Recommended for Green Drivers Volkswagen Golf TDI (2014)
Starting MSRP $26,020

Clean-diesel leader Volkswagen has three models in this year's list, starting with the Golf TDI, a high-quality compact hatchback that's free of the quirky driving characteristics hybrids exhibit. It's rated 30/42 mpg with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
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2014 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI  Recommended for Green Drivers Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI (2014)
Starting MSRP $27,070

The Volkswagen Jetta is also available as a clean-diesel TDI sedan, but we honor the SportWagen TDI for its generous cargo capacity and versatility. It's rated 30/42 mpg with a six-speed manual transmission and 29/39 mpg with the six-speed automatic.

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2014 Volkswagen Passat TDI  Recommended for Green Drivers Volkswagen Passat TDI (2014)
Starting MSRP $27,115

The first and only full-size diesel sedan apart from luxury brands, our onetime Eco-Friendly Car of the Year, the Passat TDI, returns this year. Rated 30/40 mpg with the six-speed automatic transmission, it's a fantastic road-trip car for the long haul.

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