Hot New Green Cars for 2011
Hot New Green Cars for 2011
Mass-market electric cars are finally here. The Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt employ lithium-ion batteries that can power the cars without gasoline and recharge via plug-in wall stations. Hybrids are still running strong, with new models ranging from the Honda CR-Z and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid to the Lexus CT 200h. Volkswagen's redesigned Jetta and Touareg, meanwhile, continue to offer efficient diesel variants.
|Green Cars for 2011|
|All cars are listed in alphabetical order and are from the 2011 model year.|
The long-awaited Volt can run on electric power alone for 25 to 50 miles, at which point a gasoline engine kicks in to drive an electric generator. All told, the car's total range is 310 miles. A four-seat hatchback, the Volt starts just over $40,000, but it's eligible for a hefty $7,500 federal tax credit.
$19,200 - $20,760
Not since the original Honda Insight could you get a stick-shift hybrid. Honda brings it back in the form of the new CR-Z, a two-seat hybrid hatchback with sporty overtones and combined EPA gas mileage in the mid- to high 30s.
With a number of styling distinctions versus its non-hybrid sibling, the Sonata Hybrid combines an electric motor and four-cylinder gasoline engine to manage a combined 209 horsepower and an EPA-estimated high-30s gas mileage. The car is capable of moving on electric power only at speeds up to 62 mph, according to Hyundai.
Hot on the heels of the HS 250h, Lexus gets its second dedicated hybrid — meaning it's not a version of an existing car — in the CT 200h. A four-door hatchback, the CT 200h's gas-electric drivetrain makes modest horsepower but reaps combined EPA mileage in the low 40s. That makes it Lexus' most efficient model.
$32,780 - $33,720
Nissan's first mass-market electric car for the U.S., the five-seat Leaf hatchback employs an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery. It has no engine-generator, as the Volt does, but the battery allows for roughly 100 miles' range. A federal tax credit knocks $7,500 off the car's price, putting it in the realm of affordable hybrids like the Toyota Prius.
$22,995 - $24,730
Volkswagen's redesigned Jetta sedan is a bit larger than its predecessor. Like before, VW offers a clean-diesel version with mid-30s combined gas mileage — about 25 percent better than most gasoline Jettas. A Jetta TDI wagon is available, but for 2011 it's a carryover from the prior generation.
A new eight-speed automatic and lighter materials shaved some 450 pounds off the redesigned Touareg. Like before, Volkswagen will offer a turbo-diesel V-6 with a combined 22 mpg in EPA ratings. That's 2 mpg better than last year's diesel Touareg, and 3 mpg better than the gasoline 2011 Touareg.