Eco-Friendly Car of the Year Nominees
Best Car for Green Drivers
2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI
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
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.