Green Cars Are Finally The Hot Topic at the Auto Shows.
Muscle cars that were once the focus of the main stage have gone the way of the skinny chicks in mini skirts—still there but not the main attraction. And you know what this means: The auto makers value YOU as a customer even more than the macho car enthusiast.
Recently we attended the Detroit Auto Show and the Washington, D.C. Auto Show and took a look at some interesting and exciting green cars on display, some of them new and some on the journey from good to great. What’s notable is that now, 16 years after the introduction of the Prius, and after so many years of promises by automakers to flood the market with green cars, the market is now robust and exciting (we also looked at the best sedans, which you can see here, and the best crossovers, which you can see here).
Porsche Panamera Hybrid ($99,000): Stepping into the super-luxury-environmental-sensitivity-as-prestige category, Porsche introduced the Cayenne Hybrid, priced at $70,000, which gets 20 MPG city/24 MPG highway, a few years ago. This year Porsche brought out the Panamera Hybrid, a plug in version. While the company hasn’t announced yet the mileage numbers, the regular model gets 18 city/28 highway, so the plug-in battery should help raise that number quite a lot.
BMW i3 ($41,350+): In creating this all electric model, BMW’s mission was to design car that has all the features, smarts and style: to build the perfect green car. It comes with all the smart features like the ability to manage it with a phone app, a long range battery option, fine design details, seating for five, flexible cargo space, and maybe the best part: you can swap it for a gas model for road trips. The i3 should be in showrooms this May.
Jetta Hybrid ($27,600+): Introduced last year, but still one of our favorites, the Jetta Hybrid has something you don’t expect from a hybrid: Turbo. Yes, please. And, 48 MPG. This small, sporty sedan is designed to please both your right and left brain all at once.
2015 Honda Fit (estimated $16,000+): An eco car all star just got a whole lot better: Honda has reengineered many of the features in this car to make it more spacious, interior space more flexible, technology top of the line and still very economical: when it hits showrooms this summer it’ll be well priced and easy on the wallet, with MPG performance in the mid 30’s.
Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell ($499/month lease): This may be the best deal of any car this year, and maybe of any car ever because the lease price includes your fuel. Wow. Hyundai announced the Tucson fuel cell would roll out to dealers
this year and also, that lease prices include refueling. Well, how can you say no? The only limitation is where it’ll be available: California later this year and perhaps Atlanta shortly after; much of this decision depends on where hydrogen refueling is available, too.
Cadillac ELR ($75,000+): Volt + luxury + performance = Cadillac ELR. The ELR won the Green Car Journal Green Car Technology award at the Washington Auto Show for its smart regenerative braking system that puts even more control in the driver’s hands. But that aside, drivers of the ELR can stylishly and luxuriously
drive past many, many gas station without ever sacrificing comfort or luxury.
Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept: Since this is a concept car, no price is set -but what a concept! The Ford C-Max has solar panels on its roof so it uses renewable power. The zero emissions car doesn’t need refueling or recharging stations, just sunny days to take you up to 620 miles. And a cool magnifying lens concentrates the sun’s power to give you a longer range. But there is also an option for plugging in if you need to go further.
Disclosure: We attended the Detroit Auto Show as guests of General Motors and Ford, which provided travel and accommodations, and the Washington DC Auto Show as a guest of Nissan, which provided travel and accommodations. Opinions, gathering of information and exhaustion was all our own.