Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Take on the KBB Top 10 Green Cars List

Kelley Blue Book just released its annual green car top 10 list, and here it is:

#1: 2011 Nissan Leaf | 99 mpg equivalent
#2: 2011 Chevy Volt | 93 mpg equivalent
#3: 2011 Toyota Prius | 50 mpg (51 city, 48 highway)
#4: 2011 Lexus CT 200h | 42 mpg (43 city, 40 highway)
#5: 2011 Honda Insight | 41 mpg (40 city/43 highway)
#6: 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid | 39 mpg (41 city/36 highway)
#7: 2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI | 34 mpg (30 city/42 highway)
#8: 2011 Hyundai Elantra | 33 mpg (29 city, 40 highway)
#9: 2012 Fiat 500 | 33 mpg (30 city/38 highway)
#10: 2012 Ford Focus | 31 mpg (28 city/38 highway)

My thoughts on the subject:
1. The mileage ratings come from the automakers and may not be exactly real world. The Leaf and Volt are the toughest ones to figure out with comparisons to EPA mileage ratings of conventional gasoline engine vehicles. The Volt rating is much higher than what the EPA gave it. Much of it has to do with the type of daily driving usage that goes into it. It's like Chevrolet execs saying Volt owners are typically driving 1,000 miles between charges. That would depend completely on your driving conditions; how many mile you drive per day, how often you charge the battery, and the climate and elevation conditions would be especially pertinent.

2. This is the first time the Toyota Prius hasn't made the number one spot in several years. It's kind of sad to see the icon of green cars drop down to number three.

3. There are no turbo-diesel engines like the Audi A3 TDI or Volkswagen Jetta TDI. These cars are known for excellent fuel mileage and high performance.

4. The Lexus CT 200 hybrid might make a splash in the luxury hybrid arena.

5. It's odd that the Fiat 500 made the list. It's new to the US market and there isn't much driver experience to tap into and cite as evidence that it's a good buy. The mileage is good, but there's several hybrid and conventional gas engine cars that do better and didn't make the list.

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