5 of the Top Green Cars for 2017
2017 is around the corner, and if you’re in the market for a green car, now’s the time to start looking. But what do you do if you’re an automotive layperson who’s interested in green cars, but doesn’t really understand the nuances of the technology? We recommend embracing your blatant biases about aesthetics!
Let’s face it: we all consider the “look and feel” of a vehicle before making a purchase. Personally, it bothers me when electric cars and hybrids are made to look overtly futuristic or needlessly different. And frankly, I feel the same way about running shoes and hiking boots – they don’t need to look over-the-top just to announce that they’re fancy and high-tech (though I will exclude “supercars” from this assessment).
To that end, I found 5 of the top green cars for 2017 that deliver excellent performance, low environmental impact, and don’t resemble props from Back to the Future 2. Sure, the Prius is still a bit over the top, but it’s a great vehicle that should be on any list of this nature, and the newest models blend in a little better with contemporary auto styling.
The original Prius was probably the first electric car to be truly embraced by the general public. As such, it is really hard to write a list and not include it, as it would be a glaring omission. Toyota has given the 2017 Prius a makeover, and it certainly looks sleeker than previous models.
It’s more aerodynamic, which helps to maximize its fuel efficiency. You can expect between 50-58 mpg from the new Prius models, along with Toyota’s enviable safety package (known as Toyota Safety Sense P, or TSS-P), which now comes standard on all Prius models.
Chevrolet announced recently that the 2017 Bolt has gone into production at its Michigan assembly plant. Unlike the Prius, the Bolt is an all-electric vehicle, meaning it uses no gasoline whatsoever. You can travel more than 200 miles on one charge and every hour of charge should gain you about 25 miles of range.
If, like my wife, you only drive your car to and from work and never travel far at one time, then the Bolt could be a great investment. However, remember that how you source your electricity is important if staying green is your goal. Aim for home electricity plans powered by renewable energy sources like wind, as coal-based energy could negate most of your good intentions otherwise.
If you have a large family and need more space than most electric vehicles offer, then the Highlander may be for you. It is the only hybrid SUV with a third row of seats, allowing 7 people to ride inside comfortably. It does an EPA-estimated 28 mpg (combined city and highway), which for an SUV is very fuel-efficient.
Confession time: the Malibu is probably my favorite car on this list because of how “normal” it looks. It’s just like every other Malibu, but under the bonnet, it’s a lean mean green machine offering up to 49 mpg. The Malibu also won the “Most dependable midsize car” award from J.D. Power in its 2015-2016 Vehicle Dependability study, so this should be a great buy for you and the environment.
5) Ford Focus
While Toyota and Chevrolet have dominated the list, Ford finishes up my top 5 with their 2017 Focus electric model. The 2017 Focus electric model will feature several significant upgrades from previous years. It has an increased range of 100 miles, and it features a new fast-charging capability that can bring the battery to 80% within 30 minutes.
To put that into perspective, it’s a full 2 hours faster than previous years, which is quite a feat! One of my favorite things about the Focus is that Ford kept sustainable design in mind throughout the entire car: the upholstery fabrics used are made from 100% recycled materials, and the cushions use a foam sourced from plants. It’s a complete green package!
Whether they be fully electric or a hybrid, what are your favorite green cars on the market for 2017? Share with us in the comments!