Hybrid and electric cars are continuing to gain traction, especially in the US market. Rising gas and other prices encourage concerned consumers to research environmental cars, which are easy on the Earth and the wallet. 2012 offers cost-efficient and luxury cars with features like GPS and power controls.
1. 2012 Prius
Where would any eco-friendly list be without the Prius? Toyota’s hybrid has become almost synonymous with eco-friendly cars, and this year’s model adds more interior space and a little heft. Drivers don’t have to sacrifice power. Three modes give the vehicle more effort for tasks like passing other drivers on the road or climbing hills. After completion, the Prius can return to its normal power-saving mode. Premium editions of the car include native navigation and other features that consumers have come to expect from all cars.
2. Honda Civic Natural Gas
Green Car Journal has named this car its 2012 “Green Car of the Year”. This car runs on domestically-produced natural gas that costs fraction of the price of traditional fuel. This is good news for any consumer who is also paying off an auto loan. The EPA has also confirmed this model as the cleanest running car on the US market. Honda has followed in Toyota’s footsteps, offering more room inside the vehicle with this year’s model.
3. Nissan Leaf
Nissan’s Leaf sees a staggering combined 99 miles per gallon of gas. As gas prices rise, this sedan looks incredibly appealing to consumers. Critics point out that driving in the Leaf can feel a bit stiff, but many drivers are going to overlook that if eco-friendliness and price are more important than a seamless drive. Standard features include impressive heated mirrors and seats, Nissan’s GPS system, Bluetooth and cruise control.
4. Ford Focus
America’s car company has joined the electric parade, and 2012 is the year of the company’s first 100% electric car. The electric Focus reaches MPG in the triple digits. Ford has continued developing its auto technology, and drivers can start, heat or cool the car from a smartphone app — MyFord Mobile. Some might be reserved about the car’s limited range, but the app also helps drivers find the nearest charging station when away from home. Otherwise, drivers can install their own home Leviton charging station, after consulting with the utility company.
5. Lexus Ct Hybrid
The last car on this list comes from luxury car manufacturer Lexus. 2012′s CT Hybrid lacks nothing when it comes to design, and the features are pretty alluring, too. Anti-theft devices, Bluetooth and a vehicle location system all come standard, while drivers can upgrade to Lexus’s navigation system. USB ports also come standard and the circulation system even includes air filters. Of course, Lexus provides free 6-month scheduled maintenance. Want more power? Simply enable “Sport Mode” for a boost. Of course, fuel efficiency will decrease.
Kathleen Hubert is a blogger who writes on a variety of different sites. Check out more of her work at www.autoloan.org