Kelley Blue Book, a leading consumer information website, announced its 2009 picks for the Top 10 Green Cars. Hybrid gas-electric cars top the list that also includes two small cars and two diesel engine vehicles.
The top three "greenest" models are new models. The 2010 Toyota Prius, offering a combined 50-mpg rating, has more power, a slicker design, and more features than its predecessor. The 2010 Honda Insight, rated at 41 mpg, has a price advantage over all other hybrids. And the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, with city mileage at 41 mpg, arrives with new exterior styling.
The editors not only considered fuel economy and price, but also characteristics like comfort, performance, utility and technology. The winners represent a range of vehicle sizes from small cars like the Honda Fit to the Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid, a gas-electric pickup truck.
Other winners include the Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI and BMW 335d, both diesels; the 2009 Mini Cooper; and two hybrid SUVS, the Ford Escape Hybrid and Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
"Despite the decline in auto sales and the stabilization of gas prices in recent months, we still think many new-car shoppers are interested in buying vehicles that are more fuel-efficient and better for the environment," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book. In a press release, KBB notes, "2009 is shaping up to be a banner year for fuel efficiency." Unfortunately, the economic downturn that has affected all auto sales has also hurt sales of green models. Yet, many consumers expect the current reprieve from last year's high gas prices to be short-lived.
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