“Green” cars use alternate sources of fuel, giving them a much-deserved reputation for being friendly to the environment. Drivers love them because they spend more time on the road and less at the pump. With many options on the market, which one is right for you? Here’s a buyer’s guide to match you with a new ride.
1. Best green car for: Tech titans
Professionals in technology, whether in Silicon Valley or other hubs across America, probably have their eyes on the green car of their dreams — the 2015 Tesla Model S. This electric vehicle releases zero emissions, making it among the most planet-friendly of cars.
The Model S can drive up to 290 miles on one charge. Tech geeks love the Model S for touch-screen control, custom driver settings and energy monitors. Wi-Fi access, a hands-free phone system and Internet radio make the commute more productive and enjoyable.
After 50 years, the 007 franchise lives on partly for unveiling slick luxury cars that offer excitement and mystery. Maybe the work day is more “Office Space” than “Casino Royale,” but you can still dream. Take a test drive of the plug-in hybrid 2015 BMW i8, a sporty car to satisfy any international spy. Car and Driver gave this vehicle a five-star rating for its superior handling, sharp steering and quick acceleration of speeds up to 155 mph. The i8 gets 28 mpg, city.
3. Best green car for: Adventure sports enthusiasts
Whether it’s surfing in Malibu or skiing Utah’s slopes, adventure sports enthusiasts love a challenge. But they also want to preserve the natural landscape they love so much. Green cars don’t have to be dainty — they can get mud in their tires. Try the all-wheel-drive 2016 Lexus NX Hybrid, which can climb mountains and still look sleek on city streets — all while getting an average 25 miles to the gallon yet Green Living Guy got 38 MPG on ecomode.
4. Best green car for: Zen gurus
The modern update of the flower child of the ’60s is the spiritual guru who manages to keep his center while chaos swirls around him. When not floating upon a cloud of serenity, he can listen to calming mantras in a compact hybrid vehicle. The sporty 2015 BMW i3 has a range of up to 150 miles on one charge and leaves almost no carbon footprint, but still makes an impression.
5. Best green car for: Soccer moms/dads
The prototypical soccer mom or dad juggles work and family life with aplomb. The last thing these busy multitaskers need is a trip to the gas station, or worse, to the mechanic. Safety and reliability are paramount for these high-performing working parents, whether it’s loading up the kids for a trip to school or embarking on a cross-country adventure. The whole family will fit into the 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient three-row vehicle on the market. While SUVs are known to be gas guzzlers, this car gets 27 city miles to the gallon.
6. Best green car for: College grads
College grads want a car that’s fun to drive on their daily commute, but they may be saddled with student loan bills. Fortunately, the green car market has matured enough that there are affordable models. The 2016 Toyota Prius C is a compact hybrid that boasts great fuel economy — 53 city miles to the gallon. Despite the lean price, this car has fun features such as customizable contrast-color accents, Internet radio and the touch-screen App Suite.
7. Best green car for: Aspiring celebrities
Love it or hate it, the selfie culture is here to stay — until something else comes along. The image-conscious feel there’s a camera on them at all times. Rather than fighting that belief, why not choose an environmentally friendly car and indulge the fantasy? Consider the 2015 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid as a green car option. This car gets fuel economy comparable to other cars of its class at under 30 miles per gallon. But, this plug-in hybrid can drive for at least 14 miles on electricity alone. That means a spin around the city looking for fun and adoring fans won’t spoil the planet.
8. Best green car for: You
You can’t be categorized or pigeon-holed — and neither can the latest hybrid and electric cars. Try any of these advanced vehicles and see how you feel behind the wheel. Green cars can offer a drive that fits your personal style.