The 10 Greenest Cars of 2017
Top 10 Green Cars of 2017
It’s easy to take automotive technology for granted, but at times we should take a step back and acknowledge that it is a pretty great time for cars. The coming decade will bring us the greatest variety of drivetrain options and fuel options that the auto world has ever seen. We may not have self-sustaining solar cars that can fly themselves around quite yet, but we are on the right track.
In fact, with people flocking to urban areas and utilizing car-sharing services and public transportation, we may never see this volume of individually-owned vehicles on the roads again. The variety we have today is so great that it is almost foolish to go out and trade in a lightly used car for the same, albeit newer, model of car. And if you want to try something new, why not try something green and efficient?
Think of the Polar Bears. Also, think of how much less it would cost to actually drive to Manitoba and see Polar Bears. Save some money on gas every week and prepare to be surprised about how good these very green cars are at being everyday drivers. Here are 10 to look for in 2017:
10. 2017 Ford C-Max
The Ford C-Max is, above all else, a good hybrid. It’s like Ford went out and saw that there were a bunch of people really on the fence about moving from a compact car to hybrid and made a car around the idea of being easy to live with.
It sports a 188 horsepower, 4-cylinder engine that works along side the electric motor. Its tall roof adds headroom and interior space, while also allowing the driver to sit up higher and get a better view of traffic. The design also makes the C-Max fairly easy to park.
Fuel mileage averages out to 42 mpg on the highway and 38 in the city. That’s a nice step up from the efficiency you would see from a compact and the 2017 C-Max does a good job of checking all of the boxes. It’s not hopelessly boring to drive, it’s fairly easy to park, it holds a lot of cargo, and it is available in a plug-in hybrid model. What’s not to like?
9. 2017 Lexus CT
We all know the Prius is a fairly good hybrid and it has he added benefit of being extremely popular. Meaning that a lot of time and money goes into the technology it uses. Unfortunately, the Prius has also gained a reputation as being the preferred runabout for people who love bumper stickers and bring up tense political topics at parties.
To avoid the stigma while benefiting from Toyota’s reliability and build quality, consider the 2017 Lexus CT. Underneath, it is basically a Prius. The body actually looks really great, and since it’s from Lexus you know that the interior is equally well-done. Unfortunately, with only 134 horsepower, the CT is all looks and no grunt. Thanks to this unfortunate power figure, expect to see 43 mpg highway and 40 mpg city fuel economy.
I really do love the way the 2017 Lexus CT looks, and I just wish that it offered in a regular, gas-powered model as well. As it stands, it’s a bit of a niche car. It should really bring a bit more to the table, given the competition out there today.
8. 2017 Hyundai Ioniq
So even though the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq is barely even a full production car at this point, it is still my favorite hybrid vehicle this year. Not for any particular reason, mind you, but only for the fact that it seems to have done everything fairly well. Start with the looks. It’s futuristic but not ridiculous and still looks aerodynamic.
The drivetrain of the hybrid offers only 147 horsepower but that power runs through a dual-clutch transmission rather than a soft and unresponsive CVT. It will see about 59 mpg on the highway and 57 in the city. The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq is also available in plug-in hybrid models and fully electric models.
Every detail of this car looks like it was thought of carefully, and it offers customers a ton of variety. It’s a modern, practical hybrid car that is shamelessly trying to one-up the Prius. It seems to be on the right track towards doing just that, at this rate.
7. 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-Tron
The 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-Tron, despite having a mouthful of a name, manages to offer customers a lot in a fairly small package. It is really important, given the recent diesel-emissions scandal that has rocked VW and added heaps of tension with their US customer base, that VW produces good hybrid vehicles. If they fail to make diesel vehicles that can actually pass emissions tests and fail to make good alternatives to just-gasoline cars, they will not be able to keep up with the competition.
So how does the A3 e-Tron stack up? Well, you can already tell that it looks great. The styling is spot-on and he interior space is what you would expect from an Audi with a hatch in the rear. It offers a combined 204 horsepower and even has a manually-shifted DCT instead of the standard CVT found in most hybrids.
The 2017 A3 e-Tron is also a plug-in hybrid that can drive 16 miles without using fuel at all. It will see 86 mpg both on the highway and in the city. The A3 e-Tron offers up some promising features, but will customers try their luck with VW again after they made so many eco-conscious people look foolish in their worse-than-gas TDI hatchbacks?
6. 2017 Toyota Mirai
Before I get into why being able to own a hydrogen-powered vehicle in 2017 is a huge step for automotive technology, I should add that hydrogen technology, as it stands, brings with it some distinct drawbacks. Hydrogen is abundant on Earth but is surprisingly difficult to find in liquid form at a gas station. In fact, you can only buy Hydrogen vehicles in California as they are the only state with the infrastructure required to refuel vehicles regularly.
Hydrogen does not pack the same punch as gasoline and the Mirai produces only 152 horsepower. But this is the only hydrogen vehicle on the road today that you can actually buy. All other have to be leased with no option for purchasing at the end. Toyota has been working on this car for 25 years and has filed 5,680 patents just for parts relating to this car.
With 270 miles of range, the 2017 Toyota Mirai is the first practical, hydrogen-powered vehicle you can own on the road today. It looks great as well, and will be as good at starting conversations as it is at passing gas stations. It gets the equivalent of 67 mpg.
5. 2017 Honda Clarity
With slightly better mileage and range than the Toyota Mirai, the 2017 Honda Clarity is another great option for those looking for a reliable hydrogen-powered car today. There are not too many differences between the Mirai and the Clarity.
The Honda is a bit more normal, style wise. Also the name is easier to pronounce. Its range is around 366 miles and it gets the equivalent of 68 mpg.
You cannot own a Honda Clarity outright. You can lease it, but you can’t buy it once the lease is up. But the point of owning a hydrogen vehicle isn’t to look at the downsides. Of course revolutionary technology has downsides at first! The point is: the future is here and you can lease a very nice piece of it today.
4. 2017 Volkswagen E-Golf
While every company under the sun is rushing to design electric vehicles that look like high-tech computer mice, it’s strangely refreshing to see a familiar face. The first fully-electric car on this list is the cheery, compact 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf. If you’re thinking that this is just a golf body on an electric drivetrain, then you are correct.
But is there anything wrong with that? Nothing like having an old, familiar friend usher you into the world of tomorrow. This feels like a good natural progression for the Golf. It offers 124 miles of range, which is an improvement for 2017.
To address the elephant in the room: the e-Golf does not do a very good job at making customers forget about the Dieselgate scandal. One of the most popular models of TDI vehicle made by Volkswagen in the US was the Golf TDI. So will customers ignore that bitter taste in their mouths when they check out the new super-green Golf? Only time will tell.
3. 2017 BMW i3
The 2017 BMW i3 is hard to ignore. It’s bold styling and interesting list of features are reminiscent of a concept car that escaped an auto show to run amok downtown. While it does look a bit like one of those bright light-up computer gaming keyboards, I do appreciate a breath of fresh air compared to all of the door-stop shaped hybrids and weird coupe-roofed Crossovers.
The i3 offers customers 81 miles of fully-electric range which can be extended to 150 miles with the optional built-in generator. For 2017, it looks like the i3’s electric-only range may go as high as 114 miles.
While this car is pricey and heaped with polarizing design features, there is definitely a market for it today. If you want to pretend you’re living in 2025, buzzing around in a futuristic hatchback, look no further.
2. 2017 Chevrolet Bolt
The #1 vehicle on this list that you can actually buy and drive today is the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt. I know what you’re thinking: there’s no way that an electric Chevy hatchback is the best EV to come out this year. I was skeptical as well, but I warmed up to the idea after I saw the Colorado ZR2 and realized that maybe, just maybe, Chevy is going to start making cool cars again.
200 horsepower and a 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds is seriously impressive for an EV with 190 miles of range. This is a prime example of why 2017 is one of the most competitive years for electric vehicles so far.
Even though the Bolt is literally quite small, it is a huge car for Chevrolet and the whole industry. A mainstream manufacturer is making a large volume of electric vehicles that are affordable and offer good range and impressive performance.
1. 2018 Tesla Model 3
In the world of electric vehicles, there is no brand cooler than Tesla. Whether you love them for their revolutionary CEO, Mr. Elon Musk, or for their fast, stylish, safe, and technologically-advanced cars, fans of the brand don’t really need to settle on one reason. There’s a lot to like.
The Model 3 is technically a 2018 model but it will see production in 2017 and you can already reserve one for yourself for only $1,000. The total price will be around $35,000 and the list of features is impressive: four doors, five seats, 215 miles of range, autopilot, and a 0-60 time of under 6 seconds.
The 2018 Tesla Model 3 sets the bar so high that you may want to hold off on any and all EV purchases until you can test drive one for yourself.