News: 12 Greenest Cars Of 2018 Revealed

News: 12 Greenest Cars Of 2018 Revealed

ACEEE Says You Can’t Go Wrong With This Mix Of Green Cars

Choosing a car that meets your household’s needs is one thing, but if you are environmentally conscious your selection might go beyond comfort, cargo room and available options. If you want to reduce your environmental impact, minimize fuel costs or cut the petroleum pipelines from foreign countries, then buy the greenest vehicle that still meets your transportation needs.

To help shoppers choose a greener car, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) in Washington, D.C. compiles an annual survey of what it determines is the most environmentally friendly cars on American roads. Not surprisingly, battery-powered electric and gasoline-electric hybrids are the sole winners for 2018, the 21st year for the list.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Green Vehicle Guide only looks at traditional tailpipe pollutants, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced per mile and fuel economy. The ACEEE uses a complex formula that considers the emissions associated with a vehicle’s entire life cycle–from manufacturing to disposal impact–and the fuel it uses, whether gasoline, diesel or electricity.

The Council also analyzes automakers’ test results for fuel economy and emissions as reported to the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), along with other reported specifications. In addition, the group looks at lifecycle impacts of the car, taking into consideration criteria pollutants, greenhouse gas emissions, looking at upstream emissions of the vehicle’s fuel and also manufacturing and disposal impacts. Four basic data points form the core of the ratings—tailpipe emissions, fuel economy, vehicle curb weight and battery mass and composition (for the hybrid and plug-in vehicles). Finally, they factor in an environmental damage index that tallies the gram-per-mile pollutant rate multiplied by a cents-per-gram of damage costs.

If you’re ready to go shopping for an Earth-friendly new car, here’s the list of the 12 Greenest Cars Of 2018. We are noting their green scores and fuel economy, including the “MPGe” equivalent for EVs. (Beyond the list of 12 environmental winners, the ACEEE also provides car shoppers with lists of more environmentally friendly choices in all car classes at: https://aceee.org/. To add some more data to the mix, we’ve also included links to our road tests and news stories about these models.

Base prices are before any federal, state or local incentives.

  1. Hyundai Ioniq Electric

2017 Ioniq Electric Vehicle

2017 Ioniq Electric Vehicle

 

Leading the pack for the second year in a row is the midsized Hyundai Ioniq Electric. It compiled a “Green Score” of 70 out of a 100, which is the highest rating for a passenger car ever recorded by the ACEEE. The all-electric version of the Ioniq hatchback leads all comers with a class-leading fuel economy equivalent. Base Price: $29,500. EV Range: 124 miles: MPGe: 150 city/122 highway.

  1. Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

Slotting into the number two ranking with a Green Score of 69 is the two-seat Smart ForTwo Electric Drive. Not only is this the cheapest car built by Mercedes-Benz, it is among the greenest rides on the road. However, it is hampered by a limited driving range, a seating capacity of two and a small cargo capacity, but it offers something no other electric car does: the option to drop the top. Base Price: $23,800. EV Range: 58 miles; MPGe: 124 city/94 highway.

  1. BMW i3 BEV

BMW i3

BMW i3

A Green Score of 68 was high enough to earn the BMW i3 BEV third on the list in ACEEE’s 12 Greenest Cars Of 2018. This rating is for the odd-shaped i3’s newly available 94 amp-hour battery pack. The i3 is also offered with a small range-extender gasoline engine with fewer EV miles (97), but can travel an additional 83 miles on gasoline. Base Price: $47,650. EV Range:114 miles; MPGe: 129 city/106 highway.

4. Tesla Model 3 Long Range

 

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

 

While a Green Score of 67 places the Tesla Model 3 Long Range in fourth place, the wait time for this new car could take up to a year or longer, due to production delays and pre-production demand. This is for the $9,000 optional long range battery Model 3. Base Price: $44,000. EV Range: 310 miles; MPGe:136 city/123 highway.

  1. Chevrolet Bolt

 

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Chevrolet Bolt EV

One of America’s favorite EVs, the Chevrolet Bolt’s 66 Green Score places it in the number five position. The hatchback compact car offers the latest tech and safety features along with a spacious interior, and an operating range that is sufficient for a typical week’s commute. Base Price: $36,620. EV Range: 238 miles; MPGe 128 city/110 highway.

  1. Kia Soul EV

The Hampster lovin’ Kia Soul EV tallied a 66 Green Score to tie the Chevy Bolt. The boxy Soul EV is roomy and comfortable with a nicely appointed interior. However, it is only available in California and nine other states. Base Price: $32,250. EV Range: 111 miles; MPGe: 124 city/93 highway.

Kia Soul

Kia Soul

  1. Hyundai Ioniq Blue Hybrid

2017 IONIQ Plug-In Hybrid

Hyundai Ioniq Blue Hybrid

With a Green Score of 65, the Hyundai Ioniq Blue is the top hybrid on this year’s ACEEE’s list of greenest cars. With handsome styling inside and out, the compact Ioniq hybrid tops all hybrids with its impressive fuel economy. It’s also available in plug-in hybrid and electric models. Base Price: $22,200. MPG: 57 city/59 highway.

  1. Toyota Prius Eco

 

Toyota Prius Two Eco

Toyota Prius Two Eco

The Toyota Prius Eco slipped into second place among conventional hybrids on this year’s ACEEE’s list with a Green Score of 64.  Still America’s best-selling hybrid, the Prius Eco Two trim offers the top fuel economy in the Prius lineup. Base Price: $25,165. MPG: 58 city/53 highway. 

  1. Ford Focus Electric

 

2017 Ford Focus Electric

Ford Focus Electric

A Green Score of 64 lands the Ford Focus Electric in the number eight spot. This compact electric hatchback is affordable, thanks to the one-time $7,500 frederal tax credit and the large cash rebates from Ford. Base Price: $29,120. EV Range: 115 miles; MPGe: 118 city/96 highway.

  1. Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid

 

Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid

Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid

Kia’s Niro Plug-in Hybrid tops the plug-in hybrid class with a Green Score of 63. Also available as a standard hybrid (52 city/49 highway mpg), the plug-in version gains battery-only range, but is less efficient in hybrid mode. Base Price: $27,900. EV Range: 26 miles; MPGe: 105; MPG gas: 46 combined.

  1. Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid

 

Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid

Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid

Honda made this year’s ACEEE list with the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid that had a Green Score of 62.  The plug-in-hybrid version joins EV and fuel-cell Clarity variants, and it’s the only version of this premium sedan that can be purchased outright. Base Price: $33,400.  EV Range 48 miles; MPGe 110; MPG gas: 42 combined.

  1. Chevrolet Volt

2018 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt

 

Chevrolet’s Volt is among the dozen “greenest” cars for 2018 with a Green Score of 62. The Volt is equipped with a small range-extending gasoline engine that provides a virtually unlimited operting range, as long as you can find a sas station. But the first 53 miles comes solely on electricity. Base Price: $33,320. MPGe: 106; Gas: 42 highway.

The tally of the Top 12—seven electrics, three plug-in hybrids and two hybrids. Four from Hyundai-Kia, two from General Motors and one each from BMW, Daimler, Ford, Honda, Tesla and Toyota.

Feature: Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Hybrid

Feature: Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Hybrid

The Choices Are Out There

In a world where there are so many options when it comes to hybrids, it can be difficult to know what counts in your life as well as what will run most efficiently. Are you interested in a plug-in hybrid? What about a hybrid that doesn’t have to be plugged in but still runs efficiently?

That’s why we’ve made a list of all of the pros and the cons of buying a used hybrid that will work best for you.

Pro: Durability

Hybrids have two power trains under the hood, plus many electronic components and gadgets that make up a pretty complicated vehicle.

2017 Toyota Prius V

A used hybrid can still deliver miles of pleasure and functionality

That being said, this doesn’t mean that they’re prone to break down. In fact, they tend to be significantly more durable than their gas-guzzling comrades. If you purchase a used hybrid, you can theoretically look forward to years with little maintenance.

Just remember: Not all hybrids are created equal. Hybrids from Toyota and Lexus, or even the Cadillac ELR seem to be the most reliable according to car owners, while durability for the Ford C-Max Hybrid is 80% below the average for comparable newer vehicles.

Also, keep in mind that buying used means there’s going to be some wear. Consider getting a mechanic to look over the car before taking it too far from home.

Con: Rising Gas Prices=Rising Hybrid Prices

One of the cons of buying a Hybrid is the price tag attached to it.

While we can guarantee you’ll save some money on gas during the time you have a hybrid, we can’t guarantee the car will pay back its initial price immediately.

The plug-in version of the Toyota Prius can get the equivalent of 95 miles to every gallon with its electric boost. Without plugging in, it gets around 50 mpg. It all depends on what you decide to purchase and how often you’re driving. Maybe at some point, the amount of money you’re saving on gas will make that hefty price worth paying.

If you drive a lot, I’d say it’s probably worth it. Otherwise, consider the option of an efficient gas-powered car.

Pro: A Quiet Engine

A definite pro to purchasing a hybrid, either used or new, is the quietness of the engine. What can be more luxurious than a cruise around town with a seemingly soundless, smooth engine?

hybrid driving techniques

The hybrid badge means fuel savings, but that’s not all

A con to the quiet engine, however, is that soundless engines pose more of an issue for pedestrians, as they can’t hear an approaching vehicle running in electric mode the way they can hear a standard car running on gasoline.

Con: Winter Weather

Hybrids aren’t exactly the best vehicle for winter. The reasons for this are partially because batteries discharge significantly faster in the cold of winter than in the heat of summer.

Getting the vehicle warm can be difficult also because running a heating system is taxing on the electrical aspect of the car. Another issue may also be the lack of adhesion of low rolling resistance tires, not to mention that the slipping and sliding that occurs as the tires try to gain traction on the freezing roads will drain battery life and your fuel tank. Although this can be true for both hybrid and gas-powered vehicles.

You can guarantee that as the temperature drops outside, your fuel efficiency will most likely do the same.

Pro: Less Maintenance!

2017 Kia Niro Hybrid

More hybrids are coming on the market, which means more will be on the used market

Buying any used car is risky. But the difference between buying a used car that runs on gasoline alone and a used hybrid car is that most hybrids tend to need significantly less maintenance than gas powered cars.

There’s a myth about the batteries having to be replaced fairly often, but this hasn’t seemed to be the case in most of the newer models. If you do have to replace the battery, check a junkyard before making the plunge of purchasing a brand-new battery.

Summary

Most hybrids have less overall maintenance, better fuel efficiency and are very durable. When we consider the pros versus the cons and how they may affect your way of life, you can make a more informed decision about what will work best for you.

2017 Cadillac CT6 Plug-In

Some hybrids plug in

In the end, this decision is going to be entirely up to you. If you love to travel, having a plug-in hybrid will mean charging a battery, and in that case, purchasing that type of hybrid may not be in your best interest.

However, the fuel-efficiency aspect of most hybrids is a definite plus for someone traveling long distances. Do you like hearing the roar of a gas-powered engine? Or is the quiet of the hybrid appealing?

Making the decision to purchase any kind of hybrid, whether plug-in or not can be difficult. But that is why we want to help you make a well-informed decision about what is going to work best for your situation. Enjoy the ride!

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Sponsored Post: Top 10 Used Hybrid Cars That Still Pack a Punch

Sponsored Post: Top 10 Used Hybrid Cars That Still Pack a Punch

Better Fuel Economy & Lower Emissions Are an Affordable Option

You do not have to purchase a new car to reap the benefits from the higher fuel efficiency, lower emissions and lower operating costs of a hybrid. Indeed, go for a used hybrid. Many people still prefer buying used over new hybrids, and they find it a good option indeed.

But, with a wealth of different models and makes available on the market nowadays, choosing the hybrid vehicle is not easy at all. Here are our top 10 picks with key features.

1.  2013 Chevrolet Volt

2013-Chevrolet-Volt

2013 Chevrolet Volt offers great fuel efficiency

It seems that Chevrolet took a pretty aggressive tack with Volt in 2013. This amazing vehicle boasts a Hold driving mode, which lets you get optimal efficiency on the roads by saving the battery power. It comes with one-speed automatic transmission and 149-horsepower (hp) engine. Fuel efficiency: 101 city/93 hwy MPGe.

2. 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in

The 2013 plug-in Toyota Prius hybrid version is propelled by a powerful mix of a 1.8L I-4 gasoline engine and an electric motor. It comes standard with four-wheel anti-lock brakes, a electronicly controlled CVT transmission, 15-inch aluminum wheels, integrated navigation system, advanced cruise control and a whole lot of airbags. Fuel efficiency: 90 city/102 hwy MPGe.

3. 2013 Ford Fusion Energi

This vehicle is meant to provide customers with a mixture of the top-notch Ford Fusion hybrid parts with attributes of a completely electric car. The standard features include 17-inch aluminum wheels, automatic air conditioning, AdvanceTrac electronic stability and traction control. It is powered by an Atkinson-cycle 141hp, 2.0L four-cylinder engine that is combined with 7.6-kWh Li-ion battery pack. Fuel efficiency: 95 city/81 hwy MPGe.

Ford Fusion and C-Max

Ford has two fuel-efficient options–the Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi

4. 2013 Ford C-Max Energi

Here’s another great blend of hybrid and electric car by Ford. It utilizes Ford’s 2.0L direct-injected four-cylinder engine, which is coupled with an AC electric motor that runs with a 7.6-kWh Li-ion battery pack. As a result, total system power reaches 195 hp while offering 129 pounds-feet of torque. Fuel efficiency: 95 city/81 hwy MPGe.

5. 2012 Toyota Prius V Five

With some 2012 upgrades and improvements, this five-passenger vehicle uses exactly the same powertrain like the Prius sedan, but it offers a significant 58 percent increase in cargo space. The 2012 Toyota Prius V Five boasts a wagon body, electronicly controlled CVT transmission and 1.8-liter I-4 98 hp engine. Fuel efficiency: 44 city/40 hwy MPG.

6. 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

With an integrated navigation system, six-speed automatic transmission, as well as superb driveline traction and cruise control systems, driving this hybrid car is a real delight. This is supported by a 2.4-liter I-4  engine which produces decent 159 horsepower. Fuel efficiency: 36 city/40 hwy MPG.

7. 2007 Lexus RX 400h

2007 Lexus RX 400h

The 2007 Lexus RX 400h was one of the early hybrid offerings

This hybrid features 3.3L 208hp V-6, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, and CVT transmission. It is equipped with a driver knee airbag, airbag occupancy sensor as well as curtain head and side airbags for the great safety. There is also an all-wheel drive, ABS, cruise control and traction control. Fuel efficiency: 28 city/25 hwy MPG.

8. 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid

The Kia Optima Hybrid EX is powered by a 2.4-liter I-4 engine that develops 166 horsepower and is mated to six-speed automatic transmission. Other standard features worth mentioning include 16-inch aluminum wheels, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, traction control, cruise control, curtain overhead airbags, side seat-mounted airbags and automatic air conditioning. Fuel efficiency: 34 city/39 hwy MPG.

9. 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The key features of this heavy-duty vehicle include second and third row overhead airbag, 19-inch aluminum wheels, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, all-wheel drive and cruise control, among others. Under the hood, there’s a powerful 3.5-liter 231-hp V-6. It comes with a CVT transmission along with overdrive. Fuel efficiency: 28 city/28 hwy MPG.

10. 2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid

The Toyota Camry is one of the most popular hybrid midsize cars sold in the US. And the 2010 Camry sedan can still pack a punch with a reliable hybrid system and plenty of great features. It comes standard with a 2.5L four-cylinder engine, VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence) and a distinctive grille. Fuel efficiency: 33 city/34 hwy MPG. Check out 2010 Camry for sale in Austin, Texas.

Road Test: 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid SEL

Road Test: 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid SEL

New (Hybrid) Kid On The Block

Can you remember back 17 years? Of note, other than that you may have had more hair or at a minimum a different style, is that this is when Toyota first sold the Prius in the United States. In 2000, the hybrid concept was foreign to most people. It earned a reputation for only being of interest to university-educated tree huggers and other assorted fringe players. Obviously, things have changed–and mightily at that! If an auto manufacturer doesn’t offer at least one hybrid in 2017, they are being left in the sales, image and technological dust. Woe be to a car company that isn’t in this space or doesn’t have strong plans to get in real, real soon.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Finally, a new badge

Over the past decade-and-a-half all hybrids were compared to the Prius, the gasoline+electric sales leader. As hybrid buyers have spread among all age, economic and education groups, hybrid offerings from car companies have become very competitive with some interesting and compelling vehicles to buy. There are sedans, hatchbacks, sports cars, luxury models, small SUVs and soon we will see trucks and vans. It will only be a short time before auto manufacturers offer one of each model they sell with some sort of electrified propulsion.

Hyundai’s Electric History

Hyundai dipped its toe in the electric drive business with the 2011 Sonata Hybrid. They added a plug-in model, but this is the big year with three electrified cars–the Ioniq line-up. (We don’t think the 54 Tucson fuel cell electrics sold really count, although they are real.)

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

MPG beyond the wedge

Clean Fleet Report reviewed the 2017 Ioniq Electric and compared the EV and Hybrid, now we take a look at the 2017 Ioniq Hybrid alone. Look for our review of the 2018 Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) soon.

With its debut, the Ioniq Hybrid became Hyundai’s non-plug-in fuel economy leader with the Blue model getting an impressive 57 city/59 highway/58 combined miles per gallon. Get on the highway with the 11.9 gallon fuel tank topped-off, and you can drive a whopping 702 miles before having to stop and refuel.

Something Borrowed, Something Cool

The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid shares its underpinnings with the Kia Niro, which Clean Fleet Report positively reviewed, so we were expecting good things from the Ioniq Hybrid. The parallel hybrid powertrain of a 1.6L gasoline engine (104 horsepower/109 pounds-feet of torque) and an AC synchronous permanent magnet motor (43 hp/125 lb.-ft.) results in a total system horsepower of 139. Mated to a six-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT), the fuel economy is excellent. We were impressed with the powertrain’s smooth operation; it had torque for highway ramp sprints and passing 75+mph big rigs was easy and effortless. Acceleration was better-than-adequate, but not fast.

The hybrid system’s 1.56 kWh lithium-ion polymer (li-ion) battery is replenished through the regenerative charging system or charged by the engine. The regen technology converts kinetic energy

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Doing the splits

into electric energy and stores it in the battery when applying the brakes or coasting. This process can be viewed on a dash gauge where you can watch the power flow into and out of the battery, electric motor and gasoline engine. Brake pedal feel on hybrids can be grabby at times, requiring a learning period to get them right. Not so though on the Ioniq Hybrid where the regenerative braking required little pedal modulation and had a confident feel. The regenerative charging system is part of the braking system of all-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, electronic stability and traction control. The Ioniq Hybrid had solid, straight and true stops.

The Ioniq Hybrid SEL model we drove had an EPA fuel economy rating of 55 city/44 highway/55 combined. Staying away from the spirited Sport mode, which can spin the tires from a stop, and keeping in the Eco mode, over 329 miles of 65-percent highway/35-percent city driving, we averaged 56.6 mpg. There is even a dash readout summarizing your driving pattern. Over our week with the car the final tally was 72-percent Economical; 26-percent Normal; 2 percent Aggressive. If you are buying a hybrid for freeway cruising where long distances with high mpg is your goal, then these numbers are just about where they should be.

Fuel economy numbers reported by Clean Fleet Report are non-scientific and represent the reviewer’s driving experience in our reviewer’s city. If you live in cold weather, high in the mountains or spend time in the city or stuck in rush hour traffic, then your numbers may differ.

Clean Slate Design

With a maturing hybrid category, manufacturers are stretching their design thinking and developing models from a blank slate. The wedge of cheese body style, made famous by Toyota with the

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

A clean slate coming at ya

Prius, set the standard early on, but no more. Consumers frequently comment that the wedge shape has become passé, and to many, unappealing. Add in Toyota’s recent redesign of the Prius which, kindly, isn’t the best-looking car on the road, and those opinions are not being changed.

Hyundai’s “clean slate” challenge resulted in the Ioniq Hybrid having smooth body surfaces with few creases or sharp edges. The front LED daytime running lights are standard, positioned just below the swept-back projector headlights and above the grill with active shutters. All of these are stylish and functional, but also aid in the aerodynamic design, which has a slippery 0.24 coefficient of drag. Even the 15-inch, five spoke, Eco-spoke alloy wheels were built to cut through the wind. The hatch, with a built-in combination deck lid/spoiler that divides the glass, is bordered on each side by LED tail lamps. It took some getting used to–looking in the rearview mirror and seeing the horizontal deck lid/spoiler in the rear window–but after some mental and visualization adjustments, it became normal and natural and was not an issue.

Interior Built for Comfort

Clean Fleet Report’s Ioniq Hybrid SEL came with a nice selection of features and options. The interior was well-appointed with the dash and doors outfitted with soft and hard plastic surfaces, accented by a very tasteful use of brushed aluminum trim pieces and piano key buttons. The gauges and controls were conveniently located with a digital dash having several settings to read a wide assortment of data. The center console dividing the heated, cloth seats (power adjustable for the driver and manual for the passenger) has a leather covered shift lever, and AUX and USB charging ports along with the de rigueur cup holders.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Comfort and tech occupy the interior

The rear cloth seats are made for grown humans: two comfortably, but three for short jaunts. Divided into two comfortable seats by the fold down armrest (with cup holders), there was ample leg, shoulder and head room. For storage, the rear seat folds 60/40 to provide excellent cargo space when two are off on a long weekend road trip.

The infotainment (information and entertainment) system was centered around the seven-inch color touchscreen. An eight-inch screen with navigation is optional. The system includes HD FM/AM, SiriusXM (90-day subscription included), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. All of which can be managed by the controls mounted on the leather-wrapped steering wheel. Other features of the system include USB, AUX and audio input jacks and Bluetooth for voice controls and hands-free telephone calling.

Standard convenience features on the SEL trim level include dual automatic climate control, tilt and telescopic steering column, power windows with one-touch down, power door locks, power and heated foldaway exterior mirrors with turn signals. Other standard features are proximity key entry with approach lights, electronic parking brake, push button start, security alarm, a tire pressure monitoring system and a tire puncture repair kit, which replaces a spare tire.

Optional features include wireless phone charging, power tilt-and-slide sunroof, carpeted floor mats and an auto-dimming rear view mirror with Homelink and interior LED illumination.

Safety Features

Standard and optional safety features include seven airbags, blind spot detection with cross traffic alert and lane change assist, lane departure warning, rear view camera, automatic emergency braking, smart cruise control with stop/start and hill start assist.

The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid has not been rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Pricing and Warranties

The base MSRP for the three 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid models.

  • Ioniq Blue          $22,200
  • Ioniq SEL           $23,950
  • Ioniq Limited    $27,500
2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Step into something new

Clean Fleet Report’s 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid SEL came with the optional Tech Package and carpeted floor mats that added $1,125, for a total of $25,075. All prices do not include the $835 freight and handling charge.

The Ioniq Hybrid comes with these warranties.

  • Hybrid Battery                          Lifetime
  • New Vehicle                              Five Years/60,000 miles
  • Hybrid Systems                        10 years/100,000 Miles
  • Powertrain                                10 Years/100,000 miles
  • Anti-Perforation                       Seven Years/Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance                Five Years/Unlimited Miles

Observations: 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Hyundai is on to something with its Ioniq family of electrified cars. You can get one that uses no gasoline, or the option of two that use a combination of gasoline and electricity. They are affordable, with performance, handling and ride comfort above the pack. The interiors are made with eco-friendly materials and you will not be accused of buying a wedge-shaped car just to get some electric batteries.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Blue means max MPG

The fuel economy for the Ioniq Hybrid is excellent, rivaling the now-departed Volkswagen TDI models. And don’t forget Hyundai has the best warranty in the business. That lifetime battery warranty is crazy!

Before visiting your Hyundai dealer make sure to either make an appointment with, or speak with, a factory-trained hybrid vehicle specialist. Then treat yourself to a lengthy test drive and see for yourself how a hybrid could enhance your lifestyle.

Whatever you end up buying, enjoy your new car and as always, Happy Driving!

Second Road Test Opinion

In order to give you, the reader, the best perspective on the many vehicles available, Clean Fleet Report has a variety of contributors. When possible, we will offer you multiple perspectives on a given vehicle. This comes under SRO-Second Road Test Opinion. We hope you’ll enjoy these diverse views–some are just below—and let us know yours at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

Comparison Test: 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid and Electric

Road Test: 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

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Disclosure:

Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

 

Road Test: 2017 Toyota Prius Prime

Road Test: 2017 Toyota Prius Prime

Update to a Classic Plug-in

As “Kleenex” is to tissues, or “Google” is to search engines, “Prius” is to hybrid cars. It’s surprising that “priusing” hasn’t become a verb for “driving efficiently.”

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

Crazy design

The original Prius had an engine and an electric motor sharing duties to extend the range and efficiency of the gas engine. Braking regenerated the electricity for the small electric motor. Then, about five years ago, Toyota introduced the plug-in hybrid, which permitted limited all-electric driving, but the EV range was small—about 11 miles. Other manufacturers have since offered cars with a greater range.

So, when the Prius was reimagined for its latest version, not only did the stylists go crazy with the design, they upgraded the plug-in version. Today, renamed the Prius Prime, Toyota’s plug-in hybrid can go up to 25 miles in all-EV mode.

That significantly bigger number is the key to getting real value out of a plug-in hybrid. With the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime, I could drive 18 miles to work on a charge, fill the battery back up there, and head home equally gas free. Charging time from empty is about 5 1/2 hours on standard household current or just two hours on a Level 2 240-volt charger, such as the ChargePoint system at my office.

Where a Plug-in Hybrid Shines

Where a plug-in really shines (compared to a pure electric car) is when you want to go on a longer trip. I tried this out with a 170-mile round trip to visit my grandkids. We cruised along on electrons until the car switched to hybrid mode and then it swapped power sources the rest of the way. We plugged in at our destination and reclaimed some pure EV miles for the trip home.

The Hybrid Synergy Drive System mates a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gas engine with two electric motors for a total of 121 horsepower. The 8.8 kilowatt-Hour lithium-ion battery pack, more than double that of the previous plug-in, hides beneath the cargo area, leaving 19.8 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

Numbers you can count on

The official EPA numbers are 54 mpg without plugging in. When you do charge up the car, you can get up to 133 MPGe (EPA’s miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent, which measures the energy content of electricity used per mile), which ranks tops in the world of plug-in hybrid cars. You’ll get a nice 8 for Smog and perfect 10 for Greenhouse Gas in the EPA green ratings, too.

For my week, I averaged 70.5 miles per gallon–a truly wonderful achievement. The car, with about 5,000 miles on it, showed an overall average of 100.6 mpg—likely from a lot of electric driving.

Quiet but Loudly Styled

The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime rolls along about as silently as you’d expect in EV mode—and it’s not a whole lot louder in hybrid mode. Extra insulation keeps road and wind noise out.

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

Style coming at you

You can select from three trim levels—Plus, Premium, and Advanced. My Magnetic Gray Metallic tester was the Advanced, so it came with a long list of features for efficiency, comfort and enjoyment. See Toyota’s website or visit your dealer to study the details.

The Prime’s styling is significantly different and perhaps a bit more aesthetically pleasing than the regular hybrid’s. The nose gets a sparkling row of LED headlamps that come with automatic dimming and features two massive grilles at the lower corners that mimic to the look of its hydrogen-powered Mirai brandmate. The rear swaps the regular Prius’ bizarre vertical taillamps for more integrated horizontal ones, and adds a friendly wave to the rear glass and hatch panel. Still quirky, but undeniably a Prius all the way.

Tech Inside

Inside, the center-mounted instrument panel controls appear to float above the dash. Most notable is the new 11.5-inch vertical display, which borrows from the Tesla design school.

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

A touch of Tesla

There’s a wealth of information displayed, from navigation to audio selections from the Entune system to loads of data on the environmental performance of this decidedly high-tech ride.

Ignoring the massive screen, essential data is all tucked into the slim center strip just below the windshield. Ironically, the colored head-up display repeats some information right above it.

The seats, in Softex artificial leather, were comfortable for hours of travel, and the black-and-white ambiance of the interior proved restful and easy to live with.

Pricing and Value

As overall vehicle prices rise, hybrids don’t seem so expensive anymore. The 2017 Toyota Prime Plus starts at $27,965, the Premium at $29,665, and the Advanced at $33,965, including shipping. My tester had seven extra items, including a universal tablet holder, wheel locks, illuminated door sills, paint protection film and a glass breakage sensor, and hit $36,305.

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

Helping you to drive better

While I believe that pure electric vehicles are wonderful, if you live a daily life that combines moderate weekday commuting with occasional longer trips, the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime may be the ticket. You do have to live with the weird looks, but with up to 640 miles of range and gas power backup, travel opportunities are limitless.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy:

Road Test: 2017 Toyota Prius Prime (Larry’s view)

Road Test: 2017 Toyota Prius Prime (John’s view)

Comparison Test: 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid & Plug-in Hybrid

Road Test: 2017 Ford Fusion Energi

Road Test: 2016 Chevrolet Volt

Road Test: 2017 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid

Disclosure:

Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.