GreenCarReports editors choose the most significant new “green” car available to shoppers during the 2012 model year, taking into account new technologies, their practicality, and their impact on the environment. The GreenCarReports’ “Best Green Car to Buy” award recognizes mass-market, environmentally sensitive vehicles that are available below $60,000. Utilizing the TheCarConnection’s ratings as a starting point for their evaluation, the GreenCarReports editorial team applies their criteria to select the winner that will carry the “Best Green Car to Buy 2012” environmental message.
“The Prius is more than just one car this year,” said Green Car Reports Editor John Voelcker. “With a new Prius v and the Prius Plug-In Hybrid, it’s now a family of vehicles with some of the highest gas mileage on the market today, and the Prius name is likely to help encourage buyers to take the plunge into plug-in vehicles."
The Prius vehicles that won the GreenCarReports’ “Best Green Car to Buy 2012” award were chosen from a competitive field of environmentally sensitive cars that also included the Fiat 500, Honda Civic Hybrid, Infiniti M35h, Mitsubishi i, and Volkswagen Passat TDi.
The Prius Liftback is in its third generation and earned an EPA-estimated 50 mpg combined (51 city mpg/ 48 highway mpg) rating. The Prius v, which went on sale in October, will be an unmatched combination of versatility and fuel efficiency in a midsize. With 58-percent more cargo space than the Liftback, the Prius v has more cargo space than 80-percent of the small SUVs on the road today, while still accomplishing an EPA-estimated 44-mpg city.
The Prius Plug-in Hybrid, which offers seating for five, is expected to achieve a manufacturer-estimated 87 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) in combined driving and 49 MPG in hybrid mode. With expected class-leading fuel economy better than 50 mpg in the city, which is the highest city mpg of any non-plug-in vehicle, the Prius c will be an entry into the Prius Family appealing to youthful shoppers seeking fuel efficiency, technology, and spirited driving dynamics in the subcompact segment. Both the Prius c and Prius Plug-in will go on sale in the spring of 2012.
The Prius vehicles rely on Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive, which benefits from 14 years of global market development, and pairs a highly efficient gasoline internal combustion engine with two high-output motor/generators, a large rechargeable battery, and an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission to help the vehicles attain class-leading fuel economy in their respective segments. The development of the systems that govern the operation, integration and regenerative capabilities of the Hybrid Synergy Drive system represent considerable engineering effort, and help enhance the efficiency and performance of succeeding generations of Hybrid Synergy Drive equipped vehicles.
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