Get up and go — by way of the newest eco-friendly car models on the market, which are becoming increasingly sleek, technologically advanced, even more fuel-friendly, and affordable. With federal tax credits for plug-in electric vehicles ranging from $2,500 to $7,500, and tax credits also available for hybrid gas-electric and alternative fuel vehicles, you can go green, and save some, too. (Visit energy.gov/taxbreaks.htm for more information.)
Fuel Economy: City, 30 mpg/Highway, 28 mpg
Emission Rating: Certifi ed Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle
Green Gadgets: Eco Mode performance feature, which regulates air conditioning and throttle response to accommodate acceleration; Regenerative Braking; Hybrid Powertrain 3.5-liter V6 Atkinson-cycle engine
“The RX450h is the hybrid sport utility version of our most popular car, the RX350. Fuel economy is one of the prime benefi ts of the hybrid model, as it doubles the city fuel economy of the standard gas model. Acceleration is immediate due to the combination of gas and electric motors.” — Tim Brady, General Manager, Rohrich Lexus, 888.234.2044. rohrichlexus.com.
“Lexus hybrid technology is far more advanced than any other manufacturer. While other automakers talk about hybrids, Lexus has four on the road with a fi fth coming soon!” — Kevin Mullen, Vice President/General Manager, Lexus of North Hills, 724.940.1400. lexusofnorthhills.com.
MSRP: Starting at $29,950
Fuel Economy: City, 30 mpg/Highway, 42 mpg
Emission Rating: LEV II Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle
Green Gadgets: FSI direct injection technology, which increases fuel economy by 15 percent and decreases exhaust emissions; Inline four-cylinder clean diesel engine with TDI direct injection
“Just sitting in the Audi A3, you get the sense of luxury by the look and feel of the materials used in the interior. And its stunning and sporty exterior looks personify just why Audi is continuing to win over the hearts of consumers today.” — Dave Plattner, Sales Manager, Sewickley Car Store, 888.835.8563. sewickleycars.net.
Fuel Economy: No gasoline required, 100 miles per charge
Emission Rating: Zero Emissions Vehicle
Green Gadgets: High response synchronous AC motor 80kW, which can reach speeds up to 90 mph; Regenerative Brakes; Exterior partially constructed from recyclable material
“The all-electric Nissan Leaf will be arriving in our South Hills Nissan showroom very soon and promises to be the world’s first affordable, zero-emissions car and will be eligible for a $7,500 tax credit, further reducing the price of this game-changing production vehicle.” — Calvin Lane, director of sales, #1 Cochran Nissan, 866.542.3233. cochran.com.
Fuel Economy: 40 miles per electric charge, in conjunction with a gas-powered, range-extending generator, which can yield up to hundreds of miles
Green Gadgets: Lithium-ion battery pack; OnStar mobile app, which can monitor the vehicle’s electric range, charge, and fuel effi ciency and act as a remote opener and starter
“‘Going green’ is no longer an option or marketing ploy. We need to examine the short and long-term barriers to meeting stricter government standards and identify ways to accelerate progress toward goals and solutions that contribute to environmental sustainability and problems. We believe General Motors and Chevrolet are committed to those goals.” — Kirk Brosius, Sales Manager, Day Chevrolet, 724.327.0900. daychevrolet.com.
Fuel Economy: City, 28/Highway, 37
Green Gadgets: E-Gas electronic throttle Engine Control Unit; Underbody aerodynamic Panel, which reduces aerodynamic drag; Volume flow regulated oil pump; optional Carfun Offset program
“The MINI Cooper designers have succeeded in producing a car that is fun to drive, easy to park, holds its value, and is very fuel efficient. The MINI Cooper has the combined fuel economy top rating for all Mini-compact cars at 32 miles per gallon. The window sticker lists highway MPG as high as 44.” — Bill Schmitt, Motoring Advisor, MINI of Pittsburgh/P & W Foreign Cars, 877.299.9045. miniofpittsburgh.com.
Fuel Economy: City, 30 mpg/Highway, 42 mpg
Emission Rating: Low Emissions Vehicle II/ Bin 5 EPA Federal Emissions Concept
Green Gadgets: In-line four-cylinder turbocharged clean diesel engine with common rail direct injection system; Requires Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel fuel
“Volkswagen’s TDI Clean Diesel technology realizes diesel [fuel’s] full potential with improved performance, increased mileage and a 95 percent drop in sooty emissions. The TDI engine is available in the Volkswagen Golf, Jetta, Jetta Sportwagen, and Touareg. This provides a fun-to-drive car or SUV with great fuel economy and a clean alternative for the environment.” — Christine Mohler-King, Sales Manager, Sendell Motors, 724.837.1600. sendellmotors.com.