Top 10 Green Cars of 2014

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

Thinking of going green with your daily commute? There are dozens of options available in today’s market for an eco-friendly car and if you’re curious on which ones are greenest, you’ve come to the right place.

The Green Car Guide compiled by the Automobile Association of America (AAA) has released its top 10 Green Car list, which includes five clean diesels, three electric vehicles and a pair of hybrids. This year’s Green Car Guide reviewed a total of 83 hybrids, electric cars, CNG-powered cars, clean diesels and partial zero-emissions vehicles to determine its top 10 list. All vehicles were tested and evaluated in 13 categories including emissions, fuel economy, acceleration, handling and other factors.

Surprisingly, you won’t be seeing the Chevrolet Volt on the list, while other vehicles might not come as a surprise.

Powered by a 3.0-liter V6 turbo-diesel engine, the Audi A6 TDI Quattro Tiptronic is one of several clean diesel vehicles that make it onto the list. With 240 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque available to its driver, the A6 TDI manages a respectable 24 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway for a 29-mpg combined rating. Priced from $58,395 for the 2014 model year, the A6 TDI is an attractive option for luxury sedan shoppers looking to go green.

SEE ALSO: 2014 Audi A6 TDI vs BMW 535d

Available with a starting price of $52,325, the Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTEC is powered by a 2.1-liter turbocharged diesel four-cylinder engine with 195 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The luxury sedan is rated at 28 mpg in the city and an impressive 42 mpg on the highway. In 4MATIC trim, the E250 BlueTEC’s fuel economy suffers, with a 27-mpg city, 38-mpg highway rating. According to the German automaker, the diesel-powered E-Class sedan hits 60 mph from a standstill in 7.9 seconds.

SEE ALSO: 2014 Mercedes E250 BlueTEC Rated at 45-MPG Highway

The larger 2014 Audi A8L TDI has the same 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6 found in the other TDI models, but under the hood of the A8L, it produces 406 lb-ft of torque rather than 428 lb-ft (A6 TDI). Its horsepower rating is identical however at 240 hp, but all the extra roominess comes with a starting price of $83,395. Fuel economy for such a large, luxury sedan is a respectable 24 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, though the A8L TDI is the slowest member of the A8 family, accelerating to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds.

SEE ALSO: 2014 Audi A8L TDI Review

Continuing with yet another Audi, the 2014 Audi Q5 TDI has the same powerplant as its stablemates and has identical output as the A6 TDI (240 hp, 428 lb-ft of torque). The 3.0-liter V6 turbo-diesel engine is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive while returning 24 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Pricing on the 2014 Audi Q5 TDI starts at $47,395.

SEE ALSO: 2014 Audi Q5 TDI Review

If you’re looking for a practical, affordable green car, the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid is for you. Priced from $29,945, the Honda Accord Hybrid features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder hybrid powertrain with a total system output of 166 hp and 226 lb-ft of torque. Even better, it is rated for 50 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway. Caveat emptor: Consumer Reports recently panned the car for falling far short of that figure.

SEE ALSO: 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Review

The all-electric Nissan Leaf finds its way into the fifth place spot with a starting price of $29,830. Sporting an 80 kW AC synchronous electric motor that generates 107 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque, the Leaf has a driving range of up to 84 miles and gets an EPA-estimated 126 MPGe in the city and 101 MPGe on the highway. Available options on the Leaf include Charge Package ($1,250), LED headlights and Quick Charge Port Package ($1,630) and the Premium Package ($1,050) which adds Around View Monitor and a Bose Premium audio system.

SEE ALSO: 2013 Nissan Leaf Review

Want a green luxury sedan without owning an Audi? The Lexus GS 450h might appeal to you with its total system output of 338 hp. The Atkinson-cycle V6 hybrid powertrain comes with a 3.5-liter gasoline engine while netting 29 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. The GS 450h comes at a price however, as the hybrid powertrain commands a premium with a starting price of $61,340.

SEE ALSO: 2014 Lexus GS 350, 450h Add Eight-Speed Transmission

The last of the Audi models is the stunning A7 TDI, which has a starting price of $67,795. Once again, under the hood is the company’s 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 diesel engine producing 240 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. The fastest of the bunch, the A7 TDI hits 60 mph from a standstill in 5.5 seconds while getting an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 24-mpg city, 38-mpg highway. And just like the rest of the Audi diesel models, the A7 TDI comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive.

SEE ALSO: 2014 Audi A7 TDI Review

Though Toyota will no longer be producing the RAV4 EV after this year, the electric crossover is the second greenest car on the top 10 list. Priced from $50,660, the RAV4 EV takes advantage of an electric powertrain supplied by Tesla and gets an estimated 78 MPGe in the city and 74 MPGe on the highway. Its total driving range is up to 103 miles with a top speed of 100 mph while going 0-60 in about seven seconds. In total, the RAV4 EV produces 154 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque.

SEE ALSO: 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV Review – Video

It might not come as a surprise to see that the Tesla Model S is the greenest car on the list. The rear-wheel drive electric vehicle comes with a standard 60-kWh battery, but the model topping the list is the one equipped with the 85-kWh battery that provides 362 hp and a driving range of up to 265 miles. With a top speed of 125 mph, the Model S will hit 60 MPH in 5.4 seconds and comes with an eight-year, unlimited mile battery warranty. Those looking for even more power can opt for the Model S 85 Performance which has 416 hp, a carbon fiber spoiler, Tesla Red brake calipers and an Alcantara headliner.

SEE ALSO: 2013 Tesla Model S Review – Video

Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at AutoGuide.com saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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  • Chargedup Chargedup on Jul 02, 2014

    This is whole Lotta B.S my Volt crushes these foreign piece of crap cars

  • Matthew Sawyer Matthew Sawyer on Jul 01, 2014

    I am amazed at how many traditional ICE vehicles dominated this list. With the exception of the RAV4 EV, Nissan LEAF and Tesla Model S--the last of which deserved the top spot--this list is fraught with gas guzzlers. The first car on the list, the Audi A6, has a combined EPA rating of 29 MPG. Really? How did a car with a combined EPA rating of less than 30 even come close to making a "green" list? Number 7 on the list is even worse, with a 24/31 rating...that's a combined MPG rating of 27-28 MPG. That's called a gas guzzler. My Volt, by comparison, got over 40 MPG when taking a road trip across the state, and when I'm commuting, I continuously get 1000+ MPG because I never use gas on my commutes. According to VoltStats.net, I get 79.26 MPGe (MPG equivalent), which converts your electrical usage into MPG. My MPGe is actually higher now because it's summer; that number was lowered by the exceedingly cold winter we had here in Michigan. But despite that, my Volt still did far better than EVERY vehicle on this list...except the Model S. I would take this list worth a grain of salt. I think the author felt guilty and included the LEAF and Model S. This is a list that would make OPEC proud.

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