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Green Luxury: Save the Planet in Style With These Five Eco-Friendly Cars

The Porsche 918 Spyder is a mid-engined concept sports car designed by Porsche The Porsche 918 Spyder is a mid-engined concept sports car designed by Porsche

So, you've been working hard, growing your garden and your bank account, and it's time to trade in that trusty old Geo Metro for some new wheels. You want to look cool and have a car that performs, but you also want to do your part for the environment, so you've decided that eco-friendly is the way to go. Picking a car is a big decision, so to aid you in your search; we've put together a list of five green cars, in various price ranges, that are a little more glamorous than your mom's Prius. A lot of advances have been made in the world of eco-friendly automobiles since Honda released its Insight at the turn of the last century, so let's check out these chic new green vehicles.

1.) Ford Escape Hybrid ($30,570 base)

"Red, White and Green Value Vehicle"

America's first hybrid sport-utility vehicle is still an industry leader, with healthy sales and excellent reviews. Bragging 34 miles per gallon (highway) the Ford Escape Hybrid also has 90 percent fewer emissions than regular gas-powered SUVs, without sacrificing power or versatility. It has optional all-wheel drive for extra traction when necessary, and the Active Park Assist system with a rear view camera to avoid accidents.

With all of the typical interior amenities, like touch-screen navigation, options for a leather interior and moon-roof, and plenty of seating and storage, the Escape Hybrid has everything you need in an SUV. Its price, starting at just above $30,000, is very reasonable as well, making the Ford Escape Hybrid a good option for those of us without extra money to burn.

2.) Lexus RX450H ($44,825 base)

"The Luxury Green Utility Vehicle"

The Lexus RX450H is a hybrid sports utility vehicle for people who want a few more features and a more power than the Ford Escape Hybrid. The 295 horsepower, 3.5 liter V6 hybrid engine boasts a 0-60 acceleration speed of 7.4 seconds, 32 mpg (highway) and available part-time all-wheel drive, in a sleek, sexy Lexus body.

On the inside, the RX450H is a very comfortable ride. Featuring voice-activated navigation with an optional 'heads up' display (which projects simple navigation directions onto the windshield,) heated and ventilated seats, intuitive parking assistance and a back-up camera, and a Mark Levinson premium sound system, you will be riding in green luxury and style.

3.) Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid ($69,000 base)

"The Eco-Sportscar"

Your typical beefy sports car is no friend of the environment, but the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid is no typical sports car, however beefy it may be. Boasting 380 horsepower and a 0-60 acceleration of 6.1 seconds, this is a high-performance sports car first and a hybrid second.

With only 24 mpg (highway,) the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid may not be the most eco-friendly car on this list, but it is significantly greener than your average sports car, and features a pretty cool innovative new technology where the engine is rapidly warmed to optimal performance temperature to help reduce emissions and fuel consumption.

In addition to top notch handling and an engine built for performance, the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid features ParkAssist and a rear-view camera like many new vehicles, as well as a moon-roof, tinted windows, a navigation system with Bluetooth, and a state-of-the-art BOSE surround sound audio system.

4.) Mercedes-Benz S350 w/ BluTec Diesel ($93,425 base)

"Green In Disguise"

Diesel passenger vehicles have been popular in Europe for years as a more fuel-efficient alternative to the traditional gas-powered engine. Their long range on a tank of fuel is legendary, leading to most commercial trucks consuming diesel, even in the US. Diesel passenger vehicles have never quite had the same popularity in America because of environmental stigmas around diesel use, which is often stronger-smelling, with more emissions, than regular gasoline. Mercedes-Benz has eliminated this issue with their BluTec diesel engine, which uses a variety of complicated processes to convert almost all of their exhaust into harmless nitrogen. Poof! Clean green diesel!

The Mercedes-Benz S350 sedan has a powerful V6 engine that actually outperforms their hybrid sedan when comparing both mileage and range. The S350 can go 737 miles on a tank of diesel fuel; try that with your average hybrid. Europe, a place full of good ideas, has embraced diesel, allowing for some pretty amazing innovations in diesel technology. It may not be the fuel of the future, but many diesel vehicles are a great, greener alternative to regular gas-powered cars, and even 'out-green' many hybrids.

5.) Porsche 918 Spyder ($845,000 base) *coming 2013

"The Rock Star Environmentalist"

If you have an extra million bucks laying around (who doesn't?), you can always consider adding your name to the waiting list for the 2013 release of the Porsche 918 Spyder sports car. Only 918 of this amazing piece of green machinery are being produced (hence, the 918 in the name,) so you may want to get down to your local Porsche dealer with that piggy bank sometime soon, but chances are you will not be disappointed when your new toy arrives.

Porsche's first plug-in hybrid features a seven-speed transmission with a top speed of 199 mph, 0-60 acceleration in 3.1 seconds, and can get 78 mpg on the highway -- when not traveling at 199 mph, that is. The electric part of the engine features a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery that can be charged at home or at a plug-in station, and also receives a charge by what is called regenerative breaking, where energy is redirected into the batteries from the friction created when braking. Add in variable all-wheel drive and a sleek design, and the result is one lean, green, driving machine. Who wants to buy us one?

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What role will hydroponics play in humankind’s future? Find out here.

Want a green luxury sportscar? Check out what Leonardo DiCaprio is driving.

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Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid Concept
Last modified on Monday, 16 July 2012 13:28

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