KBB.com’s Top Green Cars For ‘09

2009-vw-jetta-tdi-photo.jpgOne of the best-known names in the auto industry, Kelley Blue Book, has named their top ten green cars for 2009. With the economy in a tougher place than it was a year ago, green-minded car shoppers have a different set of priorities this year. And, while all ten cars Kelly Blue Book listed are at or near the top of their class for fuel-economy, we were a bit surprised that sticker price and overall cost of ownership weren’t evaluated even closer. In Kelley’s defense, they did preface the fact that while many people want to drive greener vehicles, sometimes the smallest cars aren’t the best fit for the job.

The full article from Kbb.com is here, and below is a recap of their top ten picks ordered by combined fuel economy.

1.  2010 Toyota Prius (50 mpg)
2.  2010 Honda Insight (41 mpg)
3.  2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid (39 mpg)
4.  2009 VW Jetta TDI (34 mpg)
5.  2009 Mini Cooper (32 mpg)
6.  2009 Ford Escape Hybrid (32 mpg)
7.  2009 Honda Fit (31 mpg)
8.  2009 BMW 335d (27 mpg)
9.  2009 Toyota Highlander Hybrid (26 mpg)
10. 2009 Chevy Silverado Hybrid (21 mpg)

One car that we felt deserved a spot in the top 10 was the Toyota Yaris.  This little green machine comes fairly decked-out for about $15,000 while managing 32 mpg in combined fuel economy. In its place, Kbb.com chose the Honda Fit, which U.S. News recently ranked as the number one affordable small car. It was definitely a close call that could have gone either way, but at about 1/3rd the cost, it seems the Yaris could have replaced the $45,000 BMW 335d - and Kelley could have included them both.

KBB’s list of this year’s greenest vehicles also included the ‘09 hybrid Highlander from Toyota. It was noted that this larger SUV made the list because it is the most fuel efficient, three row vehicle available today. While that is true, one could argue that if you’re are going to include a hybrid suv with seating for more than 5, why not choose the 2009 hybrid Chevy Tahoe or similar 2009 GMC Yukon? Both are sport utilities that offer more cargo room, better off-road capabilities, and greater towing capacity than the Highlander, while managing over 20 miles per gallon in overall EPA economy.

Overall, I thought the list was well thought out and I especially liked the fact that it included several types of vehicles, rather than just tiny cars and hybrids. I have a feeling that in the next year or two, we will see even more diesel powered cars and even some all electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

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