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2011’s Top Ten Green Cars Offer More Choice Than Ever

2011 Nissan Leaf Tops Kelley Blue Book's Top 10 Green Cars List

If you were in the market for a green car ten years ago, your choices were few and far between. The Toyota Prius and Ford Escape Hybrid were newly available -- and rarer than hens’ teeth. Now it seems like every third driveway has a hybrid in it, and all-electric cars are moving from hobbyists’ garages to the mainstream vehicle marketplace.

When Kelley Blue Book, a well-known authority on vehicle prices and buying trends, published its annual list of the Top Ten Green Cars for 2011, it had lots of eco-friendlier cars to choose from, and they’re not all limited to that one special dealership in Los Angeles. You can find most of these cars most anywhere.

Without further ado, the list, with combined city/highway gas mileage in parentheses:

10. 2012 Ford Focus (31 mpg)

9. 2012 Fiat 500 (33 mpg)

8. 2011 Hyundai Elantra (33 mpg)

7. 2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI (34 mpg)

6. 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid (39 mpg)

5. 2011 Honda Insight (41 mpg)

4. 2011 Lexus CT 200h (42 mpg)

3. 2011 Toyota Prius (50 mpg)

2. 2011 Chevy Volt (93 mpg equivalent)

1. 2011 Nissan Leaf (99 mpg equivalent)

Those last two models, the Volt and Leaf, are given “equivalent” qualifiers because they don’t run on gasoline in the same way a conventional car does. (Neither, for that matter, does the VW Golf TDI, which runs on diesel fuel.) The Volt is a plug-in hybrid, which does carry a small gas-powered motor on board to extend its range, but the wheels are almost always driven by electricity. The Leaf is electric only and emissions free.

The best part about this list is that there really is something for everyone, from the early adopter to the fan of the tried and true. There are full-sized hybrids like the Fusion and tiny conventional models like the new Fiat. There’s even a luxury Lexus hybrid these days.

The availability of so many models has changed the green-car landscape, with more to come in the future as CAFE standards increase. To find out if any of these vehicles will work with your lifestyle, start with our Car Research to help make a decision.