The Best Eco-Friendly Cars

Find the Right Eco-Friendly Vehicle for Your Needs

eco friendly cars
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 Getty Images/Dominique Bruneton

If you are looking to go green, one of the first places to start is by examining your driving habits. While taking public transportation or riding a bike are the best ways to decrease your carbon footprint, it may not always be an option.

Thankfully, switching to a diesel-fueled, electric-powered, or even hybrid vehicle can help you be gentler to the planet—and to your wallet, too. While you might not associate diesel fuel, SUVs, or sleek sports cars with environmentalism, our picks deliver the serious quality you expect out of a car without sacrificing on environmental impact, either.

Best Eco Diesel Vehicle

Best Diesel Car: 2021 Volkswagen Jetta

Price: $18,995 to $28,045
MPG: 30

This is not a fancy car, but it is an incredibly affordable option if you are looking to go green. If you are a family guy or gal, you will appreciate the spacious trunk and roomy cabin, although there’s nothing fancy inside. Perhaps to make up for the lack of refinement, the vehicle still packs a respectable acceleration speed that will make other folks in the carpool line stop and take notice: This diesel car goes from zero to 60 miles per hour in about eight seconds.

Best Eco Electric Vehicles

Best Compact Electric Car: 2021 Chevrolet Bolt

Price: $36,500 to $41,700
MPGe: 118
Driving Range: 259 miles

This compact electric car packs a serious punch. With a range that gives you hours of reasonable highway driving, it trumps cheaper competitors regarding how far it can go without needing to rest and recharge. It also boasts a roomier interior than you might expect for a car of this size, which seats five comfortably, and the 200 horsepower engine allows it to accelerate quickly and quietly. Chevrolet also offers a Best Price Program that connects you with the dealerships in your area offering the best price.

Best Luxury Electric Car: 2021 Tesla Model S

Price: $81,190 to $141,190
Driving Range: 412 to 520 miles

This is one of the best cars available in the world, period. It comes standard with all-wheel drive, accelerates and handles wonderfully, has all of the latest techs, and of course has plenty of room for your friends and your stuff. As U.S. News and World Reports put it, “The Model S straddles the line between a luxury sedan and a sports car—with an environmentally friendly twist.” Of course, for that kind of quality, you’re certainly going to pay: This car costs more than two years’ pay for many people. But if you've got money to spend and you’re looking for a vehicle you won’t regret buying, you need to check out this Tesla.

Best Eco Hybrid Vehicles

Best Compact Hybrid Car: 2021 Hyundai Ioniq

Price: $24,405 to $34,155
MPG: 55
Driving Range: 170 miles

If you are not quite ready to commit to the plug, a hybrid car is a great option. Relying on both gas and electric power for fuel can help you save money at the pump and make the earth a little greener without dramatically changing your lifestyle. The Hyundai Ioniq is one of the most affordable hybrid cars on the market and delivers an impressive fuel efficiency rating that’s better than even the Toyota Prius. The interior is also built using eco-friendly materials, and there are a full 26.5 cubic feet of cargo space in the back. The lithium battery comes with a lifetime warranty and delivers a drive as smooth as any traditional compact car.

Best Compact Hybrid SUV: 2021 Kia Niro

Price: $25,865 to $37,725
MPG: 50

Nowadays, you can get a seriously sporty SUV that gets 50 miles to the gallon. The Niro is everything you could ever want in an SUV for an incredibly affordable price: It’s reliable, the cabin is chic and roomy, the car comes standard with modern and impressive infotainment systems, and there’s plenty of room for all of your stuff in the back.