It's a fact: shoppers prioritize different things when looking for new cars. Today, people tend to rank fuel economy above all else, but other folks crave reliability, some need performance, and still others prefer rides that reflect their lifestyle.
If you fall into that last category and "eco-friendly" is your chosen lifestyle, you might take a look at the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car (dubbed the "Mitsubishi i" in North America). It's just been named greenest car of the year by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
That's remarkable for a couple of reasons. For starters, this is the first time in 12 years that an electric vehicle has topped the list. (The ACEEE doesn't offer details on the last electric car to take top honors, but we have a hunch it was the Toyota RAV4 EV.) Also, it's the first time in eight years that the Honda Civic Natural Gas hasn't landed in the winner's circle. Together, that's good news for those who prioritize "green" credentials but also like practicality, since vehicles like the Civic aren't always feasible due to the more limited CNG infrastructure.
The ACEEE analyzed over 1,000 vehicles on three criteria: "tailpipe emissions, fuel consumption, and emissions of gases that contribute to climate change". In the end, each vehicle was assigned a total "Green Score". The Mitsubishi i-MiEV earned a sum of 58, the highest on record.
Rounding out the top spots were:
Of course, the ACEEE also doles out prizes for the "meanest" cars on the road (i.e. the least environmentally friendly). The worst offenders were: