5 Honda Accord hybrid
Honda isn't ceding the fast lane to Toyota or anyone else in the
car biz. After getting its feet wet with the hybrid Civic, it
rolled out the 2005 Accord Hybrid by billing it as a
"255-horsepower V6 rocket." That puts the Accord right up there
where Honda wants to be: with the performance sedans.
This hybrid version of the top-selling, oh-so-reliable Accord
has been overshadowed by some of the new models, but its track
record can't be overlooked. And going green here has nothing to do
with roughing it. There's a leather-trim interior, dual-zone
automatic climate control, and heated front seats. You want a
voice-activated navigation system? Honda's got it, too, for a
little extra. The 37 city, 29 highway mileage is a definite
advantage come time for the family budgeting session.
Suggested retail: $30,140 minus options, taxes, and delivery.
6 Saturn Vue
General Motors knows a lot about the emotions that drive car sales.
Chairman of GM North America Bob Lutz said as much when he wryly
told reporters recently that some folks simply want to make an
"environmental statement" by buying a hybrid.
It's not a big market for a mega-automaker? that will turn
out about 9 million vehicles this year, but GM isn't in business to
overlook potential sales. That's why it has a gas/electric Saturn
Vue sport-utility vehicle coming out mid-2006. Its two
25-horsepower electric motors drive a 50 percent increase in fuel
economy - that's about 40 mpg - and combine with a 125-horsepower
combustion engine that takes over at higher speeds.
Saturn likes to bill itself as a different kind of car company. In
the hybrid world, it's also a different kind of technology.