7 Toyota Prius
Forget the awkwardness of the early prototypes. The 2005 Prius comes with Bluetooth technology for your wireless devices, a six-CD changer, and a sleek, head-turning new design. And there's that $2,000 tax deduction to consider - not bad for a car that starts at around $21,000.
For some, the four-door liftback Prius was the first and remains the best of the hybrids, with a combined mileage of 55 for the city and the highway. The car attracted 50,000 buyers in 2004 and forced a lengthy waiting time for delivery. This year, Toyota aims at easing the wait and bumping market share with 100,000 Priuses destined for U.S. shores.Suggested retail
: Starts at $21,000 minus options, taxes, and delivery.8 Chevrolet Silverado and GM Sierra
These sister - or brother - pickup trucks differ only in styling. Under the hood, the technology is the same: three 14-volt batteries plus a standard 12-volt one, and the standard-size, 5.3-liter V8 engine. You get 295 horsepower, 10,000 pounds of towing capacity, and a slight increase in gas mileage: about 2 mpg in the city and 1 mpg on the highway, for a total of about 18 in town and 21 on the road. And if you want amenities, the options include satellite radio and OnStar navigation.
But these trucks aren't just vehicles; they're power plants as well. They'll generate electricity you can tap via standard, three-pronged household outlets; the power keeps going for up to 32 hours on one tank of gas. Think contractors at a building site - or television at the campsite.
The trucks are available only in six states this year: California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Nevada, and Florida. Next year, they'll roll out to all 50 states.Suggested retail
: about $32,000 for two-wheel drive, $36,000 if you want to go four-wheeling (minus options, taxes, and delivery).