Hybrids & Electrics

5 Affordable Green Cars You Should Check Out

Green cars are on the wish lists of many for a few reasons. The cars are powered by alternative fuel or electricity so its environmentally friendly. Some electric cars have a lower center of gravity and can hug the road for a smooth, exhilarating ride. Plus, since electric motors produce controlled torque at 0 rpm, it can give you stellar acceleration from a dead stop. That makes these cars extremely fun to drive.

Why are green cars on the wishlists of eager drivers? In most people’s minds, electric cars are polished luxury vehicles with outrageous price tags. Many would like to have one but consider them out of their budgets.

Not so fast. 

Now that we’ve reached the second and third generations of some models, electric cars are more affordable. With several EV and plug-in hybrids on the U.S. market, and many newcomers on the way, prices are coming down. The best green cars are accessible to more and more people.

Here are some of the more affordable 2019 best-in-class electric cars you’ll want to check out, according to Tom’s Guide.

1. Hyundai Kona Electric

One of the best values in a competitive global segment, the 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric is a compact crossover that’s so much fun to drive. Now that Hyundai has made an EV model available in the U.S., it’s popularity has only grown.

It’s priced at a reasonable $36,450. When you factor in the $7,500 tax incentive that customers receive when they buy Kona Electric, it becomes an even sweeter deal.

Don’t let its cute outer vibe fool you. Kona Electric offers a 201-hp electric motor with 291 lb-ft of torque that makes for an energetic ride. With an estimated total range of 258 miles on one charge, its capacity surpasses that of Chevy Bolt EV and the Tesla’s base Model 3.

The available Limited and Ultimate trim levels give you extras like smart cruise control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and ventilated leather seats.

2. Nissan Leaf Plus

After receiving a pretty large face-lift and some new technology, the 2019 Nissan Leaf has gone from zero to potential hero in the electric green car lineup.

The Nissan Leaf Plus, starting at $36,550, gives you 76 more miles on a single charge (226 miles estimated total) than the regular Leaf. The Plus also achieves better acceleration on the highways with a 214-hp output that’s a huge improvement over its previous 147 hp. The Nissan Leaf Plus isn’t the automaker’s best EV offering but it’s a noteworthy upgrade.

The price also gives the Hyundai Kona, Chevy Bolt, and Tesla Model 3 some solid competition. The SL trim level ($42,550) includes some neat extras like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a sweet Bose audio system, and blind-spot alerts.

3. Tesla Model 3

Tesla’s Model 3 starts at $39,900. It had a rocky start with production problems from the beginning. Finally, Tesla has ironed out all the kinks in Model 3’s production.

You see more and more of these sophisticated green vehicles on the road. While the Model 3 isn’t as sleek and stylish as Tesla’s Model S, it’s half the price. And it can travel as much as 220 miles on one charge using the standard battery.

Model 3 has some pretty great extras that give it an edge over the competition. There’s a generous 15-inch all-in-one touchscreen that’s center-mounted. There are also perimeter warnings and the promise of semi-autonomous software upgrades for the future.

There’s still a tax incentive for Model 3 but it’s recently been cut by the U.S. Government from $7,500 to $3,750. Tesla answered by lowering the prices of its models by $2,000 so you actually save $5,750. There is a possibility that the $3,750 incentive will go away before 2019 ends, so if you’re considering buying this car, best move fast.

4. Honda Insight

The 2019 Honda Insight starts at $22,830. It is a balanced hybrid that can run primarily as electric, switching to gas when you use the pedal. And you don’t have to plug the car in. Insight doesn’t feel any different from an average compact sedan. There’s no conventional shifting involved and sure, you’ll run into a lag in shift under hard acceleration here and there.

Yet, Insight is one quiet ride. Its active noise cancellation is a real bonus. The safety features here have been upgraded too with emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and road-departure mitigation all as standard features.

The best part? What are Insight’s gas usage numbers? How does 55/49 mpg in city and highway sound? The numbers are very close to those of Prius. The Insight has all the makings of a great green car.

5. Dodge Ram 1500 with eTorque 

Yes, we’re talking about a pickup truck. Those aren’t usually known for being environmentally-friendly. The 2019 Dodge Ram 1500 with eTorque isn’t going to set the green vehicle world on fire just yet. It does show clever use of electric to boost its performance without sacrificing its prowess.

The Dodge eTorque package comes standard with the V6 and is an option with V8. It’s a mild hybrid system that pairs a standard combustion engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery. The 48-volt package has a 430-watt lithium-ion battery and a 48-volt motor/generator. Combined with the gas engine, the truck gets a power boost at lower speeds. It doesn’t help a lot with the gas mileage.

eTorque gets rid of the annoying engine restarts that you get from the automatic engine shut-off that’s meant to save gas. The system fills the lag that you get in the standard versions when you mash the gas again. It’s a subtle feature but one truck fans will appreciate.

It will be interesting to see how Dodge develops its eTorque concept moving forward as the company continues to produce more green car options.