What makes a vehicle really bad for the environment? Basically, everything you would expect from a luxury car or SUV factors in here, from heavy weights and low fuel economy to an emissions-intensive production process. The list of the “Meanest Cars of 2016″ yield few surprises in these departments. However, some of the low-priced passenger vans on the market in 2016 may raise eyebrows. Two frumpy people haulers made the cut, with one landing second place on this list of emissions offenders.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) is responsible for the methodology and publication of this list every year on Greenercars.org. Accompanying the most noxious to the environment is the list of greenest vehicles available for the model year in question, and a quick glance at that bunch reveals what it takes to be green: small, light frames and electric motors.
You won’t find any lithium-ion batteries or other design elements promoting efficiency on this list. Expect brawn and luxury in the 10 vehicles to follow. Here are the cars rated worst for the environment for the 2016 model year. Note: By cars, ACEEE means trucks, SUVs, and passenger cars alike. Extremely high-end luxury cars that sell in minimum quantities and heavy-duty pickups were excluded from contention.
10. Bentley Continental GT & Flying Spur
You don’t buy a car with a 12-cylinder engine if you care about a vehicle’s environmental impact, and that’s exactly what you get when opting for the Bentley Continental GT or Flying Spur. The GT’s output of 500 horsepower is unkind to the fuel economy ratings, which max out at 12 miles per gallon in city driving. Good thing they have fuel tanks capable of holding 24 gallons. The ACEEE awarded this pair of luxury beasts a green score of 26, placing them firmly among the meanest to planet Earth.
9. Lexus LX570
If you need to conquer off-road kingdoms with eight passengers on board, the Lexus LX 570 is a vehicle that can help get the job done. Sporting a 5.7-liter V8 engine offering 383 horsepower and a towing capacity of 7,000 pounds, it’ll be a major achievement to get the maximum city economy of 13 miles per gallon. Hence the basement-level green score of 26, which is less than half the rating the ACEEE gave to the Tesla Model S.
8. Mercedes-Benz GL 63 AMG
Like many of the vehicles declared “meanest” to the environment in 2016, the Mercedes GL 63 AMG is a beast of a transportation option with power specs (550 horses) and towing capacity (7,500 pounds) luxury consumers rarely need. Of course, that isn’t the point in this vehicle class, and the $121,100 base price tag is announcement that you have arrived. Able to get 13 miles per gallon in city driving on a good day, you’re going to need the 26-gallon tank for trips of any distance. The range-topping GL SUV landed a green score of 25.
7. Ford Transit T150 Wagon
Taking care of business is often the idea behind the Ford Transit wagons, and the T150 with 3.7-liter V6 turned out to be one of the meanest to the environment. While heavy-duty pickups and other work vehicles were excluded from the ACEEE rankings, wagons like this model were included for their popularity among vacationers in the lower 48. T150 wagons peak at 18 miles per gallon on the highway and landed a green score of 25.
6. Toyota Sequoia
Toyota gives the mammoth Sequoia the tagline “Anything but ordinary” and the same applies to it poor green score of 25. Like most cars on this list, the eight-seater gets horrendous economy in city driving (13 miles per gallon) and packs serious punch with a 5.7-liter V8 capable of 281 horsepower. Need to tow 7,400 pounds on a regular basis? The Sequoia’s got you and the gang covered.
5. Mercedes-Benz G550
Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUVs define luxury and excess, so it’s no surprise they have a heavy presence on this list of the environment’s most hated. In the G550 ($119,900), you get a maximum 416 horsepower and 14 miles per gallon in highway (13 in the city). This beast looks ready for battle, so you’re probably covered for any light-arms skirmished that break out in your neighborhood. Otherwise, it’s one of the auto industry’s most polluting vehicles. The ACEEE gave it a green score of 23.
4. Bentley Mulsanne
For a low-volume auto brand, Bentley has a strong presence on the 2016 Meanest list. Its third entry belongs to the Mulsanne, a luxury cruiser with a 6.8-liter engine capable of 505 horsepower and a stunning 752 pound-feet of torque. With a gross vehicle weight over 7,000 pounds, it takes that level of power to move passengers along, and you’ll only get 11 miles per gallon in city driving with the Mulsanne, which landed a green score of 23.
3. Mercedes-Benz G 63 AMG
Speaking of beastly Mercedes SUVs, the automaker notched another on the environment’s least-friendly list with the G 63 AMG, a tank-like force providing drivers with 563 horsepower for everyday trips around L.A. At a base price of $139,900, it’s neither the most polluting nor priciest AMG bruiser on this list, but it comes close. That engine power is enough to get the G 63 to 60 miles per hour in 5.3 seconds. The bad news is it averages 12 miles per gallon in the city.
2. Chevrolet G2500 Express & GMC Savana
Thought not the picture of luxury or excess, the Chevy G2500 Express and mirror-image GMC Savana is one of the worst cars for the environment for the 2016 model year. Weighing about 6,000 pounds depending on the wheelbase you choose, this van can haul close to 10,000 pounds, so there is plenty of utility involved with the abuse of local air at 11 miles per gallon in city driving. The ACEEE gave it a green score of 22.
1. Mercedes-Benz G65 AMG
There can only be one worst offender when it comes to vehicles of the 2016 model year, and the dubious distinction goes to the Mercedes-Benz G65 AMG. From our first look at this monster at the 2015 New York Auto Show, it was clear its raison d’etre was pure excess. It offers 621 horsepower and an ungodly 738 pound-feet of torque courtesy of a handcrafted 6.0-liter bi-turbo V12. Such disregard comes at the steep base price of $217,900. Featuring 11 miles per gallon economy in city driving, it set itself apart from the pack with a green score of 20.