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5 green cars you could be driving by 2012

By Kateri Wozny, Contributing writer
Published On: Nov 22 2011 02:39:28 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 29 2011 11:16:23 PM CST
line of green cars hybrid environmental

iStock/mattjeacock

As gas prices rise at the pump it's no wonder many Americans have a headache when paying for their gas-guzzling vehicle. Instead of taking a pain reliever, why not look at car options where the grass is greener on the other side?

Although many consumers worry that cost and maintenance of these vehicles is too high, you don't necessarily have to go hybrid or electric to save money. They are plenty of green alternatives that will save you money without breaking the bank.

Other great reasons why consumers choose to drive green is for mileage, lower emissions and tax incentives. You have also probably noticed a unique looking vehicle while driving on the freeway only to learn that it is environmentally friendly.

Want to turn some heads and save with your next new vehicle? Here are five green cars you could be driving by 2012 ...

2012 Nissan Versa Sedan

No. 5: Nissan Versa sedan

With a futuristic look and incredible fuel economy, the Nissan Versa is a sedan that will have you looking it from all different angles and vice versa.

The Versa was first introduced to the U.S. in July 2006. According to Nissan, the 2011 model gets 38 mpg highway and 30 mpg city with automatic or manual transmission.

With a 1.6L engine and 4-cylinders, it's the first vehicle in the U.S. to use Pure Technology, which reduces the CO2 emissions and improves the fuel economy. The Versa's steering power also takes its energy from the battery to increase fuel efficiency and engine performance. Its engine components also reduce friction. For safety, it has fast-responsive brakes.

Depending on the three sedan models to choose from, the Versa also features front wheel drive, Bluetooth, a navigation system and an adapter to plug in an iPod.

Starting at $10,990, it's a steal.

2012 Subaru Impreza sedan

No. 4: Subaru Impreza

As the most fuel-efficient all-wheel drive car in the U.S., according to Subaru, it's no wonder the Subaru Impreza Sedan makes an impact on buyers.

Introduced in 1993, the Impreza is on its fourth generation. Starting at $17,495, the 4-door sedan can get up to 36 mpg highway and 27 mpg city, according to Subaru.

Not only does it sit low to improve handling, but features a 2.0L, 4-cylinder boxer engine to provide balance, power and fuel efficiency. The 2012 Impreza is the first model also clean enough to earn the Partial Zero-Emission Vehicle (P-ZEV), according to The Car Connection.

The Impreza is available in 4-door and 5-door models, manual or automatic. The Impreza also features seven airbags, traction control, a navigation system and XM Satellite Radio. It was named a 2011 Top Safety Pick from the Institute For Highway Safety.

Now that makes an impression.

2012 Hyundai Accent compact car

No. 3: Hyundai Accent

The 2012 Hyundai Accent accents itself by being expressive and distinctive.

Introduced in 1995, the Accent gets 40 mpg highway and 30 mpg city whether it's manual or automatic. With the automatic models, an Active ECO System is installed that modifies engine and transmission control for improved fuel economy. Tests show that the system provides up to a 7 percent improvement in fuel economy over vehicles without the ECO System, according to Hyundai.
Starting at $14,195, the Accent comes in three different models (4 or 5-door), all with a 1.6L, 4-cylinder GDI engine. The variable valve the engine has also helps improve torque and enhances fuel efficiency.

The Accent also provides six airbags, power steering, electronic stability control, ABS, traction control, and features an iPod adapter, Bluetooth and XM Radio.

What a way to show off!

2012 Chevrolet Sonic sedan car

No. 2: Chevrolet Sonic

With a sophisticated look, the Chevrolet Sonic stands out by being equal in both price and fuel efficiency.
As the second generation of the Chevrolet Aveo, it was introduced to the market in fall 2011. Starting at $13,735 for the sedan, the Sonic also comes in a Hatchback model priced at $14,635, according to Chevrolet.
The Sonic gets 40 highway and 29 city with a 1.4L turbocharged engine and manual transmission, according to Chevrolet. The 1.8L manual transmission gets 35 mph highway and 26 mpg city and the automatic with the same engine gets 35 mpg highway and 25 mpg city, according to M Live. It can also reach 60 mph in 8.2 seconds.

Not too shabby for a sedan.

Equipped with 10 airbags, the Sonic was chosen as a 2011 Top Safety Pick by the Institute For Highway Safety. It also features a Sirius Radio, OnStar and Bluetooth.

2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI car

No. 1: Volkswagen Passat TDI

The Volkswagen Passat TDI Sedan is definitely a vehicle to take a "pass at."

Introduced to the U.S. in 1973, Passat is German for "trade wind." With a 2.0L and clean diesel engine, the Passat gets a remarkable 43 mpg highway and 31 mpg city with manual transmission. The automatic transmission gets 40 mpg highway and 30 mpg city.

It also has a high pressure steel that holds well when a crash occurs, front wheel drive and ABS to control steering for a quicker response, according to Volkswagen.

The Passat also comes in a 2.5L, 5-cylinder engine and a 3.6L V6 engine model. The sedan also features Bluetooth, a navigation touchscreen and an adapter to plug in an iPod. Starting at $25,995, it was chosen as a 2011 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick.

Das smart!

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