Alternative fuel cars are no longer the obvious and familiar hybrids or the converted bio-fuel cars that started the petroleum saving trend. The three finalist for the Autobytel 2012 Alternative Fuel Car of the Year each take a swing at the trend in very different ways.
Alternative fuels can mean many things: electric, combinations of electric and petroleum and now, even the increasingly accepted diesel. While not always about saving the Earth and being green, alternative fueled cars can save the real green, e.g. dollars and buyers can now enjoy all of the options avaliable in many configurations and price points.
Read on to see which three top the list and why they make the grade as Autobytel 2012 Alternative Fuel Cars of the Year.
The original Toyota Prius has become an iconic representative of the hybrid and alternative fuel market so what better than a version where form meets increased functionality, cargo space passenger comfort based on a proven hybrid powertrain? The Autobytel 2012 ALternative Fuel Car of the Year is the all-new 2012 Toyota Prius v.
While Toyota would insist that "v" is for versatility, the shape of the 2012 Toyota Prius v indicates more of "v" for van. and What's more appealing to hybrid car fans than the ever-popular Toyota Prius hatchback? Autobytel's Benjamin Hunting writes, "The 2012 Toyota Prius V is a new member of Toyota's hybrid family and one that aims to offer battery-powered car aficionados the chance to take advantage of wagon-like capabilities while still enjoying the excellent fuel economy that has become the Prius' calling card."
The size of the Prius v is only 6 inches more than the traditional Prius hatchback but the increase in interior space is exponential, assisted by rear seats that slide to accomodate passenger legs or cargo in the back. At 42 mpg on the highway, the 2012 Prius v is in more efficient than similar sized wagons and hatchbacks.
A luxury sedan that secretly passes with hybrid-style technology? As a finalist of the Autobytel 2012 Alternative Fuel Car of the Year, the 2012 Buick LaCrosse delivers exactly that kind of stealthy behavior: one that many buyers won't even realize.
The 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist is a hybrid and uses a mild hybrid system to significantly reduce emissions and improve fuel economy by up to 25% with innovations like automatic start/stop technology thanks to an oversized generator in place of an alternator, electricity producing regenerative braking and a high capacity lithium ion battery pack to store the extra electrons. That means up to 36 mpg on the highway: all of that in a luxury sedan package from that upstart Buick.
As a compact sedan with 90% less soot than the diesels of yesteryear, the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI is a finalist for the Autobytel 2012 Alternative Fuel Car of the Year and is winning the hearts and minds of buyers everywhere with its fuel-efficient powerplant.
Despite the assignation as a compact sedan, the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI is actually more inline with a mid-size sedan since the Americanized re-design. Catching about 42 mpg per gallon in a mid-sized sedan is pretty impressive and, starting at $16.495, is actually less expensive than the 2010 model.
The editorial staff of Autobytel has chosen the previous three alternative fuel cars as the best of what we have seen for 2012, and while there are many others in this class that probably deserve some kudos as well, we'd love to hear which one of the previous three you would choose for yourself.
Autobytel 2012 Compact Car of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Convertible of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Sedan of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Luxury Car of the Year
Autobytel 2012 SUV of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Luxury SUV of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Crossover of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Sports Car of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Alternative Fuel Car of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Pickup Truck of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Van/Minivan of the Year
Autobytel 2012 Wagon of the Year