If You Can’t Stop Burning gas, at Least Burn Less!

2016 Sonata Hybrid

2016 Sonata Hybrid

The ideal fuel-saving, planet-loving car is a pure electric vehicle, fueled by power generated by the solar panels on your roof. But if you can’t pull that off, at least yet, then you can still reduce the carbon footprint of what you do drive.

Manufacturers are making it easy to make better choices. Take, for example, the latest Hyundai Sonata. It’s a large midsize sedan, with a comfortable interior that carries five, and features attractive, up-to-date styling inside and out, You can buy it with a regular 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine or order up the Eco model, with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder.

Want to do even more? I just tested the new 2016 Sonata Hybrid, which mixes a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine with an electric motor and a battery pack that slips underneath the car.

Here are the numbers:

Sonata – 25 City, 37 Highway, 29 Combined.

Sonata Eco – 28 City, 38 Highway, 32 Combined (I averaged 29.9 mpg)

Sonata Hybrid – 39 City, 43 Highway, 41 Combined (I averaged 36.0 mpg)

There are other benefits, too. The EPA’s Green Vehicle Scores, which rate Smog and Greenhouse Gas emissions on a 1-10 scale, give the Hybrid a 5 for Smog and a whopping 9 for Greenhouse Gas. The Eco is a 5 and 8. The regular Sonata gets the same 5 for Smog and a 6 for Greenhouse Gas.

So–you can always do a little better. If you need less car, then go down a category (or two). If there’s less weight, you can use an even smaller engine. There are now cars with 1.0-liter engines, such as the Ford Focus, that have plenty of pep and sip fuel even more miserly.

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