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Road & Travel Magazine's 2013 Green Car Buyer's Guide - Top 10 Picks by Martha Hindes

2013 Green Car Buyer's Guide

by Martha Hindes
with c
ontributions by
Bob Plunkett and
Tim Healey

Not long ago, the idea of a plug-in electric car was enough to raise lots of eyebrows. Quips circulated about a bubble-shaped car dragging an orange extension charging cord behind it like the tail of a cat, or sitting in the middle of a freeway when the AA batteries ran dry. Of course the batteries that power an electric car, or a gas-electric hybrid car for that matter, are light years beyond those that set a flashlight aglow.

But the idea behind it isn't futuristic at all. With tragedies such as Hurricane Sandy and this winter's severe snow storms in our rear view mirrors, the idea of climate change has taken on an urgency not seen in the past. And while auto companies already had gotten on the bandwagon in developing earth friendlier vehicles that could scoff at trips to the gas station or get their power from distant plants or wind farms away from urban areas, there's nothing like immediacy to get someone's attention. Look around you as you drive, and you're likely to see fuel conserving vehicles in the next lane, or down the block.

Of course not all “green” cars are the highest tech varieties. There are many levels of eco-friendly from pure electric that can plug into a garage outlet overnight, to high mileage clean diesels that eliminate those smoky exhausts that used to foul the air, to alternate fuel autos using bio-fuels that can be made from garbage or scrub foliage as well as from corn. Even traditionally powered internal combustion vehicles have fuel stingy eco-technology in their systems.

Whatever your earth friendly pleasure, if you're in the market for new, hot looking wheels and want to coddle the environment while getting good mileage and -- of course -- having fun, just remember that these days it's a lot easier being green. And a lot more stylish too. We think Kermit would agree. Read why...

Green Car Buyer's Guide - RTM's Top 10 Picks for 2013

Chevy Malibu Eco

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Chevy Spark

Kia Rio SX