The 8 Greenest "Big" Cars


Let’s face it, we’re Americans and when it comes to our cars, big is sometimes better.

Overall, bigger cars mean relatively poorer fuel economy and thus higher emissions, but there has been progress along these lines. We’ve selected eight “big” cars that have made serious strides when it comes to gas guzzling, and still offer more room and added power to storm through rough terrain and weather. Not to mention, in SUVs and trucks, you get a commanding view of the road, a plus for 5’4” females like me.

And believe it or not, they’re not all hybrids. 

So if you daydream of marrying “big” with “fuel-efficient,” consider these top picks, some of which recently made Consumer Reports's 2009 survey of the most fuel efficient SUVs.

1.    Subaru Forester 2.5X (pictured)
City MPG: 18
Highway MPG: 30
Starts at $20,000
This car, acclaimed for its safety, recently won the 2009 Motor Trend’s Sports Utility of the Year.’s Overall Consumer Review gave it a rating of 8.8 out of 10. 

2.    Toyota Highlander Hybrid (Stock Quote: TM)
City MPG: 27
Highway MPG: 25
Starts at $34,000
U.S. News World & Report recently named this vehicle the No. 1 in Affordable Mid-Size SUVs. It’s more expensive than other SUVs in its class, but its city mileage is tough to beat.   

3.    Toyota RAV4

City MPG: 17
Highway MPG: 29
Starts at $21,500
This is the smallest of Toyota’s SUVs, but still a nice size hunk of metal. It ranks No. 3 in U.S. News World & Report’s Affordable Compact SUVs. It also scored a 10 out of 10 for reliability.

4.    Lexus RX400h (Hybrid)
City MPG: 16
Highway MPG: 29
Start at $43,000
Pricey, but considered to be the only true “luxury hybrid SUV,” by Edmunds. The vehicle’s hybrid system mixes a gas-fueled V6 engine with batteries and electric motor generators. Did we mention it’s fancy?

5.    Nissan Rogue SL (Stock Quote: NSANY)
City MPG: 17
Highway MPG: 27
Starts at $20,000
Consumer Reports likes this car for its fuel efficiency, transmission and crash-test results, among other qualities. Cargo area is not the best, but seats are spacious.

6.    Mitsubishi Outlander LS (4-cyl.) (Stock Quote: MTU)
City MPG: 16
Highway MPG: 30
Starts at $20,000
Now in its second generation, some improvements to the Mitsubishi Outlander include a third-row seat option and an available V6 engine. It has a lower profile than others in its class, like the Toyota RAV 4, and it has great cargo space.

7.    Chevrolet Silverado 15 Hybrid 2WD (Stock Quote: GM)
City MPG: 21
Highway MPG: 22
Starts at $39,000
If you really want room in the back, consider this vehicle, recognized as the most fuel-efficient standard pickup truck by In fact, it’s the only full-size hybrid pickup on the market.

8.    Mazda 5
City MPG: 22
Highway MPG: 28
Starts at $18,000
If a minivan or “wagon” is more your style, this car was ranked No. 3 in U.S. News’s Affordable Midsize Wagons. It offers solid cargo space, reliability, safety and of course fuel economy.



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