Green is the word that each and every manufacturer is trying to adopt to nowadays. Rising levels of pollution coupled with depletion of natural resources has resulted in all the automobile manufacturers putting pressure on their R&D departments to eke out the best possible fuel efficiency from even a drop of gasoline or even diesel. In a bid to satisfy both the purists and the environment conscious, automobile companies have chosen the Hybrid route. In addition to giving you green credentials, this cars also fetch a high resale value should the time come for selling them off. For the calendar year 2011, there are approximately 8 cars which have been lined up and claim to be the number 1 in terms of hybrid technology and be the best in reducing emissions as also improving the mileage figures. We have compiled a list of these cars and what to expect from them.
2011 Toyota Prius : This car is one of the oldest hybrid models available in the world. By far, it is the most fuel efficient as well. Coming in 2011 in its third avatar, the 2011 Toyota Prius would still be the benchmark for its peers. This new version is set to feature more power, up by 22% whereas the fuel efficiency would be notches higher than what it was for the previous model. The latest tech in this car would force the engine to use the un-burnt part of the fuel going out from its exhaust. This would ensure that the Prius emits the least pollutants into the atmosphere while at the same time returning more than 50 mpg.
2011 Lexus CT 200h : Coming from the Toyota stables, this car shares most of the components from the Prius. It will be the smallest hybrid car in the Lexus portfolio. It gets an aerodynamic shape and inspite of being a hybrid, would be fun to drive. The interiors would be typical Lexus and that means a high end audio system and other electronic goodies. The 2011 Lexus CT 200h would also race from 0-60 mph in only 9.4 seconds.
2011 Kia Optima Hybrid : Shown at the Los Angeles Motor Show,this car promises to be the South Korean manufacturer’s first foray into the hybrid technology warfare. Look wise, it is similar to its non hybrid version which is on sale currently. The 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid car gets zero emission, fully electric motor which is run by lithium polymer battery. To avoid wastage of fuel, there is an automatic engine shutoff provided. Desirable looks, high quality interiors as also a pedestrian alerting Virtual Engine Sound System with 40 mpg fuel efficiency figures, ensure that the 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid would be a top seller for Kia.
2011 Infiniti M35h Hybrid : Though not much details are available even after the 2011 Infiniti M35h Hybrid was revealed at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, estimates say that this car would have a V6 engine with 3.5 liter capacity and one which would run on the Atkinson cycle. There would also be a 1.3 kWh lithium ion battery which can power the vehicle to speeds upto 60 mph. Mind you, all this propulsion would only come from the electric motor. Expected fuel efficiency is pegged at 43 mpg.
2011 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid : Europe’s largest car manufacturer, Volkswagen doesn’t want to be left behind in this rat race and they are bringing in their 2011 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid SUV into the equation. The technology boon that this car gets is the coasting technology. When the gas pedal is released, this car disconnects the engine from its transmission allowing for less fuel consumption even when the SUV is at higher speeds. The estimated top speed of this car is 150 mph. Its fuel efficiency is also said to be in the regions of 38-40 mpg.
2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid : Like the Lexus, even this car is being touted as a driver’s car with enough to spare for the passengers. The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid would now feature a display system which would show its driver the battery, fuel level that they are using up every time they press the throttle. It also tells the driver how his driving style affects the fuel efficiency of the car and also a projected chart on how to eke out the best possible fuel economy from this car. An excellent ride quality apart, the car also boasts of one of the most spacious cabins with many cool features. Lincoln officials are tight lipped about the engine option for this car however it will have a power of 191 Hp and is supposed to have a fuel efficiency of 41 mpg. Expected pricing is around the $35,000 mark.
2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid : Being sister concerns, Hyundai and Kia share the same technology however both would have different fuel efficiency figures. The Sonata would have a bit lower fuel efficiency figure than the much lighter Kia Optima. However the Hyundai boasts of a better styling than its previous generation car and would most probably have different interiors than the one on the regular Sonata. It also gets the Lithium polymer battery pack which is said to be highly efficient and allows the Sonata Hybrid to go upto 37 mpg before needing a refill.
2011 Honda Civic Hybrid : Like the cult Civic sedan, the 2011 Honda Civic Hybrid also promises to be a great looker. Its smooth driving characteristics coupled with the excellent handling make it one of the most desirable cars in North America. It is said that while cruising, the 2011 Honda Civic Hybrid can shut off all its 4 cylinders and cruise with the help of only the electric motor. The engine nonetheless is still on. However this is said to have benefits for the fuel economy stakes and at 41 mpg, it is very good. Also the asking price of $25,000 is the lowest in this group.
This car is expected to be launched at around July 2011 and India could also be a part of the global launch.