2. Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid – Roadholding Hybrid
Green Score: 46
Fuel economy rating (EPA city/highway combined): 31 mpg
Base price range: $26,820-$30,120
Based on the compact Subaru
Impreza hatchback, the XV Crosstrek Hybrid features additional ground clearance (reaching a tall 8.7 inches) and specific styling cues that transforms it into a crossover SUV
. As with most Subaru
vehicles, a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system is standard. It comes primarily powered by a 2.0-liter 148-horsepower horizontally opposed “boxer” four-cylinder engine (the cylinders are aligned horizontally with each other rather than in an inline arrangement; this is said to reduce a car’s center of gravity and, in turn, its handling abilities). That engine is assisted by an electric motor-generator and a self-charging battery pack to help boost its acceleration, though it only gets nominally better fuel economy than the standard XV Crosstrek (which is rated at 29 mpg combined city/highway). At that it commands a hefty price premium of several thousand dollars. The standard version gets an only slightly lower green score of 43 with the optional CVT automatic transmission. Either way, the combination of AWD and the higher ground clearance makes the XV Crosstrek an ideal small car for those living in the Snow Belt. To that it offers winter-friendly features like heated front seats, heated side mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer.