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Rated by cradle-to-grave pollution, here are the 11 cleanest crossover SUVs for 2015

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4. Nissan Juke – Amenable Oddball

Green Score: 45
Fuel economy rating (EPA city/highway combined): 29
Base price range: $19,995-$26,995

Arguably the sportiest SUV for the money, the Juke is distinguished by truly eccentric styling with great big round haunches situated atop the wheel wells and a front end treatment in which everything seems curiously out of place. No matter, it’s a playful ride out on the road, with quick steering and nimble handling that can make even an urban shopping expedition more enjoyable (provided there’s not too many potholes in the road, as the ride is tuned on the rough side). It’s “greenest” in its base front-drive configuration with the standard six-speed manual transmission, which helps make the Juke particularly playful; a gearless CVT automatic is optional, but it tends to add undue harshness at mid-to-full throttle. Either way, the Juke’s turbocharged 1.6-liter 188-hp four-cylinder engine delivers plenty of power on demand. The optional all-wheel-drive system both boosts the Juke’s traction on wet or snowy pavement, but also enhances the car’s cornering control on dry roads via torque vectoring – sending additional engine power to the outside rear wheel as necessary. Unfortunately AWD is only available with the CVT transmission. Meanwhile, NISMO models are sportier yet, with either 197- or 215-horsepower on tap, depending on the version, along with other performance-minded enhancements.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]