Green Car Reports' Best Car To Buy 2013: Our Six Finalists

Follow John

Green Car Reports Best Car To Buy 2013

Green Car Reports Best Car To Buy 2013

Enlarge Photo

From a respectable list of 13 different vehicles, we've narrowed the contenders down to six finalists.

They're the cars that will compete for the Green Car Reports 2013 Best Car To Buy Award.

We'll announce the winner on December 10, either a single vehicle (like the Nissan Leaf, our 2011 winner) or a vehicle line (such as last year's winner, the Toyota Prius family).

The finalists are ... drumroll, please ...

Eligible 2013 vehicles must be available for retail customers to buy in or before April 2013. And we have to have been able to drive them before December 1 of this year.

Gasoline cars that don't achieve at least 30 mpg on the combined EPA rating don't make the cut, though for new vehicles we may consider projected ratings before the EPA has certified the official numbers.

Qualifying cars must start at $60,000 or less, which eliminates low-volume, ultra-expensive, ultra-exotic science projects--even though some of them can be darned impressive.

In the end, we're looking for the single new vehicle that we feel will have the most significant impact on the green-car market and on fuel consumption--and deliver real-world benefits to new-car buyers.

We'll have more on each of these new vehicles between now and the time we name our award winner.

Meanwhile, you can keep up with all the news on Green Car Reports' 2013 awards by following our Best Car To Buy Award page.


Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow Us

Comments (32)
  1. It has got to be the Model S.

  2. It certainly is the most innovative vehicle of them all and probably the one with the biggest impact on future car development. So it should score very high when it comes to "the most significant impact on the green-car market". Impact on aggregate "fuel consumption" is of course more of a long term thing but the innovative concept will certainly "deliver real-world benefits to new-car buyers".

  3. I will be very surprised if anyone is allowed to drive the 40kWh Model S before Dec 1st. I'm not even sure that car even exists yet.

    Customers of the 40kWh car are only given the option of test driving the 85kWh car. Will GCR base their decision on that?

  4. I'm sure Telsa will let them drive the S model 40Kw prototype if necessary.

  5. Would you guys at GCR consider doing a "used EV buyers' guide" in 2014 when the off-lease units come on the market? It will be an interesting transition into the pretty hot used-car market which is a large segment of the buying public. EVs do need to get into the hands of those who couldn't afford the "first wave" of plug-ins just as Priuses are sold on the used market pretty successfully.

  6. Volt would be a great "used EV" vehicle, especially those CA Volt with 10yr/150k miles warranty on the battery.

    The issue with those "used EV" would be how do you know what is the number of charges that battery has experienced?

  7. My Bet would be the Chevy Spark since it is the "cheapest" one to buy here. And its total ownership in 8-10 years would be the lowest by far as well.

    In the time of tight economic situation, cheaper TCO is better.

  8. Price is as yet unknown and it shapes up to be a compliance car, so presumably lacks "significant impact on the green-car market" .

  9. 2013 Spark is the regular ICE version at $15k...

  10. Oops,you're right. It didn't occur to me for a second that this horrid little contraption could actually be considered a candidate in the regular ICE version.

  11. It got a good mileage for NON-hybrid AND it is extremely cheap to buy and own. So you are way ahead in the TCO to start with.

  12. Yeah, but look at it... I don't see award winning material here. Okay, the clownscar of the year award maybe...

    As super minis go it isn't even particularly economical, the only thing it's got going for it is that unlike most similar cars it's actually on sale in the US.

  13. I agree. It is probably the "least" practical car here on the list. But it is the "cheapest". That is got to be something considering the purchasing power of the average buyer. If money is no concern, everyone would be driving Tesla S...

  14. How foolish it is to only consider purchase price when it comes to TCO...especially in the 8 to 10 year time frame. Spark is not nearly as gas efficient as you and others may think.

    C-max plug-in is possibly the best tco if driven under 50 miles a day for work commuting. Believe it or not the Telsa S above might be the lowest tco, especially in CA, as it has far less cost for fuel n maintenance then the others.

  15. @$15k, it will be cheaper to insure and operate. C-Max Energi cost about $28K after everything said and done.

    That is $13k differences. Unless you drive mostly on electric daily (means you commute less than 40 miles per day and assuming you get charge at work), it will be about 8-10 years to cover that $13k difference.

    Comparing to the $60K Tesla won't even make sense with the price differences.

    Spark gets at least 35mpg. The difference between 35mpg and 45 mpg for 12k per year driving is very small. 342 vs 266 gallons of gas. The difference is only ~ 80 gallons. At $4/gallon or even $5 per gallon, it is only $400/yr in difference.

    Even if the travel are all electric and free, the Difference is only $1,500 per yr. Spark wins TCO.

  16. There are more comments in this thread
  17. As much as I like the Model S, I too am VERY doubtful that any40 kw versions will be available by 1 Dec.

  18. I'm rooting for the Ford Fusion as it is a mainstream and affordable model with the most powertrain choices and flexibility to select from in this group.

  19. There is only one car on this list that is revolutionary, the Model S. Tesla has managed to put the car of the future on the road today.

  20. As much as I love Tesla, I hope the future of the auto market is NOT full of $100k vehicles. Unless inflation makes that happen in the next few years... I certainly hope not. (I won't be surprised since Fed's printing machine is out of control).

  21. Are you drinking or something Xia???? That's two times in one article that your posts have been illogical or just plain wrong. Not like you usually.

    You need to read the criteria of the award again in the article regarding your hyperbolic n incorrect price inflation.

  22. Really? I just replied with the math showing why the TCO of the spark is WAY LOWER than the C-Max Energi even if all the electricity are free.

    $15k ICE with gas mpg of 35mpg or better is hard to beat. Of course, you can't compare the driving characteristic. But if you just need a cheap transportation, Spark is cheap to own, cheap to buy. Show me the math why Spark TCO will be higher.

    ICE today don't require nearly as much repair or maintanence as it once did decades ago...

  23. @Xiaolong, this is why I don't like automotive awards because they try to stay in a general price range because most readers stop at the price and don't really look at the car. If you've been paying attention you'd know that 1, new technology is always expensive at first and 2, Tesla's gen3 will cost less so there will be a cheaper option. The Model S should win because of the effect it will have being the first electric car to really show what that electric cars can be great cars not just little niche city cars.

  24. Sorry there's a misplaced "that" in my last sentence.

  25. Seems to me there is actually 8 finalists here since the Ford entries comprise different versions that are such different concepts that they should be entered as seperate vehicles.

  26. @Chris: While you have something of a point--one we've debated quite a lot--in the end, we chose to nominate particular vehicles rather than specific options within a vehicle line. Last year, the collective family of Prius vehicles won rather than any specific one of the four models offered under the "Toyota Prius" nameplate. Hope this helps explain our awards process.

  27. My vote goes to the car whose owners will say is the best car they've owned; the car that is most responsible in establishing a permanent market segment for electric cars; the car that GreenCarReports has incredibly chosen to ignore..... the Chevrolet Volt.

  28. @Kent: The 2013 Volt isn't eligible this year, as it's not a new or significantly revised vehicle. It was one of our nominees for the 2011 award, but narrowly lost to the 2011 Nissan Leaf. Hope this helps explain our awards process.

  29. Thanks for explanation John, but saying 'Best Car to Buy 2013' suggests all cars are eligible and therefore leads to confusion. How about changing contest name - e.g. 'Best Car Introduced in MY2013 to Buy"

  30. @Kent: I understand your confusion but, honestly, ALL of the annual "best of" car awards work this way. Perhaps we all assume too much on the part of the folks who read about them, but otherwise we'd have to evaluate more than 200 separate vehicles every single year!

  31. 'Car of the Year' award titles carries no direct recommendation - but your 'Best Car to Buy 2013' title of your award does, and therefore is not only misleading, but also subject to argument by all who aren't filled in on your eligibility requirement. So, I don't consider your justification holds water.

    But given your explanation, my vote goes to Tesla.

  32. I agree with Kent,

    I think the title can be "misleading" since it is "Green Car Reports' Best Car To Buy 2013". It should have been "Green Car Reports' Best car in 2013 instead... IMHO.

    "Best car to buy" emphasize on the point of "being the best" AND "the car to BUY".

    All other magzine just call it "car of the year" and the ones that call it "best value" or "best buy" include all availble models".

    This is why I made the case for 2013 Chevy Spark. Since the title has the word "to buy" in it (with value implied). Tesla S is hands down the best car. But I don't think it is the "best [value] to buy".

Commenting is closed for old articles.

Get FREE Dealer Quotes

From dealers near you

Find Green Cars


© 2015 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by izmo, Inc.