Most Popular Posts of 2010: Mazda2, Prius Crashes, Leaf, Volt, and Other EVs

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2011 Mazda2 exterior and detail

2011 Mazda2 exterior and detail

We love looking back to see what's been popular over the course of a full year. And 2010 was definitely chock-full of green car news.

Our 10 most popular posts this year are a little less random than last year's most popular, which featured Muslims and ethanol, urine, hybrid Ferraris, and our ever-popular rant on why Miles-Per-Gallon is a really, really stupid way to measure fuel efficiency.

That article on MPG, by the way, was the sole carryover from last year's list (# 7 in 2009, # 6 for 2010). This year, two separate articles on the 2011 Mazda2 hit the top 10 (who knew?) versus just one each on the 2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevy Volt electric cars.

2011 Mazda2 exterior and detail

2011 Mazda2 exterior and detail

And our single most popular article concerned ... a crossover sport utility vehicle. With no more ado, we present to you our list of the 10 most popular articles of 2010 on GreenCarReports. And a Happy New Year to you!

# 10: 2010 New York Auto Show: 2011 Mazda Mazda2 Priced at $13,980. We're surprised that the Mazda2 scored not just once, but actually twice, in our Top 10. It's only likely to sell a fraction of the numbers that the 2011 Ford Fiesta will do (the two cars are built on the same understructure). Bottom Line: Befitting its relatively simple specification as the smallest member of Mazda's "Zoom-Zoom" lineup, the 2011 Mazda Mazda2 will carry a base price of $13,980 for the entry-level model.

Wrecked Toyota Prius owned by Elizabeth James, photo by Ted James, from Houston Press

Wrecked Toyota Prius owned by Elizabeth James, photo by Ted James, from Houston Press

# 9: The Punching Bag Hits Back: Prius Crash Was Driver Error, Toyota Says. While it's died down now, and Toyota's reputation for impeccable quality has definitely suffered damage, the start of the year saw almost continuous coverage of so-called "sudden acceleration" issues in a variety of Toyota and Lexus models. Bottom Line: Black box data recorders in wrecked Priuses contradict drivers who swear their cars accelerated wildly out of control while they braked as hard as they could. In this case, the NHTSA said the black box showed "no application of the brakes, and the throttle was fully open." In other words, the driver may have thought she was braking, but she had the accelerator floored.

# 8: Paris To Test Banning Gas Guzzlers (Yes, SUVs!) In City Core. We should have known. Every time SUVs get politicized--whether pro or con--the traffic soars, and the commenters come out in force. We even got a comment saying, "They will pry my Hemi V-8 from my cold dead hands"! Bottom Line: Next fall, Paris plans to begin testing restrictions on the highest-emitting vehicles, denying them access to the central city based on tailpipe emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

2012 Toyota RAV4 EV powered by Tesla, at 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show

2012 Toyota RAV4 EV powered by Tesla, at 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show

 

# 7: 2010 LA Auto Show: Toyota RAV4 EV Powered By Tesla. The popularity of this piece marks the continuing fascination with Silicon Valley startup electric-car maker Tesla Motors. Bottom Line: It marks a stunning turnaround from Toyota's go-slow approach to plug-in and all-electric vehicles. In a startling partnership announced in May, Toyota partnered with Tesla to develop electric vehicles--with this prototype all-electric crossover unveiled just six months later. The goal is limited production in 2012. 

# 6: Miles Per Gallon Is Just Stupid. No, Really, It Is. Serves us right for the inflammatory headline, we suppose, but while this was a breakout hit way back in March 2009, we were staggered by the vitriol and even physical threats in the comments. Bottom Line: Miles Per Gallon is not a linear measure (like gallons/mile would be), and lots of Americans don't understand that going from 10 to 20 mpg saves waaaaaaay more gas than going from 40 to 50 mpg. Read the article, you'll see.

Click onto page 2 below for our Top Five ...

First 2011 Nissan Leaf delivered to buyer, San Francisco, Dec 2010, photo by Eugene Lee

First 2011 Nissan Leaf delivered to buyer, San Francisco, Dec 2010, photo by Eugene Lee

# 5: First 2011 Nissan Leaf Delivery, To Northern Californian Buyer. We sent our cub reporter with a notebook and a camera to cover this event in front of San Francisco's CIty Hall. Bottom Line: Silicon Valley software engineer Olivier Chalouhi took delivery of the very first 2011 Nissan Leaf all-electric car delivered in the U.S., in a ceremony that marked the debut of mass-produced electric vehicles from major carmakers. Chalouhi's Leaf replaces the electric bicycle he previously used to commute to work.

# 4: 2011 Chevy Volt: No $5K Rebate, HOV-Lane Access For CA Buyers. While we would never accuse our readers of schadenfreude, reactions to this item followed two threads: "Gee, so those fancy Volt buyers aren't so special after all!" as well as "What the hell was GM thinking?" Bottom Line: Because the 2011 Volt's range-extending 1.4-liter gasoline engine wasn't certified to California's AT-PZEV emissions criteria, Volt buyers qualify for neither the state's $5,000 electric-car purchase rebate (though that money may run out very soon anyway) nor single-occupant access to the state's High-Occupancy Vehicle lanes.

car batteries are highly recyclable - AAA

car batteries are highly recyclable - AAA

# 3: Who Knew? A Car Battery Is the World's Most Recycled Product. We thought this was a throwaway item, little more than a space filler. Ha! What did we know? Bottom Line: As it turns out, the standard 12-Volt lead-acid starter battery fitted to virtually every motor vehicle is the single most recycled consumer good on the planet, with a return and reuse rate for the (very toxic) lead core of 99 percent in the United States.

# 2: Next-Gen Mazda2 Will Return 70 MPG, Without An Electric Motor. When you put "70 MPG" in a headline, it turns out, people read the article, forward it to friends, and Digg it like crazy. Lesson learned. Bottom Line: While Mazda plans to fit Toyota hybrid systems to some models, the company is aggressively seeking to make its upcoming engines far, far more fuel efficient than they are today. The company believes its next subcompact Mazda2 may achieve as much as 70 miles per gallon. Here's hoping.

 

Ford Kuga Indivual

Ford Kuga Indivual

And the single most popular post of 2010 is ... drumroll, please ... this one. In other words, we think Ford's redesigned Escape Hybrid has a lot of eager buyers waiting out there:

# 1: Here It Is: New 2012 Ford Escape, But Will There Be a Hybrid? This article was actually published back in October 2009. We're not sure whether its popularity reflects interest in the Escape Hybrid, or more general interest in a redesigned Escape. The old model continues to sell surprisingly well for a vehicle that dates back to 2000. Bottom Line: Under Ford's global vehicle program, the next Escape crossover (whether it's a 2012 or a 2013) will be built on the same platform as the Kuga crossover sold in Europe. They may or may not share styling, and perhaps we'll get a better indication at the upcoming 2011 Detroit Auto Show. Stay tuned ....

NOTE: Alert readers may observe that the pageview counters in the articles are not consistent with our rankings. There are two reasons: First, the counters started at an arbitrary date when at least some of the articles had already accumulated views. Second, the rankings are for total views just during 2010, from January 1 through today.

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