Green Car Reports Best Car To Buy 2013

Green Car Reports Best Car To Buy 2013

Electric cars, hybrids, plug-ins, diesels, CNG- and gasoline-powered vehicles--they can all be green cars, and all are a part of the growing movement to cleaner emissions and better fuel efficiency.

Just one of them will be Green Car Reports' Best Car To Buy 2013.

On December 10, we'll announce the winner of our third annual Best Car to Buy award, the single new vehicle we think offers the most significant impact on the green-car market and some of the most practical benefits to new-car shoppers.

Each year, our editors drive and review almost every new passenger vehicle offered for sale in the U.S.--while we also report on a slew of future vehicles and technologies that could shape the future of green cars. We judge those vehicles and technologies that can save gasoline or other forms of energy, and those that make special effort to reduce their impact on the environment.

To that end, we not only review and rate a select set of vehicles here at Green Car Reports according to their efficiency--we lend a helping hand to our sister site, The Car Connection, in assigning their fuel-efficiency scores.

All of that information leads up to selecting our Best Car To Buy winner each year.

The Rules

For our Best Car To Buy 2013 competition, we start with the field of all new vehicles introduced or significantly updated for the 2013 model year. To be eligible, vehicles also must be available for purchase by April 2013. This eliminates few contenders, while bringing you the best information as soon as possible. Vehicles must also be made available for drives and reviews by editors by December 1, 2012.

Then, we eliminate any vehicle that does not achieve 30 miles per gallon combined or MPGe on the EPA's testing cycle. In limited cases, we consider estimated figures for new vehicles, considering their impact on the green-car market, pending official certification.

We then apply a $60,000 base-price cap on entries, to focus on mass-market vehicles and eliminate ultra-luxury green machines that sell in such small numbers that their cumulative impact is negligible. We rank the contenders by the numeric scores found on The Car Connection's full vehicle reviews.

Finally, we choose the greenest new vehicle(s) from the top of the rankings, based largely on the ratings. Ties and qualitative issues are then discussed by editors who weigh other factors, including market impact, consumer significance, and lifetime environmental impact.

We'll be discussing the nominees in the coming weeks as we prepare to name our winner. We've set up a special page, Best Car To Buy 2013, that lets you scan all the stories we've written about the candidates and the award. It includes the previous contenders and winners, the 2011 Nissan Leaf and the 2012 Toyota Prius family.

We'll announce our 2013 winner on December 10, 2012. At the same time, our sister sites--MotorAuthority and TheCarConnection--will announce winners of their awards as well.

The nominees for Green Car Report's Best Car to Buy 2013 are:

2013 Acura ILX Hybrid

2013 Chevy Spark

2013 Dodge Dart

2013 Ford C-Max (Hybrid; Energi plug-in hybrid)

2013 Ford Fusion (1.6-liter four; Hybrid; Energi plug-in hybrid)

2013 Honda Accord (four-cylinder CVT)

2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe and Elantra GT

2013 Lexus ES 300h

2013 Nissan Altima (four-cylinder CVT)

2013 Nissan Sentra

2013 Tesla Model S (40 kWh)

2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid

2013 VW Jetta Hybrid

One note: the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is eligible, but we have been unable to obtain a test vehicle in time to include it for consideration.

We'll highlight each of these cars in its own story during the course of the month to come. Stay tuned as we build up to this year's award.

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