The Nissan Leaf, meanwhile, is 100 percent electric, with no tailpipes and no emissions. It offers a smooth and silent ride similar to that of the Volt. If you’re driving as eco-friendly as possible, a tree graphic in the corner display will light up. The car has an interesting shifter in the center column to get the car into reverse and drive that felt a bit strange, but once in reverse, the car offers a handy safety backup camera. The range for the car is estimated at 100 miles per charge, depending on driving conditions. It takes about eight hours to fully charge the car with the provided home kit. The Leaf retails for around $35,000 and ends up being around $27,000 with rebates and incentives.
The new 2012 Prius v is one of Toyota’s first steps in expanding the popular Prius family of cars. It builds on the original Prius technology and is similar in nearly every way except for having a more roomy interior. The back seats actually slide forward and back and recline almost all the way back, “perfect for a drive to Vegas, your friends in the back seat will get spoiled,” the Prius representative told me. The new Prius v is great for active types that need to haul a lot of gear, or a growing family. And, efficiency wasn’t sacrificed to add the space, as the car still gets about 42 mpg.
Interestingly, the winner of the 2012 Green Car of the Year Award didn’t go to an electric or a hybrid car, it went to a car that runs on natural gas. The Honda Civic Natural Gas Car was awarded the prestigious title during the LA Auto Show. Honda is one of the only companies manufacturing natural gas passenger cars in the United States. The car can drive 240 miles on one tankful of compressed natural gas that is domestically produced and costs about 30 percent less than gasoline. The sticking point with the car of course, is where to find a natural gas station. Luckily, the car comes equipped with technology that can tell you where your closest filling stations are, or the car can be time-filled at home with a special refueling device. The car is a dream to drive and has a roomy interior. Two hundred of the cars are already on sale at dealerships across the U.S. The car retails for $26,155.
Be sure to check out all of these vehicles and even more environmentally friendly cars on display at the LA Auto Show through Nov. 27. The Show is also open Thanksgiving Day in case you need to walk off all that turkey.