My Week With the Hyundai Tucson

by Tiffany in Green Cars

Hyundai Tucson

For awhile now I have wanted to try out one of the smaller SUVs. I think that when I think of SUV I think of 6-7 passenger vehicles for big families so the idea of the smaller SUVs that like look slightly oversized cars has always puzzled me. Of course SUV stands for Sport Utility Vehicle so I guess in general the idea is to provide a bigger vehicle for recreation and play. Enter the Hyundai Tucson.

It definitely feels bigger than my full size cars. It also has more room…especially in the back passengers seats and the trunk. A hatchback is always nice. The rear seats can be fold down so that you have a large area for carrying all your sporting equipment. The legroom in the back seats is supposed to be significant compared to like vehicles.

And as far as comparisons go to regular (non-green) cars it gets about the same mileage. The Tucson is supposed to get 26/33 City/Hwy MPG. I got about 22 MPG though. That was mostly city driving with a trip to the country to see my dad over the weekend. I get about that right now with my two full size cars. So if I wanted a smaller SUV I would not have to feel guilty that I was choosing a gas guzzler. SUV in this case does not automatically equal gas hog.


It has a lot of the features I have come to love in newer cars…backup camera, bluetooth technology, touchscreen audio system, XM radio, USB and auxiliary input jacks let you access your smart phone through the audio controls, etc.

The interior was also quite lovely, even if white/cloth would not be my choice. It is a pretty smart looking vehicle all around. It was a pleasure to test drive and it changed my preconceived ideas about SUVs.

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

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Touring the Mazda 3

by Tiffany in Green Cars

Mazda 3

I had the pleasure of rolling out in yet another green(er) car this week. Unlike the last, which was all electric, the Mazda 3 is a greener choice because it has good fuel economy. This of course makes it a great option for anyone who wants to feel better about their time spent behind the wheel. I don’t drive all that much…maybe 20 miles a week but I aspire to own a greener car.

I am always researching cars so that I know what I will want to get when we finally, maybe, someday opt to buy new. This particular car gets 30-41 MPG. Not as good as some but much better than what I currently drive. A big bonus for this fuel efficient car is that it has room for my family of five. It is very roomy, with heated seats, and the interior is absolutely gorgeous.

Mazda 3 Interior

My kids are getting older and are not as likely to get crumbs and dirty footprints everywhere so I actually want something that looks nice. When the kids get older mom wants nicer things because she had to do without them for so long right?

It also has a really nifty screen that pops in your line of sight when driving that shows your speed. So much of this car was designed to allow you to drive safely and without distraction.


Slick, greener, and family friendly. This was my second time driving a Mazda 3 and it is still on the shortlist of cars I would like to buy when the time comes.

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

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My Week With the Kia Forte

by Tiffany in Green Cars


Another week, another Kia. This time I got to test drive the Kia Forte. I must say up front that I fell in love with the fully loaded Kia Soul and any other car will suffer in comparison but this was a solid little car. I love the color and the body style. It also had some of the familiar perks that I love…hello rear view camera and satellite radio.

The gas mileage was about 22-24 mpg. Nothing to write home about there so I wouldn’t call it green, even though it has the “Eco” drive feature. But the budget still makes this a good car for those who don’t want $600 a month car payments. The price tag is only about $16K. Most of the green cars I drove in 2013/2014 were well over the 30K mark. You have to pay for green and some people just don’t have that kid of spending money. Kia makes very good cars though, for lower price points.

Other features:

Fog Lights
Auto Light Control
Navigation System
Bluetooth Wireless Capability
USB/Auxillary Input Jack

I continue to be impressed with the quality and price points for Kia vehicles. Even if they aren’t as green as I would like, that seems to be a rare find these days…for any car manufacturing company.



My Week With the Kia Soul

by Tiffany in Green Cars


Last week I got to borrow this nifty car for a whole week. This was really my first experience with Kia. Beyond seeing them around the road I only knew them as the company that makes the cute commercials with the dancing hamsters. When the Soul arrived at my house I loved it from the get-go. The color (called Alien) is right up my alley. I pretty much only like cars that are green, yellow, or a vibrant blue. I had a magenta car once but no companies are making cars in that color anymore. :)

This one is touted as being a bit greener (as in eco friendly) but I am going to be brutally honest about that. I don’t find this car to be green at all. My gas mileage during the week I had it ranged from 24 to 28 mpg. The technicians who drove it to me from Detroit claimed they got 35 mpg but the majority of those miles were highway. I don’t get on the highway very much. All of my driving, which isn’t much, is done in the city with lots of stop and go. I drove with the eco feature turned on the entire time as well. Don’t get me wrong the mpg I got while driving it is probably better than that of any of my current vehicles. Yet I am not going to consider a car green unless I am getting 45mpg or higher or unless it is electric. Neither qualifier applies here.

That said I love this car anyway…for budget reasons. I have test driven many different cars in the past two years. ALL OF THEM were very nice, luxurious, green cars that I could not begin to afford. They had all these amazing features and upgrades that equated to many thousands of dollars on top of an already very pricey base model. The Kia Soul I drove was the top of the line model with every feature I loved in the luxury cars and some new ones the fancy schmancy cars didn’t even have.

It has heated and cooled (cooled?!?) seats, front AND back. It has a heated steering wheel and a backup camera. It has an amazing display with a kick but navigation system. It has remote keyless entry, roomy leather seats, a push button start, mood lighting in groovy colors (blue, green, red, etc), and a sun roof that extends across the entire roof, not just the driver seat area. It just has too many features to name and the price is only $26,000 with a 100,000 mile warranty. Wow! After driving cars that averaged 35 to 40k and weren’t nearly as nice as the Kia Soul I am sold. I fell in love with it as did my husband, kids, and parents. Whenever the time comes to look for another car we might actually decide not to go used like we usually do, not if we can get all that luxury for a fraction of what it typically costs.


Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

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Environmentally friendly cars: the pros and cons

by Guest in Green Cars

Cars at NAIAS

Over the last couple of years there has been one area of the struggling automotive industry which has been growing apace: the hybrid car industry. The strong sales of hybrid motors can only be a positive thing and perhaps we are beginning to see a genuine change in the buying considerations of automotive consumers. In the US sales of hybrid cars increased by 34% between 2010 and 2012; in Australia the increase in the popularity of the hybrid is even more rapid, with sales increasing by an astonishing 160% during 2012. When you bear in mind that that Australia and America are the spiritual home of gas guzzling muscle cars, this is surely reason to be cheerful.

Despite their increasing popularity, many people are still uncertain about the relative merits of hybrid cars. For anyone considering purchasing one for their next vehicle- and it is certainly something that everyone should consider- here is a breakdown of their pros and cons to help inform your decision.

The Cons

Let’s get the disadvantages out of the way! There is no beating around the bush, hybrid cars are not as ‘exciting’ to drive as their petrol counterparts. Although the performance of hybrid cars has improved hugely in a relatively short space of time, for petrolheads they are still a long way away from the real thing. However, for the vast majority of drivers this lack of ‘ooomphh’ should be of little concern. When trying to espouse the virtues of environmentally friendly technology it is easy to be branded a killjoy. Perhaps we do have to accept that there is a place for the excitement which is presented by fuel thirsty vehicles, and maybe it isn’t in the mainstream?

The most likely concern which will put people off buying a hybrid is the cost. Due largely to the technology involved, hybrid cars are more expensive than their standard alternatives, often to the tune of several thousand. As we shall see, hybrid cars can engender big savings in the long-term, but in this economic climate it is not surprising that people are scared off by a hefty initial outlay. Nonetheless there is reason to be optimistic. With sales of hybrids increasing their price is only going to go one way, and that is down.

The Pros

Although not a perfect solution, hybrid cars offer huge environmental benefits over traditional motors. Hybrid cars are not only far more fuel efficient, but they are also much lighter in terms of carbon emissions. There can be little debate that we need to take action to protect our planet, and whilst some may call for more drastic measures, attempting to take that action within a framework which allows the normality of everyday life to continue is perhaps the best course. In days gone past hybrids were often seen as vastly inferior to their petrol and diesel alternatives, however things have quickly changed. Use any motoring car comparison tool and you will see that they are now right up there with the best of them. And their evolution is likely to continue. Read the Mitsubishi Lancer review by Motoring and you’ll understand what a serious piece of performance kit the Lancer Evolution is- a real petrolheads dream. It’s therefore particularly interesting to note that in the last couple of days it has been rumored that its latest incarnation may well be a hybrid. Hybrid cars may not offer the thrill of a V8 just yet- but perhaps the day when they do isn’t that far off. Until then they are surely a most welcome compromise.

Whilst the initial outlay may be greater, increasingly consumers are choosing hybrids because of the long term economic benefits which they provide. Not only are they going to save you money at the gas pumps but there are more and more government lead incentives to purchase one. Depending upon where you live various tax rebates are available, often amounting to considerable savings. Insurers also take a favorable view of hybrid drivers, helping to propagate the view that hybrid drivers. For the savvy consumer the most appealing economic advantage of hybrids is their resale value. With so few in the marketplace compared to standard cars they hold their value remarkably well, and this doesn’t look like changing anytime soon.

This is a guest post by Hannah Tharp