I finally got to test drive the car I have been wanting to drive for a very long time. For years now the Toyota Prius has been synonymous with green living and greener cars. I would say that the Prius has been for awhile, the most recognizable green car on the market. And yet with all the green cars I have driven over the years I never drove a Prius, until recently that is. For a week I had the pleasure of driving a new Prius c and it lives up to its reputation. It may very well be my new favorite.
First the car is just my style…small, fuel efficient, and stylish. I have no desire to drive an SUV or luxury car, I want small and smart. I also love bright colors. This car delivers and oh how I wanted to keep it!
First it was one of my two fave car colors…green. The other is a orange and they have that too. Okay yes, color is important to this woman driver. Deal with it.
Secondly, and this is way more important than color, is the fuel economy. I averaged about 50 mpg in this car. I drove throughout the city and the country and got the same great mileage throughout. I also love the fact that whenever I stopped the car it told me exactly how much money it cost me to get there. You remember how much money you are saving by driving a Prius because it reminds you every day. Here is a quickie snapshot I took of the front monitor of the Prius c right after I drove to my Dad’s home. He doesn’t live too close and it eats up a lot of gas to get to and from his house…usually.
My third favorite things is that it is small. I love small cars. They have to fit my family of five but I am so not a minivan or SUV type of gal. I want small, sleek, and eco friendly for city driving. Prius c was designed with the big city, and small parking spots, in mind. As the smallest and most affordable member of the Prius family, Prius c makes fitting into the city easier, and more fun, than ever.
Despite it being a small car though, it had plenty of interior room and cargo space. It had plenty of room for those big trips to Costco or Aldi and it had plenty of room for a family of five going on family outings without being on top of each other. It is also safe, despite the size, boasting nine air bags and a sensor designed to monitor the severity of the impact and make adjustments for the appropriate deployment.
It also looks quite stylish and modern on the inside too. All the latest car tech abounds. Heated seats and mirrors, push button start, steering wheel controls, touch tracer display, etc.
There are four models and the first starts at $19,540. Boom! The priciest model starts at $24,475. I am amazed that this package comes at such an affordable price. Now don’t get me wrong that is still pricey for a depreciating asset and why I buy 1-3 years used and let someone else eat the biggest chunk of depreciation. But those prices tempt even me, into buying new. Or maybe I will just wait a couple years and grab up a used, orange colored Prius. Either way the Prius c is now on a very short list of cars I would be willing (and thrilled) to buy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Auto Light Control
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.
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.