Driving the Toyota Yaris

by Tiffany in Green Cars

toyota yaris

I adore small cars. I guess I just don’t buy into that typically American ideal that bigger is better. I prefer a small sleek car that whip in and out of parking spaces in flash and maneuver through traffic easy. Small cars usually have better gas mileage and they are more enjoyable for me to drive. And while I do prefer small and compact, the Toyota Yaris is sporty looking as well. It doesn’t scream ‘small because I couldn’t afford a real car’ it yells ‘small because I love sleek, compact, and sporty’.

Oh and the price tag for small and compact cannot be beat. I will probably never ever drop 30 grand on new car. I just don’t think I could do it. Unless it can drive all my kids around on auto pilot, its not ever going to be worth it. The Yaris comes in at 15 grand and that is an amazing deal in my mind and frankly the companies making cars with reasonable prices deserve to be supported.

This particular car has a lot of safety features for those who feel “less safe” in small car. It has nine airbags: a driver and front passenger advanced airbag system, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, driver and front passenger seat-cushion airbags, front/rear side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag.

It also has an available Pre-Collision System helping you to avoid a potential frontal collision with a forward-facing laser radar and camera that scan the road ahead. If a potential collision is detected, you are alerted with audible and visual warnings. If you don’t apply the brakes and the system determines that a collision with another vehicle is extremely high, the system may automatically apply the brakes. The Yaris can also be armed with lane departure alert. When you start to drift out of your lane, you are notified. And another cool feature is automatic high beams for safe night time driving. It detects the lights of oncoming cars and switches to low beams as you pass oncoming traffic. Pretty nifty!

I don’t personally feel less safe in small car but I know that some do and this car should should alleviate some of that. Toyota has really paid attention to safety.


Sunday, November 13th, 2016

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Driving Another Kia Soul

by Tiffany in Green Cars


The Kia Soul is one of my all time favorite cars. It isn’t the greenest, I have my faves when it comes to eco cars, but it is one of my faves for budgetary reasons. It is a very nice and practical car without a huge sticker price. I like Kia in general and have also driven the Forte and the Optima Hybrid, they are all great cars.

It is probably a bit greener that what I currently drive but in general 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. It was also not as loaded as the previous Kia Soul I drove but the price is also much lower. This car sells for $21,670. I don’t buy new so this car, one or two years old, would probably be at my sweet spot.

As far as look go it is very sharp though I much prefer color on the outside. The interior was very nice though. I love the remote keyless entry, rear camera, touch screen display, bluetooth capabilities, and 10 year – 100, 000 mile warranty. The only drawback was trunk space. I drove the car to Cincinnati for some amusement park fun at Kings Island and to visit Ikea. I had very little room for purchases and spend a some time doing creative arranging. This is hard to avoid in smaller cars though and I am not willing to buy SUVS or mini vans so I get what I can get.

The Kia Soul definitely stays on my favorites list!

Kia Soul

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

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Driving the Toyota Prius Four Touring

by Tiffany in Green Cars

Toyota Prius Four Touring

And my love for the Prius continues unabated. Every new version that I drive tells me that someday I must own one. Even my husband has come around. I used to get a sideways look of annoyance when I mentioned a Prius, now I get an appreciative nod. My recent week-long test drive of the Toyota Prius Four Touring confirmed for both of us that the Prius represents a luxurious drive, the power to get you where you need to go, and GREAT fuel economy.

Fuel economy is #1 with us so I am happy to report that the 52 mpg they claim on the sticker was right on the money. In a week’s time I never dipped below 50 mpg and I did almost no highway driving. They estimate that with this car you have an annual fuel expense of only $850. That is crazy good and with how little I drive I could probably halve that.

A super nice feature that this particular model has is the Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS). I loved it because I use cruise control whenever I can and with the ICS the car would slow down on its own if the space between me and the car in front of me was too small. When proper clearance was achieved it wold speed up again. How cool is that?

I also have say that the interior of this car was stellar. I loved the dark grey with white accents. The Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charging was a new future for me too. All in all it truly felt like a luxury car.

The cons list is short…there is a rear view visibility issue since you are looking through the trunk. Also the trunk contents are completely visible from the outside so no leaving stuff in there. These are not huge issues.

Two big thumbs up for the Toyota Prius Four Touring.

Toyota Prius Four Touring Interior


Driving the Mitsubishi Mirage

by Tiffany in Green Cars


Recently I got to roll around town for a week with the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage. I am already a Mitsubishi fan. Remember how I loved the i-MeEV? Yeah, loved that car. I also really enjoyed the Mirage, even though it’s not an EV. It’s fuel-efficient, and it’s the least expensive car on the market.

For a family on a tight budget the price is important. It sucks when you are in the market for a car and the most affordable options are 5-6 years old. With the Mirage even a family of modest means has access to new if they want it (and don’t mind depreciation). The pricing starts at $12,995 and I will be honest this was not a car loaded with a ton of amazing features. It did not even have a USB port for my phone. But it was very nice car, with great fuel economy, and I think that trumps added luxuries any day. It also have a 10 year/100K powertrain warranty. That is a pretty nice perk for the price. And even though it is small, it seats five so my family could easily fit in this.

The official fuel rating is 37/43 mpg and it lives up to this. It is supposed to be the most fuel efficient gas powered non hybrid car in America right now. We all want to save money on gas but the people who really need the savings cannot buy a 30K hybrid vehicle. This is a nice alternative.

The more features you add the more expensive it can get of course and honestly I would be be upgrading because I don’t want a manual transmission. Yet if the worst happens and our current car tanks, this car is on the short list of possibilities.

Some standard features:

  • 1.2L MIVEC DOHC 12-valve 3-cylinder
  • 5-speed manual transmission or available Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
  • 7 standard airbags including drivers knee airbag
  • Automatic air condition climate control
  • 6.5″ Display Audio with Smartphone link, Apple CarPlay™, and Android Auto™

With a host of standard features, best-in-class fuel economy and a very affordable price, Mirage ES isn’t just a fun choice, it’s also a smart one.



Driving the Lexus CT 200h Hybrid

by Tiffany in Green Cars

 Lexus CT 200h

The  Lexus CT 200h has definitely been one of the nicest cars I have ever driven. It is the epitome of luxury and class but yet this model is also very, very green. I could not have been happier with the fuel economy I experienced during my recent week long adventures with this car…I averaged about 43 mpg. Not bad at all! I also adored cruising around in the car.

Typically Lexus means nothing to me except for expense but right away this smaller, Lexus hatchback caught my eye. The gorgeous interior sucked me in. The fuel economy sealed the deal.


The leather two toned interior is fantastic. It’s like a cockpit. The model I toured had the Caramel NuLuxe with Linear Black trim. The combo is very luxurious and goes great with the Fire Agate Pearl (brown) exterior. The CT 200h is easily the most fuel-efficient gas-powered luxury vehicle with a 42-MPG combined rating. It even has Bamboo accents available for the interior, making the CT a very eco-conscious design. If you want upscale AND you want great fuel economy, this is your car.

Now it is small but that is a great feature for me. I love small cars but I still need to be able to load any car of mine up with stuff from the garden center. Goal achieved…

Flowers and herbs on their way to a happy home. #gardening #garden #urbanhomestead

A photo posted by Tiffany Washko (@tiffanywashko) on