ratings highlights

the best vehicles by class:
how to use the best of 2014 list

if you have a class in mind, the easiest way to choose a clean and efficient vehicle is to check out the "best of 2014," a listing of the greenest models broken down by class. for instance, if you are in the market for a midsize sport utility vehicle, look under midsize suvs to find the top-rated models. you might also find a greener score among models with similar capabilities. some suv shoppers might want to check out minivans or midsize wagons, for example.

the best scoring cars and trucks are those that have high fuel economy and meet one of the stricter low-bin tier 2 standards (bin 1 through bin 4) or phase ii low-emission vehicle standards (ulev ii, sulev ii, pzev). (for more information on emission standards and how to identify them, read our emission standard primer.)

if you live in california, connecticut, florida, maine, maryland, massachusetts, new jersey, new mexico, new york, oregon, pennsylvania, rhode island, vermont or washington—or in some sales regions near these states—then lev ii- and ulev ii-certified models will be widely available. these"clean car states" have implemented california's more stringent motor vehicle pollution control rules. outside of the clean car states, vehicles must be certified to one of the federal tier 2 standards, or "bins."

typically, automakers will certify a single vehicle to both a california standard and a tier 2 standard, and sell that vehicle nationwide. some vehicles, however, are sold only in certain areas. the cleanest gasoline vehicles—those achieving the phase ii super-ultra-low-emission vehicle (sulev ii) and partial zero emission vehicle (pzev) levels—are often limited to sale to the states that have adopted california's tailpipe emission standards, since they typically require additional sensors and more expensive catalysts. (the dodge avenger, for example, has been certified for sale as a pzev in the california states. elsewhere in the country, a version of the vehicle with different hardware is available at the more modest certification of tier 2 bin 4.) in a few cases, the very clean models are available nationwide. the hyundai sonata hybrid and the kia rio hybrid are examples of vehicles that are dual-certified to pzev and tier 2 bin 2, and sold coast to coast in a single hardware configuration.

so how do you identify clean models on the showroom floor? some automakers have begun labeling their lower-emission vehicles with a special sticker or decal, but in other cases you may have to examine the "fine print" on the emissions label under the hood. in any case, the best bet is to ask your dealer for the cleanest available versions of the models you are considering. asking for greener cars and trucks sends an important message to dealers and automakers, encouraging them to offer a wider selection of environmentally friendly models.

in the "best of 2014," we list models with automatic transmissions separately from those with manual transmissions. for some vehicle classes, no manuals are listed because they are unavailable or rare. lastly, keep in mind that this table lists only the greener versions of a given make and model, not all of its configurations. the full set of vehicle listings is available at aceee's green book online.




best vehicles by class

two seaters
compact cars
midsize cars
large cars
small wagons
midsize wagons
large vans
compact pickups
standard pickups
compact suvs
midsize suvs
large suvs

greenest vehicles of 2014

meanest vehicles for the environment in 2014

the year's market trends

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