Top 5 Fun, Green Cars (That Aren't Hybrids!)

You have options! See DriverSide’s picks for the top 5 green cars that aren’t hybrids.
by Alison Lakin

2009 Audi Q7 TDI

2009 Audi Q7 TDI
A hefty SUV needs all the power it can get. Luckily, the Audi Q7 TDI’s 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 engine makes up for its modest 221 horsepower with a huge 406 lb-ft of torque. All that grunt makes stepping on the throttle of this seven-seater highly enjoyable. While official EPA mileage isn’t available yet, Audi estimates their TDI will receive about 25 mpg on the highway, a significant boost from the 20 it gets with the gas engine.

MSRP: $43,500

Tesla Roadster

Tesla Roadster
Ok, ok, so the common folk won’t exactly be able to purchase Tesla’s fully electric Roadster anytime soon. But it demands recognition on this list due to its defiance of sheer disbelief. We certainly were dubious as to whether the company could pull off an electric car with 248 horsepower and a range of 220 miles. If 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds isn’t the definition of fun, we’d be hard-pressed to come up with anything more accurate for Merriam-Webster. Its fuel-efficiency is a moot point since it, well, isn’t powered by fuel at all. Take that, Prius!

MSRP: $109,000

Volkswagen Jetta TDI

2009 VW Jetta TDI
Yowsa! The clean diesel version of the Jetta produces a hefty 236 lb-ft of torque to accompany its 140 horsepower. It also burns ultra low sulfur diesel, making its emissions simply irresistible. Hybrids have dominated the market for a few years now, so we love seeing a different type of technology make such a strong first appearance. With all the standard features of the regular Jetta, this one gives even more in the fuel economy department with 29 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.

MSRP: $21,990

2009 BMW 335d BluePerformance

2009 BMW 335d
The first diesel BMW to hit the states in 20 years is a serious contender in the green vehicle field, just like it already is throughout the rest of the world. This particular clean diesel produces 265 horsepower and 425 lb-ft of torque from its 3.0-liter, turbocharged inline-six. It’s available as an automatic only, since they haven’t yet invented a manual able to handle all that torque – shouldn’t be too much longer until they find a way. The twin turbo delivers more than enough power while keeping mileage down to just 23 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.

MSRP: $43,900

2009 MINI Cooper S

Mini Cooper S
The Mini Cooper S might be the most aggressive thing to come out of the UK since Simon Cowell began belittling Idol wannabes (let's not discuss that Mini's actually owned by BMW now). The turbocharged S trim gives the Cooper a boost to 172 horsepower. In a car this small, with such a low running stance, that equates to a serious amount of power. A fuel-saver long before it was even in fashion, this Mini returns 34 mpg on the highway and 26 around town.

MSRP: $22,600


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