This fully electric plug-in would be right at home in the Jetsons' garage. It charges completely in seven hours with a 240-volt connection. And it's seriously cool inside, with animated displays and fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles. A $349 monthly lease makes the car's $25,780 price (after a $7,500 federal tax credit) competitive with non-electrics.
Worried you'll run out of juice in the middle of the expressway? Then choose the Volt, which pairs a 40-mile electric motor with a gas engine. Named Motor Trend Car of the Year, it's spunky and powers up on a standard 120-volt outlet. The lease is a steal at $2,500 down and $350 a month for 36 months, with a retail price of $33,500 after the federal tax credit.
Honda Fit EV
The all-electric version of Honda's sporty Fit isn't available until 2012, but it promises to be a formidable competitor to the Nissan Leaf, with a 100-mile-range motor, seating for five, and a spacious hatchback. Using technology from Honda's CR-Z sport hybrid, the motor can operate in econ, normal, or sport mode to either maximize energy efficiency or boost power.
Still the mack daddy, the Prius remains the fuel-economy leader for gas hybrids, with 51mpg city, 48mpg highway. And given there's so much competition in the hybrid market, drivers no longer have to pay a premium: you can get into one for $23,050. A hybrid plug-in version will arrive in two years, but will its 13-mile electric range be too little, too late?
This hybrid offers generous mileage--41mpg city, 36mpg highway--coupled with all-wheel drive, midsize roominess, and interior creature comforts. Seats are made of 85 percent recycled materials. Unlike some other hybrids that operate on electric at parking-lot speeds, the Fusion is capable of maintaining 47mph powered solely by the electric motor. …