Only a few – but a significant few – green cars are debuting this week at the New York International Auto Show.
Other cars that could have made a list include conventional gas sippers, but we only mention the highest mpg example of those, with the other four being electrified in some form or fashion.
And, for those planning to look further, plenty of already revealed alternative-energy cars will be on display, but here’s a run-down of new cars meant to save fuel and emissions.
2017 Toyota Prius Prime
The revised plug-in hybrid version of Toyota’s perennially best-selling Prius has finally come out from behind the curtain.
Most notable is an 8.8-kilowatt-hour battery doubling effective range to 22 miles, Toyota estimates prior to the U.S. EPA’s official stamp of approval.
On electricity the two-motor powertrain also boasts the highest miles per gallon equivalent of any plug-in hybrid – 120 MPGe – representing a 26-percent improvement over the outgoing Prius Plug-in Hybrid.
The model is hoped to propel Toyota to greater prominence in this narrow segment of plug-in hybrids now populated by just a few models in the under $40,000 price point. Actual pricing has not been announced.
2017 Mitsubishi Mirage Sedan
And then, if all you want is a cheap set of wheels priced in the lower teens that is easy on the gas budget, there may still be something to be said for the sedan version of Mitsubishi’s Mirage expected to be in the 40 mpg ballpark.
A lot of up-front costs are saved for the basic conventional 1.2-liter three-cylinder powertrain and its fuel economy is on par with a number of hybrids, if not the highest.
Launched already in other markets, including Canada, it has sold significantly better than its maker estimated, and for the U.S. offers Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and comes with revised suspension settings.
Formerly a hatchback version had been the only body style, and this also will carry forth.
2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Refreshed for the current model’s mid-cycle point, the seven-passenger hybrid family hauler from Toyota will be offered in a lower LE and XLE trim.
Toyota has previously been known to content the Highlander Hybrid heavily to near Lexus levels of equipment, and the Limited and Platinum trims will indeed still be offered atop the range.
Fuel economy for the hybrid with 3.5-liter V6 and all-wheel drive has been 27 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, 28 mpg combined, and Toyota has hinted at an “enhanced” engine for better economy for 2017.
Other improvements are aesthetic and features, including a new grille.
2017/18 Hyundai Ioniq Trio
Already having made its global debut abroad is Hyundai’s Ioniq which comes in three powertrain versions – hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric.
The vehicle was rumored for the past couple years or so as a “Prius fighter” hybrid but when introduced, Hyundai revealed it had made extra use from one purpose-made electrified vehicle platform to spin off the trio of variants.
It is hoped by Hyundai to be a Prius beater, too, and pending EPA certification it will surpass the 56 mpg Prius Eco with 57-58 mpg according to Manager of Product Planning, John Shon.
Not content to edge out the Prius Liftback hybrid, the plug-in hybrid version of the Ioniq will also exceed the 22-mile range Prius Prime, and Shon said it should get greater than 25 miles, less than 30 miles EV range from its 8.9-kwh lithium-polymer battery.
The battery electric model is also competitively positioned with highest range at the moment, this being 110 miles.
It arrives as the Nissan Leaf is in its last or next to last year however, and just barely beats its now up-to 107-mile range. Also, its estimated range falls well short of 200-mile next-generation EVs including the 2017 Chevy Bolt, which will be produced late this year as well as the Tesla Model 3 and next-generation Nissan Leaf.
Hyundai has not announced pricing, but said the Ioniq EV will be positioned competitively in response to the range-for-dollar question consumers may have.
In any case, the Ioniq triplets are an interesting combo that saved billions in development costs while signaling dedication by Hyundai which has declared it wishes to be in the global top two among green car sellers by 2020.
The first of the three to arrive in U.S. dealers will be the 2017 Hybrid in the fourth quarter of this year followed shortly by the 2017 Ioniq Electric, and the Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid will be a 2018 model arriving early 2017.
Pricing has not been announced for any of the models.
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
At last the five-passenger SUV American plug-in enthusiasts have been clamoring for the past three years is due to arrive this fall.
EV range in Europe is 32 miles, it may achieve in the 20s in the U.S., but EPA certification has not yet been announced for the 2.0-liter four / two-motor hybrid system with 12 kilowatt-hour battery.
Mitsubishi is ailing in the U.S., but its PHEV in Europe has been a best seller. Battery supply and regulatory issues in California were also blamed for its delay to the States.
It has since been mid-cycle refreshed and still offers long enough EV range to make a difference in a family oriented all-wheel drive crossover SUV format.