Prius c Named Greenest Vehicle of 2013 By ACEEE

The green energy advocacy group, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), has dubbed the Toyota Prius c as the group’s greenest car of 2013.

With an EPA-rated 53-mpg city, and 46-mpg highway, ACEEE gave the Prius a score of 58, just one point higher than the electric powertrain Honda Fit. The standard model Prius, known as the Liftback, scored 55, tying with the Prius Plug-in Hybrid and Honda Civic Hybrid.

Despite this ringing endorsement from an environmental body, consumer watchdog publication Consumer Reports has a different take on the Prius c.

In mid-2012 CR named the Prius c as a “car to avoid,” citing observed fuel economy of 37 mpg city, and 43 mpg overall, saying this was just 1 mpg shy of the larger Prius Liftback.

Other complaints by the magazine were that the c lacked all-around quality, and suffered from “a stiff ride, noisy cabin, slow acceleration, and cheap-looking interior trim.”

ACEEE notes that this year, conventional vehicles were largely knocked off the “Greenest” list by hybrid-electric, plug-in hybrid-electric, and all-electric vehicles. The Scion IQ and Smart ForTwo are the only non-hybrid, non-plug-in vehicles to remain on the list. Even the eight-time first-place Honda Civic Natural Gas vehicle was pushed out of the top twelve in 2013.

“The vehicles at the top of this year’s rankings are proof that automakers are really ramping up their offerings,” said ACEEE lead vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan.

“There are more hybrid and electric options on the market this year than ever before and the race for a spot on the Greenest list is increasingly competitive. Automakers have revamped their offerings to meet the growing demand for efficient vehicles and new fuel economy standards,” Vaidyanathan said in a release.

Green cars are naturally a highlighted topic of ACEEE, but the group also has a list for those vehicles at the opposite end of the green scale.

Called the Meanest Vehicles for the Environment for 2013, this list recognizes cars and trucks that provide notably low fuel economy numbers.

Topping the Meanest list is Ford’s F-350FFV pickup truck with a lowest Green Score of 17, in large part for its 11-mpg city, 16-mpg highway. Also scoring 17 is the Ford F-250FFV pickup, and the Ford E-350 Wagon van.

Exotic vehicles like the crazy expensive and stupendously fast Bugatti Veyron are also on the Meanest list, and manage a slightly “greener” score than the Ford trucks.

In a bit of irony, Ford also has three vehicles on the Greenest list: the Focus, Fusion Hybrid, and C-MAX Hybrid.