Seeing Green: Hybrids That Don’t Look Like Hybrids

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fisker karma electricThese cars don’t shine when compared to other fuel-efficient options, and being economically sensible is another story in and of itself. But when it comes to luxury cars, these four beauties fit right in – even with their alternative fuel sources. Most of the time when we think of hybrids, images of putt-putting around in a compact bug of a car come to mind. We picture practical, “eco-friendly-looking” vehicles that maybe we’ll drive – someday.

But times have changed. Hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric technologies have emerged from the pragmatic Toyota Prius to the luxurious Lexus LS 600h L. In 2013 you can drive a (grandiose) green car without looking like a tree hugger. Surprised? Here are a few of our favorites:

2013 Infiniti M35h Hybrid

Infiniti M35 Hybrid

In August 2011, driver Tim Pollard used the Infiniti M35h Hybrid to achieve the fastest quarter mile – 13.9 seconds – by a hybrid, according to Guinnessworldrecords.com. Combining a V6 engine and electric motor gives this Infiniti hybrid a kick of 360 horsepower – and the ability to go from 0 to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds, according to Hybridcars.com. Considering its performance capabilities and refined luxury, the M3h has an impressive EPA fuel economy rating of 27 city/32 highway/29 combined. Base pricing starts at $54,200 and the single-edition hybrid is available with three option packages.

2012 Lexus LS 600h L

2012 lexus ls 600h

A full hybrid, meaning it can be powered solely by the gas engine, the electric motor or both at the same time, the LS 600h L is a smart, sophisticated choice. Not only does it confidently display elegance and style, but the hybrid is one of the most tech-savvy vehicles on the market, according to Hybridcars.com. Besides measuring its occupants’ body heat to adjust temperature, the $112,750 car can park itself. EPA ratings for the LS 600h L are 19 city/23 highway and 20 combined MPG.

2013 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid

2013 escalade hybrid

Big and blingy, the Escalade is one of the most luxurious full-size SUVs on the market – and that includes the eight-passenger Hybrid version. It’s priced at $73,850, but adding extra bells and whistles will cost you a few more pretty pennies. The hybrid’s EPA ratings – 20 city/23 highway/21 combined – beat out the gas engine model by several miles. The secret is it’s “two-mode” hybrid technology – a 6.0 liter V8 gasoline engine, battery pack and electrically variable transmission coupled with a pair of 60-kilowatt motors packaged within the transmission, according to Edmunds.com. Such an elaborate, large and less-than-excellent fuel efficient vehicle doesn’t appeal to a large demographic, but for those who want the ability to pull a boat while towing around a handful of friends in style, it’s just right.

2012 Fisker Karma

fisker karma electric

The car of choice for Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber, the $111,000 Fisker Karma definitely doesn’t look like a hybrid. The sleek designs “exudes captivating sensuality,” according to Jeff Cobb from Hybridcars.com. With it’s performance and look, it’s a car that’ll turn more than a few heads. The plug-in hybrid gets 20 city/21 highway/20 combined EPA-approved MPG, and 54 MPGe. The LA Times reported that after a small cooling fan caused a fire in a California parking lot, all 2,000 of the recently released plug-in hybrids were recalled. Luxury hopefuls may want to postpone fulfilling their Fisker Karma dreams until the less pricey (and hopefully less flammable) second model is released.

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