Rising gas prices, coupled with tighter environmental regulations and true concern for the Earth, are making everyone think twice before making any new vehicle purchase, even consumers who typically prefer luxury cars. Auto manufacturers have responded to the rising demand for “greener” rides by introducing vehicles that combine eco-friendly characteristics with features more accustomed to luxury brands.
1. Acura TSX
Base price: $30,010
Estimated MPG: 22 mpg city, 31 mpg highway
With its base model starting at just over $30,000, the Acura TSX is a sporty luxury car with a 2.4 liter, 4-cylinder engine that offers impressive gas mileage. This compact four-door Acura offers plenty of room for driver and front passenger while the fairly small back seats are probably best suited for children. If you opt for the impressive audio, navigation, and climate control systems, your commute will be even more enjoyable. Both the standard and sports-wagon models received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) 2012 Top Safety Pick honors, and your peace of mind will also appreciate the car’s four-year, 50,000 mile warranty plan.
2. Audi A3
Base price: $27,270
Estimated MPG: 21 mpg city, 30 mpg highway
A luxury car for the budget-conscious, the Audi A3 proves it’s possible to drive in style without having a car payment as large as your monthly mortgage. Available with a gasoline or diesel fuel engine, the TDI “clean diesel” model can achieve an impressive 42 mpg highway. The TDI will save you money at the pump while helping you save the environment—this type of engine runs on a low-sulfur version of diesel, producing less pollution.
3. BMW 128i
Base price: $31,200
Estimated MPG: 18 mpg city, 28 mpg highway
Boasting the aerodynamic Air Curtain design that counteracts turbulence at the wheel arches—standard on all models of the BMW 128i—this luxury car is the only rear-wheel drive vehicle in its class. Its SULVEV designation refers to its super, ultra-low emissions and if you live in a cold climate, perks like heated mirrors and windshield washer jets will come in handy, too. This BMW’s on-board computer even provides feedback on your operating status. Although slightly costlier than similar-sized cars from competitors with a base price over $31,000, the 128i is still an affordable, eco-friendly reality for many people.
4. Lexus CT Hybrid
Base price: $29,120
Estimated MPG: 43 mpg city, 40 mpg highway
A four-door hybrid hatchback may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word Lexus, but the CT is a stylish option for Earth-lovers—Lexus claims that the vehicle was designed to be at least 90% recyclable. How’s that for environmentally friendly? The Lexus CT was also chosen as a 2012 IIHS Top Safety Pick for its top marks in frontal and side impact tests, roof strength, and head restraints. It even comes equipped with a Vehicle Proximity Notification System, which warns pedestrians and cyclists of its approach with a low-pitch sound.
The four eco-friendly luxury cars mentioned above are proof that it’s possible to enjoy getting from point A to point B in style even when you have the desire to help save the environment. Better yet? Their smaller sizes mean lower starting prices and big gas savings.