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Top 10 new green cars that don't need plug-ins

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Natural Resources Canada named Prius C the most fuel-efficient non-electric car for 2013.

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Natural Resources Canada named Prius C the most fuel-efficient non-electric car for 2013.

When Natural Resources Canada announced its top fuel-efficient 2013 models, there were a host of pure-electric vehicles that sip no fuel at all.

But not all new-car buyers can afford the limited driving range and inconvenience of plugging in these EVs. For the rest of us, here are the 10 most fuel-efficient new cars you can buy that don't need an electrical socket.

10. 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid

WITH its new, $27,875 (all prices are MSRP) five-passenger Turbo Hybrid compact sedan, Volkswagen adds a second fuel-sipper to its Jetta lineup.

Using a 170-horsepower, turbocharged 1.4-litre gas engine and electric motor with an automatic transmission, the hybrid Jetta is rated at 4.5 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 4.2 on the highway, which is marginally less than the $25,590 Jetta TDI/auto diesel's 6.7 and 4.7 numbers.

Based on an annual driving distance of 20,000 km, Natural Resources says it would only cost $1,241 to fill the Jetta Turbo Hybrid tank annually, compared to $1,496 for the TDI version.

9. 2013 Lexus ES 300h Hybrid

ALL-NEW this year, Lexus has distanced its ES mid-sized luxury sedan from the Toyota Camry it was based on by using the longer wheelbase platform from the also-new-this-year Toyota Avalon. However, the $43,900 ES 300h Hybrid borrows the Camry Hybrid's 200-hp, 2.5L, four-cylinder gas engine, electric motor and continuously variable automatic transmission hybrid powertrain system.

As such, it scores a parsimonious 4.7 L/100 km in the city and 5.1 on the highway, and costs only $1,238 to fuel annually.

8. 2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid

WHERE once you had to pay well into the $30,000 range to get the hybrid version of Toyota's popular Camry mid-sized sedan, the base Hybrid LE model can now be had for only $27,710.

Even a loaded $35,320 Toyota hybrid costs a lot less than the similarly engineered Lexus ES version. And because the Camry weighs 110 kilograms less than the ES, the Toyota scores better at the pumps: 4.5 L/100 km city, 4.7 highway, and a yearly fuel bill of only $1,213.

7. 2013 Lexus CT 200h Hybrid

Using the same corporate compact platform and gas-electric hybrid powertrain, think of the $31,450 front-wheel-drive, five-passenger, four-door Lexus CT 200 h Hybrid hatchback as a slightly less-practical, slightly less-frugal version of our second-place Toyota Prius Liftback.

Using the same 134 horsepower, 1.8L four-cylinder gas engine, electric motor and CVT hardware, the smallest Lexus you can buy is rated at 4.5 L/100 km in the city and only 4.8 on the highway, with an annual fuel bill estimated at only $1,187.

6. 2013 Toyota Prius V & 2012 Honda Insight (tie)

This pair of compact, front-wheel-drive, five-passenger, gas-electric hybrid hatchbacks share identical annual fuel bills of $1,161, but are measurably different machines.

The 2012 (there are no official 2013 models) Honda Insight is rated at 4.7 L/100 km city and 4.3 highway, using a 1.3L four-cylinder gas engine, electric motor and CVT combo that makes 98 hp. The Prius V uses Toyota's ubiquitous 134-hp 1.8L gas-electric system, rated at 4.3 and 4.8, respectively.

At $21,190, the Insight costs less than the $27,425 Prius V, but is smaller inside with about half the rear cargo space.

5. 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid

Despite slow sales (like the Insight, Honda Canada is still selling 2012 inventory), the Civic Hybrid is one of the most fuel-efficient compact cars you can buy.

The $24,990 hybrid version of the front-wheel-drive, five-passenger, four-door Civic sedan will only cost $1,109 to fill up every 12 months, due to its miserly 4.4 L/100 km city and 4.2 highway estimates. It employs a 1.5L four-cylinder gas engine, electric motor and CVT combo that produces 110 hp.

4. 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Just as the Lexus ES 300h Hybrid combines luxury features and frugality at the pumps, so does the new-this-year Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.

The $38,350 front-wheel-drive, five-passenger, mid-sized Lincoln sedan utilizes a 2.0L four-cylinder gas engine, electric motor and CVT hybrid system with 188 hp on tap. It's estimated it will only cost $1,084 to fill the MKZ Hybrid's tank annually, with fuel-economy estimates of 4.2 L/100 km city and 4.3 highway.

3. 2013 Ford Fusion & C-Max Hybrids (tie)

Along with its upscale Lincoln MKZ, Ford is quickly adding gas-electric hybrids to its showrooms. Witness the new-for-2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid tall-wagon and 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid sedan.

Using the same hybrid powertrain as the MKZ Hybrid, the $27,199 C-Max and $29,999 Fusion hybrids are rated at an identical 4.0 L/100 km in the city and 4.1 on the highway. While both Ford hybrids will cost $1,058 to fill up annually, with 694 litres of rear cargo space, the C-Max offers almost double the room of the truncated Fusion.

2. 2013 Toyota Prius Liftback

Since the first Prius arrived in Japan in 1997, the iconic Toyota gas-electric hybrid has always been one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the planet. And the current, third-generation version continues that tradition with an estimated annual fuel bill of only $980, aided by excellent 3.7 L/100 km city and 4.0 highway estimates.

The front-wheel-drive, mid-sized, five-passenger, four-door Liftback model is also less expensive to buy than ever before, with a starting price of $26,100.

1. 2013 Toyota Prius C

In theory, a smaller, lighter and less-expensive interpretation of the original Prius Liftback, the Toyota Prius C scores a frugal hat trick.

Not only does the front-wheel-drive, subcompact, four-door, five-passenger Toyota hatchback need a mere $955 to fill its tank for a year, with a starting price of only $20,440, the Prius C is the least-expensive car on our list.

Using a 1.5L, four-cylinder gas and electric motor and CVT, the smallest member of the Prius family is rated at 3.5 L/100 km in the city and 4.0 on the highway.

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 21, 2013 A1

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