Best-performing cars, brands for ‘green’ shopper on a budget

The best-performing cars aren’t just those that accelerate quickly from 0 to 60 mph.

But whether they also are “ecologically sustainable, socially equitable and economically viable,” according to Automotive Science Group (ASG) in its 2019 performance ratings report.

ASG, which says it is “changing the way we define value in today’s automotive marketplace by providing data-driven ratings,” named four brands among 32 considered for five “best” brand awards – all-around, environmental, economic and social performance, and most distinguished.

Mitsubishi Mirage green car
Photo credit: Mitsubishi via Newspress USA
The Mirage helped carry Mitsubishi to the ASG overall brand award.

The brand winner was Japanese automaker Mitsubishi, which landed 10 awards overall. However, Toyota was named the most-distinguished brand.

The group also identified 13 best-of-the-best overall winners and 15 “best” cars by category.

“Mitsubishi Motors once again ranks highest among all industry brands … further evidence of the brand’s core strengths that continue to resonate with new-car buyers,” according to ASG’s report. “Mitsubishi’s refined model lineup combines functional utility with cutting-edge technology to deliver fuel-efficient vehicles at a disruptive price point.”

Meanwhile, “Toyota’s diverse offerings across classes in both the SUV and car segments earned 14 unique distinctions, from the RAV4 Hybrid and Highlander Hybrid, to the Prius C, Prius Prime, Prius Eco and Yaris Sedan,” ASG reported. “Collectively, Toyota impresses with its longstanding hybrid technology, and its renewed push into the car electrification zone with the Prime variant.”

Multiple award winners in the car segment were the Hyundai Ioniq (two models) and Toyota Prius (three models), both with six awards, the Mitsubishi Mirage with four, and three models with two each.

Here are the brand ratings winners, which take into account awards in crossover and SUV segments:

Best brands*

Mitsubishi, all-around performance

Tesla, environmental performance

Mitsubishi, economic performance

Mini, social performance

Toyota, most distinguished

* Crossover and SUV segments will be revealed in our next blog post.

Car ratings winners

Best cars (overall)

Toyota Prius Prime, all-around performance

Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in, environmental performance

Mitsubishi Mirage, economic performance

Mitsubishi Mirage, Toyota Prius C, Toyota Yaris Sedan, Chevrolet Spark and Nissan Versa, all-around performance, small car segment

Toyota Prius Eco, Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in, Nissan Leaf and Honda Insight, all-around performance, large car segment

Mini-compacts (100 vehicles)

Toyota Yaris Sedan, all-around performance

BMW i3, environmental performance

Chevrolet Spark, economic performance

Compacts (235 vehicles)

Mitsubishi Mirage, all-around performance

Toyota Prius C, environmental performance

Mitsubishi Mirage, economic performance

Mid-size (303 vehicles)

Toyota Prius Prime, all-around performance

Toyota Prius Prime, environmental performance

Honda Fit, economic performance

Full-size (87 vehicles)

Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in, all-around performance

Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in, environmental performance

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, economic performance

Wagons (38 vehicles)

Subaru Outback, all-around performance

Subaru Outback, environmental performance

Fiat 500L, economic performance

Besides taking account of typical performance factors, ASG said it sought to identify costs that have “a measurable impact not only on the consumer’s best financial interest, but on the best interest of the environment in which we live and the global community of which we are all an equal part.”

Vehicles included in the ASG study were 1,640 current-year models or variants in full production and widely available to North American consumers this year.

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