Amazing fuel-efficient cars




[Begin VIDEO with Kristin Arnold on camera introducing the video topic]

As gas prices continue to rise, more consumers are looking at hybrid and alternative fuel cars. It's not just the fuel efficiency that makes auto alternatives more attractive, it's also the variety and options storming the market. Here's a few of's top picks.

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You'll never have to touch another gas pump with the Nissan Leaf. Introduced in early 2011, the leaf is the first 100-percent electric, no gas required, car to be put into mass production in the U.S. the leaf's range is approximately 100 miles per electrical charge…suitable for most commuters.

A battery pack powers the 107 horsepower electric motor…recharging the battery can take anywhere from seven to 16 hours, depending on the wattage.

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*While the base price may initially give you sticker shock, consider that the Leaf qualifies for a federal tax credit that can lower the price by seven-thousand dollars.

*purchase price: $32,780; federal tax credit price: $25,280
[standard features are: push button start/stop, climate control, remote keyless entry, and power windows and door locks.]

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Making its debut in the U.S. market is the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. This midsize sedan is powered by a 2.4 liter, four-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor that produces a total of 206 horsepower and gets an epa-estimated 35 mpg city/ 40 mpg highway mileage.

A special feature on this new hybrid is the 'blue link' - a system similar to General Motor's 'onstar' that provides a connection to emergency services, roadside assistance, maintenance alerts, and smart phone capabilities.

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*With a base price of just over 25-thousand dollars, this well-equipped sedan gives other established mid-sized hybrids a run for their money.

*base price: $25,795
[standard features are: dual-zone climate control, power windows/door locks, six-speaker audio system, six airbags, and stability and traction control.]

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The Volkswagen Jetta TDI is a perfect example of how far diesel engines have come. No longer are they the dirty, smelly alternative to gasoline engines; they also provide better fuel-efficiency.

Starting at just under 23-thousand dollars, the Jetta TDI is powered by a 140 horsepower, 2.0 liter, turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder engine. The Jetta gets an epa-estimated 30 mpg city/42 mpg highway mileage.

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*base price: $22.995
[standard features are: air-conditioning, power windows/locks, heated mirrors/front seats, side curtain air bags, and electronic stability control.]

The Jetta TDI comes in both sedan and wagon forms; seating five comfortably.


For more information on fuel-efficient vehicles, visit our auto special feature at I'm Kristin Arnold.


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