“The 2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD would be my personal “primo-green” pick, if I were lucky enough to have a spare $50K stashed away…”

2015 Kia Soul EV
2015 Subaru Legacy
2015 Honda Fit
2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD
2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Good news for B.C. auto buyers who want a “green car” – a $7.5 million fund was set aside in Victoria’s provincial budget, in order to bring back a government incentive program that offered point of sale rebates to buyers of plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles.

The previous rebate plan expired last spring and details of the new plan are expected to be announced at the Vancouver auto show.

Here are five new-to-market vehicle choices with “green” aspirations. The first four are finalists for the AJAC Green Car of the Year Award, which will also be announced in Vancouver at the auto show next week.

The 2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD would be my personal “primo-green” pick, if I were lucky enough to have a spare $50K stashed away.

2015 Honda Fit

Honda Fit may be small on the outside, but its organic shape and an ingeniously versatile seating system makes the most of every bit of interior space. The new Fit also consumes even less fuel, due to a new powertrain and a lighter yet more rigid new body.

A 1.5-litre engine that can produce 130 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque, powers all Fit models. Fuel economy is rated at 7.0/5.7/6.4 L/100km (city/highway/combined) with the new Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

Members of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) have already voted Best New (2015) Small Car (under $21,000) the Honda Fit.

2015 Kia Soul EV

This is a clever electric vehicle adaptation of Kia’s tall 5-door compact car with the funky styling. Soul EV offers the same, user-friendly features as its gasoline counterpart, with seating for four or five and a large rear cargo area. Kia’s polymer (electrolyte) lithium-ion battery pack is compact and easier to hide, as is can be molded into different shapes. In Soul EV it’s centrally fitted under the rear seats and a raised rear floor pan.

The liquid-cooled AC synchronous permanent magnet electric motor can generate a whopping 210 lb-ft of torque. That’s 59 lb-ft more than the gas engine version of Soul. Yet, its impressively smooth and standing starts are not as jumpy as other electric vehicles. Soul EV has a claimed driving range of 149 km on a single charge.

2015 Subaru Legacy

The redesigned Subaru Legacy won the overall 2015 Canadian Car of the Year Award. A substantial improvement in fuel economy was achieved through a variety of engineering initiatives that included an impressive new (Lineartronic CVT) automatic transmission. It’s also the only car in the “family car” market segment that comes with standard all-wheel-drive.

Legacy was engineered in Japan and is built in the USA in an award winning production facility, for environmental excellence, in Indiana. In fact, the entire 832-acre plant site is designated a Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.

2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Toyota has rebuilt the 2015 Toyota Camry from the ground up. It’s a sportier, better handling Camry with a striking new design and a passenger cabin that Toyota claim is the quietest-ever. The Hybrid editions come in three model grades and a starting price of just $28,710.

Camry Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder Atkinson Cycle engine linked with Hybrid Synergy drive and matched to an E-CVT. Fuel economy is rated at an amazing 5.7 L/100km (which is about 50 mpg) in the city and 6.0 L/100km on the highway.

2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD

Acura has linked its superb electronic (torque vectoring) Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system with a new hybrid powertrain in this all-new version of the RLX. The gas engine is a 3.5-litre V6 with Variable Cylinder Management and it’s linked to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

This is the most powerful Acura production sedan ever built and has a claimed combined (gas + electric) peak output of 377 horsepower. Yet, its fuel consumption is a miserly 8.0/ 7.5 L/100km (city/highway). A little pricey (starts at $49,990), but amazing!

Contact: bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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