AAA’s recommendations for new vehicle technologies are in, and green tops the list.
The biennial list highlights new models with technologies that improve safety, increase performance and reduce environmental impact.
“Every model year, automakers find new ways to employ technology in their vehicles to enhance the driving experience,” said John Nielsen, AAA national director of Auto Repair and Buying Services. “While many of the innovations continue to focus on safety and performance, we’re also seeing more new technologies that address the environmental impact of the vehicles we drive, which is evident in this year’s list.”
AAA put its stamp of approval on the Nissan Leaf. This all-electric car can go an estimated 100 miles without charging. The electricity needed to power the car comes at less than half the cost of gasoline.
If you’re a little shaky on the Leaf, AAA recommended the Chevrolet Volt and the Toyota Prius as best plug-in hybrids. Hybrids give drivers the benefits of the electric car without curtailing driving distances. The car switches from battery power to gasoline engine as needed.
Turbocharged doesn’t often bring fuel economy to mind, but AAA says Ford’s EcoBoost engines found in the company’s F-150 trucks marry performance and efficiency in a union that satisfies the carbon-footprint aware and the lead-footed. EcoBoost engines are smaller, burning less fuel, but offer the same power as larger engines when accelerating.
Ford made the list again in enhanced stability control and rollover protection. American’s love of SUVs continue, and the Ford Explorer remains one of the most popular. For 2011, Ford installed curve control sensors to stop roll-overs from occurring. The sensor overrides driver acceleration and applies the brakes. The company claims the system can reduce vehicle speeds by 10 mph in one second.
Recommendations are chosen by AAA auto buying experts who review hundreds of vehicles each year. The list factors in the first appearance of a new technology and its availability in the United States.