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Best eco-friendly cars for Earth Day 2017

Kelley Blue Book editors recommend a variety of top hybrid, electric, plug-in hybrid new vehicles under $40,000

There are now more 'green car' choices than ever before. (Photo: Shutterstock)
There are now more 'green car' choices than ever before. (Photo: Shutterstock)

In recognition of Earth Day 2017 on Saturday, April 22, the editors at Kelley Blue Book have named their top picks of eco-friendly new cars available under $40,000.

The variety of hybrid, electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles recommended by editors all offer stellar fuel economy for the environmentally conscious new-car shopper and auto insurance client.

"With each new model year there are more 'green car' choices than ever before," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book. 

Related: 20 best cars for the money in 2017

Purchasing an environmentally-friendly vehicle may be a smart decision for the Earth, and for your client's wallet. Take a look at Kelley Blue Book's picks as the top 10 hybrid cars under $40,000:  

 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

This Wednesday, March 23, 2016, file photo shows the 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid at the New York International Auto Show, in New York. The Toyota Highlander is the top midsize SUV in Consumer Reports’ annual rankings, released Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

10. 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

"Three rows of seating, 30 mpg in the city and Toyota reliability make the Highlander Hybrid a tempting SUV."

Starting price: $37,230

Fuel economy: 29 mpg combined (30 city/28 hwy)

System power: 306 horsepower

2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid


9. 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid

"Start with the best-selling car in the country, add 40-mpg fuel economy, and you've got something special."

Starting price: $27,675

Fuel economy: 40 mpg combined (42 city/38 hwy)

System power: 200 horsepower

2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid


8. 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

"The Malibu Hybrid is among the most fuel-efficient midsize sedans on the market, leveraging a version of the same gas-electric hybrid architecture that drives the newest Chevrolet Volt."

Starting price: $28,750

Fuel economy: 46 mpg combined (49 city/43 hwy)

 System power: 182 horsepower

2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid


7. 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

"Equipped with the same proven Hybrid Synergy Drive system that powers the Camry Hybrid, the all-wheel-drive RAV4 Hybrid combines class-leading fuel economy with ride height, cargo flexibility and go-anywhere attitude."

Starting price: $29,990

Fuel economy: 32 mpg combined (34 city/30 hwy)

System power: 194 horsepower

2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid


6. 2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

"The third of five midsize sedans on this list, the Sonata Hybrid is appealing for all the same reasons as the traditional, gas-only Sonata…it's roomy, comfortable and has one of the segment's best-designed and most practical interiors."

Starting price: $26,835

Fuel economy: 42 mpg combined (39 city/45 hwy)

System power: 193 horsepower

2017 Kia Optima Hybrid


5. 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid

"Like its Hyundai Sonata corporate cousin, the edgier Kia Optima midsize sedan also is available as an efficient, smooth-driving hybrid."

Starting price: $26,890

Fuel economy: 42 mpg combined (39 city/46 hwy)

System power: 192 horsepower

 2017 Kia Niro sits on display at the Chicago Auto Show

The 2017 Kia Niro sits on display at the Chicago Auto Show Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

4. 2017 Kia Niro

"The new-from-the-ground-up Kia Niro is a dedicated hybrid vehicle for efficiency-minded drivers who'd rather drive something that looks more like a regular car."

Starting price: $23,785

Fuel economy: 50 mpg combined (52 city/49 hwy)

System power: 139 horsepower

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid


3. 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid

"In addition to its highly efficient, well-integrated powertrain, the Accord Hybrid delivers all the comfort, convenience and excellent resale value of its more established sibling."

Starting price: $30,480

Fuel economy: 48 mpg combined (49 city/47 hwy)

System power: 212 horsepower

The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq hybrid vehicle is shown at the New York International Auto Show

The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq hybrid vehicle is shown at the New York International Auto Show, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

2. 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

"Hyundai's first foray into the dedicated hybrid market, the Ioniq debuts as nothing less than the most fuel-efficient hybrid on the market."

Starting price: $23,035

Fuel economy: 58 mpg combined (57 city/59 hwy)

System power: 139 horsepower

2017 Toyota Prius


1. 2017 Toyota Prius

"The competition has never been stiffer, but the proven Prius remains king of the hybrids."

Starting price: $25,570

Fuel economy: 52 mpg combined (54 city/50 hwy)

System power: 306 horsepower

More interested in an electric car? Here are the 5 best electric cars under $40,000, according to Kelley Blue Book:

Electric vehicle charging stations

(Photo: Shutterstock)

5 best electric cars under $40,000

5. 2017 Nissan Leaf

Starting price: $31,545

EPA fuel economy equivalent: 112 MPGe

Range per full charge: 107 miles 

Charge time at 240V: About 6 hours

4. 2017 Kia Soul EV

Starting price: $33,145

EPA fuel economy equivalent: 105 MPGe 

Range per full charge: 93 miles

Charge time at 240V: 4.8 hours

Related: Choosing a plug-in electric car

3. 2917 Volkswagen e-Golf

Starting price: TBA

EPA fuel economy equivalent: 119 MPGe

Range per full charge: 125 miles

Charge time at 240V: 5.3 hours

2. 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Starting price: $30,335

EPA fuel economy equivalent: 136 MPGe

Range per full charge: 124 miles

Charge time at 240V: 4.4 hours

1. 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Starting price: $37,495

EPA fuel economy equivalent: 119 MPGe 

Range per full charge: 238 miles

Charge time at 240V: 9.3 hours

Plug-in hybrid cars are also an eco-friendly option. Check out Kelley Blue Book's top 5 most recommended plug-in hybrid cars under $40,000:

The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is shown at the New York International Auto Show

The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is shown at the New York International Auto Show, Wednesday, March 23, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

5 best plug-in hybrid cars under $40,000

5. 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Starting price: $39,859

Electric range: 16 miles (380 miles total)

Hybrid Mode Fuel economy: 34 mpg

Approx. charge time: 2.3 hours (249V), 8 hours (120V)

4. 2017 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid

Starting price: $35,434

Electric range: 27 miles (590 miles total)

Hybrid Mode Fuel economy: 39 mpg

Approx. charge time: 3 hours (240V), 9 hours (120V)

3. 2017 Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid

Starting price: $36,105

Electric range: 29 miles (610 miles total)

Hybrid Mode Fuel economy: 40 mpg

Approx. charge time: 3 hours (240V), 9 hours (120V)

2. 2017 Chevrolet Volt

Starting price: $34,095

Electric range: 53 miles (420 miles total)

Hybrid Mode Fuel economy: 42 mpg

Approx. charge time: 4.5 hours (240V), 13 hours (120V) 

1. 2017 Toyota Prius Prime

Starting price: $27,985

Electric range: 25 miles (640 miles total)

Hybrid Mode Fuel economy: 54 mpg

Approx. charge time: 2.2 hours (240V), 5.5 hours (120V)

Related: 15 new vehicles you should avoid

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