To help members understand the latest automotive technology so they can purchase vehicles that best suit their needs, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center (ARC) began testing and reviewing vehicles over a decade ago in the AAA Green Car Guide, which initially focused entirely on rating fuel-efficient, low-emitting vehicles.
For the 2021 edition, we've expanded the focus of the guide to include testing and ranking cars and light trucks with the latest technology, including having at least one advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) feature. In addition to vehicle evaluation, the guide covers a number of pertinent automotive topics in detail—for example, the latest advanced safety features, how to properly maintain your vehicle, and the development of autonomous vehicles.
The green cars tested by the ARC are evaluated on the basis of 13 categories: emissions, fuel economy,
crashworthiness, braking, acceleration, handling, cargo-carrying capacity, ride quality, interior noise, ease of entry and exit, maneuverability, roominess, and visibility.
The scores for the categories are totaled, and the cars are ranked from high to low.
Car Guide Honorable Mention
2020 Jaguar I-Pace EV400 HSE
Vehicle Type: SUV/Minivan Electric
Category Ranking: 2
Price as Tested:$84,276
Fuel Type: Electricity
120V Charge Time: 3.7 miles per hour
240V Charge Time: 18 miles per hour
DC Fast Charger: 80 % in 40 minutes
EPA City MPGe: 80
EPA Highway MPGe: 72
EPA Combined MPGe: 76
EPA-Est. Electric Range (mi): 234
Advanced Safety Features
Adaptive Cruise Control [O]
Advanced Headlights [O]
Automatic Emergency Braking [S]
Blind-Spot Warning [O]
Forward-Collision Warning [S]
Lane-Departure Warning [S]
Lane-Keeping Assistance [S]
Rear Cross-Traffic Warning [S]
[S] Standard, [O] Optional
Brilliant! A common enough British exclamation, but also a totally apropos description of the highly uncommon Jaguar I-Pace. Jaguar calls the I-Pace an SUV, but its low silhouette and fastback design call to mind a four-door sports car. That impression continues when your right foot sends juice from the battery pack to twin electric motors (394 hp total), which drive the front and rear wheels. Range on a full charge is a healthy EPA-estimated 234 miles, but it's how the I-Pace covers that ground that's noteworthy. In short, this crossover is quick, with an abundance of power on tap the moment you step on the accelerator. The I-Pace has a standard adjustable air suspension; handling in normal driving is very good. Even more intriguing is the higher of the two regenerative braking settings, which lets you tackle a curvy stretch of road without ever touching the brake pedal. As you'd expect from Jaguar, the interior is luxe, with a definite high-tech look. Visibility to the rear is limited, however, and rear-seat entry and exit is limited. Fold the rear seatbacks down and you have a practical, if not huge, cargo hold. Other amenities include LED headlights and a panoramic fixed sunroof.