10 Best Green Family-Sized Machines Under $50,000

  • Based in Los Angeles, Warren Clarke loves providing readers with the information they need to make smart automotive choices. He's provided content for outlets such as Carfax, Edmunds.com, Credit Karma and the New York Daily News.

can be reached at wgcla@hotmail.com
  • Based in Los Angeles, Warren Clarke loves providing readers with the information they need to make smart automotive choices. He's provided content for outlets such as Carfax, Edmunds.com, Credit Karma and the New York Daily News.

can be reached at wgcla@hotmail.com
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Family vehicles are expected to deliver on many different levels. The best models in this segment are roomy enough to accommodate tall teenagers in the second row, and they have enough cargo capacity to handle family road trips.

Additionally, they’ve got the tech amenities needed to keep kids entertained and connected during commutes. They also shine when it comes to safety.

It’s a good idea to give some thought to fuel economy when shopping in this segment. Family haulers are workhorses that spend lots of time on the road, and the picks with low fuel costs will be kind to your budget. For this reason, hybrids and electric vehicles are a solid bet.

For shoppers seeking relatively affordable choices in the segment, here are our selections for the 10 best new green family-sized machines priced under $50,000.

Our list includes everything from a hybrid minivan to a covetable electric car, and it’s presented in alphabetical order.

2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid with S Appearance Package
With its power-sliding side doors, cavernous cargo space, and frugal green powertrain, the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is purpose-built to provide efficient family transportation. (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles)

When it comes to family transportation, it’s hard to beat a minivan. Their sliding side doors make entry and exit a breeze, even with armfuls of groceries or kids. Minivans offer massive cargo and passenger capacity, and this gives them endless versatility. They also come with a wealth of family-friendly amenities.

The 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid serves as a green and clean alternative for minivan shoppers. Its premium cabin seats 7 passengers, and it comes standard with useful active safety features like a blind-spot warning system, rear park-assist sensors, and rear cross-traffic alert. With the second and third row folded, this plug-in hybrid provides 140.5 cu.-ft. of cargo space.

Chrysler’s Pacifica Hybrid van can travel for up to 32 miles solely on electric power. It gets 82 MPGe with the electric motor, and with the gas engine in play, the EPA estimates its mileage at 30 mpg in combined driving. Pricing starts at $41,390, including the $1,395 destination fee.

2019 Honda Clarity

2019 Honda Clarity Electric in Gray
Versatility defined: The 2019 Honda Clarity is offered as a plug-in hybrid, a battery-powered electric car, and a fuel-cell electric vehicle. (Honda)

Introduced for the 2017 model year, the Clarity is one of Honda’s newer car models, and it remains a fairly uncommon sight on U.S. streets. Its green credentials are evident in the fact that it gives shoppers a choice of three eco-friendly variants: a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), a battery-powered electric car (EV), and a fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV). Since hydrogen fuel stations are rare and the Clarity EV offers just 89 miles of driving range, we’d recommend the plug-in hybrid.

The EPA hasn’t yet rated the 2019 Clarity for fuel economy, but the 2018 Clarity PHEV can travel 48 miles on electric power alone. It achieves 42 mpg in combined driving with just the gas engine, according to the EPA, and 110 MPGe with the electric motor. We expect similar results for the 2019 model.

Clarity EV and FCEV variants are only available by lease for 36 months. The Clarity Electric costs $199 per month with $1,799 due at lease signing. The Clarity Fuel Cell runs $369 per month with $2,868 due at the start of the lease. Taxes and other fees are extra.

You can buy the Clarity Plug-In hybrid, which starts at $34,320, including the $920 destination fee.

2019 Hyundai Ioniq

2019 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid in gray
Sleek styling and strong fuel economy are part of the package with the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq. (Hyundai)

Not sure which type of green powertrain is right for you? The 2019 Hyundai Ioniq gives shoppers three alternatives. It’s available as a conventional hybrid good for up to 58 mpg in combined driving, a battery-powered electric car with 124 miles of range, and a plug-in hybrid with 29 miles of electric range before the gasoline engine turns on. All three variants team frugal performance with appealing utility and an attractive exterior design.

This 4-door hatchback comes standard with useful features like automatic headlights, satellite radio, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration. And the list of available driver-assist amenities includes a blind-spot warning system, rear cross-traffic alert, and forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection.

There’s lots of room for luggage, too, since the Ioniq provides 26.5 cu.-ft. of cargo space. The 2019 Ioniq Hybrid has been named a “Top Safety Pick” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and pricing starts at $23,285, including the $885 destination fee.

2019 Lexus RX 450h

2019 Lexus RX 450h in Red
The 2019 Lexus RX 450h gives green driving a luxurious spin. (Lexus)

As one of the first luxury SUVs to offer a hybrid powertrain, the Lexus RX introduced well-heeled car buyers to the joys of green driving. The 2019 Lexus RX 450h matches hybrid frugality with a quiet cabin, smooth handling, and bold design. Also, 3-row seating is available for those who need extra room.

Standard features include automatic headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, and adaptive cruise control. The RX 450h offers up to 55.9 cu.-ft. of cargo space behind its first row, and it can tow up to 3,500 pounds when properly equipped.

According to the EPA, the 2019 Lexus RX 450h achieves fuel economy of up to 30 mpg in combined driving (up to 31/28 mpg for city/highway), and this SUV earned a perfect 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for overall crash protection. Pricing starts at $47,020, including the $1,025 destination fee.

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV in Black
With its bold exterior design, the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is one of the more striking hybrid SUVs on the market. (Mitsubishi)

Many SUVs offer stylish sheet metal, and this is a draw for some shoppers. The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV boasts the aggressive exterior design that’s appealing to many, and it bolsters this with thrifty gas mileage and ample standard content.

This plug-in hybrid can travel up to 22 miles using just its electric motor, with an efficiency rating of 74 MPGe. With the gas engine in play, the Outlander PHEV achieves fuel economy of 25 mpg in combined driving, according to the EPA.

The Outlander PHEV comes standard with useful active safety features like a blind-spot warning system and rear cross-traffic alert. Pricing starts at $36,790, including the $995 destination fee.

2019 Tesla Model 3

2019 Tesla Model 3 in Red
Elegant styling cues and a long driving range make the 2019 Tesla Model 3 one of the most desirable electric cars on the market. (Tesla)

Tesla has quickly established itself as the brand to beat when it comes to electrified luxury transportation. The Model 3 sedan is the most affordable model in the brand’s lineup. Like all Tesla vehicles, the Model 3 offers a sleek exterior design and a modern, minimalist cabin.

The Model 3 comes with standard features like heated front seats and Wi-Fi connectivity, and is equipped with useful driver-assist amenities like a forward collision mitigation system. All-wheel drive is available for drivers who regularly face rain and snow.

Tesla’s Model 3 can travel up to 310 miles between charges, according to the automaker. The EPA hasn’t yet evaluated the 2019 model, but the 2018 Model 3 achieved an efficiency rating of up to 130 MPGe with a long-range battery and 2WD. Pricing starts at $44,925, including $925 destination fee.

2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid

2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid in Red
Among full-size sedans, the 2019 Toyota Avalon stands out for its bold style and excellent fuel economy. (Toyota)

Full-size sedans are great choices for shoppers who want a car with lots of room for passengers and cargo, and the 2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid brings assertive styling and excellent fuel economy to this segment. Redesigned for 2019, the Avalon offers lots of legroom for both rows, and its ride quality is smooth and accommodating. In back, its trunk provides a respectable 16.1 cu.-ft. of cargo space.

Standard features include LED headlights, heated front seats, satellite radio, and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration. Additionally, all models come with active safety technology like adaptive cruise control and a forward collision mitigation system with pedestrian detection.

According to the EPA, this sedan earns mileage of up to 44 mpg in combined driving (up to 43/44 mpg for city/highway). Pricing starts at $37,430, including the $930 destination fee.

2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid in White
Need a capable, green 3-row SUV? The roomy, well-equipped 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid has what it takes to satisfy. (Toyota)

A midsize 3-row SUV will likely fit the bill for shoppers who need lots of cargo space, passenger room, and towing capacity. The 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid delivers in all these areas, while also providing the frugal mileage that comes with a green powertrain.

All 2019 Highlander Hybrid models are equipped with AWD for added traction in rain and snow. Standard features include automatic headlights, keyless entry and ignition, and adaptive cruise control. The Highlander Hybrid offers up to 83.7 cu.-ft. of cargo space behind its front row, and it can tow up to 3,500 lbs.

Toyota’s Highlander Hybrid earns a perfect 5 stars from the NHTSA for overall crash protection. This SUV achieves mileage of up to 29 mpg in combined driving (up to 30/28 mpg for city/highway), according to the EPA. Pricing starts at $38,065, including the $1,095 destination fee.

2019 Toyota Prius

2019 Toyota Prius in Blue
With available all-wheel drive, the 2019 Toyota Prius is equipped to take on rain and snow. (Toyota)

Offering fuel economy that’s hard to beat, the Toyota Prius was one of the first hybrids on the market, and it introduced a wide swath of buyers to the benefits of green vehicles. For the 2019 model year, the Prius becomes available with AWD for the first time in its history, meaning that this beloved green machine can now be equipped to offer more stable handling in rain and snow.

The Prius provides roomy transportation, delivering up to 65.5 cu.-ft. of cargo space with its rear seats folded. The list of standard features includes Bluetooth connectivity, LED headlights, and adaptive cruise control.

Toyota’s 2019 Prius earned a perfect 5-star rating from the NHTSA for overall crash protection. The EPA hasn’t yet evaluated it, but Toyota expects the 2019 Prius to return mileage of up to 58/53 mpg (city/highway). Pricing kicks off at $24,700, including the $930 destination fee.

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

2019 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid in Silver
Redesigned for 2019, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is a leader in its class. (Toyota)

Fashionable exterior design makes the 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid a standout, and this SUV has substance in addition to style. It provides the agreeable handling that’s desirable in a family vehicle, and it offers roomy accommodations for both passengers and cargo.

Redesigned for the 2019 model year, the RAV4 Hybrid also comes with an appealing assortment of standard amenities. All models are equipped with LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, adaptive cruise control, and a lane-departure warning system. The RAV4 Hybrid provides up to 37.6 cu.-ft. of cargo space behind the second row, and it can tow up to 1,750 lbs.

The EPA hasn’t yet evaluated the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid, but Toyota expects mileage of 41/37 mpg (city/highway). Pricing begins at $28,745, including the $1,045 destination fee.

The Bottom Line

A family vehicle with a green powertrain can bring a notable reduction in monthly fuel expenses. The 10 models listed above offer more than just great mileage; they give you the ability to transport your entire family in comfort and style, all while helping to keep the air we breathe a little cleaner.


About the Author

  • Based in Los Angeles, Warren Clarke loves providing readers with the information they need to make smart automotive choices. He's provided content for outlets such as Carfax, Edmunds.com, Credit Karma and the New York Daily News.

can be reached at wgcla@hotmail.com
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