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The perfect eco-friendly car?

I should be thinking bike thoughts, but instead I'm dwelling on the perfect eco-friendly car for our family. Not that we need a new car, but sometimes it's nice to escape to that place in my brain where anything is possible. I visit there frequently. My neighbors, who have three kids, just bought a brand new Lexus SUV hybrid (26 hwy/24 city) as a family car and a Mini Cooper S convertible (32 hwy/22 city) as a commuter car in an effort to get better gas mileage and cut down on emissions. Those stats are okay (and about what my family's cars are getting), but not great. So I've been trying to figure out what would be the ideal scenario (beyond living in a village where everything you need is within easy walking distance).

Smartcar_2 For us, we need a family car and a commuter car. I like the Smart Car, which gets 40-plus mpgs, and think it would be an ideal commuter car. Even better than that though, is the Zap Xebra sedan (perhaps without the stripes), a totally electric car. It only goes 40 mph, so it's strictly for around town, but it seats four and only costs $10,500. I think these cars are adorable, but not sure my husband would drive one.Xebrasedanstripes_2

A larger family car is a little trickier. Have they come out with a hybrid station wagon or mini van yet? I have to confess -- and I never dreamed I would ever admit this -- but I recently drove a mini van, and I loved all the room. Plus, you could carpool (environmentally-friendly, yes?). The Prius might work, but it's still a little small. The Lexus is waaay out of our price range and I don't really want an SUV. I currently drive a VW Passat wagon, and it tells me that I usually get about 25 mpgs in the city, which I guess is okay, but when you compare it to a 46 mpg Prius, it's still kind of sucky.

Have I come to any conclusions? Not really (except maybe I should spend more time on a bike). What is your dream eco-friendly car set-up for your family? Or, are you living it already?


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