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No Compromise, Plenty of Style

Three New-Wave Hybrids That Emphasize Design (and Efficiency)

If you think the only thing about hybrids that’s advanced in the past decade or so is technology, think again. No longer the ugly stepchild of the automotive world, many hybrids have also arrived in the department of style and even take the kind of risks manufacturers wouldn’t dare impute to their gas-powered children. We’ve helmed three stylish hybrids that run the range of prices and designs. They’re all pleasing to the eye as well as to the environment and give us hope for the future: one without hybrids that look like lozenges on wheels.

VW-XL1
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Die Zukunft, Now

Volkswagen XL1

No longer the red-headed stepchildren of the car world, hybrids are quickly improving in both design and efficiency. Now, with the introduction of the remarkable Volkswagen XL1 ($TBA), the world’s first hyper-efficient supercar has arrived. The culmination of eleven years of research and development, the XL1 combines elite materials with environmental consciousness to buck precedent and set the bar for the next generation of vehicles. With a carbon fiber reinforced plastic monocoque, a slippery body and pre-eminent hybrid power, the XL1 is the world’s ultimate eco-conscious car.

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Slow bullet

Behind The Wheel: Volkswagen XL1

In the current automotive landscape, true environmental halo cars don’t exist. Volkswagen, however, has produced their own version of a hippie halo car. It’s no V12 powerhouse, nor does it even come close to resembling anything supercar-ish in appearance. But what the VW XL1 definitely does is make a bold statement about what an ultra-efficient, super-small displacement hybrid can be. Our recent trip to VW HQ in Wolfsburg, Germany gave us a prime opportunity to evaluate the XL1 from all angles, including the view from behind the wheel.

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It's environmental, really

Ferrari LaFerrari

Ferrari’s supercar legacy is not only alive and well, it’s now hooked up to hybrid power for the first time. Making use of a HY-KERS system that generates 160 hp on top of the V12’s already crazy 780 hp, the all-new Ferrari LaFerrari should get to 60 in less than three seconds and top out at 217 mph. But it’s not all go and no show. The beautifully designed supercar is both fluid and muscular, making use of more organic design elements than the car it replaces. The sum of these parts? A supercar easily worthy of the Ferrari name.

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Geek chic

2014 Volkswagen XL1

The Volkswagen XL1 shows making a hybrid doesn’t mean its design has to be inspired by a bar of soap. Largely unchanged from the 2011 concept car, the XL1 will show up again in Geneva this March. And yes, this is coming to production .

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Guilty as charged

Breakdown: 2014 Cadillac ELR

Given its lineage, we probably wouldn’t refer to it as a true “driver’s car”, but the completely new, super-aerodynamic Cadillac ELR 2+2 sure looks the part. That its design is edgy, futuristic, and alludes to strong momentum is no surprise given Cadillac’s direction as of late (and because we’ve told you about it before), but…

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Its worst emission? Burnt rubber

Behind The Wheel: 2012 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid

The second coming of the very popular and virtually unpronounceable Volkswagen Touareg (“Too-a-regg”) now comes in Hybrid form, which actually makes more sense than hybridizing a compact car that already gets better gas mileage than its larger automotive counterparts. And though its 20/24 city/highway mileage numbers don’t truly impress (the Touareg TDI gets better fuel…

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And you thought hybrids were dull

Lexus LF-CC Concept

Lexus has teased a new LF-CC two-door hybrid concept ahead of this year’s Paris Motor Show that continues the dose of driving excitement originally injected into the brand by the LFA. Though similar in execution to last year’s LF-LC Concept, the new whip sports a bold spindle grille that looks massive enough to inhale small…

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Green With Envy

Behind the Wheel | C’ing is Believing: 2012 Toyota Prius C

When it comes to cars, we spend most of our time fixated on rides that churn through a gallon of gas faster than a fat kid eats twinkies. Yet for all of our love for “driver’s cars”, we still acknowledge that practicality should be a major consideration when it comes to selecting a primary ride….

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Peer into the future, without the crystal ball

CES 2012: Our Favorite Booths

We kicked off 2012 by visiting not-so-beautiful Las Vegas to attend CES, with the hope of getting a head start on the exciting new products that will launch over the coming year. While we’ll continue to highlight gadgets revealed there on a regular basis, one of the best parts about being on the ground at…

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Hidden Help

Callaway RAZR XF Combo Set

Golf is hard. Truth be told, we make it harder than it has to be. We’ll buy drivers and putters the size of snow shovels, but for some reason, we insist on playing irons beyond our abilities. Callaway Golf is offering a chance to make amends for years of frustration and futility with the RAZR…

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Fisker Karma Hybrid

[click on image to enlarge] If this isn’t proof a hybrid can be gorgeous I don’t know what is. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Fisker Coachbuilders they’re a custom coach builder that takes cars like the Mercedes Benz SL or the BMW 6 series and turns them into individualized works of art….

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2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid

[click on image to enlarge] When you think of a “hybrid” do you immediately think of an exorbitantly priced underpowered vehicle with questionable styling? Do you also think that with today’s gas prices and fuel uncertainty a hybrid vehicle is becoming an ever more viable option? Now, when you think of a Chevy Tahoe do…