Volkswagen Passat

Base price: $20,845

This family sedan from Volkswagen features an upscale interior that Clarke says is roomy, but not too big for shorter drivers to safely and comfortably use.

"One of the things I like about the Passat is it has lots and lots of legroom," he says. "It also really feels like you're in a European sedan -- you get a high level of refinement at a really affordable price."

Volkswagen is also phasing an improved turbocharged engine into the line, boosting fuel efficiency to 24/mpg city and 35 mpg/highway with a manual transmission. (Automatics get 1 mpg lower highway mileage.)

If that's not "green" enough for you, there's a $26,295 diesel Passat that gets 31 mpg/city and 43 mpg/highway with a manual transmission or 30 mpg/city and 40 mpg/highway with an automatic (technically an "automated manual transmission").

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