The LA Auto Show is off and running, and Inhabitat was on the scene earlier this week to witness the unveiling of all the lean, green rides on display. Throughout the show we were struck by the array of alternative fuel vehicles that each and every manufacturer is putting research dollars towards. From pint-sized city cars to svelte green speed demons, read on for Inhabitat’s top 5 green vehicles from the LA Auto Show!

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5. Audi A3 Disel

Currently in production, the Audi A3 TDI was just awarded the coveted title of 2010 Green Car of the Year. The diesel vehicle delivers good gas mileage (EPA estimated 42 mpg on the highway) in a package that is fun to drive with all the flexibility of a hatchback. We’re not sure why the diesel cars keep outsmarting the hybrids, but admit that driving it around downtown Los Angeles was indeed a bit fun – although we might have been intoxicated by the smell of new car fumes.

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4. Honda P-Nut

The Honda P-Nut made its world debut at the LA Auto Show this last week, and carries with it the pint-sized trend that seems to be rolling out in more concept cars as of late. Honda says that its powertrain is still undecided and can be one of many things – we just hope that they go electric, hydrogen, or hybrid. One thing we do dig about the P-Nut is its new seating arrangement that allows for ample space in even a compact car.

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3. Audi e-Tron

Making its North American debut, the Audi E-tron stood-out on the showroom floor in glowing orange. E-Tron refers to the vehicles electronic drive, which runs off a lithium-ion battery pack. Audi boasts that the sports car can generate up to 313 hp but offers 3319 lb-ft of torque (10 times above their R8 series). The e-Tron, which goes from 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds, is the first in a series of concept cars that Audi expects to release as they continue to develop a competitive EV platform.

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2. Subaru Hybrid Tourer

Also making its North American Debut, Subaru’s Hybrid Tourer concept car strays from the rather bland designs we’re used to seeing from this manufacturer. A svelte chassis flanked by gull-wing doors makes for a stunning showpiece when eyed across the showroom floor. Beneath the hood the vehicle sports Suburu’s typical boxster engine upgraded iwth a new hybrid system that still supports their infamous AWD. Suburu announced that they will bring their first hybrid officially to market in 2012.

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1. Volkswagon Up! Lite

Rounding out our top 5 for the LA Auto Show is the World Premiere of the Volkswagon Up! Lite concept car. Featuring a two-cylinder TDI Diesel engine in combination with an advanced electric motor, the Up! Lite is capable of achieving up to 70 mpg on the highway. The superior efficiency of Up! Lite’s system comes not only from the vehicle’s integrated technology but from the lightweight aluminum and carbon-fiber elements used throughout the car (which we suspect caters to its name). Volkswagon didn’t skimp on the interior cabin’s technology at all, offering a heads-up display for the side cameras (used in place of your traditional outside mirrors), and intuitive touchscreen and hand motion sensors that control the car’s climate controls, internet connectivity, telephone, multimedia playback, and more.

+ LA Auto Show