Two German diesel sedans and three Japanese cars are the finalists for the Green Car of the Year Award to be handed out at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month.
The finalists for the Green Car Journal award include the Audi A6 TDI, BMW 328d, Honda Accord, Mazda3, and Toyota Corolla.
Whereas previously the field has been dominated by hybrids and electric cars, the selections this year reflect the auto industry’s focus on improving the performance of internal combustion engines.
"The diversity of this field of finalists illustrates not only that 'green' has gone mainstream, but also that there is no single approach to achieving ever higher levels of fuel efficiency and environmental performance," says Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com. "There's something for everyone in this year's field of finalists, including clean diesel, high efficiency gasoline, and hybrid/plug-in hybrid power featured in mainstream, sporty and executive models."
Green Car Journal said Audi's 2014 A6 TDI combines great fuel economy with unexpected performance, including a 0-60 mph in just 5.5 seconds. It has an EPA estimated 38 highway mpg that provides more than 700 miles of highway driving range.
Similarly, the new BMW 328d combines high fuel efficiency with the performance expected of BMW models. It has an EPA estimated 45 mpg. The car also is available as a station wagon.
The Honda Accord received its nomination for efficient powertrain options that include the standard four-cylinder engine, a V-6, a conventional hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. Even the V-6, the largest engine option, nets 34 highway mpg with the four-cylinder rated at up to 36 highway mpg. The conventional hybrid has an EPA rating of 50 mpg in city driving and 47 for the highway.
The Mazda3, redesigned for the 2014 model year, features a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that gets 41 mpg highway fuel economy.
Also new for the 2014 model year, the Toyota Corolla cab achieve up to 42 highway mpg with a special “Eco” version package.
The jury panel that will make the Green Car of the Year award includes auto enthusiast and "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno. Other panelists include Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club; and Matt Petersen, board member of Global Green USA. Green Car Journal editors round out the 2014 jury.
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