Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2009 Green Car of the Year

There are a few standouts in the emerging green sector of the U.S. auto market that are hitting the market in 2009. BMW's first clean diesel in the United States, the 335d, is one such vehicle that has torque-loving enthusiasts salivating, and General Motors' upcoming Saturn Vue is the first application of the 2-Mode hybrid system in a front-wheel drive vehicle. No green car discussion is complete without a mention of the smart fortwo, which sports the best mileage of any non-hybrid car available. Of course, the new Fusion Hybrid and Milan Hybrid from Ford are shaping up to be real contenders in the green mid-size sedan sweepstakes and they may take a chunk out of Camry hybrid sales when it finally debuts. Still, there is one '09 car that seems to offer the best of all worlds, with a relatively low starting price, excellent fuel economy and refined driving dynamics: The 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI. For these reasons, the oil-burner from Germany has been selected by Green Car Journal as the 2009 Green Car of the Year. We're not arguing with the decision, but you are, of course, free to make your voice heard in the comments section.



Photos Copyright ©2008 Sebastian Blanco / Weblogs, Inc.


PRESS RELEASE:

Volkswagen's Jetta TDI Named 2009 Green Car of the Year(R)
Green Car Journal Announces Winner at the Los Angeles Auto Show

LOS ANGELES, Nov 20, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Volkswagen's milestone 2009 Jetta TDI has been named Green Car Journal's 2009 Green Car of the Year(R), besting competitors that included a pair of advanced hybrids, a clean diesel sport sedan, and a trendy fuel-efficient microcar. This is the first time that a clean diesel model has been awarded the title Green Car of the Year(R). Green Car Journal has been unveiling the Green Car of the Year(R) winner at the LA Auto Show every year since it initiated the annual award in 2005.
"The 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI epitomizes what the Green Car of the Year(R) honor is all about," said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and editor of GreenCar.com. "It raises the bar significantly in environmental performance with its EPA estimated 41 mpg highway fuel economy, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and extremely low tailpipe emissions. This is all the more impressive when you consider the Jetta TDI is a clean diesel, achieving the kind of fuel efficiency offered by gasoline-electric hybrids but in a more affordable way."

Volkswagen's Jetta TDI features a 2.0-liter, turbocharged direct injection engine featuring the latest in diesel injection and emissions technology that allows it to meet strict emissions standards in all 50 states. Although its mission is to provide buyers a comfortable and fuel efficient five-passenger family sedan at an affordable $21,990, there's a bit of performance in the bargain because of this clean diesel engine's abundant low-end torque and the Jetta's well-tuned suspension. This Volkswagen's new-generation diesel powerplant is also exceptionally quiet for a diesel, reflecting just how far advanced diesel technology has come in recent years.

A jury of environmental and automotive experts selected the 2009 Jetta TDI from the field of five finalists that also included the BMW 335d, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Saturn Vue 2 Mode Hybrid, and smart fortwo. This jury is comprised of nine jurors including Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club; Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; automotive expert and Tonight Show host Jay Leno; automotive icon Carroll Shelby; and four Green Car Journal editors.
About Green Car of the Year(R)

The Green Car of the Year(R) award is an important part of Green Car Journal's mission to showcase environmental progress in the auto industry. Since 1992, Green Car Journal has focused on the intersection of automobiles, energy, and environment, first with an industry newsletter and then with an award-winning auto enthusiast magazine. Today, the magazine is considered the premier source of information on high fuel efficiency, low emission, advanced technology, and alternative fuel vehicles. Green Car of the Year(R) is a registered trademark of Green Car Journal and RJ Cogan Specialty Publications Group, Inc. Additional information about the 2009 Green Car of the Year(R) can be found at GreenCar.com.