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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.


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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Again, diesel hype is winning over common sense. People look at the MPG figures and CO and CO2 emissions and rejoice.

      Nobody, apparently, bothers to look closely at the percieved diesel advantages.

      I'd like to see NO2 and NO3 emission figures compared to a petrol engine. I'd like to see the solid particles numbers and local polution impact numbers.

      Service intervals and charges - the former tend to be shorter and the latter higher.

      Diesels are A) more expensive to buy, B) more expensive to make, C) more expensive to maintain and D) if not driven as diesels, have shorter life expetancy.

      All these contribute to the overal Green footprint or a lack of thereof.

      I'm not denying that diesels do have few advantages over petrols, but I don't think they are worth the GCoftY title.
        • 6 Years Ago
        T2B5 standards are the same for gas and diesel engines, including those for NOx and Particulate Matter. ULSD and better technology have eliminated the vast majority of the issues people had with diesels in decades past. Sounds liek you need to read up on some modern diesels and put down the 1980's Motor trend you're relying on.

        As far as life of the engine, I know I've seen far more high-mileage diesel than gas cars that's for sure.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Can't wait to see the sportwagen in the US (can't remember when they arrive or if they already have)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yep, they're here already. Look pretty nice.

        I think this award was given to the right car, but people who buy the new TDI in the first model year are essentially taking a risk on new emissions technology, whose durability and reliabilty have not been tested in the real world. I own a 2006 TDI, and love it, but I'll wait to get the new model until it's clear that VW has built a robust system.
        • 6 Years Ago
        sounds very suspicios- the after treatment components should be covered by at least the same 80k mile rules that cover gasoline cats.
        Warranty or not, you're relying on the acclaimed VW America dealer network. better bring a book.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have an 09 TDI and I love it. I get a combined 37-39 MPG depending on traffic. I have a 40 mile commute to work and part of it is driving through manhattan so that is where the MPG's start to drop. Though when crusing on the highway I see the current MPG get up around 50mpg if I am cruising around 60mph.

      The car feels solid, has enough pickup and is very comfortable. The trunk is also huge for a car of this size. So far I am really satisfied with it. I can get about 500-600 miles per tank when my 04 ralliart would get about half that with almost the same size gas tank.

      RxMadness, when I went looking for the car, one dealer wanted almost 4k over sticker. Luckily I have a brother who knows someone at a VW dealer and got it without paying over the sticker.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I wish this car would receive less attention so the dealers here can stop marking them up.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is a relevant article.

      Looks like automakers need to start following suit.
        • 6 Years Ago

        Maybe, but hybrids just aren't fun to drive
      • 6 Years Ago
      Finally! some recognition..
      Having a 2002 TDI that is much more of a polluter than the clean diesels of today, I've still enjoyed getting 50 MPG hwy and at the worst 36 MPG in the city for the past 6 years in a car that is FUN to drive. Looking at cars in the press that get 24 MPG and people think that is a good MPG is absurd.
      More Diesels please!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Very interesting, a diesel is the "green" car of the year and not a hybrid.

      I've been saying for years diesel is the way to go. Now if we can get some support from Uncle Sam, say drop the fuel tax on diesel and make it cheaper than gasoline to encourage sales.

      I'm glad to see people are finally waking up and learning about the new diesel technology and not equating every diesel to the junk sold in the 1980's.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'd rather have a bunch of automakers trying a bunch of different things and let the best tech win.

        "Best" is a combo of fuel efficiency, cost, reliability and performance.

        I wish gas was still $1.50/L, it encouraged people to drive less and not drive their 2m tall Super Duty Ultra Hummer-scalade's around to pick up a coffee from 2 blocks away...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Why would we want to encourage Diesel sales?

        In CARB areas it would increase air pollution. And compared to other cars of similar performance, the oil usage (keeping in mind the 15-18% higher energy/oil content of Diesel) isn't that much better than gas cars.

        I'd rather see a push for HCCI.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I am a car hauler and was at the LA Auto Show today picking up some extra Jetta TDI's that were being shipped to other locations . . . my comment about the show to another driver was that the LA Auto Show has become "The Anything But Gasoline Auto Show."
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well deserved.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The diesel in the US Jetta TDI is far cleaner than 95% of the diesels in Europe, even those with diesel particulate filters.
        • 6 Years Ago
        We're not in Europe. The Jetta is one of the most fuel efficient cars here in the United States of AMERICA.

        Stop hatin.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Always telling people how great this car is.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This ol wrench thoroly rung out the Jetta TDI, twice. most impressive low end torque I,ve ever experienced. Handled above average , had usual unibody strut suspension noises, when I ran into dealer markups,decided to stay American & ordered a Camaro LS just for the 3.6 & IRS.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Dumb award. 3 nominees weren't out yet (I know: the rules stipulate production by 1/1/09. Whatever.) -- the BMW, the Ford (introduced at the same event where the award was given -- totally ridiculous), and the Saturn Vue 2 Mode (which is now delayed). At least one of the two cars that's actually on sale now was the winner. Outside of that, pretty meaningless except as very handy boilerplate for the Veedub's next ad campaign. Not a shot at the Jetta TDI, just a statement on the silly award itself.
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