• Oct 7, 2009
Mercury Milan Hybrid - Click above for high-res image gallery of GCOTY finalists

Last year, Volkswagen's Jetta TDI was named the 2009 Green Car of the Year at the LA Auto Show, which means that the Volkswagen Golf TDI has a bit of baggage if it wants to try and win the 2010 award. Regardless, the Golf was named one of five finalists today, along with the Audi A3 TDI, the Honda Insight, the Mercury Milan Hybrid and the Toyota Prius. Odd that the Mercury would be chosen above the Ford Fusion hybrid, but so it goes. That makes is two diesels and three hybrids vying for top spot.

The Green Car of the Year award is given out by the Green Car Journal, which narrows the field of green cars down to five and then turns over the decision to pick a winner to "jurors such as Jay Leno, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Carroll Shelby, Matt Petersen of Global Green USA and the Sierra Club's Carl Pop." The winner will be announced in LA on December 3.




[Source: Green Car Journal]


PRESS RELEASE:

Five Finalists Announced for the 2010 Green Car of the Year®

Winner to be Announced During an LA Auto Show Press Conference on Dec. 3

LOS ANGELES - Oct. 7, 2009 - Green Car Journal announced today its five finalists for the 2010 Green Car of the Year®, including the Audi A3 TDI, Honda Insight, Mercury Milan Hybrid, Toyota Prius and Volkswagen Golf TDI. For the fifth consecutive year, this prestigious award will be announced during a press conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show press days, Dec. 3.

The Green Car of the Year® award is a program that honors environmental leadership in the automobile field and recognizes vehicles that are readily available to consumers during the award year. Green Car Journal editors perform an exhaustive review of vehicle models to identify the five finalists. The winner is ultimately decided by jurors such as Jay Leno, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Carroll Shelby, Matt Petersen of Global Green USA and the Sierra Club's Carl Pope, along with Green Car Journal editors.

"We're seeing the trend for 'green' cars emerging at all levels, from entry-level cars to luxury models, and even performance cars and SUVs/crossovers," said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal and editor of GreenCar.com. "Plus, an array of technologies and fuels as well as strategies like lightweighting and reducing rolling resistance are being applied to the challenge. Greater choice provides buyers a personal stake in lessening environmental impact, and that's important."

This year's finalists reflect this diversity. For the first time an Audi makes the final five with its sporty A3 TDI clean diesel. Volkswagen's new Golf TDI shows an expanding focus on clean diesel technology in the VW lineup. The Insight is a completely new hybrid sedan for Honda and the 2010 Toyota Prius is a totally redesigned, third-generation version of this popular hybrid model. The Milan Hybrid is Mercury's application of its advanced-hybrid technology in an upscale mid-size sedan.

About Green Car of the Year®

The GCOY 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. Subscription information, along with a downloadable sample issue, can be found at GCJUSA.com. Green Car of the Year® is a registered trademark of Green Car Journal and RJ Cogan Specialty Publications Group, Inc.

About the Los Angeles Auto Show

The 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show will be held on Dec. 2-3 for press and Dec. 4-13 for the public. Media registration is now open. This year, the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles (OICA), the world automobile trade association, has officially named the Los Angeles Auto Show as one of its sanctioned international exhibitions. For more information, please visit LAautoshow.com
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  • 33 Comments
      • 4 Months Ago
      nuWorldEnergy Ltd are offering a free 16 amp electric car charging point, or for an extra £90 you can get a 32 amp fast charge, this is being funded by the government so get in fast as it won't last forever, just found instructions at www.electriccar2buy.co.uk
      • 5 Years Ago
      Forgot to mention that tdi version tested by the EPA are all news cars. Diesel engine become more efficient with time. With i purchase my 1.6 tdi, i was + - 46mpg. Now around 10.000miles, +- 55 mpg
      • 5 Years Ago
      34 mpg for a TDI is nonsense. My 04 Golf TDI has never been below 43 mpg, averages 48 mpg, and has been as high as 54 mpg. Plus zero problems in 84,000 miles of driving.The EPA test is not accurate for diesels. We should all keep that in mind.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Tesla Roadster :)
        • 8 Hours Ago
        Unfortunately, that "Green Car Journal" continues to rig the qualifications to eliminate Tesla, thus once again ignoring the cleanest most efficient cars on the road. In 2007, the excuse was "well, they aren't in production yet". In 2008 the excuse was "well, they're in production, but we're only considering 2009 models that started production in 2008". But Tesla has started production of their 2009 Sport model, so I'm wondering what excuse the "green car journal" has for exclusion this year. They also studiously avoid any other EV like the Aptera 23, or any NEV.

        The 2007 "green car of the year" was an embarrassing joke, and last years award was only slightly better. This year they have at least 3 serious contenders, but they're still ignoring the greenest cars on the road.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It depends what definition is here for most 'green'. Sure if it's about fun I wouldn't vote Prius either but description says 'environmental leadership'. That could mean multiple things but I can't imagine diesels are leading environmentally (i.e. rust particles and higher CO2 in city). But perhaps a diesel hybrid would be a leader. If you look at the complexity and leading technology Prius should win.

      If it's for environmentally conscious by looking at total lifetime CO2 (e.g. include production) then there are certainly cars not in that list that would lead (e.g. tiniest cheapest car without any luxuries or other that would have cost CO2). My bike probably wins then hands down:-).
        • 8 Hours Ago
        skierpage,

        Agree with you. According to Honda's LCA study:

        78% CO2 over life cycle
        6% CO2 production
        16% CO2 rest (disposal, transportation, ...)

        According to Honda the Civic Hybrid emits 66% of total CO2 over its lifetime compared to the non-hybrid.

        But I think that 22% can grow considerably if you start adding expensive options. Most likely a base Insight emits less total CO2 than a fully loaded Prius. However we haven't seen much of these studies. Would be especially interesting this would be done for all cars in this list.

        Many people vote based on how much 'fun' the car would be. That's not what the vote is about (and for that matter most would choose a car not in this list for sure). But then again who knows how the jury votes...
        • 8 Hours Ago
        @Lucien,
        Even when you factor in production, higher MPG cars tend to do better in lifetime pollution and CO2. All reputable studies have found between 75-90% of the lifetime energy use of a car occurs in its operation. It's common sense that the *tons* of CO2 a car emits over its lifetime dwarf the production of an extra 30 pounds of nickel and a few hundred pounds of motors and transmission. If the 1808 lb Smart fortwo got close to the 50 mpg of the 3042 lb Prius it would obviously be better for the environment, but the Smart gets a mere 36 mpg.

        http://whatgreencar.com tries to account for environmental impacts from vehicle production manufacture, assembly and disposal as well as fuel use. (The Prius comes second in the USA! It loses to the FORD Focus Electric 23kWh / Lithium-ion / 2WD / Automatic / (CA) / 2010 :-) )
      • 5 Years Ago
      My vote goes to the BYD F3DM. On basis of tech I would imminently go for Aptera, but what about a LiFePO4 series hybrid sedan for 22k?
      • 5 Years Ago
      What about the Mercury Milan or Ford Fusion flex-fuel model?

      Instead of just using a little bit less gasoline for a cost of thousands over the regular car price, how about paying a lot less for the car and using E85, which is 85% alternative fuel (clean burning, renewable ethanol) and only 15% gasoline?

      Isn't switching to a different, cleaner fuel MUCH more important than mere conservation of a dirty one?
        • 8 Hours Ago
        Chris M., even conceding your claim for the sake of argument, that's not the fault of the car.

        Also, you imply that the relative dearth of alcohol fuel pumps is a reason not to buy or support flex-fuel vehicles. Quite the contrary, it is by supporting and especially buying flex-fuel vehicles that that problem will be resolved.

        When the proportion of FFVs on the road becomes big enough, then fuel stations will begin to routinely include alcohol fuel in their offerings. For now we'll have to content ourselves with the already impressive growth of alcohol fuel selling stations going from 300 in 2003 do over 2,000 today.

        Finally, your complaint about FFVs is roughly comparable to dismissing the Tesla Roadster by talking about the absence of electric recharge stations. Again, that's not the fault of the car, and the more those cars are sold, the more that problem will be solved. (Yes, I understand the idea is to recharge at home overnight, most effectively with a charger setup costing $3,000 not counting installation.)

        And at least with an FFV if you're in a pinch, out of juice, with no alt-fuel station nearby, you can fuel back up with gasoline. The transition is far easier and more convenient.

        The point is, it's fair to count an FFV for a green award, especially if they're handing them out to non plug-in hybrids that rely solely on petroleum fuel (however stretched) for power.
        • 8 Hours Ago
        The problem is that a vast majority of those flex-fuel vehicles never get a sip of alcohol at all. Flex-fuel capability doesn't do much good without the E85.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Tesla Model S
      • 5 Years Ago
      I voted for the Golf TDI. I go for both the Golf and Audi A3 (since they are identical powertrain wise). Hybrids suck :)
        • 8 Hours Ago
        Btw- to be clear I think hybrids are a great choice for those who enjoy driving them. I respect hybrid and EV owners. In fact, I keep test driving them as they come out in the hopes that I'll find a suitable vehicle. (The Fusion Hybrid, btw, was a decent ride. I found it much more interesting to drive than the latest Prius). To date, however, I have not found one I really like to drive, but I have found several diesel variants that I do enjoy.

        Without getting into the whole Tesla level of car (i.e. expensive and rare) one day I'm sure that mass produced hybrids or pure electric vehicles will be more oriented to performance driving experiences. For now I'm trying to minimize my use of oil and emissions while also maximizing my driving pleasure.

      • 5 Years Ago
      A. True winners should be plug-in hybrids: Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius plug-in.

      ------------------------------------
      B. Here is a list of EPA energy impact score: how much fossil fuel energy a given car really requires, expressed in barrels of crude oil needed to drive for 15k miles.

      1. Toyota Prius III: 6.9 barrels
      2. Honda Insight: 8.3 barrels (20% less efficient than Prius)
      3. Mercury Milan Hybrid: 8.8 barrels (27% less efficient than Prius)
      4. VW Golf TDI: some 11,3 barrels* (64% less efficient than Prius)
      5. Audi A3 TDI: same as Golf (as above)

      * (number for the Jetta TDI and slightly decreased)

      So I'm sorry, but putting inefficient diesels (Golf and A3 are also smaller than Prius) in this comparison is a joke. It only proves people behind this award really have no clue about what they deal with.

      Notice also how the much larger and more powerful Milan Hybrid destroys the poor diesels.
        • 8 Hours Ago
        You all knows that you hate diesel.
        You are an hybrid lover. We all knows that the prius is good. Yes hybrid is the most efficient. Diesel are different. We can't compare this...
        TDI is for people who want to drive fun and want a fuel efficient car.
        Milan hybrid vs golf tdi..... It's unfair....

        ps: i have nothing against hybrid, it's a great technology and the prius is a great car. no doubt about that. But please don't talk shXX about diesel. I have a 1.6 tdi ( i'm from belgium) , My parents have a prius. Both are great but different. And journalists are journalists ;)


        • 8 Hours Ago
        @Sam,
        So according to HybridCars.com, the Jetta TDi is worse in *every single way* than the Prius except for CO.

        167% worse Nitrogen Oxide (I think that's the main reason it and other diesels are stuck at a 7 rating on EPA's smog scale compared to 9.5 for most hybrids), 32% worse fuel economy (34 combined vs 50), 4% more particulate matter, 170% more hydrocarbons, and 67% more CO2 emitted (according to fueleconomy.gov).
        • 8 Hours Ago
        @ skierpage

        First off I want to say i appreciate your response as I can see you mean well.

        I believe the best epa pollution score is a 10 and as far as i know, the prius gets an 8, and there are alot of other hybrids that only score a 6 on the epa pollution score, which is where the TDI sits. This is mainly due to the fact that the engine is not operating for a period of time, and the electric drive offsets the emissions. It does not necessarily mean the prius engine is running cleaner or more efficiently in each and every situation.(cold weather or high speed for example)

        In response to the jetta having slightly higher NOX, and other emissions, this is a known fact, which is why i indicated 2 of them above, but they are also put out by the prius which is often overlooked in comparisons. Both vehicles put out a significant amount of pollutants and this is rarely addressed or mentioned regarding the prius, it is often however used to slam the TDI.
        • 8 Hours Ago
        I provided my data link , perhaps you should read a little more carefully

        http://www.hybridcars.com/calculator/

        try it yourself you might be shocked.
        • 8 Hours Ago
        Of course what down to earth doesn't want to tell you is this.

        Based on only 15,000 miles a year driving and lets be super generous to the prius and give it a 47 mpg rating and the jetta TDI a 34 mpg rating.(combined real life rating is closer to 40 us mpg check fuel economy.gov for details)

        1. The prius emits 99 more lbs carbon monoxide than the jetta tdi. (169 lbs vs 70 lbs)
        2. Only emits 12 less lbs per year NoX compared to the Jetta TDI (7 lbs vs 19 lbs)
        3 Emits nearly identical amounts of Soot or particulate matter (267 grams vs 255)

        This is based on the Jetta TDI getting 34 mpg which it has been proven is way under rated you can research it yourself on this website.
        http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/sbs.htm
        the difference between the TDI and the prius is very slight when it comes to real life fuel economy averages. Once you take that into account those numbers above make the real life emissions a pretty close race. (take out the 15% increase energy in diesel for added co2)

        Downtoearth always quotes Co2 emissions and runs away with it, he forgets that in the next 2 years 5% of all diesel fuel will contain be biodiesel, further reducing the Co2 impact by another 5%.

        Calculations based on
        http://www.hybridcars.com/calculator/
        • 8 Hours Ago
        Well, according to that Hybrid Cars website (you're right, I didn't spot that the first time, sorry), the Prius does produce more CO - 169 vs 70 for the Jetta, but for all other figures the Prius was better, with 2,236 lbs less CO2, 12 lbs. less NOx, 12 lbs. less particulates, and 13 lbs. less unburned hydrocarbon emissions (that's nearly 2 gallons worth of fuel vapors saved!). So while you may be right on CO, it appears the Prius is better on all other emissions.
        • 8 Hours Ago
        Sam, where did you get those figures from? That website you referenced listed a 51/48/50 mpg city/hiway/combined for 2010 Prius, but 30/41/34 mpg city/hiway/combined for 2010 Jetta TDI manual, so your mileage figures are way off. That website doesn't give the EPA pollution score for either vehicle, so I'm suspecting your CO and Particulate figures are also way off, especially since the Prius earns a SULEV rating and has the lowest emissions of any gasoline fueled vehicle, and the Jetta barely meets minimum emission standards. In short, I think you're spreading bogus figures, I'm just not sure why.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Afraid I have to vote for potential green here. Even though the Insight fuel economy is exceeded by the Prius and the fun factor will, no doubt, be exceeded by the Golf TDI, it is financially within reach of more people and has the potential to sell more cars, if they catch on with all those Civic and Corolla buyers, than any of the others. They are all good, but whichever sells the most will be the most green.

        • 8 Hours Ago
        @Dave R the Prius wins perhaps in the USA the green car sales but not world wide there it plays no rule vs TDI ... remember diesel holds 25% of the world wide sold cars a year, hybrid is still under 1% of the global market..

        • 5 Years Ago
        Except that the Prius only accepts gasoline as liquid fuel. It's just as locked in to petroleum-only as its source of power as that dirty jalopy down the street.

        A real shame when for just $100 per car Toyota could have added the capability for the Prius to use, where available, clean burning, renewable alcohol fuel.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yep - have to say the Prius is winning the green-car sales race by a landslide. No other "green" car comes close.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The diesel haters conveniently forget about biodiesel, a recycled alternative fuel that removes a waste product, decreases the use of fossil fuel and decreases harmful emissions.

      Many newer VW owners are currently cutting their dino diesel with up to 20 percent biodiesel with outstanding results. 5% biodiesel is sanctioned by VW, however 20% seems to be working- there are some controversies about this and the newest cars (i.e. the emission systems on the new TDIs etc). I currently run a new VW with 30% biodiesel without problems. That would put my crude oil consumption at about 7.9 barrels, or a little better than the Honda Insight.

      Doing a little math, at 20% biodiesel, the TDIs would average about 9 barrels of oil over 15K miles, which is slightly more than the Honda Insight and about on par with the Merc/Ford hybrid passenger car.

      Furthermore, the oil consumption averages does not account for atypical driving, such as increased highway miles, aggressive terrain (i.e. mountainous driving) etc. Thus, blanket statements about oil consumption are basic and crude at best.

      Given these limitations it is clear that on average the Prius consumes less oil. If that were the only consideration I'd say mozel tov and we could all increase the value of Toyota stock by several magnitudes; however, there is a reason why hybrids overall are not that popular: after driving each successive generation of Prius, I would rather ride my bike that drive the Prius every day. The trade off in driving pleasure is a major barrier for some, like myself, who do want to reduce their carbon footprint.

      Highly efficient diesels, paired with use of alternative fuels such as biodiesel, offer a much more desirable driving and car owning experience for some.
        • 8 Hours Ago
        Maybe you prefer diesels to hybrids, that's your preference, and it's fine with me. But I've driven both diesels and hybrids, and I much prefer my Prius to any diesel, it is smooth and reliable and quiet, and it gets much better fuel economy than any manual diesel without the distracting hassle of shifting gears. Ironically, some characteristics you seem to hate about hybrids are the ones I love, and I don't care for some characteristics of diesels you seem to like.

        BTW, I do agree that biodiesel (and waste veggie oil) is a very good use for what was once a waste product with a disposal problem.
        • 8 Hours Ago
        The reason that i prefer hybrids to diesels is that they are the in between step to a fully electric car. As a fan of the EV (which is more efficient and cheaper to run than both of them) I can honestly stand justified in sticking with hybrids. And before you get on about the impracticality of electric vehicles, they will come weather or not you want them to. Boeing is working on an electric airplane electric buses already exist, and yesterday i learned of electric police cars. Every major car manufacturer is scrambling to put models into production, because they are the future. diesels only serve to delay this. And another thing; you couldn't possibly tell me that a diesel is more fun to drive than an EV. Trust me, the EV will be a fun affordable car in the next decade.

        And thats why hybrids are better.
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