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Audi A3 TDI - Click above for high-res image gallery

At the LA Auto Show this morning, Audi's A3 TDI was crowned the 2010 Green Car of the Year, wresting the title away from last year's winner, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI. Even thought three hybrids made this year's list of finalists, the A3's win marks the second year in a row that a TDI diesel car took top honors in the Green Car Journal competition.

The judges selection kind of meshes with AutoblogGreen readers, who overwhelmingly picked the VW Golf TDI from the list of five finalists. The other contenders were the Honda Insight, the Mercury Milan Hybrid (we still don't get why this car beat out the better-selling and nearly identical Ford Fusion hybrid) and the Toyota Prius.

Each year, Green Car Journal picks the five finalists and then hands over selection duty to celebrity jurors (Jay Leno, Carroll Shelby, and the Sierra Club's Carl Pope, to name a few). During the award ceremony, Green Car Journal editor Ron Cogan said that the five finalists are notable because they are all mainstream vehicles that are available today. They exist because that's what the market is asking for. Whaddya think? Is the A3 TDI this year's rightful Green Car of the Year?

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[Source: Green Car Journal]

Our travel and lodging for this media event were paid for by the Auto Alliance.

PRESS RELEASE:



2010 Honda Insight
  • 2010 Honda Insight
  • 2010 Honda Insight
  • 2010 Audi A3 TDI
  • 2010 Audi A3 TDI
  • 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI
  • 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI
  • 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid
  • 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid
  • 2010 Toyota Prius
  • 2010 Toyota Prius


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      harlanx6
      • 5 Years Ago
      Next year it will be a German hybrid TDI! The Jetta performs great and gets outstanding mileage also without the headache of having to carry a huge amount of battery.
      When (if ever) are the (used to be) big 3 going to wake up?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Also, if you go by EPA numbers and their annual driving amounts at http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/sbs.htm, you'll find that the A3 TDI consumes 11.6 barrels of oil per year vs. the Prius' 6.9 barrels.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Your comments are worthless comparing a hybrid in EPA tests to a diesel. EPA tests which include alot of Stop and Go simulated traffic are geared to be beneficial to hybrids. In other words they exploit the use of the electric motor. Although the prius is very efficient it represents the pinnical of gasoline fuel effecient technology. A similarily sized Diesel engine without hybrid technology will come within 2-5 mpg of a prius. A hybrid TDI would absolutely blow away the prius gasoline/hybrid technology.

        Comparing the 2.0 TDI audi a3 to a prius is like comparing apples to oranges.

      • 5 Years Ago
      And once again, true to form, the badly mis-named "green car journal" has made a mockery of the "Green Car of the Year" award. It makes me wonder just how much the Audi division of VW paid for the honor. Of course, after GM won in 2007 with the Tahoe Hybrid, they sank into bankruptcy and couldn't "pay for play".

      My prediction: Next year, and the year after that, the "green car of the year" award will go to yet another gasser or diesel guzzler, and the EVs and PHEVs coming on the market will continue to be ignored, as usual.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Audi-Mad
        There's no mention of energy recovery or stop-start for the A3 TDI on Audiusa.com. Are they completely clueless?
        WhatGreenCar US has a 2010 A3 diesel emitting 227 g/mile CO2 Emissions, which is a lot more than 119 g/km.

        30/42 EPG mpg is better than any Subaru, but these discrepancies suggest the European A3 TDI has technologies that aren't on the USA model, like so many European cars. (WHY, WHY??!)
        • 5 Years Ago
        This car deserves an award like this. The 1.9 TDIe only emits 119g/Km of Co2.
        It also comes with stop/start, energy recovery and a very efficient S-tronic box.
        105PS and 203Nm of torque is enough to get most jobs done.
        It does about 62MPG compared to my older model's 53 and my one is very light on diesel.
        Even the 170PS quattro returns up to 48MPG.

        I stand by my comment that this car deserves this reward and to call this a diesel guzzler is just plain stupid.
      • 5 Years Ago
      WHERE IS THE QUATTRO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??!????!?!???? i cannot tell you how many people in the northern united states would want one of these.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I have to disagree. Here in Portland, Subarus are all the rage. We have so much rain (with all of our lovely curvy highways & freeways) and are so inexperienced in the snow, that we'll go with some extra weight and a little less mileage. There's a pretty big love for diesels, electrics, and hybrids here: Bio-diesel Mercedes 300s, VW Jetta TDis, and Zap cars are not uncommon here. We need the mileage because Portland is more like a really wide town than a condensed urban sprawl, and we're big enviornmentalists and outdoor lovers. But Subarus and CR-Vs are really common here, too. I think an Audi A3 TDi Quat would sell well here; I can't say anything about anywhere else though.
        • 5 Years Ago
        the issue is that concerned yuppie environmentalist mountain adventures (a huge audi market) will simply not buy a non quattro car, who ever wins the high milage diesel AWD race. (looking like Subaru or Audi) could win big.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I have had no issues with FWD and snow tires.
      • 5 Years Ago
      There's nothing "green" about the A3 TD vs. many other carsI, esp. compared to the Prius. Go to http://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles, click both checkboxes, select 2010, California, then sort by air pollution score and greenhouse gas scores. 3/4 of the vehicles are equal or better on air pollution score and >1/3 are equal or better in GHG.

      CA 2010 Prius gets 9.5/10 for air pollution score and 10/10 for GHG. CA A3 TDI gets 7/10 and 8/10 respectively. Prius is rated to emit 2.97 tons of GHG/year vs. 4.96 tons for the A3 TDI.

      I guess we should label all the vehicles that have at least a 7 for air pollution score and 8 for GHG scores as "green". That would make for plenty of "green" gasoline vehicles.

      It's clear the judges didn't pick it on its greenness. I'm not sure why it even got nominated. It's just more diesel greenwashing.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It should also be noted that the "air pollution score" is based solely on the Bin to which a certain vehicle is certified according to that web site ( http://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/Aboutratings.do#aboutairpollution ). That means that only "tailpipe" emissions are taken into account; it doesn't even include evaporative emissions from the vehicle itself, never mind the upstream evaporative.emissions from the distribution of the fuel. The air pollution score is too oversimplified to provide any useful evaluation of vehicles' true air quality impacts.

        Since diesel fuel is essentially non-volatile relative to gasoline, the true air quality impact is probably about a wash for all of the vehicles considered in this admittedly subjective contest in spite of the air pollutions scores assigned.
        • 5 Years Ago
        In order to understand what makes the A3 TDI green you need to look at the Gasoline models of the A3 and compare the same vehicle.

        A3 Diesel ~ A3 Gasoline
        Air Pollution 7/10 7/10
        GHG 8/10 7/10
        CITY MPG 30 22
        HWY MPG 40 28
        COMB MPG 34 24
        NOX 0.07 0.07
        CO 2.1 2.1
        NMOG 0.055 0.055
        PM 0.01 0.01
        GHG emitted 4.96 6.15
        As you can see the diesel is 30% more efficient than the comparable gasoline engine with a cleaner pollution score. The TDI's ability to reduce fuel consumption and emissions is it's primary benefit. It is not as fuel efficient as the prius because simply stated it doesn't have the added benefit of the electric drive for stop and go traffic.

        So yes, the TDI is green in it's ability to reduce GHG emissions and fuel used compared to the regular gasoline engine.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's a good car, and it is fuel efficient. No, I can't see how it's the green car of the year.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Celebrity judges mean this is the opinion of a few people, not some kind of serious examination of capabilities.
      • 5 Years Ago
      There was another poll in November 2009:

      14,473 - Toyota hybrids sold, 9,617 Prius
      3,667 - VW Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Golf and Touareg TDI diesels

      This was a buyer's poll using $20-30,000 ballots.

      I was curious why ". . . meshes with AutoblogGreen readers, who overwhelmingly picked the VW Golf TDI . . ." So I used your "search" function for "Prius" and counted in AutoblogGreen:

      Dec. 2009 - 2 hits
      Nov. 2009 - 13 hits
      Feb. 2008 - 1 hit
      Dec. 2007 - 1 hit

      Off hand, it looks like AutoblogGreen has had no interest in attracting Prius owners, the single largest group of hybrid owners ... nearly 2 of every 3. It takes time to build up a readership and the past practice of ignoring Prius has succeeded with readers who picked the Golf TDI.

      Bob Wilson
      harlanx6
      • 5 Years Ago
      Prius is a great car, the very peak of gasoline technology at this moment, but it could be much more fuel efficient as a turbo diesel hybrid. Do you really think this weakness is not going to be exploited by the Germans and others? A 75 MPG Prius type car is not only possible, it is likely in the next 24 months. If you snooze, you lose!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Co2 emissions on the 2.0 TDI which is 140 hp available in the states is 143 g/km. What car doesn't know what they're talking about. That's pretty significant. I agree that we should be getting the smaller engines but i'm glad people are finally realising there's an alternative to gasoline that's fun, refined and also more efficient, Congrats to Audi and volkswagen for their win.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ahh, i see "whatcar" has their measurments in g/mile, which works out to be close to what i quoted.

      143g/km is 224g/mile.

      The gasoline 2.0 TFSI gets 166 g/km or 265.6g/mile.


      • 5 Years Ago
      "If you snooze you lose!" is an excellent description of what AutoblogGreen has been doing about the Prius since its inception. What they've lost is interest by the Prius community. It apparently has become a diesel clique ... good for them.

      The Prius community is used to dealing with a lot of hybrid skeptics ranging from hydrogen fool cells, mythical diesels, mythical electric, and a host of stuff that sounds good on paper but ... not at the local dealership. Then there are the hybrid skeptics who just "make stuff up." Dealing with the skeptics, we've also gotten some pretty good engineering notions of what works and doesn't work. Truth be told, nothing posted has us 'shaking in our boots' because we know the real engineering data.

      So in closing, the reason for posting the sales figures traces to another aphorism, "Money talks, bovine scat walks." I've already voted with my wallet, twice, a repeat, hybrid customer.

      Bob Wilson

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