Green Car Journal, which names the winner with a panel of experts, had to strip two VW brand vehicles of their past wins. The 2009 VW Jetta TDI, which won in 2008, and the 2010 Audi A3 TDI, which won in 2010, have both lost their titles now that the world knows about the "defeat devices" that VW installed in many of its TDI vehicles around the world.
So, what does that leave us with for 2016? Two plug ins, a hybrid, and two gas vehicles. The two electric vehicle are the Audi A3 e-tron and the Chevy Volt, while the all-new Toyota Prius (which will come with a plug-in version later) is the lone pure hybrid. Rounding out the pack are two efficient gas models: the Hyundai Sonata and the Honda Civic.
This is the tenth year for the Green Car Of The Year, and it will be interesting to see if diesels can come back into the award's good graces (for the record, no diesels were among the finalists in 2013, either) in the future. For now, we'd like to know who you think should win. You can read more about the finalists in the press release below and then cast your vote in our poll.
Green Car Journal to Reveal Winner of 11th Annual Award at LA Auto Show Press & Trade Days, November 19
LOS ANGELES, CA (October 15, 2015) – Green Car Journal has announced its five finalists for the magazine's prestigious 2016 Green Car of the Year® award. The 2016 models include the Audi A3 e-tron, Chevrolet Volt, Honda Civic, Hyundai Sonata, and Toyota Prius.
An increasing number of vehicle models are considered for the Green Car of the Year® program each year, a reflection of the auto industry's expanding efforts in offering new vehicles with higher efficiency and improved environmental impact. Green Car Journal has been honoring the most important "green" vehicles every year at the LA Auto Show, since its inaugural award announced at the show in 2005.
"This is the strongest field of finalists we've seen in our annual Green Car of the Year® program," said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com. "Each of the five nominees makes a strong environmental statement in distinctly different ways, with a common strategy of recognizing what's most important to today's drivers. Their use of wide-ranging powertrain technologies underscores that all approaches are essential to achieving important environmental goals."
AUDI A3 E-TRON
The A3 Sportback e-tron is Audi's entry in the hot plug-in hybrid vehicle market. This five-door hatchback uses lithium-ion batteries and a 102 hp electric motor to deliver up to 19 miles of all-electric driving, after which its 150 hp, 1.4-liter gasoline TFSI engine provides power for extended driving in efficient hybrid mode.
Chevrolet's second generation Volt features sportier styling, better performance, and a lighter and more powerful two-motor drive system. The five-passenger, extended range electric now drives up to 53 miles on batteries alone, with its 1.5-liter gasoline powered generator creating on-board electricity to deliver an overall 420 mile range.
Now in its tenth generation, the all-new Honda Civic delivers exemplary fuel efficiency in an affordable, conventionally-powered model. The Civic thoughtfully blends hybrid-like fuel economy and appealing style, with an array of desired amenities and advanced electronics that meets the needs of a great many drivers.
Hyundai's stylish 2016 Sonata offers it all with efficient gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid choices within the Sonata lineup. New this year, the hybrid delivers up to 43 highway mpg and features distinctive styling cues. The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid drives up to 24 miles on batteries with additional range on conventional hybrid power.
The venerable Toyota Prius emerges in 2016 a completely redesigned model, faithfully delivering the attributes expected of an industry-leading hybrid with important design, technology, and efficiency updates. It features a familiar yet bolder exterior and incorporates suspension and other improvements to deliver improved driving dynamics.
The Green Car of the Year® is selected through a majority vote by an esteemed jury that includes celebrity auto enthusiast Jay Leno, plus leaders of noted environmental and efficiency organizations including Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Matt Petersen, board member of Global Green USA; Dr. Alan Lloyd, President Emeritus of the International Council on Clean Transportation; Mindy Lubber, President of CERES; and Kateri Callahan, President of the Alliance to Save Energy.
During the award's vetting process, Green Car Journal editors consider all vehicles, fuels, and technologies as an expansive field of potential candidates is narrowed down to a final five. Finalists are selected for their achievements in raising the bar in environmental performance. Many factors are considered including efficiency, EPA and CARB emissions certification, performance characteristics, 'newness,' and affordability. Availability to the mass market is important to ensure honored models have the potential to make a real difference in environmental impact, and finalists must be available for sale by January 1st of the award year.
About Green Car of the Year®
Since 1992, Green Car Journal has been recognized as the leading authority on the intersection of automobiles, energy, and environment. The GCOY award is an important part of Green Car Journal's mission to showcase environmental progress in the auto industry. CarsOfChange.com presents 'green car' articles online along with a focus on connectivity. 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 and Connected Car Expo
Founded in 1907, the Los Angeles Auto Show (LA Auto Show®) is the first major North American auto show of the season each year. The show's 2015 Press & Trade Days begin with the Connected Car Expo (CCE) at the JW Marriott at L.A. Live on Nov. 17, followed by LA Auto Show's vehicle debuts and press and trade events at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Nov. 18 and 19. LA Auto Show will open to the public from Nov. 20-29. The third annual CCE will unite automotive and technology professionals in an effort to increase development and foster relationship-building in the connected car industry, providing attendees with access to the key players and top media constructing the future of automotive mobility. The CCE conference is where the rules for how vehicles are made, sold, serviced and owned are changing and where the playbook is being written. Named "Best Car Tech/Connected Car Trade Show" by AUTO Connected Car News, CCE is where the new auto industry gets business done, unveils groundbreaking products and makes strategic announcements in front of media from around the globe. LA Auto Show is endorsed by the Greater L.A. New Car Dealer Association and is operated by ANSA Productions. To receive the latest show news and information, follow LA Auto Show on Twitter at twitter.com/LAAutoShow or via Facebook at facebook.com/LosAngelesAutoShow and sign up for alerts at www.LAAutoShow.com. For more information about CCE, please visit http://connectedcarexpo.com/.