The pioneering hybrid Toyota Prius and the second generation of the Chevrolet Volt have been selected among five finalists for the 2016 Green Car of the Year. The 11th annual award will be presented as per tradition on November 19 as a preamble to the LA Auto Show.
The Green Car Journal, which debuted the award in 2005, has selected the Audi A3 e-tron, Honda Civic Hyundai Sonata as well as the Prius and Volt.
According to the publication, and 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.
“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. “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.”
Here’s a capsule of each of the five nominees:
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 10th 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.
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.
What do readers of TheWeeklyDriver.com think? Are these vehicles the right selections? Are there more deserving cars?