The 2014 green car of the year finalists were announced this month. You thought it would be a list of hybrids or electric cars? Think again. The improvements in the combustion engine have come a long way.
The green car of the year will be announced at the LA Auto Show, running November 22 to December 1, 2013, but the five finalists were announced this month by the Green Car Journal as reported by Autoweek Blog.
One might presume the winner would be electric or a hybrid, have great fuel mileage, low C02 emissions, efficient, which is looked at, but along with the regular criteria you might expect from a green car, the green car of the year must have, according to the Green Car journal reported on Cars of Change "potential for a candidate to bring about substantial change and significant environmental improvement in the real world", which adds weight to the cars sales numbers also.
Surprisingly the list includes only one model that offers a hybrid and plug-in model, the 2014 Honda Accord, the rest of the list is rounded out by cars with great looks, great fuel economy with innovative design enhancements, great performance in their class, along with excellent styling and efficiency in their class.
On with the list of the five finalists as reported in USA Today, two clean diesels, the Audi A6 TDI and BMW 328d, two internal combustion engines with new enhancements, the Mazda 3 with SKYACTIV technology and the Toyota Corolla, and the Honda Accord with several green options including a plug-in and hybrid option. I note a few of the mentioned reasons for the car choices but more can be read on the Cars of Change announcement.
Audi Media Release materials
A 2014 Audi A6 TDI media release photo.
Audi A6 TDI: HP 240, 38 mpg highway, clean diesel, a start stop system that starts and stops the vehicle engine at lights to improve efficiency are some of the stats listed as reasons for the judges' selection.
BMW Media Release photos
The BMW clean deisel 328d 2014 model Media photo.
BMW 328d: The HP 180, 45 mpg highway, 2.0-liter TwinPower clean diesel, an auto start stop system, and rear wheel or all wheel drive versions helped secure its pick as a Green Car of the Year finalist.
Honda Media release photos
The 2014 Honda Accord plug-in from Honda Media Photos
Honda Accord: The Honda Accord has options. A 4 cyl, V6, hybrid or plug-in version with highway mileage on the gas variants at 36 on the 4cyl, 34 on the V6, with that increasing to close to 50 for the hybrid and plug-in model. Also noted is the plug-in's EPA rating of 115 MPGe, highest of any mid-size hybrid sedan in the country.
Mazda Media photos
2014 Mazda 3 media release photo.
Mazda 3: A new design along with the award winning SKYACTIV technology giving the Mazda 3 an impressive 41 mpg or 40 mpg in the hatchback are details mentioned by Green Car Journal as reported in Car Changer. This has also been Mazda's best selling sedan for 3 years in a row.
Toyota Media Photos
2014 Toyota Corolla media release photo.
Toyota Corolla: The Green Car Journal mentions the Corolla as a regular best seller, getting 42 mpg highway in the eco version and the first year of the Valvematic technology being introduced in the USA as considerations in its choice.
I have to agree with Jake Lingeman's opinion on the Autoweek Blog, it was surprising to see the list without the new Tesla S on it, which he added to Autoweek's own list at the bottom of their article.
Green car of the year judges and jurors include both environmental organization leaders and the Green Car Journal editors as reported by the Green Car Journal on Cars of Change.
"Green Car of the Year jurors include leaders of the nation’s major environmental organizations including Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club; and Matt Petersen, board member of Global Green USA, plus auto enthusiast and Tonight Show host Jay Leno. Green Car Journal editors round out the 2014 Green Car of the Year jury."
I don't envy the judges their task. Narrowing it down to the five finalists was bound to have been difficult, but now agreeing on an overall winner out of the five is going to be no easy task.