Which car models are the "greenest" in the U.S. market? Two clean diesels, two conventional gasoline-powered models, and one model that offers a choice of gasoline, hybrid, or plug-in hybrid powertrains have been identified as finalists in the 2014 Green Car of the Year competition that is sponsored by Green Car Journal magazine.
One of five finalists--Audi A6 TDI; BMW 328d; Honda Accord; Mazda 3; and Toyota Corolla--will be honored as the 2014 Green Car of the Year at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show in November. All five finalists will be featured in the magazine. Finalists are selected for raising the bar in environmental performance, according to a statement from the magazine, and they must be available for sale to the mass market by January 1, 2014, to be eligible for consideration. A few highlights about the five "green" models are featured:
The midsize premium 2014 Audi A6 TDI is powered by a 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder TDI clean diesel engine that produces 240 horsepower and is mated with a Tiptronic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive. The EPA estimates that this car will achieve up to 38 mpg on the highway with a 700-plus-mile driving range.
The compact premium 2014 BMW 328d is powered by a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder diesel engine. The EPA estimates that it will achieve up to 45 mpg on the highway, with the help of a TwinPower clean diesel power plant that produces 180 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. torque.
The midsize 2014 Honda Accord sedan is offered with a choice of green powertrains that include 4- and 6-cylinder gasoline engines as well as hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions. Even the conventional V-6 model is estimated by the EPA to achieve up to 34 mpg on the highway. The Accord Hybrid is rated by the EPA to achieve up to 47 mpg on the highway, while the Accord plug-in model is estimated to achieve up to 46 mpg on the highway.
The compact 2014 Mazda 3 is a third-generation model that features a 2.0-liter gasoline engine and the EPA estimates it will achieve up to 41 mpg on the highway. A more powerful 2.5-liter powertrain with a regenerative engine braking system is estimated by the EPA to average 38 mpg in highway driving.
The compact 2014 Toyota Corolla Eco version is powered by a fuel-efficient 1.8-liter gasoline engine that produces 140 horsepower and features Toyota's Valvematic technology to boost fuel efficiency. It is estimated by the EPA to achieve up to 42 mpg on the highway.
Judges in the 2014 Green Car of the Year competition include Green Car Journal editors and auto enthusiast and Tonight Show host Jay Leno, as well as leaders of environmental organizations such as Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society and Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.