Every year, Green Car Journal selects five cars as finalists for its Green Car of the Year Award, presented annually at the Los Angeles Auto Show. With the 2015 show just a month away, the list of five finalists is now public, and there's a heavy focus on electrification. Somewhat unsurprisingly,
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron
Last year, the A3's diesel variant made this list. This year, the honor goes to the e-tron, Audi's. Starting at $37,900 (£35,005 in the UK, AU$62,490 in Australia), the e-tron is capable of 19 miles on electricity alone, thanks to an 8.8kWh lithium-ion battery. When the juice runs out, a 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine is there to keep the wheels moving. While it's been on sale in Europe since late last year, the car arrives at US dealerships this month.
With a 20 percent larger battery and a total cruising range of 420 miles, the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Volt is GM's best plug-in hybrid to date., we noted that improved handling and acceleration make the Volt a surprisingly fun car to drive. Its less-futuristic design language might appeal to more buyers, and it's still a better all-around car than its forebear.
The 2016 Honda Civic marks the long-running compact car's tenth generation, and the new model promises efficiency and space like never before. Honda first showed off the car in sedan form, but coupe and five-door hatchback variants are on the way. It's also the first Civic to feature a turbocharged engine. EPA estimates are not yet available, but Honda believes the Civic will achieve over 40 mpg combined without any electrification.
The Sonata is the jack-of-all-trades in this lineup, available with gasoline, hybrid-electric and plug-in powertrains. The plug-in should achieve 24 miles on just battery power, and the hybrid variant achieves approximately 43 mpg on the highway. Debuting in 2015, the new Sonatawith its bang-for-your-buck mix of technology and performance. The design is safer than it used to be, but like the Volt, that's just a power play to try and bring more buyers through dealership doors.
Thereturns to the Green Car of the Year list, thanks to an all-new generation that steals some very polarizing design elements from Toyota's hydrogen-powered . A smaller battery gives occupants more space to store cargo, but that won't have any effect on its fuel economy -- in fact, Toyota believes the new Prius will achieve 10 percent greater mileage than before.