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Which of these cars deserves to be called the 2010 Green Car of the Year?

Green Car Journal announced today its five finalists for the 2010 Green Car of the Year, including the Audi A3 TDI, Honda Insight, Mercury Milan Hybrid, Toyota Prius, and Volkswagen Golf TDI.

Green Car of the Year contestants
Five cars enter, one car leaves. Well, actually all five cars get to leave, but only one with the title. CNET

Every year, for the past four years, Green Car Journal picks its Green Car of the Year at the LA Auto Show. Well, the LA Show will be here before you know it, so it's time to start thinking about this year's contestants, which have been narrowed down to five finalists.

The finalists include the Audi A3 TDI, the Honda Insight, the Mercury Milan Hybrid, the Toyota Prius, and the Volkswagen Golf TDI. That's two VW turbodiesels and a trio of hybrids; or four small hatchbacks and a small sedan. No matter how you look at it, there's not too much variation this year. However, three of the vehicles have taken our Editors' Choice award at different times this year and two of them have already done battle in a CNET Prizefight, so it will be interesting to see which is chosen as the overall winner.

A panel of jurors (which includes notables such as Jay Leno, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Carroll Shelby, Matt Petersen of Global Green USA and the Sierra Club's Carl Pope) will have to pick one of these vehicles to be crowned the fifth annual Green Car of the Year--which, by the way, is a very different thing from Greenest Car of the Year. There's apparently a bit more that goes into the choosing than just raw fuel economy and emissions numbers.

Last year, it was the Volkswagen Jetta TDI that walked rolled off with the 2009 crown by winning over the judges with its real-world performance and relatively low price. The year before that, it was the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid which was a really big hybrid that didn't return really big mpgs, but still managed to improve fuel economy by a massive 25-percent over the conventional model. Looking way back to the 2007 and 2006 winners, we can see that the Toyota Camry Hybrid and the Mercury Mariner Hybrid have also seen time in the winners' circle.

Editor's note: Polling is closed, the judges have voted, and the results are in. The 2010 Green Car of the Year award has gone to...