The 2016 Green Car of the Year finalists have been announced and not a single diesel vehicle has been nominated this year.
After winning the award twice, Volkswagen diesel engines are nowhere to be seen this year and it’s no real surprise, considering the recent scandal. Green Car Journal recently stripped the German automaker of its past wins with the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI and 2010 Audi A3 TDI.
For 2016, that means electrified vehicles, hybrids and even standard gasoline vehicles will lead the nominations for Green Car of the Year. As the 10th year for the award, it will be interesting to see if diesel vehicles make a return in the future. It’s worth noting that no diesel models were named finalists in 2013 either, but diesels have been popular in the awards for the past few years.
Audi A3 e-tron
The Audi A3 e-tron is a plug-in hybrid sporting a 1.4-liter TFSI engine and an electric motor with a combined system output of 204 horsepower and an all-electric range of up to 19 miles. Standard on the five-door hatchback is front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission. The electric motor itself provides 102 hp while the turbocharged 1.4-liter engine churns 150 hp once it takes over.
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt is a new plug-in hybrid that builds on the success of the first-generation model. With an all-electric range of 53 miles, the Volt is capable of traveling up to 420 miles on a full charge and tank of gas. Owners taking delivery later this year can expect to go more than 1,000 miles between fill ups by charging regularly. The 1.5-liter engine generates 101 hp and the powertrain is 100 pounds lighter than its predecessor while combined electrical power from the two electric motors is at 149 hp and 294 lb-ft of torque.
ALSO SEE: 2016 Chevrolet Volt Review
One of the two standard gasoline models on the list, the new Honda Civic is completely new and will feature two all-new four-cylinder engines. One engine will be a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder mill, while the other is a 1.5-liter turbocharged unit. According to Honda, the base 2.0-liter engine will be good for 158 hp while the turbocharged engine delivers 174 ponies. Although the Japanese automaker hasn’t revealed fuel economy figures just yet, the company claims it will get more than 40 mpg on the highway, thanks to a 12-percent improvement in aerodynamics.
The entire Hyundai Sonata family is being nominated this year, including the Sonata Hybrid and Sonata Plug-in Hybrid models. The Sonata Hybrid SE delivers 40 mpg in the city and 44 mpg on the highway while the Hybrid Limited model is slightly less at 39 mpg city and 43 mpg highway. The hybrid powertrain provides a total system output of 193 hp. The standard gasoline Hyundai Sonata can be had in an Eco model sporting a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 178 hp while returning 28 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.
As for the Hyundai Sonata plug-in hybrid, its gasoline engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 154 hp while the electric motor generates 67 hp for a total system output of 202 hp. It has an all-electric range up to 27 miles and delivers 99 MPGe.
The 2016 Toyota Prius is another all-new model and the Japanese automaker has stayed relatively quiet on exact specifications despite its unveiling earlier last month. What we do know is that it will continue to be powered by a 1.8-liter hybrid powertrain that has been completely re-engineered to deliver an estimated 10-percent improvement in EPA estimated mpg on the core models. Toyota will also offer an Eco model that will return even better fuel economy. To compare, the current Toyota Prius returns 51 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highway.
The 2016 Green Car of the Year winner will be announced at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show in November.
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