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 |  Nov 18 2010, 1:34 PM

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Today at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, the group that hands out its Green Car of the Year award handed it over to Chevrolet for their Volt, which only made its official world premiere at the show the day before.

The Green Car of the Year is awarded by the Green Car Journal which uses an eleven-member panel to select the winner. The five finalists for 2010 were all 2011 models – the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, the Nissan Leaf battery electric car, the hybrid electric versions of the Hyundai Sonata and the Lincoln MKZ, and the straight-up gasoline-powered-but extremely thrifty Ford Fiesta, which achieves (40 miles per U.S. gallon (5.9 L/100 km; 48 mpg-imp) in highway driving.

Last year’s winner was the Audi A3 TDI.

GALLERY: Chevy Volt Debut at LA Auto Show

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 |  Dec 03 2009, 2:35 PM

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Audi is no doubt thrilled that it’s new A3 TDI model was just awarded the honor of Green Car of the Year today at the LA Auto Show. It sounds perhaps more prestigious than it really is, however, as the award has only been given for five years by the Green Car Journal.

The list of previous winners isn’t overly spectacular either including the Mercury Mariner Hybrid in 2006, the Toyota Camry Hybrid in 2007, the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid in 2008 and the VW Jetta TDI Clean Diesel as last years winner. Yup, not a Prius in the bunch. Even more surprising is that the A3 TDI won over cars like the all-new 2010 Prius and even the more likely VW-Group model, the Golf TDI.

Still, what the A3 TDI does offer is performance, fuel economy and luxury. In fact, its rating of 42 mpg on the highway makes it the most efficient of any luxury car in the U.S. Power comes from a TDI 2.0-liter engine with 140-hp and 236 ft-lbs of torque.

“The Audi A3 TDI really defines what a ‘green’ car should be,” said Green Car Journal Editor Ron Cogan. “At 42 mpg, it sets the bar for highway fuel efficiency in the luxury car segment. Its 50-state certified clean diesel engine is quiet, responsive, and achieves its mission without the need for exotic technologies. Plus, it’s sporty and just plain fun to drive.”

Audi of American Boss Johan de Nysschen was on hand to accept the award stating that, “We consider the Green Car of the Year title one of the most important industry accolades. It is of paramount importance for us to develop vehicles that achieve the very touchstones this award stands for — fuel efficiency and environmental impact. Rather than novelty features, we consider these attributes imperative to the future of automobile design. We are honored with this recognition for the Audi A3 TDI.”

Official release after the jump:

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