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Recognized each year at the LA Auto Show, the finalists for the 2012 Green Car of the Year award have been released, spanning the gamut of possible alternative fuel vehicles. The nominee include the Ford Focus Electric, the 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas, the Mitsubishi i, the Toyota Prius v and the 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI.
While fully electric models like the Fusion Electric and Mitsubishi i are obvious choices, the list goes on to include the Prius v hybrid, the Passat TDI diesel and even the natural gas powered Civic.
“This year’s Green Car of the Year finalists underscore that there is no single solution to our transportation challenges,” said Ron Cogan, publisher of Green Car Journal and editor of GreenCar.com. “Here we have five exceptional answers to the question of how we’re going to increase efficiencies, reduce tailpipe and CO2 emissions, and decrease petroleum use. These nominees deserve to be recognized for their unique approaches in providing consumers diverse choices as cars intelligently evolve toward a more environmentally-compatible motoring future.”
Along with staff from the Green Car Journal, this year’s judging panel for the 2012 Green Car of the Year award includes Carl Pope, Sierra Club chairman; Frances Beinecke, Natural Resources Defense Council president; as well as Jay Leno and Carroll Shelby.
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: