Green Car of the Year Finalists Announced

Luke Vandezande
by Luke Vandezande

Five fuel efficient cars are vying for the “Green Car of the Year” award, which will be announced in only a few weeks during the L.A. Auto Show.

Which cars made the list? In no particular order, it was the Dodge Dart Aero, Ford C-Max, Ford Fusion, Mazda CX-5 SkyActiv and Toyota Prius C. Among the judges, there will be comedian and celebrity car enthusiast Jay Leno, Ocena Futures Society president Jean-Michel Cousteau and Michael Brune, executive director to the Sierra Club.

Fuel efficient cars are quickly staking out a spot as some of the world’s most important vehicles as emissions regulations grow tighter. Over the next four years, that will only become more relevant as the now two-term Obama administration presses toward its 54.5 mpg rule by 2025.

But recent news has that rule raising some questions in light of the scandal surrounding Hyundai’s false fuel consumption claims. The EPA has been quick to point out that problems like this are extremely rare, but it’s hard not to wonder what might be hiding under other unturned stones.

Sometimes cars fall hopelessly short of their EPA estimated mileage, while others meet or even beat those numbers. AutoGuide found that the Chevrolet Cruze Eco, for example, was actually capable of exceeding the car’s stated highway mileage.

The Dodge Dart Aero, which is a candidate for this year’s award, uses a similar philosophy by using a small displacement turbocharged engine. Also like the Cruze Eco, Dodge engineers reduced the car’s curb weight and gave it an active shutter grille to improve aerodynamics at high speeds.

Still, it’s hard not to look at the Dart Aero, CX-5 and Fusion like honest athletes up against blood dopers when stacked next to the C-Max and Prius C. Both cars take advantage of electric power to boost their fuel efficiency, which arguably puts them on a different playing field.

Luke Vandezande
Luke Vandezande

Luke is an energetic automotive journalist who spends his time covering industry news and crawling the internet for the latest breaking story. When he isn't in the office, Luke can be found obsessively browsing used car listings, drinking scotch at his favorite bar and dreaming of what to drive next, though the list grows a lot faster than his bank account. He's always on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="">Twitter</A> looking for a good car conversation. Find Luke on <A title="@lukevandezande on Twitter" href="">Twitter</A> and <A title="Luke on Google+" href="">Google+</A>.

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  • Danwat1234 Danwat1234 on Nov 08, 2012

    The C-max may end up being like the Hyundai vehicles. The C-max is rated at 47/47/47 but so far on Fuelly the real world average is only 41MPG. I expect it to get a bit better as the engines break in, but not much. I wouldn't be suprised if their EPA numbers get revised YEARS down the road like Hyundai and Kia vehicles. The Prius C is the only regular sized (not a micro car) hybrid that in the real world beats 50MPG, in fact 52MPG on Fuelly, slightly better than the regular Prius. It is the MPG winner, but, it isn't big enough for everyone, but it is more most people. The Fusion hybrid, no real world MPG numbers have been revealed yet, but since it shares the same drivetrain and EPA numbers as the C-max, I'd bet it would falter like the C-max is. So count them out. The Dart Aero is good most likely and quite nice that they toss in trailer sway control into the stability control system if you happen to be towing a small trailer with it. The CX-5 is not that green of a car. It only gets 28.8MPG real world average for the non-diesel version. You could have all the cargo space of that SUV when you need it, with a Prius C or a Dodge Dart if you tow a trailer and still get more MPG, especially with the Prius C.