Green Car of the Year Finalists: Three Hybrids, Two Diesels

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2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid

2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid

The five finalists for the 2010 Green Car of the Year Award include three hybrid models--two Japanese hatchbacks and one U.S. sedan--and a pair of German clean-diesel cars.

The nominations were announced today by Green Car Journal, which has presented the award at the Los Angeles Auto Show for five years. The winner will be announced at the 2009 LA Auto Show on December 3.

The 2010 Toyota Prius

The 2010 Toyota Prius

2010 Honda Insight - front three-quarter

2010 Honda Insight - front three-quarter

Euro-spec Volkswagen Golf TDI - 5/09

Euro-spec Volkswagen Golf TDI - 5/09

Audi A3 TDI clean diesel - European model

Audi A3 TDI clean diesel - European model

Green Car of the Year

Green Car of the Year

The hybrid models include the two highest-volume dedicated hybrids sold by Toyota and Honda. The midsize hatchback 2010 Toyota Prius is the latest generation of the world's most successful hybrid-electric vehicle, with more than 1 million sold globally since its 1997 launch in Japan.

The 2010 Honda Insight is the lowest-priced hybrid on the U.S. market, with a base price of $20,470 including shipping. It's a compact five-door hatchback with a mild hybrid system (meaning it can't run in pure electric mode for more than a few seconds), and Honda's first dedicated hybrid since the original 1999-2006 Insight two-seater.

The third hybrid is the 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid midsize sedan, which was chosen over its much higher-volume counterpart, the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, for its more upscale design and interior fittings.

The two clean diesels from Germany are the 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI and the 2010 Audi A3 TDI. Each is a compact five-door hatchback, and while they share a 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine, they're aimed at very different market segments.

This is Audi's first-ever nomination for the Green Car of the Year Award, and its sporty A3 TDI is meant to appeal to the frugal side of the brand's affluent buyers, with a base price of $30,000.

The 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI, on the other hand, is the lowest-priced clean diesel on the U.S. market, starting at just $21,990. As we've said many times, we think the Golf TDI will be the big diesel winner in the U.S. market.

[Los Angeles Auto Show press release]

 
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