The prospects for clean-diesel passenger cars are, slowly, looking up.

Long-time diesel stalwarts Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen were joined in the U.S. market by BMW and Audi a few years ago, and the number of diesel models rises this year with the addition of the new 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI and the 2012 Mercedes-Benz S 350 Bluetec.

Each year, The Diesel Driver website asks its readers, diesel fans, and green-car advocates to vote on nominees for its Diesel Car of the Year award. Last year, thousands of votes came in from passionate diesel supporters.

And by the time you read this, voting will have opened for the 2012 award.

The nominees include all 13 diesel models on sale in the U.S. for the 2012 model year. And because last year's winner, the 2011 BMW 335d, is no longer on sale, the field is wide open.

2011 BMW 335d sedan

2011 BMW 335d sedan

The nominees include seven passenger cars:

  • Audi A3 TDI
  • Mercedes-Benz E 350 Bluetec
  • Mercedes-Benz S 350 Bluetec
  • Volkswagen Golf TDI
  • Volkswagen Jetta Sedan TDI
  • Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI
  • Volkswagen Passat TDI

Vote for the Diesel Car of the Year

Vote for the Diesel Car of the Year

and six sport-utility or crossover vehicles:

  • Audi Q7 TDI
  • BMW X5 xDrive35d
  • Mercedes-Benz GL 350 Bluetec
  • Mercedes-Benz ML 350 Bluetec
  • Mercedes-Benz R 350 Bluetec
  • Volkswagen Touareg TDI

While Chevrolet has confirmed that it will offer a diesel Cruze sedan for 2013--and Mazda is expected to offer a diesel CX-5 crossover within the next two years--only diesels available in the 2012 model year are eligible for this award.

If you're a clean-diesel fan, you can weigh in by visiting TheDieselDriver's voting page. You can vote for any one of the 13 nominees.

Voting ends March 1, and the winner (along with two runners-up) will be announced next April at the New York Auto Show.


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