From Europe, Asia and the US, the best of the best go head to head and it is in your hands who comes out on top.
Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG
– Dec. 26, 2008
How many Car of the Year winners around the world are there? From a CleanMPG members standpoint, probably far too many with the annual winners and runners up chosen for the wrong reasons and criteria. It is time for us to make our own statement about what is or isn’t worthy of the title “Green Car of the Year.”
The process will first include a large group of fuel efficient or fuel free vehicles to choose from. You can vote for as many of the vehicles as you would like or simply your personal favorite from the long list below. Remember that voting for all is both a waste and diluting. On Dec. 29th @ noon PST, the top three choices per the poll vote will then go after the title with a second round of membership and moderator voting.
The second and final round for the “Green Car of the Year” title will include the entire membership’s choice with just a single vote for just one of the top three vehicles. And here is a twist... The membership’s votes will count for 75% of the final vote while the remaining 25% will be selected from the current CleanMPG moderator’s. We will divide up the votes on the final three vehicles, do the math and award the CleanMPG “Green Car of the Year” award to your favorite.
In practice, everyone receives up to 18 votes in round one to choose the top three of the 18 vehicles listed. You have some thinking to do. The top three in this poll will now go to our final round.
Let us assume Car A, B and C was voted as the final three vehicles. In this final round, the membership voting may have Car A receiving 85 votes, Car B with 80 and Car C with 75 with 240 votes cast. The 10 moderators will have their say and that vote may go Car C with 6, Car A with 2 and Car B with 2 votes.
The winner will be chosen as follows:
CAR A with (85/240)*.75 + (2/10)*.25 = .315625 or 31.56% of the vote
CAR B with (80/240)*.75 + (2/10)*.25 = .300000 or 30.00% of the vote
CAR C with (75/240)*.75 + (6/10)*.25 = .384375 or 38.44% of the vote
Car C would be declared the winner in this case.
Another kicker will be that memberships vote will be anonymous whereas the moderator’s votes will be posted in the final tally with a quick reason as to our own particular choice. That way we will not have a “Green Car of the Year Award” with the judges (moderators) hiding behind a veil of secrecy. Think of last years GCC’s 2-Mode as Green Car of the Year and you get the point.
Without further adieu, welcome to CleanMPG’s “Green Car of the Year” including two EV’s, an FCV and a whole slew of conventionally powered gasoline, diesel and hybrid automobiles.
CleanMPG’s Green Car of the Year Award Candidates
2009 European BMW 118d
– 2.0L turbo-diesel/hybrid
The first consumer available mild hybrid based (12V Start/Stop and regenerative braking) turbo-diesel. Using the latest Piezo-electric injectors at a touch under 30,000 psi and up to 5-injections per combustion cycle yields a vehicle capable of less than 9.0 seconds to 60 mph. At the same time, this Diesel offers an almost unheard of 52.3 mpgUS combined on the NEDC (~ 43 mpgUS combined on the 08 EPA) while still maintaining BMW’s exquisite ride, handling and surrounding its owner in luxury.
2009 US Ford Escape Hybrid
A small SUV nominee in the land of fuel saving sedans and hatches? When said SUV earns a 32 mpgUS combined on the 08 EPA and is capable of far more in the right hands (75.7 mpgUS at the 2008 World_FE Championships
) this past May, it certainly belongs on this elite list. This year, an all-new 2.5L engine includes more performance and the new Sanyo NiMH pack is smaller yet provides more power. And no need to liquid cool it any more either. All of the above and Ford somehow managed to increase its highway FE by 1 mpg.
2009 European Ford Focus Econetic
– 1.6L TDCi turbo-diesel
The European Focus uses the Mazda3’s excellent handling underpinnings which leads to a bundle of fun while the infamous latest generation Ford/Peugeot collaboration, 1.6L turbo-diesel running the latest variable vane turbo and Piezo-electric injectors at pressures up to 26,500 psi allow a wonderful 54.7 mpgUS combined on the NEDC (~ 45 mpgUS combined on the 08 EPA). Excellent fuel economy aside, this power plant still allows the Focus Econetic to reach 60 in a touch under 11 seconds. In 2008, the Focus 1.6L TDCi won the “WhatCar” Green Car of the Year award.
2009 European Ford Fiesta Econetic
– 1.6L TDCi turbo-diesel
The newly designed Ford Fiesta has the Mazda2’s heritage but with a similar 1.6L TDCi diesel engine as in the Focus above. Able to reach 60 in fewer than 12 seconds yet still holds an FE rating of 63.6 mpgUS on the NEDC (~ 52 mpgUS on the 08 Combined). Since its launch in Europe this past October, the all-new Fiesta has already achieved the title of second best selling car in Europe and number one of all vehicles sold in Great Britain. Style and Value never looked so good in a sub-compact.
2010 Japanese Mitsubishi MiEV
– Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
This one is indeed a special entry. We were not only fortunate enough to drive this vehicle at the 2008 LA Autoshow “Green Car Ride and Drive Event”
but discovered why a BEV designed from the ground up is exactly where we need to go. No local emissions, quiet and eerily smooth accelerations and decelerations that are completely controlled by the driver. The only thing missing is side impact door beams and this one would be ready for US DOT certification! Less than 2,400 pounds with a 16 kWh Li-Ion pack (10 to 12 kWh usable) yields an expected range close to 100 miles. Quiet and as efficient as an automobile can get!
2009 US Honda Civic Hybrid-II
A spectacular year for the HCH-II here at CleanMPG and definitely a worthy competitor in the elite list. An underdog of sorts given the small sales penetration into the US market but it helped reenact the Centennial of the 1908 NY to San Francisco Race
, had a nice showing in 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid
review and finally topped the charts with a FE World Record all its own in the Hypermilers complete new Guinness verified World Record at 68.54mpg (US)!
drive. At 42 mpgUS combined on the 08 EPA and an AT-PZEV emissions rating, the HCH-II is one of the better vehicle choices available anywhere in the world today.
2009 European Honda Civic
– 2.2L iCDTi turbo-diesel
Although it only achieves 36.25 mpgUS combined on the NEDC (~ 30 mpgUS combined on the 08 EPA), nothing we have reviewed or driven since other than an Insight 5-speed or a BEV has touched it in terms of real world FE. With performance of 8.5 seconds to 60 mph and an astonishing 85.5_mpg over 1,765 miles during its CleanMPG review
, this one is certainly a special vehicle. Along with the environmental and street performance, this 5-door hatch includes Honda’s infamous Magic Seats and an ergonomic driver cockpit like nothing we have driven in the past.
2009 US Honda Fit
One of the few vehicles in our Monthly Fuel Efficient Vehicle Sales Figures
updates that has consistently increased its market share with year to date sales showing an increase of 45.2% through November of 2008. The 09 redesign adds to the previous generation’s unique attributes including better handling and safety, one-touch fold down Magic Seats and quite literally, SUV sized rear cargo capacity. This redesign is more powerful yet retains much of the previous generation’s fuel economy at 31 mpgUS combined. As to its real world FE capability, one member punched out a 70 mpg tank! And all for a price most can afford.
2009 US Honda Clarity
– Fuel Cel Vehicle (FCV)
Yet another unique and luxurious vehicle we had the opportunity to drive at the 2008 LA Autoshow “Green Car Ride and Drive Event”
. Powered by H2 and emitting no local emissions other than water, this aerodynamic yet classy looking mid-sized sedan allowed 93 miles per kg of H2 (~ 94 mpgUS) on the LA test loop with no forced charging of its 288 V Li-Ion pack. With the capability to accelerate from a stand still to at least 12 mph (what we experienced), it was both quiet and extremely fuel efficient for its size. Upwards of 200 will be made available through southern CA over the next year.
2009 European Mazda2
– 1.4L turbo-diesel
Mazda made a splash earlier this year with a sub-compact (B-Class) platform that not only looked great but weighed almost 100 pounds less than its predecessor and included safety features and capabilities not seen in a vehicle at this price previously. Called the Demio in Japan, its real claim to fame came about in late March when it won the coveted World Car of the Year award as judged by a panel of 47 journalists from around the world. The Mazda2 equipped with an optional 1.4L turbo-diesel achieves 57.4 mpgUS combined on the NEDC (~ 47 mpgUS combined on the 08 EPA) albeit at a somewhat sluggish 15.4 seconds to 60 mph.
2009 US Nissan Altima Hybrid
This Hybrid vehicle is a worthy competitor for the Green Car of the Year Award due to its 34 mpg combined rating on the 08 EPA which gives the Altima hybrid the title of most fuel efficient mid-sized sedan currently available in the US. Along with the FE, the Altima Hybrid emissions are rated AT-PZEV while its performance heritage sees 60 mph in as little as 7.5 seconds. Unfortunately, the Altima Hybrid is sold only in the 9 clean-states of CA, CT, MA, ME, NJ, NY, OR, RI, and VT limiting its availability. Finally, its Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) system was built under license from Toyota. Nissan promises to design its own hybrid system in a few short years.
2009 US Toyota Camry Hybrid
The Toyota Camry Hybrid (TCH) is the US’ ubiquitous Mid-sized full hybrid automobile. The TCH is built directly off the Camry platform which is itself the number one automobile in terms of total sales in the US for 10 of the last 11 years. Although only rated at 34 mpgUS combined on the 08 EPA, we have seen any number of TCH drivers achieve 60 + segments using its own version of SHM (TPS 18/IGN 18) on the highway. Besides the Prius, the TCH is the best selling hybrid in the world without telling the world you are driving a “Hybrid” while doing so.
2009 US Toyota Corolla XRS
Toyota’s Corolla has the distinction of being the most sold nameplate of any vehicle in history. With over 32,000,000 Corolla’s sold since its launch in the mid-60’s, is it any wonder one of the many variants made our cut? In this case, the 2.4L gasoline equipped Corolla XRS allowed a clinic driver to touch almost 50 mpgUS
. Further, this performance based Corolla yielded a different kind of achievement. That being 62.7 mpgUS over 554.2 miles during its review
from a 25 mpgUS rated vehicle per the 08 EPA. Yes indeed, this one belongs.
2009 European Toyota iQ
An all-new A-Class sized mini that not only achieves stellar FE results from its base 1.0L gasoline engine but also seats four. The iQ is rated at 54.7 mpgUS combined on the NEDC (~ 45 mpgUS combined on the 08 EPA). Along with the excellent FE, safety features abound including 9-air bags plus just about everything else Toyota has to offer wrt Safety HW as described in the Toyota iQ revealed
thread. A cute exterior and innovative interior allows almost as much interior room as a Yaris but in an exterior just two-thirds the size. Released in Japan and soon Europe, this one will possibly end up being the least expensive fuel miser on the list.
2009 US Toyota Prius
When someone talks “Hybrid”, the 46 mpgUS combined rated Prius is usually the first that comes to mind. Since its inception, the Prius has been sold to over 1.2 Million customers worldwide. The Prius had a special year at CleanMPG starting with the LA Discovery Channel
pulling multiple 99.9 mpg + segments for the camera, achieved round trip segments from 108 to 136 mpgUS at the World Fuel Economy Championships
, made it from Chicago to NY City on a single tank of fuel
and finally showed two film crews spectacular numbers while Hypermiling_NY City style
. This vehicle is definitely a favorite.
2009 US Toyota Yaris
The last of the Toyota’s may be the most intriguing. Not because of great technology or extreme fuel economy capability but because of it is currently considered the lowest total cost of ownership vehicle available in the entire US. A 32 mpgUS combined rating on the 08 EPA does not do it justice given many drivers have seen 60 + mpg segments and when pushed, visit 70. Additionally and new for 09, all Yaris’ are equipped with front, side and side curtains as standard equipment. To finish off, 2008 Yaris sales are up 23% compared to last year. Not bad at all for a year when many look at slightly negative sales figures as a positive.
2009 European Smart ForTwo ED
– Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
During the Smart ForTwo preview
this past spring, we found out not only how comfortable this 2-seater is but the attention it garners from all directions was an unexpected surprise. Although the 1.0L Mitsubishi in the US version is a fuel miser in its own right (number one of all non-Hybrids available at 36 mpgUS combined on the 08 EPA), the ED (Electric Drive) BEV is the real deal. Being marketed first in London with a 100 vehicle trial and now more scheduled for Berlin, Italy and soon America, this is the future of the Smart.
2009 US VW Jetta TDI
– 2.0L turbo-diesel
Our final nominee is the all-new 2009 VW Jetta TDI. With an 08 EPA combined rating of 34 mpgUS, this compact fuel miser is the “welcome back” addition to the US as the first consumer diesel to beat the Tier II/Bin5 emissions requirement. Along with the new cleaner emissions and excellent FE ratings, we experienced an 09 TDI at TDIFest 2008. With four in the car, it allowed a decent 65.x mpg over a 20 mile mostly highway driving loop per the aFCD. Maybe not the FE killer we had hoped for but given the TDI takes less than 8.5 seconds to 60 mph, handles well and is reasonably priced off the showroom floor, it is a welcome competitor for the CleanMPG Green Car of the Year.
The list includes some of the World’s best but does not include everything. If you would like to know more about any of the given vehicles, do a search on the vehicle name here at CleanMPG as we have posted or written a number of News and Articles on every vehicle in the list.
Next year, we can expect the Ford Fusion/Milan Hybrid, Insight-II and Prius-III to make their mark but this year, we are voting for what is on the road. Vote your conscience and the memberships vote will decide what vehicle is going to be the “real” Green Car of the Year