Each year automakers introduce a slew of new vehicles, many of which are considered “green” or environmentally friendly, and while consumers will choose the ones they like best with their checkbooks, there are other ways to be recognized.
Annually, the Green Car Journal, a national publication covering electric and alternative fuel vehicles and technology for more than two decades, selects two especially significant vehicles: a car and an SUV to be recognized as the Green Car and Green SUV of the year. The pair are honored during the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Last year’s winners were the Honda Insight as Green Car of the Year and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was the Green SUV of the Year. The publication also hands out other honors during the year.
“Recognizing environmental leadership in the auto industry has been a key part of our mission at Green Car Journal since the magazine’s launch more than 25 years ago,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and GreenCarJournal.com.
Here are this year’s finalists for Green Car of the Year:
- Ford Escape: The 2020 Ford Escape crossover is distinguished with its melding of SUV functionality and car-like design cues. It’s available with efficient internal combustion, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid drivetrains.
- Hyundai Sonata: The all-new Hyundai Sonata offers a compelling and sophisticated design for 2020. Power is delivered by fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines or a hybrid featuring Hyundai’s first solar panel roof.
- Kia Soul: Kia’s iconic Soul emerges as a new generation for 2020 with more aggressive styling cues highlighting its familiar shape. Its standard and turbo engines provide up to 35 mpg fuel efficiency.
- Mazda3: Available as a sedan or hatchback, the latest-generation Mazda3 features handsome styling, welcome performance, and driving efficiency courtesy of its SKYACTIV-G2 powerplant.
- Toyota Corolla:Featuring its most compelling redesign in decades, the 2020 Toyota Corolla delivers up to 40 highway mpg in conventional models and an impressive 52 combined mpg in hybrid trim.
The finalists for the Green SUV of the year include:
- Ford Explorer Hybrid:Ford’s all-new Explorer Hybrid features a 3.3-liter V-6 and 10-speed modular hybrid transmission, offering three-row, 7 passenger seating, front- and all-wheel drive, and a 5,000-pound tow capability.
- Honda CR-V: The already-fuel efficient Honda CR-V adds a hybrid choice this year that’s powered by Honda’s two-motor hybrid system, offering two- or four-wheel drive operation and exceptional fuel efficiency.
- Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid: The Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid represents this automaker’s first plug-in hybrid, powered by a 2.0-liter Boxer engine and two electric motors. It drives 17 miles on battery power and 480 miles overall.
- Toyota Highlander Hybrid: Toyota’s all-new 2020 Highlander includes a hybrid variant featuring three-row seating for 7 to 8 passengers, front- or all-wheel drive, and estimated fuel efficiency of 34 combined city/highway mpg.
- Toyota RAV4: The fifth-generation Toyota RAV4 is offered in both fuel-efficient gasoline and hybrid versions. The conventionally powered RAV4 nets up to 35 highway mpg, with the hybrid rated at 41 mpg.
“We’ve seen a lot change over those years. Today, there are wide-ranging ‘green’ car choices at the showroom, from high-efficiency internal combustion models and hybrids to a growing number of plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles. New car buyers seeking better environmental performance now have an amazing array of choices.”
Cogan points out that a “one-size-fits-all” focus is not workable in the auto field, an important reason to celebrate the wide diversity of vehicle styles, prices, and powertrains that now address fuel efficiency, decreased tailpipe and carbon emissions, and improved environmental impact.
“We’re at a pivotal point in our industry where investment and innovation from leading manufacturers means we’re forging a greener path. Marking this progress is essential, so we’re incredibly proud to host The Green Car Awards at AutoMobility LA this year,” said Terri Toennies, president of the LA Auto Show and AutoMobility LA. “As the focus on alt-fuel heightens, we will continue our commitment to providing a global platform to encourage further strides forward for our industry.”