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Green Car of the Year finalists announced for L.A. Auto Show

October 7, 2009 |  6:55 am

Diesels and hybrids dominate the roster of finalists for the 2010 Green Car of the Year award, which will be presented at the L.A. Auto Show in December.

The Audi A3 TDI, Honda Insight, Mercury Milan Hybrid, Toyota Prius and Volkswagen Golf TDI will be vying for the annual Green Car award, which is sponsored by Green Car Journal magazine. The winner will be announced Dec. 3.

The award's aim is to recognize vehicles available in dealer showrooms -- as opposed to experimental or concept vehicles -- that achieve "environmental leadership in the automotive field."

The winner is ultimately decided by jurors such as Jay Leno, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Carroll Shelby, Matt Petersen of Global Green USA and the Sierra Club's Carl Pope, along with Green Car Journal editors. Last year's winner was the Volkswagen Jetta TDI.

"We're seeing the trend for 'green' cars emerging at all levels, from entry-level cars to luxury models, and even performance cars and SUVs/crossovers," said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal and editor of

"Plus, an array of technologies and fuels as well as strategies like lightweighting and reducing rolling resistance are being applied to the challenge. Greater choice provides buyers a personal stake in lessening environmental impact, and that's important."

This year's finalists reflect this diversity. For the first time, an Audi makes the final five with its sporty A3 TDI clean diesel. Volkswagen's new Golf TDI shows an expanding focus on clean diesel technology in the VW lineup. The Insight is a completely new hybrid sedan for Honda, and the 2010 Toyota Prius is a totally redesigned, third-generation version of this popular hybrid model. The Milan Hybrid is Mercury's application of its advanced-hybrid technology in an upscale, mid-size car.

-- Martin Zimmerman

Photo: Volkswagen President Stefan Jacoby is the center of attention after the Jetta TDI was awarded the 2009 Green Car of the Year last November at the L.A. Convention Center. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times