The movement that’s bringing ever-greener vehicles to our highways is in hyperdrive today, with enormous focus, funding, engineering, and production devoted toward decarbonizing transportation at all levels. In today’s pickup field, this increasingly means the addition of batteries and electric motors to the powertrain in hybrid or full electric configurations.
Other approaches to increasing efficiencies and reducing carbon emissions are also being taken through more traditional methods, like improving combustion engines and transmissions, lightweighting a pickup’s body and frame, and improving aerodynamics and rolling resistance. Pickups employing these diverse strategies are all considered in the Green Truck of the Year™ program since there is no single pathway to greater environmental performance.
The pickup truck is a unique proposition in the ‘green’ car field. While its uses are pretty expansive – from highly functional personal use vehicles to high horsepower, ‘stump pulling’ workhorses – there are some givens when we talk pickups. We know this well because of the many years Green Car Journal writers and editors have spent working at pickup and off-road magazines in the past. Trucks must serve their core missions, seamlessly. Their job is to work hard, play hard, tow dependably, and haul what’s needed. They can serve as family vehicles these days with ease, so car-like comfort, connectivity, and style are paramount…even as they deliver the high functionality and improved environmental performance buyers demand.
Through the Green Truck of the Year™ program presented at the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show in Texas, it’s Green Car Journal’s mission to identify the pickup that best represents environmental performance while balancing the core needs of pickup buyers. Among the cornerstones of Green Truck of the Year™ analysis is weighing the merits of pickups integrating the latest efficiency technologies, balanced with cost, value, functionality, performance, and other factors. Also considered is a model’s availability to consumers, since the ability to actually buy and drive more environmentally positive models on our highways is as important as the ‘green’ technologies and capabilities they champion.
These are more complex issues today. We’ve seen order banks for some new or popular pickups like the Ford F-150 Lightning and Ford Maverick unexpectedly close for the model year, which means consumers are no longer able to buy one. Price is also an important consideration. While annual price increases for new models are a tradition in the automotive market, sudden and significant price spikes are not. Today’s reality is that materials costs and supply are wild cards in the auto industry, with silicon chips and especially materials for electric vehicle batteries major issues. How an auto manufacturer chooses to deal with this, such as Ford’s $12,000 increase in the entry level cost of its F-150 Lightning, has a direct impact on a vehicle’s affordability and availability to buyers. All this is taken into consideration in determining the Green Truck of the Year™.
Pickups that made the cut as finalists this year included the Ford F-150 Lightning, Ford Maverick, Hyundai Santa Cruz, RAM 1500, and Toyota Tundra. Each, in its own way, offers features and powertrains allowing pickup enthusiasts the opportunity to drive with greater efficiency and lower carbon emissions. Because of their commendable environmental achievements, these five finalists are recognized with Green Car Journal's 2023 Green Car Product of Excellence™ distinction.
The Ford F-150 Lightning is a champion of electrification. Powered exclusively by lithium-ion batteries and electric motors, this finalist features zero-emission travel of 240 to 320 miles before requiring a charge, depending on battery pack. F-150 Lightning does this while carrying on the Ford F-150’s reputation for dependability, durability, and performance. In fact, the F-150 Lightning’s acceleration and performance is stellar. It can haul up to 2235 pounds and tow up to 10,000 pounds, though towing or hauling heavy loads can significantly decrease the driving range of this all-electric pickup. The Lightning starts at about $52,000, though Ford’s order bank for this model is now closed.
Ford’s Maverick also brings efficiencies and carbon reduction to the pickup market, but in a different way. Starting at just over $22,000, this more compact pickup offers a standard 2.5-liter hybrid powerplant that nets up to 42 miles per gallon in the city, or a more powerful 2-liter EcoBoost engine. Maverick speaks to those who want a pickup with a smaller physical footprint that still fulfills a pickup’s expected mission, which it does handily. Clever engineering means the Maverick’s four-and-a-half foot bed can still carry a 4 by 8 foot sheet of plywood, with its multi-position tailgate at its halfway position and the plywood resting on top of the pickup bed’s wheel wells. Like the F-150, the order bank for the Ford Maverick has closed.
The Hyundai Santa Cruz is another example of a downsized pickup with high efficiency. Described by its maker as a Sport Adventure Vehicle, the Santa Cruz features a functional pickup bed that’s just over 4 feet in length, with the bed offering hidden bed storage and a lockable tonneau cover. It’s powered by a 2.5 liter four-cylinder achieving up to 26 highway miles per gallon, or a more powerful turbocharged 2.5-liter four, and comes in front- or all-wheel-drive. It can tow up to 3500 pounds and has a payload rating of 1500 to 1750 pounds. Santa Cruz offers a starting price of $25,500.
With an entry point of just over $37,000, the RAM 1500 is a stylish and highly functional pickup that fits a variety of needs, whether at the worksite or the campsite, trailer in tow. It’s offered in Quad Cab and Crew Cab choices, with two- and four-wheel drive, two pickup box lengths, and eight trim levels. Gas and hybrid power options offer 305 to 702 horsepower and include a 3.6-liter eTorque V-6, 5.7-liter eTorque HEMI V-8, and 6.2-liter supercharged V-8. This pickup’s efficient 3.0-liter EcoDiesel is a fuel economy champ at 33 highway mpg. RAM 1500 offers a dedicated work ethic with the ability to tow up to 12,750 pounds and carry payloads up to 2300 pounds.
Introduced in its third generation last year, the Toyota Tundra offers rugged styling and a broad range of capabilities. It’s available with two efficient twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter engines, the 389 horsepower i-FORCE V-6 or a 437 horsepower i-FORCE MAX V-6 parallel hybrid. It can tow up to 12,000 pounds and carry payloads up to 1920 pounds, with a driving range that can reach 700 miles. Tundra offers a wide range of features, amenities, and advanced driver assist systems and is available in Double Cab or CrewMax choices with two- and four-wheel drive,
Green Car Journal’s 2023 Green Truck of the Year™ is the RAM 1500. This pickup presents an excellent choice for buyers seeking a stylish and hard-working truck that offers efficient hybrid engine choices, plus the ability to tow and haul loads within its substantial ratings, with no limitations.
RAM 1500 features handsome styling, loads of connectivity and driver assist features, and the kind of comfort and functionality appreciated by everyday drivers and those who use their hard-working pickups on the job. Performance is a given. The 3.6-liter eTorque-powered RAM 1500 delivers up to 26 highway mpg with a driving range approaching 600 miles, while the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel nets 33 highway mpg and a driving range of 1,000 miles. Highway driving is a joy and off-roading an adventure if you’re so inclined. Importantly, this pickup’s capabilities dependably meet all the needs of personal, work, and recreational use, confidently delivering the substantial hauling and worry-free towing capability so many truck buyers expect and demand.
Green Car Journal’s Green Car Awards, the annual awards program honoring the year’s most standout new ‘green’ models, was presented at the Virtual Greenbuild Conference + Expo in November this year. The 2021 virtual awards program was an innovation during an unusual year, amid the postponement and cancellation of international auto shows where the Green Car Awards typically take place.
Over the years, these high-profile awards have grown along with the expanding field of ‘green’ cars on the road. They now recognize not only the magazine’s signature Green Car of the Year, but also exceptional models that speak to families, city dwellers, luxury buyers, pickup enthusiasts, and those requiring the functionality of an SUV. All provide the traditional touchstones of safety, quality, value, style, and performance, plus that fun-to-drive quality important to most drivers. What they add are greater efficiency, lower carbon and tailpipe emissions, petroleum reduction or displacement, or operation on battery electric power.
GREEN CAR OF THE YEAR
This year’s candidates for 2021 Green Car of the Year reflect the auto industry’s transition toward electrification, even as it continues to make internal combustion ever-more efficient. Three of this year’s finalists, the Mustang Mach-E, MINI Cooper SE, and Volkswagen ID.4, drive exclusively on zero-emission battery power. The BMW 330e is a plug-in hybrid that drives up to 23 miles on battery power and hundreds more as a hybrid. The Hyundai Elantra is offered with either an efficient gasoline engine or a gas-electric hybrid achieving up to 50 miles per gallon.
Rising to the top of the field is Green Car Journal’s 2021 Green Car of the Year, Ford’s all-new Mustang Mach-E, a model that boasts an instantly-recognizable name and heritage, while breaking new ground as an all-electric crossover featuring up to 300 miles of range. Performance is part of the package, as is unmistakable style and all the latest advanced electronics.
The 2021 Green Car of the Year® is selected by a highly-respected jury comprised of energy and environmental leaders including Mindy Lubber, president of CERES; Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Dr. Alan Lloyd, president emeritus of the International Council on Clean Transportation and senior research fellow at the Energy Institute, University of Texas at Austin; Clay Nesler, interim president of the Alliance to Save Energy; and Matt Petersen, president and CEO of Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and advisory board chair of Climate Mayors. Rounding out the Green Car of the Year jury is celebrity auto enthusiast Jay Leno and Green Car Journal editors .
LUXURY GREEN CAR OF THE YEAR
At a more premium price point, 2021 Luxury Green Car of the Year finalists also illustrate the momentum achieved by electric drive in the new car vehicle field. Four of these premium vehicles are all-electric models – the Audi e-tron Sportback, Polestar 2, Tesla Model Y, and Volvo XC40 Recharge. The fifth, the Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring, is the plug-in hybrid variant of Lincoln’s Corsair compact crossover that combines gas-electric hybrid and all-electric driving.
Honored as this year’s Luxury Green Car of the Year is the Polestar 2, a groundbreaking model from Polestar on many levels. This all-new premium vehicle is only the second of this new auto brand’s model offerings, and the first to be all-electric. This zero-emission, two-door fastback looks to the future even as it foregoes futuristic styling, instead choosing to offer an understated yet elegant and sophisticated design, tasteful appointments, and a nearly 300 mile range on battery power.
URBAN GREEN CAR OF THE YEAR
Urban environments pose their own unique challenges – tight spaces, often crowded streets, and hard-to-find parking. Here, smaller vehicles with a compact physical footprint and easy maneuverability are always top choices. The 2021 Urban Green Car of the Year award recognizes vehicles especially well-suited for life in the city. Top choices for this year’s award are the Hyundai Venue, Kia Seltos, Kia Soul, MINI Cooper SE, and Nissan Versa. Four are conventionally-powered – three of them crossover SUVs and one a compact sedan – with the fourth, the MINI Cooper SE, an all-electric crossover.
Taking top honors for 2021 Urban Green Car of the Year is the all-electric MINI Cooper SE. Standing out as an ideal vehicle for the city, the Cooper SE is compact in stature and big on features. Its represents what this brand all about: An iconic look, great maneuverability, and driving fun wrapped in a small package. Plus, electric power means zero localized emissions and no trips venturing out to the gas station in a crowded urban environment.
FAMILY GREEN CAR OF THE YEAR
While any model can serve family duty, those offering extra versatility and thoughtful family-friendly features are high on many shopping lists. Today, driving ‘green’ has also become a priority. Minivans have always been a solid choice, but these days three-row crossover SUVs can also do the job as family hauler. Finalists for 2021 Family Green Car of the Year are the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sorrento Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, and Toyota Sienna. The Kia Sorrento Hybrid and Toyota Highlander Hybrid crossovers drive on efficient hybrid power. Honda’s Odyssey minivan features an efficient V-6 with variable cylinder management. The Toyota Sierra is exclusively a hybrid-powered minivan, while the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan also offers plug-in hybrid power.
Standing out as Family Green Car of the Year is the Toyota Sienna, a minivan that seeks to set the standard for modern family haulers. The stylish and fuel-efficient Sienna offers premium sedan-like style, admirable hybrid fuel efficiency, and a thoughtful blend of family-desired features along with driver-centric characteristics not always associated with minivans. It shows Toyota’s keen grasp of how to make a modern minivan that not only serves up family functionality, but also premium car style and appeal.
GREEN SUV OF THE YEAR
The hottest segment in the automotive field today is the SUV, either full-size or compact, traditional or crossover, two-row or three, conventional, hybrid, or plug-in. There are no shortage of choices, which makes narrowing the field to five outstanding finalists no small challenge. The top five finalists emerging this year for Green SUV of the Year are the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e, BMW X3 xDrive 30e, Jeep Wrangler 4xe, Toyota RAV4 Prime, and Toyota Venza. Four of these –from Audi, BMW, Jeep, and Toyota – are plug-in hybrids with an all-electric driving range from 18 to 42 miles, and additional hundreds of miles on hybrid power. Toyota’s Venza is an all-wheel drive, tech-rich hybrid with exceptional fuel efficiency.
Taking top honors for the 2021 Green SUV of the Year title is the Jeep Wrangler 4xe, an SUV that’s different in many ways from others in its class. To some, it’s an SUV in the traditional sense with high functionality and loads of versatility that’s perfect for the diversity of everyday life. But to others, it’s that, plus a means of escape, heading toward the city one day and then driving the path less taken on another, a path often rough, unpaved, and pointed towards adventure.
GREEN TRUCK OF THE YEAR
This year’s Green Truck of the Year finalists embody all the workhorse capabilities expected of a modern pickup while offering passenger car-like comfort, advanced on-board electronics, and levels of fuel efficiency unheard of in pickups of just a decade ago. Pickups honored as finalists for Green Truck of the Year are the Chevrolet Colorado, Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel, and RAM 1500. All offer diverse powertrain choices, from gasoline and diesel internal combustion to variations of mild- and full-hybrid power.
Powering its way to well-deserved recognition as 2021 Green Truck of the Year is the Ford F-150, a pickup long distinguished as the best-selling model in the nation and a champion of innovation. Beyond its wide array of configurations, powertrain choices, payload capacities, and towing capabilities, it now adds such innovations as an efficient PowerBoost hybrid powerplant, fold-flat ‘sleeper’ seats, and an available Pro Power Onboard output system with outlets that allow the truck to function as a mobile generator at worksites or campsites.
The Green Car Awards™ program, presented annually since 2005, is an important part of Green Car Journal's mission to showcase environmental progress in the automotive field.
The 2020 model year is an important one for ‘green’ cars as an increasing number of more environmentally positive vehicles make their way to market. What’s also notable is that this is happening across the board, from entry-level sedans and luxury cars to pickups and crossover/SUVs.
Green Car Journal undertakes an extensive vetting process that considers the universe of potential ‘green’ finalists in the U.S. market and narrows the field to a top five in popular, high-profile award categories. Winners are identified in each of these categories, with awards presented by Green Car Journal editor/publisher Ron Cogan and senior editor Cam Benty at awards press conferences in Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Washington DC.
Award winners earn their Green Car Awards™ distinctions by raising the bar in standing out with their exceptional efficiency, desired features, and a satisfying driving experience, Along with the standard hallmarks of safety, value, performance, and style, efficiency and affordability to the mass market are important elements in the selection of Green Car Awards™ winners. Substantial numbers of more environmentally positive vehicles such as these on the nation’s highways brings a cumulative and significant reduction of carbon emissions and fuel use over time.
The winner of the magazine’s legacy Green Car of the Year® award – presented at the LA Auto Show since 2005 – is selected by a high-profile jury that includes leaders of national environmental and efficiency organizations, auto enthusiast/entertainer Jay Leno, and Green Car Journal editors. Rising to the top for consideration as 2020 Green Car of the Year® were the Ford Escape, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Soul, Mazda3, and Toyota Corolla. And the winner? Toyota’s all-new 2020 Corolla and Corolla Hybrid.
Featuring a more sophisticated look and riding on a stiffer platform with independent multilink rear suspension, the 12th generation Toyota Corolla features improved ride and handling and a full complement of driver assist systems rivaling those found in more expensive models. The conventionally-powered Corolla achieves notably high fuel economy of up to 31 city/40 highway mpg, with the Corolla Hybrid rated at an impressive 53 city/52 highway mpg. Importantly, affordable price points for both conventional and hybrid variants make them approachable to a great many buyers and not just a select few.
Also presented at the LA Auto Show, 2020 Green SUV of the Year™ finalists included the Ford Explorer Hybrid, Honda CR-V, Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, and Toyota RAV4. Taking the win for 2020 Green SUV of the Year™ was the Honda CR-V and its new CR-V hybrid variant.
Honda’s popular CR-V offers an array of design and technology refinements for 2020 along with the important addition of an all-wheel drive hybrid version, the first hybrid Honda SUV sold in the U.S. The CR-V Hybrid uses Honda's efficient two-motor hybrid system to deliver an expected 50 percent fuel economy increase over the already-fuel efficient gasoline model. CR-Vs come standard with the full suite of Honda Sensing safety and driver-assist technologies.
Recognizing environmental leadership in the light truck category is increasingly important considering the huge number of pickups sold each year. Pickup enthusiasts are increasingly interested in style and connectivity, but also for the fundamentals that trucks are famous for, whether that’s handling commercial duties, towing a boat or trailer, carrying loads of gear, or just comfortably seating a family of five. Increasingly, buyers also want pickups offering greater efficiency and improved environmental impact. The Green Truck of the Year™ award recognizes leadership in this arena and is presented annually at the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show in San Antonio, Texas, in the heart of ‘truck country.’
This year’s 2020 Green Truck of the Year™ finalists included the Chevrolet Colorado, Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, Ford Ranger, and RAM 1500. All offer far more sophisticated capabilities and greater environmental performance than the workhorse pickup trucks of years past, while also featuring the high levels of comfort, safety, and drivability of their passenger car counterparts. Green Car Awards™ jurors honored the RAM 1500 as the 2020 Green Truck of the Year™, the second year in a row this exceptional has earned this honor.
Its distinction as 2020 Green Truck of the Year™ is testament to the focus that RAM 1500 has on filling the needs of everyday drivers and tradesmen, while offering higher efficiency that decreases fuel use and carbon emissions. Along with its appealing design, lighter weight, and work-and-play functionality, RAM 1500 offers a new and more powerful 3.0-liter EcoDiesel powerplant that achieves an EPA estimated 22 city/32 highway mpg. A pair of eTorque mild hybrid powerplants, exclusive to the segment, deliver up to 20 city/26 highway mpg fuel efficiency. RAM 1500 features considerable towing and hauling capabilities and is equipped with the latest connected and driver-assist technologies.
The San Antonio Auto & Truck Show also hosted Green Car Journal’s inaugural 2020 Family Green Car of the Year™ award program. This high-profile award recognizes the increasingly important role that environmental performance plays in the family vehicle arena. Finalists included the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, Hyundai Venue, Kia Niro, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and Nissan Versa. These models represent the spectrum of vehicle types most appealing to families including sedan, minivan, and crossover SUV models powered by efficient internal combustion and plug-in hybrid power, at varying price points affordable to most families. Driving away with the first-ever 2020 Family Green Car of the Year™ honor was Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV meets the diverse needs of families while delivering value, style, performance, and notable environmental performance. This plug-in hybrid SUV is stylish, comfortable, and spacious enough to handle all the trappings of family life, while offering a very approachable cost for a plug-in crossover with its level of features. Among its strengths is a sophisticated series and parallel hybrid powertrain that enables 22 miles of driving on battery power alone for daily errands or commuting, or greater than 300 miles of travel on hybrid power. It can plug in to a household outlet, a 240-volt wall or public charger, or even a public DC fast charger for quickly replenishing its lithium-ion batteries.
The finale for Green Car Journal’s awards season is the Green Car Awards™ presentation at the Washington Auto Show in Washington DC. This auto show, with its strategic adjacency to the halls of power that have long influenced environmental progress in the auto industry, is an ideal venue for the Green Car Awards™ that have been presented here since 2008.
In Washington, Green Car Journal honors the automotive field’s most important enabling technologies through its 2020 Green Car Technology of the Year™ award. The diverse technologies considered for this award are instrumental in making a new generation of more environmentally-positive vehicles possible. Finalists this year included BMW Wireless Charging, Ford’s Modular Hybrid Transmission, Hyundai Active Shift Control, Hyundai Continuously Variable Valve Duration, and Tesla V3 Supercharging. Rising above its fellow nominees was BMW Wireless Charging, which Green Car Awards™ jurors honored as the 2020 Green Car Technology of the Year™.
BMW Wireless Charging offers a new and innovative direction for the future of electric vehicle charging. Paired today with BMW’s 530e plug-in hybrid, this unique system uses magnetic induction to wirelessly charge a vehicle’s batteries without the need to plug in, shutting off automatically once charging is complete. The car’s center display guides drivers in positioning their car over the system’s charging GroundPad while parking.
The premium vehicle market is the focus for a growing array of electric, hybrid, and high efficiency models. These are honored by Green Car Journal’s Luxury Green Car of the Year™ award. Contenders this year included the BMW 745e, Karma Revero GT, Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring, Porsche Taycan, and Range Rover Evoque. Emerging the winner of the prestigious 2020 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ award was the Karma Revero GT.
Green Car Journal editors note that the Karma Revero GT exemplifies what can be accomplished with stunning design, great technology, and a sophisticated extended range electric drivetrain. Karma Automotive, a startup with manufacturing facilities in Southern California, devoted significant design and engineering efforts in evolving its earlier Karma Revero into the more sophisticated Revero GT that features new front and rear designs, all-new body panels, a sumptuous interior, and a new infotainment system. This restyled luxury sport sedan is not only compelling inside and out, but is motivated by an all-new series hybrid drivetrain delivering a greater 80 mile battery electric range, and 360 mile range overall with electricity from its BMW-sourced engine-generator.
Making it through Green Car Journal’s extensive vetting process to become one of the top five contenders for a Green Car Award™ is significant accomplishment. Selection as a finalist signifies that a new model or technology makes a notable contribution toward a new generation of cleaner, more efficient, and more environmentally compatible transportation. By virtue of their notable ‘green’ credentials and environmental achievement, each of the five finalists in all Green Car Awards™ categories is honored with Green Car Journal's prestigious 2020 Green Car Product of Excellence™ recognition.
The all-new 2019 RAM 1500 debuted with eTorque mild hybrid technology, an efficiency-enhancing system that’s exclusive to the segment. This new feature, while potentially important to buyers seeking a fuel economy bump in the increasingly-crowded and always competitive light pickup field, is not readily understood by all. So here’s an overview on how RAM’s eTorque mild hybrid works.
Functionally, eTorque works by replacing the RAM’s conventional alternator with a more robust motor/generator in 3.6-liter V-6 and 5.7-liter V-8 HEMI engines. The eTorque-equipped V-6 mounts its Continental motor-generator in front of the engine with the pulley pointing aft. A dedicated, water cooled coolant circuit is used since the internal cooling fans in a typical alternator would not work in this configuration. In the HEMI V-8, a Magneti Marelli motor-generator mounts conventionally near the top of the engine where air cooling works fine. The 48-volt eTorque system adds 90 pounds to a the HEMI V-8 and 120 pounds to the V-6, with the water-cooling circuit accounting for the difference.
When lifting off the throttle at speed, eTorque’s motor/generator begins to generate electrical energy that feeds back to its battery pack while also smoothing transmission downshifts. It provides a brief torque boost of 90 lb-ft in V-6 RAMs and 130 lb-ft in V-8 models. Along with adding torque during shifts, it contributes torque while transitioning in and out of four-cylinder mode during V-8 cylinder deactivation. The eTorque system restarts the engine and resumes forward motion within 70 milliseconds after an auto-stop. An interactive deceleration fuel shut-off system also saves fuel.
Electrical energy in the eTorque system is stored in a 30 pound, 430 watt-hour LG Chem battery pack mounted at the rear wall of the pickup cab. The system includes a DC-to-DC converter to supply the vehicle’s regular electrical loads and charge its 12-volt starter battery.
Alternators only draw modest power from an engine’s accessory drive. However, eTorque’s motor-generators use their accessory drive belt to slow and accelerate these trucks, so the belt must be larger and stronger, and also must wrap farther around the pulley. It also requires a tensioner on both sides to keep belts tight as the motor/generator transitions from generating to motoring. The eTorque Hemi gets a larger crankshaft pully as well that improves the motor/generator’s leverage.
While Audi and Mercedes-Benz are selling similar systems in Europe, FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) is the first to market vehicles using the technology in large numbers in the U.S. With an estimated 2 to 3 mpg savings in city/combined fuel economy, eTorque delivers improved environmental performance and has the potential to have a measurable effect on FCA’s corporate average fuel economy as well.
Green Car Journal has revealed the finalists for its Green Truck of the Year™ and Commercial Green Car of the Year™ awards, part of the Green Car Awards™ program hosted annually by the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show.
Finalists for 2019 Green Truck of the Year™ include the Chevrolet Colorado, Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, Ford Ranger, and RAM 1500. Making the cut as finalists for 2019 Commercial Green Car of the Year™ are the Ford Special Service Plug-In Hybrid Sedan, Ford Transit Connect, Mercedes-Benz Metris, RAM ProMaster City, and RAM 1500.
Green Car Awards™ winners will be announced on Thursday, November 15 at the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show, which takes place November 15-18 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
2019 GREEN TRUCK OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
Chevrolet’s Colorado pickup offers a handsome design, an array of advanced on-board electronics, and desired creature comforts. Choices include two-door extended cab and four-door crew cab variants in Work Truck (WT), LT, Z71, and ZR2 models. This mid-sized pickup offers notable fuel economy and enhanced maneuverability including a short turning radius of 41.3 feet. Three engines are available – a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 3.6-liter V-6, and a high efficiency turbodiesel. The Colorado’s 2.8-liter Duramax Turbodiesel four-cylinder engine connects to a 6-speed automatic transmission and delivers impressive fuel efficiency of 30 highway mpg.
The all-new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado pickup is lighter, more tech-laden, and more aggressively styled. It comes in eight trim levels with regular, double, and crew cabs plus short and long beds. An all-new Durabed cargo box is seven inches wider with greater hauling capacity. Plenty of powertrain choices are available including a new 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, a new 2.7-liter turbo, and a 4.3-liter V-6. A 3.0-liter Duramax diesel paired with a 10-speed automatic and a stop-start system is coming in early 2019. The model’s 5.3-liter V-8 and 6.2-liter V-8 feature Dynamic Fuel Management that enables only those cylinders needed to deliver required power to come into play.
The 2019 Ford F-150 continues to use the automaker’s revolutionary aluminum body that contributes to higher fuel efficiency without sacrificing all-around functionality. Military-grade aluminum alloy and a high-strength steel frame allowed Ford to decrease the body weight by up to 770 pounds compared to the previous generation. The 2019 F-150 comes in eight trim levels and Regular, SuperCab, and SuperCrew choices. They are available with 5.5, 6.5, and 8-foot bed lengths, depending on cab style and trim level. Rear- and four-wheel drive are available. Powering the F-150 are five gasoline engines and a new 3.0-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V-6. All now come with auto start/stop technology.
Ford’s Ranger is back after a seven-year absence from the North American market, available as a SuperCab or SuperCrew built on a common 126.8-inch wheelbase. The SuperCab comes with a 6-foot bed while the SuperCrew gets a 5-foot bed. A turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder coupled to a 10-speed automatic transmission is the sole powertrain choice. Rear- and part-time four-wheel-drive are available. The new Ranger offers FordPass Connect Wi-Fi with 4G LTE connectivity plus an array of driver assist systems, including standard forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and an available blind spot warning system.
The all-new, completely restyled RAM 1500 is lighter, more fuel efficient, and higher tech than ever. This versatile pickup is offered in four-door quad cab and crew-cab body styles, with 67.4- and 76.3-inch beds featuring more hauling and towing capacity than the generation before it. Capabilities include the ability to tow up to 12,750 pounds and carry a payload of up to 2,320 pounds. Efficiency is enhanced by shedding up to 225 pounds through the use of high-strength steel, aluminum, and composites. Importantly, the new RAM pickup features 3.6-liter V-6 eTorque and 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 eTorque mild hybrid powertrains. It is equipped with the latest driver assist and connectivity technology.
2019 COMMERCIAL GREEN CAR OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
The restyled, new-generation Ford Transit Connect van and wagon are available in short- and long-wheelbase versions. The cargo variant offers a volume of up to 146 cubic feet and payload capability up to 1570 pounds, with the ability to tow 2000 pounds. Twin sliding side doors are convenient for making sidewalk deliveries. The rear can be equipped with a traditional liftgate or split cargo doors. Available powerplants include a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder flex-fuel engine offering 24 city/27 highway mpg and a new 1.5-liter EcoBlue turbodiesel expected to net up to 30 highway mpg. Auto stop/start is standard on both new engines. A 2.5-liter Duratec engine is carried over from last year.
Ford’s Special Service Plug-In Hybrid Sedan is ideal for detectives, police chiefs, and other government personnel. Based on the Ford Fusion plug-in hybrid, it uses a 7.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery that delivers up to 21 miles on a charge, plus the ability to drive up to 85 mph exclusively on electric power. Given the typical use of a detective or police chief vehicle, this plug-in sedan offers the potential for working a full shift without using any gasoline. Overall range on battery and internal combustion power is over 500 miles. While parked, the battery pack allows the engine to shut off and keep the car’s electronics running for an extended period to save fuel and decrease emissions.
Mercedes-Benz Metris is this automaker’s offering for commercial vehicle buyers who like the Sprinter van, but desire something a bit smaller. They get it in this mid-size van and wagon that fits in a standard garage. Cargo and wagon versions are offered in regular and entry-level Worker versions. Power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline engine rated at 21 city and 24 highway mpg, connected to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Metris features sliding doors on both sides, wide-opening rear doors, a cargo capacity of 2,500 pounds, and a 5,000-pound tow rating. New for 2019 is an optional rear liftgate and standard stop/start operation to enhance efficiency.
The RAM ProMaster City compact commercial van and wagon feature an updated front facia that mirrors the front-end design of the new 2019 RAM 1500. Ideally-sized for city use where maneuverability and versatility are key, the van features a payload capacity of 1,883 pounds and is capable of towing 2,000 pounds, while offering 21 city and 28 highway mpg. New telematics allow fleet managers to monitor van usage and driver behavior. Power is delivered by a 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission. Two sliding side doors and rear 60/40 split doors that swing open to 180 degrees facilitate access to its 131.7 cubic foot cargo area.
RAM 1500 emerges as an all-new, fifth-generation pickup in 2019. It’s offered in four-door quad cab and crew-cab body styles, with 67.4- and 76.3-inch beds. This versatile pickup features more hauling and towing capacity than the generation that came before it, with the ability to tow up to 12,750 pounds and carry a payload of up to 2,320 pounds. RAM 1500 is also lighter, with efficiency enhanced by shedding up to 225 pounds through the use of high-strength steel, aluminum, and composites. It features eTorque mild hybrid technology in both the 3.6-liter and 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 powertrains. As would be expected, RAM also offers the latest driver assist and connectivity technology to enhance commercial operation.
This year’s San Antonio Auto & Truck Show in Texas highlighted environmental achievement by commercial vehicles, trucks, and performance cars, vehicle classes rarely noted as ‘green’ by nature in years past. This has changed dramatically in recent times, prompting Green Car Journal’s acknowledgement of these forward-thinking vehicles through its Green Car Awards program at the show, complementing the increasingly ‘green’ models featured on the show floor.
Taking home honors for 2018 Commercial Green Car of the Year™ was Ford’s Police Responder Hybrid. 2018 Green Truck of the Year™ was awarded to the Chevrolet Colorado, while the Mazda MX-5 Miata earned the first-ever 2018 Performance Green Car of the Year™. Along with the Colorado, 2018 Green Truck of the Year™ finalists included the Ford F-150, GMC Canyon, Honda Ridgeline, and Toyota Tacoma. Considered with the Ford Police Responder Hybrid for 2018 Commercial Green Car of the Year™ were finalists Ford F-250 Super Duty, Ford Transit Connect, Mercedes-Benz Metris, and RAM ProMaster City. Vying for 2018 Performance Green Car of the Year™ along with the Mazda MX-5 Miata were the Acura NSX, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, and Honda Civic Type R.
As the first pursuit-rated hybrid police car, Ford’s Police Responder Hybrid promises to bring significantly greater fuel efficiency and environmental performance to police department fleets across the nation. Based on the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the Police Responder Hybrid is expected to deliver 38 combined mpg and a few miles of ‘stealth’ driving on batteries. When parked, the battery pack allows the engine to shut off for brief periods while keeping the car’s electronics running, saving fuel and decreasing emissio
Chevrolet’s Colorado mid-size pickup offers nearly the same capacity, functionality, and features as this automaker’s full-size pickup, but with a more compact form and shorter turning radius that makes it easier to maneuver and park in tight city environs. Along with being a workhorse, it’s also civilized with its handsome design, array of advanced on-board electronics, and optional seating that accommodates up to five. Importantly, with its available Duramax Turbodiesel the Colorado delivers up to 30 highway mpg, the best in the segment.
Mazda’s extensively-redesigned, fourth-generation MX-5 Miata offers a sporty and fun driving experience in roadster and new RF retractable fastback form. This lightweight two-seat sports car is powered by a 2.0-liter SKYACTIV engine with a 6-speed manual transmission or 6-speed Sport automatic, delivering 155 horsepower and achieving up to 35 highway mpg. Long a favorite of sports car enthusiasts, the Miata has also been popular in amateur spec racing.
For years, automakers have focused on designing and building mainstream sedans, hatchbacks, and even crossover vehicles offering greater efficiency and improved environmental performance. An expanding ‘green’ focus on workhorse vehicles like pickups and light commercial vehicles, and now even performance cars, means buyers in these segments have increasing opportunities to drive ‘green’.
Long-term tests allow really getting to know a vehicle, and the 2017 Honda Ridgeline in our test fleet is no exception. We’ve spent some 5,000 miles behind the wheel now under varying driving conditions. Plenty of these miles have been in city driving with commuting duty and road trips thrown in for good measure.
We have enjoyed all those miles. The Ridgeline’s efficient i-VTEC 3.5-liter V-6 benefits from direct-injection and variable-cylinder management to increase efficiency, making 280 horsepower along the way. This provides all the performance we’ve demanded from the pickup and it’s never left us wanting for more.
Honda provides an option to enhance fuel economy by activating the Ridgeline’s ECON button, although this does diminish performance somewhat and also scales back some other systems in its mission to increase efficiency. The front-wheel drive 2017 Ridgeline is EPA rated at 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, with a combined estimate of 22 mpg. Our Ridgeline Black Edition is an AWD model and sacrifices a bit of efficiency for the capability, offering an EPA estimated 18 city and 25 highway mpg, with a combined average of 21 mpg. Overall, with our combination of city and highway driving we have been averaging combined fuel economy of 20.9 mpg.
We’ll trade the AWD variant’s 1 mpg loss for the additional traction and functionality, though. While we haven’t had the occasion to ford streams or slog through snow, we have spent time traversing dusty ranch roads and occasional wet pavement, and we do appreciate the extra bit of confidence that AWD delivers.
Seating in the Ridgeline gets high marks. The pickup’s front bucket seats are comfortable and supportive. In the rear, we’re big fans of the split and fold-up seats that make this truck even more functional with their ability to reconfigure for people and gear as needed. Even with the seats down, there’s extra space beneath the seats for stowing gear. Plus, of course there’s the Ridgeline’s 53-inch pickup bed and unique tailgate that either drops down or swings out for easy access.
And did we mention our Ridgeline’s truck bed audio system? Those into tailgating will find this system fascinating. Honda has made the pickup bed’s side panels act as speaker baffles to produce some pretty quality sounds. Plus, Honda has built in another handy feature in the pickup box, in the form of a lockable trunk in the bed floor. After months of everyday driving in our Ridgeline tester, it’s hard to imagine how we could do without this handy trunk feature…or for that matter, how other competitive pickup owners could do without one as well.
Focusing on the unique combination of hard-working functionality and environmental achievement, the Green Car Awards™ at the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show recognize vehicles that do the heavy lifting in real life while also keeping an eye on lower emissions, higher efficiency, and overall environmental improvement. This year, emerging on top for Green Car Journal’s 2017 Commercial Green Car of the Year™ is the Ram ProMaster City, the second year in a row this light commercial vehicle has earned the honor. Honda’s all-new Ridgeline is distinguished as the magazine’s 2017 Green Truck of the Year™.
Along with the Honda Ridgeline, finalists for this year’s 2017 Green Truck of the Year™ included the Chevrolet Colorado, Ford F-250 Super Duty, GMC Canyon, and Ram 1500. Vying for the 2017 Commercial Green Car of the Year™ along with the Ram ProMaster City were the Ford F-250 Super Duty, Ford Transit Connect, Mercedes-Benz Metris, and Nissan Titan XD.The Ram ProMaster City compact commercial van and wagon are ideally-sized for city use where maneuverability and versatility are key. The model’s strong suit is offering the hauling and commercial-use capabilities desired by businesses and fleets while also addressing the efficiency that has a direct impact on the bottom line.
ProMaster City is powered by a Fiat-derived 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder engine that benefits from efficient Multiair technology. Its 178 horsepower is delivered to the road via a nine-speed automatic transmission. The combination provides an impressive 21 city and class-leading 29 highway mpg.
Honda’s all-new second generation Ridgeline returns to American highways with a design that’s more truck-like and refined at the same time. The model’s signature unibody construction delivers a smooth car-like ride unsurpassed in the pickup field, providing the functionality needed by most truck buyers with the ability to carry a 1500 pound load, tow up to 5,000 pounds, and transport five occupants in comfort. Its 280 horsepower V-6 provides satisfying acceleration and 26 mpg highway fuel efficiency.
Green Car Journal editors weigh the merits of all potential vehicles through its vetting process and narrow down the field to five candidates, which are then considered by the Green Car Awards™ jury. Jurors are veteran writers and editors in the light truck field, having served on staff at publications like 4 Wheel & Off Road, PV4, Hot Rod’s Pickups, Hot Rod Vans, Pickups & Mini-Trucks, and Vans & Trucks, plus auto buff magazines including Motor Trend, Hot Rod, Car Craft, Popular Hot Rodding, and others. All have owned and tested myriad pickup and van models over the years, which allows a keen perspective on the attributes and nuances that make for great pickups and vans that serve both personal and business uses.
Green Car Journal has announced finalists for the magazine’s high-profile 2017 Green Truck of the Year™ and Commercial Green Car of the Year™ awards that will be presented at the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show in San Antonio, Texas. These important awards honor pickups and light commercial vehicles that raise the bar in environmental performance in a variety of areas including efficiency, emissions reduction, and overall environmental improvement.
Both light- and heavy-duty models made the cut this year to become finalists for 2017 Green Truck of the Year™ including the Chevrolet Colorado, Ford F-250 Super Duty, GMC Canyon, Honda Ridgeline, and RAM 1500.
The 2017 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups feature a new and efficient V-6 for 2017 to round out powertrain choices including an inline-four and high-mpg turbodiesel. The RAM 1500 continues to impress with its functionality and myriad options including an EcoDiesel motor achieving the highest mpg in its class. Honda’s all-new Ridgeline exemplifies Honda’s approach to efficiency and technology with a handsome and driver-friendly new pickup design and plenty of tech. Ford sets itself apart from the crowd yet again by continuing its integration of lightweight aluminum construction for the body and cab of its F-250 Super Duty pickup.
Finalists for 2017 Commercial Green Car of the Year™ include both smaller and more efficient vans including the Ford Transit Connect, Mercedes-Benz Metris, and RAM ProMaster City, plus heavy-duty pickups including the Ford F-250 Super Duty and Nissan Titan XD. The Ford Transit Connect, RAM ProMaster City, and Mercedes-Benz Metris deliver an efficient and highly-functional answer to the needs of businesses with higher fuel economy and easy urban maneuverability. Ford’s F-250 Super Duty brings greater efficiency to the heavy-duty pickup market with lighter weight achieved with an aluminum body and pickup box, while Nissan’s Titan XD delivers efficiency with its turbodiesel powerplant and design that aims to provide a light-duty pickup driving experience in a heavy-duty truck.
These Green Car Awards recognize pickups and light commercial vehicles that do the heavy lifting in everyday life while leading the way toward greater environmental compatibility. Importantly, award finalists achieve this without sacrificing the core capabilities expected from these highly-functional vehicles. It’s notable that after years of environmental focus on passenger vehicles, pickups and light commercial vehicles are now enjoying a similar focus on environmental improvement.
The San Antonio Auto & Truck Show, recognized as South Texas' premier automotive event that highlights the auto industry's newest innovations, will host Green Car Journal’s announcement of 2017 Green Truck of the Year and 2017 Commercial Green Car of the Year winners on November 10.
Ford’s aluminum bodied F-150, an all-new generation that debuted in the 2015 model year, is revolutionary. It is also distinguished as Green Car Journal’s 2016 Green Truck of the Year™, an honor bestowed at the recent San Antonio Auto & Truck Show in Texas.
Besides this new generation's more refined look and improvements across the board, use of an all-aluminum body has allowed Ford to decrease the pickup’s body weight by 630 pounds, with a high-strength steel frame reducing weight by another 70 pounds. This lightweighting contributes toward higher fuel efficiency without sacrificing the durability and all-around functionality F-150 buyers have come to expect from their pickups over many decades.
For 2016, Ford expanded the F-150 lineup with a new Limited edition for discerning high-end truck buyers, plus special edition appearance packages available for XLT and Lariat models. An all-new aluminum-bodied F-250 has now joined the Ford pickup lineup and this heavy-duty variant will be detailed in a future article.
The F-150’s weight reduction brings the added benefit of better performance. Simply, it takes less power to propel the truck when empty so acceleration is noticeably improved. With less mass working on the chassis, the truck has a lighter feel and handles better than the previous model generation. Braking is also improved since there is less weight to bring to a halt. Cargo bed payload capacity and gross combined vehicle weight ratings (GCVWR) remain similar on the new truck compared to the previous generation, so the lighter aluminum F-150 can haul and tow hundreds heavier loads.
Ford offers F-150 buyers four engine choices to fit varying requirements including a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V-6, and a 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V-8. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine should be of particular interest to drivers seeking a balance of power, functionality, and efficiency. This engine allows the F-150 to achieve up to 26 highway and 19 city mpg while also enabling towing up to 8,500 pounds. Other powertrain choices allow towing up to 12,100 pounds. Ford has integrated the sport mode feature found in the Mustang that changes the frequency of gearshifts, thus enabling drivers to keep the F-150 in the ‘sweet’ spot of the powerband while holding lower gears longer for a more engaging driving experience.
A gaseous-fuel prep option is now available with the F-150‘s 5.0-liter V-8 engine. This positions the F-150 as the only light-duty pickup capable of running on compressed natural gas or propane to help further reduce operating costs and CO2 emissions.
The 2016 F-150 features SYNC 3, Ford’s newest communications and entertainment system that delivers enhanced voice recognition and a capacitive touch screen. Plus, the F-150’s segment-first Pro Trailer Backup Assist technology makes it easier to back a trailer up to launch a boat or park in a driveway. Using the F-150’s advanced camera technology, a driver steers a trailer instinctively by turning a knob left or right to indicate direction, then backs up as the truck controls its steering and limits vehicle speed.
Pickup buyers have a wide choice of F-150 engine, cab configuration, and trim levels in either two- or four-wheel drive, at a starting cost of $26,540.
Green Car Journal has selected Ram’s ProMaster City as its inaugural 2016 Commercial Green Car of the Year™ and Ford’s F-150 as its 2016 Green Truck of the Year™. The awards were presented at a press conference held at the 2015 San Antonio Auto & Truck Show in San Antonio, Texas.
Nominees for Commercial Green Car of the Year™ also included the Chevrolet City Express, Ford Transit Connect, Mercedes-Benz Metris, and Nissan NV200, while finalists for Green Truck of the Year™ included the Chevrolet Colorado Duramax, GMC Canyon Duramax, Nissan Titan XD, and Toyota Tacoma. While hard-working functionality remains a cornerstone for models like these aimed at business and personal use, the added benefit of higher fuel economy, lower carbon emissions, and greater environmental compatibility is crucial to a more compatible motoring future.
Ram’s award-winning ProMaster City is a new addition to the growing compact van field that champions increased efficiency and urban maneuverability. It comes in wagon and cargo versions with the ability to tow up to 2000 pounds. Power is provided by an efficient 178 horsepower, 2.4-liter aluminum block Tigershark engine already well-proved in Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep models. Offering a base price of $23,130, the ProMaster City’s EPA rating of 21 city/29 highway mpg is enhanced by the first-ever use of a nine-speed transmission in a commercial van.
The ProMaster City carries up to 1,883 pounds or 131.7 cubic feet of cargo and features a cargo-friendly 48.8 inches between interior wheel wells. A Uconnect 5.0 audio and multimedia system featuring a five-inch touchscreen, integrated voice command with Bluetooth, and steering wheel audio controls is available.
Ford’s F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in America for well over three decades. In its new generation it shed a considerable 700 pounds through the use of a military-grade all-aluminum body and high-strength steel chassis, improving both fuel efficiency and overall performance while offering a reasonable base price of $26,430. Its 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 allows this pickup to achieve up to 26 mpg on the highway. The F-150 also offers a gaseous fuel prep package that allows running on cleaner burning natural gas or propane.
The F-150 features SYNC 3, Ford’s newest communications and entertainment system that delivers enhanced voice recognition and a capacitive touch screen. With the F-150’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist technology, a driver steers a trailer instinctively by turning a knob left or right to indicate direction, then backs up as the truck controls its steering and limits vehicle speed.
As part of its finalists vetting process, Green Car Journal evaluates the environmental achievement of pickups and light-duty commercial vehicles along with their all-important functionality. Vehicles running on all fuels and technologies are considered. Market significance, ‘newness’, and other important criteria are weighed as the field is narrowed to five finalists for each award.
The 47th annual San Antonio Auto & Truck Show was presented by the San Antonio Automobile Dealers Association at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio. Each year, the show highlights the auto industry’s newest innovations and is recognized as South Texas’ premier automotive event.
The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, a model already leading the pickup pack in fuel efficiency, just keeps getting better. The pickup’s new HFE (High Fuel Efficiency) version now bumps up the clean diesel model’s highway fuel economy by another mile per gallon, delivering the highest fuel economy of all current full-size pickups.
Like the standard EcoDiesel model, the HFE’s efficiency is achieved in part by an eight-speed automatic transmission, stop-start system, thermal management system, pulse-width modulation, and active aerodynamics that includes grille shutters and air suspension that lowers the truck at speed for better aerodynamics. The new HFE variant gets a unique trim package and is available with a body-colored fascia adopted from the Ram Express model for a sporty appearance, plus distinguishing HFE badging, of course.
The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, a powerhouse pickup that offers the only advanced, fuel-efficient diesel engine in the light-duty truck segment, has earned the distinction as Green Car Journal’s 2015 Green Truck of the Year™. The award was presented at the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show in San Antonio, Texas, in the state that justifiably lays claim to being ‘truck country.’
Green Truck of the Year™ honors a truck that best exemplifies what can be achieved when environmental performance is viewed as important as traditional core values like functionality, payload, towing capability, and versatility. Blending environmental achievement with these traditional characteristics is not easy, and in many cases it’s also not cheap. But it is needed. Auto manufacturers are now placing significant new emphasis on trucks that achieve improved fuel efficiency, feature better overall environmental performance, and in some cases run on alternative fuels.
In addition to the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, this year’s award finalists included the all-new Ford F-150, Chevrolet Colorado, and GMC Canyon pickups, plus the efficient gasoline Ram 1500 HFE. Each of these pickups brings its own brand of efficiency and improved environmental performance to bear in the truck market.
The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel distinguishes itself with a powerful and highly efficient powerplant that breaks new ground in the light-truck segment, accomplishing its mission of improved environmental performance without sacrificing the core values important to truck buyers. The engine produces 240 horsepower and a substantial 420 pound-feet of torque while offering rather impressive fuel economy, at least by pickup truck standards, with official EPA estimates of 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. This exceptional fuel efficiency provides a driving range of over 700 miles between fill-ups. The pickup is available in Regular Cab, Quad Cab, and Crew Cab versions with either two- or four-wheel drive.
Some of the key features of the 60-degree V-6 EcoDiesel engine include a dual overhead camshaft with 24 valves, cast iron block with aluminum heads, and a 15.5:1 compression ratio. A 29,000 psi common rail fuel injection system with solenoid injectors is used. The engine is equipped with a diesel oxidation catalyst, diesel particulate filter, and selective catalyst reduction to make it emissions-compliant in all 50 states. It can also use B20 biodiesel fuel.
Along with its considerable towing, hauling, and people-handling capabilities, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel intelligently focuses on efficiencies with active aerodynamics including grill shutters that close for less drag at highway speeds. Other efficiency measures like an eight-speed automatic transmission and an air suspension system that lowers the truck at higher speeds are used to optimize fuel economy and achieve lower greenhouse gas emissions.
When Chrysler introduced the first clean diesel engine in the light-duty pickup segment, there was no way to know just how many pickup buyers would be won over and drive one away from the showroom. Today, production of this truck model has doubled beyond expectations and continues to gain momentum. It was clearly a breakthrough move for the Ram brand and a deserving winner of the 2015 Green Truck of the Year™ award.
The San Antonio Auto & Truck Show has a big interest in trucks. After all, we’re talking Texas. Now ‘green’ is gaining even more emphasis at the show with Green Car Journal’s inaugural Green Truck of the Year™ award.
Green Car Journal has presented its coveted Green Car of the Year® award in Los Angeles for the past decade, recognizing the best and the brightest vehicles with improved environmental performance. The Green Truck of the Year™ award program in San Antonio is a natural complement. Trucks are a high-profile part of the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show and Texas is the largest truck market in the nation, making this an ideal venue for this new high-profile award.
In selecting the program’s five finalists, Green Car Journal editors consider all potential truck models in the U.S. market, weighing environmental attributes alongside traditional touchstones that define what makes a great pickup, such as functionality, versatility, safety, value, and style. The 2015 Green Truck of the Year™ winner is selected from these five finalists by a Green Truck of the Year™ jury comprised of automotive experts and Green Car Journal staff.
Trucks are no strangers to Green Car Journal. The magazine’s editors and writers have deep backgrounds with trucks, having served on staff at enthusiast truck publications during their careers. They have owned sport trucks, work trucks, custom trucks, and off-road trucks so they know what's important to truck buyers, just as they know the importance of 'green' features in the trucks of our future.
The 46th annual San Antonio Auto & Truck Show will take place on November 6-9, 2014 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, with the 2015 Green Truck of the Year™ announced during the show's media day on November 6. Presented by the San Antonio Automobile Dealers Association, the show highlights the auto industry’s newest innovations and provides a ‘one-stop shop’ for evaluating the latest cars, trucks, and technologies. It is recognized as South Texas’ premier automotive event.