2016-green-car-of-the-year-finalistsFive exceptional ‘green’ cars have just been identified by Green Car Journal as its finalists for the coveted 2016 Green Car of the Year® award. These 2016 models include the Audi A3 e-tron, Chevrolet Volt, Honda Civic, Hyundai Sonata, and Toyota Prius.

The magazine points out that this is the strongest field of finalists the annual Green Car of the Year® program has considered, with each nominee making a strong environmental statement in distinctly different ways. All share a common strategy of recognizing what’s most important to today’s drivers through the use of diverse powertrain technologies and their own brand of ‘green’ features. The bottom line: All approaches are essential to achieving today’s important environmental goals, including greater fuel efficiency, lower tailpipe emissions, reduced carbon emissions, and overall environmental improvement while providing satisfying performance and retaining the joy of driving.

Audi A3 Sportback e-tronFINALIST: AUDI A3 E-TRON

The A3 Sportback e-tron is Audi’s entry in the hot plug-in hybrid vehicle market. This five-door hatchback uses lithium-ion batteries and a 102 hp electric motor to deliver up to 19 miles of all-electric driving, after which its 150 hp, 1.4-liter gasoline TFSI engine provides power for extended driving in efficient hybrid mode.

2016-chevrolet-voltFINALIST: CHEVROLET VOLT

Chevrolet’s second generation Volt features sportier styling, better performance, and a lighter and more powerful two-motor drive system. The five-passenger, extended range electric now drives up to 53 miles on batteries alone, with its 1.5-liter gasoline powered generator creating on-board electricity to deliver an overall 420 mile range.

2016 Honda Civic Sedan TouringFINALIST: HONDA CIVIC

Now in its tenth generation, the all-new Honda Civic delivers exemplary fuel efficiency in an affordable, conventionally-powered model. The Civic thoughtfully blends hybrid-like fuel economy and appealing style, with an array of desired amenities and advanced electronics that meets the needs of a great many drivers.

MY16 Sonata HybridFINALIST: HYUNDAI SONATA

Hyundai’s stylish 2016 Sonata offers it all with efficient gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid choices within the Sonata lineup. New this year, the hybrid delivers up to 43 highway mpg and features distinctive styling cues. The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid drives up to 24 miles on batteries with additional range on conventional hybrid power.

2016-toyota-priusFINALIST: TOYOTA PRIUS

The Toyota Prius emerges in 2016 a completely redesigned model, faithfully delivering the attributes expected of an industry-leading hybrid with important design, technology, and efficiency updates. It features a familiar yet bolder exterior and incorporates suspension and other improvements to deliver improved driving dynamics.

GREEN CAR AWARD PROGRAM

Since 1992, Green Car Journal has been recognized as the leading authority on the intersection of automobiles, energy, and environment. The GCOY award is an important part of Green Car Journal’s mission to showcase environmental progress in the automotive field.

The auto industry’s expanding efforts in offering new vehicles with higher efficiency and improved environmental impact mean there is an increasing number of vehicle models to be considered for the Green Car of the Year® program. This is a significant departure from when just a limited number of new car models were considered for the inaugural Green Car of the Year® program, which Green Car Journal first presented at the LA Auto Show in 2005.

During the award’s vetting process, Green Car Journal editors consider all vehicles, fuels, and technologies as an expansive field of potential candidates is narrowed down to a final five. Finalists are selected for their achievements in raising the bar in environmental performance. Many factors are considered including efficiency, EPA and CARB emissions certification, performance characteristics, ‘newness,’ and affordability. Availability to the mass market is important to ensure honored models have the potential to make a real difference in environmental impact.

The Green Car of the Year® is selected through a majority vote by a jury that includes leaders of noted environmental and efficiency organizations including Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Matt Petersen, board member of Global Green USA; Dr. Alan Lloyd, President Emeritus of the International Council on Clean Transportation; Mindy Lubber, President of CERES; and Kateri Callahan, President of the Alliance to Save Energy. Green Car Journal editors and celebrity auto enthusiast Jay Leno round out the award jury.

Green Car Journal will announced the winner of the 2016 Green Car of the Year award during press days at the L.A. Auto Show on November 19.