Green Car Journal has trotted out the list of finalists for its annual Green Car of the Year award, and as we’ve come to expect a whole list of alternative fuel drivetrains makes the cut. So which one will be crowned the king of 2015?
The Audi A3 e-tron, BMW i3, Chevrolet Impala Bi-Fuel, Honda Fit, and Volkswagen Golf were tapped as this year’s finalists. That means judges have to choose between (in their respective order) a plug-in hybrid, pure electric car with available range extender, a bi-fuel CNG sedan, and conventional-but-efficient compact and a compact available with a wide range of conventional and alternative drivetrains.
While in year’s past there had been more obvious contenders for the crown, this year’s race is rather wide open; there’s no clear frontrunner, though the Golf may have a built-in advantage of being the only vehicle to offer pretty much every drivetrain type. With several gas and diesel engine options joined by a plug-in hybrid and fully-electric model, the 7th-generation Golf might win based on its versatility.
Meanwhile you’ve got the carbon fiber all-electric BMW i3 and Audi A3 e-tron, both of which make a strong contender for Green Car of the Year. The all-new 2015 Honda Fit features a fresh 1.5 liter Earth Dreams engine good for 40 MPG, and the Chevy Impala Bi-Fuel is a bit of a dark horse entry from GM over the slow-selling Cadillac ELR, which also went on sale this year. Last year it was the Honda Accord Hybrid that took home the award, and before that it was the Tesla Model S.
I’m not much of a betting man, but I’d have to throw my lot in with the Volkswagen Golf, wit the BMW i3 being my backup choice. Winners will be announced at the L.A. Auto Show in November, when we will see just how right (or wrong) I was.