Green Car Journal announced its 2016 Green Car of the Year awards at the Washington auto show last week. This year, the categories included the Connected Green Car of the Year, Green SUV of the Year, and Luxury Green Car of the Year. Before we get to the winners, here’s a little about the criteria that go into the selections.
The awards don’t focus solely on how green a car is. A panel of judges weighs factors other than just efficiency. Along with safety, performance, and value, they also consider how available each model is to the general public. The Chevy Spark EV, for example, is considered to be a darn good car by many but can only be purchased in California, Oregon and Maryland. Its limited distribution knocks it out of contention. The awards also seek new models that push the boundaries of automotive engineering and innovation, according to Boston.com.
2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year
This award went to the Volvo’s 7 passenger plug-in hybrid, the XC90 T8. It’s innovative powertrain features a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine that is both supercharged and turbocharged. Coupled to an electric motor, it develops a total of 400 horsepower for exhilarating performance on demand but eco-friendly driving at other times. It delivers an EPA estimated 53 MPGe and can travel up to 17 miles solely on electric power.
The driver can select different drive modes to accentuate either performance or fuel economy as needed. Other finalists in the category included the BMW X5 xDrive40e, Lexus RX 450h, Mercedes-Benz C350e, and Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid.
2016 Green SUV of the Year
Honda grabbed this award with its all new HR-V — a compact crossover (one of the hottest segments in the new car market right now). It has a 141 horsepower 1.8-liter Ultra Low Emissions engine. It is a new addition to the Honda lineup this year and the third Honda model honored by Green Car Journal in the last five years. Prior Honda winners include the 2012 Civic Natural Gas and the 2014 Accord.
The HR-V has many of the attributes of a larger SUV in a more efficient package. It was selected despite strong competition from the BMW X1 xDrive 28i, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-3, and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.
2016 Connected Green Car of the Year
The new Chevy Malibu Hybrid won this award because of its excellent fuel efficiency and and also its focus on the latest in vehicle technology. Its powertrain borrows much of the technology developed for the Chevy Volt. It features fuel economuy of 47 mpg, which is an astounding number for a midsize car. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are built in to its central touchsereen to make staying connected while on the go easier than ever.
The Malibu Hybrid also has such advanced safety features as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward collision alert, and a Teen Driver system. It won out over the Audi A3 e-tron, BMW 330e, Toyota Prius, and Volvo XC90 T8.