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Finalists announced for 2014 Green Car Of The Year

Green Car Journal has identified its five finalists for the 2014 Green Car of the Year program. The five 2014 models include the Audi A6 TDI, BMW 328d, Honda Accord, Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla. These five finalists are also honored as Green Car Journal’s “Top 5 Green Cars for 2014” and earn the magazine’s “Green Car Product of Excellence” honors.

An increasing number of vehicle models are considered for the Green Car of the Year® program each year, a reflection of the auto industry’s expanding efforts in offering new vehicles with higher efficiency and improved environmental impact. Green Car Journal has been honoring the most important “green” vehicles every year at the LA Auto Show, since its inaugural award announced at the show in 2005.

“The diversity of this field of finalists illustrates not only that ‘green’ has gone mainstream, but also that there is no single approach to achieving ever higher levels of fuel efficiency and environmental performance,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com. “There’s something for everyone in this year’s field of finalists, including clean diesel, high efficiency gasoline, and hybrid/plug-in hybrid power featured in mainstream, sporty and executive models.”

Finalists are selected for their achievements in raising the bar in environmental performance. Availability to the mass market is a factor to ensure honored models have the potential to make a real difference in environmental impact, and finalists must be available for sale by January 1(st) of the award year.

Green Car of the Year jurors include auto enthusiast and Tonight Show host Jay Leno, plus leaders of the nation’s major environmental organizations including Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club; and Matt Petersen, board member of Global Green USA. Green Car Journal editors round out the 2014 Green Car of the Year jury.

The finalists:

Audi A6 TDI

Audi’s 2014 A6 TDI blends excellent “green” credentials with unexpected levels of performance in a high efficiency vehicle. This sedan features an EPA estimated 38 highway mpg that enables over 700 miles of highway driving range.

BMW 328d

Featuring the first 4 cylinder BMW diesel engine in the U.S., the new 328d combines exceptionally high fuel efficiency with the performance expected of BMW models. EPA estimated 45 mpg highway fuel economy is achieved with this sedan’s 2.0 liter TwinPower clean diesel powerplant, which produces 180 hp and 280 lb.-ft. torque. Efficiency is enhanced with engine auto start-stop and brake energy regeneration.

Honda Accord

Honda’s popular Accord sedan aims to lead in the efficiency space with an array of efficient powerplant choices including four cylinder, V-6, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid versions. Even the V-6, the largest engine option, nets 34 highway mpg with the four cylinder rated at up to 36 highway mpg. The bar raises considerably with the Accord Hybrid at 50 city and 47 highway mpg, and the Accord Plug-In with its 47 city and 46 highway mpg on hybrid power. The Plug-In also offers an EPA rating of 115 MPGe, the highest of any mid-size hybrid sedan in the country.

Mazda3

The 2.0 liter powered Mazda3 four-door sedan offers best-in-class 41 mpg highway fuel economy, with the five-door hatch coming in at up to 40 mpg. A more powerful 2.5 liter engine with an i-ELOOP capacitor based regenerative engine braking system gets 38 mpg.

Toyota Corolla

The 2014 Corolla achieves up to 42 highway mpg delivered by the model’s Eco version. This level of efficiency is achieved with a 1.8 liter, 140 hp engine featuring the first use of Toyota’s Valvematic technology in this country. A driver selectable ECO function moderates acceleration and optimizes on-board systems to enhance mpg.