Another autumn day, another list of finalists announced for a 2016 best-of award. This time, the noms come from Green Car Journal, in preparation for the magazine’s annual Green Car of the Year prize.
The 2016 nominee list has an international flavour, with finalists from North America, Europe, Japan, and Korea. Here are the cars, in alphabetical order:
Audi A3 E-Tron: This is the upscale German brand’s first crack at the plug-in hybrid market, using an electric motor and battery pack to provide around 30 km of fuel-free driving. When the plug-in charge is done, a turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder good for 150 hp comes on line to work with the electric motor in hybrid mode.
Chevrolet Volt: Chevy persists in calling the Volt an “extended range electric,” when it’s closer in concept to a hybrid. That said, a full charge is good for more than 80 km of driving, says the car’s maker, after which a 1.5L gas engine fires up to generate electricity to run the electric motor, for a promised total range of more than 600 km.
Honda Civic: Green Car Journal has high hopes for Honda’s latest compact, which few people have actually driven yet (we’ll have a first-drive report for you in a little more than a week), but promises “hybrid-like fuel economy” (Green Car Journal’s words) in a practical package.
Hyundai Sonata: This Korean family car gets a nod for its selection of powertrains (gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid), all of which deliver decent economy. Notably, the Sonata Hybrid is the first gas-electric sedan with a battery small enough to allow a full trunk and folding rear seats, while the plug-in model promises more than 60 km of electric driving on a full charge.
Toyota Prius: The hybrid archetype is back with an all-new design for 2016. Controversial styling shrouds a new drivetrain Toyota says is more efficient than before, along with a chassis that promises more engaging performance.
A jury made up of environmental and clean energy experts–and former Tonight Show host and car enthusiast Jay Leno–will choose the winner, which will be announced in November, at the Los Angeles auto show.