The Green Car Journal began its Green Car of the Year program in 2005, bestowing the award on the Mercury Mariner Hybrid and the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid before announcing this year’s winner:
The 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI.
Yup, a diesel won the award for the first time rather than a hybrid engine. To me, this is proof that the award is becoming more of a true gauge of efficiency rather than a hybrid-hype machine.
The Jetta diesel, which delivers 41 MPG on the highway, achieves fuel efficiency nearly equal to that of a gas/electric hybrid at a more affordable price. The engine signals the arrival of highly efficient, advanced diesel sedans that meet emissions requirements in all 50 states.
For the award, the Jetta was up against the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the BMW 335d, the Saturn VUE 2-Mode Hybrid and the smart fortwo – all worthy competitors that deliver some of the cleanest driving options available.
The fact that one of the diesels won (the BMW is also a diesel) signifies that the technology has evolved to the point where it’s a truly viable solution for reducing our consumption of oil and can bridge the gap until a reliable, renewable energy source can be implemented.
Now that Volkswagen has this award under its belt, we can look forward to more clean diesel TDI vehicles, as evidenced by the Touareg on display at VW’s booth at the LA Auto Show.
What would you buy: a clean diesel or a hybrid?