Green Car Journal (GCJ) has revealed its finalists for the fourth annual Green Car of the Year. The winner will be announced at this December's LA Auto Show. The contenders are the Audi A3 TDI, the Honda Insight, the Mercury Milan Hybrid, the Toyota Prius, and the Volkswagen Golf TDI. I already know which car I'll be rooting for.
The finalists reflect the diversity of energy-efficient cars on the market—the sporty, clean diesel Audi, the diesel Volkswagen, Honda's first hybrid sedan, the third-generation Prius, and Mercury's upscale, mid-sized sedan (the only American car on the list). But despite the numerous clean energy vehicles that have popped up in the Prius' wake, I'm still hoping that Toyota's classic hybrid will take the prize for one simple reason: It's the most fuel-efficient car on the market, with the 2010 model clocking in at 51 mpg for city driving and 48 mpg on the highway. The car also has an ultra-reasonable base price of $21,000, so there should be little dispute over whether it tops the GCJ's list.
Still, the Prius isn't a shoo-in. The Volkwagen Jetta TDI took last year's prize, and previous winners include the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, the Toyota Camry Hybrid, and the Mercury Mariner Hybrid. The GCJ may be skipping over Toyota's hybrid crown jewel to highlight green alternatives, but if it really wants to pick the green car of the year it should stick with the Prius.