The eco-friendly clean diesel Audi A3 TDI took top honors at the Los Angeles Auto Show, earning the Green Car of the Year. This marks the second year that German clean diesel technology takes the prize. Last year’s winner, the VW Jetta TDI, has the same engine as the Audi, and Audi is owned by Volkswagen.
Ron Cogan, who is the publisher of Green Car Journal, says the Audi A3 “offers it all.” The Green Car Journal sponsors the award each year.
The Audi A3 TDI costs about $30k, and is a four-door hatchback model with superior performance and fuel efficiency. Cogan says the “quiet, clean diesel engine delivers loads of low-end torque and a fun-to-drive experience, all with the functionality of a five-passenger hatchback.”
The Audi A3 TDI (turbo direct injection) boasts an EPA rating of 42 mpg on the highway, which is 50 percent better than the gasoline powered version of the car.
Audi of America president Johan de Nysschen took the opportunity to make a point aimed at lawmakers in Washington. He stated that the government should set the standards for fuel economy and environmentally friendly vehicles, and then allow the automakers to decide the best way to meet the goals; in other words, “let the industry pick the technology.”
America has been a less hospitable climate for diesel power trains than Europe has been. Americans seem to remember the polluting, less than desirable performance of the diesel engines of the 1970’s. Nysschen says “The truth will come out” and believes that Americans will soon see the value and benefits of clean diesel.
Part of the truth he speaks of is the fact that an Audi A3 TDI travelling from New York to Santa Monica was able to reach 51 miles per gallon at certain times during the trip. That kind of fuel efficiency is exactly what many consumers are looking for.
Green Car’s award is receiving more and more attention, says Cogan. They had even more technology and a greater variety of vehicles to consider for this year. Only those that are available to consumers can be considered for the award.
Cogan says, “This shows the diversity of an evolving auto industry that places greater value on environmental performance.”
Judges for the Green Car of the Year award came from a variety of environmental organizations and also included Jay Leno and automotive designer Carroll Shelby.