Every year, a group of hand selected judges come together and meticulously study the data from a handful of cars from around the world. After what I would assume to be much deliberation, they select a winner that goes well beyond the standards, depending on the category, to name as the car of the year. For 2009, Audi has managed to claim the title of Green car of the Year with their A3 TDI.
This marks the second year in a row that a diesel has taken top honors among a group that includes the Honda Insight Hybrid, Mercury Milan Hybrid and Toyota Prius. The other diesel in the running, nestled in the VW Golf, also received a great deal of praise.
The A3 TDI was selected thanks mostly to the 50% increase in fuel economy over its petroleum burning counterpart. The well equipped interior and stylish design didn't hurt either.
The little 2.0 liter turbocharged engine develops a respectable 140 horsepower and 236lb/ft of torque, which is more than enough to bring a smile to most enthusiast's faces. The second of those figures is on tap at around 2000rpm.
While the performance specs are nothing short of appeasing, the real story comes from the EPA-estimated 42 miles per gallon on the highway. If this proves to be accurate, it would land the A3 at the top of the list for premium cars sold in the US in terms of fuel economy.
It will be interesting to see what automakers do for next year in the endless race for the title of Green Car of the Year.