When the Green Car of the Year Award finalists were announced, we were dismayed and a bit confused. When the winner was announced, it was anticlimactic. But with the list of finalists for the “Green SUV of the Year Award,” it’s just plain ridiculous. A press release announced the 2016 finalists and it is nothing but a list of new SUVs with only one that could almost qualify as green — the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid.
I drove the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid at the Los Angeles Auto Show two weeks ago because I previously owned a 2010 Prius for 6 years and was excited to see how it compared. However, I was hardly able to tell that it was a hybrid other than from the badging on the outside. The 2010–2015 Prius gets 45-50 mpg, which was very respectable and had noticeable modes that it would switch into which actually changed the way the car drove and sounded. The mileage on the Rav4 Hybrid in comparison is a measly 33 city / 30 hwy. That’s opposite of normal gas cars since the electric part of the drivetrain is extremely efficient in the city, which is where the hybrid excels.
Back to the list… in addition to featuring mostly pure gasmobiles, the list also has a HUGE hole in it which I probably don’t need to tell our readers… but the Tesla Model X is nowhere to be found. The newly revamped BYD e6 is even more affordable, has ~200 miles of range and is also strangely absent. The BMW X5 xDrive 40e and Volvo XC90 T8 — two plug-in hybrids — also didn’t make the list for some reason. Here are the finalists they actually selected (I added the mpg numbers for reference):
- BMW X1 xDrive28i (22 mpg city / 32 mpg hwy)
- Honda HR-V (25 mpg city, 31 mpg hwy)
- Hyundai Tucson (26 mpg city/33 mpg hwy)
- Mazda CX-3 (29 mpg city/35 mpg hwy)
- Toyota RAV4 Hybrid (33 mpg city/30 mpg hwy)
These awards seem to only exist to give credibility to the naysayers and people who sit in the corner yelling “greenwashing,” to which I now can only say… yup. I’m honestly not clear if the award was relevant at one point and only goes on existing because they started it as an annual award — so it must continue to exist annually vs a more relevant frequency — or if they just don’t care enough to have the integrity to only offer up cars that are truly green and not just the “Best of the Worst.” Either way, I’m dismayed.
I’m curious what our readers think. Is this as good as it gets this year? It is better than nothing? Or is this a case where the famous Abe Lincoln quote is all too applicable: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt”?
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