Special Coverage

Greater L.A. Auto Show

LOS ANGELES – The environmentally focused Green Car Journal names the diesel-powered Volkswagen Jetta TDI its “Green Car of the Year” at a ceremony this morning at the Los Angeles auto show.

The Jetta beat out a number of green-leaning competitors, including two hybrid-electric vehicles, a clean-diesel sport sedan and a fuel-efficient microcar.

Green Car Journal Editor Ron Cogan cites the car’s 41-mpg (5.7-L/100 km) highway fuel economy, reduced greenhouse-gas emissions and low emissions of other types of pollutants as key to winning the award.

This is the first time a diesel has been honored with the title since the Green Car Journal began the awards in 2005. The Jetta TDI is powered by a 2.0L, turbocharged, direct-injection engine featuring the latest in emissions control technology that enables it to meet the strict emissions rules in all 50 states.

It also is affordable, starting at $21,990, and is eligible for an income-tax credit.

A jury of environmental and automotive experts selected the ’09 Jetta TDI from a field of five finalists that included the BMW 335d clean diesel, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Saturn Vue 2-mode hybrid and Smart Fortwo.

Nine jurors made the decision on the final cut, including Carl Pope, executive director-Sierra Club; Frances Beinecke, president-Natural Resources Defense Council; Jean-Michel Cousteau-president, Ocean Futures Society; automotive expert and “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno; Carroll Shelby; and four Green Car Journal staffers.

dwinter@wardsauto.com