At the L.A. Auto Show Thursday morning, the Green Car Journal jury voted the Volkswagen Jetta TDI the 2009 Green Car of the Year. The TDI "clean diesel" runs on ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and uses a "common rail direct injection system" that decreases 95 percent of sooty diesel emissions.
The turbocharged diesel sedan bested a field that included two hybrids and the trendy Smart ForTwo. Though it garnered respectable fuel-efficiency ratings from the EPA, 31 mpg city/40 mpg highway, the TDI won the award because it achieved "the kind of fuel efficiency offered by gasoline-electric hybrids but in a more affordable way," Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal, said in a press release.
The TDI’s win was a bit of an upset for the Ford Fusion hybrid camp, who thought the win was in the bag. Yours truly was pulling for the Ã¼ber-cute, if Ã¼ber unlikely, Smart ForTwo — crossing my fingers for the EV version in 2012.