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Auto blogThu, 17 Oct 2013 18:00:00 EST
The list of finalists for the 2014 Green Car of the Year has been announced, and in a genuinely bizarre twist, there's only one hybrid and no electric vehicles among the five contestants, despite the arrival of cars like the BMW i3 and Tesla Model S. Taking the place of the EVs are a pair of diesels, repping a technology that last won a Green Car of the Year award in 2009, when the Audi A3 TDI took the title. No diesel was in the running for last year's award.
Naturally, both of the diesel finalists are fielded by the Germans - with BMW's 328d and Audi's A6 TDI getting the nod. In the case of the 3 Series, BMW installed a 2.0-liter, turbodiesel, capable of delivering 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, while returning 45 miles per gallon on the highway. Audi and its larger, 3.0-liter, V6 turbodiesel produce quite a bit more grunt, with 240 hp and 428 lb-ft of grunt, but net a very impressive 38 mpg on the highway in the A6.
Finalists for this year's awards include two diesels, three gas-powered cars and a plug-in hybrid.
Among automakers with a big US presence, General Motors is the worst to work for, according to a new survey from Tier 1 automotive suppliers, conducted by Planning Perspectives, Inc.
The Detroit-based manufacturer, which has been under fire following the ignition switch recall and its accompanying scandal, finished behind six other automakers with big US manufacturing operations. Suppliers had issues with trust and communications, as well as intellectual property protection. GM was also the least likely to allow suppliers to raise their prices in the face of unexpected increases in material cost, all of which contributed to 55 percent of suppliers saying their relationship with GM was "poor to very poor."
GM's cross-town competitors didn't fare much better. Chrysler finished in fifth place, ahead of GM and behind Dearborn-based Ford, which was passed for third place this year by Nissan. Toyota took the top marks, while Honda captured second place.
This whole thing started with the premise that Toyota's target RAV4 buyers are people who spend their time cycling, hiking, and generally not in front of computer screens. These people are therefore not able to benefit from the full website experience that Toyota has built for the RAV4. We should clarify that the video below is for Toyota South Africa, and maybe RAV4 buyers there really are the disgustingly outdoorsy ideal that us bacon-eaters are not living up to.
Toyota's agency partner, Hello Computer, set up a 1.8-kilometer track at a cycle park that replicated sections of the automaker's website with real physical displays and interactive feedback. Riders were asked to leave their mouses and hit the trail on a mountain bike to experience the RAV4 Outdoor Website and learn about the vehicle.
That seems like a lot of effort for something that's available on the smartphones of these hyper-active people who aren't in front of computers, but hooray for creatively conquering a problem that didn't exist. Hey, let's not be complete wet blankets - maybe some of the cyclists that ran the Toyota gauntlet got a RAV4 for their to- and fro-ing after the experience. Check out the video of the outdoor website below.