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Next Green Car Car of the Year 2009

Welcome to the Next Green Car Car of the Year Award 2009 - the most thorough environmental analysis of new cars in the UK.

Now in its second year, Next Green Car uses its rating system to award a Car of the Year to the greenest new car launched in the UK this year.

And the 2009 Award winner is...

New Toyota Prius Car of the Year 2009 The title of Next Green Car Car of the Year 2009 has been awarded to the 'next generation' Toyota Prius, due to be launched in the UK on 1st August 2009.

The new Toyota Prius was chosen from a short-list of 10 green car finalists which were test-driven at Imperial College, London, by six of the UK's leading green transport and environmental experts. The judging was completely independent and showcased the most innovative green cars available to drive in the UK during 2009.

Dr Ben Lane, Managing Editor of Next Green Car said: "While this year's judges were rightly impressed by the range of green car technologies employed by the 10 car short-list, they were unanimous in their acclaim for the new Prius. In addition to the new model's best-in-class cradle-to-crave environmental credentials, the panel particularly commented on the way the car seamlessly integrates green features as part of its design. If Apple made a car, it would probably be the third generation Prius."

With a lighter and more and compact power-train, the latest Prius is greener than ever with a best-in-class Next Green Car environmental rating of 33, official combined fuel economy of 72.4 mpg and CO2 emissions of only 89 g/km – a 14% improvement over the highly successful current model, itself the winner of many awards since its UK launch in 2004.

Counter-intuitively, the new Prius uses a new four-cylinder, 1.8-litre petrol engine in place of the 1.5-litre unit in the current model to improve overall fuel economy, and offers additional driver control via three driving modes – in EV mode, the car can be driven as a pure electric vehicle for as long as the battery charge allows. For the first time, the new model incorporates plant based bio-plastics for its interior components and a solar roof that keeps the temperature inside the car at comfortable levels.

Miguel Fonseca, Managing Director of Toyota GB PLC said: "It is a great honour to receive this award for the next Prius. Particularly as the judges recognise the car's low, whole life environmental impact. From materials procurement through production, to in use fuel saving and even end of life recyclability, Prius sets the benchmark for all other cars to match."

In addition to awarding the Car of the Year title to the new Prius, the judging panel also highly commended the following three models:

Ford Fiesta ECOneticGreen Car Rating: 29, CO2: 98g/km – in the light of the growing demand for super-economy small cars for everyday use, the judges wanted to recognise the greenest super-mini in the UK;

New Honda Insight hybridGreen Car Rating: 34(est), CO2: 101g/km – though pipped at the post by the new Prius, the Insight brings the first real competition to the hybrid Prius. Cheaper than the Prius, the judges agreed that the Insight will enable more drivers to enjoy the hybrid experience;

BMW 318d saloon +DPFGreen Car Rating: 34, CO2: 123g/km – the judges commended BMW's no-compromise EfficientDynamics technology (including regenerative braking and start-stop). With no loss in performance, and at no extra cost, this makes the 318d the greenest executive car in the UK.

2009 Award overview

Next Green Car uses its unique rating system to rank the greenest new cars to come to market this year, honouring the most eco friendly of all with the Green Car of the Year Award. The latest models are rated for environmental impact, price, running costs, design and reliability. All of which are of increasing interest and concern to UK motorists today.

To be selected for the Award, new models must be commercially available to private and fleet consumers in the UK for the first time in 2009. After-market conversions are not eligible and all cars have to be available directly from the manufacturer. City cars, superminis, small family cars, large family cars, MPVs and executive classes form the initial selection.

Based on a long-list generated by the Green Car Ratings across the vehicle categories, a panel of judges are invited to select a short-list of ten cars based on environmental and other factors. The most popular of the short-listed cars are then made available for a day's test-drive event by the judging team, at which the models are discussed at length. The event concludes with the judges agreeing by consensus (or majority) which car should be awarded the Next Green Car Car of the Year 2009.

To view the models on the 2009 short-list, click here.

2009 Award judging panel

A panel represented by some of the UK's leading green transport and environmental experts, have agreed to select and judge the cars for the 2009 Award. The judging is completely independent and is designed to showcase the most innovative green cars of 2009.

The Green Car judges for the 2009 Award are:

  • Sam Bedford, Managing Director, Carmony.co.uk
  • Sian Berry, Green Transport Campaigner, We Are Futureproof
  • Ian Featherstone, Fleet Advice Manager, Energy Saving Trust
  • Tom Pakenham, Founder, GreenTomatoCars
  • Iain Robertson, Freelance Motoring Journalist
  • Peter Stevens, Visiting Professor of Vehicle Design, Royal College of Art
  • Neil Wallis, Head of Communications, Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership
  • Ben Lane, Managing Editor, Next Green Car

The judging takes place on Thursday 25th June at Imperial College, London, a university specialising in science, engineering, medicine and business; making it an ideal place for the judges to assess the short-listed eco friendly vehicles.

Short-list for the WGC Green Car of the Year 2009

Citroen C1 evie electricCitycar: Citroen C1 ev'ie electric – Green Car Rating: 8 – CO2: 0 g/km
The new Citroen C1 ev'ie is the first all electric, 4-seater car, to offer car-buyers the comfort, performance and a full range of standard safety features expected from a petrol car (to date most electric models have been classed as quadricycles). With a range of 60-70 miles when fully charged and a top speed of around 60mph, it provides a completely 'normal', yet silent, driving experience. The C1 ev'ie can be fully charged in 6-7 hours from a domestic 13 amp socket at a cost of around 90p, which results is fuel costs of less than 2p per mile. As for all electric vehicles, the C1 ev'ie is exempt from road tax and the London Congestion Charge. Priced at £16,850, the car is available now directly from ECC. Links: Citroen C1 ev'ie.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV electricCitycar: Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric – Green Car Rating: 10 – CO2: 0 g/km
The i-MiEV (Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle) is also a proper four-seat electric car (as opposed to a quadricycle). Bigger than the G-Wiz, and with more room than the two-seater MINI E, the i-MiEV shares the same chassis and body as its petrol-engine counterpart. The car has a respectable performance of 0-62 mph in 13.0 seconds, a top speed of 87 mph, a range of up to 100 miles, and a recharge time of 7 hours using a conventional supply. However, zero-emission motoring does come at a cost – on top of car purchase, the first lithium-ion battery pack is expected to be leased for £750 per month. That said, fuel costs are less than 2p per mile, road tax is nil, and the car will qualify for the 100% discount from the London Congestion Charge. From £20,000 (est); available Autumn 2009. Links: Mitsubishi i-MiEV, WGC iMiEV review.

Toyota iQCitycar: Toyota iQ – Green Car Rating: 27 – CO2: 99 g/km
Innovative interior packaging design means that you can fit three adults and one child into a car that is less than 3 metres long – making the iQ the world's smallest 4-seater. The main engine on offer will be the 67bhp, 998cc 3-cylinder unit (also used in the Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1 and Peugeot 107), with resulting emissions of just 99 g/km CO2, and a combined fuel economy of 65.7 mpg. The iQ comes with a manual or a CVT transmission, the manual being recommended and the more economical choice. Its top speed is around 93 mph and it will crack the 0-60 mph benchmark in 14.0 seconds. The iQ is relatively expensive for a car of this size, and although described by Toyota as a premium car, the interior is hardly the lap of luxury. That said, the iQ comes with 360-degree airbag protection as standard (nine in total). From £9,495; available now. Links: Toyota iQ, WGC iQ review.

Ford Fiesta ECOneticSupermini: Ford Fiesta ECOnetic – Green Car Rating: 29 – CO2: 98 g/km
Following the launch in 2008 of the first two models in Ford's ECOnetic range, the Focus and the Mondeo, the all-new Fiesta is the latest to benefit from the ECOnetic package of extra fuel efficiency refinements. For the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic, modifications include lowered suspension, aerodynamic body styling and a gear change alert. Together these help to lower fuel consumption to 76.3mpg and CO2 emissions to 98g/km (zero road tax). Also debuting on Fiesta ECOnetic is a 'smart' gear change indicator in the instrument panel which senses the way the vehicle is being driven – taking account of road gradient, vehicle load and individual driving style – to signal the optimum change point. Using Next Green Car's ratings, the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic is currently the UK's greenest supermini. For £12,445+ you would be hard pushed to find a better value car with such strong green credentials. Available now. Links: Ford ECOnetic, WGC Fiesta ECOnetic review.

Toyota Prius hybrid MkIII Family: New Toyota Prius hybrid – Green Car Rating 33 – CO2: 89 g/km
With a lighter and more and compact power-train, the new third generation Prius is greener than ever with a combined fuel economy of 72.4 mpg and CO2 emissions of only 89 g/km – almost as low as the emissions of 2-seater smart cdi! A new four-cylinder, 1.8-litre petrol engine replaces the 1.5-litre unit in the current model. Although Toyota have opted to play safe and continue using nickel-metal hydride battery technology, they have increased the pack's power by 2kW to 27kW peak output. The New Prius also offers additional driver control via three 'on-demand' driving modes: EV, ECO and POWER. Although the new Prius automatically operates in electric mode up to 31 mph, the driver can select EV mode for as long as the battery charge allows. In ECO mode, throttle response to aggressive accelerator pedal inputs is reduced to achieve 10%-15% reduction in fuel consumption. The Prius is priced from £18,370 (the same as the outgoing model). Available 1st August 2009. Links: Toyota Prius.

Volvo V50 DRIVeFamily: Volvo S40 &V50 DRIVe – Green Car Rating 30 – CO2: 104g/km
Built around the same ECOnetic 1.6-litre turbo-diesel engine that Ford uses in its Focus range, the Volvo S40 saloon and V50 Sportswagon DRIVe models are based on the same platform as the popular Ford offering. Yet, the Volvo badge offers premium branding that places it on level pegging with an Audi A3 or Merc C-Class. While the 1.6 DRIVe engines were already frugal in their own right (62.8mpg and 118 gCO2/km), the Volvo S40 saloon and V50 Sportswagon DRIVe models now all feature a new Start-Stop system which brings CO2 emissions down to 104 g/km and improves fuel consumption up to 72.4 mpg – which places the S40 and V50 on a par CO2-emissions-wise with the current Toyota Prius! The engine's strengths are aided by longer gear ratios and various aerodynamic alterations on previous models that provide the S40 and V50 with a significantly sportier stance. Prices for the latest (2010 model year) DRIVe with Start-Stop range start at £17,495 for the S40 and £18,845 for the V50. Available July. Links: Volvo, WGC V50 review.

Honda Insight hybridFamily: New Honda Insight hybrid – Green Car Rating: 34(est) – CO2: 101 g/km
The new Honda Insight hybrid, launched in April this year, is the first real competitor to the well-known Toyota Prius. The 5-seater family Insight (which takes its name from the 2-seater hybrid launched in 1999) uses an updated Integrated Motor Assist system as already used in the 1.4 litre petrol Civic IMA. Powered by an optimised version of the Jazz 1.3-litre engine that develops 88bhp, the Insight offers a combined fuel economy of 64.2mpg and CO2 emissions of only 101g/km, placing it at the lowest end of road tax band B. To help drivers cut fuel use (and emissions), the Insight also offers a new Eco-Drive Assist System which provides visual feedback on driving technique to encourage a smoother, driving style and boost fuel efficiency. While the Insight is closer to a 'mild hybrid' than the Prius' 'strong hybrid' design (meaning that electric only operation is more limited), with a significantly lower price than the Prius, the Insight offers the benefits of hybrid motoring to a new and wider audience. From £15,490. Available now. Links: Honda Insight, WGC Insight review.

 BMW 318d SaloonExecutive: BMW 318d Saloon – Green Car Rating: 34 – CO2: 123 g/km
The updated 318d earns its green credentials by adopting the latest BMW EfficientDynamics technology package aimed at cutting emissions while maintaining performance. BMW's approach, originally rolled out on several 2008 models, includes new optimised four-cylinder diesel engines (using the latest common-rail systems), regenerative brakes that reduce fuel consumption by up to 7% and a stop-start function that cuts the engine when in neutral. Together with an 'optimum shift point indicator' (aka an 'econometer'), these innovations result in increased output, fuel consumption that's reduced by up to 17%, and vastly lowered CO2 emissions. As a result, the 2008 BMW line-up now boasts at least 22 models that emit 140g/km or less of CO2. For the 90 kW (105 hp) 318d, CO2 emissions are a best-in-class 123 g/km CO2 (60.1 mpg combined test), overall environmental impact is on a par with the Prius hybrid (Green Car Rating of 35), while performance is an impressive 0 to 100 km/h in 9.3. From £23,870. Available now. Links: CarPages, EfficientDynamics, YouTube.

Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion 2Family: VW Passat BlueMotion TDI – Green Car Rating 36 – CO2: 128g/km
Less than twelve months since the introduction of the first Passat within the BlueMotion fuel-efficient range, VW has launched the BlueMotion 2. The new model now comes with a quieter new common rail engine, as well as a stop-start system, in addition to the now standard BlueMotion features which include a recalibrated engine management system that reduces idling speed, a particulate filter, longer gear ratios, improved aerodynamic design, and low rolling resistance tyres. With its new power unit, the new Passat offers an impressive 57.6mpg and 128g/km of CO2 (VED road tax band C), making it the most efficient large family car in its class. (The standard Passat S comes with the same 109bhp 2.0 TDI engine but averages a slightly less impressive 51.4mpg while emitting 143g/km of carbon dioxide.) What is more, the Passat BlueMotion 2 costs only £465 more than the base S model with the same new engine. From £15,150. Available now. Links: Volkswagen.

 Citroen C3 PicassoMPV: Citroen C3 Picasso – Green Car Rating 38 – CO2: 130g/km
The new Citroen C3 Picasso's boxy design creates an instant impact, and has received much acclaim since its launch earlier this year. Its load-space can be extended logically and practically to suit almost any family's needs. Powered by a 110bhp HDi diesel engine, the latest addition to the Citroen Picasso range provides CO2 emissions of just 130g/km (one of the best in its compact MPV class) with an official combined fuel economy of 57.6mpg. (Although there is a model with lower CO2 emissions, it's the 1.6HDi 110hp unit that provides the lowest Green Car Rating of 38.) Performance is remarkably brisk for an MPV and feels quicker than its stated 12.4 seconds for the 0-60mph benchmark, while its top speed is pegged at 108mph. Not only has Citroen delivered on emissions, with the C3 Picasso's design, it has also developed a new vehicle class on the family car scene. Features model from £15,595. Available now. Links: Citroen, WGC C3 Picasso review.

Short-list uploaded 14 June 2009

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