Volkswagen did the unimaginable at the LA Auto Show. It garnered the “Green Car of the Year”. VW did it with a diesel, not a hybrid, not some exotic fuel, but a performance oriented turbo-DIESEL. Hopefully that award will open up a few eyes to the ease one can “go green” and not have to give up any driving fun in the process. (Snark alert:hopefully once and for all it will undo the diesel myths and damage done by GM with their failed attempt of making the diesel an important part of the US auto scene 30 years ago).
When I first heard it started inside the LA Convention center I knew there was going to be something really special about this car. It didn’t smoke at start. Other than a quick clatter when it first started it was silent when running. It was silent under light acceleration. The exhaust had a faint smell, not the sweet-sour you associate with a gas car, something more or less “nutty”. Not objectionable, certainly not visible and something you had to look hard to notice. That is a huge change from the last round of diesel VW’s we saw here a few years ago.
This years LA Auto Show had a few new wrinkles for press days. The big one was that the manufacturers ponied up nearly 2 dozen “green cars” for the media to drive. They were all were nominees for “Green Car of the Year” and represented a broad approach to cleaning up our cars more than they already are. For my driving I opted for those cars that are more traditional in nature that the average guy would feel right at home in and get great results without having to change their driving habits or style. (Well, one car was just for kicks and giggles simply because I want one. You have to read to the end to figure out which one it is I wanted).