Filed under: LA Auto Show , Hybrid , Sedan , Technology , Hatchback , Audi , BMW , Honda , Mazda , Toyota , Diesel 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. This year’s awards are a coup for gas-powered vehicles, as well. Both the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 are finalists, with jurors citing the Mazda’s i-ELOOP and Skyactiv technology, which allow the handsome car to net up to 41 mpg. The Corolla, meanwhile, offers a new Eco trim, which can return 42 mpg from its 1.8-liter, naturally aspirated, gas engine.
Filed under: Aftermarket , SUV , Toyota , Off-Road It’s no secret that our friends at Xplore want you to see the country. The company is dedicated to building rambling rides that will let you venture to our nation’s most scenic parks. The newest creation rolling out of the Xplore garage is a trip-ready Toyota 4Runner that’s packed with the usual assortment of off-road goodies we’ve come to expect. Like all Xplore vehicles, the 4Runner can be equipped in stages. Three stages are available, and they range from an upgraded interior and a few external bolt ons to the expedition-grade 4Runner shown above. The full monty comes with a slew of ARB items such as a winch and front brush guard, as well as a set of Method aluminum wheels, upgraded suspension components and extra beefy BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain tires. The 4Runner joins the Jeep Wrangler , Jeep Grand Cherokee and Toyota FJ Cruiser in the Xplore lineup. Each time a vehicle is sold, Xplore hands over a portion of the cash to the National Parks Foundation. Besides the keys to the car, you will also enjoy a one-year pass to visit the our National Parks and a subscription to the Xplore Lifestyle Journal, which basically provides you with excuses to go use your new vehicle as much as possible. See all the details in the press release after the break .