2017 Green SUV of the Year: BMW X5 xDrive40eThe X5 xDrive40e is the first plug-in hybrid production vehicle from the core BMW brand. It was unveiled at the 2015 Shanghai International Motor Show. It combines the company’s award-winning 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder engine with an electric motor that’s integrated into the 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. The gasoline engine and electric motor churn out a combined 308 horsepower and produce 332 lb.-ft. of torque. BMW says the hybrid powertrain is able to propel the X5 xDrive40e from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 6.5 seconds. It has an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph. When it’s in all-electric drive mode, meanwhile, the vehicle is capable of a top speed of 75 mph. The lithium-ion high-voltage battery pack that powers the electric motor is located underneath the luggage compartment floor. BMW says the battery pack is well protected there in the event of a crash. It also allows the vehicle to offer more luggage capacity. The high-voltage battery can be charged with an occasional use charger at any 120-volt/15 amp electrical outlet or at public charging stations. The SUV, of course, also benefits from the company’s permanent all-wheel drive system. “Regardless of the proportion of drive power being sourced from the engine and motor respectively, xDrive ensures optimal traction in all weather and road surface conditions, together with optimized handling stability and increased agility when powering through corners,” writes the company. It’s easy for the driver to modify the powertrain with the eDrive button that’s located on the center console. When the vehicle is first started, the AUTO eDrive setting is activated by default. That setting has both the engine and electric motor working in tandem. The intelligent operating strategy determines the most efficient drive combination at all times and switches to it automatically. The second mode is the all-electric drive mode called MAX eDrive. The mode offers a maximum range of 13 miles, making it possible to use on short trips like to the grocery store. The third mode is the SAVE Battery setting. It does what it says. It allows the driver to save its battery’s energy reserves for a later time. That way, it can operate in all-electric mode at a later time during the journey. The vehicle also comes standard with a Driving Dynamics Control switch which allows the driver to activate COMFORT, SPORT or ECO PRO modes. The ECO PRO mode, for example, triggers efficiently-optimized control of the air conditioning, seat heating and heated mirrors. Cool stuff, right? Also, when the driver’s foot is off the accelerator at speeds between 0 and 100 mph, the coasting function shuts off the engine. It allows the vehicle to continue moving without burning any fuel. The BMW X5 xDrive40e definitely has the stuff to be named Green SUV of the Year. A press release on the Green Car Awards said the vehicle takes SUVs to the next level. It’d be hard to argue that point.
2017 Green SUV of the Year FinalistsHonda’s fifth-generation CR-V was named a finalist for the award because it offers class-leading fuel economy by virtue of its 190 horsepower, turbocharged 1.5-liter engine. Mazda also made the list with its redesigned CX-9. The three-row crossover’s 2.5-liter turbocharged engine gets 28 highway mpg. It also makes use of the automaker’s SKYACTIV technology to be lighter and more efficient. Another plug-in hybrid that made the list was the Mercedes-Benz GLE550e. It’s able to travel 20 miles solely on battery power. The Nissan Rogue’s hybrid variant rounds out the list. It features a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and electric motor.
2016 Green SUV of the Year: Honda HR-VHonda took home last year’s Green SUV of the Year award with its HR-V. Honda says the compact crossover was recognized for its class-leading environmental performance and top fuel economy rating of 35 mph highway as well as its additional designation as an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle. It’s powered by a 1.8-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine that produces 141 horsepower.
Other WinnersAs for the two other categories of the Green Car Awards, the Mercedes-Benz C350e took home the award for 2017 Connected Green Car of the Year. The Acura NSX, meanwhile, took home this year’s 2017 Luxury Green Car of the Year award.
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