Toyota has won the Green Award at the What Car? Car of the Year Awards.
Toyota (and its luxury arm, Lexus) is leading the way in the development of green technologies. Its clean and green cars aren't futuristic concepts with on-sale dates somewhere over the horizon – Toyota has a range of environmentally friendly cars in its showrooms today.
Toyota and Lexus are pioneers in the field of petrol-electric hybrids. The Prius family car has been joined by the Lexus RX400h 4x4, and the arrival of the GS450h saloon is just a few months away.
The RX400h is a great answer to those who say large 4x4s can't be green. Official fuel economy figures show it can deliver 34.9mpg, yet it can also reach 62mph in 7.6sec. A similarly swift BMW X5 will only cover around 20mpg. Even diesel-engined rivals struggle to match its economy, while getting nowhere near its performance.
Toyota is also at the cutting edge of cleaner diesels – its D-CAT engines use a four-way catalyst to drastically cut levels of carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, particulates and hydrocarbons from exhaust gases.
As with the RX400h, D-CAT diesel's green credentials don't come at the expense of pace. The 175bhp 2.2-litre engine fitted to the Verso MPV delivers 42.8mpg, yet the car sprints from 0-62mph in 8.8sec.
In judging the What Car? environmental award, What Car? focused on cars you can buy today, but is pleased that Toyota is also working on even cleaner models for the future. Its hydrogen fuel cell-powered 4x4 became the first such vehicle in Japan to acquire vehicle type certification last summer, and Toyota expects to bring hydrogen vehicles to market on a large scale by 2015.
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