Green Car Journal is preparing to announce its Green Car of the Year at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show in November and has officially revealed its five finalists. Among them is Chevrolet’s 2015 Impala CNG, which has a flex fuel system allowing the full-size sedan to run on both normal gasoline and compressed natural gas.
The Impala CNG is available only with a 3.6-liter V6 engine, which has been upgraded with hardened valves and valve seats to accommodate the use of CNG. The CNG tank is stored in the trunk and provides about 150 miles of range. A button on the dash enables the driver to seamlessly switch between gasoline and CNG, or the car will do it automatically once the CNG tank is fully depleted. Chevrolet says CNG is not only much friendlier to the environment than gasoline, but can provide savings of up to $1.25 a gallon.
The Impala CNG is up against some stiff competition for Green Car of the Year. The four other finalists consist of the Honda Fit, Volkswagen Golf, BMW i3 and Audi A3 TDI, all of which have much smaller engines than the Impala. The A3 recently proved it can travel 834 miles on one 13.2 gallon tank of diesel, while the Golf is available in both clean diesel and all-electric configurations.
Despite its relative size and V6 engine, the Impala offers a more innovative solution to fuel economy than the Fit or standard gasoline-powered Golf it’s up against and is the largest and most practical car in the competition, factors which may work in its favor as judges deliberate over their decision. The winner will be announced on November 20.