Okay, we get it. Cars.com wanted to appeal to a wide audience. So, when nominating vehicles for its most eco-friendly car of the year award, it chose an all-electric car, a gas car, a traditional hybrid (no plug), a plug-in hybrid, and a diesel pickup truck.

The nominees include the Tesla Model 3, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla Hybrid, Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Duramax Diesel. All these vehicles are highly eco-friendly within their class and/or lineup of competitors. However, if we're comparing them to one another in terms of efficiency and eco-friendliness, that's a different story.

In the end, the Toyota Corolla Hybrid took the top honors. While we would have loved to see it go to the Tesla, we understand Cars' reasoning, at least based on the way it explains its methodology. However, for people who see the title – "Cars.com Names the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid Eco-Friendly Car of the Year" – it could be seen as misleading, since cars like the Model 3, among many others, are arguably more eco-friendly.

An argument can also be made that eco-friendly is not synonymous with efficiency, though that's certainly part of the equation. Again, it all comes down to the methodology. The fact that the Silverado 1500 Diesel is a nominee goes even further to prove this. Sure, it's an eco-friendly pickup truck in comparison to others.

Be sure to click on the press release tab or source link below for more details about this Cars.com award, and more specifically, precisely what the publication's methodology is. Then, let us know if you agree or disagree with Cars.com. We're not asking if you agree or disagree with its choice for the winner, but more specifically, the award situation and methodology in general.

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 April 22, 2020

Consumer Research Indicates Fuel Efficiency and Environmental Stewardship as Main Reasons for Electric Vehicle Ownership and Consideration

CHICAGO, April 22, 2020 – In honor of Earth Day 2020, the leading automotive digital marketplace, Cars.com Inc. (NYSE: CARS), names the 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid its Eco-Friendly Car of the Year as part of the company’s annual Best of Awards. This year’s winner faced tough competition from Chevrolet, Honda and Tesla; however, the hybrid’s high fuel efficiency, consumer-friendly price and wide appeal to the masses made it the clear-cut choice. 

“Toyota’s first-ever Corolla Hybrid stood out for gas mileage and value, yes, but with quick, smooth power, fuss-free controls and comfortable road manners, it feels and looks like a car that all can enjoy,” said Jenni Newman, editor-in-chief of Cars.com. “We selected it as our Eco-Friendly Car of the Year before the pandemic, but at a starting cost of under $25,000, it’s even more relevant for those looking to buy an environmentally friendly vehicle at a bargain price.”

Other nominees for Eco-Friendly Car of the Year included:

  • 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Duramax Diesel: It may seem odd that a diesel half-ton pickup truck was nominated for an eco-friendly award, but there’s a simple reason: fuel economy. The EPA officially rates the 2020 Silverado 1500 diesel at 23/33/27 mpg city/highway/combined for the two-wheel-drive model and 23/29/25 mpg for the 4×4. Starting price (without destination): $28,300
  • 2020 Honda Civic: For the third consecutive year, the Civic was a nominee for the Eco-Friendly Car of the Year. The Civic earns an estimated 32 mpg combined or higher. Starting price: $19,850
  • 2020 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid: Delivering an impressive 47-mile all-electric range, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is perfect for those looking for the environmental benefits of an electric car but need the convenience of a gas vehicle. Starting price: $33,400
  • 2020 Tesla Model 3: A compelling vehicle with more than enough sales to prove it, the Tesla Model 3 is a rear-wheel-drive version of the most efficient electric car on the market, rated 141 mpg-equivalent by the EPAStarting price: $38,990

Additionally, Cars.com conducted consumer research to understand electric vehicle owners’ and first-time shoppers’ reasons for owning or potentially buying an EV, as well as the main perceived drawbacks to EV ownership1. The survey found:

  • Main ownership benefits: reduced fuel costs (86%), environmental impact (73%), reduced dependency on fuel/oil (71%) and reduced maintenance costs (64%)
  • Drawbacks to ownership: high initial price (55%), limited range (44%) and lack of charging locations (40%)
  • Shoppers’ perceived appeal to ownership: reduced fuel costs (74%), reduced dependency on fuel/oil (67%), environmental impact (64%) and reduced maintenance costs (57%)
  • Shoppers’ perceived drawbacks to ownership: high initial price (56%), limited range (49%) and limited battery life span (38%)

For more information on the Cars.com Best Of awards, visit https://www.cars.com/awards/, and to learn more about electric vehicles and reviews on newest makes and models, visit https://www.cars.com/news/electric-cars/.



Any 2020 model-year vehicle available nationwide was eligible for the Eco-Friendly Car of the Year award, and all vehicles that reduce consumption and/or minimize the release of carbon pollutants, regardless of fuel type. The Toyota Corolla Hybrid was chosen from among five eco-friendly categories: battery-electric, plug-in hybrid, gas-electric, clean diesel and regular high-mileage gasoline.

1 The survey was fielded Jan. 31 through March 1, 2020. It received 1,290 responses – 504 EV owners and 786 EV shoppers. For the purposes of this study, any question referring to an electrified vehicle included gasoline hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, battery electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles.