Photos by?Doug Berger / NWAPA
Portland, Ore. ? In July members of the Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA) held their third annual ?Drive Revolution? program and sampled 16 of these revolutionary vehicles on the streets of Portland, Oregon. After driving each of the vehicles, the panel of 19 Northwest U.S. and Canadian journalists picked their favorites in three categories: Electric Vehicles, Hybrids, Green Luxury Vehicles and an overall winner which received the title of Northwest Green Vehicle of the Year.
Leading the group to be named Northwest Green Vehicle of the Year was Toyota?s innovative new fuel cell car, the 2016 Mirai. The hydrogen fueled car goes on sale through eight authorized dealers in Southern California in October 2015.
The category winners at the 2015 NWAPA Drive Revolution included Volkswagen?s e-Golf as the top electric car, the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid as the best hybrid and the Mercedes-Benz S550 as the top Plug-In Hybrid.
If you missed Part 1 Go to https://ourautoexpert.com/2015-nwapa-drive-revolution-winners-announced-part-1/
The NWAPA Drive Revolution Vehicles ? Part 2
Here are my brief impressions of the second group of participating vehicles. Most of vehicles are 2015 models, with the exception of the Nissan Leaf which is a 2014, but is unchanged for 2015 and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Toyota Mirai which are 2016 models. The EPA fuel economy ratings are for city/highway/combined miles per gallon or miles per gallon equivalent for electric vehicles and some hybrids. The pricing is for the cars as tested plus many of the cars qualify for the federal $7,500 tax credit and in some areas local incentives.
Jeep Cherokee Summit 4×4 EcoDiesel ? I love a good diesel, and this is a really good one. It has lots of power, from the smooth, quiet and clean 240-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6. It is mated with a smooth positive version of the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission and has shift paddles for better driver control. The top-of the line Summit model has every conceivable feature in the luxuriously appointed interior. It also has Jeep?s famous off-road prowess. Fuel economy is listed at 21/28/24 mpg. $59,480.
Kia Soul EV ? This is one of my favorite EVs because it?s such a seamless conversion from the gas powered Soul. You don?t really notice the difference between the two, except, this one you plug in when you get back to the garage. For our full review on the Kia Soul EV go to https://ourautoexpert.com/2015-kia-soul-ev-test-drive-3/ . $36,625.
Mercedes-Benz S550 Plus-In Hybrid ? The Mercedes-Benz S550 is one of the most advanced, innovative large sedans on the market, and when it was offered this Spring it added a plug-in hybrid that adds and entirely new dimension. The S550 Plug-In is powered by a 3.0-liter bi-turbo V-6 engine and electric motor which combine to produce 436 horsepower and an impressive 5.2-second 0 to 60 mph acceleration time. The transmission is a seven-speed automatic and it rides on AIRMATIC air suspension for an amazing level of comfort and control. By electric power only the S550 has a 20 mile range. EPA fuel economy is listed at 58 MPGe city/highway and 26 mpg on gasoline only. The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plus-In Hybrid was my choice for the best plug in hybrid at ?Drive Revolution?, and it was the choice of the NWAPA panel as well. $114,315.