The finalists for the first annual Canadian Green Car Award were revealed today; they represent a select group of five.

The winner, to be selected among this group, will be announced Friday, April 12 at the Green Living Show, in the Direct Energy Centre at Toronto’s Exhibition Place.

The finalists were selected by members of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada from a variety of environmentally advanced vehicles nominated by their manufacturers.

The finalists include a plug-in hybrid, three conventional hybrids and a highly efficient internal combustion vehicle.

The finalists are:

– Ford C-MAX Energi

– Ford Fusion Hybrid

– Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

– Mazda3

– Volkswagen Jetta Turbocharged Hybrid

The award, presented by AJAC and Green Living Enterprises, which hosts the annual show, has been launched to recognize vehicles with the potential for strong environmental benefits and to provide consumers with authoritative information about them.

“The judges found the choice difficult because all the entrants are worthy, and they incorporate such differing routes to greener driving,” said Peter Gorrie, chair of AJAC’s Green Car Award steering committee.

The competition placed heavy emphasis on fuel economy and emissions, but also considered other environmental features within each vehicle – for example, use of recycled or naturally sourced materials – and steps each manufacturer has taken to green its operations.  Equally important, it assessed market potential – factors such as build quality, driving experience, overall features, availability, general consumer appeal and price.

“Driving is the most energy-intensive action most people do every day; our hope is this award will shine a light on how folks can improve their health, their planet and their monthly fuel bills, if they have to use a car,” said committee member Michael Bettencourt.

Other nominees included the Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel, Chevrolet Volt, Ford Edge EcoBoost, Ford Focus Electric, Mazda CX-5, Mazda6, Mercedes-Benz B 250 Turbo, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Nissan Leaf and Smart Fortwo Electric Drive.

“After all, a car loaded with ‘green’ features will make a difference only if it sells in large numbers and supplants lesser models,” Gorrie said. “While EVs represent impressive technology that focus might have prevented the four battery-electric nominees from making the final five.”

The association said the award ceremony will take place at 9:45 a.m., Friday April 12 at the Green Living Show’s main stage.