It's easy to rag on the Germans. For the most part, it's hard to fault the cars. They may be expensive, sometimes ugly and, well...expensive, but beyond this there's not much else substantial to quibble over. That's why I poke fun at the perfection. BMW offers a setting on many of its vehicles to change the timer on the headlights after the car is turned off. But it's not like you can choose from seconds in increments of ten, it's infinite. You can be sitting in your car, like Jeremy Clarkson, and be fussing over the timer.
But it's the attention to detail and pursuit of perfection that begs to be both ridiculed and appreciated.
Audi has really been on a role lately. Aside from the misstep that is the Q7, there's not a bad looking car in the lineup. And since they're basically VWs, they're well-built.
So it comes as no surprise to me that this year's Green Car of the Year is the Audi A3 TDI.
It's a good looking car. It's practical, and at less than $30,000, it's not horrifically expensive. But like every Audi, it's amazingly well put together. There's no silver plastic inside, but real brushed aluminum. None of the panels have gaps you could run even a credit card through.
There is a problem though, and it comes from VW. The Jetta TDI was last year's Green Car of the Year. And now you can get the same engine in the new Golf TDI, which can be had with either two or four doors.
But here's the thing-- I'd still have the Audi. It might be insane, and a contradiction to what I've said before, but there's something about the A3 TDI I never realized before sitting in it and seriously considering it. But this car really is the best of all worlds. It has a designer label and it's practical. It's quick but it also does 42 MPG. People will look at your key, see the Audi logo and be impressed, more so than a VW.
This car allows you to be image-conscious and pragmatic at the same time. I'm sold.