Behind the Scenes at Eco-Run

The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) is hosting a sort of non-race rally this week. I and twenty other writers from across the country will be driving fuel-efficient cars over three days. Each day we’ll switch the rides a few times to maximize the writers’ exposure. The one who drives most efficiently will win the Green Jersey at the end of each day. The route begins in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 4, and finishes in Montreal on Thursday, on the eve of the Grand Prix weekend.

The following are the cars on offer over the three days. They’re mostly diesels, hybrids, or electrics. Any that I’ve tested in the past have my top impressions. Otherwise each has a single noteworthy ‘green’ feature. At the end of each Eco-Run day, I’ll update you with impressions of the cars tested that day.

Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel

It boasts the best highway fuel consumption for ‘any non-hybrid passenger car’ in Canada. Lots of qualifiers but still fairly impressive.

Chevrolet Volt

Tested: I haven’t driven one for two years but remember liking the surprising amount of instant torque—and feeling slightly guilty about testing the AC in the blindingly hot day I had it.

Ford C-MAX Hybrid

Tested: I spent 20 minutes in it back in October during AJAC’s TestFest, literally a festival of car tests performed over four days. It has an impressive drivetrain and switches almost imperceptibly from electric to gasoline powered.

Ford Focus Electric

Tested: This won the City Car category at the same TestFest. Mind, it only had one competitor, so you had to like the odds. What Ford got most right from my point of view, was to make it look like a real car and less like a political statement.

Ford Fusion Energi

Fully charged, it can emit 195hp. Better still, it can charge from your standard 120-volt outlet.

Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid

Check out the fuel efficiency stats: 2.06Le/100km. I’m looking forward to testing this one.

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Tested: For the money, this is a really great buy. Its sporty looks hide its slightly sluggish performance—but if you really want performance, don’t buy a hybrid.

2013 Infiniti M35h

The h is for hybrid. This new offering pairs a six-cylinder with a lithium-Ion battery and 50kw electric motor. The output is 360hp and 258 lb-ft torque. Grrrreen.

Kia Rio LX+ ECO (AT)

‘Idle Stop and Go’ technology turns the engine off automatically when you stop. Take your foot off the pedal and it starts again. Sensible. Watch for this coming to many more cars in the near future.

Lexus ES 300h

Here’s an interesting pair of numbers. It puts out 200hp and achieves 4.8L/100km combined fuel economy.

Mazda CX-5

Tested: SkyActiv is the overall approach Mazda takes to fuel efficiency. I’m not much an SUV fan, but remember scoring it well for quality of its parts and ease of the drive during TestFest.


Tested: it won the New Small Car (under $21,00) category at TestFest. It’s a practical buy but offers plenty of fun for the driver—especially for the money.

2014 Mazda6

It’s introducing new technology: SKYACTIV-G 2.5L I4 engine and i-ELOOP, a capacitor-based brake energy regeneration system.

Mercedes–Benz B 250

Power and power savings: The turbo-charged four-cylinder engine emits 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and is paired with start/stop functionality.

Mercedes-Benz GLK 250 BlueTEC

The first sport utility diesel gets 5.9/8.3/7.2 L/100 km, city/ highway/combined from an engine which achieves 200hp and 359 lb-ft of torque.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Tested: Tiny and fun, it gets up to 155 km per charge. It’s the only electric vehicle in Canada to include a DC quick-charger port in the basic price.

Porsche Cayenne Diesel

Six cylinders, 240 horses and 408 lb-ft of torque! Just make sure you don’t break a nail using that oversized diesel pump.

Ram 1500 HFE

The initials stand for high fuel efficiency. It has start/stop technology and an 8-speed transmission. On the highway it achieves 7.8L/100km.

smart fortwo electric drive

Tested: It’s capable of 125 km/h and has a limit of 138km per charge: great for the city. However I got lost in it last year during last year’s Eco-Run and emptied its battery, then spent a lonely hour awaiting aid in the countryside.

Subaru Forester

It’s newly released and claiming 6.2 L/100km on the highway, the best in class for an all-wheel-drive.

Toyota Prius v

With excellent combined fuel economy stats of 4.5/100km, this has taken the ecoENERGY prize for station wagon fuel-efficiency two years in a row.

Volkswagen Jetta Turbocharged Hybrid

The electric motor is paired with a turbocharged engine and seven-speed transmission. The Jetta design is lowered for ten percent less drag. It has stop/start technology built in. So its combined highway and city stats are an impressive 4.4 L/100km.

Remember to check back here over the next three days for first impressions of each car I test while attempting to bring home the Green Jersey.

Though a co-owner and former editor of DailyXY, Steven Bochenek is actually an advertising writer who does some journalism on the side. In 2011 he was accepted into the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. His other interests include playing music, long-distance running, skiing and writing in the third person.

This is a test