During Drive Revolution, auto manufacturers vie for top awards for their unique and clean vehicles. This annual event, organized by the Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA), showcases the latest and greatest “green cars” vehicles (at varying price points) including full-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, regular hybrids, or eco-friendly luxury rollers.

This year’s Drive Revolution was held just across the river from Portland at The Pearson Air Museum in Vancouver, WA. This historical site offered a fantastic back-drop to review and drive each vehicle. Member journalists scored each vehicle category and the winners were chosen based on numerous factors such as price, MPG-e (miles per gallon equivalency) ratings, powertrain scores, braking, ride/handling, interior comfort/tech, and overall tech scores.

There were 19 vehicles in total, from four different classes:

  • Affordable Battery Electric Vehicles
  • Affordable Hybrid Cars
  • Family-Sized Plug-In Hybrid
  • Luxury Green Vehicles

While those attending test drive many of the vehicles entered during other times of the year, this event gives them the opportunity to drive them back-to-back. It’s interesting how each auto manufacturer answers: interior and exterior styling, batteries and range if plug-in or EV, techy bits, etc. The 2018 Drive Revolution “Green Vehicles of the Year” are:

 

Northwest Affordable Battery-Electric Vehicle of the Year: 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV

The 2018 Chevy Bolt was very responsive and engaging on tarmac toured at Drive Revolution. This rock-solid and hip hatchback was a hoot to drive. The Bolt is easy to see out of, has oodles of safety features, and with an electric range of 238 miles, can be driven long distances without range anxiety. That gets top honors in our book. Without tax incentive deductions the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV tops out at just over $40,000 (MSRP).

 

Northwest Affordable Hybrid Car of the Year: 2018 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet brought two category-winning vehicles to Drive Revolution. The 2018 Chevy Volt LT is a spacious sedan boasting lots of tech and connectivity features, such as Chevrolet MyLink (capable of linking various smart phones), XM Radio, On Star, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. This 106 MPG-e grocery getter has all the modern amenities one is looking for these days starting under $35,000.

 

Northwest Family-Sized Plug-In Hybrid of the Year: 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

A clear winner in the family-sized facet of Drive Revolution was the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid. Pacifica has impressive styling and quality and handling that you’d never guess it’s a minivan. Chrysler has given the 2018 Pacifica Hybrid a slew of family-friendly safety features, such as automatic stopping while reversing and rear cross path detection. The Pacifica’s thoughtful design, safety features, and attention to detail were outstanding make it worth the $39,995 MSRP

“The Pacifica Hybrid’s 84 mpg-e and 33 miles of all-electric range saves you hundreds in fuel costs each year over the average new minivan or SUV,” said Sarah Shelton from U.S. News & World Report.

 

Northwest Luxury Green Vehicle of the Year: 2018 Lexus LS 500h

In Drive Revolution’s luxury category, the 2018 Lexus LS 500h stood out. Lexus imbued the LS 500h with beautiful designs, a solid drive quality, and an attention to detail needed in the vehicles nearing the $80,000 price tag. Heated, massaging driver’s seat were wonderful after a long day of test-driving cars. Lexus gave the LS 500h a sporty 3.5 liter 24-valve V6 with various driving modes (Eco/Normal/Sport), making it easy to adjust its performance to your driving style.

 

Northwest Green Vehicle of the Year: 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Fiat-Chrysler hit the ball out of the park with the 2018 Pacifica. The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, winner of the 2018 NW Green Vehicle of the Year award, has a low entry cost compared to other premium minivans and is the most eco-friendly vehicle in the minivan segment. Parents will appreciate the easy-to-remove seating, available rear-seat entertainment systems, and the intuitive Uconnect infotainment system for drivers and front-seat passengers.

“What’s particularly remarkable is that you can achieve this fuel economy while also carrying a family of seven in the front and a suitcase for everyone in the back,” Shelton continued. “This, along with a notable amount of standard equipment, makes the Pacifica Hybrid a truly family-friendly vehicle.”

Photography by Doug Berger

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Mercedes is a Portland Oregon-based freelancer and adventurer who specializes in all things related to vehicular adventure travel. She, along with her husband Andy, run Crankshaft Culture, an automotive website dedicated to “getting out there” (no matter what type of vehicle you own). Currently in their stable they have two right-hand-drive turbo-diesel Mitsubishis: a 1989 Delica Star Wagon (aka The Space Tractor) and a 1992 short wheelbase Pajero. In addition, they have two customized subcompact daily drivers. Connect with Mercedes by e-mail at: mercedes@crankshaftculture.com.

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