The 2013 Ford Fusion was named Green Car of the Year Thursday at the LA Auto Show, as the US carmaker boasted having gone from "laggard to leader" in the environmentally-friendly vehicle market.
The car, which Ford says will get up to the equivalent of 100 miles (160 kilometers) per gallon (mpg), beat a shortlist also including the Toyota Prius c, the Mazda CX-5 SKYACTIV, the 2013 Dodge Dart Aero and the Ford C-MAX.
"We've moved our brand from laggards to leaders in fuel economy," said Ford general marketing manager David Mondragon, calling the Fusion's fuel consumption figures "eye-popping."
"We are very honored," he added, after a blue Fusion was unveiled on the second day of the Los Angeles Auto Show, which opens to the public Friday and runs through December 9.
The 2013 Fusion will be available with five different fuel systems, including three gas engines with varying fuel efficiency technology, a hybrid which gets 47 mpg and a plug-in hybrid expected to get over 100 mpg equivalent.
"There's no overstating the importance of what Ford has done," said Ron Cogan, publisher of Green Car Journal and founder of the annual Green Car of the Year award.
"Many have long envisioned new car showrooms where a desired model could be purchased with one of many distinctly different and efficient powertrains, selected to satisfy a buyer's particular needs and desires," he added.
Carmakers have for years been trying to introduce more fuel-efficient models with electric and hybrid electric-gas power systems, but take-up has been slow, hampered notably by the cost compared to traditional gas vehicles.
The 2013 Fusion will start at $21,700, "priced to encourage the kind of sales volume that can truly influence environmental improvement," said the award's organizers.
Last year the Honda Civic Natural Gas won the LA green car award, after the Chevrolet Volt in 2011.
Explore further: US risks losing clean electricity if nuclear plants keep closing, report says