Honda's line of Accords have won the 2014 "Green Car of the Year" award from an auto industry magazine at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
In recent years, Green Car Journal honoured cars whose selling points were emerging technologies including natural gas, electric and clean diesel.
This year, the prize's jurors - among them environmentalists and comedian/car enthusiast Jay Leno - opted to honour an already-popular model that has a gas-electric hybrid version, but also an internal combustion engine that runs on petrol.
Honda's suggested retail price for the Accord in the US ranges from about US$22,000 (NZ$28k) for a four-cylinder, petrol-powered model to about US$40,000 (NZ$50k) for a plug-in, gas/electric hybrid. Combined city/highway petrol mileage estimates range from 11 kilometres per litre to 20km per litre.
Ron Cogan, the magazine's editor and publisher, said that the Accord's appeal was that its price and good petrol mileage helped make a widespread, positive impact on the environment.
Fully electric vehicles, for example, tended to be more expensive and on the road in far fewer numbers, he noted.
"It may be wonderful what you're doing on an individual level, but your ability to make large-scale environmental impact is very small compared to a high-volume mainstream model that does it by being extremely efficient," Cogan said.
None of the other four finalists was from a US-based auto maker. They were: the Audi A6 TDI and BMW 328d, both diesels, and the gas-powered Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla.
Automakers often cite the Green Car prize in advertising.