Motor Trend car of the year nominee is…Coda Automotive?

When one considers cars that a major automotive media giant like Motor Trend would suggest might be a car of the year contender, electric car start up Coda Automotive out of California doesn’t immediately jump to mind.

We love the guys, don’t get us wrong, but they have such a small footprint compared to other automotive manufacturers that we are surprised they turned up on Motor Trend’s radar. But yet here they are – in the running for the 2013 Car of the Year.

Motor Trend, in a post explaining its positioning on choosing Coda as a finalist going up against the likes of BMW and Chevrolet, noted the all-electric sedan available only in California has “a subtle but undeniable intelligence all its own.” This is even though some judges were more of the opinion of the car being “a primitive-looking EV arriving too late in a nascent market segment,” likely feeling it is overshadowed by the likes of Nissan and Tesla Motors.

Still, Motor Trend seemed impressed by the way Coda finessed the costs of the batteries into “an already cost-amortized, Chinese-built sedan” as well as feeling the electric car “overdelivered in performance” when put through various tests and evaluation services. The review given by the magazine earlier this year is best summarized by the editors there as a “simple and scrappy EV rookie.”

The Coda Sedan, which only first rolled off the production floor this past March, prices at around $37,250 before select federal and individual state savings and credits (which, at press time, could drop the price to around $27,250). It features an EPA rated combined range of 88 miles per charge, which Coda believes under optimal driving conditions can be pushed up to 125 miles in a single session. A 6.6 kW onboard charging capability provides a full charge in about six hours on 240 V.

Motor Trend said it will announce its 2013 Car of the Year award winner on November 12. If it turns out to be Coda, perhaps we will ship them some flowers and do a follow up story on a true scrappy underdog. We will see.

Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling