The Green Car Journal Online has awarded the 2006 Mercury Mariner Hybrid, Lincoln-Mercury’s first gas/electric hybrid, the Green Car of the Year Award. The Mariner Hybrid was chosen by a high-profile jury of auto and environmental leaders, the other nominees were Honda Accord Hybrid, Honda Civic Hybrid, Lexus RX 400h, and Toyota Highlander Hybrid. The five finalists were selected by Green Car Journal after evaluating a field of dozens of 2006 model year vehicles offering varying levels of improved environmental performance. Gasoline-electric hybrids, near-zero emission gasoline models, advanced diesels, and an array of vehicles capable of operating on alternative fuels were among those considered. While all current models are eligible for consideration, “newness” is a factor, with vehicles in the early phase of their production cycle given particular weight in identifying finalists. Check it out.