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Consumer Reports has released its annual “Green Choice” list of recommended vehicles that produce the least emissions. This list features a green leaf icon next to the models that meet the criteria. While most models that earn the Green Choice designation are hybrids or electric vehicles, two completely gas-powered models also made the list: the Volkswagen Jetta and the Toyota Corolla.

Qualifying for the Green Choice designation

Consumer Reports’ Green Choice designation is a new way to highlight vehicles that are both recommended by Consumer Reports and have the lowest emissions. Green Choice vehicles are the top 20% of the cars on the market with the cleanest emissions. However, they can be gas-powered, hybrid, or electric. To qualify for the Green Choice designation, a car must meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program’s criteria for low emissions.

The SmartWay program rates vehicles based on their greenhouse gas and smog-forming emissions. The EPA uses a 10-point scale to measure these emissions, with 10 being the best. A car must score at least 8.0 on greenhouse gas and smog ratings to qualify for the Green Choice designation. That way, Green Choice cars produce the fewest greenhouse gases and other pollutants that harm human health.

Consumer Reports indicates which cars meet the SmartWay program’s criteria for the Green Choice designation in its ratings and model pages with a green leaf icon. According to its analysis, vehicles with fewer greenhouse gas emissions tend to have better fuel economy. Electric vehicle owners spend 60% less to power their vehicles than conventional gas-powered models. By choosing a Green Choice car, consumers can make a more informed decision when shopping for a new vehicle and support the transition to a cleaner transportation system.

Overview of the Volkswagen Jetta and Toyota Corolla

A side profile of a gray 2022 Volkswagen Jetta compact sedan model parked next to a wall of rocks and greenery
2022 Volkswagen Jetta | Volkswagen of America, Inc. Newspress Limited

The Volkswagen Jetta is a compact car with a starting price of $19,990 that offers a smooth ride, a spacious interior, and a range of engine options. The base model has a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 147 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. The Jetta also has a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional eight-speed automatic transmission. The Jetta has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 30 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway.

The VW Jetta also comes with a variety of safety and technology features, such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

The Toyota Corolla is another compact car, available as a sedan or a hatchback, with a reputation for reliability, durability, and efficiency. According to Edmunds, the Corolla has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 169 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. The Corolla has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT) or an available six-speed manual transmission.

The Corolla has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 32 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. The Corolla also boasts several safety and technology features, such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, an 8-inch touchscreen, Amazon Alexa compatibility, and a six-speaker sound system. The Corolla sedan and hatchback have a starting price of $21,550 and $22,965, respectively.

Toyota’s impressive lineup of fuel-efficient and eco-friendly models

No other Volkswagen models made it to the Consumer Reports Green Choice list. For Toyota, several other models other than the Corolla and Camry Hybrid made it to the list. These models include the Corolla Hybrid, Highlander Hybrid, RAV4 Hybrid, RAV4 Prime, Sienna, and Venza. These vehicles all offer impressive fuel efficiency and have low emissions, making them eco-friendly choices for environmentally conscious car buyers.

The Corolla Hybrid has a combined EPA-estimated fuel economy of 50 mpg, making it one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market. The Highlander Hybrid, RAV4 Hybrid, and Venza are all hybrid SUVs that offer spacious interiors, while the Sienna is a hybrid minivan option with even more room inside. Lastly, the RAV4 Prime is a plug-in hybrid with an electric-only range of up to 42 miles, making it an excellent choice for drivers with shorter commutes.

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