It can be tricky to make environmentally friendly purchases, especially new vehicles. But Consumer Reports is making that easier for buyers with its Green Choice designation. However, eco-conscious shoppers looking for new midsize luxury cars might be out of luck. That’s because all have failed to earn CR’s Green Choice designation. However, one EV may soon achieve the honor.
About Consumer Reports’ Green Choice designation
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Consumer Reports has a new designation called Green Choice to help buyers find environmentally friendly vehicles and encourage more manufacturers to produce them. Carbon dioxide and other gases that gas-powered vehicles emit contribute to climate change, pollution, smog, and related health problems. New technologies are making cleaner gas or hybrid vehicles and zero-emissions EVs possible.
A green leaf icon identifies Consumer Reports’ Green Choice vehicles. The designation means these cars have low or zero emissions, with lower levels of greenhouse gases and smog-causing gases. The Green Choice designation goes to only the top 20 percent of vehicles with the cleanest emissions.
No new midsize luxury cars qualified for the Green Choice designation
Consumer Reports lists 11 luxury midsize cars for 2021. However, its testers have reviewed only six of them, and none qualifies for the Green Choice designation. Some hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions have strong ratings from the EPA, but their gas-only versions seem to knock them out of the running for Green Choice.
The EPA gives the 2021 Volvo S90 a rating of 5 out of 10 (with 10 being the best and given for the lowest emissions) for greenhouse gas emissions and 7 out of 10 for smog. However, a plug-in hybrid version gets a 10 for greenhouse gas emissions and 7 for smog. The 2021 BMW 5 Series received 5 or 6 from the EPA for greenhouse gas emissions and 5 or 7 for its smog ratings. It also has a hybrid version, the BMW 530e. It earned a 9 for greenhouse gas emissions and 7 for its smog rating.
The 2021 Lexus ES offers several engine options, and the EPA rates this model a 5 or 6 out of 10 for greenhouse gas emissions. It gets 5 or 6 out of 10 for its smog ratings as well. However, a hybrid version, the Lexus ES 300h, has a 9 out of 10 for greenhouse gas emissions and 7 out of 10 for smog. The 2021 Audi A6 is rated a bit lower by the EPA and doesn’t offer a hybrid option. It gets a 4 or 5 for greenhouse gas emissions and a 5 for its smog ratings.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class gets just a 3 or 5 from the EPA for greenhouse gas emissions and 3 or 6 for smog. The 2021 Maserati Ghibli receives a dismal 2, 3, or 4 from the EPA for its greenhouse gas emissions and a 1 or 3 for its smog ratings.
But Consumer Reports hasn’t tested the Audi e-tron GT yet
Of the five midsize luxury cars Consumer Reports hasn’t tested yet, one stands out. The Audi e-tron GT is a brand-new vehicle. Because it’s all-electric, it has no tailpipe emissions, which would qualify it as a Green Choice once tested. Even the interior is eco-friendly with recycled materials and no leather, although buyers can add leather upholstery.
The Audi e-tron GT will compete with the Porsche Taycan, Tesla Model S, BMW i4, and Lucid Air, all high-performance electric sedans. The e-tron GT shares the same platform as the Taycan because the Volkswagen Group owns Audi and Porsche.
Audi says the e-tron GT can charge to 80 percent in 20 minutes using public DC fast-charging stations. It also states the base trim will have a range of 238 miles, and the RS trim will have a range of 231 miles.
Both models pack a 235-hp front motor. The base trim has a 429-hp rear motor, which combines with the front to generate 469 hp, which jumps to 522 hp for 2.5 seconds when in “overboost” launch control mode. The base trim produces 464 lb-ft of torque or 472 lb-ft of torque in overboost. The RS trim has a 450-hp rear motor, which generates 590 hp or 637 hp in overboost. Its max torque is 612 lb-ft.
Consumer Reports’ new Green Choice designation helps buyers choose the most environmental vehicles. Though there aren’t any midsize luxury cars that hold the designation yet, the 2022 Audi e-tron GT will likely earn the Green Choice honor once CR tests it.