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Green Credentials Volkswagen Jetta vs Toyota Prius

For many motorists today, from young parents to retirees or company car fleet drivers, how economical and environmentally friendly a car is really matters. How do the VW Jetta and Toyota Prius, two equally established but very different models, compare?

Style, shape and size

The Jetta compact Saloon from German car manufacturer VW is only fractionally wider and longer than the Prius hatchback from Japan’s Toyota, giving the two cars very similar footprints. The Jetta is much more conservative in its styling, with a classic and timeless design that closely resembles its revered Golf and Passat siblings. The VW Jetta provides the perfect solution for buyers who don’t require a Saloon as large as the Passat. It radiates sophistication and solidity in all trims, while the GT stands out a little more with sportier alloy wheels, fog lights and various chrome elements.

The Toyota Prius is the more visually striking of the two, with futuristic styling accentuated by daring curves and lines, sleek headlights, an attractive spoiler, ultra-distinctive LED rear lights and an abundance of glass and cleverly blackened panels. Built on Toyota’s latest platform, the fourth-generation Prius’ low-slung silhouette is dynamic and makes an immediate impact while contributing to its green credentials. The Plug-in hybrid is around 10cm longer than the standard Prius model, with its ultra-compact four-LED headlights and horizontally-arranged rear lights being even more distinctive - along with its special two-tone 15-inch alloy wheels. The Prius Plug-in hybrid’s rear also features a ‘double bubble’ window that blends into the spoiler.

Conclusion: To stand out with a futuristic car it’s got to be the Prius Plug-in hybrid

Peaceful but quite different interiors

Both the Jetta and Prius have interiors that create a sense of peace of mind and order. Everything inside the Jetta will be instantly familiar to anyone who has driven or been a passenger in a Volkswagen Group car, with a mature design, strong ergonomics and rock-solid perceived build quality. Whether you choose cloth or leather seats, comfort is guaranteed, and all Jetta versions come with convenient bag hooks located in the 510-litre boot. The optional infotainment touchscreen and other technologies are well worth specifying and space is good in both the front and rear. 

The Prius features a floating, layered style dashboard with information displays positioned further away from the driver whilst operational controls are located nearby, emphasising the human touch and driver focus. The Prius’ touchscreen is easy to operate for today’s tablet generation, the optional JBL audio system incorporating GreenEdge technology sounds remarkable and the car’s spacious and comfortable cabin is backed up by a 502-litre boot plus an overhead storage console. The car’s futuristic interior is airy and relaxing and the low-down seating position raises driver engagement.

Conclusion: For a conventional and slightly more premium approach, pick the Jetta

Green motoring with distinct twists

The Toyota Prius seems the obvious choice for anyone looking to adopt the greenest type of car available, with fuel economy of up to 94.1mpg offered by the conventional petrol-battery hybrid and up to 283mpg from the Plug-in hybrid version.

The Prius also excels in the CO2 stakes, with emissions ranging between 22g/km and 70g/km CO2 from the Plug-in and standard hybrid respectively, the latter having a healthy 0-62mph time of 10.6 seconds. The Plugin offers a purely electric driving range of just over 30 miles and a top EV speed of 84mph. Ultra-green, quiet and clean, the Prius is an excellent choice for low-mileage drivers who stay fairly local in urban areas.

Although Volkswagen’s Jetta is based on conventional petrol and diesel powertrains, it offers rather remarkable fuel economy deserving of green status.

Petrol engines are great for drivers who cover less than around 20,000 miles per year and the revered 1.4-litre turbocharged unit can achieve upto 56.5mpg while reaching 62mph as quickly as 8.6 seconds, emitting 120g/km CO2.

For higher-mileage drivers, the 2.0-litre diesel engine offers an exceptional 68.9mpg and CO2 emissions of just 108g/km. All Jetta engines comply with the latest and cleanest EURO 6 standards.

Conclusion: If your lifestyle and driving patterns suit the Prius Plug-in hybrid, it wins on outright greenness

In numbers…


Prius/Prius Plug-in hybrid












Fuel(comb MPG)





Emissions(CO2, g/km)





Top Speed(mph)





0 – 60mph in….(seconds)










The Toyota Prius and Volkswagen Jetta are both excellent green cars in quite different ways, the Prius offering conventional and Plug-in hybrid motoring with a decent electric range for more local use, while the Jetta excels when it comes to low CO2 emissions and high fuel economy for drivers who cover higher mileages. Why not test-drive one or both of these green cars from Inchcape Toyota or Inchcape Volkswagen today?