Tesla Model Y named top vehicle in 2021 AAA car guide

Report looked at vehicle safety technology, other factors

SAN ANTONIO – Car sales are starting to turn around after the pandemic with seasonally adjusted sales in March hitting the highest rates since October 2017, according to CNN. And AAA is out with its new car guide with a focus on safety.

Here are the top vehicles on AAA’s list:

  • Overall: 2020 Tesla Model Y Long Range (electric)
  • Small: 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier (electric)
  • Midsize: 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
  • Large: 2020 Volvo S90 T8 (plug-in hybrid)
  • Pickup: 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 2WD Crew Cab SLT (diesel)
  • SUV/Minivan: 2020 Tesla Model Y Long Range (electric)
  • Best Under $35,000: 2020 Subaru Outback premium (gasoline)
  • Best $35,000-$50,000: 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier (electric)
  • Best Over $50,000: 2020 Tesla Model Y Long Range (electric)

The list is dominated by electric vehicles or hybrids, as they tend to have more advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) built in, according to AAA.

AAA looked at several factors including the number of ADAS features like automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assistance, as well as fuel economy and ride comfort.

The guide comes at a time when vehicle prices are on the rise and supplies of some models are tight due to supply chain issues. Experts say while the features of some vehicles may be tempting, it’s important that potential car buyers stay within their price range.

“If you’re informed and you know what to expect and you know what your price range is, understand what you can afford, then it’s going to be a good decision for you,” said David Bennett, a car buying expert with AAA. “I think the biggest thing is this, remember, this is a business decision, not an emotional decision.”

Car buyers should also keep other long-term costs in mind like insurance and maintenance when deciding whether to purchase new or used, Bennett said.

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