Hybrids rule Consumer Reports’ annual list of top picks

Toyota dominates the list with SUVs, cars

One word dominates Consumer Reports’ annual list of top vehicle picks: electrified.

“This year, our top 10 includes vehicles with a variety of powertrains-- there are four hybrids, three plug-in hybrid electric vehicles or PHEVs and one EV. That’s significant because it shows how the markets shifted towards electrification and confirms that these models can best gas-only competitors,” said Emily Thomas, Ph.D. with Consumer Reports’ auto testing.

Consumer Reports put new model vehicles through dozens of tests, from fuel economy to how easy it is to install a child’s car seat.

Here are the results for 2024.

The Toyota RAV4 Prime takes everything drivers love about the super popular RAV4 and adds the benefits of a plug-in hybrid, which provides 42 miles of electric-only driving before the gasoline motor kicks in. CR found the Prime is quieter and smoother than the standard RAV4, and it’s quicker. The Prime went zero to 60, a full two seconds faster than the gas-only model.

Another standout Toyota SUV: The 3-row Highlander Hybrid has key safety features, solid predicted reliability, and great fuel economy at 35 miles per gallon overall.

From Subaru, the Forester and redesigned Crosstrek are also top picks. Both have secure handling, good fuel economy, and a wide range of active safety features, according to testers.

The redesigned Toyota Prius added more horsepower and performance, plus all-wheel drive availability. The plug-in Prius Prime provides 39 miles of pure-electric driving, with 43 miles per gallon when the hybrid engine kicks in.

If you’re looking for a truck, the Ford Maverick and Maverick Hybrid provide much of the functionality of a pickup at a fraction of the size and cost. CR found both versions of the Maverick offer impressive maneuverability and a roomy crew cab interior.

And if reliability is top on your list, they say it’s hard to do better than the Toyota Camry Hybrid.

“The Toyota Camry Hybrid receives top marks in CR’s reliability data, but it also performed well in our fuel economy tests, gets 610 miles per tank of gas, and earns a sky-high Road Test score in our on-track evaluations,” Thomas said.

The BMW X5 and X5 plug-in hybrid are CR’s top luxury SUV choices. CR says both versions feature immaculate cabins and a premium driving experience.

And if you’re looking for a sporty drive that won’t break the bank, CR says the Mazda3 was a standout. With 191 horsepower, its engine packs more punch than most rivals and has an impressively premium interior for the price point.

CR’s top pick for an all-electric vehicle is the Tesla Model Y. Like most EVs, it has quick acceleration; however, the Model Y shines with responsive steering, frequent over-the-air updates, and access to Tesla’s extensive Supercharger network.

Consumer Reports Top Picks:

  • Subcompact SUV - Subaru Crosstrek
  • Compact SUV - Subaru Forester
  • Mid-sized SUV - Toyota Highlander Hybrid\
  • Luxury SUV - BMW X5 / LL X5 PHEV
  • Plug-in Hybrid SUV - Toyota RAV4 Prime
  • Small car - Mazda 3
  • Mid-sized car - Toyota Camry Hybrid
  • Hybrid/PHEV Car - Toyota Prius/Prime
  • Small pickup - Ford Maverick/ Maverick Hybrid
  • Electric vehicle - Tesla Model Y

About the Author

Marilyn Moritz is an award-winning journalist dedicated to digging up information that can make people’s lives a little bit better. As KSAT’S 12 On Your Side Consumer reporter, she focuses on exposing scams and dangerous products and helping people save money.

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