Consumer Reports is giving hybrids and electric vehicles a big thumbs up after years of being touted as a better choice for car buyers looking for better fuel economy at lower costs.
Seven models in the 2023 Consumer Reports 10 Top Picks for cars, trucks, and SUVs are either fully electric or hybrid.
“This really just shows how the market is changing,” said Jake Fisher, senior director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports. “Electrification, not just battery electric vehicles, but just electrification, is changing the market and making a lot of really great options.”
Based on its testing of new vehicles, Consumer Reports selects the best models at a variety of price points, with an emphasis on affordability and safety. The selection of hybrids and electric vehicles for 2023 highlights two benefits that these types of vehicles frequently possess over models with internal combustion engines: fuel economy and dependability
“With hybrids, you’re kind of being really easy on the engine, being really easy on the brakes, because you’re actually using the generator and the battery to kind of soften everything,” Fisher told. “There are less brake problems, less transmission problems, everything is kind of muted. Plus, when you look at the hybrids and who’s producing these hybrids, they generally are from very reliable automakers who have been using this technology for a long time.”
This explains why Toyota produces the Toyota Corolla Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid, and Lexus NX 350h, all of which were selected as Top Picks for 2023.
Those models are part of a new wave of hybrids that have helped Toyota become the market leader in this class. Hybrid vehicles made up one in every four Toyota vehicles sold in the United States last year. According to Edmunds, an auto research company, hybrids and electric vehicles made up just over 10% of all vehicles sold in the United States last year.
Hybrids and electric vehicles now have more style and performance than they did a few years ago.
“Today, you can really have it all. You can have something roomy, something comfortable, something fuel efficient,” Fisher said. He pointed to the Ford Maverick Hybrid which gets 37 miles per gallon as an example of a hybrid that is changing perceptions. “You don’t have to compromise as much as you had to do in the past.”
After being taken off the list last year, Tesla, which sells two out of every three electric vehicles in the United States, is back on it. The Lexus NX 350h and the Tesla Model 3 were chosen by Consumer Reports as the best options for vehicles priced between $45,000 and $55,000.
In the meantime, BMW is ranked No. 1 by Consumer Reports. Subaru and Mini are the subsequent automakers.
In a press release outlining Consumer Reports’ selections, Fisher stated, “BMW builds many high-performing, full-featured and reliable models, so it’s not surprising to see it at the top of our brand rankings.”