Electrifying choices: Consumer Reports’ top picks for reliable, efficient vehicles for 2024

Colchester, CT — Electrified vehicles are becoming increasingly more desirable than their gasoline-only counterparts, Consumer Reports has found. The nonprofit research, testing, and advocacy organization selected multiple hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and fully electric vehicles to its annual 10 Top Picks list that spotlights the best cars, SUVs, and trucks for 2024. The vehicles chosen are among the highest-scoring in CR’s comprehensive ratings, they come standard with key safety features, and receive high marks for reliability and satisfaction from owners in CR’s member surveys.



The electrified models that made CR’s annual best of the best list include the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Toyota Prius / Prius Prime, Ford Maverick Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Toyota RAV4 Prime, Tesla Model Y, and BMW X5 PHEV. Hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and EVs have never been more popular, accounting for 16.3% of all light-duty vehicle sales in the U.S. last year, according to Ward’s Intelligence.

“Consumer Reports’ new Top Picks list demonstrates that models with fully or partially electrified powertrains can surpass the overall performance of their conventional counterparts: Among the standouts this year are one EV, three PHEVs, and three hybrids,” said Alex Knizek, manager of automotive testing and insights for Consumer Reports. “We’ve created new tools and resources on CR.org to help consumers compare these vehicles side-by-side and decide what makes the most sense for them.”

Only three of this year’s Top Picks are repeat winners from the prior year: the Subaru Forester, Toyota Camry Hybrid, and Ford Maverick/Maverick Hybrid. The seven new entrants are the Tesla Model Y, Subaru Crosstrek, Mazda3, Toyota Prius / Prius Prime, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Toyota RAV4 Prime, and BMW X5 / X5 PHEV. In some cases CR focuses on the model level, but this year there are also specific powertrains that are highlighted for their exceptional balance of performance and efficiency.

While the average price paid for a new vehicle in December was more than $48,000, six of CR’s 2024 Top Picks have base prices under $30,000. This affirms that car shoppers don’t have to pay top dollar to get a high-performing, reliable, and satisfying vehicle that comes equipped with the latest key safety technology.

“With such a diverse range of choices, from gas-powered cars to hybrids and EVs, you need trustworthy information more than ever,” said Marta Tellado, president and CEO of Consumer Reports. “Consumer Reports’ Top Picks are backed by our world-class testing, so you can confidently navigate through the seemingly countless options out there. We’re dedicated to helping you find what best fits your needs for reliability, sustainability, and safety.” 

CR Evaluates 13 Popular Plug-in Hybrids to Gauge Performance and Costs

Plug-in hybrids, which bridge the gap between a regular hybrid and an EV, are gaining in popularity. Last year, sales of PHEVs grew by 60 percent—a larger increase than EVs or conventional hybrids, according to CR’s analysis of vehicle sales numbers.

CR recently completed full tests and ratings on more than a dozen of the latest PHEVs and found that most are quicker, quieter, and more satisfying to drive than the gas-only versions of the same vehicles, such as the CR Top Pick Toyota RAV4 Prime. For those who are not ready to go fully electric, a PHEV provides most of the benefits of driving an EV without the worries about how and where to charge.

“Figuring out if a PHEV is right for you will probably take a bit more research up front. But for many drivers, PHEVs will save you money over the long run when compared with a gas, hybrid, or electric vehicle,” says Jake Fisher, CR’s senior director of automotive testing. “In most cases, the more you plug in a PHEV, the more money you’ll save.”

New calculators and research tools on CR.org can help consumers navigate the choices and differences between various models. CR’s Electrified Vehicles Hub now includes ratings and data for PHEVs, in addition to hybrids and EVs. Car shoppers can utilize a new energy cost calculator, and compare models side-by-side to determine which is most cost-effective. There is also an Electric Vehicle Savings Finder that can reveal all tax credits each vehicle is eligible for, and what additional local rebates are available.

CR has made some key changes to its scoring rubric for PHEVs. Fuel economy scores are now based on the overall fuel economy from CR’s testing (in charge-sustaining mode). The EV range (based on EPA data) is accounted for as a bonus. Additionally, a new PHEV Usability rating has been added. This assesses PHEV-specific controls and displays such as electric-only range, and the ease of operating in electric mode. Charging Ease and App functionality ratings, which CR recently added for EVs, is now included for PHEVs, too.

BMW, Subaru Top CR’s Brand Report Card Rankings for Second Year In a Row

BMW, whose X5 PHEV is a Top Pick, takes the number one spot in CR’s 2024 Brand Report Card rankings, becoming the first back-to-back winner since 2017. The brand rankings are based on the average Overall Score, a combination of CR’s road-test scores, predicted reliability and owner satisfaction data, and safety for all of the tested models from each automaker.

Subaru remains the top mainstream brand, occupying the number two spot. A consistent combination of high road-test scores and very good predicted reliability helped keep BMW and Subaru ahead of the competition for the second straight year.

“Our brand rankings look at vehicles as a whole at the brand level, and not just a single factor,” said Fisher. “But while you’re most likely to find a great vehicle by looking at the highest-ranked brands, even the best brands can have a poor model or two in their lineup so it’s important to do additional research on the specific cars that you’re interested in.”

The remaining brands in the top 10 are little changed from last year, with the exception of Porsche, which jumped 11 spots into third place, and Hyundai (10th place, up three spots from last year). Honda, Lexus, Mini, Kia, Mazada, and Toyota round out the top 10.

In a bright spot for the domestic auto brands, Cadillac surged 11 positions to 14th place, its highest ranking in seven years, due to improvements in reliability. Ford jumped six spots to 17th place, its highest charting since 2016.

Tesla barely budged, falling back one spot to #18. The five worst brands are: Jeep (#34), Land Rover (#33), Jaguar (#32), GMC (#31), and Rivian (#30). To be included in the brand rankings, CR has to have tested at least two current models from a company. CR tested only one model from Lucid, Polestar, and Ram, so they aren’t included this year.

Of the 34 total brands in this year’s rankings, CR is recommending every model tested from seven: BMW, Porsche, Honda, Mini, Kia, Mazda, and Acura. This means that consumers can buy any tested model from those companies with confidence.

CR tests about 50 new vehicles every year. Each one is purchased anonymously at dealerships. CR does not accept free loaned vehicles from manufacturers so as to maintain its independence and test cars with the trim and options consumers are more likely to buy rather than the special versions that carmakers want to showcase. After a 2,000 mile break-in and initial assessment period for each car, CR conducts more than 50 tests using state-of-the-art measurement tools at its 327-acre Auto Test Center in Connecticut and on surrounding roads. 

For more information, visit CR.org/spotlight.


About Consumer Reports

Founded in 1936, CR has a mission to create a fair and just marketplace for all. Widely known for our rigorous research and testing of products and services, we also survey millions of consumers each year, report extensively on marketplace issues, and advocate for consumer rights and protections around safety as well as digital rights, financial fairness, and sustainability. CR is independent and nonprofit.