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Consumer Reports Top 10 Vehicles for 2024

Three models make the list for two years running


spinner image 2024 subaru forester sport
Courtesy: Subaru

Consumer Reports just dropped its annual list of top 10 cars, SUVs and light trucks. And like last year, its top picks are dominated by models that include electric power. Six of the chart-toppers are hybrid or plug-in hybrid models; one fully electric model made the cut.

The choices are categorized by size and type of vehicle — including small cars and pickup trucks as well as hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs).

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Car buyers will also find four different power trains: standard gas-only cars, like the Mazda3; hybrid vehicle (combining gas and electric power), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs); and one fully electric model, the Tesla Model Y.

How do they choose?

Each year, Consumer Reports (CR) combs through its testing and reviews, owner satisfaction surveys, and predicted reliability assessments (based on owner complaints) to create the list.

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The product evaluation nonprofit also considers a vehicle's safety ratings — based on crash-test data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). CR has also increasingly focused on the safety technology manufacturers are deploying with their vehicles — including advanced driver assistance systems with automatic emergency braking (which can include braking for pedestrians as well as braking on highways), blind-spot warnings (to prevent collisions) and rear cross-traffic alerts (that warn drivers as they are backing up of approaching vehicles).

Why aren't there any big pickups or brawny SUVs in CR's top 10? "When it comes to the big pickup trucks, many of them aren't that reliable or don't do that well in our tests," said Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing for CR. "It's really about highlighting better choices," he said; for example, "cars with complex displays or controls do poorly in our tests."

Some may question the inclusion this year of the Tesla Y given all the recall issues surrounding the company's driver assistance software last year. Fisher says that CR has pointed out that the Tesla Autopilot system doesn't do enough to keep drivers engaged and that they deducted points for that shortcoming. Fisher also acknowledged that Hyundai's all-electric Ioniq 6 turned in test scores better than the Tesla Y, "but the reason we chose the Tesla was the infrastructure," he said. Drivers are more likely to find public charging stations for Teslas and make an easier connection. 

Any repeats from last year?

Just three models made CR's 2024 list from last year: the Subaru Forester SUV, the Toyota Camry Hybrid sedan, and the Ford Maverick / Maverick Hybrid pickup truck.

The Forester continues to be something of an oldie but a goodie, with solid ergonomics at a great price. Toyota's Camry is better than its gas-only counterpart in this Hybrid incarnation, delivering smoother performance, and CR appreciated the small Ford Maverick Hybrid pickup truck's quieter ride.

Affordability, reliability front and center

One of the most notable things about the CR list is that the cars are generally affordable — a ranking for the rest of us. It’s more about affordability, safety and reliability than flash and speed.

"This is the one list where it's everything: reliability, safety, and performance," explains Fisher. "It's not about how a minivan does on a race-track."

While the average price paid for a new car at the end of 2023 was over $48,000, according to CR, more than half of the models in the top 10 here start at under $30,000.

To go along with that practical theme, also included are EPA mileage ratings and safety ratings from the NHTSA. Just note that the numbers quoted below represent the best for that particular model (so if you choose an all-wheel drive version or one with a larger engine you can expect to take a hit on fuel economy).

Compact SUV

spinner image 2024 subaru forester sport
Courtesy: Subaru

Subaru Forester

  • Price: $27,095 to $37,395
  • EPA mpg: 29 combined city/highway
  • NHTSA Safety Rating: 5 Stars
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There's no question, Subaru's Forester is virtually unbeatable in the value department: an all-wheel drive SUV with a roomy interior, excellent visibility and reasonable fuel economy starting at under $30,000. The Forester doesn't have zippy acceleration but its controls are easy to use and getting in and out of the SUV is a breeze. Automatic emergency braking is standard, but blind spot and rear cross-traffic alerts are added options.

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Subcompact

spinner image 2024 subaru crosstrek
Courtesy: Subaru

Subaru Crosstrek

  • Price: $25,195 to $32,195
  • EPA mpg: 29 combined city/highway
  • NHTSA Safety Rating: 5 Stars

The smaller Subaru in the top 10, the Crosstrek has a predictable ride and now includes the company's EyeSight driver assistance system as standard, along with auto emergency braking (but blind spot and rear traffic alerts will cost you more). Subarus are notoriously utilitarian but if you want more comfort, there's now an optional power-adjustable driver's seat with back support.

Midsized Car

spinner image 2024 toyota camry hybrid xse
Courtesy: Toyota

Toyota Camry Hybrid

  • Price: $28,855 to $34,295
  • EPA mpg: 52 combined city/highway
  • NHTSA Safety Rating: Not Yet Rated

The Camry Hybrid was a top CR pick last year. It remains popular for its familiar feel and egalitarian handling. The electric support of the hybrid gives it some additional quiet power, but the rear seat of this sedan is a bit cramped and sliding down into the front seats can be difficult.

Top Hybrid/PHEV

spinner image 2024 toyota prius limited
Courtesy: Toyota

Toyota Prius / Prius Prime

  • Price: $27,950 to $39,370
  • EPA mpg: 57/127 combined city/highway
  • NHTSA Safety Rating: Not Yet Rated

The Toyota Prius is consistently top-rated in fuel economy competitions. The current Prius hybrid has a more streamlined design and improved handling. The Prime version is a plug-in hybrid model. Both models come standard with important safety tech, including blind spot warnings and automatic emergency braking, but the sleek new body design makes getting in and out of the car trickier, and it has reduced not only visibility but also cargo space.

Midsized SUV

spinner image 2024 toyota highlander platinum hybrid
Courtesy: Toyota

Toyota Highlander Hybrid

  • Price: $40,720 to $53,125
  • EPA mpg: 36 combined city/highway
  • NHTSA Safety Rating: 5 Stars

What it lacks in curb appeal, the Highlander Hybrid makes up for in fuel economy: 36 mpg, which is excellent for a three-row SUV. Granted, that third row is small but it will do in a pinch.

Plug-in Hybrid SUV

spinner image 2024 toyota rav 4 prime xse
Courtesy: Toyota

Toyota RAV4 Prime

  • Price: $43,690 to $47,560
  • EPA mpg: 94 combined city/highway
  • NHTSA Safety Rating: 5 Stars
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A plug-in hybrid version of the RAV4, the Prime model combines gas and electric power for a total of 302 hp, which gives it an extra boost merging onto highways. Also notable is the fact that the RAV4 Prime comes standard with not only automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection but also with blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems.

Small Pickup

spinner image 2024 ford maverick
Courtesy: Ford

Ford Maverick / Maverick Hybrid

  • Price: $23,815 to $34,855
  • EPA mpg: 26/37 combined city/highway
  • NHTSA Safety Rating: 4 Stars / 4 Stars

CR editors particularly liked the Maverick Hybrid version. It runs on electric power at low speeds, delivering a quieter and smoother ride than the gas-only version. Automatic emergency braking is standard, but blind spot and rear cross-traffic alert systems are optional.

Electric Vehicle

spinner image 2024 tesla model y
Courtesy: Tesla

Tesla Model Y

  • Price: $43,990 to $52,490
  • EPA Estimated Range: 260 miles,  base rear-wheel drive model
  • NHTSA Safety Rating: 5 Stars

Tesla continues to dominate the electric vehicle category. Some Tesla models recently adjusted their range ratings downward, but the base Model Y was the exception. While this model gets a five-star safety rating from NHTSA, test results from NHTSA on some of the Model Y's advanced safety systems, such as automatic braking, are still pending. Also noteworthy is the fact that Tesla recently recalled nearly all vehicles it sold in the U.S. to fix safety issues with its so-called Autopilot driver assistance feature.

Small Car

spinner image 2024 mazda 3
Courtesy: Mazda
spinner image 2024 bmw x5
Courtesy: BMW
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Mazda3

  • Price: $24,170 to $36,650
  • EPA mpg: 31 combined city/highway
  • NHTSA Safety Rating: 5 Stars

Four-door sedans have largely fallen out of favor with buyers who tend to prefer SUVs these days, but the four-door version of the Mazda3 is a stalwart of the company's line, offering excellent value, styling, and solid fuel economy.

Luxury SUV

BMW X5 / X5 PHEV

  • Price: $65,200 to $89,300
  • EPA mpg: 25/NA combined city/highway
  • NHTSA Safety Rating: 4 Stars / Not Yet Rated

The BMW X5 is a right-sized SUV for commuting and country roads. Its light handling, excellent visibility, and quality interior have garnered a solid fan base. CR also liked its competent 375-hp, six-cylinder engine and new capacious dashboard screen that features BMW's latest iDrive 8 infotainment system.

For those shoppers who don't see a model from the Consumer Reports list that suits their needs, the non-profit also ranks individual brands. The three overall best-ranked brands for 2024, according to CR, are BMW, Subaru, and Porsche.

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