See the 10 cars that made Consumer Reports' list of the best vehicles for 2024

Keeping up with charging demand for electric vehicles

Reliability is a key factor in Consumer Reports' ranking of its top 10 vehicles for 2024, an increasingly important feature as car prices soar.

The product testing and research group's latest vehicle picks arrive as more automakers are rolling out electric cars, from EVs to plug-in hybrids, said Jake Fisher, senior director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports. Seven of this year's top vehicles are either partially or fully electric, with the highest-rated made by automakers known for reliability, he added.

The average age of cars on U.S. roads reached a record 12.5 years in 2023, partly as Americans delayed new vehicle purchases due to inflation and higher interest rates, which has made it more expensive to finance car purchases. Since January 2020 — prior to the pandemic — new car prices have surged 21%, federal data shows.

"We ask consumers overall, what are the most important things you are looking for when buying a car, and it's not steering feel or how well my pickup can do in a drag race — it's really about reliability and safety," Fisher told CBS MoneyWatch. 

He added, "Because of the cost of the vehicles, it's more important than ever that you'll have something that is trouble-free and you won't be stuck on the side of the road with trying to get things fixed."

Best electric vehicles 

The top 10 picks for 2024 also include several moderately priced cars with starting prices under $30,000, well below the average new car price of about $48,000. The list also includes seven electrified vehicles, including one EV, four hybrids and two plug-in hybrids.

"The market is changing quickly in terms of electrification — there are more hybrid options, more plug-in hybrid options," Fisher noted. 

Only three of this year's top picks are carryovers from the publication's 2023 winners: the Subaru Forester, Toyota Camry Hybrid and Ford Maverick/Maverick Hybrid. 

Consumer Reports also issued its brand report card for 2024, which ranks 34 automakers based on CR's road-test scores, predicted reliability, and owner satisfaction data and safety for all of the tested models from each automaker. BMW ranked at the top with a score of 82, followed by Subaru and Porsche, tied in 2nd place with scores of 80 each. Jeep ranked at the bottom with a score of 46.

Below are Consumer Reports' top picks for 2024 vehicles. 

Subcompact SUV: Subaru Crosstrek

Starting at about $25,000, the Subaru Crosstrek is one of the least expensive cars on CR's top 10 list. It was also redesigned for 2024, with new safety features and an upgraded infotainment system, CR said. 

The car gets 29 mpg, which CR said is the top fuel economy for a non-hybrid SUV with all-wheel drive.

A 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness during the 2023 New York International Auto Show in New York, New York, on April 5, 2023.  Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

"These are very fuel-efficient, very comfortable," Fisher said. "They're very nice vehicles overall at a reasonable price point — you have a four-wheel drive SUV that's easy to drive, as well as comfortable and quiet."

Compact SUV: Subaru Forester

Starting at about $27,000, the Subaru Forester is a larger vehicle than the Crosstrek, and one of the vehicles on the top picks list that starts under $30,000. The all-wheel drive vehicle was also among CR's top picks for 2023.

The vehicle was hailed by CR for its roomy design and its responsive and secure handling.

The 2024 Subaru Forester SUV at AutoMobility LA ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, on Nov. 16, 2023.  Kyle Grillot/Bloomberg via Getty Images

"When you look at the drive, the comfort, Subaru is doing really well," Fisher noted.

Hybrid/PHEV car: Toyota Prius/Prius Prime

The Toyota Prius, which starts at about $28,000, was first released in the U.S. in 2000, and while flashier and more fuel-efficient cars may now be available, it remains a reliable option for consumers, Fisher said.

"A lot of people bought the Prius because it's very green, but it's not the most green vehicle on the market anymore," he noted. 

The 2024 Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid vehicle on display at the North American International Auto Show. Adam J. Dewey/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

But the Prius could appeal to consumers who want to drive on the battery charge while in the city, yet not have to worry about looking for a charging station during a longer trip. 

"You can commute every day and never use a drop of fuel, but if you take a trip you don't worry about charging anxiety," Fisher said.

The Prius was also recently upgraded to give the engine an additional 75 hp, which means it can go from 0-60 mph at a faster clip, CR said.

The Prius Prime is the plug-in hybrid version of the Prius, and it has a higher starting price than the Prius, at $32,350.

Small car: Mazda 3

Starting at about $24,000, the Mazda 3 sedan is one of the more affordable top picks for 2024.

A Mazda 3 is displayed during the 20th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in Shanghai, China, on April 19, 2023. Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images

Mazda "is like the best kept secret in the auto industry," Fisher said. "They drive nicely, they are comfortable, they are generally very sporty and fun to drive as well. They are the bargain-price BMW of today."

The Mazda 3 got top ratings from CR for its "nimble handling" and "smooth powertrains."

Midsized car: Toyota Camry Hybrid

The Toyota Camry Hybrid, which starts at about $29,000, is one of CR's top picks that also ranked on its 2023 list.

A Toyota Camry hybrid is offered for sale at a dealership on Feb. 6, 2024, in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Olson/Getty Images

"It's reliable, comfortable, a smooth ride — that's what the Camry has been known for for a long time," Fisher said. But with the hybrid, you also get more fuel-efficiency, with Toyota billing the car as getting an estimated 52 miles per gallon.

Small pickup: Ford Maverick/Ford Maverick Hybrid

The Ford Maverick starts at about $24,000, providing a compact pickup vehicle in both gas-powered and hybrid versions. 

Ford shows off its 2022 Maverick truck during the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place convention center on Feb. 10, 2022, in Chicago, Illinois.  Getty Images

"I personally really love this vehicle — it's such a Swiss army knife of a vehicle," Fisher noted.

Electric vehicle: Tesla Model Y

The Tesla Model Y starts at about $44,000 and earned its spot on the list partly because of Tesla's network of superchargers, which makes it easier for owners to find spots to power up their cars while traveling, Fisher said.

A Tesla Model Y during the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024.  Cole Burston/Bloomberg via Getty Images

"It's not the best EV you could buy — there is a lot of great competition," he added. "The Hyundai Ioniq 6 is a great vehicle, but the magic with the Tesla is the access to the superchargers."

Midsized SUV: Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid starts at about $41,000, making it pricier than some of CR's other picks. With a third row of seats, the car can seat seven to 8 passengers, depending on the trim level.

A Toyota highlander hybrid SUV is displayed at the Geneva International Motor Show at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center in Doha, Qatar, on Oct. 7, 2023. Karim Jaafar/AFP via Getty Images

"It gets 35 miles per gallon out of a large three-row SUV — you really can't beat that," Fisher said. "It's all-wheel drive, roomy and comfortable."

Luxury SUV: BMW X5/X5 PHEV

On the higher priced end of CR's picks is the BMW X5, which is also available in a plug-in hybrid version. The vehicle starts at about $62,000. 

Visitors look at the BMW X5 at the 2023 Shanghai Auto Show in Shanghai, China, April 21, 2023. CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images

The X5 plug-in hybrid can drive 45 miles using its electric drivetrain, while providing owners with peace of mind if they take it on the road for longer trips in terms of not needing to find a charging station. "If you have to take a trip, the plug-in hybrid is no stress," Fisher said. 

Plug-in hybrid SUV: Toyota RAV4 Prime

The all-wheel drive Toyota RAV4 Prime starts at about $44,000 and gets about 42 miles of driving range from its electric powertrain. Like the Camry, the RAV4 gets good ratings for comfort and reliability. 

A 2024 Toyota Rav 4 Prime SUV plugged into a charger at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Feb. 16, 2024.  Cole Burston/Bloomberg via Getty Images

One notable point about this car, according to CR: Its engine has 302 hp, which allows it to go from 0 to 60 in 6.3 seconds, or 2 seconds faster than the gas-only version. 


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