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These are the top 10 cars to buy in 2023, Consumer Reports says

Some of the safest and most reliable cars to buy in 2023 are gas-electric hybrids from foreign automakers like Nissan and Toyota, according to Consumer Reports' "Best Cars of the Year" ranking.

Consumer Reports bases its annual list on scores compiled in a variety of categories, including road-test performance, reliability, owner satisfaction and safety.And this year, hybrids dominated the consumer group's best cars list. 

"The good news is cars are lasting longer, but this is a purchase you're going to have for a long time so it pays to do your homework," Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports' senior director of auto testing, told CBS MoneyWatch.

In a separate announcement, Consumer Reports also named BMW the best overall car brand for 2023, followed by Suburu, Mini, Lexus and Honda. Consumer Reports named Buick the top U.S. car brand. 

The car market has been on a roller-coaster in recent years, exacerbated by a severe semiconductor chip shortage during the pandemic and other supply-chain snags that slowed auto production. Americans rushed to buy cars after pandemic restrictions were lifted but automakers couldn't keep pace with demand, sending vehicle prices through the roof.

Although used car prices have cooled, new car prices are still climbing, according to data from Kelley Blue Book.

"The days of deep discounts are gone," Fisher said. "It's a confusing market and it's more complicated than ever."

Electric vehicles: Who's ahead, who's behind 02:37

Focus on electric and hybrids

In recent years, automakers have expanded their electric and hybrid options across sedans, pickups and SUVs and upgraded the standard features of nearly every model. Gone are the days when auto buyers had to pay a hefty price for upgrades like heads-up displays and LED headlights, Fisher said.

"The market has absolutely changed and cars have all those features now," he said. "You can get a car with leather seats and the latest infotainment system and navigation standard."

Safety and features matter, but price is still the No. 1 factor customers use when shopping for a car, said Ivan Drury, the director of insights at Edmunds.  

"Safety can be a hard sell," Drury told CBS MoneyWatch. "Many of these features can be lifesavers, but it is a lot more difficult to test drive a safety feature if it requires the vehicle and driver to be involved in an accident to be exposed to the true benefits." 

Eight of the vehicles are new to this year's list, and six of them emit low amounts of greenhouse gasses, Consumer Reports said. Hybrid and electric models — including the Chevrolet Bolt and the Kia Sportage Hybrid — also topped Edmunds' list of top-rated cars to buy this year. 

Here are Consumer Reports' top 10 cars to consider buying in 2023 and what makes them strong picks. 

Ford Maverick Hybrid

The compact pickup truck is ideal for someone with an active lifestyle who doesn't just want a small SUV, according to Consumer Reports. The interior boasts a low floor and several storage nooks. 

Kia Telluride

The boxy SUV with V-6 engine is both roomy and comfortable, even for passengers in the second- and third-row seats. The front-seat passenger will enjoy the large infotainment screen near the dashboard.

Nissan Leaf

The 2023 Nissan Leaf starts at $28,000 MSRP. Consumer Reports

The all-electric hatchback offers a 149-mile range per battery charge. The driver's seat is positioned higher than most cars, providing a better view of the road ahead, the consumer group said.

Lexus NX350h

The NX350h has a comfortable and upscale cabin with high-quality, padded surfaces, Consumer Reports said.  Consumer Reports

The rear seat is more spacious than you might expect in this luxury hybrid SUV. Perhaps its best feature is EPA-estimated 39 mpg fuel economy.

Tesla Model 3

Consumer Reports chose the Tesla Model 3 because more charging stations are becoming available nationwide. Consumer Reports

Operating this four-door sedan feels more like driving a sports car, Consumer Reports said. While the interior is very basic, the agile steering and swift acceleration are a plus. 

Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid

The Santa Fe Hybrid is a great choice for those who want to use electric power more than gas. It comes with a slew of safety features like blind-spot warning and lane-keeping technology. 

Subaru Forester

The gas-powered Forester is designed to give solid crash protection and a roomy cabin. It has been on Consumer Reports' Top 10 list for a decade.

Toyota Corolla Cross

The Corolla Cross starts at $23,000 MSRP. Consumer Reports

Among the subcompact SUVs, the Corolla Cross offers a more spacious interior. It has proven to be one of the most reliable gas-engine cars among Consumer Reports' testing. 

Toyota Corolla Hybrid

The Corolla Hybrid offers 40 miles per gallon, which is close to the fuel economy of the much pricier Prius, according to Consumer Reports. The 2023 model also offers all-wheel drive. 

Toyota Camry Hybrid

The Camry Hybrid gets 47 miles per gallon, which is "terrific fuel economy," Consumer Reports said.  Consumer Reports

The Camry Hybrid is a comfortable ride with simple controls and a solid 47 mpg fuel economy, Consumer Reports found. Some of its safety features include lane-departure warnings and adaptive cruise control. 

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