Consumer Reports picks the best vehicles of 2024: Hybrids and plug-in hybrids make the list

By Pat Foran. Published Feb. 28, 2024 5:55 a.m. EST


Consumer Reports has released its annual 10 Top Picks (opens in a new tab)for the best cars on the road in 2024 and this year there is a definite drive towards hybrids and plug-in hybrids.

“This year, our top 10 includes vehicles with a variety of powertrains — there are four hybrids, three plug-in hybrid electric vehicles or PHEVS and one EV,” Emily Thomas, manager of auto safety with Consumer Reports, said. “That’s significant because it shows how the markets shifted towards electrification and confirms that these models can best gas-only competitors.”

The research company and advocacy group puts every car through more than 50 tests, comparing for owner satisfaction and reliability to determine its top picks.

The Toyota RAV4 Prime takes everything drivers love about the popular RAV4 and adds the benefits of a plug-in hybrid. It provides about 65 kilometres of electric-only driving before the gas motor kicks in. The Prime is quieter and smoother than the standard RAV4, and it’s quicker as the Prime RAV4 goes zero to 100km/h a full two seconds faster than the gas-only model.

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime is shown at the AutoMobility LA auto show Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Another standout Toyota SUV is the 3-row Highlander Hybrid with key safety features, solid reliability, and great fuel economy. From Subaru, the Forester and redesigned Crosstrek are also top picks. Both have secure handling, good fuel economy, and a wide range of safety features.

The redesigned Toyota Prius has more horsepower and performance, plus the availability of all-wheel drive and the plug-in Prius Prime provides about 60 kilometres of pure-electric driving, and good fuel economy when the hybrid engine kicks in.

If you’re looking for a truck, the Ford Maverick and Maverick Hybrid provide much of the functionality of a pickup, at a fraction of the size and cost. Both versions of the Maverick offer impressive handling and a roomy crew cab interior.

This photo provided by Ford shows the 2022 Ford Maverick, a compact pickup truck that comes standard with a hybrid engine and gets an EPA-estimated 37 mpg in combined driving. (Courtesy of the Ford Motor Co. via AP)

If reliability is at the top of your list, it’s hard to do better than the Toyota Camry Hybrid.

“The Toyota Camry hybrid receives top marks in CR’s reliability data, but it also performed well in our fuel economy tests” said Thomas.

The Camry gets 1,000 kilometres per tank of gas. The BMW X5 and X5 Plug-In Hybrid are the top luxury SUV choice for Consumer Reports. Both versions feature immaculate cabins and a premium driving experience.

If you’re looking for a sporty drive — that won’t break the bank — the Mazda 3 was a stand-out with 191 horsepower. Its engine packs more punch than most rivals and has an impressive interior for the price point.

This photo provided by Mazda shows the 2023 Mazda 3, a compact hatchback or optional sedan, with stylish looks, a premium interior and pleasing driving dynamics. (Courtesy of Mazda North American Operations via AP)

The top pick for an all-electric vehicle went to the Tesla Model Y. Like most EV’s, it has quick acceleration, as well as responsive steering and access to Tesla’s Supercharger Network. 

This photo provided by Edmunds shows the 2023 Tesla Model Y. It’s become the best-selling EV in the United States thanks to its versatility, sporty performance and quick charging capability. (Ryan Greger/Edmunds via AP)