The Top Cars For 2023 Are Ones You Won’t Expect

Electric and hybrid vehicles dominated Consumer Reports' top vehicle list for 2023; among the top picks are the Nissan Leaf, Toyota Camry Hybrid, and the Kia Telluride.

By Brian Scheid | Updated

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Every year Consumer Reports creates a comprehensive list for car buyers that compares all the top cars, trucks, and SUV’s on the market at certain price points. They do extensive research with experts in the automotive industry that take an in-depth look at each vehicle from the assembly, road tests, affordability, reliability, efficiency, and safety. After completing all that research, the vehicles get ranked and Consumer Reports releases the top cars, in the 2023 version they are giving an overwhelming endorsement to hybrids and electric vehicles.

We have been hearing for years the sensibilities around hybrids and EVs being the smarter option for consumers but this is the first year that the renowned car grading experts at Consumer Reports have acknowledged that fact in their Top Picks category. CNBC reports Jake Fisher the senior director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports says, “This really just shows how the market is changing,” and “electrification, not just battery electric vehicles, but just electrification, is changing the market and making a lot of really great options.”

The two main distinguishing factors that have pushed the hybrid and EV models ahead of their internal combustion engine cousins as top cars are the wear and tear the engine has on the vehicle and fuel efficiency.  Because electric-powered cars use a generator to produce the power of the vehicle instead of small explosions producing force on the inside of the engine, it softens the push and pulls that occur with an ICE-powered vehicle. This produces a smoother and less friction-filled ride which in turn does not rattle the nuts and bolts that hold all the separate vehicle operations together. 

Studies are clearly showing that the EV and Hybrids break down at a much smaller frequency than gasoline-powered vehicles. It also gives those vehicles much better fuel efficiency and carbon emissions than are produced by gasoline-powered cars. For these reasons, seven out of the top ten cars this year are either a hybrid or Electric model vehicle.

The cars that were selected for the Under $25,000 category were the Toyota Hybrid and the Toyota Cross. In the $25,000 to $35,000 list four vehicles are considered the top cars and they are the Subaru Forester, the Toyota Camry Hybrid, the Ford Maverick Hybrid, and the Nissan Leaf. The $35,000 to $45,000 was headlined by the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid and the Kia Telluride. In the luxury category, $45,000 to $55,000 the Lexus NX350h and not surprisingly the Tesla Model 3 are considered the best in their class.

Fisher also told CNBC, “There are less brake problems, less transmission problems, everything is kind of muted. Plus, when you look at the hybrids and who’s producing these hybrids, they generally are from very reliable automakers who have been using this technology for a long time.” As you can see Toyota placed four vehicles in the top 10 cars and that is due to the length of time that they have been producing Hybrids. They have become more experienced and are putting out superior products for consumers. 

On the same token, Tesla has been included again on the top cars list as they are responsible for 66% of all the electric vehicle sales in the United States. It also should be noted that even though they do not have a model listed as a top car, BMW is ranked as the No. 1 auto brand by Consumer reports. Now EVs and Hybrids are being praised around the water cooler but the most trusted appraiser of a vehicle’s worth has now put those praises in writing as a new generation of vehicles begins to reshape the automotive landscape.