CARS - Car Maintenance

By  YEET MAGAZINE | Posted on September 17, 2021 at 7:32 am

Hyundai

A vehicle that's trying to save the planet or one that seems like it’s trying to subdue it? Love a leisurely Sunday cruise or maybe you’re ready to humble a sports car?

There’s something for everyone in the world of hydrogen-powered, hybrid and electric cars. The U.S. had 1.45 million plug-in cars in 2019, the last year that figures were available. That’s 20 percent of the global total, with California having the largest market with almost 670,000 plug-in cars sold.

But which of these cars are the best? We sourced Kelley Blue Book’s collection of the most fuel-efficient sedans, SUVs and luxury cars of 2020 (some of which rank in more than one category).

10. Sedans: Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Hyundai

MPG: 52 MPGe combined 50 city / 54 highway

RANGE: 686 miles on a single tank of gas

PRICE: $27,750 - $35,300

TRIM LEVELS: – 3 Blue, SEL and Limited

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING:  5 out of 5 stars

PROS

All new for 2020, the redesigned Sonata Hybrid offers a pleasing blend of comfortable seating, competitive cargo space, increased safety features and technology, along with a new look (check the dominant grille!) that’s added flair to its profile. A 2.0-liter, inline-4 makes 150 horsepower, and an electric 51-horsepower motor is packaged with a six-speed automatic to produce a combined output of 192 horses. That's 12 more than the non-hybrid's turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder. Impressive. Hyundai added the new Active Shift Control, which makes the motor more proactive in transmission shifts.

The fuel economy numbers are significantly improved. Last but certainly not least, Hyundai covers the Sonata with a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

CONS

This is a complaint you hear regularly across this car category, but we continue to point it out when it applies. Acceleration is merely adequate. Sonata is still relying on a front-wheel-drive system. For most drivers, it’s barely a consideration, if at all. However, driving performance will suffer during wintry conditions when an all-wheel-drive option would be welcome. Two competitors offer AWD: the Subaru Legacy and the Nissan Altima. The Sonata Hybrid lost some rear legroom in 2020 — the rear-seat measurements dropped nearly an inch, now measuring at 34.8 inches. Hyundai’s remote parking feature is not available. The Smart Sense driver-assistance technologies are also a little, shall we say, aggressive, emitting unnecessary warnings.

X-FACTOR

The Sonata is engineered to charge its battery through solar panels on the roof.

With adequate exposure to the sun, Hyundai reports it can add roughly 2 miles of range per day. The panels keep the car's 12-volt battery and the 1.6-kWh lithium-ion pack charged when the car is parked, acting as a trickle charger for the 12-volt battery.

9. Sedans: Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Toyota

MPG: 52 MPGe combined 53 city / 52 highway

PRICE: $23,100

TRIM LEVELS: 1 – LE

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING:  5 out of 5 stars

PROS

All new for 2020, the Corolla Hybrid proudly holds the title of the world’s best-selling car. The formula seems remarkably simple: reliability, value and standard features. The 12th-generation version of the compact sedan boasts great gas mileage, a comfortable ride, a long list of standard features, and excellent safety and predicted reliability ratings. The changes aren’t overly dramatic, but Toyota has lowered the ride height, shortened the front end and dropped the cowl. Power output comes from a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder gas engine and two electric motors (combined output: 121 hp, 105 lb-ft of torque). Toyota has added the highly efficient powertrain from the Prius, the dean of hybrids. It comes with Toyota Safety Sense (forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, a traffic sign-reader). Toyota cleverly located the battery under the backseat, so the Hybrid has the same rear legroom and trunk space (13.1 cubic feet) as its non-hybrid cousin.

CONS

A small trunk, somewhat limited rear headroom and a lack of options (it’s only offered in LE trim, which is just a step up from the Base model) are the easily identifiable negatives. The lack of Android Auto integration is another. Among owners and reviewers, there are multiple complaints about a grabby brake pedal feel. Toyota offers just seven exterior colors and only two interior upholstery choices. Mileage estimates, while good, aren’t quite what you see for the Prius. If you don’t like the plastic hubcaps (few would), you’re stuck with them. Those are the only option for the hybrid.

X-FACTOR

The Corolla hybrid’s price tag is $3,450 more than the gas-only model. That might give you pause when you have budgetary considerations. But it rates at nearly 20 mpg higher on the combined fuel-economy. That’ll pay off down the road (pardon the pun).

8. Sedan: Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota

MPG: 133 MPGe combined, 53 city / 55 highway

PRICE: $27,600

TRIM LEVELS: 3 – LE, XLE, Limited

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING:  Not been rated

PROS

There are two distinct camps when it comes to the vehicle that many consider synonymous with hybrids. People either love its distinct “I’m not guzzling gas” look or they prefer something that looks like a “regular car.” As sales figures attest, there are far more buyers in the former category. An updated interior shows off a sleeker look, with black accents on the steering wheel and center console. All Prius Primes have a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder mated with a plug-in hybrid system that delivers 121 horsepower. An impressive eight-year/100,000-mile hybrid system warranty adds some peace of mind to your purchase. Updated rear seating design and two rear USB ports are a welcome addition. All trim levels share the same hybrid powertrain with EV mode. All versions perform virtually identically, so the choice for buyers is a matter of features. Prius Prime comes standard with an advanced suite of six safety features and eight airbags.

CONS

As long as it’s under electric power, all is tranquil. But romp on the throttle to climb a freeway on-ramp and a noticeable roar invades the cabin. It’s invasive enough to make you want to stay in electric power. All-wheel drive is only available on the regular Prius. The cargo area is significantly smaller than the regular Prius, measuring at 19.8 cubic feet. That’s largely due to the battery stored beneath it. There’s no Android Auto integration. If you own an Android device, you can only use Toyota’s Entune smartphone integration platform. Another frustration: Icons on the infotainment system can’t be re-arranged for your preferences. And in a related complaint, the dash layout has been charitably described as “quirky,” “odd” and “mildly confusing.”

X-FACTOR

Prius Prime’s battery is designed to last the life of the vehicle. Starting in 2020, every Toyota Hybrid Battery Warranty was increased from eight years or 100,000 miles to 10 years or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first.

7. Sedans: Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Hyundai

MPG: 58 MPGe combined, 57 city / 59 highway

PRICE: $23,200 - $31,200

TRIM LEVELS: 4 – Blue, SE, SEL, Limited

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: Not been rated

PROS

The latest Ioniq has established a well-earned reputation for doing a little bit of everything well: fuel economy, affordability, a balance of affordability and comfort. This year Hyundai has taken it up a notch. The standard 7-inch touchscreen is enlarged to 8 inches, and a 10.25-inch model (with navigation) is standard on the Limited trim. It supports Bluetooth streaming, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The base level adds driver-assistance features such as lane-keeping assist, high-beam assist and forward-collision avoidance. The 1.6-liter 4-cylinder gas engine produces 104 horsepower. Paired with an electric motor that puts out 43 horsepower, and you get a combined figure of 139 horsepower. The level can be tailored in three increments via the paddles on the steering wheel.

CONS

The larger — and cooler looking — 17-inch alloy wheels are only available on the Limited trim. There’s no all-wheel-drive option. Only a front-wheel drivetrain is available. Speaking of “onlys,” the sunroof option is only available with the top-of-the-line Limited. The back seat is compromised by the low roof and raised seats (lifted slightly to make space for the battery). Due to the larger battery, the plug-in Ioniq sacrifices a bit more trunk space, supplying only 23 cubic feet. The interior has a low-budget feel, with an abundance of hard plastics. It’s not a luxury vehicle, and it’s not trying to masquerade as one. Multiple tests clock the Ioniq at close to 9 seconds accelerating from 0 to 60 mph. Cue the “tortoise and the hare” jokes. Poor acceleration at high speeds is also an issue. Passing on the highway will require some planning. The gearbox bears the preponderance of the blame. It shifts at awkward times in an overly engineered attempt to maximize economy.

X-FACTOR

Regenerative brake level control paddles are standard on every model. The system effectively makes for one-pedal driving in most situations. Here’s how it works: You can vary the amount of regeneration via the wheel-mounted paddles. Set it to the strongest of the three modes and you’ll barely touch the brakes, effectively giving you one-pedal driving, capturing a significant amount of energy around town.

6. Sedans: Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

Honda

MPG: 68 MPGe combined 68 city / 67 highway

PRICE: $35,335 - $37,555

TRIM LEVELS: 2 – Base, Touring

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: Not been rated

PROS

Now in its fourth model year, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is often overlooked, perhaps unfairly. It remains the plug-in hybrid that’ll take you farther. Its 48-mile rated range still comes in at nearly double the 25-mile rating for a noted rival from Toyota. The Clarity PHEV has a 1.5-liter inline-4 engine, with a version of Honda’s two-motor hybrid system, capable of making 181 horsepower. Reviewers consistently compare it to the Accord, minus the noise from the internal combustion engine, of course. The base version comes with an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, heated front seats, automatic wipers and Honda’s suite of advanced safety features. In terms of driver-assists and safety, standard offerings include Honda's blind-spot monitoring system, a multi-angle rearview camera and Honda Sensing — forward collision and lane departure warning, lane keep assist, collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation and adaptive cruise control. Updates for 2020 include new ultra-suede interior trim and an updated Acoustic Vehicle Alert System that alerts pedestrians and bicyclists.

CONS

This car is deceptively heavy, and that impacts its performance in a number of ways. Perhaps the most notable is cornering under braking. The 114-pound fuel cell and electric motor are mounted to the front axle, leading to a feeling of heaviness over the front end. The Clarity has a curb weight of a hefty 4,134 pounds. The 11.8-cubic-foot cargo space in the trunk is definitely on the small side. The lack of a volume control knob is proving to be unpopular with industry insiders and consumers. Sometimes, an infotainment system can be too slick.

X-FACTOR

The Clarity Fuel Cell EV, an alternative to the Plug-In Hybrid, is a marvel of automotive engineering, uniting the benefits of an electric powertrain with the cleanliness of hydrogen. It uses a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell to convert hydrogen into water and electricity, which is fed to a single AC electric motor that ultimately delivers 174 horsepower to the pavement. That translates to 360 miles of range. There’s a catch: You must live in California and within reasonable distance of a hydrogen refueling station.

5. Sedans: Porsche Taycan

Porsche

MPG: 69 MPGe combined, 68 city / 71 highway

PRICE: $103,800 - $185,000

TRIM LEVELS: 3 – 4S, Turbo, Turbo S

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: Not been rated

PROS

There’s no denying it: Porsche has its sights set on the Tesla buyer with the Taycan. It might not be the traditionally aspirated Porsches that have come to define the brand, but it is every bit a worthy descendant. Need proof? The Taycan's top speed is 162 mph. Every Taycan features all-wheel drive and two powerful electric motors. Porsche offers three models with jaw-dropping power figures — the 4S (522 hp), Turbo (670-hp) and Turbo S (750 hp). The base 4S offers standard LED headlights, adaptive air suspension, 19-inch wheels, power-adjustable front seats and dual-zone automatic climate control. Technology and safety features are generous — frontal collision mitigation, lane-keeping assist, curved 16.8-inch digital instrument panel, 10-speaker sound system and Apple CarPlay. Additionally, most of the standard features on the Turbo and Turbo S are available as options with the 4S.

CONS

When it comes to EPA range ratings, the Taycan is shockingly behind the Tesla Model S. That’s no way to take aim at a competitor. There's no regenerative braking when you lift off the accelerator. This is a feature in so many electric vehicles that its absence is a bit puzzling. We can only guess that the corporate overlords at the factory in Stuttgart demanded that the Taycan behave like a regular car in at least one respect. Entry and exit aren’t the easiest (tip from an owner: adjust the air suspension first), which is compounded a bit by the low cut of the rear roofline. Our last negative: the rearview camera. The view is distorted, in large part due to the wide-angle lens.

X-FACTOR

There’s no shortage of screens in the Taycan. Five total, if you include the one for the passenger. Yes, that’s right, there's also an optional 10.9-inch screen in the dashboard in front of the passenger, with duplicate functionality for infotainment and navigation. It allows passengers to access features without disturbing the driver. In case you’re wondering, it won’t be able to change anything related to the actual operation of the vehicle.

4. Sedans: Tesla Model S

Tesla

MPG: 111 MPGe combined, 115 city / 107 highway

TRIM LEVELS: 2 – Long Range Plus, Performance

PRICE: $64,420 - $91,990

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: Not been rated

PROS

It made a splashy debut in 2012, and the Model S has been making waves ever since.

Both of Elon Musk’s 2020 offerings have all-wheel drive, two electric motors and adjustable air suspension. A 100-kwh battery propels this car like a race car. In standard Long Range trim, it accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. In Performance trim, that time is 2.4 seconds. Quite simply, it’s one of the quickest production cars on the planet. Everything in the interior centers around a 17-inch touchscreen, which handles a dizzying number of tasks. Standard features include synthetic leather upholstery, heated seats for every passenger, premium audio, 12-way power-adjustable seats with memory function and a heated steering wheel. LED fog lamps, a location-aware garage-door opener, panoramic roof and auto-dimming mirrors … because, why not?

CONS

There’s no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay smartphone integration. We know the spartan interior is part of the brand identity, but we’d appreciate a few more creature comforts for the price. As a sedan, there should be better ease of access for the rear seat. It’s notably tight on entry and exit.

X-FACTOR

Autopilot, you’ve probably heard a little about this feature. For an additional $7,000, you can download the software and leave the driving to the Model S in limited situations: on- and off-ramps, cruising and passing other cars, parking in either parallel or perpendicular spaces as well as a retrieval function that brings the car to you in a parking lot. This occurs without any driver intervention other than engaging the steering wheel regularly.

3. Sedans: Chevrolet Bolt EV

Chevrolet

MPG: 118 MPGe combined 127 city / 108 highway

PRICE: $36,620 - $41,020

TRIM LEVELS: 2 – LT, Premier

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

PROS

The current edition of the Bolt is linked to a car that made its debut in 2017 and has been largely unchanged since. Get ready for some updates. First, Chevrolet increased the driving range from 238 to 259 miles. How? Chevy updated the Bolt's lithium-ion battery pack upping the energy density of the cells and increasing its capacity from 60.0 kilowatt-hours to 66.0. According to the EPA, these changes have expanded its range by 21 miles, for a total of 259 miles. The electric powerplant pushes out 200 horsepower and 266 pound feet of torque. Those are strong numbers. Similarly impressive: The little Bolt has 16.9 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 56.6 cubic feet when the seats go flat. It’s darn quick, with an immediate throttle response that belies its sensible hatchback identity.

CONS

Chevy skimped on a number of driver-assistance aids, which is a shame. Adaptive cruise control, and both blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are only standard with the Premier trim. Features such as automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, forward collision alert and front pedestrian braking are optional, too.

The Bolt’s seat cushions are flat and lack cushion depth. Beyond the uncomfortable seats, the interior lacks refinements and feels utilitarian. Looking forward to complimentary scheduled maintenance and the fresh coffee in the dealer lounge? Think again. Complimentary scheduled maintenance covers just one visit. Also, the Bolt no longer qualifies for the full $7,500 federal tax credit for a new vehicle purchase.

X-FACTOR

The entry-level Bolt comes standard with a rearview camera and the Teen Driver system, which lets you do things like set speed and audio volume limits for secondary drivers.

2. Sedans: Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Hyundai

MPG: 133 MPGe combined 145 city / 121 highway

PRICE: $33,045 - $38,615

TRIM LEVELS: 2 – SE, Limited

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: Not been rated

PROS

The all-electric version of the popular Hyundai Ioniq hatchback is largely intact in 2020.

The Ionic Electric’s “iconic” aerodynamic teardrop profile is as recognizable as ever. But fear not, there are plenty of changes. The biggest are battery capacity and the motor. The battery is beefed up to 38.3kWh — a third more than the previous 2017 edition. The new motor puts out 134 horsepower, 16 more than the previous edition. Driver-controlled regenerative braking has finally arrived. Set to the strongest of the three modes, you’ll barely touch the brakes using a technology that’s increasingly being called “one-pedal driving.” There’s a larger infotainment touchscreen, and more active safety features, including adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking.

CONS

It's currently only sold in 14 states, so check your local listings, as the old saying goes. All reports say the Ioniq feels somewhat languid/tepid/choose your “id” at highway speeds. Overall, the drive and handling are characterized as “uninspiring” or “average” in many descriptions. The electric motor just doesn’t have the zip that many of its rivals possess. The interior is not a fancy car, but it looks unnecessarily cheap with plastic dominating the landscape. You’ll find the back seat on the tight side. In numerous tests, there were reports of the low-cut split rear window limiting rear visibility. And while all electric-powered cars have their travel limits, the Ioniq’s all-electric range limits it to an around-town vehicle.

X-FACTOR

Hyundai’s new Bluelink connectivity is standard on both models and uses an embedded 4G modem to give you live info on traffic, charging stations and speed camera locations. The best part? You can check in on the car remotely to communicate with the climate control, which means you could set the heater while you’re still snuggled under the covers!

1. Sedans: Tesla Model 3

Tesla

MPG: 141 MPGe combined 148 city / 132 highway

PRICE: $37,990

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

TRIM LEVELS: 3 – Standard Range Plus, Long Range, Performance

PROS

The least expensive way to make a Tesla part of your daily commute features crazy-quick acceleration (5.2-second, 0-60 mph time for the Standard Range and 3.2 in the Performance trim), a sleek minimalist interior and, of course, the glory of bypassing the gas station. For 2020, the fourth model year, lane-keep assist and standard Autopilot capability are added features. Autopilot is a driver-assistance feature that uses cameras, radar and sensors to let the car steer, accelerate and brake without driver input for brief periods. For another $7,000 you get the “Full Self-Driving” option, which adds on- and off-ramps, passing and changing lanes, automatic parking (for both parallel and perpendicular spaces) and a summon feature that can maneuver the car around a parking lot and bring it to you. The Standard Range Plus features an AC induction electric motor with a 54-kWh battery pack. Tesla doesn’t publish horsepower or torque figures, but estimates have them at 340 and 330, respectively.

CONS

There’s a growing school of thought that the all-encompassing 15-inch touchscreen, which controls virtually everything in the cabin (mirror adjustments and windshield wipers, for example), is a bit too dominant. Complaints about road noise (perhaps influenced by the panoramic all-glass roof) are prevalent. Oddly, the Model 3 doesn’t support Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. And Bluetooth is the only way to pair your smartphone with the car. The rear seats are uncomfortable, not ideal for adults. And it’s not because the trunk is particularly spacious. Its capacity is an average of 15 cubic feet, and the opening is a tad narrow.

X-FACTOR:

Over-the-air software updates eliminate the time-consuming process of bring your car into the dealer. Notifications appear on the car’s touchscreen when an update is available. You choose to install it immediately or schedule it for later, as you would a laptop or smartphone.

10. SUVs: Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Toyota

MPG: 36 MPGe combined 36 city / 35 highway

PRICE: $38,200

TRIMS: 4 – LE, XLE, Limited, Platinum

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING:  5 out of 5 stars

PROS

The Highlander is revamped for 2020, ready to take on a crowded field in the category. A 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and two electric motors propel the three-row utility standout with 243 horsepower. More safety and tech features are now standard, with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. That features blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert standard on all hybrid models. Keyless entry and a pushbutton start are standard. The electrified version of the Highlander has its own hybrid-component warranty that provides eight years or 100,000 miles of coverage. The hybrid version of the Highlander is a good deal when compared with competitors, such as the Ford Explorer Hybrid. The first part of that winning equation against the Detroit automaker? Toyota’s base model starts at under $40K. The Explorer Hybrid? It starts north of $53K.

CONS

The most notable change is the new 4-cylinder powertrain, which replaced last year V6. The 2020 model is down 63 horsepower. Not surprisingly, towing it a bit limited, with a limit of 3,500 pounds. By comparison, non-hybrid models pull up to 5,000 pounds. It’s slightly girthy as well. The 76-inch width makes squeezing into tight parking spaces a bit challenging. The third row failed to deliver the required space. Its legroom has nearly 6 fewer inches than a competing model from Chevrolet.

X-FACTOR

The 2020 XLE, Limited, and Platinum trims come with second-row captain’s chairs that feature superior cushions and armrests. That can make a big difference for a family on a road trip. The Platinum trim only comes with that specialty seating. The chairs also make for easier access to the third row.

9. SUVs: Honda CR-V Hybrid

MotorTrend

MPG: 38 MPGe combined 40 city / 35 highway

PRICE: $27,750

TRIMS: 4 – LX, EX, EX-L, Touring

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

PROS

Honda pulled off quite a coup with the 2020 CR-V Hybrid. It makes good on a promise of giving you all of the advantages of its gas-powered CR-V with hardly a compromise. Each trim level is powered by a 2-liter, 4-cylinder engine paired to the hybrid system that produces 212 horsepower. It’s faster, more efficient, just as road-worthy and has the same all-wheel-drive system as the regular CR-V. Depending on your mood and needs, you can choose from three drive modes — Sport, Econ and EV. Sport punctuates the throttle response effectively. Econ is engineered to allow less drain on battery power. The EV mode allows up to 1 mile of E-only power. The EPA estimates the 2020 CR-V Hybrid at 40 miles per gallon city and 35 mpg highway — great numbers for an all-wheel-drive crossover.

CONS

It’s plagued by lackluster acceleration, and one of the culprits might be added weight. The CR-V’s hybrid components add 201 pounds to the CR-V hybrid's curb weight versus an equivalent standard model. The hybrid battery has a negative impact on cargo space, and it eliminates the spare tire. That’s right, there’s no spare tire, just a repair kit. There’s an electric-only EV mode, but the small battery limits the range to roughly a mile. This observation, from an owners’ forum, was insightful: “Solid Honda quality, but if you are a cyclist who wants to use a hitch rack, you are out of luck — the vehicle is not rated for towing.” The infotainment system is lacking. It’s not the latest version of Honda's Display Audio hardware.

X-FACTOR

This is the first time there's been a hybrid powertrain option for the Honda CR-V. It’s designed to provide better fuel economy than the regular CR-V as well as deliver more power.

8. SUVs: Lexus UX 250h

Lexus

MPG: 39 MPGe combined, 41 city / 38 highway

PRICE: $34,500

TRIMS: 3 – Base, F Sport, Luxury

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

PROS

If you want a dash of luxury with the practicality associated with a hybrid, Lexus has the car for you. The 250h has a host of standard features. They include LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, simulated leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a six-speaker audio system. You also get a number of advanced driver safety features. It uses a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine and a hybrid system to provide a total of 181 horsepower that has a pleasant amount of mid-range torque. All-wheel drive is standard. It’ll go anywhere, but it’s best suited for driving around town. Every UX has a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot and four USB ports. Complimentary maintenance is covered for one year or 10,000 miles.

CONS

The engine feels concerningly underpowered at times. It’s particularly worrisome when you’re asking for a burst of acceleration, such as entering a highway or pulling out in traffic. The rear seats aren't as spacious as those in some rivals — don’t try and put three people in the rear, two is more like it. And it gets poor marks on its infotainment system. The menus are complex, and the Remote Touch controller is a clumsy way to navigate through selections. Lastly, the run-flat tires make for a busier ride than we'd hope for when riding in a luxury brand.

X-FACTOR

Lexus debuted its hybrid last year and didn’t make many changes (it did add blind-spot monitoring and Android Auto) to its 2020 edition. If these features matter, the 2020 model is a good choice. If not, give the 2019 model a look. You’re likely to save a few bucks.

7. SUVs: Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Toyota

MPG: 40 MPGe combined, 41 city / 38 highway

PRICE: $28,350

TRIMS: 3 – LE, XLE, XSE

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

PROS

The 2020 RAV4 Hybrid has everything you could want in a hybrid SUV, and its horsepower and fuel economy ratings make it a strong alternative to its gas-powered counterpart. Its 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine and two electric motors make 219 horsepower. The electric motors provide instant torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission is standard, as is all-wheel drive. It possesses the same cargo space as the regular RAV4, which isn’t something many hybrids can say about their gas-only brethren. Let’s be clear, no one is purchasing the RAV4 because they want to conquer the 22-mile Rubicon Trail. Fuel efficiency is this little SUV’s drawing card, and it’s helped Toyota dominate the vehicle segment.

CONS

A lack of feedback from the steering system and softness to the brakes are pronounced negatives. The seat bottoms start to feel flat after extended periods of time. The passenger seat’s limited adjustment can make it challenging to settle on a comfortable position, particularly if you’re tall. Admittedly, tech appearance is in the eye of the beholder to a large degree, but the RAV4’s overall look and interface doesn’t feel like it’s part of a new design.

X-FACTOR

There’s a plug-in model planned for 2021. Toyota has provided few details but said it will be the most powerful RAV4 yet. All we have to go on is a photo released by the automaker that reveals similar styling to the regular RAV4. Industry insiders are predicting it may come standard with all-wheel drive like the regular RAV4 Hybrid, tapping the electric motor to power the rear wheels.

6. SUVs: Ford Escape Hybrid

Ford

MPG: 41 MPGe combined 44 city / 37 highway

PRICE: $33,040

TRIMS: 5 – S, SE, SE Sport, SEL, Titanium

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

PROS

Ford hasn't produced an Escape Hybrid since the 2012 model year. It’s back, and it features more car-like qualities. The fully redesigned Escape brings new tech, more safety features and additional interior room. Ford’s choice of a 14.4-kWh battery and a 2.5-liter inline-4 emits a robust 200 horsepower. It accelerates with ease in a variety of driving situations, has responsive handling, a soft suspension and a powertrain that delivers. This car simply “gets it.” Drivers enjoy 10-way power adjustments to find the ideal driving position. And when they look to the dash, they find a gauge cluster with crisp graphics.

CONS

Disappointingly, there’s no all-wheel-drive option. It offers less cargo and rear-seat space than the standard Escape. Another drawback: Across the Escape line — gas-powered, hybrid and plug-in hybrid — there are negative reviews about lower-quality interior materials and cabin refinement. The battery pack lives beneath the rear seat, which translates to reduced rear legroom and less room for cargo (30.7 cubic feet of trunk space). You’d think that moving up in trim would give you the choice of a bigger engine. But the entire line is saddled with the 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder/gas elective hybrid EVT.

X-FACTOR

The SYNC 3 system has a number of cool characteristics, but one, in particular, caught our attention. In addition to Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Alexa and Waze, it has Amazon In-Car Delivery, allowing an Amazon driver to drop off packages and lock them safely in your SUV, no matter its location.

5. SUVs: Hyundai NEXO

Hyundai

MPG: 61 MPGe combined, 65 city / 58 highway

PRICE: $58,735 - $62,185

TRIMS: 2 – Blue, Limited

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: Not been rated

PROS

First introduced in 2019, the only hydrogen-powered crossover SUV sold in the U.S. uses a fuel cell for power. It has a 95-kW fuel-cell stack with 440 individual cells and a 40-kWh battery pack powering an electric motor. Water is its only emission. All told, it produces a respectable 161 horsepower with 291 pound feet of torque. The base Blue model can take you 380 miles on a tank of hydrogen. Well, it’s actually three hydrogen tanks in the vehicle, but you get the point. Step up in trim level to the Limited, and you can travel 354 miles. Standard features include LED headlights, keyless entry, automatic climate control, heated front seats, simulated leather upholstery, navigation system, 12.3-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, three USB ports and a wireless charging pad. The driver-assistance features that come standard are impressive: forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert and lane departure mitigation. Here is some valuable insight from a NEXO owner: “You get $7,500 federal tax credit if you buy, not lease, but California gives you a $4,500 check refund. Just make sure you apply for the rebate within 90 days of purchase.”

CONS

The NEXO is significantly bigger than its rivals, measuring 183.9 inches in length, with a wheelbase of 109.8 inches. It’s 73.2-inches wide and tips the scales at 3,990 pounds, which rises to 4,116 for a fully-loaded Limited. When it comes to colors, the word “drab” comes to mind. There are only four — white, silver, blue and copper. C’mon, Hyundai, we’re not asking for anything too exotic. Any driver of a hydrogen-powered car wants to chat about it with strangers. The least you can do is help start the conversation by providing choices of eye-catching color. The center console is a sea of buttons, in excess of 30. You’ll have to bury yourself in the manual before you gain mastery of it.

X-FACTOR

It’s only available in select areas of California, and hydrogen availability is limited to specific hydrogen fueling stations. Hyundai has helpfully programmed their location into the nav. When you pull up, there’s only one pump, so if there’s a car ahead of you, there’s a bit of wait time. And hydrogen is pricey. The cost for a kilogram (the equivalent of a gallon of gas) is roughly $15.

4. SUVs: Jaguar i-PACE

Jaguar

MPG: 76 MPGe combined, 80 city / 72 highway

PRICE: $69,850 - $80,900

TRIMS: 3 – S, SE, HSE

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: Not been rated

PROS

Jaguar's first electric vehicle is now in its second year of sales and is basically unchanged from its debut in 2019. The i-PACE competes with the Tesla Model X but costs considerably less. Equipped with a 90-kWh battery and 394-horsepower all-wheel-drive electric powertrain, the i-PACE accelerates like it’s a sports car, courtesy of a remarkable 512 pound feet of torque. There’s no electric-car compromise when it comes to performance. That it can hit 60 mph in less than 5 seconds distinguishes it as one of the quickest electric cars on the road. It has a Jag’s essence in its styling, with a gaping front grille centered by a silver-and-red cat logo, and a sloping hood that descends into slim LED headlights. It's reasonably family friendly, with seating for five. And as you’d expect from a Jaguar, it’s beyond comfortable. Luxury is evident throughout the cabin.

CONS

It’s the fault of the battery, which is an issue with all EVs, but the i-PACE weighs much more than traditional gas-powered cars of comparable size and features. It tips the scales at 4,784 pounds. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons there are complaints about its braking feel. Beyond the actual action of pushing your foot against the pedal to slow the car, there are issues with regenerative braking, an increasingly popular and useful part of the EV experience. Poor regenerative braking means you can't use a one-pedal driving style as effectively as you can in some other EVs, when in some cases merely lifting your foot from the gas pedal is enough to bring the vehicle to a stop.

X-FACTOR

The i-PACE comes in every color of the rainbow. Actually, it comes in considerably more, and they’re all fantastically named. Fuji White and Narvik Black are standard. For between $710 and $1,550, you can choose from Santorini Black, Photon Red, Corris Grey Metallic, Caesium Blue Metallic and Firenze Red to name a few with clever, signature names. There are 12 in all.

3. SUVs: Tesla Model X

Tesla

MPG: 96 MPGe combined 99 city / 93 highway

PRICE: $79,990 - $99,990

TRIMS: 2 – Long Range Plus Performance

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

PROS

The Model X uses the same chassis and motors as the Model S, but has a larger interior to accommodate seven adults, and includes the folding “falcon wing” rear doors. It has more power and performance than most other SUVs, regardless of their power source. The entry-level Model X has an EPA estimated range of 371 miles, a top speed of 155 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds. It derives its power from a pair of electric motors fed by a 100 kWh battery pack. Both axles are powered by a permanent magnet motor, which combines to develop a total of 534 horsepower and 557 pound foot of torque. A standard adaptive air suspension system keeps it well-tethered to the road. There’s heating on all seats, regardless of the configuration, and you can get the Model X with two rows of captain's chairs. Little known fact; The Model X is an impressive towing partner, too, and can pull nearly 5,000 pounds.

CONS

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: It needs more luxury touches! For example, leather is no longer available as an upholstery option. (animal rights groups have pushed the company to become vegan-friendly.) You’ll have to make do with synthetic leatherette. We understand the mindset behind the spartan, understated cabin space. But for this price, and with the cars it's competing against, a little more creature comfort would go a long way. Looking outside the vehicle, just one paint color comes standard: Pearl White Multi-Coat. Other options cost $1,500 to- $2,500. You can’t install a traditional roof rack for carrying a bike or a kayak. I’m surprised negative customer feedback hasn’t prompted this deficiency to be re-engineered. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren't offered.

X-FACTOR

If the neck-snapping acceleration of the stock Model X isn’t enough to satisfy you, there’s Ludicrous Mode, part of the Performance Package. The oddly named feature is a powertrain that gives a 10 percent boost to the vehicle's acceleration. Believe it or not, the name was taken from the movie “Spaceballs,” a 1980s parody of Star Wars directed by Mel Brooks. Ludicrous mode is now standard and drops the 0 to 60 mph time to 2.6 seconds.

2. SUVs: Hyundai Kona Electric

Hyundai

MPG: 120 MPGe combined, 132 city / 108 highway

PRICE: $37,190 - $45,000

TRIMS: 3 – SEL, Limited, Ultimate

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: Not been rated

PROS

The Kona Electric is similar to its gas-powered cousin in that it’s practical, efficient, fun to drive and versatile. A 201-hp electric motor powered by a 64.0-kWh battery pack is more than capable for around-town driving and gets the job done on the highway. It handles well, in large part thanks to its heavy battery. It’s mounted in the floor and results in a low center of gravity that’s evident when you’re navigating a sequence of corners. All models come with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. Hyundai’s maintenance and warranty program is heads-and-shoulders above its competitors. Limited warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles. The powertrain warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles. Its battery warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles, and complimentary maintenance provides additional peace of mind for three years or 36,000 miles.

CONS

All-wheel drive is not available. We know AWD reduces mileage, and that’s the primary reason people purchase this electric SUV, but it’d be nice to have it as an option. The rear seat is tight, as is the cargo space, even by subcompact-crossover standards. Another ding: The steering feel — “numb” and “vague” are two popular adjectives — was criticized in the 2019 model and remains in 2020. The Kona EV is limited to 10 states.

X-FACTOR

For 2020, Hyundai has made a battery-warming system standard on Limited and Ultimate models to improve its cold-weather efficiency.

1. SUVs: Tesla Model Y

Tesla

MPG: 121 MPGe combined, 129 city / 112 highway

PRICE: $49,990 - $59,990

TRIMS: 2 – Long Range, Performance

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: Not been rated

PROS

The Model Y is an entirely new model for 2020. It’s Tesla’s newest car. It’s basically a crossover version of the Model 3, but there are some key distinctions. The front seats are elevated on risers, which changes the driving feel from sedan to crossover. The back seat has more legroom than the Model 3, aided by the fact that the seats recline slightly. It runs on Tesla's dual-motor, all-wheel-drive platform and, like other Teslas, is blindingly quick. The Long Range model finds the 60 mph mark in 4.8 seconds. Its counterpart, the Performance model, achieves it in 3.5 seconds. The Model Y achieves a top speed of 145 mph. A crisp-sounding, 14-speaker audio system is standard. Also standard is Tesla’s Autopilot, which includes collision warning, automatic emergency braking and driver assistance for acceleration, brakes and steering.

CONS

It’s not present on every Model Y, but reviewers and owners alike agree that there are inconsistent gaps between the body panels. This is something that’s been an Achilles heel for all Teslas. It’s plagued by a poor turning radius. Excessive road noise is also a problem. The Model Y is 350 pounds heavier than the Model 3. One thing is does share with the Model 3 is a nearly identical interior. You’d expect something more inventive for an entirely new car.

X-FACTOR

For 2020, the Model Y is available only with all-wheel drive and dual-electric motors.

10. Luxury: Cadillac CT4

Cadillac

MPG: 33 MPG combined 20 city / 29 highway

PRICE: $32,995

TRIMS: 4 – Luxury, Premium Luxury, Sport, V-Series.

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: Not been rated

PROS

If you’re in the market for a luxury compact sedan with performance under the hood, agile handling, luxury features and a price tag you can live with, the first-year CT4 is a great candidate. The base price is $2,500 lower than the Cadillac ATS that it replaced. In fact, its base price is among the lowest starting prices in the class. All CT4s come with an 8-inch infotainment screen with Cadillac's latest CUE software interface. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot are standard features. The base model even gets 12-way power-adjustable front seats and dual-zone automatic climate control. Both of the CT4's turbocharged 4-cylinder powerplants provide decent fuel economy. The base Luxury model delivers 237 horsepower and 258 pound feet of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The front seats are supportive, and the infotainment controls are user friendly. Adding to the cabin comfort is the sound deadening, which is effective at all speeds.

CONS

Cadillac offers a number of driver assistance features for the CT4, but none are offered as standard. That makes no sense. A number of small, budget-minded cars offer driver-assistance technology as standard. Another place the CT4 falls short is in maintenance cost. You’ll receive complimentary maintenance only on the first visit to the dealer. By contrast, one competitor offers three years of complimentary maintenance. These costs can add up. Cabin space is tight for adults, especially in the rear seats. Same for the trunk. It’s one of the smallest trunks in its class at only 10.7 cubic feet.

X-FACTOR

Rear-wheel drive is the standard way that power translates to pavement. Rivals such as the Audi A3, BMW 2-series Gran Coupe and Mercedes A-class are all based on front-drive chassis. There’s just something special about pressing the accelerator and feeling a car leap forward via the rear wheels. Cadillac’s CT4 still provides that traditional thrill.

9. Luxury:  Lexus UX 300h

Lexus

MPG: 39 MPGe combined, 41 city / 38 highway

PRICE: $34,500

TRIMS: 3 – Base, F Sport, Luxury

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

PROS

Seeking a dash of luxury with the practicality associated with a hybrid? Lexus will tempt you with the 300h. It has a host of standard features, topped by LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, simulated leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a six-speaker audio system. You also get a number of advanced driver safety features. It relies on a 2-liter, 4-cylinder engine and a hybrid system to provide a total of 181 horsepower. All-wheel drive is standard. Every UX has a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot and four USB ports. Complimentary maintenance is covered for one year or 10,000 miles.

CONS

The engine feels concerningly underpowered at times. It’s particularly worrisome when you’re asking for a burst of acceleration, such as entering a highway or pulling out in traffic. The rear seats aren't as spacious as those in some rivals — don’t try and put three people in the rear, two is more like it. And it gets poor marks on its infotainment system. The menus are complex, and the Remote Touch controller is a clumsy way to navigate through selections. Lastly, the run-flat tires make for a busier ride than you’d expect when riding in a luxury brand.

X-FACTOR

Lexus debuted its hybrid last year, and it added blind-spot monitoring and Android Auto to its 2020 edition. If these features matter, the 2020 model is a good choice. If not, give the 2019 model a look. You’re likely to save a few bucks.

8. Luxury: Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Lincoln

MPG: 41 MPG combined, 42 city / 39 highway

PRICE: $36,750 - $44,500

TRIMS: 3 – Base, Reserve I, Reserve II

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

PROS

It’s been a fine run for the MKZ, but the popular sedan has reached the final stop sign. It’s about to be put into park forever. Need any additional car puns? OK, moving on. Lincoln is ceasing production this year, as the brand pivots away from the declining premium midsize sedan marketplace. That doesn’t detract from its attractiveness as one of the most fuel-efficient luxury cars available in the U.S. On its way out the door, Lincoln has added lane-keeping assist to its lineup of standard driver assists. The hybrid model, which has ratings of 42 mpg city and 39 highway, uses a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder. Its output is 188 horsepower.

An 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system is standard across all trims and features Lincoln's Sync 3 operating system, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Also standard are a number of safety features, most notably standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking, in addition to standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. The ride is smooth and balanced, thanks to standard adaptive suspension.

CONS

The current MKZ is the descendant of a generation that launched for the 2013 model year. This model hasn’t been updated since a refresh in 2017. It shows in a number of ways, most notably with its somewhat-tired monochromatic interior look. If you want the luxury associated with the Lincoln brand, you have to pay for it. The Reserve trim will get you leather upholstery, wood trim, ambient interior lighting, power-adjustable steering column, power-operated trunk lid and illuminated doorsill plates. The hybrid model comes in front-wheel drive only. Deal-breaker? No. Disappointing? Most definitely. It also impacts your cargo space considerably. The hybrid MKZ’s battery pack reduces trunk volume by 4 cubic feet to 11 cubic feet total. That’s not many suitcases. Lastly, all-wheel drive isn't available for the Hybrid.

X-FACTOR

The Hybrid is no longer available for no extra cost. That was a rare offering among hybrids that Lincoln has decided to rescind. Now, it’s only available in a single Reserve trim that’ll cost you $5,750 more than the entry-level non-hybrid MKZ.

7. Luxury: Lexus ES 300h

Edmunds

MPG: 44 MPG combined 43 city / 44 highway

PRICE: $41,810

TRIMS: 3 – Base, Luxury, F Sport

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

PROS

This midsize luxury sedan is not content to run with the pack. This is a hybrid that can compete with gas-powered sedans in many respects. And it has a lower base price than a number of rivals. Nothing feels low-grade. It has a range of standard exterior features that includes LED brake lights, automatic LED headlights, a sunroof, power-adjustable side-view mirrors with integrated turn signals and auto-dimming capability for the rearview mirror. The interior offerings are similarly generous. The Lexus features power-adjustable front seats and a manually adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering column, along with dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry and push-button start, synthetic leather upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

You get a respectable 16.7 cubic feet of room in the trunk (equal to the gas-powered model), which is slightly more cargo space than you’ll find in rival makes. Standard forward-collision warning, front and rear parking sensors, lane-departure warning and lane-keep assistance add to your comfort level. It’s propelled by a 2.5-liter Inline-4 capable of producing 215 horsepower and 153 pound feet of torque. It’s front-wheel drive and guided by an electronic CVT with overdrive. Another plus: steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, making everyone a Formula One driver for a moment.

CONS

The infotainment system, which uses a mouse-like touchpad, is difficult to use — especially while you’re driving. This seems counterintuitive. The rear seats don’t fold down, making it challenging to fit odd-shaped items. There are few things more frustrating in owning a car (failure to start when you turn the ignition being No. 1) than failing to fit something into it that you were certain you could find room for.

X-FACTOR

With a maximum fuel capacity of 13.2 gallons, the ES Hybrid has an estimated range of … (drum roll, please) … 580 miles. According to Lexus, that makes it the most fuel-efficient, non-plug-in luxury vehicle available.

6. Luxury: Porsche Taycan

Porsche

MPG: 69 MPGe combined, 68 city / 71 highway

PRICE: $103,800 - $185,000

TRIM LEVELS: 3 – 4S, Turbo, Turbo S

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: Not been rated

PROS

Wait! We've seen this on the list before in the Sedans category, and here it is again. It's that good!

To refresh your memory, it's highlights are a top speed of 162 mph and no shortage of screens, including one for the passenger.

5. Luxury: Jaguar i-PACE

Jaguar

MPG: 76 MPGe combined, 80 city / 72 highway

PRICE: $69,850 - $80,900

TRIMS: 3 – S, SE, HSE

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: Not been rated

PROS

Another one that we already mentioned in the sedan list, Jaguar is always going to be synonymous with luxury. The company's first electric vehicle is now in its second year of sales and is almost identical to the 2019 model. The good news? The i-PACE is considerably less than the Tesla Model X, which brings us to...

4. Luxury: Tesla Model X

Tesla

MPG: 96 MPGe combined 99 city / 93 highway

PRICE: $79,990 - $99,990

TRIMS: 2 – Long Range Plus Performance

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

PROS

Yes, the Model X already made the SUV list, but with prices like this, the brand pretty much defines the standard in luxury, energy-efficient cars. We particularly like the acceleration of the stock Model X as well as this car's Ludicrous Mode, part of the Performance Package.

3. Luxury: Tesla Model S

Tesla

MPG: 111 MPGe combined, 115 city / 107 highway

PRICE: $64,420 - $91,990

TRIM LEVELS: 2 – Long Range Plus, Performance

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: Not been rated

PROS

As if we didn't already show you enough that Tesla is clearly dominating the electric car market, the Tesla Model S appears again after already earning the No. 4 spot in the Sedan category. Here, it lands at No. 3 — pretty great for an energy-efficient car that first made its debut eight years ago. Where has the time gone?

2. Luxury: Tesla Model Y

Tesla

MPG: 121 MPGe combined, 129 city / 112 highway

PRICE: $49,990 - $59,990

TRIMS: 2 – Long Range, Performance

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: Not yet rated

PROS

No. 2 in the Luxury category is Tesla's Model Y, which actually earned the No. 1 spot in the SUV category. A top speed of 145 mph and Tesla’s Autopilot are just a few of its highlights.

1. Luxury: Tesla Model 3

Tesla

MPG: 141 MPGe combined 148 city / 132 highway

PRICE: $37,990

TRIM LEVELS: 4 – Standard Range, Standard Range Plus, Long Range, Performance

NHTSA OVERALL SAFETY RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

PROS

The only car to land No. 1 in two categories on this list is Tesla's Model 3. The fourth-model year for this sedan also brings more affordable prices as the least-expensive Tesla car on the market.