Quality Verified | Posted April 17, 2023

EVs Lead 2023 AAA Car Guide​

EVs took all but one category with the 2022 BMW iX xDrive50 earning the overall top score.
Mark Shieldrop
Mark Shieldrop

AAA Public Affairs

Electric Vehicle sales are surging, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that EVs have charged to the top of the 2023 AAA Car Guide’s list of highest-rated models. 

 

Each annual edition of the AAA Car Guide rates new vehicles based on 13 criteria, including safety features, fuel efficiency, emissions, braking, handling, ride quality and performance. After road tests and a comprehensive review, each vehicle is scored and placed into one of six vehicle categories.

 

This year, EVs took all but one category with the 2022 BMW iX xDrive50, a dramatically styled SUV with impressive tech and 324 miles of estimated range, earning the overall top score. The German automaker also won the midsize category with the 227-mile-range 2022 BMW i4 M50, which combines svelte styling and lightning-fast performance with its dual electric motors pushing 536 horsepower. 

Large Vehicle Leader

In the largevehicle category, Mercedes-Benz takes the nod with the 2022 EQS 580 4MATIC Sedan the most futuristic version of the automaker’s flagship S-Class sedan. While the exterior styling might be polarizing, there’s no debate about how much luxury and performance Mercedes-Benz delivers with the EQS. With 340 miles of range, up to 516 horsepower and a virtually silent cabin, the EQS sets the bar high – but so is its price, which starts at $125,900 and will quickly escalate for most buyers in this segment. 

Small Vehicle Leader

In the small car category, the AAA Car Guide winner is the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV 2LT, demonstrating that practicality and affordability exists in the growing EV market. Since its introduction in 2017, Chevrolet has updated the no-nonsense Bolt with an interior refresh and standard advanced safety features. The 259-mile range will satisfy most commuters and state and federal incentives can help reduce the $34,200 base price to a level many buyers can reach. 

Top Pickup Truck
Top Pickup Truck

What might come as a surprise to some is upstart automaker Rivian’s win in the pickup category with the uniquely and innovatively designed 2022 R1T Adventure. Boasting an estimated range of 316 miles (much lower when towing) and more than 800 horsepower, the R1T Adventure scored high marks for being powerful, versatile and comfortable without many compromises. Winning a category dominated by established automakers for decades is a coup for Rivian, which also placed in the top 5 overall with the R1S Launch Edition SUV.  

How Vehicle Ratings Are Determined

Vehicles are tested by the Automotive Research Center of the Automotive Club of Southern California, a member of the AAA federation of motor clubs. Each vehicle is scored based on the following criteria:

  • Advanced driver assistance systems 
  • Fuel efficiency 
  • EPA emissions score 
  • Acceleration 
  • Braking 
  • Handling 
  • Ride quality  
  • Interior size 
  • Ease of entry and exit 
  • Visibility 
  • Interior noise 
  • Cargo capacity 
  • Quality and drivability 

Gas prices, which reached record-highs last summer, were influential in the scores in the 2023 edition of the AAA Car Guide, which favors vehicle efficiency. Vehicles with new and enhanced ADAS safety features also earned higher marks than similar vehicles in the same category, because automakers are using EVs to showcase their latest technologies. 

Highest Scoring Vehicles by Category

Winners, detailed evaluation criteria, vehicle reviews, and an in-depth analysis of the ADAS technology can be found at AAA.com/CarGuide. AAA also provides consumers with other resources like the Your Driving Costs calculator and Used EV Car Buyer’s Guide to help with car buying decisions.

CATEGORY
VEHICLE
FUEL TYPE
Overall
2022 BMW iX xDrive50
Electric
Small
2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV 2LT
Electric
Midsize
2022 BMW i4 M50
Electric
Large
2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4MATIC Sedan
Electric
Pickup
2022 Rivian R1T Adventure
Electric
SUV
2022 BMW iX xDrive50
Electric
Minivan
2022 Kia Carnival SX
Gasoline
Best Under $35K
2023 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE Nightshade
Hybrid
Best $35K – $50K
2022 Kia Carnival SX
Gasoline
Best Over $50K
2022 BMW iX xDrive50
Electric

AAA’s Recommendation: Whether you own an electric vehicle or a gas-powered car is up to you – and you should consider lots of factors in making that choice. No matter what type of vehicle you’re choosing, we recommend visiting a dealership, test driving one, and asking as many questions as possible to make an informed decision.

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