Consumer Reports also announced its annual list of 10 top picks for cars, SUVs and trucks on Thursday.
Half of the picks this year are hybrid models, which are coming to occupy a “sweet spot” in the market, Fisher said.
The top hybrid models include the Toyota Corolla Hybrid, the Toyota Camry Hybrid, the Ford Maverick Hybrid, the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid and the Lexus NX350h.
More mainstream than many EVs — what Fisher says can be “science projects” — and more fuel efficient than many vehicles powered solely by internal combustion engines, hybrids overall stood out as comparable and reliable.
“There are a lot of high-selling vehicles that guzzle gas,” Fisher said. “And when we see fast and efficient (hybrid) models, it is clear they don’t need to.”
The Ford Maverick in particular is a “game changer,” he said. Combining fuel efficiency, usability and versatility, the Maverick was “just really not like anything we’ve ever seen before,” Fisher said.
The Tesla Model 3 rejoined the list this year, specifically included to reflect the convenience of the Tesla supercharger infrastructure.
“If you are purchasing an EV at that price point, it is our advice to purchase the Tesla Model 3,” Fisher said. “Not because it’s absolutely the best, but because if you need to take a trip, it is a completely different experience.”
The other cars on the top 10 list are the Toyota Corolla Cross, the Subaru Forester, the Nissan Leaf and the Kia Telluride.
To be a Consumer Reports top pick, vehicles must perform well in the organization’s road tests, come standard with key safety features, and receive positive reviews for reliability and satisfaction in CR’s member surveys, according to the official statement announcing the top picks.