Consumer Reports: Hot, new rides that won’t flatten your wallet

Low inventory and high prices make this a tough time to buy a car. So if you’ve been waiting to make that big purchase, Consumer Reports just released its yearly must-see list of the top new cars of the year.

To find the top vehicles of 2023, the experts at Consumer Reports drove hundreds of thousands of miles on more than 200 vehicles, and sorted through mounds of exclusive data from more than 50 tests including safety, and real-world owner experiences relating to reliability and owner satisfaction.

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“Simply put -- these are vehicles that stand out in their respective categories. Our ‘Top Picks’ have to come standard with key safety features, including automatic emergency braking that operates at highway speed and includes pedestrian detection,” said Consumer Reports Auto Expert Jennifer Stockburger.

For Under $25,000, Consumer Reports says you can’t go wrong with the Toyota Corolla Cross Small SUV ($23,060 - $28,465) or Corolla Hybrid Sedan ($22,800 - $26,640). These are great all-around cars that will continue to save you money down the line with great fuel economy and few repairs.

And Stockburger says the 2023 Nissan Leaf -- ranging in price from $28,040 to $36,040 -- proves that not all electric cars come with jolting prices.

“The Leaf was really the first mainstream EV when it launched over a decade ago, and it continues to show that EVs can be reliable and inexpensive,” Stockburger said.

For midsized sedan, Consumer Reports recommends the Toyota Camry Hybrid ($26,220 - $36,645), which returned “a stunning 47 mpg overall” in Consumer Reports’ tests. CR said that was “truly impressive” for a midsized sedan.

Also, SUVs are as popular as ever. This year, the Subaru Forester ($26,395 - $36,495), Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid ($35,910 - $41,570) and three-row Kia Telluride ($35,890 - $52,985) all make Consumer Reports’ list.

And, Consumer Reports says the brand-new Ford Maverick Hybrid ($22,595 - $28,355) is a fun alternative to small SUVs. It’s a pickup truck that gets 37 mpg! With five seats and a 4 and 1/2 feet of truck bed, it’s a great choice for active folks. For the price, Stockburger says you’d be hard-pressed to find something as versatile, efficient, and fun to drive.

For those ready to splurge, the Lexus NX350h ($41,995 - $57,805) and the Tesla Model 3 ($43,490 - $53,990) are Consumer Reports’ top picks over $45,000.

Notably absent are two vehicles that have continuously been on the list in years past, the Lexus R-X and Toyota Prius. The reason: Both popular models were redesigned for 2023 and are being tested right now by Consumer Reports.