Fuel Economy, Safety Features are Top Priorities for Drivers

06 May 2022

New vehicle shoppers primarily want two things in their next ride – better fuel efficiency and more driver assist safety features.

According to AAA, nearly 80% of drivers want automakers to focus on improving fuel economy. Another 76% want active driving assistance systems (ADAS), like automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assistance, and adaptive cruise control. Addressing these twin desires can be accomplished with the newest batch of EVs (electric vehicles), which are often the most technologically cutting-edge and the most fuel-efficient.

In 2021, electric vehicle sales rose to nearly 477,000, representing 3.3% of total vehicle sales – but a whopping 81.5% increase over 2020 sales. Many of the world’s major automakers have announced plans to dramatically increase electric vehicle production or phase out gasoline-powered vehicles entirely by 2035.

“EV sales, while small, are growing, and the signs are everywhere that the future is electric,” said Gene LaDoucer, regional director of public affairs for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “And that future may arrive faster with consumer preferences changing along with high gas prices." 

2022 Car Guide

Today, AAA released its 2022 AAA Car Guide, an online resource for consumers who are looking to purchase a new vehicle. Of the 62 vehicles reviewed for this year’s edition, six are electric.

The AAA Car Guide includes comprehensive reviews of each vehicle based on 12 criteria including:

  • Number of ADAS safety features
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Emissions
  • Braking and handling
  • Ride quality
  • Acceleration

“AAA’s research is designed to eliminate the guesswork for consumers when they are looking to purchase a new vehicle,” continued LaDoucer. “The AAA Car Guide is an easy-to-understand resource that can help improve consumers’ decisions when it comes to car buying.”

All category winners for 2022 are electric, plug-in electric hybrid, or hybrid vehicles. In addition to being highly fuel-efficient, the winners are also loaded with the latest in advanced driver assistance systems.

The overall winner is the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD with researchers noting it has a dramatic new profile, is powerful, electric, quiet, quick, roomy and fun to drive

Category

Vehicle

Overall

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD (electric)

Small

2021 BMW 330e (plug-in hybrid)

Midsize

2021 BMW 530e (plug-in hybrid)

Large

2021 Mercedes-Benz S580 4MATIC Sedan (hybrid)

Pickup

2021 Ford F-150 XLT SuperCrew Hybrid 4x4

SUV/Minivan

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD (electric)

Best Under $35K

2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Limited

Best $35K - $50K

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 1st Edition (electric)

Best Over $50K

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD (electric)

 

For those in the market for newer used vehicles, the online AAA Car Guide also contains links to the two prior editions in 2021 and 2020. Winners, detailed evaluation criteria, vehicle reviews, and an in-depth analysis of the ADAS technology can be found at aaa.com/carguide.

Industry analysts forecast that the COVID-19 pandemic, the semi-conductor chip shortage, and the proliferation of EVs will affect the availability, types, and prices of new and used cars in 2022.

Drivers can use the free AAA Mobile app to find EV charging stations or compare fuel prices in their area.