Automotive Research

2023 AAA Car Guide: Find a vehicle that works for you

For more than 10 years, the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center (ARC) has reviewed and tested vehicles in its annual car guide to help members understand the latest automotive technology and help them purchase vehicles that best suit their needs.

The 2023 AAA Car Guide is the newest issue, testing and ranking cars and light trucks with the latest advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) technology. In addition to vehicle evaluation, it covers several automotive topics in detail—for example, the latest advanced safety features, the importance of vehicle maintenance, and upcoming trends and new models you may see in the coming years.

Rivian R1T Adventure pickup truck

The 2022 Rivian R1T Adventure is the current winner of the Pickup category.

Pick up the AAA Car Guide

AAA members can get a free copy of the 2023 edition at any AAA branch while supplies last, or view the 2023 AAA Car Guide online.

Featured vehicles are ranked from highest to lowest based on: 

  • Fuel efficiency
  • EPA emission score
  • Acceleration
  • Braking
  • Handling
  • Ride quality
  • Interior size
  • Ease of entry and exit
  • Visibility
  • Interior noise
  • Cargo capacity
  • ADAS features
  • Quality and drivability

Each vehicle receives an overall score from 1-10 for each characteristic and is evaluated relative only to the other vehicles in the AAA Car Guide, not to all vehicles available on the market. Each vehicle’s review provides a summary of the car and lists its strengths, weaknesses, and available safety features.

This year's Car Guide winners

Winner badge for the SUV category in the 2023 AAA Car Guide
1st Place SUV: 2022 BMW iX xDrive50

The iX, BMW’s first all-electric SUV, is an impressive vehicle. It delivers dramatic styling, performance, comfort, and technological sophistication in spades.

Winner badge for the Large category in the 2023 AAA Car Guide
1st Place Large: 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4MATIC Sedan

The EQS 580, the electric equivalent of Mercedes-Benz’s iconic S-Class sedan, is an impressive car that demonstrates the automaker’s level of commitment to an EV future.

Winner badge for the Pickup category in the 2023 AAA Car Guide
1st Place Pickup: 2022 Rivian R1T Adventure

The Rivian R1T is an innovatively designed, versatile electric pickup with lots of power and many clever features. 

Winner badge for the Midsize category in the 2023 AAA Car Guide
1st Place Midsize: 2022 BMW i4 M50

The i4 is BMW's all-electric version of its 4 Series Gran Coupe sedan. The M version, from BMW's high-performance division, adds an electric motor, adaptive suspension, more powerful brakes, and other similar goodies.

Winner badge for the Minivan category in the 2023 AAA Car Guide
1st Place Minivan: 2022 Kia Carnival SX

In 2022, Kia replaced its venerable Sedona minivan with a new model, the Carnival. With handsome SUV-like styling, a roomy, minivan-esque interior, and a pair of sliding side doors for easy access, the Carnival does a nice job of straddling the line between the 2 divergent body styles.

Winner badge for the Small category in the 2023 AAA Car Guide
1st Place Small: 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV 2LT

The Chevrolet Bolt, introduced in 2017, is a no-nonsense, practical electric vehicle with many admirable qualities. The Bolt has a powerful electric drivetrain and smooth transmission, giving it quick acceleration and zippy lowend torque.

See how the cars rank

On the AAA Car Guide website, you can see the ratings for specific vehicles that the ARC has evaluated. You can search by vehicle type (e.g. midsize), fuel type (e.g. hybrid), and price range.

Research our rated vehicles

Take a look inside the 2023 AAA Car Guide

Chapter 1: Buying Your Next Car

We help you sort through the brands, body styles, and powertrains of today's cars and light trucks to find the right vehicle for you.

Read more about different vehicle types in Chapter 1 of the 2023 AAA Car Guide

Chapter 2: The True Cost of Ownership

How to calculate what it really costs to own and drive a car--plus important tips for keeping your vehicle in top shape.

Read more about vehicle maintenance in Chapter 2 of the 2023 AAA Car Guide

Chapter 3: How Safe Is Your Car?

The latest advanced safety features: how they work and their limitations.

Read more about vehicle safety in Chapter 3 of the 2023 AAA Car Guide

Planning to buy a car? 

Whether you’re looking for a new or used vehicle, AAA Car Buying Service has you covered. To bring our members a less stressful experience with a price they can feel confident in, we provide access to vehicle research tools and recommended dealers.

Start shopping

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