You know electric vehicles are going mainstream when AAA (The American Automobile Association) calls one their overall best car for the year. This time, the Ford Mustang Mach-E rose to the top of AAA’s Car Guide by scoring the most points, securing the Best Overall Car spot.
“EV sales, while small, are growing, and the signs are everywhere that the future is electric,” said Megan McKernan, manager of AAA’s Automotive Research Center. “And that future may arrive faster with consumer preferences changing because of factors such as high gas prices and the gradual phasing-out of gasoline-powered vehicles in some areas.”
Securing the top spot was no easy task. The Mustang Mach-E had to go against basically every other car on the market. When making the annual AAA Car Guide, the employees at the Automotive Research Center take every recent new vehicle since the prior year’s guide was published and put it through a comprehensive review. The car gets a score in 12 areas, including the number of ADAS safety features, fuel efficiency, emissions, braking, handling, ride quality, and acceleration.
Then each vehicle gets placed in one of 5 categories: small, midsize, large, pickup, and SUV/Minivan. There are also 3 price categories. This year, the Mach-E won the Minivan/SUV category, the Best Over $50k, and the Overall Vehicle. Every other category was won by either an electric vehicle, a PHEV, or a hybrid vehicle. This really shows us where the industry is heading.
Overall results for all categories were:
- 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 4×4
- 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)
Don’t agree with AAA’s results? Be sure to read its criteria here before you rip them a new one. While CleanTechnica’s Readers and authors would probably choose something else for most or all of these categories, AAA caters to a much wider audience that doesn’t put as much emphasis on environmental issues and efficiency. For the average driver, the gas-powered F-150 is a fine vehicle. Don’t believe me? It’s the #1 selling vehicle in the United States, in all categories.
Things that favor larger gas-powered vehicles, like visibility (a big reason driver’s cite for driving trucks and SUVs on commutes), a soft ride where you don’t feel or hear bumps in the road much, and cargo capacity (which interferes with aerodynamic efficiency in many cases) are all big parts of a vehicle’s score. This was made to reflect the average driver’s preferences, and not the same preferences we’d choose here.
Despite this, an EV won the overall score, and another EV (the Volkswagen ID.4) won a category. Hybrids and plugin hybrids won the rest. This shows that not only are automakers improving at giving customers cleaner vehicles that they really want, but customers are leaning toward clean vehicles more. This shows us just how much progress we’ve made.
Featured image provided by Ford.
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