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Best Car of 2024

By Cars.com Editors
February 7, 2024

Winner: 2024 Chevrolet Trax

  • Starting price range (all prices include destination charge): $21,495-$24,995
  • Estimated combined fuel economy: 30 mpg

If you told us last year that a completely redesigned 2024 Chevrolet Trax would be roomier than the old one, have stunning new screens and a lower starting price, we would have laughed at the absurdity; cars are only getting more expensive, right? But that is, in fact, exactly what happened.

While value is a consideration for our Best Car of the Year, it’s not the only factor. What made our jaws drop was that the redesigned Trax’s optional in-car technology and screens rival the quality — and exceed the user-friendliness — of many luxury brands’ multimedia and control systems. On LT and above trim levels, a vibrant, easy-to-use 11-inch touchscreen pairs with an equally stunning 8-inch digital instrument panel to give a completely contemporary screen experience with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as available wireless charging — all for around $24,000 (including destination) when properly equipped.

The Trax’s screens grew, but so did its interior. In fact, the Trax’s interior is roomier than its more expensive Trailblazer sibling, which offers all-wheel drive (unlike the front-drive-only Trax). This puts the Trax in a unique spot as one of the largest cars you can get for the money; without AWD, the Trax blurs the line between raised hatchback and SUV. Its third-place finish in our 2023 Affordable SUV Challenge was highly respectable when you consider its as-tested price was around $2,700 to $6,500 lower than the other five SUVs in the comparison test, yet it outperformed half the field.

The Trax’s backseat is comfortable for most thanks to its width and flat floor, while up front, there’s plenty of in-cabin storage for phones, keys, wallets and other accessories. And despite ho-hum specifications, the Trax’s turbocharged three-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission move it adequately for the class, plus the drivetrain returned 34.1 mpg combined in our fuel-economy testing.

The cherry on top might be that the Trax wraps its practical goodness with exterior styling that’s more similar to Chevrolet’s exuberantly designed Blazer, a large departure from the previous Trax’s drab exterior appearance and colors.

Add it all up, and the Trax’s innovative approach creates a new bar for what consumers should expect from an affordable car.

2024 Chevrolet Trax Specs and Reviews Find a 2024 Chevrolet Trax Near You

genesis electrified gv70 2024 exterior oem scaled jpg 2024 Genesis Electrified GV70 | Manufacturer image

2024 Genesis Electrified GV70: Finalist

  • Starting price range: $67,800-$74,600
  • Estimated electric driving range: 236 miles
  • Estimated combined efficiency: 91 mpg-equivalent

Electric powertrains might just be absolutely perfect for luxury vehicles: silent, strong, swift and silent. Yes, silent is listed twice, as it’s the quietness that really helps make a luxury car shine. What it does to the 2024 Genesis Electrified GV70 is elevate it from an extremely nice luxury SUV to one that truly stands out. The GV70 on its own is excellent, with lovely shapes, a super luxe interior lacking in many competitors, and it’s equipped with a state-of-the-art multimedia system. It also comes in some fun colors both inside and out, which is something many competitors are afraid to offer.

But Genesis replaced the gasoline powertrain with a 77.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and two 160-kilowatt electric motors, one in the front and one in the rear. The new all-electric powertrain produces 429 hp and 516 pounds-feet of torque, making the Electrified GV70 not only smooth and silent, but incredibly quick. Its range is 236 miles, which is on the low end for competitors, but it recharges quickly on a 350-kW DC fast charger.

The range is not an issue however, as the driving experience is simply fantastic. It is heavier than a typical GV70, but the adaptive suspension makes it a nonissue. What you’re left with is a premium electric luxury SUV that’s far nicer inside than anything Tesla has ever made, with styling that’s genuinely attractive and user-friendly equipment that puts the latest Mercedes-Benz user interface to shame. If you’re looking for an electric mid-size SUV, this is the one you need to find. That might be tricky, as it’s still not available in all 50 states — yet.

2024 Genesis Electrified GV70 Specs and Reviews Find a 2024 Genesis Electrified GV70 Near You

honda accord sport l 2024 exterior oem scaled jpg 2024 Honda Accord | Manufacturer image

2024 Honda Accord: Finalist

  • Starting price range: $28,990-$31,005 (Accord); $33,990-$39,985 (Accord Hybrid)
  • Estimated combined fuel economy: 32 mpg (Accord); 44-48 mpg (Accord Hybrid)

It’s a hard world for sedans these days, but the venerable Honda Accord shines as an affordable and fuel-efficient alternative to the SUVs of the world. Redesigned for the 2023 model year, the Accord and Accord Hybrid carry over into 2024 largely unchanged. We liked the Accord Hybrid so much that it came out on top in our comparison with a Toyota Camry Hybrid, and we’re excited to revisit that comparison once we get our hands on the redesigned 2025 Camry.

A majority of the Accord lineup employs a hybrid powertrain in Sport, EX-L, Sport-L and Touring trim levels, which in our own fuel-economy testing managed nearly 52 mpg. Helping the Accord Hybrid win its comparison with the Camry was also a comfortable, spacious and well-made interior employing useful and intuitive technology.

What also stands out is that even as a hybrid, the Accord isn’t simply an appliance meant to get you from A to B (though it will do that job happily). It’s genuinely fun to drive, with sporty suspension tuning and communicative steering that can make tackling twisty roads enjoyable.

A boatload of standard safety features and solid scores in our Car Seat Check make the Accord an excellent SUV alternative for families. A sub-$30,000 starting price should help alleviate budgetary concerns, and even if you splurge on a fully loaded Accord Touring, you’ll still be spending right around $40,000.

Even as sedan choices continue to dwindle, the Accord remains not just one of the best sedans, but one of the best vehicles on the market.

2024 Honda Accord Specs and Reviews Find a 2024 Honda Accord Near You

hyundai kona 2024 40 exterior front angle scaled jpg 2024 Hyundai Kona | Cars.com photo by Jonathan Earley

2024 Hyundai Kona: Finalist

  • Starting price range: $25,435-$32,985
  • Estimated combined fuel economy: 26-31 mpg

The Hyundai Kona was already one of our favorite subcompact SUVs, but the complete redesign for 2024 makes it even more attractive. First off, it’s more spacious than before: The new Kona is 6 inches longer than its predecessor, which notably improves both backseat room and cargo space. The Kona still lands comfortably in the subcompact SUV class size-wise, but it packs a good amount of occupant and cargo capacity into its relatively tidy exterior dimensions.

The avant-garde exterior styling is highlighted by innovative touches like a slim, full-width light-bar treatment and active grille shutters that automatically open for powertrain cooling and close for optimal aerodynamic performance. The control layout is similarly cutting edge, yet refreshingly simple: The gauge cluster, which offers a 12.3-inch digital instrument display, and 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen are fused into one sleek, seamless panel. Rare-for-the-class available features include ventilated (in addition to heated) front seats, a hands-free power liftgate and surround-view camera system.

The base engine’s 147-hp rating isn’t very exciting, but the available turbocharged 1.6-liter engine supplies satisfying zip, and the Kona’s overall driving manners are pleasant and predictable. The cabin is also a nice place to be, with solid assembly quality and upscale materials on the sporty-looking N Line and flagship Limited trims.

The new Kona isn’t quite the deal it was before — the larger dimensions and longer lists of standard features come with a commensurate increase in base prices — but it’s still a solid value and one of the most compelling new vehicles of 2024.

2024 Hyundai Kona Specs and Reviews Find a 2024 Hyundai Kona Near You

kia seltos sx turbo awd 2024 03 exterior front angle scaled jpg 2024 Kia Seltos | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

2024 Kia Seltos: Finalist

  • Starting price range: $25,865-$31,465
  • Estimated combined fuel economy: 26-31 mpg

The Kia Seltos has been one of our favorite small SUVs since its debut for the 2021 model year. For 2024, it gets updates that only make it better, including lightly revised exterior styling, a rugged-looking new X-Line trim and available dual 10.25-inch displays in most trims. It retains its favorite child status; in fact, we like it so much, it won our latest comparison in its class — for the second time in a row.

Kia’s smallest SUV has two powertrains. Standard is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes  146 hp paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission. We prefer the available 195-hp, turbo 1.6-liter four-cylinder and its much improved eight-speed automatic transmission over the dual-clutch unit it replaced. The Seltos is quicker than most of the class and also rises to the top in steering, handling and braking for an overall comfortable driving experience.

Inside, cabin materials are also class-leading and its infotainment system is modern-looking, responsive and easy to use. What’s more, the Seltos is among the quietest in the class, adding to its near-premium feel.

Last, Kia is keeping an eye on value. The Seltos is packed with features for its price and also has a generous warranty featuring five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage.

The 2024 Seltos delivers a winning blend of comfort, utility and value, earning it a spot on our Best Of 2024 finalist list.

2024 Kia Seltos Specs and Reviews Find a 2024 Kia Seltos Near You

toyota grand highlander 2024 01 exterior front angle red scaled jpg 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander, Grand Highlander Hybrid: Finalist

  • Starting price range: $44,715-$55,190 (Grand Highlander); $46,415-$59,870 (Grand Highlander Hybrid)
  • Estimated combined fuel economy: 22-24 mpg (Grand Highlander); 27-36 mpg (Grand Highlander Hybrid)

Toyota’s original Highlander SUV has earned praise for its reliability, first- and second-row comfort, and hybrid fuel economy, but its third row is, quite frankly, nearly useless. Only something grand could solve this problem; enter the Grand Highlander. The all-new three-row SUV combines Toyota build quality and hybrid know-how with the one thing the Highlander was missing: a third row of seats that fits actual adult humans.

With not one but two hybrid powertrain choices, buyers can choose excellent fuel efficiency for a three-row SUV, with the traditional hybrid’s 36 mpg combined rating — or good fuel efficiency and performance from the 27 mpg combined Hybrid Max’s 362 horsepower and 400 pounds-feet of torque (a traditional gas engine is also available). With the Hybrid Max powertrain, the Grand Highlander becomes more than a minivan in truck clothing because it’s legitimately fast for a three-row mainstream SUV; we measured its 0-60 mph time at 6.15 seconds. No, that’s not a sports car’s time, but can a sports car fit seven adults?

A roomy third row isn’t the only thing the Grand Highlander offers shoppers. In the Grand Highlander, there’s ample space for people and their stuff thanks to its large cargo area behind the third row, which can’t be said for the original Highlander. The Grand Highlander’s spacious interior is also extremely stylish, with excellent fit and finish and premium materials. It’s so nice inside that we thought it rendered the more expensive Lexus TX, with which it shares a platform (Lexus is Toyota’s luxury arm), redundant.

Toyota was playing catch-up in the three-row SUV class, but with the Grand Highlander, it has more than caught up.

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Specs and Reviews Find a 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Near You

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid Specs and Reviews Find a 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid Near You

2024 Buick Envista: Nominee

  • Starting price range: $23,495-$29,695
  • Estimated combined fuel economy: 30 mpg

2024 Buick Envista Specs and Reviews Find a 2024 Buick Envista Near You

2024 Rivian R1S: Nominee

  • Starting price range: $85,800-$100,800
  • Estimated electric driving range: 274 miles
  • Estimated combined efficiency: 63 mpg-equivalent

2024 Rivian R1S Specs and Reviews Find a 2024 Rivian R1S Near You

2024 Subaru Crosstrek: Nominee

  • Starting price range: $26,540-$33,540
  • Estimated combined fuel economy: 27-29 mpg

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Specs and Reviews Find a 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Near You

2024 Toyota Prius, Prius Prime: Nominee

  • Starting price range: $29,045-$37,640 (Prius); $34,070-$40,765
  • Estimated electric driving range: 39-44 miles (Prius Prime)
  • Estimated combined fuel economy or efficiency: 49-57 mpg (Prius); 48-52 mpg (Accord Hybrid)

2024 Toyota Prius Specs and Reviews Find a 2024 Toyota Prius Near You

2024 Toyota Prius Prime Specs and Reviews Find a 2024 Toyota Prius Prime Near You