Automotive Research

2021 AAA Car Guide: find a vehicle that works for you

For over 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 2021 AAA Car Guide has expanded from primarily fuel-efficient vehicles to include 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 the next big developments in autonomous vehicle technology.

Volvo S90

The Volvo S90 T8 was last year’s Overall Winner

Pick up the AAA Car Guide

AAA members can get a free copy of the 2021 edition at any AAA branch.

View the 2021 AAA Car Guide

Featured vehicles are ranked from highest to lowest based on:  

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


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.

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

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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