Automotive Research

2023 AAA Car Guide sneak peek: EV crossovers

Every year, AAA publishes the AAA Car Guide, which provides members with useful information about buying and operating a vehicle, plus detailed reviews of dozens of new cars and light trucks we’ve tested throughout the year. Here’s a sneak peek into a trio of EVs we’ve evaluated.

Electric vehicles (EVs) continue to be the big news in the automotive world, with automakers excitedly announcing details of upcoming models and proudly revealing their plans for all-electric lineups. And indeed, EV sales have been explosive. From 2020 to 2021, for example, EV sales posted an 82% increase—from 262,638 to 476,679 vehicles sold. Similarly, in quarter 3 of 2022, Tesla produced almost 366,000 vehicles, a company record.

So EVs are here now, and many more are coming, in a wide variety of body styles and price ranges. Three recent examples illustrate the point: the BMW iX, Mazda MX-30, and Volvo C40 Recharge. All of them are new for 2022, and all are SUVs. 

BMW iX

The most outrageous of the bunch is, without a doubt, the all-new midsize iX, BMW’s first electric SUV. The xDrive50 version we tested succeeds on all levels. Its 2 electric motors (516 hp) supply an abundance of power; the steering provides plenty of feedback; and the standard air suspension delivers responsive handling and a supple ride. The cabin has plenty of space for passengers and cargo, and the iX’s fit and finish are first-rate. Negatives? An unintuitive infotainment system and poor rear visibility.

Mazda MX-30

The Mazda MX-30 is the automaker’s first EV, and it’s got several things going for it: a stylish exterior, a comfortable ride, and plenty of standard convenience features. A host of advanced safety features is standard, including, on the top trim level, active driver-assistance features.

Unfortunately, the MX-30 has 2 serious flaws. First, unlike vehicles in the Mazda family, the driving experience is ho-hum. Even worse is its 100-mile range, which reduces the MX-30 to around-town driving and short commutes. Other negatives include a cramped backseat, a difficult-to-use infotainment system, and compromised rear and side visibility.

Volvo C40 Recharge

Volvo’s C40 Recharge is a small, stylish SUV based on the boxier XC40 Recharge. The C40 delivers the luxury expected from a $60,000 car, lots of advanced safety features, and excellent fit and finish inside and out. It also has blazing speed and low-end torque, thanks to the 402 hp generated by its twin electric motors.

Unfortunately, the C40 also delivers a harsh, unsettled ride with lots of torque steer and, worse, the throttle and brakes are touchy. Visibility to the side and rear is compromised and the backseat is hard to enter and exit. 

The 2023 AAA Car Guide is coming May 2023

For more information on these 3 EVs and dozens of other new vehicles, check out the 2023 AAA Car Guide. It will be available online and in hard-copy format in AAA branches in April 2023.

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