TOWSON, MD (Thursday, June 18, 2020) –– AAA announced a 2020 Volvo luxury sedan has earned the top score in its first edition of the newly released AAA Car Guide, a consumer resource on the latest and greatest in vehicle technology. The guide provides consumers with reviews based in part on how many advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are included in the vehicle as well as a number of other criteria. The majority of the category winners for 2020 are either electric, plug-in electric hybrids or hybrids, signaling that eco-friendly vehicles tend to offer the most cutting-edge vehicle technology.
The 175-page guide includes comprehensive, easy-to-read reviews of each vehicle which are based on 13 criteria, including braking, fuel economy, emissions, handling, ride comfort, acceleration and the number of ADAS safety features. These vehicles are tested, scored and placed in one of five vehicle categories by the Automotive Research Center (ARC) of the Automobile Club of Southern California, a member of the AAA federation of motor clubs.
“With an increasing number of vehicles equipped with advanced safety features, we thought consumers would benefit from an in-depth review of how they stack up with other driving criteria,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s Director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “Previous AAA studies have shown that many drivers don’t understand some of the features in their new vehicles and believe they can do more than is technically possible.”
The AAA Car Guide is an evolution of the popular AAA Green Car Guide, the book that focused on fuel-efficient, low-emitting cars and trucks. The 2020 version has expanded the types of vehicles it reviews and ranks to include vehicles that are all new or completely redesigned and that include the latest automotive safety technology, including advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).Highest ranked by category are:
“Buying a new car is a major investment. Doing your homework ahead of time can alleviate stress when you start shopping and negotiating,” said Ragina C. Ali, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Consumers can also do much of the legwork online including negotiating pricing and virtually ‘test driving’ the car.”
“These days, a vehicle buyer may feel overwhelmed or confused not only by the differences of how the vehicle is powered - either by gasoline, hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric - but by which of the safety features they need and how those work in the real world,” said Megan McKernan, Manager of Automotive Research Center. “Our evaluations are designed to help drivers select a safe and comfortable vehicle that meets their needs.”
As buyers return to the market, industry groups such as the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) are providing dealerships with guidance on how to safely interact with car buyers. This includes procedures on keeping employees and customers safe, cleaning and disinfecting dealership facilities and vehicles and safely handling sales operations. Some dealerships are even modifying their buying process and offering to deliver vehicles to customers for test drives.
The AAA Car Guide is designed to help consumers navigate new car buying since many of the latest models come equipped with some sort of advanced safety system, many of which go by different names. In fact, previously AAA analyzed 34 vehicle brands sold in the United States to identify the number of unique names manufacturers use to market ADAS. For example, automatic emergency braking, standard on 31% of 2018 vehicles, has 40 names for just this one feature. As a result, AAA along with other safety organizations has called on the industry to move towards common naming to help clear the confusion for consumers.
The AAA Car Guide also contains a compendium of AAA’s recent research of current automotive technologies and topics, such as advanced driver-assistance systems, gasoline quality, the advantages of synthetic oil, reduced tire traction in wet-weather driving, and headlight effectiveness.
Winners, detailed evaluation criteria, vehicle reviews and an in-depth analysis of the ADAS technology can be found at aaa.com/carguide.