Top Rated Awards 2021. This year we’vegot eight winners, everything from trucks toSUVs, sedans to sports cars, including a new awardfor Best Luxury EV, lots of interest in that one. Let’s take a peek at the set. Top RatedAward goes to the finest vehicle in a given segment. We’re not recognizingthe best that just happened to belaunched this year, we’re recognizingthe best, period. That’s a reallyimportant distinction.
First up, trucks.
Its launch was delayed byCOVID, but when we finally got paws on the new FordF-150 we weren’t disappointed. It was a close call, butFord’s done just enough to edge out last year’swinner, the Ram 1500. SPEAKER 1: The Ford’sbragging rights are numerous, including Best inClass Max Towing, Max Payload, Torque, and Acceleration. But we feel thatit’s true strength lies with its extensiveand varied options that offer shoppers a chance toget a truck that is truly tailored to their needs. SPEAKER 2: favoriteaddition is pro power onboard, a revolutionary featurethat turns the F-150 into a mobile generator. In its most powerfulconfiguration, it can run a tailgateparty for days. SPEAKER 1: With the F-150, Forddisplays a clear understanding of the changing needs andwants of truck customers, and for that and the otherreasons we’ve outlined, it deserves Top Rated Award. [UPBEAT MUSIC] ALISTAIR WEAVER: I don’t need toremind you what a rubbish year 2020 has been, butdespite all the challenges we still managed totest over 150 vehicles. Here’s head oftesting, Jonathan Elfalan, to explain how wedetermine a winner. JONATHAN ELFALAN:As Alistair said, we test a ton ofvehicles every year, and process is the mostrobust in the business. We measure every vehicle’sperformance at the test track. We evaluate theircomfort, utility, and efficiency on 115mile standardized road loop, and we live with them dayto day in the real world. Each vehicle is scoredand ranked with respect to its segment, with theoverall winners representing the very best of their type.
MARK TAKAHASHI: SUVsdominate today’s market.
It seems like a week doesn’tgo by without a new one being unveiled. This year, the redesignedRogue marks a big step forward for Nissan, and we’re impressedby Mazda’s fun-size CX-30. But none of these couldtopple last year’s winner. The Telluride was alandmark car for Kia, and it remains the bestmainstream SUV on sale today. SPEAKER 3: Andthree, two, one, go. SPEAKER 1: And itisn’t just one feature or a few small advantageshere and there, it’s the Telluride’s overall packagethat continues to impress. ALISTAIR WEAVER: Dependingon which variant you choose, this large, three-row SUV seatsseven or even eight passengers, so there’s plenty ofspace for family hauling. Inside we love theattention to detail, from the handsome design tothe high-quality materials to the oodles of storage space. SPEAKER 1: Its 10 year 100,000mile powertrain coverage is among the best youcan get, and its design is exceptionally attractive. Not only have we evaluated onein long-term test fleet, we even have a Tellurideowner on staff. For the money, there’ssimply no better option. JONATHAN ELFALAN: TheTelluride’s great, but if you’re blessedwith a bit more bank there’s no shortageof luxury SUVs that will make youa whole lot poorer.
There’s even a new onefrom Aston Martin, the DBX, and we were also seducedby the Land Rover Defender, both on- and off-road. But overall, no onedoes a better luxury SUV than Mercedes. The GLB, GLC, and GLS all sitat the top of rankings in their respective segments,but it’s the midsize GLE that’s the best all-rounder. It’s top-rated luxury SUVfor the second year in a row. MARK TAKAHASHI: Spreadacross six variants, not even includingthe coupe models, is an assortment ofquality features, including comprehensiveexterior cameras, wireless phone charging,and air suspension that even helps you get unstuck. SPEAKER 2: The big and powerfulMBUX infotainment system remains one of favorites for the variety of ways you can control it. Whether you go with twoor three rows of seats, Mercedes’s attention to interiorquality, materials, and comfort are clear, from the quadzone automatic climate control to massaging seats. And yes, even down to theheated and cooled cup holders. Fancy! MARK TAKAHASHI: Yes, theprice can jump considerably as you move up therange, but with the GLE, you truly get what you pay for. And if you expect theutmost from y luxury SUV, then look no further. [ENERGETIC POP] SPEAKER 1: Nothingstimulates more debate than Top RatedAward for electric car, and I don’t meanjust on Twitter. People like to talkabout this stuff. The next few years are goingto see an explosion of choice from brands old and new,but for now, at least, last year’s winner remains favorite, the Tesla Model 3. ALISTAIR WEAVER: Weremain skeptical of lots of Tesla’s promises,from future vehicles to the so-calledfull self-driving. Frankly, believeit when you see it. But to focus on suchthings is to devalue the merits of thevehicle itself, which are ever-improving. choice remains theentry-level standard range plus, and for theupcoming 2021 model year, Tesla is introducingsuch niceties as black trim andwireless phone charging. MARK TAKAHASHI: Whileit’s unlikely you’ll match Tesla’s claim to rangefigures, we never have. There’s enough real-worldrange for most shoppers. Plus buying in gets you accessto the supercharger network, which remains the mostrobust fast-charging set up across the nation. The Model 3 is a powerful,attractive, and highly functional EV serves as anexcellent commuter for shoppers who are ready to adoptall electric mobility.
Moving on. Reflecting changing in the market,
This year with debuting anew award for Luxury EV. In the past year, we’ve seenthe birth of the Tesla Model Y, the Polestar brand, andthe brilliant new electric car from Porsche, the Taycan. We even went out andbought a Model Y, and you can readall about what it’s like to live with on site. But by the year’s end,the Y had met its match in the form of a newcontender from the old world. Edmunds’ Top RatedLuxury EV for 2021 comes not from SiliconValley, but from Detroit. It’s the Mustang Mach-E. SPEAKER 3: The Mach-Ehas a lot in common with similarly priced EVs. It’s available in configurationsfor long-range efficiency, high performance, orsomething in between. It offers up to300 miles of range, and it’s packed with all thelatest advanced safety features and driver assistance. But it’s really thedetails that set it apart. The interior is much nicerthan its closest competitors, both in terms of designand functionality. The digital instrumentpanel and center touchscreen are sufficiently modern. They offer sharpgraphics and are easy to use, which makesit superior to systems from Tesla and Porsche. JONATHAN ELFALAN: When theMach-E debuted, more than a few of us were suspiciousof this all electric quasi-SUV with a muscle carname, but we aren’t anymore. The Mach-E is a stellarvehicle in its own right, but more broadly, it not onlyintegrates the Mustang identity into its styling anddriving experience, it also paves a way for thatname to exist in the future. [UPBEAT MUSIC] JONATHAN ELFALAN: AMustang is a luxury car? Well surely we’velost minds, right? Let’s walk youthrough thinking. We believe that EVluxury begins at $40,000. The Mach-E’s MSRPstarts above that point, and we believe the onethat you should get is going to be in themid $50,000 range. That means yclosest competition is going to be the TeslaModel Y and Polestar 2, and those models aredefinitely luxury vehicles. So with that out of the way, let’s talk about something that doesn’t need as much nuance, and that’s family midsize sedans. Now these aren’t as popular as they have been, and that’s unfortunate because they’ve never been better. perennial favorite, the Honda Accord, received a modest update this year, but it wasn’t enough for it to retain its crown. So instead we have another win for Kia.
Top Rated Sedan is the all new Kia K5.
ALISTAIR WEAVER:In recent times, Kia has really raised expectations for a given segment, and what began with the Telluride SUV continues with a K5 sedan. MARK TAKAHASHI: As are placement for the Optima, the K5 makes a strikingfirst impression, thanks to sharp design that’s far more compelling than some of its more pedestrian-looking competition. Inside is a smartly dressed cabin, equally rich with technology and user-friendly, from a large center touch screen to wireless phone integration. A quiet interior and supportive seats makes for a comfy cabin, and a smooth operatingengine and gearbox extends that comfortwhen on the move. ALISTAIR WEAVER: Availableall-wheel drive makes the K5 an appealing choice forthose in snowy climates, while the imminent arrivalof the performance-focused GT version promises moredriving pleasure. Pair all this with awarranty package that’s among the best inthe business, and you have an unbeatablevalue in the class. [SUBDUED ELECTRONIC ROCK] SPEAKER 1: It’s rare that acar’s midlife refresh does enough to propelit to the very top, but updates to the style andtechnology of the Mercedes E-Class have madea good car great. Indeed, there areenough to see it replace last year’s winner, the A-Class,as Top Rated Luxury Sedan. SPEAKER 2: TheE-Class is offered in a variety of models,yet they all share a common theme of drivingpleasure, refinement, and sophisticated tech. The newly availableand very intuitive MBUX infotainmentsystem gives users a variety ofmethods for control, whether you prefertouch or voice. The quiet interior providesall-day comfortable seats with plenty of adjustmentsfor occupants of all sizes. If you have a lot ofroad trips planned, spring for the massaging seats. Trust me, you willnot regret it. JONATHAN ELFALAN:No matter the engine you choose, from the turbo 4cylinder to the 6 cylinder, to even the 8 cylinder, theE-Class accelerates seamlessly, whether it’s under thecommand of y right foot, or the brains behind the cleveradaptive cruise control system. Subtle and dignified yetcapable and comfortable, the E-Class is whatyou should picture when someone says luxury sedan. [UPBEAT MUSIC] MARK TAKAHASHI:Let’s be honest, this is probably the awardwe look forward to most.
we’ve tested exoticsports groups from Porsche, Bentley, and Lamborghini,just to name a few, but repeat winner hailsfrom Detroit via Kentucky. It’s the Chevrolet Corvette. ALISTAIR WEAVER: Indeed,we rate it so highly that we went out andbought that very car. SPEAKER 1: And now we haveconstant staff arguments over who gets to take it home. Running the C8 in long-term test fleet has only solidified appreciation for what Chevrolet has done. The Corvette is equallyat home on a racetrack, a windy road, the main drag,or in stop and go traffic. The Corvette’s fabulouslyresponsive and excellent sounding V8 maintains its musclecar credentials, while it’s new and much talked about mid-enginelayout is supercar stuff. ALISTAIR WEAVER:With the Corvette, Chevrolet’s combinedan acute understanding of what makes a sportscar exciting, with a price tag that’s withinreach of more shoppers. To find anothersports car that says fun, quick, andcomfortable, you’d have to spend almosttwice as much, and soon there’ll be versionswith even more performance. In 2021, the bestmight get even better. MARK TAKAHASHI: Honestly,we love the Corvette so much we spent own money on one. You can read aboutit at Edmunds.com. [UPBEAT ACOUSTIC] ALISTAIR WEAVER: So that’sit Top Rated Awards 2021