Buying Advice

AutomotiveMap Picks: Best Plug-In Electric Vehicles

Hyundai, Kia, Tesla, and Honda make the list for the best plug-in electric vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The future is now. Hybrid, plug-in, and all-electric vehicles are becoming more prevalent on dealership lots. However, there are big differences between them. While some are adequate people movers or comfortable commuters, others are built for speed and sublime serenity.

The models on this list run the gamut from the aforementioned speedsters to full-on family haulers. And, not all of them are Teslas.

Here are the plug-in vehicles AutomotiveMap's team prefers.

​2020 Honda Clarity

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Jesus Garcia: The 2020 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybird delivers a ride that feels like cloud in a Gulfstream. With surprisingly responsive handling and performance the Clarity is one of the most entertaining PHEVs to drive for under 40k.

​​2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Sue Mead: There is so much to like with the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E beyond fuel economy and torque. It has stunning tailoring outside and within the "fully vegan", tech-laden cabin are a massive touch screen; a clever, drainable stowage under-hood compartment to supplement rear cargo-carrying for road trips and tailgating; and seating for five.

​2019 Kia Niro EV

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Harvey Briggs: I spent a week with the 2019 Niro EV this summer and was able to get more than 300 miles of range from a full charge. Everything about it feels like a normal economy car, except it's quiet and has great acceleration.

2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Perry Stern, AutoNXT: With excellent use of space as well as innovative entertainment options, the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid may be the most useful plug-in on the market.

​2020 Hyundai Ioniq

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Nicole Wakelin: With the 2020 Hyundai Ioniq's latest round of updates, the model is more stylish than ever. it remains affordable and has a good list of standard safety features.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Eileen Falkenberg-Hull: I hear you, I hear you. Yes, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime isn't on sale yet, but it's a model that's already worth taking notice of. This isn't your grandma's hybrid. Toyota says that they're upping the power on the RAV in this new variant making it the closest thing to a RAV4 performance model that we're likely to see outside of SEMA.

2020 Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

Photo courtesy of Tesla

Chad Kircher: The Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus is the one you want. Skip the all-wheel drive and the $7,000 full self-driving option that doesn't exist IRL and you'll have an EV with as much range as most of the competition, standard safety features, and luxury features not offered for $40,000 or less.

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New performance SUV

Hyundai announces pricing for 2022 Kona N

The Kona N is price right at $35,425.

Hyundai

Hyundai is hard at work developing new electric vehicles, and has released some truly interesting electric concepts in recent months. However, the automaker’s efforts in the electric world haven’t stopped it from rolling out fun-to-drive and affordable performance vehicles under its N brand. Today, Hyundai announced pricing for the latest vehicle in the series. The Kona N will go on sale soon with a reasonable starting price of $35,425, which includes a $1,225 destination charge.

2022 Hyundai Kona N One well-equipped model will be available.Hyundai

The Kona N joins Hyundai’s high-performance stable that also includes the Veloster N and Elantra N, though the latter hasn’t yet hit the streets. The hot crossover gets the same output numbers from its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder as the Elantra N: 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque. The Veloster gets 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. That rowdy four-banger is paired with an eight-speed wet dual-clutch transmission.

Hyundai’s full-on N cars get plenty of other go-fast bits to keep them planted in corners and stable at higher speeds. The Kona N gets an electronic limited-slip differential, an active sport exhaust system, electronically controlled suspension, and 19-inch wheels with Pirelli P-Zero performance tires.

2022 Hyundai Kona N Aggressive wheels and tires help keep the Kona N planted in corners.Hyundai

Hyundai generally knocks it out of the park with value, and the Kona N is no exception. Its modest price tag buys a generous helping of advanced driver aids in addition to its exciting specs. Standard features include forward collision warnings, lane keep assist, lane following assist, driver attention warnings, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, and a safe exit warning system.

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The Integra returns next year as a 2023 model.

Acura

In the last couple years, we've seen a few big-name nostalgic automotive nameplates return to the market. There was the Land Rover Defender and more recently the Ford Bronco. Now, it's Acura's turn to stroll down memory lane, as it gears up for the release of the fifth-generation 2023 Integra. The car will return in 2022 as a four-door with a liftback, and most importantly, it gets plenty of go-fast bits in the places that matter.

2023 Acura Integra While it's true that the Integra looks like other Acura sedans, it's not an indication of how it will drive. Acura

Before we go too far: Yes, the Integra looks like the ILX and the TLX sedans, and yes, it has four doors. Remember that the first-, second-, and third-generation cars were available with four doors. It wasn't until the Acura RSX (sold as the Integra in Japan and Australia) that the car shaved two doors and became exclusively a two-door hatchback. So, while the look may be disappointing to some, it's not out of place.

2023 Acura Integra The new Integra will come with a limited-slip differential and an optional manual gearbox.

All the specs are here, too. The 2023 Integra will get a high-output 1.5-liter engine, a limited slip differential, and an available six-speed manual gearbox. If that isn't the recipe for a fun front-drive enthusiast car, we don't know what is. The prototype rides on matte-finish 19-inch wheels and comes with Brembo high-performance brakes.

2023 Acura Integra Acura will release more details closer to the car's launch in 2022. Acura

Acura says that the 2023 Integra will mark the car's first time being built in the United States, and notes that the car will enter production at its Marysville Auto Plant in Ohio. The car will be formally introduced in the first half of 2022, so we'll have to wait until then for detailed specs and pricing information. The good news, however, is that Acura says the car will start around $30,000, making it accessible to a wide swath of the car buying public.

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