To help members understand the latest automotive technology so they can purchase vehicles that best suit their needs, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center (ARC) began testing and reviewing vehicles over a decade ago in the AAA Green Car Guide, which initially focused entirely on rating fuel-efficient, low-emitting vehicles.
For the 2021 edition, we've expanded the focus of the guide to include testing and ranking cars and light trucks with the latest technology, including having at least one advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) feature. In addition to vehicle evaluation, the guide covers a number of pertinent automotive topics in detail—for example, the latest advanced safety features, how to properly maintain your vehicle, and the development of autonomous vehicles.
The green cars tested by the ARC are evaluated on the basis of 13 categories: emissions, fuel economy,
crashworthiness, braking, acceleration, handling, cargo-carrying capacity, ride quality, interior noise, ease of entry and exit, maneuverability, roominess, and visibility.
The scores for the categories are totaled, and the cars are ranked from high to low.
Car Guide Winner: 1st Place Large
2020 Volvo S90 T8 E-AWD R-Design
Vehicle Type: Large Plug-In Hybrid
Category Ranking: 1
Price as Tested:$73,840
Fuel Type: Electricity/premium
Fuel Capacity (gal): 15.9
120V Charge Time: 2.7 miles per hour
240V Charge Time: 7 miles per hour
EPA City mpg: 28
EPA Highway mpg: 31
EPA Combined mpg: 30
EPA Combined MPGe: 60
EPA-Est. Electric Range (mi): 21
Advanced Safety Features
Adaptive Cruise Control [S]
Advanced Headlights [S]
Automatic Emergency Braking [S]
Blind-Spot Warning [S]
Forward-Collision Warning [S]
Lane-Departure Warning [S]
Lane-Keeping Assistance [S]
Rear Cross-Traffic Warning [S]
[S] Standard, [O] Optional
When you consider European luxury sedans, chances are you're thinking German, not Swedish. That's unfortunate, because high-end four-doors don't come much more refined than the Volvo S90. Start your tour in the roomy passenger cabin, where you'll discover tasteful Scandinavian design and premium materials, including genuine wood trim. The front seats are among the most comfortable you'll find anywhere, making the S90 an ideal road-trip companion. A 9-inch vertical touch screen looks slick but can make even simple tasks like tuning the radio complicated and distracting; there's also a shortage of storage options for small items like cell phones. Under the S90's hood is a 4-cylinder engine that's both supercharged (to boost low-speed output) and turbocharged (which adds power as speed begins to build). Integrated into this powertrain is a plug-in hybrid system with an electric motor and battery pack that give the S90 up to 21 miles of whisper-quiet all-electric range. The combined 400-hp output is impressive, but our tests revealed a slight hesitation when the powertrain switches between gasoline and electric power. Other useful technology includes LED headlights with auto high beams, a head-up display, a 360-degree surround-view camera system, and standard AWD.