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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

For the 2022 edition, we 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 new vehicles coming to market in the next few years.

Car Guide Winner: 1st Place Small

2021 BMW 330e Sedan

Vehicle Type: Small Hybrid
 overall score
Category Ranking: 1

Vehicle Price

Base Price: $44,550
Price as Tested: $57,945

Fuel Information

Fuel Type: Electricity/midgrade
Fuel Capacity (gal): 10.6
120V Charge Time: 3 miles per hour
240V Charge Time: 7.7 miles per hour
EPA City mpg25
EPA Highway mpg33
EPA Combined mpg: 28
EPA Combined MPGe: 75
EPA-Est. Electric Range (mi): 23
with specific headlights

Advanced Safety Features

  • Adaptive Cruise Control [O]
  • Advanced Headlights [O]
  • Automatic Emergency Braking [S]
  • Blind-Spot Warning [O]
  • Driver Monitoring [S]
  • Forward-Collision Warning [S]
  • Lane-Departure Warning [S]
  • Lane-Keeping Assistance [O]
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Warning [O]
  • Reverse Automatic Emergency Braking [O]
  • [S] Standard, [O] Optional

Overall Observations

The BMW 3 Series reintroduced its plug-in hybrid variant in 2021, after a 2-year hiatus. The powertrain, which consists of a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and an electric motor (288 hp total), provides quick acceleration and plenty of power. Our test car’s responsive handling was improved by its optional Adaptive M suspension. The 330e’s fit and finish are excellent inside and out. Both front and rear seating are very comfortable, although the cabin feels a bit cramped, and rear visibility is poor. Adaptive LED headlights and dual-zone climate control are standard, and the digital infotainment system is easy to use. Our 330e had a 75 MPGe rating, but its allelectric range is only 23 miles and recharging times are slow. Its fuel economy is 28 mpg combined. Annoyingly, BMW tends to charge extra for features that many luxury automakers include as standard, such as a heated steering wheel and front seats, lumbar support, and advanced safety features. More than 20% of the price of our 330e test vehicle was for optional equipment
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Strengths and Weaknesses

Strong Points

  • Responsive, quickacceleration
  • Excellent fit and finishinside and out
  • Comfortable front andrear seats

Weak Points

  • Slow observed EVcharging times
  • Cramped passenger andcargo areas
  • Poor rear visibility

Vehicle Specifications

Model year tested: 2021
Number of passengers (F/R): 2/3
Curb weight (lbs): 4160.0
Exterior L / W / H (in): 185.7 / 71.9 / 56.9
Wheelbase (in): 112.2
Number of air bags: 9
Warranty (months/miles): 48/50,000
Tire manufacturer and model: Bridgestone Turanza
Front and rear tire size: 225/40 R19
Max towing capacity (lbs): Not recommended
Headlight type: LED
Transmission type: Hybrid drive
Drivetrain type: Rear wheel
Engine/motor: 2.0L 4-Cyl. turbo
Engine horsepower @ RPM: 181 @ 6500
Electric motor horsepower: 107
Combined system horsepower: 288

Test Data

Test Vehicle Scores

Advanced Safety Features:


Fuel Efficiency:


EPA Emissions Score:








Ride Quality:


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