5 Most Satisfying New Cars for Gen Z and Millennials According to Consumer Reports

Throughout the years, we have seen drastic changes to what makes the most satisfying new cars appealing to consumers. In the 1960s, the big American family hauler was seen as a status symbol and the standard for all other cars. In the 1980s, small, fuel-efficient, reliable cars hit peak popularity with basic, utilitarian designs emphasizing longevity over everything else.

Today, in the 2020s, we are starting to see what appeals to the newest car-buying demographic, Gen Z and Millennials, due to a recent Consumer Reports study that compiled customer satisfaction ratings from over 300,000 owners. With this data, we can explore what gets the youngest automotive market excited to get behind the wheel of a new car. Here are the five most satisfying new cars for Gen Z and Millennials.

Tesla Model 3 is a most satisfying new car

A blue Tesla Model 3 parked in a showroom, one of the most satisfying new cars.
Tesla Model 3 | Getty Images

Since 2020, the Tesla Model 3 has become the best-selling electric car in world history, due partly to the accessibility for younger generations of drivers from a cost standpoint. When the Model 3 started production in July of 2017, it aimed to bring the luxury, excitement, and status of a Tesla to a broader demographic, and it has done a great job.

With a purchase price of just under $50,000, you can officially travel around the country without needing a gas station ever again. With a possible 334 miles of range and an industry-leading warranty of 8 years or 120,000 miles on the battery and drive unit, it is no wonder younger consumers are jumping to this compact luxury sedan.

Tesla Model Y

Crossover SUVs have quickly become the standard vehicle in America, thanks to their drivability that makes them feel, ride, and park like a small car, but with more cargo space. Since the Tesla Model Y crossover production started in January 2020, it has been a standout hit among the younger generation of drivers.

This fully-electric car is built on the bones of the Model 3 and mostly with shared parts. This makes for a capable crossover with plenty of cargo space but the sporty drive of a luxury sports sedan. With a possible range of 358 miles and starting price of $65,990, the Model Y gives you all the perks of a Model 3 but with more space, making it perfect for young, active drivers.

Toyota Sienna is another most satisfying new car

Indeed, one of the most satisfying new cars for the youngest automotive customers in 2022 is a minivan. Since 1997, the Sienna, Toyota’s replacement for the quirky Previa, has been a favorite for van lovers. While the golden age of the minivan is long gone, the Sienna proves that the platform is still an excellent option for many consumers.

The 2022 Toyota Sienna is a hybrid vehicle capable of hauling up to eight passengers comfortably in its well-equipped cabin. With its hybrid engine, the Sienna gets an estimated 36 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.

Starting at around $35,000, younger families and drivers get the capability and capacity of a van but the fuel economy of a compact car. Add in Toyota’s reliability and reputation, and you’ll have a solid vehicle for many years, making this an excellent investment for younger drivers.

Kia Telluride

Since the Kia Telluride entered production in 2019, the capable crossover SUV has become a favorite among Kia loyalists and SUV lovers. The Telluride, named after the town of Telluride, Colorado, is the largest vehicle Kia produces for the United States.

What makes the Telluride different compared to the competition is the focus and the price. While the focus of many crossover SUVs is to give a sporty ride and drivability of a car with larger SUV space, the Telluride brings comfort to the interior and power with a 3.6 L V6 engine standard.

This gives the Telluride a standard towing capacity of 5,000 pounds, which competes with many mid-sized trucks. With all of these features at just around $33,000, the Telluride does much more for much less, perfect for first-time car buyers.

Mazda CX-5


4 Best Affordable New Cars for First-Time Car Buyers in 2022

With near-perfect scores from multiple automotive review sources, it is no surprise the Mazda CX-5 ranks among the top 5 new cars for Gen Z and Millennials. The Mazda CX-5 offers a premium package for a budget price.

Starting at around $26,000, this top-ranking crossover offers a luxurious interior, all-wheel drive standard, standard adaptive cruise, blind-spot monitoring, and all the entertainment technology you’d expect in an attractive crossover body for around the price of a Toyota Corolla. While the miles per gallon ratings are a little lower than some of the competition at 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, the CX-5 is impressive for any driver, and the low price makes it a good choice for a first-time new car buyer.