2023 MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Awards
Toyota Prius – Best Family Car
Not everyone has jumped aboard the crossover bandwagon, but America’s tastes have certainly broadened from the traditional 4-door sedan. Which means naming the hatchback Toyota Prius our Best Family Car really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Coming from a time when you had to explain what a hybrid was, through the debut of this better than ever 5th-generation, the Prius has become the fuel-sipping go-to for many American families.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class – Best Luxury Sedan
It’s a repeat win for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class as our Best Luxury Sedan. The reasons are many; its tech like augmented reality navigation; the 77-inches of screen space; but also, its E-Active Body Control that delivers a composed driving experience unlike any other big sedan. It’s a tough package to top and turns out no other luxury car could.
Acura Integra – Best Sport Sedan
Expectations were certainly high for the reborn Acura Integra, and it fully lived up to them. That’s why it’s our best Sport Sedan for 2023. A totally modern compact sport-luxury car with good power and a genuinely fun to drive nature. Plus, easy to use tech, and more than acceptable amounts of luxury, all at an entry-level price.
Nissan Z – Best Sport Coupe
Another vehicle making a return to headlines this year is the Nissan Z, our pick for Best Sport Coupe. Yes, it’s just Z now, and while not as all-new as some would have liked, it fully embodies the “Zethos” of the original, world-class performance for a bargain-class price. Aided by Infiniti’s smooth and powerful 400-horsepower 4.0-liter twin-turbo V6, it looks great, drives great, and is everything a Z should be.
Audi RS3 – Best Performance Car
With the emergence of EVs with outrageous performance numbers, it’s getting harder to define what a performance car is. But for our Best Performance Car award winner, it only took us one drive in Audi’s spectacular RS3 to know it was the one. With a unique 401-horsepower 5-cylinder turbo engine, and well-sorted suspension setup; this 4-door performer may be small in stature, but it packs a big performance punch for not a lot of money.
BMW i4 – Best EV
When it comes to electrifying the iconic compact German luxury sport sedan, we don’t see how BMW could have done a better job than they did with i4; all the fun and feel we were hoping for, with no more stops for gas!
Cadillac LYRIQ – Best EV
If this all-electric Cadillac LYRIQ utility is indeed a true representation of what’s to come from the new Cadillac, we couldn’t be happier or more excited to drive what’s still to come. For about half the price of an Escalade, Cadillac has delivered an all-new gorgeous EV with more than 300-miles of range, loaded with tech and luxury.
GMC Hummer EV Pickup – Best EV
If buzz and hype were the only criteria for winning an award, the GMC Hummer EV Pickup would have won in a landslide. Our criteria are much stricter, and the Hummer EV Pickup is still a runaway winner. It’s so much more than just a pickup truck with batteries, it truly is unlike any vehicle we’ve ever driven.
Kia EV6 – Best EV
While Kia has been an EV builder for quite a few years, the EV6 is their first vehicle on a dedicated battery platform. Plus, it also significantly raises the bar for the segment, delivering great range, better practicality, and tremendous ease of use; all in a spectacular looking crossover package.
Mazda CX-50 – Best Small Utility
We’ve been fans of Mazda’s approach to building utility vehicles that are not only highly practical, but also incredibly fun to drive. With the all-new CX-50, our Best Small Utility winner, they kept playful and practical the main things, but increased its off-road capabilities, as well as continued to escalate refinement, as Mazda marches toward becoming more of a premium brand.
Jeep Grand Cherokee – Best Midsize Utility
Our Best Midsize Utility nod goes to the Jeep Grand Cherokee. For a company heavy on tradition, you’d think Jeep would be the last to offer a plug-in powertrain, but after debuting it in the Wrangler 2 years ago, it’s now available on the new Grand Cherokee 4xe. Combine that forward thinking with all-around better off-road performance than ever, and cutting-edge tech for the driver and passengers, plus 3-row seating in the Grand Cherokee L, and it’s a Grand Cherokee lineup that’s more desirable than ever.
Hyundai Palisade – Best Large Utility
After flirting with various family size 3-row SUVs for years, Hyundai finally got serious 3-years ago with the Palisade. It was a huge success by any measure, and they wasted no time making it even better, adding a host of updates that helped it earn our Drivers’ Choice Award for Best Large Utility. The Palisade not only sits atop the lineup when it comes to size but sets a new standard for the brand.
Jeep Grand Wagoneer – Best Luxury Utility
Last year it was that first-ever 3-row Jeep Grand Cherokee L that won our Best Large Utility award, and this year Jeep went even bigger and far better with the Grand Wagoneer L, our winner for Best Luxury Utility. Yep, Jeep wins a luxury vehicle award. And while that may shock some, anyone who’s spent time inside the new Grand Wagoneer will totally get it. And this year, it truly grew to new lengths with an extended wheelbase version that provides cavernous storage space behind the 3rd-row so you can haul plenty of cargo and people. It’s the ultimate go-anywhere family getaway machine that pampers in every way possible.
Ford Maverick – Best Small Truck
Best Small Truck honors go to a repeat winner, the Ford Maverick. Last year saw the reemergence of true compact pickups, and the Ford Maverick easily won an award from us for not only giving buyers an easy to drive and capable pickup packed with cool features, but pricing it low enough to be Ford’s entry-level model. And on top of that, they gave it a standard hybrid powertrain making it the least expensive new hybrid you could buy. No one even attempted to match that this year, so the Maverick is a winner again.
Ford F-Series – Best Fullsize Truck
The Ford F-Series remains the best-selling lineup of full-size pickup trucks year after year, so winning our Best Fullsize Truck award is probably no big surprise. The major reason for that is the constant innovation that Ford continues to bring across the F-Series family. The all-new 14th generation F-150 that arrived for ’21 was impressive enough, but since then, they not only went electric with the Lightning, but made it affordable. Then, they catapulted themselves back to the top of the off-road performance truck heap with the 700-horsepower Raptor R. But what really sealed the deal this year was a new generation of Super Duty trucks that deliver more towing, payload, torque, and horsepower than any heavy duty truck yet, and integrate new technologies that not only pamper, but help you perform your jobs better than ever.
Kia EV6 – Best of the Year
The Kia EV6; an EV game changer for so many reasons.
When it comes to transitioning to our all-electric future, meeting people where they are is the key. That means less 6-figure show pieces, and more tidy crossovers like this spectacular battery electric EV6.
Kia actually has years of experience integrating batteries and electric motors into vehicles, but the EV6 was their first on a dedicated EV platform that it shares with Hyundai.
Available in rear or all-wheel drive, with as much as 310-miles of range, or as many as 576-horsepower in the GT, means lots of options whether your priorities are getting the kids to school, or getting to 60 in only 3.5-seconds. And with 800-volt charging capability, it charges almost as quickly, adding more than 200-miles of range in less than 18-minutes.
No matter how it’s spec’d out, the EV6 is quick, comfortable, and a more than capable handler.
It also doesn’t feel overly heavy like many EVs, with a toss-able nature to go with that near instantaneous power that we’ve come to love from EVs. It looks cool too, and certainly trendy, with a 5-door coupe-like profile, flush door handles, and long wheelbase; but its face is aggressive and more traditional in nature.
And, inside the cabin, there’s an Audi-like vibe that feels equal parts sporty, comfortable, and techy, as well as way above its price point; with great seats and a clean and functional layout that’s different enough from traditional cars, but still easily to get accustomed to.
The Kia EV6 is a total EV package that delivers style, performance, and tech better than just about anything else on the road and does it for less. It’s the exact kind of vehicle that will take EVs out of the early adopter stage, and provide a big push towards making them mainstream. That’s why the Kia EV6 is our 2023 MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Best of the Year!