As the transition to electrification continues, some automakers are taking a leap into the future, while others are looking to the past for one last last hurrah. These trends are evident in this year’s finalists for Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2023.
Last year was a first for our award. An electric pickup truck with clean design from a start-up automaker came out on top when the Rivian R1T earned Motor Authority Best Car to Buy 2022 honour. The clear skyalso an electric vehicle and also from a startup, was runner-up.
After driving nearly 30 new or significantly updated luxury and performance cars, trucks and SUVs, we narrowed down the list of 2023 nominees to just seven contenders. We fought to get there, and fought even more to determine the winner.
We will announce the winner on January 4, 2023, along with the winners from our sister sites, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports.
Until then, these are the seven finalists for Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2023.
2023 Acura Integra
The Acura Integra proudly returned in 2022. Previewed a year before the hatch returns in prototype formthe compact hatch kept its promise to magic of the glory days. Based on the bones of the Civic Si, the Integra takes it a step further with the availability of adaptive dampers, a better sound system and, of course, hatchback body styling. It is a pity that the manual transmission is quarantined for the top model.
Audi RS3 from 2022
The Audi RS 3 came back with turbo-5 power and track capabilities. The RS 3’s mission is to please the driver and excite the soul, and it feels good at home on a racetrack. The four-wheel drive system has become more sophisticated, essentially offering a drift mode thanks to a cunning rear differential with torque vectoring. The tires are staggered, oddly with the larger rubber up front. It’s rightfully fast too, sprinting from 0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds. Sure, there’s a bit of turbo lag, but it’s part of the car’s character. But at over $60,000 in most configurations, it’s expensive in a timeline of fast and fun cars for less money.
2023 Cadillac Lyriq
The Cadillac Lyriq brings the automaker into line with its battery-powered future. It could also mark the turning point that proves GM’s luxury division is finally ready to go its own way. Rather than chasing the Germans, the Lyriq goes out on its own with breathtaking style, a Cadillac-specific interior with no parts, and exemplary handling and handling. While the initial price of $62,990 has come and gone – costing over $70,000 when ordered now – it still feels like a value. This is the first mass market application of the Ultium platformand it bodes well for future GM EVs.
2022 Ford Bronco Raptor
The Ford Bronco Raptor made it to the final round because it is one of the most insane and insanely fun vehicles money can buy. It is a street legal Tonka Truck with insane specs including 418 horsepower, 13.0 inches of ground clearance, 13.0 inches of front and 14.0 inches of rear travel, and 37-inch all-terrain tires. It also costs less than the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392, although that beast has two more cylinders and 57 more horsepower.
2023 Honda Civic Type R at Sonoma Raceway
Could we have a repeat winner on our hands? The Honda Civic Type R was named Best Car to Buy 2018 by the Motor Authority when the last generation model arrived. Now the new Type R is here, and it grows up but remains fun. The latest version of the legendary hot hatch checks in with 315 horsepower, better cooling and a revised gearbox. Sure, it still has the big wing, but that’s about it bigger, smarter and faster than before. The dang thing already has one set front-wheel drive lap record at Suzuka. Priced at $43,990it’s not the bargain it once was and our last two contenders cost less.
2022 Hyundai Kona N
The Hyundai Veloster N is dead and we mourn the loss after it almost won us Award for best car to buy in 2020but now we get the $35,995 Hyundai Kona N. The slightly lifted hot hatch bursts onto the scene with the same wanton turbo-4 and front-wheel drive, but a little more practicality. The Kona N goes from hot hatch to wild child with its loud pops and crackles and crisp dynamics. But the higher seating position is detrimental to riding tracks and canyons, and the ride is tough.
2023 Toyota GR Corolla Morizo Edition
Who would have thought we’d see the day when Toyota turned the Corolla into a hot hatch, but here we are with the GR Corolla. Toyota’s Gazoo Racing division installed one 300 hp turbo-3, a six-speed manual transmission and a smart four-wheel drive system to make the Corolla fun. The spicy hot hatch starts at $36,995, but the version enthusiasts want costs just over $40,000 thanks to optional front and rear limited-slip differentials. That’s an expensive Corolla, and it’s still budget-quality inside, but it’s got the willpower to back up its attitude and price.