One of these 7 cars will be awarded the Motor Authority’s Best Car 2023
As the shift to electrification continues, some automakers are taking a leap into the future, while others are looking to the past for one last last hurray. These trends are clearly evident in this year’s crop of finalists for Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2023.
The past year was a first for our award. A clean-sheet electric pickup truck from a startup automaker won out as the Rivian R1T was named Best Car of 2022 by the Motor Authority. The Lucid Air, also an electric vehicle and also from a startup, came second.
Having driven nearly 30 new or significantly updated luxury and performance cars, trucks and SUVs, we’ve narrowed the list of 2023 nominees down to just seven candidates. We fought to get there and fought even more to determine the winner.
We will announce the winner on January 4th, 2023 along with 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 Integr
The Acura Integra proudly returned in 2022. Prototyped a year before the hatch’s return, the compact hatch lived up to its promise of recapturing the magic of its 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 a hatchback body. It’s a shame the manual gearbox is quarantined to the top-of-the-line model.
2022 Audi RS3
The Audi RS 3 returned with Turbo 5 power and race track suitability. The RS 3’s mission is to excite and awaken the soul of the driver, and he feels right at home on a race track. The four-wheel drive system has become more sophisticated, essentially offering a drift mode thanks to a trick rear differential with torque vectoring capability. The tires are staggered, oddly with the larger rubber up front. It’s also quite quick, with a 0-60 mph sprint of 3.6 seconds. Sure, there’s a bit of turbo lag, but it’s part of the car’s character. But at more than $60,000 in most configurations, it’s expensive in a timeline of faster and more fun cars for less money.
2023 Cadillac Lyriq
The Cadillac Lyriq aligns the automaker with its battery-powered future. It could also mark the turning point that proves GM’s luxury division is finally ready to forge its own path. Rather than chasing the Germans, the Lyriq hits the road with stunning style, a Cadillac-specific interior with no parts bins, and exemplary ride and handling. Although the initial price of $62,990 has come and gone – it will cost more than $70,000 if ordered now – it still feels like value. This is the first mass market application of the Ultium platform and bodes well for future GM electric vehicles.
2022 Ford Bronco Raptor
Ford Bronco Raptor
The Ford Bronco Raptor made it into the final round because it’s one of the most outrageous and outrageous vehicles money can buy. It’s 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 off-road tires. It also costs less than the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392, even though this beast packs two more cylinders and 57 more horsepower.
2023 Honda Civic Type R at Sonoma Raceway
Honda Civic Type R
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 was launched. Now the new Type R is here, and it’s growing up, but it’s fun. The latest iteration of the legendary Hot Hatch checks in with 315 horsepower, better cooling and a revised transmission. Sure, it still has the big wing, but it’s bigger, smarter, and faster than before. The damn thing already set a front-wheel drive lap record at Suzuka. Priced at $43,990, it’s not the bargain it once was, and our last two competitors cost less.
2022 Hyundai KonaN
The Hyundai Veloster N is dead and we mourn its loss after nearly winning our Best Car to Buy award in 2020, but now we’re getting the $35,995 Hyundai Kona N. 4 and front-wheel drive, but a little more practical. The Kona N goes beyond hot hatch to wild child with its loud pops and crackles and sharp dynamics. But its higher seating position is a disadvantage for track and canyon riding, and the ride is harsh.
2023 Toyota GR Corolla Morizo Edition
Toyota GR Corolla
Who would have thought we’d ever see the day Toyota turned the Corolla into a hot hatch, but here we are with the GR Corolla. Toyota’s Gazoo Racing division installed a 300hp turbocharged 3, 6-speed manual and trick 4WD system to make the Corolla a pleasure to drive. The spirited hot hatch starts at $36,995, but the version that enthusiasts want costs just over $40,000, thanks to optional front and rear locking differentials. This is an expensive Corolla and it’s still reasonably priced inside, but it has the willpower to back up its stance and price point.