The 10 Cars, Trucks and SUVs We’re Most Excited to Drive in 2023
Batteries are the order of the day as EVs mainstream their way into our garages and driveways
The future is increasingly electrified — at least in terms of the most interesting new cars, trucks and SUVs arriving over the course of the next 12 months. As automakers turn their attention to EVs, drivers are treated to a parade of intriguing designs and impressive capabilities thanks to the best efforts of leading designers and engineers who are finally presenting a wide array of real-world electric options.
Of course, there are still a few gas-powered autos worth talking about as they debut in 2023. Here are the 10 vehicles I’m most excited to drive in the coming year.
The first entry on this most-anticipated list is also the biggest long shot. Cadillac has scheduled production of its hand-built, $300,000 electric flagship to begin production in December of 2023, which puts a stint behind the wheel at the very edge of possibility. However, it’s not unusual for pre-production models to end up in press fleets a little earlier than retail editions, and any opportunity to sample the strikingly-styled hatchback’s 600-horsepower EV drivetrain and bespoke interior isn’t something to be missed.
This is a car that could very well put Cadillac back in the ultra-luxury conversation, and while I feel like I’ve typed that phrase several times in the past, electrification has leveled the playing field to the point where new traditions are ripe for taking hold.
Toyota GR Corolla
At the other end of the spectrum, the Toyota GR Corolla makes a case for yowling, spitting internal-combustion intensity with its turbocharged three-cylinder engine and rally-style all-wheel drive personality. No one was expecting an amped-up version of one of Toyota’s most modest econo-cars, but I’m certainly not complaining: With the death of the Hyundai Veloster N, it’s time to welcome a new, and hopefully just as rambunctious, player onto the hot hatch scene.
Kia (and its corporate sibling Hyundai) have been on a major roll when it comes to electric vehicle design. The new year will bring its latest effort, the EV9, into play. Although there aren’t many details available — it should borrow the generous electric drivetrain from the smaller EV6, and feature at least 300 miles of range — the three-row SUV turned heads in concept form thanks to its smoothed-out take on the existing Kia Telluride’s Lego-brick styling.
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Chevrolet Silverado EV
The Ford F-150 Lightning is set to gain a direct competitor next year in the form of the Chevrolet Silverado EV. Featuring the same Ultium electric architecture as the GMC Hummer EV pickup, but slated to cost significantly less than its more luxurious sibling, the Silverado EV looks to surpass its Blue Oval rival with 400 miles of range while also delivering more than 660 horsepower. Unlike the Lightning, the Silverado EV rides on its own battery-specific platform rather than adapting the gas version of the truck’s frame, which could give it an advantage when it comes to ride quality and handling.
I have to admit, I’m most curious to drive the redesigned Ford Mustang to see how different it truly is from the vehicle it replaces. Much of the platform remains the same and so do its two main engine options (although both the turbo four and its 5.0 V8 will get a little more power), which means that the muscle car will rely on suspension tweaks and its new, more muted sheet metal to help shape a new personality. The Mustang has been a juggernaut for Ford for so many years, and each refresh brings with it the lingering specter that it might not live up to the generation before it.
Electrifying the Mercedes-Benz G-Class just makes sense. Big and bulky, with plenty of room for batteries, and already priced for a clientele that won’t bat an eye at boosting their lease payment to accommodate an EV model, the upcoming EQG is a slam dunk from a marketing perspective. More interesting for drivers will be how its four-motor setup improves its already considerable off-road capabilities, and what the aftermarket decides to do with a dead-silent go-anywhere machine that features a low-range gearbox.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
The Mazda MX-5 Miata makes this list thanks to rumors that a third major refresh of the current platform (which has been on the market for more than six years now) is potentially on the way. The ND3 edition of the Miata is most likely going to be a facelift, but there’s always a chance of extra horsepower and a more hardcore performance model to celebrate the last non-electrified edition of the roadster that we are likely to get.
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Hyundai Ioniq 6
Hyundai doesn’t seem to have a single, overriding design language for its electric vehicles, which makes each new entry into the lineup that much more interesting. Next year’s Ioniq 6, with its sloped roof, bustle-back and distinctly pescatarian front fascia looks nothing at all like the thoroughly excellent Ioniq 5 that came before it. Personality goes a long way, and I’m eager for EV design to stray from the “one sausage, three different lengths” philosophy that has so far guided many of these modular platforms.
Am I excited to actually drive the Prius? Not really. Am I looking forward to experiencing what direction Toyota has taken its pioneering hybrid after giving it a thorough makeover for 2023? Absolutely. The Prius has fallen behind other battery-assisted vehicles in recent years as buyers face a longer list of options, and the older model’s weird looks weren’t doing it any favors with casual shoppers. The sleeker Prius update has the potential to turn things around for Toyota, which is still leaning heavily on plug-in and traditional hybrids rather than exploring a full EV lineup.
Anything From VinFast
VinFast has made a media splash over the past 12 months, but I’ve yet to actually see any of the Vietnamese brand’s upcoming slate of electric SUVs on the road, let alone had the opportunity to drive one on North American soil. I’m all for boutique brands stepping up to stir the electric car pot, and I’m eager to see how VinFast compares to other independents like Rivian and Tesla. Whether that comes via an encounter with the VF 6, VF 7, VF 8 or VF 9 remains to be seen.
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