The year has officially come to an end, and we're taking a look back at the vehicles we've driven in 2023. In all, we've helmed 82 cars, trucks, and SUVs. They've run the gamut including sedans, hatchbacks, coupes, station wagons, pickup trucks, minivans, crossovers, and true SUVs. Gas, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles have all found their way into our eager hands. It seems there are hardly any truly abysmally bad vehicles anymore, and most of the ones we've driven have been quite good. But some rise above the rest to take the mantle of the best vehicles we've driven in 2023. We present them in no particular order, and each one has attained an overall rating of "excellent". 

2023 BMW XM 


Ok, so the XM isn't for everyone, nor can everyone afford it. The high six-figure price tag ($159,000 base MSRP) makes it pretty exclusive, but it should please everyone who can get his hands on it. The high-powered XM has a twin-turbo V8 and an electric motor that combine for a whopping 644 horsepower to all four wheels. It also happens to be a plug-in hybrid that can run without gas for all-electric commutes. Even more than the luxurious and high-tech interior was the way the XM drove. It has sports car-like reflexes, as well as serious handling prowess that belies its 6,000+ lb curb weight. Just don't expect it to turn heads for its good looks because the styling is a lot to take in. 

Highs: Incredible amounts of power and luxury, unique styling that looks like nothing else on the road, ample space for families, superb infotainment system. 

Lows: Can look seriously gaudy in some colorways, high price tag. 

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2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid AWD Sport Touring


We were not prepared to love the redesigned CR-V as much as we did. The new Honda design language is the best it's ever been, and the result is taut styling that's sportier and more upscale, as well as a new interior that's practical but handsome. Notch up to the CR-V Hybrid ($33,700 base MSRP), and you get even more than you bargained for. Power isn't significant, but the 204-hp and 247 lb-ft of torque deliver smooth acceleration, and the steering and handling are rewarding. More good news comes in the form of excellent efficiency for the hybrid at 40 mpg city. 

Highs: Best-looking CR-V ever, sporty and practical interior, top-notch fuel efficiency, great driving manners. 

Lows: Not especially quick, so-so in-car tech, can get pricey in top trim levels.

Get a Good Deal on a Honda CR-V Hybrid Near You

2024 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus


If there's one vehicle we would buy for our own family today, it would be the CX-50 ($30,300 base MSRP). Not because it's huge inside (although it can fit a family of five) and not because it's especially quick (although the 2.5-liter turbo engine and AWD launch it to 60 mph in a more-then-respectable 6.6 seconds), and not because it's got an amazing infotainment system (although the 10.25" infotainment screen and system are easy to see and operate). It's because the CX-50 is greater than the sum of its parts. The steering and handling are sublime, the cabin is beautiful, and it's also one of the safest crossovers on the road. Couple all of this with an excellent AWD system, attractive styling, and premium appointments in higher trims, and you have a recipe for success.

Highs: Excellent driving dynamics superb steering, ruggedly handsome exterior, premium interior, superb all-wheel drive system.

Lows: Maximum horsepower bump needs premium fuel.

Get a Good Deal on the Mazda CX-50 Near You

2024 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 53


What used to be the M Class SUV has morphed into the superb GLE-Class, and it's this very model that's the brand's best-selling vehicle. We adore the AMG 53 version ($89,800 base MSRP) with its subdued but handsome styling and the turbocharged I6 engine that delivers an authoritative 429 horsepower. The attractive in-car technology is a little bit fussy to use, but we can overlook it for the GLE AMG 53's excellent cabin, premium materials, and balanced driving manners. There's also a strong set of standard safety and tech features that make it truly family-friendly. The extra snarl delivered by the smooth and potent inline-six engine is the icing on the cake. 

Highs: Silky and potent inline-six engine, incredibly smooth ride, stunning interior, great steering effort, manages its weight well, built like a tank.

Lows: Somewhat anonymous exterior styling, overly complex infotainment system.

Find a Mercedes-Benz GLE Near You

2023 Hyundai IONIQ 6 Limited AWD


First of all, the IONIC 6 ($37,500 base MSRP) looks like no other car on the road, electric or gas. It borrows a ton from the concept car, and that's a very good thing. The head-turning exterior is matched by its ultra-modern and airy cabin that's about as original as anything else. It takes the guts of the IONIQ 6 hatchback and adds more style. The IONIQ 6 comes in both rear- (single motor) or all-wheel (dual motor) configurations and your choice of two battery packs for up to 361 miles of range. The car is quick, nimble, and very smooth to drive every day, and we could not get enough of it. Did we mention that the infotainment is super-easy to use, as well as easy on the eyes? 

Highs: Original and head-turning styling, quick off the line, excellent driving manners, beautiful cabin, excellent storage options.

Lows: Touchscreen response time lages, overly generous range estimates.

Get a Good Deal on the Hyundai IONIQ 6 

2023 BMW X7 xDrive M60i


We get that BMW is taking some serious styling risks, especially with the front fascia of their vehicles. The biggest member of the stable, the X7, is no exception. But it's just so great to sit in and drive, and that more than makes up for things. At least it looks better in person than in photos, right? Well, get behind the wheel of the M60i trim version ($108,700 base MSRP), and you get a booming 523-hp twin-turbo V8 paired with a 48-volt system. The X7 M60i is a rocket, and it drives better than its hefty weight would indicate. The rich and spacious first two rows are a bit betrayed by a small-ish third row, but we can overlook it because full-sized adults will rarely ride in row three. The iDrive infotainment system with its 12.3-inch gauge cluster for the driver and a 14.9-inch touchscreen is one of the best in the business, too.

Highs: Quick and capable on road, opulent interior provides ample space for five, one of the best in-car tech experiences anywhere.

Lows: Cramped third row, the face only a mother could love. 

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2024 Mazda CX-90 3.3 Turbo S Premium Plus AWD


The 2024 CX-90 ($39,595 base MSRP) is the replacement for the excellent 2023 CX-9, and it's more opulent, more powerful, and more efficient than its older sibling. It's also more expensive with a base price of $40,970 compared to the 2023 CX-9 at $38,750. What's more, the top-end CX-90 3.3 Turbo S Premium Plus costs $59,950 compared to the CX-9 Signature at $48,460 (a difference of over $11k). It's also available with two engine options (versus the CX-9's single turbo four hoice), slightly larger, more sophisticated, and now comes with a PHEV option.

Highs: Great driving experience that's true to Mazda, refined styling inside and out, high-end appointments rival the Germans, easy and attractive infotainment system.

Lows: Not as sleek as the CX-9, third row not much bigger than before, dizzying trim levels, slow paddle shifter response.

Get a Good Deal on the Mazda CX-90