Yesterday we took stock of our five Green Car Reports Best Car To Buy 2023 finalists, and one of the vehicles we named—the Cadillac Lyriq, Ford F-150 Lightning, Genesis GV60, Kia EV6, and Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV—will earn the annual distinction.
But there’s always a lot of interest in the backstory, and why some models didn’t make the cut. So we’ll address some of that with a few points.
Firstly, Best Car To Buy has always been limited to those models that are completely new or substantially redesigned in the calendar year leading up to the award, and due to be widely available in at least the year following the award.
2023 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid
This year we narrowed the funnel a bit more by counting out plug-in hybrids. That’s why our finalist roundup didn’t include the Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid, Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid, Kia Sportage Plug-In Hybrid, or Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring. While they’re all good solutions for some commuters who don’t live along a route with weekend road-trip fast-chargers, PHEVs simply are not the greenest entries—not even the Volvo S60 or V60 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid sedan and wagon, with their 41 electric miles, or the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid, with its 38 electric miles.
2023 Rivian R1S
The Rivian R1T was one of our finalists for 2022, and it’s more than just the first fully electric pickup in production. Loaded with clever cargo features, punchy and athletic yet refined and nimble, it took personal trucks into a more charming zone—and, we dare say, left most of our editorial crew wanting one in their own driveway. This year marked the introduction of the Rivian R1S SUV—the model that fits even cozier with Rivian’s all-encompassing lifestyle vision, including up to seven seats and better range and efficiency than the R1T. But we’re disappointed to report it can’t be a finalist, as we still haven’t been in the R1S any significant amount of time. Only a single member of our extended editorial staff has been in one. Attempts to get one for testing were not fruitful.
2023 Nissan Ariya
Likewise, we thought the Nissan Ariya was going to be a very strong contender, even with the e-4orce performance model not yet out. It looked poised for the right mix of refinement and efficiency, as Green Car reports noted an earlier preview drive. Nissan declined to supply us one for our Atlanta-area group evaluation.
2022 Audi Q4 E-Tron Sportback
And in another loss due to timing, the Audi Q4 wasn’t made available for group evaluation, while only a couple of our extended staff have spent even brief time in it. This model, related to the VW ID.4, remains promising due to its accessible pricing for a luxury-brand EV.
2022 Mazda MX-30
This year we dropped our minimum driving range for electric vehicles, pointing to the wider deployment of fast-chargers and the increased prevalence of households with more than one EV. The quirky Mazda MX-30 EV arrived for a first round of deliveries but hasn’t been back since. Mazda has listed the model simply as “sold out”—after around 500 deliveries.
We would also have liked to give the Toyota BZ4X and Subaru Solterra another close look, but they’ve been subject to long recalls, affecting deliveries—and the presence of press-fleet cars we might easily follow up with. And the closely related Lexus RZ still hasn’t arrived.
2023 BMW iX xDrive50
A couple of our possibilities had already been driven by enough of our extended staff going into the finals, such that they were pushed out of contention. Not enough of us, for instance, could get behind the design statement or utility of the BMW iX, for instance. And while the Mercedes-Benz EQE sedan’s leaner proportions, less weight, and lower price than its EQS fastback sibling make a more compelling model than the flagship EQS that was a finalist last year, we were split over whether it should be on this year’s shortlist. That said, the made-in-U.S. EQS SUV got a spot.
Finally, the GMC Hummer EV is one of the most noteworthy new electric vehicles, and we found it the right kind of rush for truck fans who wouldn’t have considered EVs. Is it even a green vehicle? That debate aside, we have too many questions about what this monster does for the market from here on—even if it does lay the tracks for higher-production-volume trucks later.