2023 has been an amazing year for both DiscoverAuto and the global automotive industry with seemingly endless new car launches and new technology popping up everywhere. As the world heads further towards electrification, new brands are proving to be worthy adversaries for established ones. Just take a look at newcomer to the Australian market, BYD, which has come out of nowhere and managed to sell more EVs than many established brands combined.

If there’s one thing for sure, it’s that nothing is certain in the automotive market and that manufacturers need to fight harder than ever for your car-buying dollar.

Without further ado, here are our favourite cars of 2023:

Jordan Monardo

Hyundai Kona

2023 Hyundai Kona

The minute I got behind the wheel of the new Hyundai Kona, I was thoroughly impressed. The first Kona we had was the entry level model and I was shocked at how much equipment it had. It also drove well and featured a new interior that’s far more spacious than the previous model with an uplift in quality too. While the over-speed warning is annoying, it’s a great overall package. The styling may be controversial but I really like it as it’s something different in a world of cookie cutter SUVs. Overall, the Hyundai Kona is more than enough car for most people’s needs – especially with the new hybrid option too.

Honda Civic Type R

2023 Honda Civic Type R

Every once in a while a special car comes a long and makes you go ‘wow’. For me, that car this year was the new Honda Civic Type R. Initially I found it hard to pinpoint what exactly I loved so much about it – where to even begin? It’s wonderful – but in the end, I realised that it was just everything. A mixture of its muscular looks, excellent bucket seats, firecracker engine and perfect six-speed manual gearbox just blew me away. It is also not that uncomfortable to daily drive, though when putting it into ‘R+’ mode, it’s one of the most focused hot hatches on the market. Yes, it is only a four-seater and it is a little on the expensive side but goodness, what a car!

Ford Everest

The Ford Everest is a car that has already taken the hearts of thousands of Aussies and despite how long people are waiting for them, it’s a pretty popular vehicle. It seemingly does everything right: it can carry seven people in comfort, can venture off the beaten track, can do the school drop off and has plenty of tech, even in the entry-level model. I liked the Everest more than its Ranger sibling as most people don’t need a ute – despite what the sales charts tell us – and the third row of seating and boot space is much more practical. I also quite like the look of the Everest as well as the interior, it is comfortable and a genuinely nice place to spend time. It’s a real winner for the blue oval.

Honourable mentions: Kia EV6 GT, Hyundai Sonata N Line and Hyundai Palisade

David Diekman

Nissan X-Trail (Ti-L e-Power)

2023 Nissan X-Trail Ti-L e-Power

Stepping into the new generation X-Trail was a revelation – the jump from the old X-Trail to the new is only one generation, but it feels at least two generations older. It has a classy, tech-filled and mature interior and plenty of standard equipment plus a unique take on the hybrid drivetrain, where the petrol engine purely runs to generate electricity which leaves the electric motor to be the singular source of propulsion. Kudos to Nissan for what I think is the biggest improvement for 2023.

Toyota Corolla (Hybrid Sedan)

Why is the humble Corolla Sedan on a year end favourite list you might ask? The current generation Corolla isn’t new but it received a mid life refresh, featuring new technology and revised hybrid engines.

The Corolla sedan remains an unapologetically practical car with a massive boot, plenty of interior space, combined with an incredibly efficient drivetrain, plus its excellent chassis makes it a better handler than one would expect. The new infotainment updates has modernised the interior, and the revised drivetrain has made the driving experience and already impressive efficiency even better. It’s not cheap but it is a great example of a normal passenger vehicle that small SUV shoppers should give consideration to. 

Kia EV6 GT

The EV6 was already my favourite EV on the Australian market, with a great blend of futuristic design, technology and ease of use – in a way it brings the benefits of a dedicated EV platform while preserving common sense and good design principals of ICE vehicles. What could be better than upping the power to 430kW/740Nm for a 0-100km time of 3.5 seconds? The EV6 GT is a scarily fast car, its performance is delightful, but it maintains a great ride/handling balance thanks in part to Kia’s Australian suspension tuning program. Review coming soon!

Honourable mentions: MY24 Polestar 2, Honda ZR-V and Hyundai Palisade.

Michal Kieca

MG 4

MG4 front

At the risk of copying Jake (sorry, Jake!), the MG 4 is by far the car that wowed me the most this year. Quite simply, this little electric hatch transcends what a perfect EV should be – it’s fun to drive thanks to being rear-wheel drive, relatively inexpensive and offers more than enough range for most buyers. In a world where some of the EVs worth buying still cost north of $70,000, the MG4 is the watershed car which ushers in an electrified era for an affordable price.

Sure, it’s not perfect with some odd interior and infotainment quirks, but this is a fundamentally good car, one which also sets new highs for Chinese-owned brand MG in Australia. We can’t wait to see what MG brings out over the coming year.


2023 GWM Ora

The quirky and oddly shaped Ora stands out to me because of its honest and utterly loveable nature. Sure, it might not be as good to drive or own as its MG4 rival, but its cute looks and endearing personality make it an adorable little hatch. Its interior and boot are roomy and it offers just enough range at a sub-$40k price point to appease most EV buyers. As Australia’s cheapest EV, the Ora proves just how far EVs have come in recent years, with buyers no longer needing to shell out big for sub-standard vehicles with poor range and performance. For that very reason alone, I love it!

Toyota GR86 10th Anniversary Edition

2023 Toyota GR86

Jumping to the very polar opposite from the two EVs above, the GR86 is the definition of old-school perfection, with its sublime boxer engine, manual transmission and epic handling, all found in a svelte and sexy two-door coupe. In a world of SUVs, the GR86 is a beacon of hope with its engaging chassis and ethos of simplicity. Sure it’s not the fastest car in the world, or the fastest through a corner, but it certainly is one of the most fun. The fact that it’s well priced and also reasonably cheap to own is another bonus. Quite simply, it’s a class act.

Honourable mentions: Ford Everest, Ford Ranger and Hyundai Palisade.

Jake Williams

MG 4

It’s not perfect, but I was mightily impressed by the MG 4 when I attended its local launch earlier in the year. It’s not alone in offering electric propulsion under $40,000, but it does offer a comparable size to its ICE rivals and, importantly for enthusiasts like us, keen driving dynamics thanks to its rear-wheel drive platform. The company also recently launched the 300kW XPower variant of the MG 4 range, but I would personally stick to the mid-spec Essence 64 model as it provides more than enough punch, lots of equipment, a fun driving experience for a reasonable price. It’s a pretty good car that just happens to be powered by electricity.

BMW 7 Series

Of course, its styling is subjective and has caused much the controversy in the automotive enthusiast world, but my favourite part about the new 7 – and why it’s on this list – is its interior. It’s simply stunning with exquisite detailing everywhere you look – from the crystal controls to the sumptuous upholstery to the drive modes that transform the mood of the car, it feels excellent and, importantly for a luxury car, it makes you feel special. Plus, the 1,965W 35-speaker Bowers and Wilkins Diamond sound system is genuinely the best thing I’ve ever heard. We’ve driven both the electric i7 and petrol 740i (review coming soon) and both drive quite well with a lovely ride quality and more than enough thrust. I’ve seen a lot of comments online questioning BMW’s direction, but based off the new 7er, I think it’s in good hands.

Hyundai Ioniq 6

Being completely honest here, I don’t like SUVs because they’re excess to most motorists’ needs and the Ioniq 6 is a great example of that. No, it’s not an SUV, but its Ioniq 5 sibling is and the 6 proves how wasteful the 5 is by being roomier inside, nicer to drive, lighter, has a lot more range and is cheaper to buy. Plus, in my opinion at least, although the 6 isn’t the best looker, it looks way nicer than the 5 too. It’s a great all-rounder that I would very much buy if I wanted a mid-size electric sedan.

Honourable mentions: Honda Civic Type R, Hyundai Kona, Honda ZR-V

As always, no matter if you’re a first time reader, a longtime fan or one of our automotive partners, we thank you for your continued support of DiscoverAuto. We have big things planned for 2024, so stay tuned. In the meantime, we hope you have a great holiday period, and we hope to see you again soon.

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