• Sun. May 19th, 2024

Editors’ Picks March 2023 | Hot hatch galore and some great luxury SUVs


Apr 4, 2023
Editors’ Picks March 2023 | Hot hatch galore and some great luxury SUVs


This month of Editors’ Picks sees us hand out a pair of nods to the best hot hatchbacks money can buy these days, the Honda Civic Type R and Toyota GR Corolla. You can read more about how they compare in our head-to-head comparison test, but both have their advantages, and we can highly recommend buying either of them. Then we head to Europe to recognize a couple of SUVs that just went through mid-cycle refreshes and came out on the other side just as lovable as they were before.

In case you missed our previous Editors’ Picks posts, here’s a quick refresher on what’s going on here. We rate all the new cars we drive with a 1-10 score. Cars that are exemplary in their respective segments get an Editors’ Pick designation. Those are the ones we’d recommend to our friends, family and anybody who’s curious and asks the question. The list that you’ll find below consists of every car we rated in January that earned an Editors’ Pick.

2023 Honda Civic Type R

2023 Honda Civic Type R front low

  • 2023 Honda Civic Type R front low
  • Image Credit: James Riswick

Quick take: The Honda Civic Type R embodies what at means to be a hot hatch. It’s the best FWD car we’ve ever driven, and because it’s a Civic, it excels with a spacious and pretty interior, too. This is the full package.

Score: 8.5

What it competes with: Toyota GR Corolla, VW Golf R

Pros: Sublime driving dynamics, magical shifter, gorgeous and utilitarian interior

Cons: An expensive proposition, lacks basic luxuries like heated seats

From the editors:

Senior Editor James Riswick — “The Civic Type R is a resolutely composed performance machine that sufficiently builds upon the delightful man-machine interfaces found in the increasingly impressive trio of Civic Sport Touring, Civic Si and Acura Integra A-Spec. It’s even more fun and capable at higher speeds, yet remains just as forgiving and easy to drive. The 2023 Honda Civic Type R sure seems all grown up. Maybe it’s because I’m almost in my 40s, (ugh) but I see absolutely nothing wrong with this. The Type R magic is not lost.”

In-depth analysis: 2023 Honda Civic Type R First Drive Review: All grown up isn’t so bad


2023 Toyota GR Corolla

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Circuit front three quarter low

  • 2023 Toyota GR Corolla Circuit front three quarter low
  • Image Credit: James Riswick

Quick take: The GR Corolla is a serious performance machine that is sure to please any enthusiast with its brilliant driving dynamics. It’s only let down by a cheap-feeling and small interior that doesn’t lend well to daily driver duty.

Score: 8.5

What it competes with: Honda Civic Type R, Subaru WRX, VW Golf R

Pros: Rascal of an engine, super-fun AWD system, great driving dynamics

Cons: Low-rent interior, lacking in space, design isn’t very cohesive

From the editors:

Senior Editor James Riswick — “The 2023 Toyota GR Corolla manages to wring out 300 horsepower from three cylinders. Even a guy who got a C+ in Algebra II can tell you that means 100 hp per cylinder, which is just loony tunes for a car that shares its name with grandma’s gold-painted grocery getter. Shut all the nannies off, nail it just right and find yourself on some sort of slippery surface, and the GR Corolla can embark on some tail-out hijinks. May visions of snowbound parking lots dance in your heads.”

In-depth analysis: 2023 Toyota GR Corolla First Drive Review: 300 hp, 3 cylinders, 3 tailpipes


2023 Volvo XC40

2023 Volvo XC40 B5

  • 2023 Volvo XC40 B5
  • Image Credit: Zac Palmer

Quick take: The XC40 is the unquestioned style leader in the segment. Its powertrain options and tech are solid, and it’s only weighed down by tight rear accommodations.

Score: 8

What it competes with: BMW X1, Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLB, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Jaguar E-Pace, Lexus UX, Land Rover Discovery Sport, 

Pros: Appealing shape and design, Google-based infotainment is slick, utilitarian shape makes the best of its size

Cons: Engines are a little rough, handling is middling for the segment

From the editors:

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “The XC40 is hard not to love. Its design is pure Volvo with simple, beautiful lines. The powertrains are updated with a mild-hybrid system for 2023, and while they don’t totally smooth things out, the added electric boost definitely helps. I love the interior of the XC40, too, as the upright stance and boxiness lends to good visibility and easy loading of people or objects.”

In-depth analysis: 2023 Volvo XC40 and XC40 Recharge Review: Gas or electric? You can’t go wrong


2023 BMW X7

BMW X7 M60i Frozen Pure Grey

  • BMW X7 M60i Frozen Pure Grey

Quick take: The X7 simply does everything well. It’s exceedingly comfortable, handles shockingly well and comes decked out in the most luxury BMW has to offer.

Score: 8

What it competes with: Mercedes-Benz GLS, Audi Q7, Acura MDX, Volvo XC90, Lincoln Aviator, Range Rover, Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Jeep Grand Wagoneer

Pros: Comfortable and fun to drive, stellar luxury interior in all three rows, silky smooth powertrains

Cons: Looks are polarizing, third row is on the small side, annoying infotainment system

From the editors:

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “The X7 M60i I drove is a rocket ship of a three-row luxury SUV. That V8 engine makes a glorious rumble, and its handling will surprise anybody for its size. I can’t say enough positive things about the X7’s interior, except for the iDrive 8 infotainment system that makes some otherwise simple tasks into needlessly complicated ones. Even so, the X7 is one of the most well-rounded vehicles you can buy.

In-depth analysis: 2023 BMW X7 First Drive Review: Long live ‘The Sovereign’


Related video:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *