Karl Brauer, executive analyst at automotive research firm iSeeCars. An automotive journalist for more than 25 years, he is a jury member for both the North American Car and Truck of the Year and the World Car of the Year awards. iSeeCars.com
New-car news hasn’t been much fun lately. Supply-chain problems, chip shortages and above-sticker asking prices have largely drowned out coverage of new models. But the pandemic is fading, and the 2023 new-car market looks…somewhat less horrible. New-car shoppers shouldn’t expect to find full dealership lots in 2023, but if they shop around and put their names on waiting lists, they likely will find the vehicles they want without paying above sticker price. If you’re not in a rush to replace your car, it probably is best to wait another year. But if you’ve had it with waiting, you should be able to buy a new car in 2023 without getting taken for a ride. And there are some compelling vehicles to consider…
Internal combustion engines aren’t dead yet. Here are some options…
All-new version of an affordable, iconic sports car: Ford Mustang. Ford unveiled the seventh generation of its famed Mustang at the Detroit Auto Show in September, and it looked…a lot like prior Mustangs. Ford knows better than to mess with this car’s celebrated muscular styling. The Mustang will seem familiar if you look under its hood as well. Available as a coupe or a convertible, the Mustang is powered by a 330-horsepower (hp) turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder…or a 5.0-liter V8 that’s expected to deliver close to 500 hp. This sports car is for buyers who want the build quality and technology of a modern car paired with a traditional driving experience…and all for a reasonable price. The Mustang’s interior has been updated, with higher-quality materials and big digital displays. The seventh-generation Mustang will be available in the summer as an early entrant in the 2024 model year. Starting price is expected to remain around $30,000.
Related: The new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (cover image) rivals the Mustang as America’s premier affordable sportscar, but the Z06 is the expensive supercar version of the ’Vette. Its 670 hp and 0-to-60 times of 2.6 seconds will deliver driving excitement. But with a starting price of $106,695—and many dealerships asking well above sticker—that excitement doesn’t come cheap.
Modern take on the traditional full-size sedan: Toyota Crown. Full-size sedans have virtually disappeared from auto lineups in recent years, as buyers opted for SUVs instead. The all-new Crown, expected by the end of 2022, is Toyota’s attempt to revive the segment. It has the upscale interior that sedan buyers desire but also standard all-wheel drive…along with the slightly higher ride height that drivers prefer…and a hybrid drivetrain that delivers strong fuel economy or impressive performance, depending on the version selected. The XLE and Limited trims are expected to provide 38 miles per gallon (mpg) and 236 hp…while the Hybrid Max trim provides 28 mpg and 340 hp. Starting price is likely to be around $40,000, though the performance-oriented Hybrid Max will start in the high $40,000s.
All-new versions of two stalwarts: Honda Accord and Pilot. These popular Hondas have been redesigned for 2023—the Accord mid-size sedan…and the three-row SUV Pilot. Few details were available at press time, but both have been among the most reliable in their categories for decades, and Honda is far too dependable to muck them up. If you’re in the market for a mid-size sedan or a three-row SUV, the odds are good that these will be among your best options. The new Accord is expected to have a starting price of around $26,000 to $28,000…the Pilot around $40,000.
Performance-oriented mid-size pickup: Ford Ranger Raptor. The Raptor name has denoted the high-priced, high-performance version of Ford’s F-150 pickup. But starting with the 2023 model year, a Raptor version of Ford’s smaller Ranger pickup will be available. The Raptor Ranger is expected to start in the low-to-mid $50,000s—though above-sticker prices are likely. With a 3.0-liter V6 delivering an estimated 392 hp and a highly capable suspension, this truck should be a blast to drive on and off-road.
Should your next car be an EV? High gas prices are pushing many buyers in that direction. But be aware of the recent changes to the EV tax credit (see below). If you still want an EV, consider these…
Sporty EV sedan that delivers on price and range: Hyundai Ioniq 6. This stylish electric sedan is Hyundai’s answer to the Tesla Model 3. It has an expected range between 300 and 400 miles and a starting price likely in the low-to-mid-$40,000s. Expectations are high because Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 compact SUV won World Car of the Year in 2022—and the Ioniq 6 is even more upscale. Its interior strikes a balance between Tesla’s high-tech futuristic looks and traditional car interiors. It will officially be an early entry in the 2024 model year when it arrives in the spring.
Stylish, performance-oriented EV station wagon: Kia EV6 GT. Though officially a crossover, the EV6 GT’s relatively low stance and attractive “swoopy” styling make it feel like a futuristic take on an old-fashioned station wagon. Expected to reach dealerships late this year, this GT is the performance-oriented all-wheel-drive version of Kia’s EV6, which received strong reviews when it debuted earlier this year. The GT version is expected to offer less range than the standard EV6—expect little more than 200 miles per charge—but a lot more speed. With 576 hp and 3.4-second 0-to-60 times, this Kia can match a Ferrari Roma off the line. Prices are expected to start in the neighborhood of $60,000.
Pair of new EV compact SUVs: The Subaru Solterra and Toyota bZ4X are similar. That’s because Toyota and Subaru developed the platform together. They’re not especially thrilling to drive or luxurious inside, but they are practical, well-made compact electric SUVs. One difference between them: All-wheel drive is standard with the Subaru, but a $2,080 option with the Toyota. Their range is around 220 to 230 miles per charge with all-wheel-drive models…slightly more with front-wheel-drive models. Prices start at $46,220 for the all-wheel-drive-standard Subaru, or $43,335 for the Toyota.