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A red 2023 Honda Civic Type R is shown from the side on a racetrack.

Nine Cars to Look for in 2023

With holiday festivities behind us and winter in full force, there’s no better time than now to look forward to what 2023 will offer us. I don’t mean in a philosophical sort of way––I’ll leave that to others––but in a very real way. What will the auto industry bring us in the 12 months ahead? With this in mind, I thought it would be fun to look at some of the models coming this year, some of which are already starting to become available, while others will take a bit longer to hit the road. To keep things a bit more useful, I’m going to stick to models I consider within reach for most of us. That means no Ferrari Purosangue or Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato here (they’re gorgeous and all, but c’mon). If you plan on shopping for a car this year, then here’s what’s coming over the proverbial horizon that you should look for.

#1: The Kia Niro

The first of two Kia models, the Niro is a sporty little subcompact crossover that comes with a standard hybrid engine. Although the Niro has been around for a while, the 2023 model launches an all-new generation with a redesign that immediately grabs the eye and looks great. The standard model features a 139-hp hybrid engine that’s both highly efficient and very fun to drive, with an available plug-in hybrid that boosts power to 180 hp and features an all-electric mode with up to 33 miles of range without ever touching the gas tank. Just to cap things off, a new Niro EV model is coming too, with an estimated 253 miles of electric range, giving you three fantastic options to get the kind of power and driving experience you want.

#2: The Kia EV9

Full disclosure, I’m cheating a bit with this one because it’s a 2024 model, not 2023, but it should still be available before this time next year. The EV9 is an all-new model for Kia, joining their growing lineup of electric vehicles and expanding what they offer by bringing an all-electric, three-row SUV to market. It’s gorgeous inside and out, though details are still a bit scarce on everything it will offer. That being said, Kia has stated it will be plenty powerful and get more than 300 miles of range from a full charge. So far, the smaller EV6 from Kia has already proven itself a powerful, reliable, and fun BEV option––the EV9 will likely add to this with more for you to enjoy.

A blue 2023 Acura Integra is shown driving through a tunnel.

#3: The Acura Integra

Next up, we have the Integra as it launches a new generation for Acura’s sporty and sophisticated compact sedan. Powered by a 200-hp VTEC Turbo engine with paddle shifters or available with a six-speed manual transmission to really put you in total control, driving the Integra feels far more rewarding than you might expect. Based on the Honda Civic SI, the Integra is ready to prove itself and bring a fantastic option to the road with a sleek design and a gorgeous, surprisingly-luxurious interior. With so many domestic companies forgetting sedans exist, it’s great to see a model like this thrive and become better than ever.

#4: The Mazda CX-50

Although there’s no shortage of midsize SUVs out there these days, I’m still open to the opportunity to be wowed by something new and impressive. The all-new Mazda CX-50 is exactly that sort of model and perfectly expands upon what Mazda already offers while creating something new for you to enjoy. It’s powered by a standard 2.5L 4-cylinder engine that offers 187 hp, though you might want to check out the available turbocharged engine that boosts that performance up to 256 hp. Combine that with standard i-Activ all-wheel drive and Mazda Intelligent Drive Select, and you have yourself a very rewarding driving experience. From the outside, the CX-50 has an undeniably rugged and bold design, while inside, an available panoramic moonroof and Bose premium sound system take your ride to the next level.

#5: The Honda Civic Type R

The phrase “high-performance hatchback” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, yet here we are with the new Honda Civic Type R: the fastest Civic ever. Backing up that claim, the Type R set a new front-wheel drive record at the Suzuka Circuit with a lap time of 2 minutes and 23.120 seconds. It’s powered by a beastly 2.0L turbocharged VTEC engine that delivers 315 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque (yup, you read that right), which is paired with a six-speed manual transmission with Rev-Match Control. I’m not one to get excited about hatchbacks, but there’s no denying that this is something special, and if you want hatchback functionality with the ability to leap off the line and roar like some kind of angry deity, then here you go!

A grey 2023 Toyota GR Corolla is shown from the rear in a garage.

#6: The Toyota GR Corolla

What’s that, hoping for another performance hatchback option? Then you’re in luck because here’s the Toyota GR Corolla, a hatchback designed and engineered by Toyota’s Gazoo Racing division to be a unique option in their lineup. Powered by a 1.6L Turbo I-3 engine that delivers 300 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, this beauty’s specs might not quite match the Civic Type R, but it’s not far from it. You get GR-FOUR all-wheel drive on this beauty, standard, with a six-speed intelligent manual transmission that makes it an absolute blast to drive. There’s a Circuit Edition model with a forged carbon-fiber roof and Torsen limited-slip differentials, as well as a Morizo Edition with a two-seat interior and wide Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.

#7: The Nissan Z

If you’re looking for more of a conventional import sports car rather than a hatchback, then the all-new Nissan Z should definitely be on your radar. This beauty features a 3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 engine that delivers 400 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, with the first launch control system ever available in a Nissan Z model, paired with either a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic transmission. The Nissan Z has been making a name for itself since 1969, but this latest-generation model takes performance and style to the next level.

#8: The BMW XM

Admittedly, this one breaks the practical budget rule, but if you want to see what BMW’s been up to, then just check out the XM. With its plug-in hybrid 4.4L BMW M TwinPower Turbo V8 engine that delivers 644 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, this is the most powerful SUV that BMW has ever built. It comes with BMW’s Intelligent M xDrive all-wheel drive system and an exquisitely brutalist exterior with a vertical quad exhaust and an aggressive overall shape that speaks to the raw power trapped beneath its hood. With a six-figure starting price, I’m not going to be driving one any time soon, but I’m still excited for it.

#9: The Chevy Corvette Z06

Starting at just a bit less than the BMW XM, I’m kind of cheating again with this model, but I just couldn’t help myself. With the mid-engine redesign of the Corvette a few years ago, Chevy made a silent promise to deliver greater performance than we’d ever seen before. The 2023 Corvette Z06 fulfills that promise and turns this incredible piece of machinery into an American supercar. The engine delivers 670 hp, growls like an absolute monster, can let the Z06 go from 0 to 60 in just 2.6 seconds, and can attain 1.22 G of lateral G Force. Admittedly, I’m much more likely to end up in a high-performance hatchback than this beast, but I don’t care. I’m just happy knowing it’s out there, living its best life!

An orange 2023 Chevy Corvette Z06 is shown from the front on a race track.

Just Nine of Many

You can see just how much you have available to you this year when shopping for your next vehicle, and I’ve only shown you the tip of the iceberg. These are all brand-new models or the start of a new generation; there are plenty of great tried-and-true options to enjoy too. No matter what you’re looking for in your next vehicle, it’s somewhere to be found in the lineup of one brand or another. All you have to do is know where to look and do a little research before you head to your favorite dealership.