However, we’re flipping the script. Instead of doing this at the first of this month, as this website has done so since 2011.
We are now knocking on the door of 2024!
Normally, it would be tradition to look ahead into the new year and see where we will go.
However, we’re flipping the script. Instead of doing this at the first of this month, as this website has done so since 2011. We’ve saved our final My Favorites – excuse me, Our Favorites – of 2023 for today.
What you’re about to read is 13 months of our favorite vehicles – yes, that means George and I – that we’ve worked with over the same period of time. I figured we’d say “buh-bye” to this year with a more definitive list to leave behind.
Here are our favorite vehicles of 2023…
BMW M2: BMW revamped their sporty coupe by changing its dimensions slightly with the primary change being a longer wheelbase. Instead of retaining its curvaceous body lines, some chiseling was done to form some angular shapes which surprised some in the public with this change. Though getting behind the wheel we found the cockpit ergonomics to be excellent. On the road with 453 horsepower and confidence inspiring surefootedness made it a joy to drive. The shifts from the 6-speed manual transmission were direct and predictable and the growl of the engine sound inside the cabin gives you a sense of satisfaction. – GT
CHRYSLER 300C: You hate to say “good-bye,” but you have to. After almost two decades, the large rear-wheel drive sedan has run its course. The looming electrified replacement has rendered this raucous V8-powered luxury ride close to immortality. To appreciate the 485 horsepower from its 6.4-liter “392” V8 is to appreciate sinking into your seat and tapping the accelerator for maximum thrust and velocity. The sound from its big exhaust is all you need – modern Mopar at its finest. It’s too damn bad we have to wave it off into the sunset. – RS
FORD BRONCO RAPTOR: You can’t simply drive a Bronco. To get the maximum experience, the Raptor is exactly what you need. You get specific body work, including extended fenders and grille. You get all-terrain tires with specific wheels. You also get over 400 horsepower underneath the hood. It is not what you get that’s important. It is the adventure you can have in it. You’re simply crushing the trail. You really have a choice: Buy any Bronco and add all of the accessories in the catalog to make into a Raptor, or simply buy a Bronco Raptor. I suggest the latter. – RS
HONDA CR-V: They had to make this popular SUV better than before. Mission accomplished. Everything in the new CR-V was developed with a fresh set of eyes – from its boxier body, functional cabin, and the mass of space for people and cargo. All with an air of quality and those special Honda touches. With an all-new hybrid driveline, the CR-V becomes a better grocery getter, child transport, and tailgate superstar. No, I did not like the previous iterations of the CR-V. Nor do I appreciate the way everyone drove them. The CR-V makes you a better driver and a responsible motorist overall. That is the biggest improvement I found in this highly popular SUV. – RS
LEXUS RC F TRACK EDITION: Sure, it’s an RC F with some extra carbon fiber bits. It has a fixed rear spoiler and special alloy wheels. At its heart, it’s one of my favorite vehicles of all time that was tweaked to another level. Honestly, it’s still an RC F. It does everything I expect an RC F does – deliver smooth velocity and superb handling. That, while snapping necks and putting a huge smile on my face. I could ask for more, but why? It does everything I expect it to do and still deliver on the promise of a supreme experience every time I get behind the wheel. – RS
LEXUS RX: This one made me think – and rethink – about how a Lexus SUV s supposed to be. It took some time to embrace the turbocharged four-cylinder that replaced the V6, but it delivered a better experience on the road. It offered a driving experience that was comfortable, quiet, and smooth. There was a lot that changed in this new generation RX – electronic door releases, the latest Lexus Interface infotainment system, and everything else we found on board. There should never be a question whether this original luxury SUV/Crossover is worth the money. Because it is. – RS
LUCID AIR: With more electric vehicle choices, Lucid is an intriguing standout in its engineering, offering robust performance yet offering very long ranges per change. For the Air Grand Touring, this translates to being a spacious sedan with plenty of power to take the family comfortably on longer journeys. Inside the glass canopy gives plenty of visibility of the world around you, even when that becomes a blur with a romp on the go pedal. And we say that is a good thing. – GT
ROLLS-ROYCE GHOST: Think of any car that will ease the nerves and create a peerless driving sensation. Now, think of some of the finest vehicle nameplates in the world. A Rolls-Royce is an experience that is enjoyed without effort. You waft in a Rolls-Royce. Yet, the Ghost encourages you to take command. To actually drive it. Everything else is a measured response You can wax poetic about the experience, but one must live fully to truly appreciate a Rolls-Royce. – RS
TOYOTA CROWN: It is a foregone conclusion that the nameplate has returned to these shores after five decades away. This time, it arrived with a disruptive design, a choice of two hybrid drivelines, and a return to the flagship position among Toyota sedans. Choosing the Platinum model gets you the Hybrid MAX driveline – and it will satisfy you. Trust me on this one. If you even balk at the prices being asked for this car, just take one for a spin. You may even fall in love with it. – RS
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF GTI: Over five decades of hot hatch leadership has culminated into an engaging and wonderful machine. The questions we posed centered on two things: Is it better than the Golf R and how much an improvement the Mk8 is over the Mk7 and 7.5? The latter question was easy: Yes, it’s better. Heaps better! The one about whether it is better than a Golf R is better answered in our video. Go watch it and find out why we really like this GTI. – RS
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF R: Celebrating 20 years of the R and is still the halo performance vehicle for VW. For 2023 Volkswagen released a limited run of a 20th Edition Golf R featuring features to enhance the track experience like the sunroof-deletion to reduce weight up top. With our ownership experience with the Golf R as a comparison, the added stock horsepower now at 315 ponies is welcome though it feels like it is making more than that. Speaking of a racetrack, we gave it a spin on Road America’s track. It cornered flatter and delivered smoother power through the torque vectoring rear differential. Now if the touch controls can be improved it would be an all-around terrific machine. But we hear that is in the works for the Mk8.5. – GT
All photos by Randy Stern and George Torline