2023 Sunday Times Motor Awards

Motor Awards 2023: The best cars of the year revealed

The best of the best, from affordable runarounds to six-figure dream cars

Our motoring writers’ votes have been counted and the results are in: these are the winners of the 2023 Sunday Times Motor Awards.

Once again we’ve joined forces with the motoring experts at the Sunday Times Magazine, Times Luxx and The Sun to pick the best new cars in categories from city cars to sports cars, family SUVs to hot hatches.

Click on the images below to read what made each model a winner.

Car of the Year: Porsche 911 Sport Classic

The new Porsche 911 Sport Classic is the ultimate in wish-fulfilment. It’s based on the 911 Turbo, but with power from the 542bhp engine heading to the rear wheels via a manual gearbox, and a unique retro design inside and out. The body does away with the Turbo’s side intakes and adds a ducktail rear wing — the original 997 Sport Classic was the first 911 to feature a ducktail for 40 years. It also replaces the bonnet and roof with lightweight carbon-fibre parts.

Importantly, it’s absolutely phenomenal to drive, and while the fastest manual 911 out there it’s still easy to use around town. The £212,400 price will shock a few people but don’t forget that this is a limited edition with bespoke engineering, and its constituent parts result in what we think is peak 992. Classic indeed.

Family Car of the Year: Nissan X-Trail e-Power

Nissan X-Trail 2022

A stepchange in quality, efficiency and comfort for Nissan’s larger family SUV, with improved dynamics on and off-road and the new e-Power hybrid system making progress effortless at any speed.

Value Car of the Year: Dacia Spring

The Dacia Spring is the most affordable EV in Europe but even at £18,000 (est.) British owners won’t feel like they’re missing out on features when it arrives over here next year: air-conditioning and Apple CarPlay/ Android Auto are fitted as standard.

City/ Small Car of the Year: Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall Corsa Electric

The Vauxhall Corsa is currently Britain’s third most-popular car, thanks to handsome looks, a range of engines, pleasing driving dynamics and affordable prices (from less than £20,000). There’s also an electric model, and a raft of updates this autumn that include a more powerful, longer range Corsa Electric capable of 255 miles. An excellent package for urban motorists.

Small SUV/ Crossover of the Year: Volvo EX30

Volvo EX30

Volvo’s small electric crossover isn’t just great-looking, high tech and plush inside; it’s also on sale with a range of up to 298 miles per charge. And with prices starting from under £34,000 (for the 213-mile version), it’s likely to clean up in the premium small SUV segment.

Large SUV of the Year: Mazda CX-60 e-Skyactiv D

Mazda CX60

Diesel isn’t dead yet. Mazda’s CX-60 e-Skyactiv D proves oil burners can be efficient and clean, and are still the best choice for some motorists – those who tow, particularly. It also features a lovely interior, with plenty of space and is a genuinely premium-feeling machine.

Premium SUV of the Year: Range Rover Sport

2022 Range Rover Sport

The new version of the Range Rover Sport is like the old one is some ways: handsome exterior with ultra-high quality interior and an astonishing breadth of abilities on and off-road. But under the skin there’s been a revolution, including a much longer electric range from the PHEV. It’s a brilliant bit of kit.

Dog-friendly Car of the Year: Skoda Octavia Estate

Skoda Octavia estate

Skoda is taking its dog-owning customers seriously, going as far as to become title sponsor of Crufts, add dog hammocks to the options list and even create a Spotify playlist designed to reduce the anxiety of dogs on car journeys. The Octavia Estate is great for dogs thanks to a low boot sill and acres of space for even the biggest pet pooches.

Company Car of the Year: Kia EV6 GT

Kia EV6 GT

Electric cars are the most sensible option for company car drivers, thanks to the ultra-low tax. And if you’re a speed demon looking to take the plunge, the EV6 GT is a wild option thanks to a 0-62mph time of just 3.5 seconds. Best not do that too often if you want to get close to the quoted 263-mile range, though.

Used Car of the Year: Ford Fiesta

Ford reveals updated Fiesta

We may not be able to buy new versions of the Ford Fiesta, after production was ended earlier this year, but it’s a cracking used car buy thanks to arguably the best handling characteristics of any supermini and excellent tech options in the latter versions.

Motoring Personality of the Year: Christian Horner

Christian Horner

No-one can deny the Christian Horner effect. Under his stewardship the Red Bull Racing team has racked up six constructors’ championships and is set to claim a seventh drivers’ title this year. Horner is an outspoken member of the paddock, and his verbal sparring with Mercedes’ Toto Wolff is very much part of the fun of F1. With the Red Bull chief riding the crest of a wave, 2023 is the perfect time to honour his achievements.

Manufacturer of the Year: Vauxhall

Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer

Vauxhall built its first car 120 years ago and is still going strong, now under the ownership of Stellantis. It’s wisely decided to keep the Corsa and Astra nameplates as it transitions to electric power, and made them cracking-looking cars, too — reflected in excellent sales numbers. In considering this gong, we didn’t forget Vauxhall’s investment in its UK van plants, either.

Sports Car of the Year: BMW M2

2023 BMW M2 Coupé

The BMW M2 has always been a little firecracker, and with extra chassis stiffness, an excellent engine and superb manual transmission, the new rear-wheel-drive coupé is on absolutely stunning form once more.

Hot Hatch of the Year: Honda Civic Type R

Honda Civic Type R

There hasn’t been a bad Honda Civic Type R, but the new model is absolutely one of the best. It’s still got the fabulous handling, poise and drama of the version it replaces but is more grown up and high tech, and better looking to boot. Admittedly, at near-£47,000 the price is punchy, but it’s worth it.

Adventure Car of the Year: Ford Ranger Raptor

Ford Ranger Raptor

An absolute beast of a car, the Ranger Raptor is not just a go-anywhere pickup… it’s a go anywhere as fast as absolutely possible hooligan of a machine. You get the sense that nothing could stop it. And unlike the previous version, the new car comes with petrol power.

Best Designed Car of the Year: Maserati MC20 Cielo

Maserati MC20 Cielo

Is it enough to simply say, “just look at it”? [No – Ed.]

Okay… in creating the droptop version of the MC20, all the things we loved about the coupé have been retained while adding fine details such as the really neat folding glass roof mechanism. The best bit, though? Increased exposure to the V6 soundtrack.

Legend Car of the Year: Mercedes SL

Mercedes-AMG SL

The Mercedes SL has an incredible 71-year history, dating back to the 300 SL of 1952. The new Mercedes-AMG SL continues the family name with drop-dead gorgeous looks, three very strong powerplants and superb driving manners. With the Legend award we celebrate the excellent new model as well as the SL’s enviable lineage.

Dream Car of the Year: Ferrari Roma Spider

Mercedes-AMG SL

There aren’t many car marques more desirable than Ferrari, and of the current Ferraris the Roma is one of the most lusted after. Give it a canvas roof (five-layered, no less, and foldable at up to 50mph), and somehow it becomes even more gorgeous with no compromise on performance. Excuse us while we sell a kidney.

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