Winners have now been announced in every category of the Carbuyer Best Car Awards 2023. Our team of experts has put the most significant cars on sale through their paces, to provide you with a jargon-free review of each one.
We’ve driven, studied and measured every competitor in all of the UK’s most popular segments, judging them each on their respective merits – for the customers they’re aimed at. Each model has been given an overall score to make comparisons easy, and after months of evaluation, we can reveal the best cars across 18 categories.
To be considered for a Best Car award, a model needs to have excelled in the areas of running costs, safety, technology, performance and practicality. To win, it’s not enough to do well in just one or two of these areas; it’s has to be a consummate performer across the board. The winners must then be judged against each other to take our coveted Carbuyer Car of the Year Award.
While it had been hoped the effects of the pandemic and other global issues would recede this year, manufacturers have continued to face adversity in the face of unprecedented supply chain issues. Despite this, the past year hasn’t been short on great new releases, especially in the alternative fuel categories. As manufacturers race to decarbonise their lineups, we’ve been able to test a slew of exciting hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric cars.
Read on to discover all of this year’s category winners and the Carbuyer Car of the Year for 2022, as described by Carbuyer Editor, Richard Ingram.
Best Car Awards 2023: the winners
Best small car: Skoda Fabia
“The latest Skoda Fabia is not only Carbuyer’s best small car for 2023, it’s also vying for the title of the best value new car currently on sale. Family car space for supermini money, the Fabia is now more compelling than ever.”
Read our in-depth review of the Skoda Fabia.
Best Small Family Car: Kia Niro
“The Kia Niro is a brilliant all-rounder, building on its predecessor’s already compelling package with funky new looks and a host of trick new features. It’s still smooth and good to drive, but most importantly in the first of our family car categories – it’s more practical than ever. The fact Kia offers three distinct powertrain options really does seal the deal.”
Read our in-depth review of the Kia Niro.
Best Family Car: Hyundai Tucson
“For the second year in a row, the Hyundai Tucson is Carbuyer’s favourite family car. Our 2022 Car of the Year still leads the pack when it comes to practicality, usability and family-friendly features. The fact it’s available with such a strong range of hybrid powertrains is the icing on the cake.”
Read our in-depth review of the Hyundai Tucson.
Best Large Family Car: Skoda Kodiaq
“The Skoda Kodiaq proves there’s plenty of life left in practical petrol SUVs. Putting its users front and centre, the recently updated Kodiaq is spacious, versatile, and full of clever, family-friendly features.”
Read our in-depth review of the Skoda Kodiaq.
Best Estate Car: Skoda Octavia Estate
“Some cars just can’t be beaten; the Skoda Octavia Estate is a model that time and time again tops our rankings as not only our favourite estate car, but one of the best new cars money can buy.”
Read our in-depth review of the Skoda Octavia Estate.
Best Small Company Car: Cupra Born
“Company car drivers want a car that saves them money, but one that doesn’t sacrifice style and kerb appeal. The Cupra Born is one of the hottest new EVs to launch in the last 12 months, offering style as well as substance. It’s a great choice for business users and private buyers alike.”
Read our in-depth review of the Cupra Born.
Best Company Car: BMW i4
“For years, the BMW 3 Series has been one of our favourite company cars, and as the market moves to electric, so has BMW. The i4 is a fantastic all-rounder – great to drive, loaded with technology, and with a strong range for rock-bottom running costs.”
Read our in-depth review of the BMW i4.
Best Sports Car: BMW 2 Series
“Stealing the win from its bigger brother, the new BMW 2 Series transfers everything we love about the 4 Series, into a more compact, more affordable package. Strong engines and efficiency, plus that usual BMW handling, make the 2 Series a great all-rounder.”
Read our in-depth review of the BMW 2 Series Coupe.
Best Convertible: MINI Convertible
“Year after year, the MINI Convertible simply cannot be beaten – and despite the fact it’s nearing the end of its life, it’s still our Best Convertible for 2023. With a new, pure-electric model on the cards, it’s going to take something very special to dislodge Carbuyer’s favourite drop-top.”
Read our in-depth review of the MINI Convertible.
Best Hot Hatchback: Hyundai i20 N
“Hyundai’s N department continues its meteoric rise with the fantastic i20 N. Practical enough to be used every day – but with bags of performance and engaging handling – if you’re after a hot hatch brimming with personality, this little firecracker should be at the top of your shortlist.”
Read our in-depth review of the Hyundai i20 N.
Best Hot SUV: Cupra Formentor
“A segment that shows no sign of slowing, hot SUVs like the Cupra Formentor blend the performance of a sports car with the versatility of an SUV. The Formentor is the best of the bunch for the second year in a row.”
Read our in-depth review of the Cupra Formentor.
Best Pickup: SsangYong Musso
“The SsangYong Musso is spacious and loaded with kit, and thanks to a strong engine and all-wheel drive, won’t struggle with big weights in the back – and that’s before you consider the seven-year, 150,000-mile warranty. Value is a big thing for us here at Carbuyer, and the Musso just nails its brief.”
Read our in-depth review of the SsangYong Musso.
Best Small Electric Car: Fiat 500
“The Fiat 500 is a cult classic, perfectly reimagined for the electric era. Its blend of retro charm, a strong electric range and fun driving dynamics meant there was no argument when it came to awarding our best small electric car for 2023.”
Read our in-depth review of the Fiat 500.
Best Family Electric Car: MG ZS EV
“If there’s one thing missing in the new car market it’s affordable, capable EVs. But MG has nailed it with the ZS; a practical, efficient and well-equipped electric car with room for the whole family.”
Read our in-depth review of the MG ZS EV.
Best Large Electric Car: Nissan Ariya
“Nissan set the EV benchmark when it launched the Leaf back in 2011, and it does the same in the large electric car segment a decade on. The Ariya feels futuristic, with a good range, spacious cabin and loads of clever tricks and features. It’s a brilliant all-rounder if you’re looking for a big car and want to make the switch.”
Read our in-depth review of the Nissan Ariya.
Best Hybrid: Kia Niro
“Taking its second win here, the Niro is not only our top small family car, but our favourite hybrid as well. Unlike some rivals, it feels like a part-time EV – despite having a petrol engine to fall back on – and the result is fantastic fuel efficiency. It’s practical, easy to drive and comes with some great tech; the new Niro is not just a great hybrid, but a brilliant car overall.”
Read our in-depth review of the Kia Niro.
Best Plug-in Hybrid: Mercedes C 300 e
“Plug-in hybrids are seen by some as a tax dodge, but used correctly they really can offer the best of both worlds. No PHEV does this quite as effectively as the latest Mercedes C 300 e; a genuine part-time EV, it’s quick, efficient and good to drive, with all the premium features we expect from a car like this.”
Read our in-depth review of the Mercedes C-Class.
Best Large Plug-in Hybrid: Lexus NX
“We’ve come to trust Lexus hybrid systems as some of the best in the business, and now you can get one with a plug. The new Lexus NX 450h+ is a functional, luxurious, and tech-filled family SUV with a genuinely usable electric range.”
Read our in-depth review of the Lexus NX.
Carbuyer Car of the Year: Kia Niro
“Quite appropriately, the latest Kia Niro scoops not one but three titles at the 2023 Carbuyer Best Car Awards; our favourite small family car, our top hybrid, and of course our overall Car of the Year. The fabulous new Niro builds on everything we loved about the old one, but with sharper styling, and a cutting-edge interior. It remains a practical, efficient and easy to drive family car – with a powertrain to suit all buyers. The Kia Niro is a deserving winner of our 2023 Car of the Year award.”
Read our in-depth review of the Kia Niro.