A person develops throughout his life and so do his preferences. And it doesn’t matter if we talk about food, sports, partners or cars. You probably won’t be interested in how much I eat a day, how fast I can run ten kilometers, or whether I’m more into brunettes or blondes. You come to Autorevue.cz for cars and discussions about them. Perhaps my selection of the most interesting cars of 2023 will spark some discussion.
As I got older, I started to calm down. And not only as a person, but mainly as a driver. While maybe ten years ago I would have been the first in line to test the BMW X6 M, today I see this and similar cars mainly as top pieces of technology, but from the driver’s point of view they don’t mean much to me. I’d rather reach for today BMW 5 in station wagondiesel Mercedes E or perhaps Kii Sorento, because they are comfortable and just the right size cars. Boring, I know, but that’s the way I think at the moment and, unlike some of my colleagues, I’m not looking for sportiness at all costs.
I was looking forward to it though BMW XM, which I came to mainly thanks to the television World of Motors. I was interested mainly from a technical point of view, because the combination of an eight-cylinder and a plug-in hybrid is currently probably the only option to keep large-volume engines alive.
I’ll ignore the fact that not only this car, but also the plug-in hybrid Audi Q7 whether Volkswagen Touareg R eHybrid from the point of view of ecology, or rather the legislative dictation of what is ecological and what is not, they are an exemplary spit in the face of all those who really care about ecological operations. And I don’t mean the idiots who stick to the road. Does it seem normal to you that such cars can draw the benefits of EL brands and the demonstrably more environmentally friendly Toyota Yaris Hybrid, which runs for less than four liters per hundred kilometers, does not have these benefits? This is where the legislation misses the mark. I would buy the Touareg R eHybrid because it’s a great car, but I wouldn’t put the EL badge on it.
But back to the BMW XM, which Czechs bought without even seeing it with their own eyes. Here it is clear that many interested in ecology did not succeed at all. They wanted a big, flashy, powerful car that is actually unique in the manufacturer’s range. And they got him too. Technically speaking, it is top, although the alignment of the eight-cylinder and the electric motor is not without fault. And in terms of luxury and interior design, it is top class. But when you pack it all into a tall body, put it on gigantic wheels, and you also want the result to not fly out of a corner at high speed due to the weight of around 2.7 tons, don’t count on driving comfort very often.
The BMX XM was probably the least comfortable car I’ve driven this year. It’s actually two in one – great technology that can keep big engines alive, but bad handling. That’s my opinion and I’m not forcing it on anyone, however if anyone reading this article has actually bought a BMW XM and drives it daily, I’d be interested to know how they live with it.
You probably already understood that in my case driving comfort became a priority. In this light, I cannot leave out the Citroën C5 X with a plug-in hybrid drive when looking back at my car year 2023. Yes, again the EL brand on a car that in reality does not drive for a hundred kilometers with less than 2 liters of gasoline, but with occasional charging from the wallbox and from a regular socket, it is no problem to drive for 4.5 liters and without charging for 6.5 liters.
Comfort is paramount, both while driving and on board. Comfortable and higher seats, a large steering wheel and low-resistance booster, and excellent cabin sound insulation are among the features that have always made me happy to sit in Citroën’s flagship. Here I will not forgive the frequent remark of the debaters that if there was a two-liter diesel engine under the hood, it would also be possible for a maximum of six liters and without a cable, but in this case you will not go to the French.
I was quite surprised by the shift of the Volkswagen ID.3. Although it is still not quite an affordable car and the austerity of the interior is striking compared to, for example, the Škoda Enyaq iV, but driving more than 400 kilometers on a single charge is no longer a problem even in winter, and charging has also become faster. Now it’s winter and I was actually charging at 150kW on the 150kW charger. I went from 5% battery capacity to 100% in less than an hour, most often I didn’t spend more than ten minutes at fast chargers. But the competition is not sleeping, especially from China. We already know that such an MG4 Electric can compete well with European compact electric cars, and that’s just the beginning.
Speaking of electric cars, I can’t help but mention the extravagant Ioniq 6. A luxury sedan that no one will miss, with expensive architecture and a long range. I’d be better off with it if I didn’t have to hunt for annoying assistants to keep track of traffic lanes and warn of the maximum permitted speed somewhere in the depths of the infotainment system after every “start-up”. I have the same problem with the new Hyundai Kona Electric (although at least you can set a shortcut there) or the Kia EV9. We’re talking about a two-million dollar car here, but if you can afford it, you can’t go wrong buying it. I don’t mind electric cars, I don’t condemn them and neither do those who buy them. But personally, I’d stick with the classics for now, while it’s still possible.
Even thanks to how complex the most modern cars are technically and sometimes also to control, sitting in a completely ordinary family car for reasonable money is refreshing. Also thanks to the TV World of Motors, this year I tried a lot of affordable SsangYong Tivoli, Tivoli Grand and Torres cars, which I can recommend to those interested in a similar type of car. They won’t make you sit on your ass, but they won’t annoy you.
In this segment, the year-old Suzuki S-Cross, which arrived at the editorial office at the end of the year, brought me the most joy. You might miss it on the road, but I got out of it with the feeling that it is not only an affordable car, but also a car for the driver. Well, actually, I enjoyed driving, and there was only a mild-hybrid one-four with an output of 95 kW (129 hp) under the hood. The car is light, nimble, reacts as immediately as the Suzuki Swift Sport with the same engine and can carry a lot. And for some 610,000 in the middle equipment and with four-wheel drive, it’s not even expensive.
But one should be able to clear one’s head from time to time. I like the approach of Vládi Kadera, who now and then takes a ride in vintage cars and then talks and writes about them for a long time. I didn’t even touch a vintage car this year, but I said goodbye to the Audi TT, tried a couple of work pick-ups that I like, slept in a Dacia Jogger and a Volkswagen California or tried a BMW M3 CS, which I think is top-notch thanks to its handling the current definition of precision control. The fact that it doesn’t have an armrest and it’s awkward to get out of it is another matter. And I’m not judging here now.
I was also looking forward to the Lexus LM, which, for example, disappointed Vlaď Kader. However, in my opinion, this car should not be evaluated from the driver’s point of view, which is impossible if you are alone on board and need to get somewhere. In front, it is “just” a luxury MPV with a hybrid 2.5-liter engine, which is no longer enough for such a car, and a partition that reflects the lights of the cars in front of you, which is very confusing. It’s a car for rear passengers and they won’t miss anything here. Moreover, they won’t be disappointed by the price tag of 4 million crowns for the top version, because it probably won’t be their money. They will enjoy the ride, for example, when moving between the airport and the hotel. Hats off to Lexus for deciding to sell this car here.
And if I would really buy a car that I tested this year? There’s a bit of a problem with that. If we were talking about this a few years ago and I was at the stage of life I am today, it would be a Volkswagen Sharan or a Seat Alhambra. They sit comfortably high, have sliding doors, a large trunk with a low load margin and could even have four-wheel drive. Today, you won’t officially come across such a combination in our country (unofficially, there is, for example, the Chrysler Pacifica), so I would probably choose the Multivan T6.1 or T7 and accept front-wheel drive.
Due to practicality, I gravitate towards MPVs, and for “playing” I would reach for a two-liter Mini Cooper S with a manual or the latest Suzuki Swift Sport without a mild-hybrid. I would choose Mini today to drive in an almost 10-year-old car, but what should I choose from the new ones? Golf GTI? Or the Hyundai i30 N? I don’t know, advise. In the end, I’m glad I don’t have to deal with this right now.
On the other hand, there are also hearts that do not quite match the priorities, but I always like to ride in them. The first of them is Volkswagen Touareg with six-cylinder diesel engine. Today it is already a car with a price of around two million, but the money can be seen from the outside as well as inside, the engine is velvety and the chassis is beautifully comfortable. And then there’s the Lexus RX, which got under my skin already in its previous generation. The new one, especially with the 2.4-liter turbo hybrid and the classic six-speed automatic, is one of my favorite cars of 2023. I filmed something about it for TV World of Motors, so take a look at the broadcast archive on Voyo to see what I’m talking about .
And what to expect in 2024? Even more electrification, even more annoying assistants, more price increases hidden behind the sentences “but you get more basic equipment” and the like. I’m not afraid that there wouldn’t be anything to write about, but I’m a little worried about new cars still being of interest to our readers. Today, they are often on the same hill. Either way, you can count on us as editors not to let up and try to find topics that will interest and entertain you.
On behalf of the editors of Autorevue.cz, I would like to thank you for your patronage this year and wish you good luck and health in the coming year. Times are changing, but we’re moving on. Thank you very much!
Suzuki is a Japanese manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles. Michio Suzuki founded a weaving machine manufacturing company in 1909, the first car prototype was created in 1937.
Suzuki also has its factories in India, Pakistan or Hungary, and cooperates with a number of car companies.
Suzuki Ignis • Suzuki Swift • Suzuki Vitara • Suzuki S-Cross