The turn of the year is a period of taking stock, and it is no different here at the Garage editorial office. So we sat down in the office, made some coffee and reminisced about the best new cars we’ve driven in the past year. So make yourself a coffee, sit back and enjoy the ride with us through 2023.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

The modernized Clio is still just as nice and practical, you can have it with an internal combustion engine, but also with an economical hybrid.

Small cars on the market are dwindling, and the ones that are likeable, practical, economical, simple and fun are now quite literally like saffron. One of the latest is the Renault Clio, which underwent a decent modernization last year – it did not reduce its attractiveness, on the contrary. It looks great, it’s still pleasant to drive and with the hybrid drive it can be exceptionally economical.

Best car for normal people: MG ZS

Photo: Tomáš Kopečný

The MG ZS in basic equipment is the best choice, moreover for less than 400,000 CZK…

It’s rare that a basic car is the best, but MG’s ZS is doubly so. After all, a simple 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with a five-speed manual, decent equipment including air conditioning, a seven-year warranty and a price under CZK 400,000 are simply steel arguments. It is therefore no wonder that this SUV makes the British-Chinese MG the jumper of the year in its segment.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

The Honda CR-V is understatedly perfect. You won’t fall in love with her at first sight, but after the first few weeks and months of living together, you won’t let her go.

In the crowded family SUV market, the new Honda CR-V does not really stand out, but as you gradually get to know it, you will realize that it does practically nothing wrong – it is quite presentable, offers space and practicality, it already has a wide range of safety equipment as a base, in addition economical hybrid drive. In addition, it drives great and is very pleasant to drive. What more could you want from a family car…?

Photo: Jakub Misík

Mercedes really pulled it off with the new E-Class, it’s a very modern, yet classically cut car.

The new “Éčko” was a hell of a success for Mercedes. It looks modern and is full of cutting-edge technology, while at its core it remains the comfortable, soothing carriage that millions of customers have come to love. The E-Class has been a pillar of Mercedes’ model range for three decades (and even longer, even though it wasn’t called that exactly then) and still perfectly embodies the spirit of the brand.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

The new seven is not a beauty, but it’s a damn nice and comfortable car, and you’ll be happy to drive it.

The quality of modern BMWs stumbles a bit – some cars do it perfectly, others not so well. But the very top of the range, the top-of-the-range 7, is a demonstration of their mastery. The appearance is also controversial, but the technology, processing and driving characteristics deserve praise, as well as a wide range of drives from classic diesels and gasoline to plug-in hybrids to a purely electric version.

Photo: Lexus

You will travel here in the most comfortable way.

The most comfortable car is the one you don’t have to drive yourself. In the Lexus LM, you can also relax in the leather, electrically adjustable armchair and let it massage you while you watch your favorite series on the 38-inch screen and sip well-chilled champagne. The Lexus LM may look like a van from the outside, but inside it provides Rolls-Royce-level comfort at a fraction of its price and without all the pomp around it.

Photo: Volvo

Compact and at the same time practical, relaxed and nimble, for the city and for longer journeys, for quiet cruising and brisk travel. The little Volvo EX30 has a big range of talent.

A small car with big ambitions, that’s how Volvo describes its compact model EX30. But this small city vehicle can comfortably travel over 450 kilometers and feels great even on winding roads, where you can make full use of its power of up to 426 horses! In addition, it has a very interesting price tag that competes with regular combustion engines. That’s worth thinking about…

Best large electric car: Kia EV9

Photo: Kia

Yes, Kia seriously built this big, high-tech beauty.

There is no better example of the growing confidence of the Korean brand Kia than its hot new product. This large family electric vehicle is stunning inside and out, has cutting-edge technology on board and costs… well, a fortune, but still quite a bit less than comparable competition.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

The rejuvenated Tesla Model 3 has changed, and for the better.

At first impression, you wouldn’t say that the rejuvenated Tesla Model 3 will be a blockbuster, but the first impressions and the first kilometers showed how big a leap the young North American automaker has made. The car has received improvements in all directions, including the fundamental ones, so that it has moved up the ranking of conventional cars and electric cars, and at a very affordable price. Moreover, indications so far suggest that the Model Y will be rejuvenated in a similar vein, which could catapult Tesla to prominence.

Foto: Toyota

From a modest saver, it suddenly becomes a big stylish woman with a sporty attitude, which still knows how to save money in an exemplary way.

When the hybrid Corolla hit the market a few years ago, the Prius was essentially rendered useless – its conventional sibling offered similar economy in a more practical package and with a lower price tag. That’s why Toyota decided to take the Prius to the next level – turning it into a very handsome and great-driving stylish car with a plug-in hybrid drive. Now you don’t get it just to show the world how green your conscience is, but simply because you want it!

Photo: INEOS Automotive / Stan Papior

Grenadier is one of the few cars that can bring you unforgettable experiences. Absolutely unforgettable!

A purely purpose-built off-roader was sorely lacking on the market after the demise of the original Defender, but the Grenadier has more than worthily replaced it – it is incredibly capable in every situation, yet detailed and reliable. That goes for the first creation of a brand new car company, right?

Hot Hatch roku: Toyota GR Corolla

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

The GR Corolla is a sports unicorn on the Czech market. The exclusivity of the individual import corresponds to the price – 1.7 million crowns for a vintage piece.

The GR Yaris pocket rocket is a great sports car – a four-wheeler with rallying genes, a mechanical handle, a 261-horsepower 16-cylinder (although, yes, “only” a three-cylinder)… its genius was actually only brought down by small things – an unnecessarily high seat, worse outward visibility and limited practicality. All of these ailments are ironed out by the larger GR Corolla. The only flaw? It is not officially sold in Europe. The way to it leads through individual imports from Faster Cars. And the hot hatch is great, even though (or just because?) its technology is copied from the smaller Yaris. The car is more spacious, more usable on a daily basis and has a much more mature driving style. On top of that, it’s also fast, accurate, and extremely fun on snowy roads!

Photo: Porsche

The best 911 ever for genuine drivers. If you could hear the pictures…

When Porsche decides to celebrate the anniversary of the iconic 911 and give us all the most driving version as a gift, it can only go one way – absolute NIRVANA! The six-cylinder atmospheric boxer screams and roars, the car literally flies along the winding road and adrenaline pumps through your veins behind the wheel. It’s exactly the car you drive before you run out of gas, refuel and want to keep going. The best 911 in history? You bet!

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

Driving the Specter is an exhilarating – and utterly relaxing – experience. Best Rolls-Royce history? Feel free to bet!

Beautiful on the outside and luxurious on the inside, unexpectedly fast, yet completely silent and incredibly gentle. The first electric Rolls-Royce is not only the best electric car, but simply the best car we drove last year. In fact, it’s the best car Rolls-Royce has ever produced. And that means something!

Photo: Janík Motorsport

Thanks to the Elantra N TCR, I improved my previous best time in Most to 1:42.

Put Martin Machala in anything racing and he’ll be happy. Last year, however, I was lucky to have an extremely professional racer, in Most I was able to briefly test the special Hyundai Elantra N TCR of champion Mať Homola. Due to the certainly not ideal conditions, it was quite stressful, but in the end I improved my Mostek record to 1:42. And he was once again reminded of how terribly racing specials are different from anything – and quite a lot, very sporty. The steering is absolutely specific, the behavior of the car is unimaginably sharp. I hope this year will bring a similarly attractive ride!

Disappointment of the year:

Photo: Renault CR / Photo Schulz

The Espace isn’t bad at all, it’s just not the real Espace.

Not that the Espace is a bad car, it’s actually a pretty good family SUV with a third row of seats. But the name is binding, and despite Renault’s marketing stories, this car is not a successor to the incredibly spacious and practical family car that founded the MPV segment. If it was called Austral XL (as it originally was), we wouldn’t have a problem with it. But we are so disappointed…

Photo: Lukáš Kukla, Garáž.cz

So beautiful… yet so understated.

Mazda’s gorgeous new flagship is a dazzling car with a great interior, but it doesn’t drive as smoothly as we’re used to from this automaker, and none of the powertrains are tuned as they should be – the six-cylinder diesel is noisy and rough, the plug-in hybrid lacks smoothness and finesse. Which hurts a lot for a car that costs a million and a half.

Photo: Lukáš Volšicky

XM really didn’t do well with BMW, we know it and the customers noticed it too.

It was supposed to be the flagship model of the M sports division, a stunning luxury SUV with fantastic handling and brutal performance. Instead, we got an unsightly box with a jumpy chassis and an under-tightened hybrid drive, which for 4.5 million will offer you the interior of an X5 with half the price tag. And even otherwise enthusiastic BMW customers noticed, only 4.5 thousand were sold worldwide in the first three quarters of the year – that’s a solid bummer.

So that’s our list of winners and losers. Which of these cars did you like the most? Vote in the poll!

Which Car of the Year 2023 according to Garage do you like the most?

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