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Best Electric Vehicle of 2023

By Cars.com Editors
February 7, 2023

Winner: 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5

  • Price range: $42,785-$53,935 (all prices include destination charge)
  • Estimated electric driving range: 220-303 miles
  • Estimated efficiency: 101-114 mpg-equivalent

New for the 2022 model year and tweaked with small changes for 2023, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a well-rounded all-electric SUV that’s a great choice for first-time EV shoppers looking to make the jump into EV ownership as well as experienced EV drivers looking for their next vehicle.

What makes the Ioniq 5 so good? Well, it’s easy to drive with familiar controls that don’t require a steep learning curve; it has a spacious and airy interior that’s big enough for family duty; its interior is reasonably quiet at highway speeds; and its taller profile lends it good outward visibility. It’s also quick: When we tested an all-wheel-drive Ioniq 5 Limited, it went from 0-60 mph in 4.72 seconds. AWD models can go up to 266 miles on a full charge; the rear-wheel-drive version can go up to 303 miles.

And when it’s time to charge, the Ioniq 5’s 800-volt architecture means you can add miles of range faster than most other mainstream EVs when using a 350-kilowatt DC fast charger; we went from an 18% to 80% state of charge in 18 minutes, which added 152 miles of range. For home charging, there’s a standard 10.9-kW onboard charger, and there’s also what Hyundai calls vehicle-to-load capability, which lets you use the Ioniq 5’s high-voltage battery as a mobile power source via an available adapter in the charge port (good for 1.8 kW) or an outlet under the backseat (1.9 kW) that comes standard on Limited trims.

While the Ioniq 5’s sharp-edged styling distinguishes it on the road, its cabin is equally impressive, with an open front seating area that offers an available sliding front center console that offers a lot of storage space. Cargo room behind the backseat, meanwhile, is a respectable 19.1 cubic feet, per our cargo measurements.

The Ioniq 5 starts at less than $45,000 for a base SE trim with RWD and 220 miles of range. Standard active-safety features at this price include automatic emergency braking, lane departure steering assist, adaptive cruise control and blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert. While it’s not the least expensive EV you can buy, the Ioniq 5’s many attributes, from its driving manners to its space to its fast-charging capabilities, make it feel like you’re getting a lot for your money — and who doesn’t like that?

chevrolet bolt ev 2023 exterior front angle oem scaled jpg 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV | Manufacturer image

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV, Bolt EUV: Finalist

  • Price range: $27,495-$30,695 (Bolt EV); $28,795-$33,295 (Bolt EUV)
  • Estimated electric driving range: 247 miles (Bolt EUV); 259 miles (Bolt EV)
  • Estimated efficiency: 115 mpg-e (Bolt EUV); 120 mpg-e (Bolt EUV)

At a time when the prices of some new EVs have seen dramatic increases, Chevrolet’s Bolt EV four-door hatchback and slightly larger Bolt EUV SUV are something of a rarity. Chevrolet dramatically slashed their prices for 2023, taking thousands of dollars off their stickers. Now, the Bolt EV starts at less than $27,000 while the Bolt EUV starts at less than $29,000.

Despite their affordability, both the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV offer respectable ranges: The Bolt EV is EPA-rated to travel up to 259 miles while the Bolt EUV can go up to 247 miles. Both EVs have a 65-kilowatt-hour battery pack and an 11.5-kW onboard charger for faster home charging provided it’s connected to a circuit that can support that charging rate. The Bolt EV and EUV are also efficient, using 28 and 29 kWh of energy, respectively, to travel 100 miles, according to EPA estimates, giving you more miles of range per hour when home charging versus a less efficient EV.

The Bolt EUV was new for the 2022 model year, and its larger dimensions expands the model’s appeal with more backseat legroom. Standard features include a 10.2-inch touchscreen multimedia system with wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto smartphone connectivity, as well as automatic emergency braking and lane departure steering assist. If you’re looking for a commuter car or general runabout, the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV are worth a close look.

ford f 150 lightning lariat exterior front angle oem scaled jpg 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning | Manufacturer image

2023 Ford F-150 Lightning: Finalist

  • Price range: $57,869-$98,769
  • Estimated electric driving range: 240-320 miles
  • Estimated efficiency: 66-70 mpg-e

The all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning full-size pickup truck impressed us on a number of fronts when we tested it in 2022. For one, its ride quality is better than what you get in a regular gas-powered F-150. The Lightning feels more settled, with less up-and-down motions when the cargo box is empty. Some of the enhanced refinement can be attributed to its independent rear suspension — a setup that can induce scorn from truck shoppers — but in our testing, it didn’t diminish the F-150 Lightning’s hauling and towing manners when we loaded the bed with around 1,200 pounds of sandbags and later hitched a 5,900-pound Airstream travel trailer to it. The truck handled it all with confidence.

What’s more, the F-150 Lightning is also something of a performance pickup. With the available extended-range battery, the Lightning makes 580 hp and 775 pounds-feet of torque — and despite a hefty curb weight, it’s quick: We clocked 0-60 mph in 4.19 seconds and did the quarter-mile in 12.53 seconds at 107.3 mph. That’s Ford Mustang GT territory from a truck that’s rated at up to 70 mpg-e combined by the EPA.

The interior of the F-150 Lightning offers all of the space and comfort of the gas-powered F-150, and the cabin is impressively quiet, too, considering there isn’t an internal-combustion engine to mask other noises.

We wish the F-150 Lightning had quicker DC fast-charging performance, though even if it did, this isn’t the truck to get for a cross-country towing adventure because EV technology and infrastructure just isn’t there yet; we observed just 163 miles of driving range while towing. But if you need a truck for short towing trips or in-town work where you can plug-in at the same place day in and day out, the F-150 Lightning is a credible alternative to conventionally powered pickups.