Editors' Picks July 2023: Toyota Prius, Ioniq 6 and some popular SUVs


This month of Editors’ Picks is packed with some brand-new metal and refreshes of what are becoming old favorites. The new Prius delivers on its attractive looks to become one of our favorite hybrids, and the efficient Hyundai Ioniq 6 only adds to the success of Hyundai’s E-GMP platform cars. Both the Kia Telluride and Ford Escape are refreshed for this year, and once again, they both earn the distinction of being an Editors’ Pick.

In case you missed our previous Editors’ Picks posts, here’s a quick refresher on what’s going on here. We rate all the new cars we drive with a 1-10 score. Cars that are exemplary in their respective segments get an Editors’ Pick designation. Those are the ones we’d recommend to our friends, family and anybody who’s curious and asks the question. The list that you’ll find below consists of every car we rated in July that earned an Editors’ Pick.

2023 Toyota Prius

  • 2023 Toyota Prius Limited front low
  • Image Credit: James Riswick



Quick take: The Prius is cool now. It has stellar styling, a modern and sporty interior, is relatively quick and isn’t entirely dreary to drive. Utility is still solid, but cargo area and rear headroom could be better.

Score: 8

What it competes with: Kia Niro, Toyota Corolla Hybrid, Hyundai Elantra Hybrid

Pros: Sporty and fun styling; Prime variant is quick with great EV range; fantastic fuel economy

Cons: Cargo room and rear headroom suffers from shape; gets expensive quick

From the editors:

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “I think Toyota did a stellar job with this new Prius, from the pretty styling to the much improved acceleration and Prime electric range. It would be nice if there were more cargo space to better compete against hybrid SUVs, but the Prius is definitely angling toward folks who want and like cars and hatchbacks than the rugged crowd. The ridiculous instrument cluster placement is the worst part, but it’s a small bone to pick with an otherwise excellent vehicle.”

Associate Editor Byron Hurd — “Toyota wants us to believe that the Prius is fun now. While it’s certainly more pleasant to drive than previous incarnations, we’re not going to leap to calling it ‘sporty.’  Being a hybrid isn’t enough to make a car special these days, and even the Prime is not the most practical PHEV for the money, but if you prefer a small fastback to an upright crossover or wagon, there’s really little downside here. And it looks great.”

In-depth analysis: 2023 Toyota Prius Review: It’s not just about sky-high MPG anymore

 

2023 Kia Telluride

2023 Kia Telluride SX Prestige X-Pro

  • 2023 Kia Telluride SX Prestige X-Pro
  • Image Credit: John Beltz Snyder



Quick take: Roominess, great design and an excellent interior make the Telluride feel much more special than its price suggests. If you want a three-row ute with character that won’t break the bank, look no further.

Score: 8

What it competes with: Kia Telluride, Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Chevy Traverse, Honda Pilot, Subaru Ascent, Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, Mazda CX-9, Kia Sorento, Buick Enclave, Nissan Pathfinder, VW Atlas, Mazda CX-90

Pros: Bigger-than-average third row and cargo space; user-friendly tech; extra-smart cruise control; handsome design; excellent value

Cons: X-Pro ride quality; no hybrid powertrain available

From the editors:

Senior Editor, Green John Beltz Snyder — “No wonder this thing’s popular. The Kia Telluride remains a favorite in the segment for its value, practicality and utility. It’s simply an excellent three row crossover. We like the looks and the little smidgen of off-road capability the X-Line and X-Pro trims provide, even if they aren’t as quiet and comfortable as the rest of the lineup.”

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “I think the Telluride looks worse than it did before after its refresh, but that doesn’t change my feelings on it being a superb three-row SUV. You’re no longer playing second-fiddle to the Palisade in terms of luxury features, and the addition of the X-Pro trim is a sweet option to have. I’d buy either this or the new Pilot if I were in the three-row SUV segment.”

In-depth analysis: 2023 Kia Telluride Review: Still the smartest three-row buy

 

2023 Ford Escape

2023 Ford Escape ST-Line Elite

  • 2023 Ford Escape ST-Line Elite
  • Image Credit: John Beltz Snyder



Quick take: The Ford Escape’s wide array of impressive powertrain choices, including a hybrid, and respectable dynamics brings a touch of fun to a boring segment. There’s tons of space throughout the vehicle, but the exterior design could be more enticing.

Score: 7

What it competes with: Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester, Nissan Rogue, VW Tiguan, Chevrolet Equinox, Mitsubishi Outlander

Pros: Efficient options with hybrid and PHEV; sporty 2.0T variant; decent handling and unique utility options

Cons: Expensive within the segment; interior is on the cheap side; styling leaves something to be desired

From the editors:

Senior Editor, Green John Beltz Snyder — “The refreshed Escape gets some new looks and better tech, but changes aren’t fundamental. The big reason to pick this over the competition is not because of value or some great feature content, but because it might have the best driving dynamics of the segment. The available hybrid powertrains are attractive, too.”

In-depth analysis: 2023 Ford Escape First Drive Review: New ST Line adds much-needed style

 

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 Limited AWD

  • 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 Limited AWD
  • Image Credit: John Beltz Snyder



Quick take: The Ioniq 6 is the best of the E-GMP vehicles to drive, and its aerodynamic shape makes it super efficient with a long range. You give up utility versus the Ioniq 5, but the benefits will be worth it for some.

Score: 9

What it competes with: Tesla Model 3, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Polestar 2

Pros: Fun, efficient driving; interesting design; useful tech; up to 361 miles of range

Cons: Tight rear head room; small trunk; no federal EV tax credit

From the editors:

Senior Editor, Green John Beltz Snyder — “What a fantastic EV the Ioniq 6 is. It loses a little bit of the cargo utility compared to the Ioniq 5, but it makes up for it with sportier ride and handling. It’s wonderfully efficient in rear-wheel drive, while the dual-motor, all-wheel drive versions are surprisingly potent. The exterior design is … interesting, but the cabin is quite spacious and the interior is attractive and of a high quality, even in the base trim.”

News Editor Joel Stocksdale — “The Ioniq 6 has become my favorite of the E-GMP cars (barring the high-performance ones like the EV6 GT and probably the Ioniq 5 N). The styling is absolutely one of a kind, and it’s superbly executed inside and out with cool shapes and materials. And that shape provides amazing efficiency and thus excellent range. It all does this while also providing the sportiest ride, handling and steering of the basic E-GMP cars. Sporty, stylish and efficient? It doesn’t get much better than that.”

In-depth analysis: 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 Review: Stylish, sporty electric economy

 

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