Editors’ Picks February 2023 | Audi RS 3, electric G80 and a longtime favorite
In this month’s set of Editors’ Picks, we see a wide variety of vehicles earn our recommended status. The Audi RS 3 is a truly stellar sedan with a killer engine, great handling and still enough comfort for daily use. Genesis finds its way onto the list again with its electric version of the G80 midsize sedan, and Volvo’s XC90 still charms after all these years.
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 January that earned an Editors’ Pick.
2023 Audi RS 3
Quick take: The Audi RS 3 keeps the passion alive with a superb sounding 5-cylinder engine and a torque-vectoring rear differential that massively ups the handling fun. Its interior is a little bland, but it's still a handsome Audi on the outside.
What it competes with: Mercedes-AMG CLA 45, BMW M240i, Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing, VW Golf R
Pros: Epic engine sound, fun AWD system, great handling and acceleration, attractive exterior styling
Cons: Interior doesn't pop, expensive for its size
From the editors:
Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — "If you love a special engine, the Audi RS 3 is a car for you. Few powertrains sound and feel as special as the 5-cylinder engine in the RS 3, and the ferocity with which it accelerates will have you laughing your head off with every pull. The sheer performance out of this little machine is extraordinary, and I'd recommend it to anybody shopping for a small, luxury sports car daily. All that said, I wish Audi could've sorted out better steering and a suitable interior. As-is, both of those factors are negatives in a car that is almost all upside."
In-depth analysis: 2023 Audi RS 3 First Drive Review: To hell with business cases
2023 Volvo XC90
Quick take: The XC90 may be old now, but key updates and a timeless design ensure it's competitive as ever. The Scandinavian interior design appeal has never faded, and now the Google-based infotainment system is fresh and snappy. Even the Recharge PHEV is an awesome alternative with great range and strong electric motor.
What it competes with: BMW X5, Audi Q7, Lexus GX, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Porsche Cayenne, Genesis GV80, Acura MDX, Land Rover Range Rover, Infiniti QX60
Pros: Spacious third-row and cargo area; Scandinavian design; wide price range; available Recharge plug-in hybrid
Cons: Unrefined engines, could use more interior buttons
From the editors:
News Editor Joel Stocksdale — "The XC90 was a serious standout when it was refreshed a few years ago, but the competition has caught up. That being said, there's still plenty to like about it. It remains as handsome as ever whether looking at it outside or inside, and its plug-in hybrid system is one of the best in the segment. It's even better than it used to be, too, offering more range. And like all Volvos, there's just something about it that's really likable."
Associate Editor Byron Hurd — "The XC90 is starting to feel a bit long in the tooth, but it's still a comfortable three-row with a beautiful cabin. Volvo likely won't update its ICE-based three-row significantly now that the EX90 is just over the horizon, so this may be your last chance to get a "big" gas-burning Volvo."
Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — "If the Recharge PHEV model for the XC90 didn't quite cut it for you before, I have good news for you. Volvo's PHEV updates that it's making across the lineup give the XC90 Recharge a much larger battery pack and stronger electric motor for legitimately great electric-only motoring. I'm not the biggest fan of the Google-based infotainment system replacing Sensus, but it's still a minor upgrade that improves the tech experience."
In-depth analysis: 2023 Volvo XC90 Review: Design that stands the test of time
2023 Genesis Electrified G80
Quick take: The electric G80 is considerably more fun and better to drive than the gasoline version. Its EV tech makes it highly competitive with others, too. A big battery with solid range and super-fast charging ensures road trips are doable, and the luxurious interior makes every drive downright opulent.
What it competes with: Mercedes-Benz EQE, Audi E-Tron GT, Tesla Model S, Lucid Air
Pros: Fast EV charging, stellar design, luxurious interior, surprisingly fun to drive
Cons: Ride is harsher than expected, not sold in all states, expensive
From the editors:
Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — "I liked driving the Electrified G80 (dumb name) way more than I was expecting. Turns out, the electric version of this big sedan is way more fun and better to drive than the gasoline-powered one, even more so than the twin-turbo V6-powered Sport Prestige model. I was a little disappointed by the ride quality on certain choppy surfaces, but it can still soak up highway miles in comfort. The G80's luxurious interior is one of the biggest reasons to buy it, too, as Genesis put together a high-tech, easy-to-use and beautiful design inside this big sedan."
In-depth analysis: Genesis Electrified G80 is a classy, subtle entry into EVs