Greatest automotive group assessments 2023: our greatest head-to-heads

Best car group tests 2023 - pictures


The well-known Auto Specific group assessments are an absolute linchpin of our journal and web site. That is the place we take a look at the newest new automobiles head-to-head with their main rivals over an action-packed week or extra, it’s the place we actually discover out concerning the strengths and weaknesses of every mannequin and our findings inform all our suggestions and evaluations.

Group assessments are the engine room of Auto Specific, no person else does extra of them or goes in to larger element. That’s why they’re so worthwhile to automotive patrons looking for to decide about their subsequent automotive.

As with yearly, 2023 has introduced an enormous number of group assessments overlaying fashions from inexpensive superminis to unique supercars. There have been so many highlights however we’ve chosen the perfect group assessments of the 12 months on this web page, those that basically confirmed a automotive’s class-leading standing, those the place the newcomer ousted an present champ and those the place the outcome shocked us all.

Scroll down for our workforce’s favorite group assessments of 2023 and click on the hyperlinks to learn the total assessments…

The most effective automotive group assessments of 2023


Kind R vs Kind R: new vs previous

The 12 months began with some of the thrilling New vs Used twin assessments we’ve ever coated. One Honda Civic Kind R is thrilling sufficient, however after we pitched the very newest version of the sector-defining sizzling hatchback in opposition to its predecessor, sparks had been sure to fly. 

The newest FL5 technology managed to lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7 min 44.881 sec – a report for a front-wheel-drive automotive. We didn’t have entry to The Inexperienced Hell to place this lap time to the take a look at, however we had a really moist Thruxton Circuit to see simply how a lot had improved over the earlier FK8.

What wasn’t up for debate was how the newest mannequin has taken nearly each aspect of what made the previous automotive so nice and improved upon it. Take the engine; the two.0-litre turbocharged unit has been boosted to 324bhp and 420Nm – enhancements of 4bhp and 20Nm – but the automotive’s gasoline effectivity additionally sees a small upturn, too. 

In the meantime, the six-speed transmission – already one of many best fitted to any trendy street automotive – has been refined with new springs and a weighted gearknob, so slipping by way of all of the ahead ratios felt extra satisfying than ever. The suspension has been beefed up, the observe widened and the geometry fettled to ship a automotive that we discovered to be much more centered and grippy when pushing onerous, simply as playful if you wish to have enjoyable, but extra refined all on the similar time. On prime of which are all the elemental enhancements which have been launched all through the entire Civic vary; the rear-seat house is excellent, the in-car tech is improved and the dashboard seems far more fashionable than earlier than.

However what we needed to ask ourselves is, with the brand new mannequin now reaching £52,000, and used examples of the previous- gen mannequin going for half that, had been the upgrades actually value it? We concluded that though the previous automotive can be a vastly tempting used purchase, the newest is absolutely the peak of present sizzling hatches. Provided that it may be the last-ever pure-petrol Kind R, it’s a peak which may by no means be bettered.

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Ora Funky Cat loses dogged struggle with MG4

GWM Ora made its UK debut with the curiously named Funky Cat, which we pitched in opposition to the MG4. This contest proved to be a triumph of substance over type; despite the fact that the MG was the cheaper mannequin of the 2, it additionally had higher efficiency, experience, dealing with, inside house and effectivity than the newcomer. 

The Funky Cat was definitely extra distinctive to take a look at inside and outside, nevertheless it proved to be massively hamstrung by a small vary. Within the chilly situations of our take a look at, it struggled to attain a real-world distance of 134 miles.

Learn our Ora Funky Cat vs MG4 take a look at right here


Dacia Sandero vs Citroen C3 head-to-head kicks off new real-world assessments

Certainly one of our most vital street assessments of 2023 got here courtesy of a pair of automobiles with the smallest worth tags of any new mannequin on sale at this time. Nevertheless, it wasn’t merely the face-off between two cut price superminis – the Dacia Sandero and the Citroen C3 – which was a purpose for the fanfare; this take a look at additionally marked the launch of our new-style real-world street take a look at. 

As a way to offer you, the reader, a extra detailed but accessible perception into the deserves of each new automotive that we attempt, our revamped technique shines extra mild on what a mannequin is prefer to reside with, what it’s prefer to personal and likewise how a lot you possibly can count on to pay in working prices over three years. 

From PCP finance charges – the most typical method for patrons to finance a brand new automotive – to insurance coverage, gasoline and servicing, we add the entire numbers collectively and show them in bar graphs to offer a transparent indication of which mannequin would be the finest worth. And worth is extra essential on a pair of finances superminis than it’s in every other space of the market. 

The You was launched as a brand new entry trim stage to the Citroen C3 vary; it missed out on among the equipment of pricier fashions, but in addition undercut the subsequent least expensive C3 by over £3,000. Our take a look at confirmed that this saving was sufficient to make the newcomer by far our decide of the C3 vary, as a result of it nonetheless boasted the graceful experience and funky cabin of the costlier variations.

Nevertheless, it nonetheless wasn’t fairly sufficient to beat the enchantment of the Dacia. Equally snug but much more spacious, the Sandero sealed the win in two key methods. First, its three-cylinder engine exploited turbocharging far more successfully than the C3, giving it usefully extra torque, and due to this fact flexibility, round city, on a motorway and alongside a twisty A-road. Secondly, though the Citroen was very low cost to run, it nonetheless couldn’t  fairly match the Dacia’s excellent worth.

Learn our Dacia Sandero vs Citroen C3 take a look at right here


Model-new Volkswagen ID. Buzz takes shock win in opposition to Tesla Mannequin Y

A comparability take a look at between the Volkswagen ID. Buzz and Tesla Mannequin Y might sound a bit perplexing at first look, given simply how totally different these automobiles are on the floor. The Mannequin Y can also be £10k cheaper, completes the 0-62mph dash in beneath half the time the VW takes and comes with 80 extra miles of vary. So a walkover for Tesla was certainly the one outcome right here, proper?

Effectively, not fairly. The Volkswagen ID. Buzz is likely one of the UK’s most fascinating EVs and the most important subject for patrons is that VW isn’t making them shortly sufficient, resulting in an excruciating 18-month ready checklist. 

The design harks again to the basic Kind 2 microbus, but it’s as trendy as you’d count on from a brand-new EV. The MEB platform that VW makes use of for its totally electrical automobiles offers the ID. Buzz car-like driving manners and we discovered the experience and refinement to be higher than the Tesla’s. 

The VW’s inside house additionally trumped its rival’s, though the ID.Buzz is 38mm shorter, which helps give it a surprisingly tight turning circle. On the time, we mentioned we might have appreciated the choice of a seven-seat ID. Buzz and the reply got here only a few months later, with the revealing of the ID. Buzz LWB. The longer mannequin permits for a much bigger battery and supposedly extra vary, so we are able to’t wait to check out that model of VW’s funky electrical people-carrier. 

The ID. Buzz’s victory over the Mannequin Y – nonetheless one of many very finest electrical SUVs – was a little bit of a shock, but in addition a possible turning level within the wider automotive panorama. We’ve seen the recognition of SUVs develop quickly prior to now 10 years or so, however the sheer practicality of an MPV bodystyle is tough to disregard. Throw in some attraction just like the ID. Buzz has and also you’re on to a profitable method. 

Learn our Volkswagen ID. Buzz vs Tesla Mannequin Y take a look at right here


Honda Civic hatch pips Corolla and Ceed 

We set ourselves the immensely troublesome job of selecting a winner out of three actually glorious hatchbacks earlier within the 12 months. Now in its tenth technology, the newest Honda Civic is a unbelievable all-rounder, the Toyota Corolla appeals on virtually each entrance, and the Kia Ceed stays a difficult and barely extra wallet-friendly choice within the family-car class. 

The Civic received in the long run, due to its easy hybrid system and nice dealing with. The Honda’s inside has additionally taken a large step on, whereas its construct high quality is as spectacular as ever. 

Learn our Toyota Corolla vs Honda Civic vs Kia Ceed take a look at right here

Genesis G80 EV shocks Mercedes EQE

Even 10 years in the past, the concept of a Korean saloon taking up Mercedes’ finest (and beating them) would’ve been loopy, however that’s precisely what occurred. 

The Genesis Electrified G80 went up in opposition to the Mercedes EQE in a battle of luxurious all-electric limousines and received, due to its cheaper working prices, pricing and driving dynamics – spectacular, given the Mercedes’ refinement and its glorious vary. What shocked us most was the truth that the Genesis felt a lot extra particular inside. 

Learn our Mercedes EQE vs Genesis Electrified G80 take a look at right here


Up to date Vauxhall SUV takes on Kia rival

Vauxhall revamped its vary in 2023, and we put one among its refreshed fashions, the Grandland, up in opposition to the formidable problem of Kia’s Sportage. The Korean SUV finally got here out on prime in our Actual-World Take a look at, due to it having few apparent weaknesses, comparatively eager finance gives and a class-leading guarantee. 

However the up to date Grandland, examined with the confirmed Stellantis 1.2 PureTech powertrain, put up an honest struggle, impressing us with enhancements to its suspension and glorious infotainment system, and completed solely half a star adrift.

Learn our Vauxhall Grandland vs Kia Sportage take a look at right here

BYD Atto 3 takes on Kia Niro

Chinese language manufacturers have been threatening the established makers for some time now, nevertheless it nonetheless felt like a landmark take a look at after we pitched the BYD Atto 3 in opposition to the multi-award-winning Kia Niro

There was little to separate the 2 SUVs, with the Kia being barely higher to drive and the BYD preventing again with its nicely specified cabin. Some eager finance figures swung the deal, although, handing a breakthrough take a look at victory to the Atto 3. Towards such a extremely rated rival, it felt like an enormous achievement for the Chinese language producer.

Learn our BYD Atto 3 vs Kia Niro EV take a look at right here


Skoda pips VW in eight-car face to face

They may be a part of the identical group, however Volkswagen and Skoda compete in opposition to one another in a variety of key areas. We introduced eight of the pair’s top-selling fashions collectively to see whether or not Skoda was actually higher worth, and if VW was larger in high quality. 

In the long run it was a slim victory for the Czech model, due to the power of its Fabia supermini, Enyaq EV and Karoq household SUV. Solely the Golf upheld pleasure for Volkswagen, albeit by scoring a win in opposition to the mannequin that Skoda considers its trademark automobile, the Octavia.

BMW M2’s win over M3 CSL reveals progress

BMW’s M Division has made some gorgeous efficiency automobiles through the years, and we pitched one among its newest, best efforts in opposition to a basic after we introduced the brand new M2 to face the 20-year-old E46 M3 CSL.

There have been similarities between them – six-cylinder energy, auto transmission, rear-wheel drive – however the take a look at highlighted how progress has made the M2 faster, much more succesful in corners and refined when cruising. M3 CSL values have rocketed, however the M2 held its personal and will change into a future trendy basic.

Learn our BMW M2 vs BMW M3 CSL take a look at right here


Ford Ranger picks up the massive win

Decide-up vehicles might not be the tax-busters they as soon as had been, however these sensible workhorses nonetheless play an essential position for companies up and down the nation. Ford’s Ranger has lengthy been probably the greatest, so when the brand new model went on sale, we wished to see the way it stacked up in opposition to a pair of proficient rivals. 

Blowing the competitors out of the water, it beat each VW’s new Amarok V6 and Toyota’s Hilux. It’s nicely geared up, snug and good to drive – attributes that additionally helped the Ranger scoop a win at our NCAs).

Learn our Ford Ranger vs Volkswagen Amarok and Toyota Hilux take a look at right here

BMW i4 wins out in opposition to still-impressive Ioniq 6

Having topped the Hyundai Ioniq 5 our general Automotive of the Yr in 2021, we had excessive hopes for the Ioniq 6. Nevertheless, we knew it was up in opposition to some robust competitors – not least our favorite electrical exec, the BMW i4.

The Hyundai held its personal after we introduced the 2 collectively, nevertheless it finally missed out on the win because of a barely cramped cabin, a compromised boot and a agency experience. The i4 isn’t the most important, nevertheless it’s sharper to drive and a very good cruiser. BMW has since bolstered the vary with a fair cheaper eDrive35 version.

Learn our Hyundai Ioniq 6 vs BMW i4 take a look at right here


ZR-V faces as much as evergreen Qashqai

The fashionable SUV sector received a fierce new contender within the type of Honda’s ZR-V, primarily based on the excellent Civic and able to out-compete Nissan’s Qashqai. Our take a look at noticed the 2, £40k-topping flagship fashions go head-to-head. 

The Honda received by the pores and skin of its enamel; we appreciated its practicality, nice construct and easy, environment friendly powertrain, nevertheless it fell down with a agency experience and compromised boot house. The Nissan, by comparability, didn’t fairly excel to the identical stage, however fought again with higher all-round consolation and a properly offered inside.

Learn our Honda ZR-V vs Nissan Qashqai take a look at right here


Cayenne is simply too sizzling for tow-car rivals

Yearly the Caravan and Motorhome Membership Tow Automotive Awards assist us work out which new fashions in the marketplace are the most effective suited to hitching up your property from house. 

This time the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid emerged victorious, proving troublesome to fault, and profitable Tow Automotive of The Yr plus the category winner for caravan weights over 1,700kg. The awards noticed a powerful displaying from EVs, with the Volkswagen ID. Buzz, Skoda Enyaq Coupé, Polestar 2 and Nissan Ariya all taking house silverware. 

Learn our checklist of the most effective tow automobiles to purchase right here


Leaf lords it over BMW i3 in used EV take a look at

With a bountiful collection of second-hand EVs now in the marketplace, and plenty of sporting fairly inexpensive worth tags, we wished to see how a lot low cost, used examples of two pioneering electrical fashions would value to run. Unpretentious, enjoyable to drive and as sensible as any combustion-engined household automotive, the Nissan Leaf emerged victorious on this take a look at.

The BMW i3 was definitely the higher automobile to drive, and felt as leading edge because it did a decade in the past, however its restricted vary and cabin house limit it to urban-runabout duties.

Learn our used BMW i3 vs Nissan Leaf take a look at right here

Grenadier, Defender and Ranger Raptor within the tough

As autumn set in, we received down and soiled by pitting the brand new Ineos Grenadier head-to-head in opposition to the Land Rover Defender and Ford Ranger Raptor. We revered the Grenadier’s devotion to being an unstoppable off-road machine, and couldn’t ignore its attraction. Nevertheless, it was the Defender that took house the win, due to the way in which it drives each on and off street, in addition to its higher-quality inside.

The Ranger Raptor, which by comparability is considerably brash, got here third – though it’s a hoot to drive in the suitable atmosphere, and boasts true pick-up truck practicality.

Learn our Land Rover Defender vs Ineos Grenadier vs Ford Ranger Raptor take a look at right here


Revamped Renault Clio has rivals licked in showdown

The basic supermini class would possibly really feel like a smaller place with the lack of the Fiesta, however the Ford’s historic rivals aren’t fairly completed but, as our take a look at of the sharp new hybrid-powered Renault Clio proved after we put it up in opposition to the Honda Jazz and Skoda Fabia. All three impressed, however the Clio’s steadiness of a dynamic chassis, sharp seems and worth for cash sealed the deal. 

With the new Renault 5 on its method, we frightened concerning the plight of the Clio, however after this victory we suspect its future is assured for a minimum of the foreseeable future.

Learn our Renault Clio vs Skoda Fabia vs Honda Jazz take a look at right here

Ford faces Vauxhall in our mega showdown

Ford and Vauxhall have been large rivals for many years, with the 2 producers usually competing in the identical segments for many of their lengthy historical past right here within the UK. 

We determined to convey collectively every maker’s core fashions, from household hatches to crossovers and SUVs, to search out out which model has the sting by way of the automobiles it sells right here and now. It was an in depth name, however regardless of Vauxhall’s sharp new design language, it was Ford that took the win, due to its typical mixture of sensible driving dynamics matched to spectacular practicality. 

Simply observe the hyperlink for the remainder of our 2023 Assessment of the Yr pages…

Alex joined Auto Specific as employees author in early 2018, serving to out with information, drives, options, and the occasional sports activities report. His present position of Chief reviewer sees him head up our street take a look at workforce, which provides readers the total lowdown on our comparability assessments.


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