Kia Sportage, EV9, and ID Buzz win big at WhatCar? Awards 2023
The prestigious WhatCar? Awards have been crowning the best-in-class vehicles since 1973, and the annual accolades are highly regarded as an indispensable guide to the best cars you can purchase on the market.
Please note that international imagery and specifications are referenced in this blog, speak to our product specialists for details on New Zealand models.
WhatCar? Awards 2023 Car of the Year: Volkswagen ID. Buzz
Combining the practicality of an MPV with the comfort and refinement of a luxury SUV.
Being named overall What Car? Car of the Year is the highest honour a new model can receive… – WhatCar?
As you’ve already read, the Volkswagen ID. Buzz is a hugely impressive car. Of course it is; like our other category winners, it triumphed only after proving itself better than all of its direct rivals, and therefore a fantastic buy. But while we had high hopes for most of those other victors before we drove them, the Buzz’s brilliance came as a bit of a surprise.
Why? Well, put simply, there’s so much affection for the Buzz’s retro design that Volkswagen could easily have penny-pinched on the engineering and still sold as many as it could make. But instead, it has clearly thrown everything at the car, with this resulting in something that combines the practicality of an MPV with the comfort and refinement of a premium SUV and the potentially low running costs of an electric vehicle.
This is a car that you can buy with your head and your heart, then – one that doesn’t fit neatly into an established box but which is all the better for this. In short, it moves the game on more than any other model launched in the past 12 months, so it has to be our Car of the Year. – WhatCar?
The ID. BUZZ is due to arrive this year. Register your interest for more information.
WhatCar? Awards 2023 Family SUV of the Year: Kia Sportage
The Sportage is Kia’s #1 SUV, and for very good reason.
“Cars in this class must obviously provide sufficient space for families. However, the best also offer a comfortable ride and tidy handling, and blend gutsy performance with wallet-friendly costs…”- WhatCar?
Like Max Verstappen on his way to the 2022 Formula 1 drivers’ title, the Kia Sportage has been unstoppable in the past 12 months – and obviously we’re not talking about its braking performance here.
As you’d expect, we’ve tested it extensively in various guises – the hybrid version going up against the rival Ford Kuga and Hyundai Tucson, and the regular petrol version taking on first the Mazda CX-5, then the Skoda Karoq and Vauxhall Grandland. And the Sportage has emerged victorious every time, confirming that it’s now the best family SUV you can buy.
The Kuga and Seat Ateca may be a little more fun to drive, but the Sportage strikes a near-ideal balance between agility and comfort. It rounds off potholes and ridges better than the Tucson and is a very comfortable and composed companion when cruising along at higher speeds.
The Sportage also has one of the best interiors in the class, blending practicality with style in a persuasive way. It looks and feels smarter inside than the Ateca and Skoda Karoq, with plenty of soft-touch materials. Head and leg room are generous, and rear passengers get reclining seatbacks, while the boot behind them is even bigger than that of the highly practical Karoq.
When you consider all you get and how complete the Sportage is as a family SUV, the asking price of our favourite version seems like fine value – especially next to our former class champion, the Volvo XC40, which is now too pricey (especially on PCP finance) for us to wholeheartedly recommend. For the money, nothing else – including its Tucson stablemate – is quite so polished. – WhatCar?
WhatCar? Awards 2023 Reader Award: The Kia EV9
The full-size, 7-seater, all-electric concept vehicle that has everyone excited.
“What Car? readers were given a 14-car shortlist, and asked to vote for the upcoming model that they’re most excited about seeing in showrooms…” – WhatCar?
If you want to know the scale of the Kia EV9’s victory here, consider this: it gathered more than three times as many votes as our second-placed car, showing just how big the appetite is for this electric SUV.
It helps that the EV9 looks like it could have driven straight off the set of Star Trek, with angular lines, razor-thin LED lights and tough plastic cladding around its lower edges. That design isn’t expected to change on the road to production, although the concept car’s door-mounted rear-view cameras are expected to be dropped in favour of conventional side mirrors.
Underneath, the EV9 is closely related to last year’s Car of the Year, the Kia EV6. But while the EV6 uses a 77.4kWh battery, the EV9 gets a larger, 100kWh pack. As a result, every version of the EV9 should beat the 328-mile maximum range of the EV6. And that means breakfast in Birmingham, lunch in London and dinner in Dorset could be completed without plugging in.
When you do need to recharge, the EV9 can accept up to 238kW, meaning a 10-80% top-up need only take a few minutes. And your passengers – all six of them – will be able to relax in comfort while the battery is replenished. – WhatCar?
The Kia EV9 is arriving in 2023. Register your interest for the latest information.
WhatCar? Awards 2023
View all winners of the WhatCar? Awards 2023 here.