7 Most Important New Car Debuts of 2023

It’s been such a topsy-turvy climate for automakers over the past few years that the continuing rollout of new models could be considered a miracle. The cross-currents of a changing economy and the industry’s push towards more sustainably-powered vehicles – while keeping traditional buyers happy – means every new model is critical to an automaker’s success.

With that in mind, here are the seven most significant new vehicles that debuted in 2023.

2024 Honda Prologue

Honda was one of the first automakers to offer a gasoline-electric hybrid with its original 2000 Insight, a legacy that continues today with hybrid versions of the 2024 Honda Accord, CR-V, and forthcoming 2025 Civic. Although the Japanese automaker dipped its toe into the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle segment with the short-lived 2018 to 2021 Clarity PHEV, as the automaker’s first battery-only model offered in Canada, the unveiling of the 2024 Honda Prologue SUV is noteworthy.

Longer than Honda’s compact CR-V and midsize Passport, the two-row Prologue looks more like a sports wagon than a boxy SUV. Like the also-new 2024 Acura ZDX, the Honda EV piggybacks on General Motors’ scalable Ultium battery platform. Sharing much with Chevrolet’s new Equinox EV, it will be interesting to see if buyers get in line for a GM-based electric Honda that will offer up to 450 km of range.

2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

While Honda plays catch-up in the battery-electric segment, Hyundai has been a leader, as evidenced by the Kona EV, Ioniq 5, and Ioniq 6. But as the first driving enthusiast-oriented vehicle in Hyundai’s electrification strategy, the automaker hopes its high-performance N version of the Ioniq 5 hatchback will attract a new type of EV buyer.

As one of the first EVs targeted at driving enthusiasts, the Ioniq 5 N was appropriately revealed at this summer’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in England. The electric hot hatch’s dual electric motors usually generate 601 horsepower, but an “N Grin Boost” feature bumps that number to 641. With a rear motor more powerful than the front and with stability control off, the Ioniq N can easily drift into oversteer in high-speed corners. To support Hyudai’s sporting intentions, it’s launching the Ioniq 5 eN1 Cup in 2024 as South Korea’s first one-make EV race series.

2024 Kia EV9

Midsize three-row SUVs have become the modern-day version of the station wagon in the 1960s: do-it-all machines that can be a daily commuter, people hauler, weekend towing machine, or four-season vacation transportation. But as an EV? Welcome the new EV9, the first three-row all-electric SUV from Kia and the flagship of the automaker’s global EV strategy.

About the same size as the current gas-only Kia Telluride, the EV9 checks off all the requirements for a family hauler: three rows of seats, loads of cargo room (521 litres with all seats raised, 2,320 when folded), plenty of power (up to 379 hp), available all-wheel drive, and the same maximum towing capacity as the gas-powered Telluride. But here’s where the EV9 could become a game changer: it can be driven up to an estimated 480 kilometres between charges.

2024 Tesla Cybertruck

Arguably, the most-anticipated new vehicle debut in 2023 was Tesla’s Cybertruck. After first appearing as a concept in 2019, it isn’t the first battery-electric pickup truck to go on sale, as Ford, General Motors, Ram, and Rivian all beat Tesla to market. However, while the Cybertruck might be late to the electric truck party, its wild style makes it look like nothing else on the road.

Per typical Tesla hype, the Cybertruck makes some bold claims. Its knife-edged stainless-steel body is bulletproof, it can tow 4,990 kilograms, and boasts an estimated driving range of 547 kilometres. Two versions are coming for 2024: a 600-hp dual-motor AWD version and an 845-hp tri-motor trim dubbed “Cyberbeast.” The question the Cybertruck raises is whether buyers will gravitate to its unique qualities or shun it for the more traditional electric trucks from Detroit.

2025 Ram 1500 Ramcharger

Contrary to the attention paid to Tesla’s truck, the debut of the new 2025 Ram 1500 Ramcharger could be more important for traditional truck buyers. As the industry’s first series plug-in hybrid (PHEV) pickup truck, the Ramcharger addresses some major EV concerns like range anxiety, unreliable or unavailable public chargers, and long charging times. Taking its name from the 1980s Dodge/Ram full-size SUV, the new Ram 1500 Ramcharger uses a unique body-on-frame platform like the battery-electric Ram 1500 REV. But instead of only two electric motors, there’s a gas V6 that acts as a generator. When the battery depletes, the gas engine kicks in to help recharge, adding power and eliminating the need to search for somewhere to plug in.

Of course, the Ramcharger can still be plugged in to charge just like any other PHEV. Ram estimates a pure-electric driving range of 233 km, with a class-leading total gas and electric range of 1,111 km. As an alternative to a battery-only truck, the Ramcharger might be the best choice for longtime gas-engine truck owners who don’t want to rely on electricity alone.

2024 Toyota Land Cruiser

Although the Land Cruiser nameplate hasn’t been sold in Canada in more than 35 years, most Canadians recognize the iconic badge as the mainstream version of the fancier Lexus GX body-on-frame three-row luxury SUV. For 2024, an all-new GX arrived. But for many reasons, its also-new Toyota Land Cruiser platform-mate is a more notable debut for 2023.

For 2024, the body-on-frame Land Cruiser moves down in size, now a two-row midsize SUV targeted at off-road enthusiasts who may also be interested in a Ford Bronco or Jeep Wrangler. If that sounds like the existing 4Runner’s role, Toyota says a new 4Runner is also on the way. Perhaps more importantly, Toyota will affix the Land Cruiser badge to future vehicles beyond this new SUV. For starters, Toyota recently revealed the Land Cruiser Se (i.e. sports electric) concept, a unibody, battery-electric three-row SUV that could be sold along the gas versions.


2025 Volvo EX30

The all-electric Volvo EX90 will be the automaker’s flagship SUV when it goes on sale next year. But for buyers looking for a smaller, less expensive electric Volvo, the 2025 EX30 debuted this year. Sliding into the lineup below the existing Volvo C40 Recharge and XC40 Recharge, the EX30 is shorter than the Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, and Hyundai Kona EV.

Volvo also plays it smart by offering the EX30 with two powertrain choices. If you want the most driving range, the rear-wheel-drive single-motor version can be driven up to an estimated 442 km between charges. Suppose you want to go faster. In that case, the EX30 Twin Motor Performance mates the battery with an additional electric motor on the front axle, delivering 422 hp, traction at all four wheels, and an electrifying zero-to-100-km/h run in a claimed 3.6 seconds, making it the fastest-accelerating Volvo ever. It’s also made with a lot of sustainable materials inside and out that still manage to feel premium and robust.