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Top 10 car reviews of 2023

Off-road-capable utes and SUVs features very heavily in the top reviews of 2023 list.

In the first part of 2023 vehicle supply was the Australian new-car market’s hottest talking point, thanks largely to the hangover from COVID-19 related issues around the globe.

But, although it’s patchy, availability has finally started to free up, to the point where this year our national annual registration total is set to exceed 1.2 million units for the first time. 

And as always, CarsGuide has been focused on keeping in-market car buyers up to date with new and revised models as they appear in local showrooms.

EVs are on the rise, emerging brands from China are stealing a lot of the headlines and head-to-head comparison tests hit the mark for many, as reflected in the Top 10 most popular reviews we published this year. Here’s the countdown from 10 to one.

The Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain - a great family ute that combines practicality, size and lots of features. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

10. Isuzu D-Max 2023 review: X-Terrain

While the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux slug it out for most popular ute and the title of best-seller for the entire market there are several other well-credentialed players snapping at their heels like the Isuzu D-Max. Family-focused contributor, Emily Agar, put this 4x4 workhorse to the test. 

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The Chinese-made GWM Tank 300 Ultra, is a sharply priced, well-stocked, petrol-powered SUV. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

9. GWM Tank 300 2023 review: Ultra - off-road test

You don’t have to go further than this five-seat 4x4 SUV’s name to get a feel for its intent and market positioning, and who better than our own Marcus ‘Crafty’ Craft to get it off the highway and put it through its paces in the rough stuff. Should the Jeep Wrangler be worried?

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Value is the name of the game with the H6 Ultra.

8. GWM Haval H6 2022 review: Ultra - long-term

There’s nothing like living with a car for a few months to pick up on the little things that may escape after a few days, or even a week behind the wheel. Andrew Chesterton put the hugely popular GWM Haval H6 SUV through the day-to-day grind to unearth the good, bad and ugly.

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The X-Trail e-Power impresses with its refinement, safety and practicality.

7. Nissan X-Trail 2023 review: e-Power

Hybrid is an increasingly common term in the automotive world but it can mean different things depending on the brand and model you’re looking at. Nissan has applied an unusual petrol-electric formula to its mid-size X-Trail SUV, proving hybrids 'ain't hybrids.

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The Ultimate XLV variant, a lifted and stretched version of the standard Musso, might be the sweet spot for work-and-play duties.

6. SsangYong Musso 2023 review: XLV Ultimate - off-road test

SsangYong is the ‘other’ Korean car brand and its Musso is a lesser known ute in one of the most hotly contested segments in the local new-car market. Our off-highway expert, Marcus Craft, put some sand, mud and rocks under the wheels of the XLV Ultimate grade.

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With the next-generation Prado on its way in 2024, is it still worth considering the current Prado? (Image: Glen Sullivan)

5. Toyota LandCruiser Prado 2024 review: Kakadu - off-road test

Not an unusual sight in the shopping centre car park, Toyota’s LandCruiser Prado is capable of so much more, including hardcore off-road adventure. Crafty got to grips with this highly-specified seven-seater to see if its combination of premium features and red dirt ruggedness stacks up.  

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Plugging in is a very easy habit to fall into.

4. MG HS +EV 2023 review: Essence long-term | Part 3

MG’s aggressive pricing and generous standard equipment has it leading the charge among a new crop of Chinese brands in the local market. The plug-in hybrid HS +EV is a popular medium SUV choice and Andrew Chesterton lived with one for three months to see how it shapes up day to day.  

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Which hybrid SUV best suits you? (Image: Sam Rawlings)

3. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Cruiser vs Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Exceed vs Nissan X-Trail e-Power Ti-L 2023 comparison review

Getting your hands on a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid in 2023 is a little like winning the lottery because there aren’t many to go around. But maybe alternatives from Mitsubishi and Nissan will have you thinking about side-stepping that long waiting list.

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The Chery Omoda 5 is a small SUV that looks good and comes with some great features.

2. Chery Omoda 5 2023 review

Chery’s recent comeback to the Australian new-car market has been led by the striking Omoda 5 small SUV. We found a lot to like in this keenly priced and well-specified newcomer, at the same time raising questions about the way some of its crash-avoidance tech operates. 

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Ford's new V6-powered Everest takes on Isuzu's MU-X and Mitsubishi's Pajero Sport in a 4WD-only test. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

1. Ford Everest Sport vs Isuzu MU-X LS-T vs Mitsubishi Pajero Sport GSR 2023 comparison review: off-road test

Large SUVs with room for all the family (and friends) remain a hugely popular option for adventurous Aussies and Crafty took this top-selling trio off-road to determine which is the best option for getting to that special remote camping site.

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James Cleary
Deputy Editor
As a small boy James often sat on a lounge with three shoes in front of him, a ruler between the cushions, and a circular drinks tray in his hands....
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