10 trendy electric cars to watch out for this year

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 1 Feb, 2023 06:00 | 4 mins read
Toyota bZ4X. PHOTO/Courtesy

The 2022 model year was an inflection point for all-electric vehicles (EVs) as more automakers brought a wider variety of them to the market. The 2023 model year is expanding that universe, with most built on new EV-specific platforms. Here is a list of newly available EVs for the 2023 model year and their specs

1. Toyota bZ4X

Toyota’s first all-electric car is a very Toyota EV with Toyota SUV looks and no spaceship-like interior design or controls — just a normal Toyota that drives like one but happens to have an electric powertrain. The only thing weird about it is the impossible-to-remember name. The bZ4X compact SUV is roomy and slightly bigger in most dimensions than a RAV4. It offers two trim levels, FWD or AWD, and mostly familiar Toyota tech and safety features, though a Toyota first is the option of a front-seat radiant foot-and-leg heater. Pricing starts at about US$43,000 (Sh5.3 million).

2. Subaru Solterra

Subaru’s first battery-electric car is a roomy compact SUV developed jointly with Toyota’s bZ4X SUV. Befitting a Subaru, the Solterra is offered in the U.S. only in dual-motor AWD form. Its X-Mode drive system features Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud modes, as well as Grip Control and Downhill Assist Control for low-friction and off-road driving conditions. The Solterra has 8.3 inches of ground clearance and combined system output of 215 hp. Its charging capabilities mirror the bZ4X’s, and its EPA-rated ranges of up to 222 or 228 miles are the same as AWD versions of the Toyota. Pricing starts at just over US$46,000 (Sh5.7 million).

3. Nissan Ariya

More than a decade ago, Nissan rolled out the Leaf, the first EV for the U.S. masses. Now comes a much-delayed second act, the Ariya compact SUV. Front-drive versions are available now; AWD models will follow soon. The Ariya is about the size of Nissan’s Rogue but with a sloped roofline, and it takes on the electric SUV competition with decent range, a friendly cabin design and advanced driver-assist tech. Interior features include a power-sliding centre console and a storage bin and tray that slide out from the dashboard. New Nissan tech making its debut on the EV is ProPilot Park, which can park the vehicle in perpendicular and parallel spots, and the latest ProPilot Assist that allows hands-free driving on mapped highways. The Ariya has six trim levels and two battery sizes — a 63-kWh battery good for an EPA-rated 216 miles or an 87-kWh battery offering up to 304 miles, each with FWD. Pricing starts at about US$45,000 (Sh5.5 million).

4. Mercedes-EQ EQS SUV

The big dog of Mercedes’ expanding EQ sub-brand is the EQS SUV. Like the EQE SUV, it’s essentially a taller, more practical version of its swoopy EQS Sedan sibling, and it also resembles Mercedes’ popular GLS conventional SUV. Like the EQS Sedan, the SUV is posher than rival Teslas, shooting for quiet elegance over sporty driving. The interior design and materials are pretty much from the sedan, and you can have the enormous 56-inch Hyperscreen mentioned above. Three versions include the RWD 450+, AWD 450 4Matic and higher-performance AWD 580 4Matic. The 107.8-kWh battery is good for an EPA-rated 305 miles of range with the base variant; that drops to 285 for the AWD models. Pricing starts at just under US$106,000 (Sh13 million).

5. Lexus RZ 450e

Lexus is taking preorders for its first full EV, the RZ 450e. The new RZ brings Lexus looks and a posher Lexus interior to the EV platform it shares with the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra, but it’s longer for more space and adds more zip with a dual-motor AWD system good for up to 312 hp. Pricing and lots of feature and spec details remain to be filled in before launch. The brand also says that the RZ 450e has an advanced electronic AWD system. 

6. BMW i7

BMW’s redesign of its flagship 7 Series sedan includes a new i7 electric version. The i7 xDrive60 is BMW’s third EV, joining the smaller i4 sedan and iX SUV. With all-wheel drive, the i7 shares the new front and rear styling, minimalist interior and tech of the other versions, but it’s powered by dual electric motors putting out a combined 536 horsepower and 549 pounds-feet of torque. It is EPA-rated for up to 318 miles of range on its 101.7-kilowatt-hour battery pack. Pricing starts at more than US$120,000 (Sh14.9 million).

7. Cadillac Lyriq

Cadillac’s Lyriq SUV finally has arrived — the brand had been promoting it since 2020 and even made it the star of a Super Bowl ad. Cadillac’s first EV rides a version of GM’s Ultium platform with a 102-kWh battery pack. The Lyriq offers single-motor rear-wheel drive or dual-motor AWD, and it’s EPA-rated for up to 312 miles of range. The SUV’s design includes futuristic LED lighting elements and a luxury interior with a 33-inch display. Tech features include Regen on Demand, a system with a steering wheel paddle that controls how quickly the Lyriq comes to a stop without needing to use the brake pedal and energy regeneration. Optional is GM’s Super Cruise system for hands-free driving on mapped roads. Pricing starts at about US$63,000 (Sh7.8 million) for RWD and about US$65,000 (Sh8 million) with AWD.

8. Hyundai Ioniq 6

Soon joining Hyundai’s angular Ioniq 5 SUV will be a swoopy, streamlined and more grown-up Ioniq 6 sedan (not a hatchback). It shares the Ioniq 5’s platform, RWD or AWD powertrains with up to 320 hp, and 53- and 77.4-kWh battery choices; it also comes with fast-charging capability up to 350 kW and the ability to power external accessories or appliances. Features and options also are similar, and while the Ioniq 6 has the same wheelbase, the body is about 8 inches longer and the roofline about 4 inches lower than the Ioniq 5’s. Pricing has not yet been announced.

9. Kia EV6 GT

This is just a new performance version of the rocket-styled Kia EV6 that arrived for 2022, but it’s a rocket — and more affordable than many performance EVs at about US$63,000 (Sh7.8 million) to start. The EV6 GT ratchets up the fun with a dual-motor AWD powertrain with a total output of 576 hp and 545 pounds-feet of torque. Kia estimates 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds. EPA-rated range is just 206 miles versus 282 for the long-range EV6, but fun isn’t free.

10. Mercedes-EQ EQE Sedan

Mercedes’ second electric sedan is in most ways a shorter and less expensive version of the top-of-the line EQS Sedan. The EQE Sedan’s swoopy styling is as polarizing, its luxury as opulent and its tech as sophisticated as the EQS. The car leans more to posh than rival Tesla, though it’s less sporty, and there’s a full range of standard and optional tech, as well as Mercedes pampering features. Three versions are available: the RWD 350+, 350 4Matic with AWD and more powerful AWD 500 4Matic. A 90.6-kWh battery pack is standard. Pricing starts at about US$76,000 (Sh9.4 million) for the base variant.

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