Every year, the electric vehicle pool grows larger. That makes choosing the best of them harder but also far more fun. Now that more mainstream brands have their own EVs, we're starting to see how they differentiate themselves. In years past, just being an electric car was novel enough, so few EVs had their own unique personalities. And while EVs still might not have the same levels of personality as internal combustion cars, they're more unique than ever before.
Not only are they more unique than ever before, they're better than ever, too. Competition breeds excellence and that's definitely what's happening here. Picking the best EV of the year was tricky because there were so many good ones to choose from. In the end, though, the winner came from one of the most affordable and popular mainstream brands on the road. But before we get to the winner, let's take a look at the runners-up.
Runner-Up: Volvo EX30
"Don't let its entry-level status fool you into thinking that it's slow, either, because it is quite the opposite. In fact, the EX30 has one more Volvo superlative up its sleeve: in dual-motor form, it is the Swedish automaker's quickest accelerating car ever. Hitting 60 mph in 3.4 seconds, the EX30 Twin Motor Performance gets to 60 just as quickly as a Porsche 911 Carrera 4S and, more relevantly, 0.1 seconds quicker than the Tesla Model Y Performance.
"As a value proposition, the 2025 Volvo EX30 is an intriguing one. I mean, being the quickest Volvo ever while simultaneously being the cheapest of its era has gotta put it in some sort of standing with future Volvo collectors. It's also seriously fun bombing down highway ramps, passing Porsches with ease in an unassuming, tiny Volvo crossover.
"...the EX30 could be the perfect gateway into urban EV ownership, particularly in base form. Scandinavian styling, 275 miles on a charge, 5.1 seconds to 60, and a practical crossover body for 36 grand? You could do a lot worse." —Chris Tsui, Reviews Editor
Runner-Up: Audi Q8 E-Tron
"As far as cobbling together a spacious, comfortable, and quiet driving experience, Audi hits the mark with the 2024 Q8 E-Tron SUV and Sportback. It's a great place to be all day long, I just wish its range would break the 300-mile mark—especially given its price.
"Channeling its sporty DNA, the big Q felt equally at home squabbling on roads with the proper suspension and drive settings selected and good summer rubber to match. It doesn’t need to do explosive acceleration because, dare I say, it has more character than that. If you’re still left wanting more, Audi is expected to announce the SQ8 E-Tron sometime later this year—and this will likely gain speed with a bit more aggression.
"No matter how you slice it, the Q8 E-Tron is a solid entry in this growing luxury segment. It offers a lot of equipment for less than $100,000, and more importantly, it's a joy to drive fast or slow. Your choice." —Peter Nelson
Runner-Up: Genesis Electrified GV70
"Behind the wheel, the Electrified GV70 is exactly what I expected from a luxury electric crossover from the everyday-driving experts of the Hyundai Group—smooth, quiet, and comfortable on the highway while maintaining an aggressively agreeable, confident demeanor in the city and the twisties. A deliberately low-effort car to drive in pretty much all respects, the E-GV70’s inputs are intuitive, friendly, and reasonably light.
"Go-fast shenanigans aside, the GV70 remains a deeply pleasant and intuitive item to live with. The seats are comfy and supportive, everything is where you expect them to be, all of the buttons and knobs move with a quiet, damped smoothness, and much of the tech is fancy and useful. More than any other automaker, Genesis seems determined to make its EVs accessible and comprehensible to electric newbies; these are normal-looking, normal-feeling cars that just happen to be battery-powered." —Chris Tsui, Reviews Editor
People's Choice: BMW i4 M50
"Then, Sport mode was truly jaw-dropping. The thing rocketed off the line with no drama at all—it just grabbed and lunged. The sensation wasn't necessarily scary—a lot of runway was required, though—and thankfully its immense front and rear vented brakes with four-piston front, single-piston rear calipers always felt up to the task of taming it back to a chill EV cruiser. Highway passes were effortless, too, but then so was reaching very-expensive-speeding-ticket territory.
"In fact, it was the steering that surprised me the most. Sure, having a bunch of weight in the middle, plus two electric motors that are mounted way down low—with the front end having barely any mass forward of the front shock towers—means light, direct, quick-turning steering. But it was still a shocking experience at first as my brain just wasn't ready for Lotus-resembling front-end sharpness—plus a wonderfully quick steering ratio—in a big, 5,000-pound vehicle.
"Outside of becoming thoroughly acquainted with the joys of electrified motoring, BMW did an excellent job making EV ownership quite easy for anyone who wants everything about a modern Bimmer—especially if they already have experience with it—and only swapping out the method of propulsion. The charge port is even in the same spot as pretty much every BMW gas door, ever." —Peter Nelson
[Ed. note: The BMW i4 M50 also takes home the honor of being our People's Choice winner. In a series of polls on The Drive's Instagram, it was the most popular EV of this bunch. Congratulations, BMW. —CT]
Winner: Hyundai Ioniq 6
Like it or not, Tesla's Model 3 changed the game when it launched. The Model 3, for many EV owners, was and still is the perfect electric car. It's a sensibly sized sedan, reasonably priced, extremely quick in Performance guise, and has more than enough range to satisfy 90% of Americans. There's a reason why it's among the best-selling EVs in the world. But what if you could get all of that from a more reputable brand with great warranties and even better looks? That's the Hyundai Ioniq 6.
If you’ve driven an electric car, the Ioniq 6 feels a lot like that—smooth, silent, and effortless. This is an inherent problem with EVs, as their powertrains all feel the same. But there’s a competency to the way the Ioniq 6 moves that makes it feel polished and well-engineered. It has good steering, perfectly judged throttle mapping, agile handling, and good brakes. It feels like a sporty-ish sedan that just so happens to be electric. Which will make new electric car customers feel right at home.
After spending a week with the Ioniq 6, I struggle to see why every brand isn't making one. Every Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, or even Hyundai Sonata customer would probably be better off in the Ioniq 6, as it's the right size, has even more interior space than those cars, is quicker, better looking, and burns precisely zero hydrocarbons. When a company as accessible as Hyundai builds a great, affordable electric car, it can change the game and that's exactly what the Ioniq 6 does.
Congratulations to the Hyundai Ioniq 6 for being The Drive's Best EV of 2023.