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Honda MotoCompacto

Honda Motocompacto: Maybe the best “EV” of 2023

Once upon a time in early-1980s Japan, Honda Motor Company sold a tiny gasoline-powered scooter as a factory add-on to the Honda Today and City hatchbacks. Dubbed the Motocompo, the tiny scooter featured an air-cooled, two-stroke single-cylinder and handlebars designed to fold into a square body, and in folded form, specifically snug into the City’s trunk.

The point was to offer last-mile transportation around crowded city centers where parking, even then, presented challenges. Honda sold 53,369 Motocompos over three years, many of which collectors in the United States now prize as fun, vintage toys. But then, earlier this year and seemingly out of nowhere, Honda announced a successor to the Motocompo that doubled down on efficient design with a lightweight electric powertrain that cut the original’s overall weight in half. Finished in flat white with even better packaging, the appropriately named “Motocompacto” now weighs only 41.3 pounds, offers up to 12 miles of electric range, and costs just $995.

Honda held media rides for the Motocompacto in late October, and the very next week, my friend picked up two from Airport Marina Honda in West Los Angeles—amazingly, with zero wait time and no markup. As soon as he unboxed and charged the little scooters, I jetted over to test out their power and range for last-mile commuting, plus, of course, the fun factor of what I immediately thought might be quite possibly the best EV of the year.

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Honda MotoCompacto
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

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Price and specs

Base price:$995 + tax
As-tested price: $995 + tax
Weight:41.3 pounds
Power:250 watts, 0.33 horsepower (peak of 490 watts, 0.66 horsepower)
Torque:11.8 pound-feet
Drivetrain:front-wheel drive
Top speed (claimed):15 mph
Top speed (observed):23 mph
Zero-to-15 mph:7 seconds
Zero-to-60 mph:No.
¼-mile:>1 minute
Range:12 miles
Battery capacity: 6.8 amp-hours
Full charge: 3.5 hours (claimed)

Exterior design

Where the Motocompo’s diminutive size still needed to house an internal combustion engine, the Motocompacto’s electric battery and motor afforded Honda much more creativity in the design process. The result looks somewhat akin to a large briefcase from the Disney-Pixar movie Wall-E, and when folded measures just 3.7 inches wide, 29.2 inches long, and 21.1 inches tall. Compare those numbers to the Motocompaco, which measures 9.4 inches wide, 46.7 inches long, and 21.3 inches tall when all folded up. 

At half the weight, stowing the new Motocompacto in the back of a tiny hatchback becomes infinitely easier—and no gasoline or oil to worry about spilling, either. Part of the impressive design comes down to how Honda packaged the wheels, seat, and handlebars to fold inside the tiny white rectangle. Each Motocompacto arrived fully folded, and learning the process to get ready to ride does, admittedly, take a minute. 

Start out by folding up the handlebars, then rotating the bars on the tube until a locking clip can secure them upright. Next, hold the bars and lock in the tube at the base. From here, reach down into the briefcase and pull out the seat, straighten the seat tube and lock it into place, then push a button to slide down into a clasping sleeve. Then, pull and twist out a handle on the right side that releases the rear wheel rearward, then lock it into place. Spin out the two foot pegs and flip down the world’s cutest kickstand before double-checking your work. I practiced unfolding and folding the Motocompacto twice, and the process felt simple enough.

Honda MotoCompacto
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle
What’s hot?– Nobody saw the Motocompo’s successor coming
– Crisp design, compact engineering
– Light enough to lift into the trunk, no problemo
– It’s a suitcase scooter!

Pricing breakdown

Honda and Acura dealers sell the Motocompacto for $995 plus tax, available only online via a dedicated website. Given the popularity on socials as soon as Honda revealed early imagery, plus supply chain issues still plaguing the automotive industry, a lack of wait lists and lead times surprised me when my friend picked up his two scooters with ease. (Whether that means $995 still sounds too high for a folding electric scooter remains a serious question.)

Motocompacto tech

The Motocompacto uses only one simple button for powering up, selecting between two ride modes, and powering down. The first mode, “Go Far,” prioritizes range and requires a kickoff to start rolling with the thumb throttle lever. The second mode, “Go Fast,” allows for pulling away with only throttle—an estimated range difference of one mile makes Go Fast the easy and obvious choice, though we all know that when it comes to EVs, that last mile can make all the difference in terms of range anxiety. And trust me, you’ll want top speed immediately!

I tried using the throttle without the rear wheel extended, and the Motocompacto is smart enough to prevent such shenanigans. Otherwise, the rest of the scooter’s data feeds to an impressive and intuitive smartphone app that displays the state of charge, location, lithium-ion battery temperature, and health, and offers the ability to lock the wheel (presumably to prevent theft, though the whole point of being able to carry the scooter like a briefcase makes this feature a bit silly).

Riding around town on the Motocompacto

After folding out the handlebars, seat, and rear wheel, the time quickly came to go for a ride around town. How far would we get before having to turn home? And how fast would we get there? Well, I can report that 15 miles per hour is not particularly fast compared to bicycles, e-bikes, and motorcycles. Smiles per hour, though, reach a maximum immediately. This little thing is fun! And everybody walking, driving, or riding by can’t help themselves either.

In terms of real speed, rider weight makes a big difference—Honda claims a maximum rider weight of 265 pounds, but my scooter accelerated noticeably slower, hauling me at 170 pounds versus my friend at 150 pounds. The 250 W motor (capable of a peak 490 W or just under 0.66 horsepower) powers the front wheel, too, which makes any additional heft while going uphill an even bigger struggle.

Honda MotoCompacto
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

Downhill, though, I gained the advantage and saw 23 miles per hour on the digital screen as I hunched over in a full tuck to minimize my aero drag. Because we’re racing, obviously. And on the Motocompacto, with tiny handlebars and a reverse-facing stem, 23 miles an hour feels very fast indeed. Rather than steering with my hands or leaning, I began simply wiggling my hips to turn and swerve. Eventually, I found a flow and wondered how the Motocompacto might perform really racing around a little coned-off course.

Honda’s decision to use solid rubber tires rather than tubed or tubeless tires explains at least partially why 23 miles per hour feels so fast. Every bump reverberates through the white plastic straight to the handlebars and seat. And the concept of grip flies right out the window. Simply leaning back or putting a foot down makes front-wheel burnouts easy. The single cable-operated rear brake also produces quick slides when yanked hard enough—luckily, a handlebar-mounted bell should alert any pedestrians, cars, or other riders while coming in hot.

What’s not?– Build quality not quite up to Honda’s high historical standards
– Zero suspension, solid tires
– Still kind of expensive for a toy

Functional Last-Mile Transportation or Fun Little Toy?

The original Motocompo’s function as a form of last-mile transportation thoroughly shines through in the Motocompacto’s design and engineering. Imagine parking more than a few blocks from work in busy Tokyo or Los Angeles, then pulling out a little scooter that takes up minimal trunk space, unfolding it quickly, and zipping along into the office. No more getting sweaty riding a bike, no Uber apps or dead batteries on rideshare scooters, and nothing to leave on the neighbor’s lawn or blocking someone’s garage door every… single… damned night in a row. I’m not mad. You’re mad.

For that purpose, the Motocompacto actually outshines its predecessor—no gas fumes, no whining two-stroke engine, and it can fully charge up at work on any standard 110-volt outlet in only 3.5 hours. And that’s when using all 12 miles of range rather than just a few blocks going here and there! 

If anything, I suspect that softer tires would go a long way towards making the Motocompacto feel more solidly built, just to reduce rattling while rolling down the road. But other little build quality issues cropped up, too. That flimsy pull-and-twist rear wheel release lever scraped and scratched one of my friend’s Motocompactos on the first few uses, and dirty shoes left marks on the folding picnic table-esque white plastic pretty quickly. 

Honda MotoCompacto
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

But throw in the style points, even if I wish it came with red graphics and Honda Performance Development decals, and this scooter starts to blur the line between a last-mile solution and a fun toy. All the better for Honda moving units, but at around a grand, many consumers may still find the Motocompacto something of a steep proposition for either use case. The e-bike industry keeps following Moore’s Law, as well—batteries and motors getting more powerful and cheaper simultaneously—but most still cost far more than a Motocompacto.

And no e-bike or scooter folds up quite as well, without a doubt. Maybe the biggest bummer? Honda still won’t sell the adorable E electric hatchback here in the States to perfectly match the Motocompacto in purpose and style. Instead, selling the Motocompacto as a separate unit, rather than a Honda Civic or CR-V add-on as with the original City and Today, leaves an obvious gap in the marketing plan. Come on, Honda, commit to the perfect combo for city-slickin’ EV owners here in the USA! Then, a Motocompacto at $995 would definitely make for a hell of a deal.

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Acura MDX Type S

Acura MDX Type S: A performance crossover with plenty of plush and just enough bite

“Come on, kids. Time for school! Yes, I know you’re late, but that’s not my fault your brother wanted to sleep in like a deadbeat. Now come on! We can still make it on time since we got the 2024 Acura MDX Type S and all 355 of its shirt-tearing, rip-snorting horsepower! What’s that, son? Sport+ all the way to school? You bet,” said some parent somewhere, probably. Okay, probably not, but I would. Okay, maybe not, but you get what I’m trying to say.

It’s time for me to throw some sensibility in with my usual dose of sportiness, and the 2024 Acura MDX Type S can do just that. Or at least it should, being the hotted-up performance variant of the standard MDX three-row family SUV that Acura has been touting since the early 2000s, with this current iteration having started its generation for 2022. From a distance, you may not think much of it. You could mistake it for a mere A-Spec, with it being not all that aggressive as far as performance crossovers or other Type S Acuras go. But then you start to raise an eyebrow at the red-painted Brembos and quad-tip exhaust outlets and wonder what Acura was cooking when they plucked this fairly average family SUV off the line. Thankfully, I’m happy to report that the final dish is quite the morsel.

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Acura MDX Type S
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

🚦Get ready, set, full disclosure! Some of the links powering our posts contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase, even if it’s not from the page we linked. Affiliate links are not always an endorsement of the product. To really help us keep our headlights shining to make more content like this, subscribe to the Acceleramota newsletter.

Price and specs

At $75,295, the MDX Type S ain’t cheap unless your idea of a posh family SUV has Alpina or AMG in the name. What you do get for that pretty penny is a fairly loaded, well-optioned vehicle that has just a bit of everything for everybody, as we’ll soon discuss. The Type S treatment also swaps out the normie MDX’s 3.5-liter V6 for a 3.0-liter, twin-scroll, single-turbo mill belching out a healthy 65 horsepower and 87 pound-feet atop the standard engine’s output. Acura’s acclaimed Super Handling All-Wheel Drive is standard, as is the 10-speed auto.

Base price:$68,150
As-tested price:$75,295
Engine:3.0-liter twin-scroll single-turbo V6
Transmission:10-speed automatic 
Drivetrain:All-wheel drive
Power:355 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
Torque:354 pound-feet @ 1,400 rpm
Redline:6,200 rpm
Weight:4,741 pounds
Zero-to-60 mph:5.4 seconds
¼-mile:14.0 seconds @ 101 mph
MPG:17 city, 21 highway, 19 combined
Observed MPG:18.3
Fuel Capacity:18.5 gallons

(Author’s Note: Performance numbers reflected in Car and Driver’s review from August 2022)

MDX Type S exterior design

“Mm, yes, this SUV is made of SUV. “

The MDX isn’t a particularly remarkable design, even with the mild dose of added aggression afforded by the Type S moniker. But I will say what’s remarkable is how unremarkable it is. It’s an appreciably tasteful and inoffensive design, devoid of the garish mugs that adorn other cars in its field, such as those from Lexus or BMW. But its creases and angles just keep it interesting enough to have it stand out from the overly-rounded blobs from Audi or Mercedes.

Frankly, I like it! But those seeking something more extroverted and shouty may wish for something with even more visual wow factor.

The decision years ago to ditch the Acura silver beak and adopt a traditional grille in the same shape has to be one of the strongest moves for the brand’s design language, and it gives the MDX a “just right” face that, while it may not attract the showy types, certainly won’t offend the more reserved buyers either. The quad-tip exhausts, red brake calipers, and machined wheels of the Type S are just sporty and modern enough, although the car could be more aggressive given its raucous-looking TLX and Integra stablemates. The lower-slung profile and somewhat elongated snout make the MDX slightly reminiscent of a bloated hatchback or a tubby station wagon, especially with the air suspension at its lowest height, and I mean that in the most respectful way possible.

What’s hot?– Buttery smooth powerhouse of an engine
– Drive modes for any occasion
– Admirable handling and steering
– Posh, airy interior earns its luxury car status
– Logical interior layout with physical switchgear
– Excellent second-row seating accommodations

MDX Type S pricing breakdown

The MDX Type S, even at its most affordable “base” trim, is no cheap bargain. At $68,150 before destination, you still get the adaptive air suspension (adaptive shocks plus air springs), LED headlights and taillights, auto rain-sensing wipers, Acura’s 12.3-inch display with the touchpad controller, and a glass panoramic roof. Step up to our tester’s $73,500 Advance trim, and Acura throws in quilted leather upholstery, a fancier set of machined 21-inch wheels, an upgraded 25-speaker ELS STUDIO 3D audio system, and 9-way massage seats for front occupants. Fancy! Acura’s suite of safety tech is standard across all models and includes traffic sign recognition, collision avoidance, lane keep assist, blind spot monitors, and adaptive cruise.

Add $1,195 destination charges and our tester’s $600 Liquid Carbon paint, $459 illuminated door sills, and $188 Acura logo puddle lamps, and we’re sitting at a lofty $75,295, a big step above similar rivals from a continent over. However, unlike those rivals, the MDX Type S comes fairly well-specced out of the box, even in its most spartan form, while its peers are more likely to nickel and dime you for every little option and package. Still, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a value deal, but it’s certainly of its class.

Acura MDX Type S
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

MDX Type S interior and tech

A luxury interior for those with Old World sentiments

Such opulence. Much wow. If this is the very best Honda can pull off, then I’d call it a resounding success. The MDX Type S is nice! I mean, it better be for the price. I expected it to be. But I’ve grown more smitten than I thought I would with the interior design and fit.

Everything just feels properly snapped together and screwed in without the slightest creak to be heard, even after the long life I’m sure this press car had. Interior panels were sturdy, what plastics existed throughout felt dense and robust, and the infotainment screen was appreciably complimented by a suite of hard buttons that all actuated with a premium, satisfying click. How simple. If hard buttons are the first to be dated and left behind, then I don’t want to get with the times. Hard buttons are cool, people! They’re cool, especially when they’re this tactile.

Acura MDX Type S
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

The leather seats were plush and supportive, although the second-row seats could be a tad bit softer. At least they’re adjustable and feature their own chargers, climate controls, and a fold-down center armrest and cupholders when the generous-ish center seat isn’t in use. Rear cargo space is expectedly meh with the surprisingly usable third-row seats up but more than accommodating with them folded down, giving plenty of room for week-long excursions, beach days, and maybe a couple of mountain bikes with the front wheels removed. Perhaps it’s just me, but it’s refreshing to see the cargo area as airy as the rest of the cabin, devoid of spare tire kits, tool sets, or ill-fitting folding seats that eat away at space.

Loads of tech, not all of it so cool

As previously mentioned, the MDX Type S comes standard with a whole starter pack of safety tech, all of which serve noble purposes to keep you from pancaking yourself against a wall or truck. As we’ll soon discuss in further detail, everything works decently well, from the adaptive cruise to the 360-degree parking cameras when in reverse. It’s great stuff, but nothing new under the sun.

What isn’t so great is the controversial touchpad, akin to what aroused ire in Lexus models before making their way to Acura’s side of the street. Similar to them, it’s a haptic-feedback method of navigating the infotainment screen via an auxiliary tracking pad to keep the glass free of your filthy, disgusting prints. Because “resale value,” I suppose. The fact is any infotainment system that needs a learning curve warrants a sigh and an eyebrow raise from me, but its ease of use soon made itself apparent over the course of my loan.

The MDX is a proper luxury crossover

A lavish chariot for a thousand-mile commute

As you’d expect, the Acura MDX Type S is an easy choice for a daily driver. Enthusiasts will appreciate its blend of sportiness and power in every commute, and the average suburbanite will love, well, pretty much almost everything, from its supple ride quality to the spacious cabin.

The glass roof earns chef’s kisses for shining much-appreciated light into the already-airy cabin, helping shine the sun on the red leather upholstery and open-pore black wood trim and reinforcing nightclub vibes when the sun goes down and the ambient lighting turns up! The abundance of glass greatly helps with visibility, bolstered by bind spot monitors that help make the MDX just as usable as a downtown LA runabout as it is rocketing down the 405. 

Just know that the unremarkable fuel economy off of the 405 will remind you of olden times just as much as the interior’s collection of hard buttons will. I saw about 18-ish combined in my mostly city driving, but at least I beat the EPA highway estimate, scoring between 23 and 25 mpg when traveling between 70 and 80 mph on most stretches of freeway.

The high-mounted screen, digital gauge cluster, and heads-up display keep all necessary information within a glance, if not in your peripheral. And the safety aids work wonders in nearly all driving scenarios. As discovered in the spunky little pocket rocket that is the Integra Type S, adaptive cruise with lane keep works fairly well at kinda-sorta-not-really self-driving. 

How all that tech works on the road

However, unlike the Integra, which tracked commendably straight and centered in its lane, the MDX would occasionally ping-pong between lanes. At the very least, it’d track straight but heavily favor one side of the lane or the other. It didn’t do this all the time, but it did so more than enough during my six-day stint, and I’m sure Acura can easily iron it out with some minor software updates.

The touchpad turned out to be fairly simple to get the hang of within a day or so, but there are some functions you may wish to use, such as adjusting screen settings or the massage seats, that may require more than a quick peek for you to get right. Again, it wasn’t a big pain, and it wound up being more functional than any similar system I had used before, but the fact there’s a learning curve in the first place still incited annoyance, especially when the Civic-based Integra gets to keep its touchscreen. There’s the easy fix! Just move the screen closer by a couple inches and make it touchscreen! Bam.

Acura MDX Type S
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Now it’s time to top off this compliment sandwich because there’s one bit of tech in the MDX I find quite infallible: that adaptive air suspension is God’s gift to the world. It can be sporty and firm when needed and perfectly supple otherwise. But even in Sport+, the ride is still compliant enough to take potholes and expansion joints with little fuss. It’s height adjustable, too, with up to 50 millimeters of lift available up to 37 mph for thick snow or water crossing. Clever! Every luxury crossover, no matter the brand, should dabble in air suspension at this price point, and the fact we can have it on what’s technically a Honda product is nothing short of spectacular. Speedbumps and road debris, be damned.

The Type S badge carries weight but could be better

Just sporty enough

The MDX Type S has some real pep in its step with the dance moves to match, more than I thought it would, and enough to put weight on that Type S badge. This soccer practice shuttle should have no problem catapulting the kids from the living room to the local game in no time at all.

The aforementioned 3.0-liter V6 is a soldier and a sweetheart in one, belching out just enough power to shove you back in your seat without inducing unwanted browning of the trousers. Plucked from the TLX Type S, it sports a reinforced block, squared bore and stroke, and forged internals to create the perfect tuner-ready canvas. Not that it’s lacking in grunt or anything. Of course, the stock 355 horsepower pushing a 4,700-pound SUV doesn’t sound like much in today’s world, but it’s more than enough, partly thanks to the snappiness of the heavily-revised 10-speed auto.

Acura MDX Type S
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Four-piston, 14.3-inch front Brembos be brembing (new verb for the dictionary, someone get on that), doing a great job of reigning the MDX down from the lofty speeds it’s capable of without overheating, at least at canyon pace. In Sport and Sport+, the air springs sag 15 millimeters while the adaptive dampers stiffen slightly. Bunched with double-wishbone front suspension and Acura’s acclaimed Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive, the result is an eager, nimble, and competent canyon toy for when the kids’ soccer match is atop Angeles Crest.

The SH-AWD system can send 70% of its power to the rear wheels and 100% of that power allotment to either the left or right wheel, which did wonders to quell understeer and help rotate around hairpins. In other words, this thing handles! Even the steering is precise and has an impressive degree of communication, going so far as to lighten up when the front wheels unload to inform you of road surface changes or a loss in front traction. The only real limiting factor was the Continental performance all-seasons, which let out faint howls in some of Angeles Crest’s tighter bends, but that’s nothing Michelin Pilot Sport SUVs can’t fix.

The MDX rips! It tears! Dare I say it even shreds? This three-row, seven-seater luxury crossover is genuinely fun. Ah, life is good. But it could be better.

Acura MDX Type S
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

Needs more bite to match its bark!

Yes, the MDX Type S is appreciably quick and plenty sharp. But it could be quicker. It could be sharper. It could turn in with even more ferocity and have the thrust needed to topple Civic Type Rs and Hyundai Elantra Ns. It could have a 10-speed that’s fully manual when hopping on the paddles and doesn’t auto-upshift at redline. But it doesn’t.

I’m unsure if that’s simply what the Type S badge means and if the ankle-biting Integra is the outlier, or if the Integra set the new benchmark and all other Type S Acuras should follow. But the MDX Type S is just a smidge too gentle for the message it wants to convey. It seems to occupy the same realm as the BMW X3 M40i and Audi SQ5, which are admittedly smaller but ring in at a lower base price and are much quicker. I’d liken it more to other big three-rows like the Audi SQ7 or BMW X5 M50i, but those monsters sticker for tens of thousands of dollars more and rock twin-turbo V8s pushing way more oomph.

Maybe it is I who fails to fully grasp the true identity of the Type S brand, having only experienced the Integra before this. Or perhaps I’m right. Maybe the Type S cars are just a quick ECU tune and a set of sticker summer rubber away from absolute perfection. 

Acura MDX Type S
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco
What’s not?– Could be faster
– Could be sharper
– Trackpad is a learning curve
– Unremarkable fuel economy
– Reserved styling may not be sporty enough
– Steep price tag encroaches on fierce rivals

An admirable product with plenty of posh and a splash of sizzle

The Acura MDX Type S has proven to be quite the underrated gem that I wish more people spoke about. But I get that its performance and price put it in an awkward position.

It seemingly has many direct rivals and none at all, leaving the Type S to be a purchase choice solely on you. Is it faster or slower than the next car? Is it bigger or roomier than the next car? If you’re really looking at the Type S above all trim levels, then who cares? This is a car you buy because it’s different, not necessarily a standout. And that’s to be taken in the most respectful way possible. It’s the ability to feel so distinct that makes it an all-star in its own right.

Acura MDX Type S
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

If you want it, then clearly, you want it. Clearly, you’re keen on snagging a vehicle that seeks to make a statement against its peers while also living in its own little world of luxury and athleticism, free of the stigma of most German contenders and the gaudy mug of other Japanese options. If that’s your vibe, status without the stigma, then the Acura MDX is an easy go-to, granted you can get along with the touchpad controller. And if inoffensive high performance is a big plus for you, then the MDX Type S might just seal the deal.

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Hyundai Ioniq 5 Quarter View
Best CarsFeaturesReviews

The best electric cars we’ve driven in 2023

In a rapidly transforming automotive landscape, EVs are taking center stage. What kind of auto journos would be if we didn’t put forth the effort to sample the latest in electric cars? So, we personally tested some of the leading cars on the market to share with you our quick takes and short reviews on the best electric cars of 2023, breaking down their standout features and performance metrics.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

Ioniq 5 charging
Image: Hyundai

Starting price: $41,450

Horsepower: 168 to 320 hp

Torque: 258 to 446 lb-ft.

Combined MPGe: 101 to 114 mpge

Battery Capacity: 58 to 77.4 kWh

Range: 220 to 303 miles

IIHS Top Safety Pick? Not yet evaluated under new criteria

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 combines retro-futuristic styling with advanced driver aids and smooth, silent acceleration. It operates on an 800V electrical architecture, enabling blazing-fast charging, and it can travel up to 303 miles on a charge in its most generous configuration. While all-wheel drive is available, the most efficient and longest-range models are those with rear-wheel drive. The Ioniq 5 has a smooth ride and refined operation, and while it’s not the most powerful or exciting EV on the market, it’s certainly tuned for comfort and delivers on that promise.

Hyundai’s tech isn’t as fancy or flashy as others, but it gets the job done and makes interacting with the vehicle a pleasure. The EV comes standard with a 12.3-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster that offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, HD radio, SiriusXM, and more. Additionally, the Ioniq 5 earned a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS in 2022. As of this writing, it hasn’t yet been subjected to new crash-test standards for 2023.

Kia EV6

Kia EV6 rear quarter on display
Image: Wikimedia Commons, Alexander Migl

Starting price: $42,600

Horsepower: 167 to 576 hp

Torque: 258 to 545 lb-ft.

Combined MPGe: 79 to 117 mpge

Battery Capacity: 58 to 77.4 kWh

Range: 206 to 310 miles

IIHS Top Safety Pick? Not yet evaluated under new criteria

The Kia EV6 shares a platform and much of its underlying technology with the Hyundai Ioniq 5, though it presents unique styling and a hotter performance variant in the EV6 GT. The 800V architecture it features enables a 10 to 80 percent charge in as few as 18 minutes using the fastest chargers available. All configurations offer healthy acceleration, but the EV6 GT’s prowess rivals that of some supercars. At the same time, the SUV has engaging handling and can hold its own in corners. It’s a little tightly wound, but most will find the ride quality agreeable. 

Psst. To any speed junkies here, note it’s the only Korean EV available with that hotted-up, sports car-fighting powertrain option. Or at least it is until Hyundai drops the Ioniq 5 N on our shores. But until then, it’s an EV6 GT or bust!

Like Hyundai, Kia focuses on functionality over flashiness in its infotainment systems. It also offers two 12.3-inch screens, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 14 speakers, wireless charging, navigation, and more. It earned a Top Safety Pick in 2022, but the IIHS hasn’t yet smashed it in the newer, tougher side-crash tests.

Ford F-150 Lightning

F-150 Lightning in the dirt
Image: Ford

Starting price: $49,995

Horsepower: 452 to 580 hp

Torque: 775 lb-ft.

Combined MPGe: 66 to 70 mpge

Battery Capacity: 98 to 131 kWh

Range: 230 to 320 miles

IIHS Top Safety Pick? No

Ford wasn’t the first to market with an electric pickup, but it hit the market hard with the F-150 Lightning — a normal-looking, full-sized truck that is surprisingly capable and demonstrates decent range. Though it has raised prices and struggled to keep up with demand, Ford configured the truck to be as familiar as possible for everyday buyers, and the Lightning delivers on that goal. It offers fantastic interior space and comfort and plenty of available tech – including BlueCruise hands-free driving. Though its range extends to 320 miles, towing and hauling heavy loads has an outsized impact on the distance it can travel, but 66 to 70 mpge combined is still pretty darn good for what it is.

Ford’s excellent Sync infotainment system runs on a 12-inch touchscreen, and the truck comes standard with a 12-inch digital gauge cluster. Buyers can upgrade to a massive 15.5-inch display, and other options include wireless charging, HD radio, and SiriusXM radio. Though it missed out on a Top Safety Pick, the Lightning comes standard with a load of advanced safety kit, including blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane keep assist, and more.

All said and done, it’s a fairly well-equipped and heavy-hitting product, even if it can get egregiously priced near the top of its trim levels. And sure. Although, it’s clearly not ideally sized for urban environments, don’t let a little girth deter you from an otherwise compelling product, especially if utility is a huge plus for you.

Mercedes-Benz EQS

Mercedes EQS quarter view
Image: Mercedes-Benz

Starting price: $104,400

Horsepower: 329 to 649 hp (751 hp w/ boost)

Torque: 417 to 700 lb-ft. (752 lb-ft. w/ boost)

Combined MPGe: 103 mpge

Battery Capacity: 108.4 kWh

Range: 277 to 350 miles

IIHS Top Safety Pick? Not yet tested

The Mercedes-Benz EQS is a flagship electric sedan from the luxury brand that offers futuristic tech, striking style, and an available AMG variant with breathtaking performance. No matter the powertrain choice, the car carries itself with authority and composure. It remains comfortable over various road surfaces and is surprisingly capable in the corners. At the same time, the interior remains quiet, and the car feels like an S-Class Mercedes at all times.

Mercedes offers a serious array of tech in the EQS, including standard 64-color ambient interior lighting, a 12.8-inch touchscreen, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. The top configuration includes a massive and seriously impressive 56 inches of display, including an almost 18-inch touchscreen. The EQS comes standard with blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, pedestrian and cyclist detection, forward and rear automatic braking, and more.

Nissan Ariya

Nissan Ariya Front Fascia
Image: Wikimedia Commons, Kazya Kuruma

Starting price: $43,190

Horsepower: 214 to 389 hp

Torque: 221 to 442 lb-ft.

Combined MPGe: 87 to 101 mpge

Battery Capacity: 63 to 84 kWh

Range: 205 to 304 miles

IIHS Top Safety Pick? Not yet tested

Nissan had delays with its new EV, the Ariya, but it’s here for 2023 with a decent range and impressive horsepower. Acceleration feels solid, though the front-wheel drive model takes more than seven seconds to reach 60 mph. The all-wheel drive configuration is considerably quicker, making the run in 5.5 seconds, and the SUV manages itself well on the road. Braking and steering are confidence-inspiring, and the Ariya holds its own in the corners.

Nissan equips the Ariya with a standard 12.3-inch touchscreen running wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A Wi-Fi hotspot, HD radio, Amazon Alexa capability, and much more also come standard. The Ariya has a solid list of standard safety equipment, though the IIHS hasn’t tested it yet. It’s equipped with blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, lane departure warnings, pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, a rearview camera, parking sensors, and driver attention warnings.

Genesis Electrified G80

Genesis Electrified G80
Image: Wikimedia Commons, Damian Oh

Starting price: $79,825

Horsepower: 365

Torque: 516 lb-ft.

Combined MPGe: 97 mpge

Battery Capacity: 87.2 kWh

Range: 282 miles

IIHS Top Safety Pick? Not yet evaluated under new criteria

Genesis took a tried-and-true approach with the Electrified G80, fitting batteries and an electric motor to the gas model’s body. The results are impressive: 365 horsepower, 282 miles of range, and all the luxury ride quality anyone could want. The car retains its flagship sedan feel, and the silent electric drivetrain offers strong acceleration and smooth operation. It’s not the most agile option around, but the car’s extreme level of comfort is a substantial consolation prize.

The Electrified G80 gets a 14.5-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 12 speakers, dual-zone automatic climate controls, a digital gauge cluster, and USB inputs. A 12.3-inch gauge cluster is available, along with wireless charging and an upgraded Lexicon audio system. The Electrified G80 earned a Top Safety Pick + in 2022 but hasn’t been subjected to the new, more intense side-crash tests. 

Cadillac Lyriq

Cadillac LYRIQ on China roads
Image: Wikimedia Commons, Dinkun Chen

Starting price: $58,590

Horsepower: 340 to 500 hp

Torque: 325 to 450 lb-ft.

Combined MPGe: 89 mpge

Battery Capacity: 102 kWh

Range: 307 to 312 miles

IIHS Top Safety Pick? Not yet tested

The Lyriq is Cadillac’s first EV, riding on GM’s advanced Ultium platform. And while not everyone on board Acceleramota seems to love it, there’s no denying what it has to offer GM fans. It offers up to 500 horsepower, and even the base configuration brings 340 ponies to the table. Acceleration isn’t exceptionally thrilling, but the SUV delivers refined power and good handling. It’s also every bit a Cadillac, bringing a smooth driving experience and a stable ride quality. The Lyriq’s one-pedal driving function works well, and standard braking feels solid.

The Lyriq’s dash is adorned with a massive array of screens, collectively spanning thirty-three inches, and equipped with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, multiple USB ports, seven speakers, and more. Additionally, Cadillac includes ambient interior lighting, an AKG premium stereo, and a panoramic sunroof. Though it hasn’t been evaluated by the IIHS yet, the Lyriq comes standard with a vibrating safety alert seat, lane departure warnings, pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, automatic emergency braking, and forward collision warnings. 

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