The Best Cars Are Now EVs

No, really, a lot of journalists said so

It was starting to look like a sweep. Then it was very apparent that is exactly what was happening outside of a single category. At the New York International Auto Show, the World Car Awards announced its winners in multiple categories, and the big winner was the Hyundai Ioniq 5, taking home three awards.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 parked near a hill

Hyundai

For anyone paying attention to the crop of vehicles this year, this wasn't a surprise. Actually, for anyone paying attention to the automotive world, this shouldn't have been a shock. The current crop of EVs aren’t just good EVs, they’re great cars regardless of powertrain. In fact, according to over 100 journalists from around the best, they’re the best new cars on the road right now. 

First off, full disclosure: I’m a World Car Awards (WCA) juror. Every year, myself and other jurors—in addition to our regular car reporting and reviewing duties—drive dozens of vehicles to see which is the best of the best and vote. The result of all that time behind the wheel is what was announced earlier this week. 

If your reaction is, "what the hell are the World Car of the Year awards?" Let me direct you to a little award known as the MotorTrend Car of the Year, which was the Lucid Air.

EVs Rule

To be honest, voting for the Hyundai Ioniq 5 wasn’t a tough decision. It’s an outstanding vehicle from top to bottom and one of my favorite new vehicles introduced in the past few years. The hatchback-shaped crossover won car of the year, EV of the year, and design of the year, all of which were deserved. It’s stylish, fun to drive, has plenty of power, is extremely roomy, incredibly efficient, and can charge from 10% to 80% in just 18 minutes at compatible DC fast chargers. 

That’s with a starting price of $40,000, which is only $6,000 more than the Hyundai Kona Electric in my driveway. In other words, it’s a huge leap for an automaker that’s already been delivering quality EVs. 

Rear view of Hyundai Ioniq 5 driving away on a road

Hyundai

On the performance side, the Audi E-Tron GT bested traditional gas-powered sports cars to win performance vehicle of the year. Again, not a surprise. It’s a fantastic sports sedan from Audi that I’ve driven multiple times (including on an ice track) and is a blast behind the wheel. Those are the exact attributes you want from a performance vehicle. 

Then there’s the luxury vehicle of the year, which Mercedes won with its EQS sedan. Again, an outstanding vehicle that happens to be an EV and something most of us can’t afford due to its starting price of $102,000. You know, like most luxury vehicles. This brings us to the final category.

Best Urban and the Pricing Problem

The best urban vehicle of the year was the Toyota Yaris Cross. Like all Toyotas, it’s a solid vehicle that will likely last until the end of time. Don’t bother looking for it at your nearest Toyota Showroom, though, as it’s not available in the US, but it’s a small, inexpensive vehicle for driving around a city. The problem is, none of the vehicles in the category were EVs because electric vehicles are still expensive (relatively speaking) and, for the most part in this country, rather large. 

The issue is Americans still want a huge range and large cars. Even if the daily commute is less than 40 miles a day and the most we haul is groceries, we demand 300 miles of range and enough room to store a year’s worth of Diet Cokes. You know, just in case. 

Outside of the Mini Cooper SE, there are no small, inexpensive EVs on the market yet. Hopefully, they’re coming soon because if EVs want to sweep the awards, there needs to be an EV for every market. 

But the fact remains. It’s time to stop wondering if EVs are good. If automotive journalists with decades of experience under their belts have agreed that EVs are great, it’s about time those on the EV fence took a moment to actually drive one.

Want to know more about EVs? We have a whole section dedicated to electric vehicles!

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