What is an SUV? No, seriously. Ask a dozen people and you’ll get a dozen answers. To some, it’s a body-on-frame vehicle with four-wheel drive, much like the original Jeeps that birthed the segment. To others it’s a two-box shape with high ground clearance and room for a weekend getaway. Yet others define it as any hatchback larger than a typical car. We can all agree, generally, what an SUV should do but not on what it should look like. As Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once said when struggling to define pornography, “I know it when I see it.”
Well, we know a great SUV when we drive one. A great SUV must inspire confidence; it’s capable of commuting comfortably, road-tripping for days, and tackling both snow and light off-road trails. An SUV must be spacious, with each row offering room for both passengers and the things they carry. It also must be safe and (relatively) efficient. Stylish looks don’t hurt, either.
We’ve spent countless hours arguing over the pure definition, but we’ve yet to come up with a more objective means of separating the mere cars from the true SUVs than our Of The Year testing and criteria. Regardless of how any individual defines the term, there’s no denying our 2023 SUV of the Year handily meets the diverse needs of the compact SUV segment it competes in, and then some. It’s stellar to look at, wonderful to drive, roomy, comfortable, efficient, and a killer value. You no doubt already know what it is: introducing our 2023 SUV of the Year, the Hyundai Ioniq 5.
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