The Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto opens to the public on Friday, but before the doors swing wide, AutoTrader has doled out its annual vehicle awards to deserving automakers. And this year, electrified vehicles not only had a big presence in the decisions, but for the first time, EVs have won in non-electric specific categories.
A diverse jury made up of 20 judges across Canada looks at every vehicle available to consumers. Vehicles are judged on 12 different criteria: overall excellence, value, innovation, technology and features, user-friendliness, performance, engineering excellence, driver satisfaction, design, safety, quality and efficiency. As you can imagine, it’s an exhaustive (and exhausting!) process, what with the high level of offerings available in dealerships all over the country. But there have to be winners, so here is a rundown of the electric vehicles that made the top of the categories for 2023.
Best Overall Car: Genesis G80 and Electrified G80
This large luxury car from Genesis uses the same platform for both the gas- and electric versions. Apart from the drivetrain, they are just about identical in their long list of features, opulent interior and one of the smoothest rides on the road.
Best Overall Green Car: Ford F-150 Lightning
Ford was first to market with an all-electric, full-size pickup, and from all accounts, they did it right. The Lightning looks and feels like a regular F-150, save for the quiet drive and linear power delivery. But it also delivers the real-world capabilities you’d expect from a pickup truck, which is key to its success.
Best Compact Luxury Car: BMW i4
One of two all-electric vehicles to take a general category this year, the i4 is basically an electrified version of BMW’s 4 Series of sedans. Only, you get better acceleration with the i4, which comes in two versions: the base Gran Coupé with a single motor and 254 hp, and the dual-motor, AWD M50 xDrive, with 536 hp.
Best Large Luxury Car: Genesis G80 and G80 Electrified
Another win for the South Korean sedans. The Electrified G80 has 365 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque; an 87.2 kWh battery gives a maximum range of 454 km.
Best Subcompact Luxury SUV: Genesis GV60
The GV60 is another all-electric vehicle that beat out its gas-powered counterparts, which in this case would be the likes of the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3, among others. And for good reason; the interior is sumptuous, it’s packed with technology and it has mind-blowing acceleration.
Best Mainstream EV: Hyundai Ioniq 5
A huge departure from Hyundai’s traditional styling, the Ioniq 5 took the World Car of the Year title last year, along with Car Design of the Year and World Electric Vehicle of the Year. The awards were voted on by a jury of 102 motoring journalists representing 33 countries, so the South Korean all-electric crossover sure has made an impact.
Best Premium EV: Ford F-150 Lightning
The Lightning takes another award. And while it may sound strange that a pickup truck would win the Premium EV category, one look at the interior of the Platinum version, which starts at $121,000 here in Canada, will reveal the F-150 Lightning has all the opulence of a luxury car, only it can also also haul your boat.
Best Hybrid: Ford Maverick
A 1,500-lb payload with the fuel economy of a Honda Civic? Yes please. The little Maverick brought back the small-truck category when it debuted in 2021, and it comes standard as a front-wheel-drive hybrid, starting under $30,000 in Canada. Sales have been wildly popular.
Best PHEV: Toyota RAV4 Prime
The entire RAV4 lineup was the best-selling passenger vehicle in Canada last year. Not only does the Toyota RAV4 Prime bring up to 68 kilometres of electric-only range, but with 302 hp, it’s also the most powerful RAV4 version.