Editors' Picks August 2023: Honda Pilot, a Subaru and some electric SUVs

A couple of new electric SUVs join the ranks of Editors’ Picks this month. The Nissan Ariya is Nissan’s big EV follow-up to the long-sold Leaf, and it sure is a good one. Meanwhile, the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV hits it out of the park with both its rapid AMG model and the norm-core 350 and 500 versions. In the gasoline realm, we have both the redesigned Subaru Impreza and also-redesigned Honda Pilot snagging Editors’ Picks status as a result of their successful makeovers. Both were lacking in certain areas previously, but all the work put in for their latest iterations has done them well.

In case you missed our previous Editors’ Picks posts, here’s a quick refresher on what’s going on here. We rate all the new cars we drive with a 1-10 score. Cars that are exemplary in their respective segments get an Editors’ Pick designation. Those are the ones we’d recommend to our friends, family and anybody who’s curious and asks the question. The list that you’ll find below consists of every car we rated in August that earned an Editors’ Pick.

2023 Nissan Ariya

  • 2023 Nissan Ariya Empower+
  • Image Credit: Zac Palmer

Quick take: The Ariya has a gorgeous interior, drives like a luxury vehicle with surprising performance from the dual-motor model and is generally priced in line with its competition.

Score: 7.5

What it competes with: Hyundai Ioniq 5, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Volkswagen ID.4, Tesla Model Y, Polestar 2, Volvo C40 Recharge, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Toyota bZ4X, Subaru Solterra

Pros: Drives like a quiet, refined luxury vehicle; beautiful interior design; plenty of utility in rear seat and cargo area

Cons: Slow fast charging at 130 kW max; no true one-pedal driving 

From the editors:

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “I was genuinely shocked at how good the Ariya is after spending a few days with it. There’s no more refined and luxurious-to-drive Nissan-badged car out there than this electric SUV, and it gives most Infiniti models a run for their money, too. That said, I am a little disappointed at the slow DC fast charging rate. Plus, its FWD, single-motor model is on the boring side to drive versus RWD models from other OEMs. That might make it better for most in the snow, but it’s less exciting for those who love driving.”

Associate Editor Byron Hurd — “This is the most impressive Nissan since the GT-R. The interior is gorgeous (especially by Nissan standards), it drives nicely and it looks every bit the part of a next-gen EV without completely rubbing your face in it. If every car the company built was this well-executed, Nissan would be untouchable.”

In-depth analysis: 2023 Nissan Ariya Review: Gives the top EVs a run for their money


2024 Subaru Impreza

2024 Subaru Impreza RS action front three quarter trees

  • 2024 Subaru Impreza RS action front three quarter trees

Quick take: Subaru does cheap, AWD motoring right with the Impreza, as this hatchback features tons of utility, has solid in-car tech and drives well, all for a good price.

Score: 7.5

What it competes with: Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Sentra, Volkswagen Jetta

Pros: Affordable at every trim; standard AWD gives big capability; attractive but not overdone styling with cool RS model

Cons: Interior feels its price; infotainment is slow and frustrating; only transmission choice is a CVT

From the editors:

Associate Editor Byron Hurd — “Each iteration of Subaru’s latest compact platform seems to be an absolute banger and the 2024 Impreza hatch is no exception. It drives beautifully and offers more than enough refinement for shoppers on a budget. The lack of a manual transmission hurts and the infotainment is not among my favorites, but this chassis is a gem and the utility of the 5-door configuration is unmatched. This is one of the best ‘starter’ cars on the market.”

In-depth analysis: 2024 Subaru Impreza First Drive Review: Not everything has to be an SUV


2024 Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV

2024 Mercedes-Benz EQE 350 SUV

  • 2024 Mercedes-Benz EQE 350 SUV
  • Image Credit: Zac Palmer

Quick take: The EQE SUV is an ideal luxury EV with a comfortable ride, outstanding interior quality and standout features like the rear-wheel steering and epic AMG model. It’s a little pricey, but you get what you pay for.

Score: 7.5

What it competes with: Tesla Model X, Audi Q8 E-Tron, Cadillac Lyriq, Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV, Jaguar I-Pace

Pros: Comfortable and controlled ride; lightning-quick reflexes from four-wheel steering; gorgeous interior; AMG model is a hoot

Cons: Not the best value in its class; exterior design is boring; could have better range and charging tech

From the editors:

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “I drove the EQE 350 SUV 4Matic, and as a basic luxury cruiser to replace a GLE-Class, this thing rocks. It’s supremely comfortable, has a perfectly executed interior and is even a little fun to drive. Yeah, the exterior design is still boring, but if you want to melt into the background in quiet luxury, the EQE SUV is a good way to do that.”

Associate Editor Byron Hurd — “Bluntly, I find most EQ models to have the curb appeal of a melted Goop candle. The Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV (got any more three-letter combos left in you, Benz?) is the first time the script has tried to flip. It drives brilliantly (both in a straight line and around corners) and the AMG accents at least make the exterior more interesting to look at, even if it’s not actually pretty. Baby steps.”

In-depth analysis: 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV First Drive Review: Easy does it


2023 Honda Pilot

2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport in Bend front three quarter

  • 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport in Bend front three quarter
  • Image Credit: James Riswick

Quick take: The Pilot just doesn’t exhibit any weak points and is strong in all the areas that matter. It finally looks good, and the Trailsport is a sweet soft-roading alternative for getting a little dirty.

Score: 8

What it competes with: Kia Telluride, Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Chevy Traverse, Subaru Ascent, Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, Mazda CX-9, Kia Sorento, Buick Enclave, Nissan Pathfinder, VW Atlas, Mazda CX-90

Pros: Segment-leading space; unique second-row functionality; refined ride; TrailSport is actually interesting and surprisingly capable

Cons: Thirsty V6 with no hybrid or turbo alternatives; engine can feel anemic in mountains/when loaded with weight

From the editors:

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “The Pilot wasn’t a bad SUV before its big redesign, but now it finally has proper looks to back up its SUV capabilities. Honda continues to nail it with its latest interior design language and tech, and the Pilot is yet another extension of that. You don’t even take too much of a ride and handling penalty by opting for the off-road-focused Trailsport model with its chunkier tires. I’d really consider this new Pilot over class leaders like the Palisade and Telluride, finally.”

Associate Editor Byron Hurd — “Honda knocked it out of the park with the new Pilot. The V6 is disappointing merely by virtue of being old tech, but it gets the job done just fine in an otherwise-excellent, family-friendly package. It’s right up there with the Kia Telluride or Hyundai Palisade if you need to move the whole gang in one go, and the TrailSport gives it some much-needed rugged appeal.”

In-depth analysis: 2023 Honda Pilot Review: A cohesive, competitive redesign inside and out


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