Our annual roundup of cars we liked well enough that they make it to our Id Buy It list is our own form of a 10-Best or Car Of The Year many media outlets do. It’s our highest recommendation, our highest praise, based purely on the cars we tested in 2023

These vehicles represent a subjective choice based upon a collection of individual factors like quality, price, value, handling, performance, styling or perhaps just the right balance of them all. Sometimes they just push all of my buttons in the right place, whether they are perfect or not.

2024 Acura Integra Type S

Based essentially on the Honda Civic Type R which is also on this list, the Acura version comes with a more mature character in its styling and handling that makes it more palatable to the guy who needs to drive it to work and park it in the executive parking lot without worry of being judged, “not mature enough for upper management”. Performance is blisteringly fun, the manual and clutch pedal still serve it up but with a slightly softer hand in the chassis department. It’s a Civic Type R in a business suit.

2023 Chevrolet Colorado (Trail Boss)

The all-new 2023 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon have arrived and given the Toyota Tacoma one of its first serious competitors in a long time. It’s styling and character are aimed right at the Taco apologetically. It’s turbocharged four-cylinder engines compete almost head to head. I like the entire lineup for its simplicity, design and its driving character. The Trail Boss is my favorite because of its plain wrapper equipment levels and high-level off-road chops.

2023 Ford Maverick (Tremor)

The entire Ford Maverick family is now in its third year on the “Id Buy It” list. In fact we actually did two years ago now with our XL Hybrid long term test truck. The top-end Maverick Tremor we tested this year offers up an advanced all-wheel drive system, increased ride height and better tires to give it more bite and capability in the rough. Prices have gone up yes, but the Ford Maverick is still the cheapest compact truck you can get. Until a better competitor arrives, all models still live on our list.

2023 Hyundai Tucson (Hybrid)

Hyundai has continued to impress with their combination of fashion forward design inside and out and the Tucson remains one of the standout mid-size crossover SUV’s in the class. It’s more than design though, the advanced hybrid powertrain brings a traditional feeling performance character with refinement in daily driving that doesn’t sacrifice when it comes to miles-per-gallon. The price is competitive as Hyundai continues to offer a combination of quality and features per dollar that’s hard to beat.

2023 Honda Civic Type R

Rap nasty crackle pop is the name of the game, at least when I’m behind the wheel of this six-speed manual only, 300 plus horsepower hot hatch. Woof. Every Honda Civic Type R has made our list and this one always has the light on. Yes it costs more, but this thing has gotten so good with age. Fun and quality, great seats, a sound worth waking up the neighbors over and yes…..still a big ass wing. If she won’t let you have one because it’s too boy racer, get the Acura Integra Type S.

2023 Kia EV6 GT

Oh my God! Who thought of this thing? The Kia EV6 GT is a space-age time capsule of a car that plugs into your wall, makes absolutely no noise (except it’s cute fake sounds), and has 576 horsepower. Of all the rip-snorting beasts of the electric car realm we drove this year, this one pressed all my buttons in a way that almost required a shower after every time I took it out on a back road. It costs yes, but how many super-cars can you buy that come with a 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty?

2023 Lexus NX450h+ F Sport

This is a vehicle which represents the best of what Toyota has evolved in their hybrid powertrains. It’s fast, it’s well refined, it gets phenomenal fuel economy, or you can keep it plugged in and forget the gas station. While based in large part on the RAV4 Prime which also is an “Id Buy It” alumni, the Lexus NX brings levels of luxury, tech features behind the wheel and a curb appeal that make it worth its step up in price. Nobody regrets buying a Lexus, rarely.

2023 Lexus RC350 F Sport

I got a lot of flack in the comments when I test drove the aging Lexus RC350 and praised it so much I said I would buy it. Oh it’s so old they said, not worth the money they said, much better cars out there they said, blah blah blah. Yes that’s all true. It’s because it’s old, heavy and maybe a little behind the curve that makes it so sweet. It has the thrum of a naturally aspirated V6, the weight and sold feel of an older Lexus, and yet it still feels timeless in its style. Don’t worry, it will be gone soon enough but for now, I’d still buy one.

2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB300 4MATIC

I’ll be honest, the small front-wheel drive based Mercedes-Benz models never really got my appreciation, especially the utilitarian boot like B-Class. It just looks stodgy and seems to have a less than Mercedes-Benz experience all around. The EQB however gets a styling enhancement, the refinement and joy of an all-electric powertrain and a entirely different driving experience that changed my heart on the brand’s entry level EV. While it’s still the ugly duckling of the family, something about it still gets my love.

2023 RAM 1500 TRX

Speaking of love, the gas guzzling raging beast of a man toy RAM TRX drove right through my cost conscious sensibilities and parked right in my virtual garage for the second year in a row. This truck with its 700 plus horsepower Hellcat V8 and it’s rolly polly off-road suspension, it’s like having a giant over-excited puppy with huge feet. He has way more speed and strength that grace at this age but so damn lovable. It’s expensive, but so is a high maintenance trophy wife. At least you can put this away dirty and it won’t bitch at you endlessly.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness

I’m not a Subiephile. Honestly when I test them I have to set my apathy toward the brand aside and look for the positives to highlight in my reviews. It’s not a dislike, but it’s just not my vibe you know? Every once in a while though, the brand conjures up the right combination of performance or capability that impresses me, presses my buttons and makes me feel it. The reasonable price tag, the rugged interior trappings, the increased ground clearance and better tires are the things here which make me want this new Crosstrek Wilderness.

2024 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

This is the year that Volkswagen made it back to my virtual garage in some time. Having bounced back from the dark years after Dieselgate, the brand has started to put some refinement, fun to drive goodness and better quality interiors into their vehicles. The 2024 Atlas family is highlighted with a more powerful and smoother running 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, an interior that can no longer be called cheap and austere, and just the right amount of Volkswagen-ness that I have missed. I was impressed enough to look the other way from it’s fake exhaust tips that still exist.

2023 Volkswagen Jetta (SEL)

Last but not least on the list is another VW. The Jetta sedan was actually at the bottom of my list for some time, having had rough nasty first-generation Buddack Cycle engines right after Dieselgate, fake exhaust tips and an interior made of the cheapest cost cutting intentions. The money to pay for all those government fines had to come from somewhere. Today however a smoother running turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a smoother and more refined transmission, and a better interior environment were all it took to get my love back. It’s all about the connected driving experience here, one that few competitors offer up. Welcome back Jetta.