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Best cars 2023

Best cars to buy as rcommended by Parkers

Looking for the best cars to buy? You’ve come to the right place. Cars come in all shapes and sizes, and what we know is that most now achieve a very high standard across the board. But what are the absolute best ones out there?

To help you, we’ve gathered up the latest winners in the Parkers New Car Awards and a number of our editor’s choices from across the site, and present them here for you. We have SUVs, hatchbacks, saloons and sports cars – what a great selection for you to choose from, and tell you why we think they’re all winners.

If you’re looking for what the next best thing is, check out our page detailing the best new cars to look forward to.

Scroll down to discover our list of the best cars in the UK

The best cars to buy for 2024

MG4 EV: Best small family car

Not only the best small family car, but also the Parkers Car of The Year

MG4 cornering - What is ESC electronic stability control

✅ Long range
✅ Good to drive
✅ Undercuts all rivals on price

❌ Touchscreen is fiddly
❌ Some cheap-feeling interior materials

With family hatchbacks getting ever more expensive before you’ve even considered electric power, the MG4 EV makes a refreshing change. Here’s a practical all-electric five-door hatch with peppy performance, a decent range and impressive equipment levels for less than £30k. And that’s one main reason why we’ve picked it as our Best Small Family Car. 

Initially launched in SE spec with a 218-mile range or Long Range capable of up to 281 miles in official tests, the number of versions offered has now been doubled. If 281 miles isn’t quite enough, there’s the Extended Range that’s capable of a claimed 323 miles on a single charge while also being usefully quicker. 

Read our full MG4 EV review

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Skoda Karoq: Best medium family SUV

A brilliantly thought-out family-size SUV

Skoda Karoq best tow cars

Super comfortable
Rugged, no-nonsense interior
Great visibility

1.0-litre engine sluggish on motorways
No plug-in versions available

The Karoq earns its place here by being a comfortable, practical car that’s completely hassle-free to own. It may be a less obvious choice than a Nissan Qashqai but it truly is one of the great all-rounders. The Karoq is hugely spacious for a mid-size SUV with class-leading boot space. Spec the Varioflex back seats and the layout’s as flexible as an MPV’s.

The dashboard is a masterclass in ergonomics and there are lots of Skoda’s Simply Clever features including some ingenious storage compartments. The ride’s very comfortable, it handles neatly and the 150hp engines combine useful performance with strong fuel economy. Four-wheel-drive diesels have an impressively high towing capacity of 2,100kg.

Read our full Skoda Karoq review

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BMW 7 Series: Best luxury car

Divisive looks maybe, but an awesome technical masterclass

BMW 7 Series review (2023)

Impressive interior design and quality
Innovative technology sets it apart
PHEVs capable of 50 miles on battery power

Design is very divisive
No standard petrol or diesel engine choices

The 7 Series is available with plug-in hybrid or full electric power in the i7, the latter gives the full waft while the former is astonishingly agile for something the size of an oil tanker. Yes, you could argue the 31.0-inch, 8k screen for rear seat passengers is a bit gimmicky, but it adds to the private jet experience best delivered with the Executive Lounge package.

Compared to the S-Class and Range Rover, it feels better screwed together inside with plusher materials than both. The 7 is also better to drive than both and capable of impressive efficiency in PHEV guise. Even with a flat battery, over 35mpg isn’t too hard to achieve.

Read our full BMW 7-Series review

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Ford Puma: Most fun small family car

Proof that a small SUV can be fun to drive

Best used family SUVs for less than £15,000: Ford Puma, side view driving, grey paint

✅ Great to drive and boot is spacious
✅ Cheap to run, easy to service
✅ Economical mild-hybrid engines

❌ Dashboard is uninspiring
Infotainment not especially intuitive

It was our Small Family Car award winner three times in a row, and is still highly commended with very good reason. The Puma fends off potential rivals that have since been launched by being better to drive than all of them. Consequently, this Ford is still the small SUV to beat, offering a range of economical petrol engines, excellent efficiency and a large dose of practicality for family life.

Read our full Ford Puma review

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Honda Civic: Best medium family car

Practical, fun-to-drive family hybrid

Honda Civic - Best hatchbacks 2023.

Great to drive
Economical and efficient

Just one engine option
Tight rear headroom

The Honda Civic achieved top honours in the Parkers New Car Awards 2023 – and has bagged Best Medium Family Car in 2024 – and in doing so proves that SUVs haven’t completely stolen the show. The Civic is a traditionally-shaped family hatchback with just one drivertrain available, a 2.0-litre hybrid petrol.

But what a drivetrain it is! With 184hp, it’s quick but also economical, with careful drivers being able to crack 60mpg. But beyond that, it’s a great steer with agile handling, fluid steering, and a responsive engine. Sadly, due to its popularity combined with supply chain issues, Honda has closed the order book on new Civics until the end of 2023.

Read our full Honda Civic review

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Skoda Fabia: Best first car

Perfect small car, especially for those trading down

Skoda Fabia - front three quarter, best small cars

Roomy boot and interior
Excellent petrol engines
Cheap to run and economical

No plug-in or diesel versions
A little too sensible?

The Skoda Fabia is run extremely close by the Renault Clio as our favourite small car in the Parkers awards – so it’s definitely something special. It might not charm or blow your socks off like its pretty French rival, but the Fabia steamrollers you into submission with its all-round excellence, with very little to criticise it for. In short, it’s brilliant, but we just wish it were a little sexier!

Read our full Skoda Fabia review

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BMW 3 Series Touring: Best family estate car

Superb to drive, efficient and surprisingly practical

Best automatic cars to lease - BMW 3 Series Touring

✅ Good to drive
✅ Rock-solid image
✅ Efficient engines

❌ Boot isn’t as big as some rivals
❌ Low-power diesel unexciting

It’s hard to think of a more complete package than the BMW 3 Series Touring. It’s a family estate car that ticks every box – it’s great to drive, looks good, feels upmarket and best of all is immensely practical.

The 3 Series’ boot is packed with clever touches, with a split tailgate and rubberised anti-slip rails. Even in its most practical Touring form the 3 Series retains BMW’s reputation for producing vehicles that are great to drive. It’s comfortable on a cruise yet handles well, and all the engines are impressively fuel efficient.

Read our full BMW 3 Series Touring review

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Dacia Duster: Best budget off-roader

Wallet and purse-friendly off-road brilliance

Best small off-roaders 2023 - Dacia Duster

✅ Great value for money
✅ Can really off-road
✅ Lots of space

❌ Poor Euro NCAP score
❌ Not very refined

The Dacia Duster 4×4 is a real all-round winner. It costs peanuts, offers loads of space inside for its size and has properly off-road ability. The driving position’s a little odd and the interior is more hardwearing than plush, but for the money you pay it’s by far the best value of anything on this list.

Not every version is four-wheel-drive, and inevitably those that are come at the highest price. It’s also a little noisier and more uncomfortable than pricier options. But as a no-nonsense piece of kit it’s a clear winner.

Read our full Dacia Duster review

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Citroen C5 X: Best value large family car

Proving that being different can also be awarding

Citroen C5 X Review (2023)

Great value, generous equipment
Roomy interior
Supremely comfortable

Less-than sparkling engine range
No electric version

One thing you could never accuse the Citroen C5 X for is being boring. This segment-busting estate-hatch-SUV leads on comfort, refinement and efficiency. It’s good value, too, with the entry-level 1.2-litre version costing barely more than a top-of-the range supermini. Overall, a very likeable family car, available as a plug-in hybrid.

Read our full Citroen C5 X review

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Kia EV6: Best large family car

Our favourite large electric car ticks all the boxes

Kia EV6 GT review (2023)

Long real-world range
Eye-opening performance
Great to drive

Firm suspension
Some ergonomic issues

The Kia EV6 is a great family car with generous space for four and a big boot, there’s loads of technology in the swooping dashboard and it’s very well made. Perhaps more pertinently, the core models are capable of delivering around 300 miles of WLTP range in the real world and you can trust the indicated range shown on the dashboard. 

Kia calls the EV6 a crossover because it has quite a stance, though it’s actually about the same height as the average big estate. That contributes to the car’s great driving experience. All EV6s have a 77.4kWh battery, rear-wheel-drive models have 229hp, all-wheel-drive models have 325hp and the high-performance GT has a whopping 585hp.

Read our full Kia EV6 review

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BMW X5: Best large SUV

The premium SUV that truly does it all

BMW X5 profile

Great engine line-up
Optional third-row seating
Fantastic to drive

Not a full-time seven-seater
Expensive – cash or finance

The BMW X5 is one of the highest-rated cars of any description on Parkers and it’s easy to see why. Getting the price out of the way early on – yes, it’s expensive – there really isn’t any box that the X5 doesn’t tick.

First, the practical duties. The X5 has space for four big adults to sit in comfort, in sumptuously plush surroundings. With five seats, there’s a massive boot – but if you need more, there’s an optional third row of seats turning the X5 into an occasional seven seater.

Read our full BMW X5 review

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Volkswagen Multivan: Best seven-seater

If you have a large family, this is nigh-on unbeatable

Volkswagen Multivan: Best towcars

Huge and adaptable interior
Smart and not too van like
Available as a plug-in hybrid

Expensive to buy
Petrol models thirsty

The Volkswagen Multivan represents a huge shift for its maker’s presence in the seven-seater MPV market. No longer is it based on a van, like the Caravelle, but instead it shares its underpinnings with the Golf and Audi A3. Not that you’d know by looking it. Inside, it has the same seating layout as the van-based predecessor, but is a whole lot more car-like to drive these days.

Read our full Volkswagen Multivan review

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Tesla Model Y: Best company car

Great range and performance for long-distance drivers

Tesla Model Y: safest cars in the UK 2023, front three quarter cornering, red paint

Good real-world range
Plenty of space inside
Tesla Supercharger network

Inconsistent build quality
Uncomfortable suspension

The Tesla Model Y is the middle-ground between the Tesla Model 3 and the Model X. It’s perfect for those that need a little more space for their families but are put off by sheer size of the Model X. The technology is very impressive, too. Everything is controlled by a huge 15.4-inch infotainment screen which looks slick and works quickly. Although we’ll admit that it can be a bit daunting for technophobes.

We think it’s a more polished product than the Tesla Model X, as it’s built on the same platform as the far fresher Model 3. Regardless, as with all Teslas, the Model Y offers extremely rapid performance from its electric motors and a generous driving range of up to 319 miles per charge from its battery packs. But it isn’t the most comfortable car in its class, especially when specified with the larger 20-inch alloy wheels. The Enyaq and the EV6 are more rounded products.

Read our full Tesla Model Y review

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BMW i4: Best EV for keen drivers

Great on back roads, efficient on trips

BMW i4 (2023) Best Company Cars

Long battery range
Eye-opening acceleration
Superb to drive

Expensive compared with Tesla Model 3
Cramped in the rear

The BMW i4 is a consummate all-rounder. It’s fantastic to drive, offers one of the longest electric ranges available in a vehicle this size and feels both futuristic yet reassuringly conventional where it counts. All that you could mark it down for is its high list prices.

Read our full BMW i4 review

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Alpine A110: Best thrill-seeker’s car

Still achingly desirable after all these years

Alpine A110 - Best cars for £500 per month

Fizzing with feedback

Surprisingly comfortable
Brilliant handling

Unimpressive infotainment
Some cheap switchgear

The Alpine A110 is an astonishingly good car. The A110 has clearly been designed, developed and fine tuned by people who are really passionate about driving. Although it’s fast and exciting, but it’s also comfortable (for two) and relatively economical.

Read our full Alpine A110 review

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Land Rover Defender 90: Best off-roader

Small, posh off-roaders come no better than this

Land Rover Defender - What is a crossover

✅  Amazing off-road

✅  Also good on it
  Stylish and trendy

❌  No longer a simple tool

  Usual Land Rover reliability worries

Much like its original namesake, the latest Land Rover Defender comes in a variety of body lengths – and the shortest three-door model slots wonderfully into our best small off-roaders criteria. And again, as with the original Defender, this latest model is immensely capable when the going gets muddy.

Where it differs dramatically from Defenders of old is in the on-road driving experience and the luxury. The modern Defender drives almost as well as a Land Rover Discovery, while the beautifully executed exterior design is matched by a wonderfully chunky yet premium interior. The available tech is incredibly clever, too.

Read our full Land Rover Defender review

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* These deals are indicative examples of some packages available as of 14 November 2023, but are subject to change without prior notice. Everyone’s financial circumstances are different and the availability of credit is subject to status. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply. Parkers cannot recommend a deal for you specifically.

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