Hot Car Summer: The Year’s Best New Cars (So Far)

This was one of the greyest winters on record, so now that the sun is finally here, it’s time to bust out a new car and go for a drive. Luckily, the auto market is brimming with hot wheels to take a ride in. Here are some of the best new supercars, SUVs, drop-tops, and EVs for the summer of ‘23.

The Range Rover Velar Returns

Range Rover Velar Car
Learn More

Say its name: Velar. It sounds sumptuous, really rolling off the tongue, doesn’t it? Indeed, the whole experience of the newly revised Range Rover Velar is like that.

The Velar pioneered the smooth, minimalist look of all modern Range Rovers, and yet it has always flown a little under the radar. It’s not as legendary as the big Range Rover, and not the obvious sporty choice — that’d be the Range Rover Sport — but the Velar pulls off a rare trick of being both practical and cutting-edge (its debut happened on TikTok, which tells you what Range Rover is going after).

The revised Velar gets design tweaks that are subtle but meaningful: note the flush door handles and futuristic-looking grille. There are mechanical upgrades too, including a revised plug-in hybrid drivetrain with more EV-mode driving range, up to 64 kilometres.

You’ll find the best new change in the interior, between the newly designed seats, smack dab in the middle of the ultra-minimal dashboard. The Velar debuts the next-gen Pivi Pro infotainment system, presented on a floating 11.4 inch curved display. The company says it’s easier to use, with 80 per cent of tasks just one or two taps away. Even better, the new infotainment system will stay fresh and up-to-date longer thanks to its new over-the-air update capability.

Say it again: Velar. Velar. Mm. Satisfying.

Bentley Continental GT Is the Convertible of Summer

Learn More

Cruising in the sublime Bentley Continental GT Convertible after soaking up the Californian sun, we can confirm this is the absolute best drop-top in the business. Want to get from Vancouver to Jasper, or Toronto to Muskoka, or England to the South of France? Take the GTC. No doubt. It may be slower than a private jet, but you’ll have more fun along the way.

The twin-turbo V8 is whisper quiet… until you put the hammer down, at which point it makes the most cultured, bassy, roaring you’ve ever heard. Driving is effortless too; simply leave the car in its perfectly judged GT mode for the ideal combination of handling chops and ride comfort. And, since we’ve all had enough screen time, the fact the central display can rotate out of the way to create a single long sweep of curved veneer across the dashboard feels like a treat every time.

The best new convertible money can buy this summer? The Bentley, no doubt.

The Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE Goes AWD

Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE
Learn More

Remember the Nissan Leaf. It was a pioneer, the first modern mass-produced electric car — sorry, Tesla — and it’s still in the stable, but now Nissan is following up with the Ariya. We’re in the new SUV, heading past endless rows of Sonoma’s vineyards toward California’s coastline in the all-wheel drive version, known as the Ariya e-4ORCE.

No, e-4ORCE is not the name of some new Marvelverse crime-fighting superhero squad. Pronounced “e-force,” it denotes the all-wheel drive version of the Ariya SUV, which is about the size of a Nissan Rogue on the outside, but far roomier inside. It rides on an all-new and electric-specific platform, and comes with a range of 330 to 428 kilometres, depending on the model.

Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE

While the Ariya e-4ORCE generates a very healthy 389 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque, it’s not all about raw grunt off the line. Instead, drivers get smooth acceleration and premium-style performance that just happens to draw its power from a plug rather than a gas pump.

Even here, on California roads stuffed with all types of electrified cars, the Ariya still garnered attention. It’s taken a long time for Nissan to create its second electric vehicle, but it was worth the wait.

The Genesis GV80 Coupe Is an SUV That Breaks Necks

Learn More

The GV80 Coupe concept deserves to see the light of production. Four plaid bucket seats, paint-matched orange racing helmets, a roll cage, a ducktail spoiler, and less trunk space. Nobody would accuse the Genesis GV80 Coupe concept of being the most practical SUV, but that doesn’t matter. It tugs at the heart strings, doesn’t it?

And that’s exactly the point. “Over the past seven years, we have added more lifestyle-oriented models to the portfolio, such as our GV80 and GV70 SUVs. Now we are pushing the envelope with more emotional cars that elevate Genesis’ performance and dynamic attributes,” said Luc Donckerwolke, the group’s chief creative officer. Genesis is developing an edge.

Unveiled earlier this year in New York, at Genesis House in Manhattan’s Meatpacking district, the GV80 Coupe concept is the brand’s take on a sporty, fastback SUV. What’s amazing is just how well Genesis pulls it off. It’s hardly a new idea, but the GV80 Coupe has got to be one of our favourite examples of the genre. The concept’s hunkered-down stance over those massive alloys strikes an “antagonistic” tone, to borrow Donckerwolke’s phrase.

Reading between the lines, we’d say there’s a pretty good chance the GV80 Coupe will make it into showrooms eventually.