The best of our Best Car To Buy finalists

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The Honda Civic Type R bested the competition and won Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2023 honors. It took on a field of wide-ranging competitors and won unanimously.

Each of the nominees featured equipment and/or defining characteristics that we liked.

The finalists ranged from the Ford Bronco Raptor with its incredible off-road capability to the luxurious electric Cadillac Lyriq to the wild turbo-5-powered Audi RS 3 to a trio of hot hatches, each with its own strengths.

In a perfect world, the Honda Civic Type R would incorporate aspects from each of our finalists. Call it a flight of fancy. We call it the Frankencar, and it’s damn fun to think about.

Join us as we piece together the 2023 Frankencar, a vehicle with the best bits from the Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2023 finalists.

General Motors’ BEV3 platform and Ultium batteries

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

2022 Audi RS 3

2022 Audi RS 3

Powertrain

The powertrain for the 2023 Frankencar would marry the best aspects of our internal combustion and electric competitors. We want the instant torque of the Cadillac Lyriq’s electric powertrain, so start with the Lyriq’s single electric motor, but up the output to the Braptor’s 418 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque. Give it the Audi RS 3 turbo-5’s sound and fury and keep the Lyriq’s EPA ratings of 97 MPGe city, 82 highway, 89 combined along with its 312 miles of range.

2023 Honda Civic Type R

2023 Honda Civic Type R

We still #GiveAShift around these parts so we’d keep the Civic Type R’s slick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission with its positive engagement and short throws. Though, we might make the clutch a little heavier. Yes, we know there’s no electric powertrain that sounds like a turbo-5 and comes with a manual transmission. We said this is a flight of fancy, didn’t we?

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

Styling

This is absolutely subjective, but we would probably have to go with the Braptor’s in-your-face brick design. The doors come off. The roof comes off. Hell, it’s seven feet wide with 37-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain K02 tires. It’s hard to miss, and yet, those not in the know might think it’s just another Bronco. Our winner, the Civic Type R, is a very functional hatchback with a ride height that enables fantastic handling. Maybe our Frankencar could look like the Braptor and keep its tall ride height when off-roading, then sniff the pavement for handling. Someone call Multimatic and get them working on something like this stat.

2023 Honda Civic Type R at Sonoma Raceway

2023 Honda Civic Type R at Sonoma Raceway

2022 Audi RS 3

2022 Audi RS 3

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

Dynamics

The Civic Type R offers incredible cornering capability, especially considering it’s a front-wheel-drive car. We’ll stick with Type R’s confidence-inspiring stability along with its shocking ability to carry speed through esses. We’ll add the RS 3’s Drift mode for tail-out fun, and go with the supple ride quality of the Lyriq.

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

But our Frankencar would have another side to its personality: the Braptor’s off-road capability. This Bronco is too damn tall for the assembly line. We’d definitely want access to its crazy stance that sits 13.0 inches off the ground and spreads 8.6 inches wider than a standard Bronco. Then we’d like its 13.0 inches of front and 14.0 inches of rear suspension travel, as well as its disconnecting sway bar, front and rear lockers, and eight-mode four-wheel-drive system with a 2-speed transfer case. Nothing could stop this year’s Frankencar on road or off.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

2022 Audi RS 3

2022 Audi RS 3

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

2023 Honda Civic Type R

2023 Honda Civic Type R

Interior

The Lyriq’s interior simplicity and wow factor can’t be ignored. It’s mostly built from high-quality materials and has the most space, but there are a few cheap plastics on low-set, out-of-sight surfaces. We can swap in some of the better materials from the RS 3 to spruce it up. We’ll also add the Civic Type R’s high-back bucket front seats and metal shift knob, and tap the durability of the Braptor’s purpose-built interior. That’s roomy, sporty, luxurious, and utilitarian all in the one cabin.

2022 Hyundai Kona N

2022 Hyundai Kona N

Value

The Civic Type R costs $43,990, so it’s no longer the value it was when it arrived in the U.S. for the 2017 model year. Our Frankencar would be a screaming deal, with the Hyundai Kona N’s price of $35,495. That would put it very close to the 2017 Civic Type R’s price of $34,775. Ah, the good old days.

Welcome to our fantasy. Now, someone flip the switches, power up the tubes, and get the metal patient on the table to bring this Frankencar to life.

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