Top Car Trends of 2023

If you’re looking to buy a new car, truck, van, or SUV this year, you may be surprised by the top car trends of 2023.

Buyer demand for new vehicles put a strain on automakers after COVID, but the industry is rallying back. With this recovery and rebirth comes some significant and long-awaited upgrades that make the pre-COVID inventory look antiquated. Buyer behavior is also notable, with shopping trends that might raise an eyebrow or two.

A rundown of some of the top car trends of 2023 gives you an idea of what to expect when you hit the car-shopping trail.

Heftier Price Tags

The infamous shortage of semiconductor chips is only partly over. Supply chain issues and a shortage of vehicles overall have led to the proverbial supply-versus-demand issues that plagued 2022.

Expect inflated sticker prices on cars headed to showrooms in 2023, whether you’re shopping for a new Honda, Lexus, Cadillac, BMW, Ford, or Chevy. Furthermore, the already hefty price tags will get even pricier.

Continued Demand for Used Cars

The shortage of vehicles led to a surge in the sale of used cars in 2022. As you may have guessed, this demand for pre-owned and used vehicles is also among the top car trends for 2023.

However, the price increase for used cars will level off and maybe even fall by the end of the year, making buying a used car look like a good option for many consumers.

An Uptick in Rugged SUVs

People were asked to avoid each other during COVID. As a result, distractions such as off-roading saw sizable gains.

Automakers are tapping into this trend by offering more vehicles in 2023 with off-roading capabilities to satisfy this growing niche. And while you’re likely accustomed to Toyota, Ford, and Jeep offering models in this category, prepare for entries from lesser-expected brands. It includes Honda and Mazda — we’re looking at you TrailSport and CX-50.

Autonomous Cars

The autonomous vehicle will be one of the top car trends in 2023. While a self-driving car is not ready for mass production, a few features are already useful today.

For example, automatic parking is a godsend for those who never mastered parallel parking. Lane assist, another autonomous feature of new-generation vehicles, helps you see better in heavy traffic, so you can make safe choices when changing lanes.

Some cars may do things beyond parking and helping with lane changes, such as recognizing traffic signs. You should also expect a few vehicles this year to assist with braking, steering, and accelerating.

Several of these driver-assist features come at an added cost beyond what you see on the sticker. A few will come with added fees just to use them.

For example, some automakers will offer subscription plans for using smartphone apps to access specific car features. It follows the footsteps of BMW’s subscription plan required for using its heated steering wheels and seats.

AI on Board

Artificial intelligence is no longer the stuff of films and books — some cars in 2023 offer built-in artificial intelligence, or AI.

The same tech that makes it possible to produce a driverless car also brings things like smart assistants for your vehicle. It comes with features ranging from adjusting the car’s stereo to sensing when you’re fatigued and might need to stop for a rest.

Tech, Tech, and More Tech

The connected car, while not a new concept, is expected to be highly sought after in 2023.

In 2022, connected car sales grew 12 percent year-over-year, a milestone for technological upgrades you can readily find at your local dealership. The type of technology on board 2023’s cars and other vehicles varies widely. It includes the following:

  • Remote lock/unlock
  • Location tracking and geofencing
  • Remote engine start and stop
  • Emergency assistance
  • In-cabin music and video streaming
  • Over-the-air updates

Look for vehicles that can communicate better – with your surroundings and other connected vehicles, helping drivers avoid traffic jams or road hazards more easily.

There will also be fewer physical controls on 2023 car models. That means features that require manual tunings, such as your car stereo, speaker volume, and navigation, can now be accomplished with voice.

The need for manual controls has led to larger touchscreens in even lower-priced models, with one or more 12-inch screens being the norm.

Car Sharing

More and more people in 2023 are expected to participate in what’s become known as shared mobility.

This trend toward shared ownership programs through big automakers and  ride-sharing apps such as Uber allows people to own and use a vehicle along with one or more other people, which keeps costs lower.

Cleaner Vehicles

Perhaps one of the most impactful of the top 2023 car trends is the rise in the number of electric vehicles (EVs).

EVs are certainly nothing new. For years, the automotive industry has been slowly progressing toward EVs to replace gas- and diesel-powered cars. Even Hummer, a brand once known for its gas-guzzling rides, is in on the action.

Several factors contribute to the growing electric vehicle market — improved battery capacity, an extensive range of EV choices, and cost-savings. However, environmental concerns might be the the biggest factor driving up consumer demand for electric cars.

In a recent poll, most drivers said that the top reason to consider buying an EV was to protect the environment. Also, 40.4 percent of people in another survey said they believed green-conscious cars will outnumber gas-powered cars in the U.S. by 2030.

Some top automakers are committed to producing greener vehicles, with most vowing to go total electric within the next 20 years or less.

With the dawn of 2023, expect to see more EVs on the market than ever, including some larger vehicles you might not have thought you’d see as electrics. EVs offer cleaner transportation since they have nearly or even zero emissions, which means fewer greenhouse gasses are emitted into the atmosphere. GMC, Chevy, Kia, Honda, and other manufacturers are dipping their toes in the EV water.

So expect some electric and hybrid cars from your favorite companies to be in the showroom before year’s end. This includes a Jeep that’s all-electric and timeless models from Chevy like the Blazer, Equinox, and Silverado; all remastered as EVs. Look for innovative new EVs, too, including those powered by hydrogen fuel.

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