Editors’ Picks November 2023: Toyota Grand Highlander, Buick Envista and some lovely luxury vehicles


It’s been a month since we served you with the full lot of Autoblog Editors’ Picks, and that master list is going to continue to grow as more new cars enter the market. For November 2023, we have a trio of SUVs coming in at various sizes and price points including the Buick Envista, Toyota Grand Highlander and Mercedes-Benz GLS. And if you’re looking for a convertible sports car, the BMW Z4 is one that should make your shortlist, as it finds its way into this month’s of Editors’ Picks, as well.

In case you missed previous Editors’ Picks posts, here’s a quick refresher on what’s going on here. We rate all the new cars we drive with a 1-10 score. Cars that are exemplary in their respective segments get an Editors’ Pick designation. Those are the ones we’d recommend to our friends, family and anybody who’s curious and asks the question. The list that you’ll find below consists of every car we rated in November that earned an Editors’ Pick.

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Limited Hybrid Max

  • 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Limited Hybrid Max
  • Image Credit: Toyota



Quick take: The Hybrid Max is the one to get, but the Grand Highlander comes highly recommended for its added space, nicer interior and fuel efficient powertrains.

Score: 7

What it competes with: Kia Telluride, Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Chevy Traverse, Honda Pilot, Subaru Ascent, Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, Mazda CX-9, Kia Sorento, Buick Enclave, Nissan Pathfinder, VW Atlas, Mazda CX-90

Pros: Two hybrid powertrain options; exceptional cargo space; usable third row; refined and quiet ride.

Cons: Expensive for the segment; the lesser hybrid powertrain is noisy and slow.

From the editors:

Senior Editor, Electric, John Beltz Snyder — “The Grand Highlander is a nice alternative to the standard Highlander for the Toyota faithful for its usable third row. The choice of powertrains is a huge boon, too, whether you want a fuel-sipping hybrid, or solid gas engine or a more robust hybrid with extra performance. You’re just going to have to pay a little more for it all.”

In-depth analysis: 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Review: A strong, new three-row contender

 

2024 Buick Envista

2024 Buick Envista Sport Touring front three quarter

  • 2024 Buick Envista Sport Touring front three quarter
  • Image Credit: James Riswick



Quick take: The Envista is one of our top subcompact SUV picks. It packs tremendous value into a compelling design that looks far more expensive than it is. A homerun for Buick.

Score: 8

What it competes with: Ford Bronco Sport, Chevy Trax, Jeep Compass, Chevy Trailblazer, Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-30, Honda HR-V, Nissan Kicks, Toyota Corolla Cross, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Mini Countryman, Kia Soul, Kia Seltos

Pros: Compelling design; ample space for the segment; quiet and refined driving experience; punchy and efficient engine; well-equipped; low price.

Cons: All-wheel drive not available; armrests are a bit hard.

From the editors: 

Senior Editor, Electric, John Beltz Snyder — “I was thoroughly impressed by the Envista. It looks different than the competition, but without looking weird. The price belies the car’s comfort, just as the output figures belie its pep around town. If you don’t need all-wheel drive, and want a pretty nice car on a budget, the Envista isn’t a bad way to go.”

In-depth analysis: 2024 Buick Envista Review: Looks like $60,000, costs less than $30,000

 

2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS

2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class

  • 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class
  • Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz



Quick take: The GLS brings S-Class panache to a full-size SUV. Its ride is superb; the design is elegant with a hint of ruggedness, and the interior is large and utilitarian.

Score: 8

What it competes with: BMW X7, Audi Q7, Acura MDX, Volvo XC90, Lincoln Aviator, Range Rover, Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Jeep Grand Wagoneer

Pros: Supremely comfortable ride; entertaining AMG variant; tons of utility; classy and attractive design.

Cons: A pricey option; still running previous-gen infotainment technology.

From the editors:

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “As far as luxury three-row SUVs go, it’s between the GLS and the X7 for me. The X7 may be the more entertaining to drive, but it’s hard to best the Mercedes when it comes to luxury and ruggedness. I actually like that it’s still rocking the previous-gen Mercedes climate controls with physical buttons and switches. And the interior design is general is both relaxing and spacious to be in. That goes doubly for the ultra-luxe GLS 600 Maybach version of the vehicle that is easily the most opulent SUV on four wheels outside of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. If you want an S-Class but need more space, it’s hard to go wrong with the GLS.”

In-depth analysis: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS gets its first big update

 

2023 BMW Z4

2023 BMW Z4 M40i action front three quarter

  • 2023 BMW Z4 M40i action front three quarter



Quick take: The Z4 is all about pure fun, and it accomplishes this task with glee thanks to the lovely inline-six M40i, light and agile chassis and convertible nature.

Score: 7.5

What it competes with: Chevrolet Corvette Convertible, Jaguar F-Type Convertible, Ford Mustang Convertible, Porsche 718 Boxster, Chevrolet Camaro Convertible

Pros: Surprisingly good handling; both the four- and six-cylinder engines are plucky and fun; compact and attractive design.

Cons: On the expensive side versus platform mate Supra; tech is lagging behind other new BMWs.

From the editors:

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “The Z4 is a criminally underrated sports car. All of the hype goes to the more affordable platform mate in the Toyota GR Supra, but don’t forget that these two share a platform, engines and so much more. When it comes to performance BMWs, the Z4 M40i is genuinely one of the best of the bunch, largely due to it being way lighter than even an M2. The only bit missing is a manual transmission like the Supra offers, and then the Z4 would be nearing perfection for a convertible sports car. It’s even comfortable and quiet enough that you could happily drive it everyday. Don’t forget about the Z4!”

In-depth analysis: 2023 BMW Z4 First Drive Review: More fun than you’d think

 

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