The month of November saw us get some additional seat time in one of our longtime favorites, the Hyundai Palisade. Now refreshed for 2023, this big, three-row SUV is maintaining its superiority over others in its class. Plus, we take another spin in the new SL and find it impossible to not recommend. With the help of AMG developing this convertible from the start, the SL is both a high performance machine and a luxurious Mercedes-Benz in one. Last on the list this month is the new BMW 2 Series. We're all looking forward to the M2, but it's comforting to know the standard 2 Series is a lovely place to start from.
In case you missed our 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 Editors’ Pick status. 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 October that earned an Editors’ Pick.
2023 Hyundai Palisade
Quick take: Hyundai hit a homerun with the Palisade, and the first update only improves the SUV. It's loaded full of great tech, excellent materials and is hugely spacious. A more powerful engine would be nice, but nothing else is missing from this three-row family crossover.
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
Pros: Stellar value, class-leading tech, super utilitarian
Cons: Design got worse with refresh, off-road trim is just for aesthetics
From the editors:
Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — "I liked everything about the Palisade before, and this update makes it all the more enticing with improved tech. What I don't care for, though, is the updated styling. The pre-refresh Palisade looked better in my eyes, and even that's a slightly backhanded compliment, because the Telluride looks better than both versions of Palisade. That said, it's impossible to deny the value proposition in the Palisade, making it one of the best three-row SUVs money can buy."
Senior Editor, Green John Beltz Snyder — "With so much to offer, like helpful, user-friendly tech, accommodating space and excellent warranty, it’s no wonder the Palisade is so popular. It’s an Editors’ Pick in the truest sense: My wife and I bought one, and we love it. It’s not the prettiest thing, nor is it particularly fuel-efficient, but the comfort, convenience, content and value make up for its few shortcomings."
In-depth analysis: 2023 Hyundai Palisade Review: It’s hard to do better
2023 Mercedes-AMG SL
Quick take: The revived SL is stunningly gorgeous, hugely capable and brimming with outstanding tech. It's also very expensive, but the experience is one worth paying for.
Pros: Shocking performance, elegant and beautiful looks, tech-filled interior
Cons: Very expensive, lack of driver engagement
From the editors:
Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — "The SL is one of those cars that you can be just as happy staring at as you can driving it. Mercedes put on a clinic with the new SL's design, and I absolutely love it. I only drove the 63 (which James says is actually worse to drive than the 55), but that doesn't take anything away from what a monster this car is. The enthusiast who is really concerned about ultimate driving performance will still want a Porsche 911 Cabriolet model in their driveway, but the SL is going to be the superior motoring machine for many folks out there who just want a badass convertible that goes like stink."
Senior Editor James Riswick — "After spending the morning behind the wheel of the SL 55, it was hard to imagine how the SL 63 could really top it in the afternoon. Turns out it really doesn't. The SL 63's chassis differs by effectively including as standard the SL 55's optional AMG Dynamic Plus package. This lowers the suspension by 10 mm and adds the newly developed, hydraulic AMG Active Control Suspension. This has different adaptive dampers, which are connected together in a complicated web of hydraulics (the compression stage of the front left damper is connected to the rebound stage of the right damper, for instance), and active hydraulic elements that replace the SL 55's conventional mechanical anti-roll bars. This, theoretically, reduces roll even further, improves turn-in precision and allows 'drivers and passengers (to) experience a significantly more comfortable driving experience.' Not in our experience."
In-depth analysis: 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL 55 First Drive Review | When 55 is greater than 63
2022 BMW 2 Series
Quick take: The 2 Series has polarizing design, but there's no denying its fun driving characteristics, excellent tech and surprisingly good utility. Performance-oriented luxury coupes like this one deserve to be celebrated.
Pros: Handles well, potent powertrains, fun to drive
Cons: Less playful than previous generation, styling is polarizing
From the editors:
Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — "I'm one of the few on staff who genuinely likes the styling direction of the new 2 Series. Not only do I like the looks, but the way it drives is rather endearing, too. Both the M240i and 230i are enticing options, but having driven both, the 230i with BMW's M Sport options is the way to go. The 230i is lighter, more playful and much more like the BMWs you remembered driving 10-15 years ago. It doesn't hurt that the rest of the car around you is without compromise to a 3 Series, giving you all the tech and niceties that you can get in the bigger, more expensive model."
In-depth analysis: 2022 BMW 2 Series Coupe Review: The sport coupe lives