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Best Sports Car (3/4-cylinder engine) in 2023: We Hand Out Our Auto123 Award!

Best Sports Car (3/4-cylinder engine) in 2023 | Photo: Auto123
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Khatir Soltani
Three fundamentally different models, but ones that everyone would take in their collection

•    Auto123 presents its annual awards in 22 different categories.

•    For the Best Sports Car (3/4-Cylinder Engine) in 2023, here are our finalists and winner!

•    In the running are the Mazda MX-5, Hyundai Elantra N and the Volkswagen Golf GTI / Golf R duo.

•    The three finalists are all purchases that are recommended by the Auto123 team.

Every year, you our readers are kind enough to await with interest Auto123's verdicts in declaring the winners across various vehicle categories. This year, the battles were once again ferocious, with many of the votes very close. There were arguments and maybe a couple of tears.

Nevertheless, at the end of the day, 22 vehicles were declared winners in their category. If you want to know what are recommended buys in the smaller sports car segment, here’s what happened this year in this category.

Some of the automotive segments pit rather similar models against each other, which makes it easy to compare. With the group we've created, which groups sports cars with 3- and 4-cylinder engines, it makes the task more difficult, because there are models with different characters and mandates. They have one thing in common, however: the delivery of maximum pleasure. 

In this respect, each of our finalists does a fine job indeed. We're talking about the Mazda MX-5, Hyundai Elantra N and the Volkswagen Golf GTI / Golf R duo. In case you’re wondering about the very new Toyota GR Corolla, it hasn't yet been tested by the majority of our reviewers. The new pocket rocket will likely be a factor in the voting next year. 

White 2022 Volkswagen Golf R
White 2022 Volkswagen Golf R | Photo: D.Boshouwers

The first of our three finalists is the Volkswagen’s dynamic duo, the Golf GTI and Golf R. Introduced for 2022, the two stars of the Golf lineup – and the only ones still offered in Canada - are sharper and overall more exceptional than ever. The differences between the two lie in the matters of power and drivetrain. The Golf R offers both AWD and more horsepower. Value for money is also noteworthy, especially in the case of the base version of the GTI variant, offered around $30,000. 

Red 2023 Mazda MX-5
Red 2023 Mazda MX-5 | Photo: D.Heyman

With the Mazda MX-5, you know exactly what you're getting. This model has been a hit for over 30 years and it continues to have a core of loyal, even rabid fans. Still, it's easy to forget, though, because we tend to take it for granted. Every opportunity to drive it serves as a reminder of just how amazing it is. 

Blue Hyundai Elantra N
Blue Hyundai Elantra N | Photo: Hyundai

Finally, there's the case of Hyundai's Elantra N. The brand's performance division has managed to concoct a truly interesting car. A track session last summer allowed us to see this for ourselves. In fact, this car is worth discovering and if it stays in the lineup for a long time, it could have a reputation as enviable as its rivals. 

In the end, the Volkswagen Golf GTI / Golf R duo received the most points in our secret ballots. That doesn't take anything away from the other models, but both the Golf GTI and the Golf R are simply irresistible cars.

Khatir Soltani
Khatir Soltani
Automotive expert
As a car enthusiast, he tests and compares vehicles from different categories through the eyes of the consumer, ensuring relevant and objective reviews.
  • Over 6 years experience as a car reviewer
  • Over 50 test drives in the last year
  • Involved in discussions with virtually every auto manufacturer in Canada