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Car of the Year Awards 2023: Executive Car of the Year

A top-notch executive car must do it all – frugally and in style. Buyers want effortless long-haul capability, a comfortable and classy interior, and low benefit-in-kind tax rates...

WINNER: Executive Car of the Year

Tesla Model 3 RWD

Car of the Year 2023 main logo

Well, it's happened. Every election campaign has strategic targets; if you can win key constituencies, those around them will bow to your party before long. And now that the Tesla Model 3 has taken the prized Executive Car of the Year trophy from the mighty BMW 3 Series, there’ll be no stopping it.

Among the master strokes in its quest for leadership, the Model 3 has delivered on certain fiscal promises specifically addressed to company car drivers. While the 3 Series demands that they pay benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax at a rate of at least 12%, Model 3 drivers need hand over only 2%. And Tesla’s cause is helped by the fact that many companies give incentives for their employees to go electric and improve the business’s overall environmental impact.

Executive Car of the Year 2023 - Tesla Model 3 front

Its manifesto isn’t exclusively tailored for company car drivers, though; the Model 3 ticks every executive car box and then some. For starters, even this ‘entry-level’ model has more than enough oomph to beat the average roving salesperson away from the lights, thanks to the instant response of its electric motor – a real confidence booster when merging with traffic. It can maintain this pace on a twisty road, too; its quick steering always puts you in mind that you’re driving something sportier than your run-of-the-mill four-door saloon, even if ultimately it’s not as rewarding as the 3 Series.

Being electric brings a further benefit. In lieu of a bulky engine, you get a front boot for extra storage, or to take the charging cables. And having no bulky mechanicals at the back allows space for a deep hidden well below a false boot floor, so you can stash valuables out of sight. In this class, only the Skoda Superb can match the Model 3’s appetite for luggage, each swallowing 10 carry-on suitcases in total.

If you’re worried about the hassle of switching from petrol to plug socket, the Model 3 makes it easy. For one thing, you gain access to Tesla’s widespread Supercharger network via a Tesla account, and the car’s sat-nav can automatically schedule stops along your route, so you don’t have to plan each trip.

Executive Car of the Year 2023 - Tesla Model 3 dashboard

Not that charging is much of a concern; our summer and winter range tests have proved that Teslas are the most efficient electric cars out there, and the improved battery of this latest rear- wheel-drive Model 3 increases the official range Model 3 feels reasonably plush inside; most functions are controlled via huge central screen to 305 miles (on optional 19in wheels). This stretches to 317 miles (estimated) if you stick with the standard 18in aero wheels.

You get toys galore, too; every version has heated seats (including the outer rear ones), a heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, surround-view cameras and a 15.0in infotainment screen with apps such as Netflix.

So, while the Model 3’s executive policies lead with low taxes, it also delivers followers a high quality of life. It’s no surprise that we voted it in.

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See all of our Car of the Year 2023 winners >>