By on April 18, 2008

2001_space_odyssey_fg2b.jpgCalling the future is a tough one. Forty years ago, the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey predicted that we would be making regularly scheduled Pan-Am flights to giant space stations and moon bases by now. Of course, in our brave future world of 2008, not only is Pan-Am dead and buried, but the only thing currently flying to the moon is a Chinese mapping probe. When deciding what car you will be driving in 15 years, there are numerous pitfalls to consider. Will you and I be able to afford gas in fifteen years? Will there be anything resembling an American auto manufacturing business? Will the Volt still be another year from production? Will the planet be ruled by damn dirty apes? For every possible future, there's a different car to drive. Take us there, oh Best and Brightest… 

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61 Comments on “QOTD: What Will You Be Driving in 2023?...”

  • avatar

    probably my ‘04 Scion Xb. it’ll make it.

    although i love the retro-futurism of the movie Gattica, where everyone tooled around in near-silent, all-electric Studebaker Avantis.

    how cool would that be? any car you wanted, from any era, powered by a brand new electric engine.

  • avatar

    I predict that I will not be driving a car – likely doing a car share program. A global energy crunch will have moved us to a much more renewable society by then. The number of miles driven in a year will have dropped about 50% in the U.S. even with the birth of modern electric vehicles. Communities will have begun to morph into better designed places that encourage higher density living and better use of public space, allowing closer necessities like drug stores, medical centers and groceries without needing to drive. This will also start to help public transport systems, lowering the need for cars, which will become MUCH more expensive to operate and own.

    The end result is that individual auto ownership will drop back towards 1950s levels (and possibly lower into the 2030s and 2040s) as more people do rent-by-the-hour transport for specific needs to optimize the costs of energy and automobile ownership in 2023.

    In reality, it will probably be whatever we buy in 2010 – hopefully in 2010 – to replace our dog of a Civic (avoid ’01 Civics). I suppose our ’05 Focus might still be around but probably not. At our current rate, it would have 310,000 miles by then. It’s possible (probably more possible than our Civic surviving until 2010), but hopefully I’ll stop commuting at some point.

  • avatar

    I don’t know what I’ll be driving in 2023, but in Cuba they’ll be driving 1958 Pontiacs.

  • avatar

    I have no idea, but it had better have an ICE.

    And hopefully it’ll be something fun.

  • avatar

    A shiny robot horse.

  • avatar

    A Honda Civic wagon hybrid.

  • avatar

    It’s only 15 years. 15 years ago, the auto industry wasn’t that much different than it is today (except GM was making profits).

    Things will be different and we may be driving less, but I predict that whatever I drive will still be fueled by gasoline or diesel (maybe coal-to-liquids diesel). Maybe it’ll be a 2018 Accord, or if I’m doing well, a 2022 ‘Vette, if they’re still around. The Jeep will still be in the garage and used with some regularity.

  • avatar

    Oh, that’s a good, tough question.

    With the increase in the pollution levels from the energy production in newly developed countries, I assume that whatever will carry me to work and around will have massive air filters, that’s for sure.

    I’d say one of 2 things:
    – either we’ll drive all-elecric/hydrogen-based vehicles, ncluding a lot of car-pooling
    – or we’ll be driving Ford V8s with superchargers in a desterted wasteland

  • avatar

    I don’t have a clue.

  • avatar

    A 2018-2020 Accord or Civic 4 cyl manual bought used. I say Civic, because by that time, it might be as big as our last generation 03-07 Accord, which I find the perfect size.

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    I’d say one of 2 things:
    – either we’ll drive all-elecric/hydrogen-based vehicles, ncluding a lot of car-pooling
    – or we’ll be driving Ford V8s with superchargers in a desterted wasteland

    My gut is going with the last of the V8 Interceptors.

  • avatar

    2001 Honda Insight with a supercharged Cadillac stroker motor stuffed into the trunk. Nothing saves nature more than 10+ liters of force-fed displacement.

    Realistically, I have a feeling that my next commuter will have three wheels. Something cheap, two-front-wheel-steering, small series-hybrid engine and one seat. Until then, I have enough cars to last me a lifetime, don’t need any extra ones.

  • avatar

    My 2008 Prius will have 236,571.4 miles on it, assuming I drive it similarly to now the entire time I have it. It will be on its 7th set of tires, its original traction battery and it’ll start looking a little tatty by then, I expect. It’ll be the year before I’m scheduled to retire and I’ll have been saving up for my “retirement car” for somewhere between 9 and 14 years – a little here, a little there, and pretty soon you can afford something nice, no?

    I’m not going to automatically buy a Prius Mark X or whatever, just because “by gum” fifteen years earlier Toyota made a great one. Except, I will have a very tough time trusting what (if anything) remains of the current Detroit 2.801, because I do have a long memory (or at least I hope I still have a memory by then).

    I’m going to look at Consumer Reports for about 5 years prior to my purchase (OK who’s fooling who, I’ll be reading all the car stuff I can get my hands on for the entire 15 years and think about it every day) and will take a best-guess educated jump at the car which I determine best-suited to my retirement needs.

    I imagine it will be fuelled by some kind of liquid sunshine (perhaps a Butanol or Butanol gasoline mixture) and will probably be what we call a hybrid today (standard on all cars by then), or will be fuelled by solar supplied hydrogen, maybe – if so it might but probably won’t have a fuel cell. I would guess that there is a good 30% chance it will be electric powered, and that will have happened only in the prior 5 years – i.e. starting about a decade from current time.

    It may have some “driver assistance” features to help avoid accidents but also will be lighter and more user-friendly than anything we have today. Though this will happen in small increments.

    It won’t fly, drive itself, and alas, it probably won’t be a turbine, and it very probably won’t be very affordable for as many people as is currently the case.

    That’s my best guesses. Unless of course, we all go up in smoke in nuke wars or Jesus Christ returns before I retire.

  • avatar

    Well if my current habit is any guide, in 2023 I’ll be driving a 2008 Civic.

  • avatar

    I’ll have a 2009 Dodge Challenger in the garage and a flying electric car for the normal driving…err flying…watever.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Piece of cake

    1978 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    My 1966 Ford F-100 pick up.

  • avatar

    Well, I will likely be driving something the size of the current civic (Honda Fit???) with a small 4cyl gas engine that is turbo’d or a diesel. I figure by that time, someone will have figured out that the easiest this to do is to bring european engines and car mentalities to the U.S. Most eveything else will be a pipedream short of a period with the exception of better hybrids that will be so boring that I would likely crash said vehicle out of boredom and die .

  • avatar

    Unless it’s sucked into the San Andreas Fault or hit by a meteor, I’ll be driving my ’94 Miata R in Laguna Blue. By 2023 it will be a 30 year-old low mileage classic as I’m starting with 36,945 on the odo today. Six months before peak oil hits I may have to do some sort of powertrain conversion (electric, fuel cell, hyperdrive, dilithium crystals). Given the Miata’s low GVWR I’ll probably end up with markedly better acceleration but I’ll sure miss that beautiful exhaust note.

  • avatar

    Unless something really bad happens, it is likely to be the Infiniti G37S I bought last fall. Its predecessor was a first generation Mazda RX-7 and I intend to take better care of the G37S so that it lasts longer. We might also still have the Corvair my wife inherited from her father. An outside possibility is that we might trade the G37S for something big enough to haul a horse trailer.

    My biggest worry is not high priced gasoline. Instead, it is that politicians will pass foolish laws (e.g. low speed limits) that make driving such an ordeal that I would rather stay home or price controls in some form that remove the incentive for oil companies to meet consumer demand.

  • avatar

    I don’t know about my daily driver, but I’m sure they will have a Mr. Fusion for my 68 Plymouth by then even if the gas runs out.

  • avatar

    Because of giant depreciation, a huge mass of used vehicles, and future gas prices, todays gas-guzzling suvs will be dirt cheap in fifteen years. They will practically give those behemoths away. So, my choice will be a 2004 (BMW-powered) Range Rover. And I will pay like nothing for it.

  • avatar

    The question is whether you will be driving at all, or the car will be driving you. The age of the automated highway is at hand. Presuming you feel the need for real world travel outside the Matrix.

  • avatar

    Odds are, a tank. In Iraq. They should have instituted a draft for the “new, new, new, new, new, new, new surge” by then, and gotten the maximum age up around 50, so my son and I can go to basic together!

    Sorry to bring in politics, I’m feeling grumpy and cynical today. Resume gear-heading.

    …That said, if I’m not driving a tank, I hope I’m driving a convertible! :D I wonder if the 6th generation Miatas will get back to the light, fun, and cheap format?

  • avatar

    I won’t be driving.

    Clearly, some work remains in terms of packaging, but the software has made enormous strides. In 2004, no DARPA contestant could navigate a desert wasteland. In 2007, six cars navigated a city.

    And what do we have now? Radar cruise control. Automatic parallel parking. Traction and stability control. Wheel-tuggers for when you drift out of your lane. GPS positioning accurate to within a meter.

    I give it seven years before the expensive cars start driving themselves on highways and five more until the mass market follows. Once people trust the cars not to kill them, we’ll see city navigation proliferate, and then full automation is an inevitability.

  • avatar

    Fifteen years from now it won’t be a gasoline powered car. Oil just hit 117 dollars per barrel, and the price is set to take off as we realize it’s going, going, gone. There are bets now that we’ll never see oil production above 90 million barrels/day, which means that every prognosis relating to the growth in car markets just got a torpedo in the waterline.

    Car sharing, EVs, and a lot less driving than we were fortunate enough to be able to enjoy during the oil-rich years.

    I’ll be using a bicycle a lot, and trust there will be some elegant high-efficiency/low weight/alternative drivetrain vehicles on offer.

  • avatar

    In 15 years I’ll be 50, and I can tell you right now what the car of my mid-life crisis will be; a black ’86 Corolla GTS hatch. Just for weekends, of course. For the daily grind I’ll mostly bike or take transit.

    I’m in agreement with NoSubstitute and KnightRT, that is around the time cities will start transitioning to accommodate self-driving cars.

  • avatar

    My daily driver will likely be some sort of pratical Honda, Toyota or Subaru Product. Assuming Subaru is not assimilated in into Toyota by then.

    The drive train will be plug-in hybrid or possibly diesel.

    I’ll keep my Liberty CRD 4X4 for off road fun and the 4-6 weeks of bad weather we get in Reno yearly. Once it is relived of daily driver duties the modifications can begin.

  • avatar

    Something I designed made by the company I helped found.

    I better get started on it right now.

    Optimistically with vision,


    Yep, if the Lord is back by then I’ll be taking my design work up where the physics have option packages.

    In His grip.

    Bunter again

  • avatar

    2012 Chevy Silverado

  • avatar

    My 2001 Harley Road King. Oh, you mean what kind of car? A hybrid of some sort, based on the car that has the best reliability, quality and durability records.

  • avatar

    i will still be driving my toyota supra… flying cars for me…….

  • avatar

    90’s Miata
    BMW E36 M3
    Lotus Elise

    I’m thinking 15 years is enough to finish that car collection..

  • avatar

    Finally, I will get that flying car I always wanted.

    No kidding, mark it on your calender.

  • avatar

    Avatar, Lightcycle,

    Kia WildBoys™, cheap electric sportscarjeep thingy. Perfect for maxed out corporate slaves with a midlife crisis.

    Something angular and beautiful, piloted by the new body I picked up at the local Costco.

    Any of the above experienced via needles, pills, and/or virtual reality.

  • avatar

    My E92 M3 or it’s equivilant. The only caveat is if petrol is available. If not…ummmm…..I like the flying car idea. And yes, it is coming sooner than most of us think. Check out the website for Moller, the M400 Skycar VTOL. It is only a year away. :)

  • avatar

    Easy one.

    I’m 65 now. I will be too old to drive or dead by then.

  • avatar

    I’ll drive a ’62 Corvair with an aftermarket hover package.

  • avatar

    Your new car in 2023 will very likely be one thing:

    “Made in China.”

    Come on, it’s cheaper to build ANYTHING offshore and ship it all the way here than it is to build anything here, so why are we pretending that cars should be any different?

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    I might be driving a second or third generation of the Honda FCX hydrogen car

  • avatar

    Still the ’84 Volvo Diesel wagon. By extrapolation, the odometer whould be around 390,000, and I’ll be paying around $15/gal for Diesel fuel.

  • avatar

    “Your new car in 2023 will very likely be one thing:

    “Made in China.””

    Too right!

  • avatar


  • avatar

    The US dollar won’t be worth anything so if I am real lucky I will have a steam powered car that can be fired up by burning greenbacks.

  • avatar

    @ Landcrusher :
    April 18th, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Finally, I will get that flying car I always wanted.

    No kidding, mark it on your calender.

    You’d probably prove the truth of your nick quite fast! :-) A stretch, though, given the amount of energy required to lift something OFF the ground, compared to pushing it along it on wheels.

  • avatar

    If the past is any indication of the future I will still be driving my current Honda Civic. (I had my previous Civic for 19 years.)

    When it comes time to trade my current Civic in, I imagine trading for a new 2023 Civic. By 2023 the conventional (non-hybrid) Civic will then be classified as a full-size car by the EPA, will weigh more than 5,000 pounds but will still be powered by a conventional 4-cylinder engine generating 300 horsepower and delivering gas mileage comparable to today’s Civic.

  • avatar


    Good One!

    But seriously, roadable aircraft have been built before. I think light weight construction will make it more doable than ever before.

    Technically, it may have to be certified as a flying motorcycle, because it won’t pass the crash tests and fly.

    Also, it won’t be for everyone, but I already got my pilots license, so I am ready. The terrafugia guys are claiming their flying car will cost less than my current airplane, so you never know!

  • avatar


    Yes, they have been built before, and there’s a reason why they haven’t gone mainstream. Difficult to operate and maintain, and providing a serious hazard.
    It’s bad enough having to wonder whether drivers you encounter on a Friday/Saturday are drunk, and I’d prefer not adding whether they are above my head to the equation. :-)

    My point was one of energy efficiency, in a time when we’re going to be counting energy calories more diligently than Jane Fonda ever counted those in fat.
    The energy required to raise a flying car from the ground, and then move it along, maneuver and land, is such that you’d never be able to pass the legislation in these energy lean times for this to become a general mode of conveyance. Trust me.

    Another issue entirely is the fact that a car on the ground has something solid to hold on to – you get a pivot point (or several) for whatever maneuvers you wish to carry out.
    A plane in the air requires another skill set entirely in that respect. I fly sailplanes and have some ground for comparison.

    However, if you envision dirigibles, and generate your own lighter-than-air gas, and reckon you’ll manage with a combination of solar power/pedal power, then …

  • avatar

    I’ll probably be driving my 2001 Honda Insight – if I’m driving at all.

    I’m with Stein X Leikanger on the flying cars – for the same reasons plus about 50 others related to cost, energy efficiency and safety (not necessarily in that order)

  • avatar

    Those are all good reasons, and then there’s infrastructure. That’s the same reason privately owned hydrogen cars

    Unless you’re talking about driving up to existing airports and flying away in the same vehicle, but then,

  • avatar

    A 2012 or 13 diesel Subaru Forester or Honda Civic.

  • avatar

    Roadable planes are not much more difficult to maintain than regular planes. That is not something the average person wants, but I am not average. My plane is very complex, and any repair bill under $1,000 is one I feel lucky about.

    They are just as efficient as cars. They weigh in like motorcycles. Getting 40 to 50 mpg will be easy. Also, if you go cross country, you go a more direct route and save a LOT of fuel.

    These will not be mass market. The skill set required could be overcome with new technology, but the few people who would want one wouldn’t really be held back by getting a sport pilot license. Drunk flyers exist today, but not nearly as many as drunk drivers. Many of the drunk flyers have no license when they take off. They rarely hurt anyone when they crash (except themselves). You should be more worried about lightning.

    Solar and fuel cell planes are already flying. Most are motor gliders, or something close to them.

    Infrastructure IS a problem, and it’s a main reason that flying cars will not likely go main stream. OTOH, I could see a jump gyro taxi service in Los Angeles, or similar area.

  • avatar

    2023 for America could very well look like 1993 for The UK.

    Our auto industry destroyed by the two-horned attack of Moronic Management more interested in their own family finances, and Suicidal Unions who labor-strife their own demise in order to “stick it to the man.” (Go figure.) Meanwhile the American consumer will gratefully deliver the coup d’grace by staying out of showrooms in droves due to the cumulative poisoning of the buying waters by just plain shoddy product, shovel-loads of crap we don’t want or need**, and of course the firehose of sleaze and intimidation that is the car buying experience. Car dealers will have gone the way of the dodo. Car buyers can now order their new machine from or similar sites, and it is delivered to their homes and dropped in their driveway off a flatbead. The manufacturers maintain test-drive and maintenance/repair facilities.

    What little domestic industry we have will all be owned by Japanese, Korean, or German conglomerates. The shock won’t really set in until the Chinese or Indians buy some or part of what once was GM. Buick to Bejing, and maybe the Dodge to Delhi. We’ll all be driving mostly compact, lightweight cars, with sub-2 liter engines. Diesel and Diesel-Hybrid drivetrains dominate the market. Carbon-fiber monocoque construction is the norm. Composite materials have replaced steel for the most part throughout, except in engines, transmissions, and suspensions.

    Nobody has a flying car. Full EVs are not as prevalent as we thought they’d be, and are mostly limited to city-car and golf-cart status. We haven’t run out of oil, (major reserves are found in previously unexplored areas, outside of OPEC control) but it isn’t as cheap as it was back in the 1990s, and never will be again.

    Like the British we will have lost our empire, lost our industry, and lost a lot of our standing, but we’ll still be here.

    To answer your direct question, perhaps I’ll FINALLY have my 2-seat, convertible, Diesel sports car.


    **The US automakers have had nearly a DECADE of rising fuel costs to deliver economical cars, instead they cling to SUVs and CUVs, and trucks like a gambler doubling-down at the table. You would have thought they’d learn the lessons of 1973!

  • avatar

    Fending off eco-terrorists as I halt at every stop light — if they still have stop lights in the future — a 2009 Cadillac CTS-V!!!

  • avatar

    I’ll stick with my 1980’s steel bianchi…

    with some tlc, it should ride just as smooth as it does today…

  • avatar

    I’ll be driving my Alfa Romeo Furiosa Quadrifoglio 2.2 diesel/electric hybrid that can get triple digit fuel mileage if driven carefully. But I won’t drive it carefully, ’cause it’s an Alfa.

  • avatar

    Paul Niedermeyer
    My 1966 Ford F-100 pick up.

    At least you’ll be able to work on it yourself, but it doesn’t sound like much fun.

    Me, ideally a Cayman I’ll (ideally) buy within the next four years. With an ICE and a stick, of course.

    I don’t know. I find it depressing to think about what life could be like then. I love to drive, I love having a car that I like a lot (my ’99 Accord), I love ICEs and clutches, and I love knowing that I can take off on long drives.

    And as far as my carbon footprint, I have no children, probably never will, and having a child is the biggest contribution one can make to global heating. And I just spent 5 Gs to take my roof from R-insignificant to R-40. And on and on. So I feel as if I can indulge in my ICE car without too much guilt.

  • avatar

    Argen- you’ll get triple digit mileage because you’ll be pushing it for 1/2 it’s trips.

  • avatar

    I’ll probably be riding a pale horse, reluctantly escorting the recently departed across the river Styx, working to shorten my stay in purgatory.
    I’ll certainly be asking those souls what they were driving…

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    If economic history is of any relevance, we’ll be richer by 2023. So I’m not worrying about any catastrophy scenarios, sorry folks.

    Oil may be a lot more expensive by then, but on the other hand I expect new sources of energy and new sources of oil to be made available. Perhaps prices will be around double of what they are today? In that case, the US will have gas prices that are still lower than those in Europe nowadays.

    Personally, I think I will do what I did back in 1984: I drove a car that was good, reliable transport and consumed 8 liters per 100 KM (= 29.5 MPG).

    24 years ago, my car was a comfortable, parsimonious but loud and slow Citroen. Nowadays I drive a comfortable, parsimonious, fast and quiet Citroen. In 2032, I hope to drive a Citroen that gets me where I want to go in comfort, is fun and stimulating to drive, is pleasant to look at, sips gas, and reminds me that life is good.

  • avatar

    probably a lightly used 911

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