These were our favorite cars of 2022

Favorite cars is different than best cars. The idea of “best” can speak to value and overall competitiveness in a given vehicle segment. There’s lots of objectivity involved and to do a “best” list right, one really must be very thorough and as scientific as possible. This is not that list. This is about our favorites, so objectivity be damned. If we liked a Challenger Hellcat because it made loud noises or a Honda Odyssey because it made for a particularly special family vacation, fair game. These were the cars that most spoke to our collection of editors and the ones that stayed in our minds and hung in our hearts long after they left our driveway. — Senior Editor James Riswick

2022 GMC Hummer EV

Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: I didn’t particularly expect to like the new Hummer. I wasn’t a fan of the Hummer H2 or H3, so I wasn’t automatically enthusiastic about this electric reboot. Fast EVs aren’t hard to come by — and, in fact, may be too easy to come by — so its performance specs weren’t enough to win me over. Despite videos to the contrary, pickups aren’t my favorite vehicular format. And its excessive size and weight turned me off … until I finally got behind the wheel. 

This thing is wildly entertaining to drive. Watts to Freedom launch control is a neat party trick, sure, but the novelty wears off quickly. The novelty of Crab Walk, however, has staying power. The rear-wheel steering makes this behemoth feel much smaller than it is — the maneuverability is incredible, and useful. The air suspension provides tons of clearance, including a ridiculously high-riding Extract mode. I can’t wait for lesser versions of the Hummer to make their way to market. Give me less power (for less money), but keep the off-road tricks onboard, and I’ll be a happy camper.

Senior Editor, Consumer, Jeremy Korzeniewski: If I could afford to put one of these in my driveway, I would. Sadly, I can’t, so I won’t (What’s that, Janet? I got the lyric wrong?). Still, I love the dumb thing. Thankfully, I have another choice down below.

2022 Porsche 911 GT3

Associate Editor Byron Hurd: Yeah, duh, Porsches are good. But there’s good, and then there’s GT3. This is the feeling every performance-oriented RWD tuner is trying to replicate. This is hard, precise, surgical and immensely satisfying. To begin to explore this car on a public road is by itself an admission that you believe yourself to be above the rules as they apply to normal drivers. In the GT3, maybe you are. Maybe it’s the Guards Red. Maybe it’s my unconscious awareness that this car is borderline unobtanium. Whatever the source of this car’s incredible magnetism, its strength is undeniable. I don’t believe in the devil, but better understand those who claim to have been compelled by him. This is the worst automotive influence I’ve ever met. I want to travel the world with it. 


2022 Honda Civic Sport Touring 6MT

Senior Editor James Riswick: To come up with my choice, I zipped my test car calendar back to January and started going forward. Nothing was toppling the Mercedes EQS 580 I drove extensively throughout Southern California in late March — it’s big, comfy, powerful, shockingly powerful, unapologetically futuristic and I just frankly clicked with it — until I came to late September and the little gray Honda Civic Sport Touring hatchback with the six-speed manual. I instantly had fallen in love with that car. There’s something about a small sedan with lots of torque that will always tug on my heart strings (my first car/love was a 2000 Jetta VR6), and although technically a hatchback, the Civic Sport Touring absolutely nails that on the head. And it has just about the best manual I can think of … thinks of car directly above this entry … sure I think I can go with that. It just made every drive I took fun, and isn’t that what the best cars are supposed to do?

The great thing, of course, is that it’s not expensive on the scale of an EQS 580 or everything else on this list. I could have, like, three of them. It’s also practical, with a big, versatile trunk that I actually extensively used while moving, and a back seat with more than enough space to fit my son’s giant rear-facing car seat and have room up front for a regular-sized human. Add in the fact that the Sport Touring has more equipment than the Civic Si and I’d argue a better-looking interior than the Integra, and I honestly wouldn’t hesitate to get one instead of its supposedly better siblings. In fact, if I needed a car right now, I’d go buy a Civic Sport Touring with the six-speed manual. Even if I had more money to spend, say on the BMW M3 that is worth an honorable mention, I think I’d still take the Civic. There’s just something so delightfully pure and fun about it. I’ll remember that car for a very long time. 

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

Senior Editor, Consumer, Jeremy Korzeniewski: I sure did have a lot of fun behind the wheel of the Bronco Raptor bombing around in the California desert. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so confident so quickly in an off-road vehicle over such intense terrain. The Braptor’s (shout out to Jonny Lieberman for that nickname) capabilities are absolutely incredible, and it doesn’t only excel on dirt. I was able to put the turbocharged beastie through its paces on some fun mountain roads on the outskirts of Palm Springs, and I can confirm that the Bronco Raptor is (almost) as much fun to drive on asphalt as it is through the dust.

Lamborghini Huracan STO

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer: I would’ve chosen the Porsche 911 GT3 if not for this mid-engine mayhem being a part of my 2022. Flat sixes are cool and all, but have you tried a V10 on for size lately? They’re lovely, and I found that the STO’s fit me perfectly. This track-special Huracan was the first Lamborghini I’ve ever driven, and weirdly, it didn’t match the expectations I had. However, that’s a good thing! The RWD, lightweight STO doesn’t follow any stereotypes of Lamborghini being a lesser driver’s car than its supercar counterparts. I like that, and it leads me to believe that I started with the new Lamborghini that best fits my driving tastes.

I think it took days to come down from the high of traversing a couple hundred miles of California’s canyon roads. It’s cars like this one, the 911 GT3 and other high-revving naturally aspirated performance vehicles that make me want to bask in this glory age of internal combustion for as long as we can.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: I strongly considered going with the Hummer EV, but since it’s already taken, I’ll opt for another GM electric: the slinky Lyriq. Wrapped in sharp yet tasteful styling and promising up to 312 miles of range, it’s an EV that hits the heart of the crossover market and introduces Cadillac to a new audience of electric buyers. I enjoyed driving it on a short test loop outside of Ann Arbor. It offers impressive acceleration and sporty, but still comfortable driving dynamics. The interior and exterior design are forward-looking, and also remind me of Cadillac’s styling from the 1960s. It was a time when Cadillac knew it had a presence, the style reflected it, and it wasn’t overdone. 

2023 Polestar 2

News Editor Joel Stocksdale: I drove a lot of cars I really liked this year, and two of my favorites were sporty EVs, the Kia EV6 GT and Polestar 2. And I really agonized over my choice. But the Polestar 2 – which isn’t the newest, but I only finally got to drive one this year – wins me over in a few key ways. The Polestar lets you sit nice and low like in a sports car, whereas the Kia has a higher seating position. The Polestar has much nicer steering. And even in base, single-motor trim, the Polestar 2 feels light and playful. The EV6 GT is really fun. It has great seats, the power is hilarious, as is the drift mode. The Kia also is arguably a better value and has better interior controls. But I feel like the Polestar does a little better with some of the driving details, and that’s the key for me.

2022 BMW i4 M50

Managing Editor Greg Rasa: I’ve yet to drive the Kia EV6, and I share Joel’s opinion of the Polestar 2 — a lot of us enjoy that car. The BMW i4 M50 is another extremely impressive EV that will not only have you asking, “Why get the gas version?,” it’ll have you wondering, “Why get any gas BMW when they’re offering this?” The car is crazy powerful (536 peak horsepower and 586 pound-feet of torque), crazier fast (0-to-60 in 3.3 or 3.7 seconds depending on who you ask), with driving range that held up in real-world testing (227 miles on this car, 301 miles on the not-as-caliente single-motor i4). It has the liftback bodystyle of the slightly larger Tesla Model S but costs tens of thousands of dollars less. It’s a nice grand tourer, so good it’ll make you forgive the minor aggravations of the infotainment system. I could maybe even learn to live with that grille — that’s how good the car is.

Source link