More electric vehicles and a brand new nameplate debuts on Autotrader's latest list of Best New Cars. Its Best New Cars for 2022 list names 12 vehicles it calls a cut above the rest - the rest being an initial field of 300 vehicles. Four EVs make this year's list (up from just one last year), the Mercedes EQS sedan pictured above among them, while EV-maker Rivian also debuts as a new nameplate.
Autotrader says new-car shoppers never have enjoyed such an abundance of choices as they do in 2022. While they may have to wait a little longer to get that specific car they have in mind, production output is increasing each week. It predicts that when people look back on this year, they will see a pivotal time for new cars – and the automotive industry in general – due to the sheer amount of selections now available thanks to more high-tech features and fully electric cars.
"While electric vehicles, driver-assist technology, and fun, efficient, affordable gasoline-powered cars aren't necessarily new things for car shoppers, the sheer amount of choices drivers now have really stands out as new for 2022," said Brian Moody, executive editor for Autotrader. "Automakers are building a wider variety of vehicle types with each passing year. A great example is electric vehicles – now there are many good all-electric cars in a variety of prices, shapes and sizes. In fact, one-third of our Best New Cars list this year is made up of electric vehicles, and two of those are trucks."
Autotrader says its experts collectively tested and ranked new models using a range of criteria. Because there are many new or redesigned vehicles for 2022, the editors focused on models that would be available for purchase within the next nine months and included vehicles they think offer significant value or are groundbreaking in some other way. Autotrader says it also capped the price at $110,000 for the base model, although most cars on the list are available for tens of thousands of dollars below that.
Here are the models that made the list followed by Autotrader's comments:
Autotrader's Best New Cars for 2022
(Listed in Alphabetical Order)
2022 Acura MDX
Autotrader: The MDX is all-new for 2022, boasting features like dual 12.3-inch display screens, standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with Amazon Alexa Built-in. A favorite feature is the ELS audio system, and our editors like the smooth, quiet ride, sharp handling, and interior comfort.
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning
Autotrader: Combining the popularity of the F-150 pickup with the capability off an all-electric vehicle creates a real winner. With Ford's Intelligent Backup Power, over-the-air software updates, and 11 power outlets available, this version of the F-150 is the perfect tool for both consumers and contractors. Bonus points for the large "Frunk."
2022 Ford Maverick
Autotrader: Great tools and services usually fill an unmet need, and that is exactly what the Ford Maverick does. While other popular small trucks have grown in price and size over the years, the Maverick gets it just right. The base price is under $20,000, a hybrid version is standard and is estimated to get 42 mpg in city driving, it can tow 4,000 pounds, it has a multi-position tailgate, and it's attractive.
2022 Genesis GV70
Autotrader: While Genesis is a relatively new luxury brand, it hit an out-of-the-park home run with the GV70. It's good-looking, is both smooth and quick on the road, and has tons of up-to-date tech. One of our editors' favorite tech features is the slightly off-center 360-degree parking camera – somehow it manages to give a camera view that looks like there's a drone hovering just off the rear side of the car, so it comes off more like augmented reality than just a parking camera. The available 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 makes 375 hp and is as smooth as BMW's best.
2022 Honda Civic
Autotrader: This new version is the most mature, sophisticated Civic ever. While technically the Honda Civic competes against cars like the Toyota Corolla, this Honda feels like a level up. The interior boldly takes a minimalist approach yet manages to make that feel elegant. Our editors especially like the Civic EX's combination of features, power and value.
2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5
Autotrader: Electric vehicles have matured beyond just traditional gasoline cars fitted for electric powertrains later in life. Now, cars like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 are purpose-built EVs designed to be electric from the very beginning. This matters because when you eliminate the need for a large gas tank and delete a huge chunk of metal from between the two front wheels, the designer is freer to make dramatically different choices in terms of the car's overall look, interior space and technology. And our editors like the way the Ioniq 5 looks.
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Autotrader: Long popular with outdoorsy types and suburbanites alike, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is the perfect vehicle to explore the type of living that starts where the pavement ends – but with a little extra space when compared to the Wrangler. Jeep has taken the Grand Cherokee and made it grow up with two handsome versions – the standard Grand Cherokee, and a new three-row version, the Grand Cherokee L.
2022 Kia Carnival
Autotrader: It's hard to remake something that's very familiar, but with the Carnival, Kia has done exactly that. Kia managed to rework the trusty minivan into something that retains the function of a minivan, but with the sophistication of a luxury SUV. And that isn't just marketing spin – when our editors were driving the Carnival, several people asked if this is "a new Kia SUV." It is remarkably attractive, functional and sophisticated.
2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS
Autotrader: If you're looking for an electric car that boasts the luxury, reputation and innovation of Mercedes-Benz, the EQS is for you. Depending on the version you choose, you can expect a range of 340 – 350 miles. Our editors think the range and interior of the EQS are enough to win over many Tesla shoppers, beyond the fact that the EQS also is good-looking.
2022 Nissan Frontier
Autotrader: The 2022 Nissan Frontier is such a dramatic update of the previous version, it's essentially a new truck. The Frontier's 3.8-liter V6 engine produces 310 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque, making it best in class second only to the Ford Ranger. Inside, you'll find newly available features like Zero Gravity seats, wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a variety of power outlets.
2022 Rivian R1T
Autotrader: Pickups and SUVs have been a sort of blind spot when it comes to electric vehicles, as their size and weight (and often the demands placed on trucks) make them poor candidates for all-electric power. But now, Rivian has opened that door. Like Tesla, Rivian isn't a long-standing legacy automaker, yet it has created a very compelling electric vehicle that looks good and performs well. The Rivian R1T isn't a concept or plan or a "someday" electric truck – it is here now making its way into consumers' hands, and it is very good.
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
Autotrader: The eighth generation of VW's affordable and fun performance car, the 2022 Golf GTI now has an Audi-like interior, compelling tech, more power and a modern new look. The Golf GTI's 2.0-liter turbocharged engine also makes impressive power, paired through a standard 6-speed manual transmission.
Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz.