Karl Brauer, executive analyst at automotive research firm iSeeCars. An automotive journalist for more than 25 years, he is a jury member for both the North American Car and Truck of the Year and the World Car of the Year awards. iSeeCars.com
Better days are ahead for car buyers. Prices will soon start to soften, and some exciting new 2022 models will reach the market. In the past year, new-car prices have raced to historically high levels and the selection of vehicles on dealer lots has shrunk as computer-chip shortages and other supply-chain disruptions curtailed production. Prices and inventories should start to improve this winter, and by the second half of 2022, the new-car market should be approaching normal—and car buyers will find some compelling new and redesigned 2022 model year vehicles, including…
Hyundai Tucson, completely redesigned for 2022, now stands atop of the extremely popular compact SUV segment, above the also excellent Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. The 2022 Tucson’s styling is more attractive than the CR-V and the RAV4, and its interior feels more refined. Its starting price also is slightly lower… it includes more features and equipment across various trim levels…and its warranty is longer. The Tucson is available with an impressive selection of powertrains, including a conventional 187-horsepower (hp) 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine…a hybrid…and a plug-in hybrid that can travel 32 miles on electric alone. The base engine delivers up to 26 mpg city/33 highway, with hybrid versions reaching up to 38 mpg. Prices start at $26,135. Karl Brauer iSeeCars The Best New and Redesigned Vehicles for 2022
Jeep Grand Cherokee is an accomplished off-roader capable of climbing steep rocky trails and an upscale SUV that can transport up to eight passengers in comfort. The three-row version of this latest generation of the Grand Cherokee debuted as part of the 2021 model year, but the two-row models are new for 2022 (no photo was available at press time). A range of drivetrain options will be offered, including a plug-in hybrid. Fuel economy and pricing details were not available at press time, but starting price is expected to be around $35,000—that three-row 2021 Grand Cherokee starts at $40,330.
Lexus NX, a compact luxury crossover (shown above), has been redesigned for 2022. If you’re looking for a refined, wellequipped, upscale crossover, this one is tough to beat…as long as you don’t need lots of cargo or passenger space. Lexus has made the NX a bit roomier for 2022. It’s sometimes referred to as an “SUV,” but don’t mistake this for a practical family hauler. The NX’s base 203-hp fourcylinder engine provides plenty of pep for a vehicle this size, and other drivetrain options include a 302-hp plug-in hybrid. Fuel-economy details were not available at press time, but prices are expected to start at $40,000.
Hyundai Ioniq 5 is an all-new all-electric compact SUV featuring eyecatching modern styling inside and out. It provides about 300 miles of range per charge, and when its battery runs low, drivers can add 60 miles of range in just five minutes at a fast charger. Fast chargers are still rather rare, so check your local area to be sure some are available. The IONIQ 5 is powerful and quick— 225 hp to 320 hp, depending on the model selected, and able to go from 0 to 60 mph in as little as 5.2 seconds. It features a charger in its cabin, so the battery can power other electric devices or even serve as an emergency generator of sorts during a power failure. Prices are expected to start at around $45,000.
Acura MDX, completely redesigned for 2022, is a well-executed three-row luxury SUV. Its interior is spacious and upscale. Its exterior styling is classy… and its driving dynamics are engaging. The base 3.5-liter V6 produces 290 hp. The MDX has some of the industry’s most loyal owners for good reason—it has long been a reliable, well-made luxury SUV. Fuel economy is 19 mpg city/26 highway for the base model, and prices start at $48,745.
Automakers are more focused on SUVs than cars these days, but a few cars have been thoroughly redesigned for 2022.
Honda Civic subcompact was already one of the most reliable, economical and all-around best cars on the market—and now a 2022 redesign has made it even better. Available as a sedan or a hatchback, the new Civic is sleek and stylish. Its interior, while not upscale, doesn’t feel cheap and it comes with modern safety tech, such as lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control. The Civic handles well and has sufficient power even with the base 158-hp 2.0- liter four-cylinder engine. It provides up to 33 mpg city/42 highway. Prices start at $22,715.
Volkswagen Golf GTI might be the most driving fun from a new car in the $30,000 price r a n g e . T h i s eighth generation of VW’s acclaimed “hot hatchback” features better handling and more power—the driving dynamics rival that of sports sedans that cost much more, while the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine delivers a robust 241 hp. A manual transmission is available. Fuel economy is 24 city/32 highway. Prices start at $30,490.
Nissan Z two-seat rear-wheel-drive coupe isn’t officially part of the 2022 model year lineup—it will arrive in spring 2022 as an early 2023. But whatever year Nissan assigns to it, the seventh generation of the Z likely will be a sports car worth waiting for. It hadn’t been made available for test drives as of press time, but the Z’s illustrious history offers plenty of reason to be optimistic, as do its specs—a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 will produce 400 hp, and manual transmission will be available. That’s a lot of car for an expected starting price of around $40,000. Fuel-economy figures were not available at press time.
Automakers have been churning out oversized—and, in some cases, overpriced— pickups for years, but the 2022 model year brings new and redesigned pickups for budget-minded buyers.
Ford Maverick is a small pickup but a big value. Not only do prices start at just $21,490, the base model of this allnew pickup comes with a 191-hp hybrid powertrain that’s expected to deliver stellar fuel economy of around 40 mpg city/33 highway. Critics will complain that this isn’t a built-to-handle-anything body-onframe pickup—it’s constructed on the same platform as the Ford Escape, a small SUV. But the Maverick delivers classic pickup truck exterior styling…it has a four-door crew cab and can seat up to four adults comfortably or five in a pinch. Its 4.5-foot bed can carry a payload of 1,500 pounds…and it can tow 2,000 pounds or up to 4,000 pounds, depending on options and powertrain selected. That’s plenty of truck for most buyers.
Hyundai Santa Cruz has the bed of a small pickup but otherwise looks and drives a lot like Hyundai’s Tucson compact SUV. Don’t buy this truck if you need to carry heavy payloads, but it is ideal for someone who wants the drivability of a compact SUV but would like to have a pickup from time to time. The Santa Cruz’s bed features a roll-out lockable cover, and there’s also a waterproof trunk under that bed. Fuel economy is 21 city/26 highway, and prices start at $25,575.
Nissan Frontier mid-size pickup has been redesigned for 2022—its first redesign since 2005. The new Frontier is so impressive that it might have been worth the wait. It is intended to rival the formidable Toyota Tacoma—and it does that and more. Both the Tacoma and this new Frontier are capable off-road…but unlike the Tacoma, the 2022 Frontier is smooth and comfortable on-road. Its styling is attractive in the rugged, “chunky” way that many modern truck buyers like…its 3.8-liter V-6 produces 310 hp…it is capable of carrying 1,610 pounds in its bed…and it can tow up to 6,720 pounds. Fuel economy is 18 mpg city/24 highway, and prices start at $28,990.