After what has been a busy year for Autocar’s reviews desk, we pick out our favourite models from 2022
Whether it’s a new trim level, an addition to the powertrain offering or even a brand new model, we can tell you what it’s like to drive.
So, after what has turned out to be a rather busy year, here are some of our highlights.
We welcomed the fifth generation of the iconic Range Rover – although if ever there were a car that didn’t feel like it needed reinventing, this is the one. For more than 50 years, the Range Rover has simply done what it does: combine the best off-road ability with a plushness. And it returned with that same ability earlier this year, still exceptionally refined and with an unparalleled off-road ability.
The £108,775 SUV received a 4.5-star rating from us, the same as the hotter Range Rover Sport sibling – which was also rejuvenated this year, pushing to new heights of technical sophistication.
Keeping with SUVs, one of the most diverse of the year arrived from BMW. No, not because of the way it drives (that’s a given from its 4.5-star review) but because of its front end. However, as we said during its road test: “it isn’t really the job of a road test to involve itself with subjective interpretations. So instead we raved about its ability.
The around-£100,000 SUV was used by BMW to relaunch the i sub-brand, which started with the funkily designed BMW i3 city car back in 2013. Its combination of generous cabin comfort and versatility, and of a genuinely relaxing and understated luxury ambience with world-class rolling refinement and drivability, instant and effortless performance and creditable real-world range, is one unmatched by any of the market’s other zero-emissions SUVs.
You might not like everything that the iX is, but what it does as a luxury EV demands recognition.
A new Ferrari? Yes please. And one that left our testers in awe? That’s a second yes, thank you. The Ferrari 296 GTB, the first hybrid supercar to roll out of Maranello, marks a new era for the brand, but boy does it start off well.
Securing a rare 5-star rating, the 296 GTB is remarkable, said our testers, picking up where the previous V8 generation’s lineage ended, seamlessly blending in the advantages of electrification with precious few of the drawbacks we had feared. It’s spectacular to drive and the V6 sounds stunning. Ferrari continues to set the standard.
Looking for an affordable, stylish, and capable electric hatchback? The new MG 4 EV was the surprise package of the segment when it launched earlier this year. It also began a step-up from Chinese car makers as they pushed for a bigger share of the European market.
Starting from £25,995 with 218 miles of range, the 4 offers a great deal, especially for the price. It’s more agreeably engaging than rival Volkswagen ID 3, more sporting, better to sit in, better to look at and substantially more affordable.
MGs are now a common sight on our roads, and this keenly priced, stylish, roomy, swift and very capable hatch guarantees that they will become more plentiful still.
The electric age is coming, and Porsche knows it. So it decided on a big old Cayman blow-out, launching this: the GT4 RS. Marking the end of the combustion-powered Cayman, the GT4 RS is built by those who wondered: ‘Could we put a GT3 engine in a Cayman?’. The answer is yes. And it’s a big 5-star yes from us.
Road test editor Matt Saunders said it’s one of the “most thrilling and special Porsche GTs yet”, adding that the car represents a new way to immerse yourself in the character of a truly wonderful engine and savour and cherish its every detonation, vibration and impulse. Big praise indeed.
In a time when a “cheap” car costs more than £20,000, the return of low-cost family motoring from Dacia is truly a welcome one. Priced from £16,595, the Jogger represents fantastic value for money, with a versatility and practically above its price bracket.
Yes, it has a few shortcomings, such as a limited engine range, and passenger space that isn’t as generous for adults as it might be, but Dacia has demonstrated great design, outstanding product positioning judgement and not a little bit of bravery with the Jogger. For this, it got 4.5 stars from us.
After one of the greatest affordable driver’s cars that, sadly, only a handful of people will ever be able to get behind the wheel of? The Toyota GR86, which replaces the equally raved Toyota GT86, is that car. The two-year allocation of the Japanese sports car sold out in just 90 minutes, with all units of the £29,995 coupé gone and no new allocation on the way.
And there is a reason for this. We, like basically all other reviewers, loved it. And unlike its predecessor, skids aren’t all this car is about any more. It’s more complex on the palette, ready to ask more of you and do more for you than the GT86 ever was.
Hot-hatch fans rejoiced last month as the iconic Honda Civic Type R returned. Would it be better than the car it replaces? In fact, yes, and with a more appealing styling, it also opens itself to a wider market.
The new Type R arrives with higher outputs (325bhp and 310lb ft, up from 316bhp and 295lb ft) and a bit of a price bump to £46,995. And given that the old car was at the top of the class right up to the point that it disappeared, and this one is better, it’s no surprise to learn that it’s the best big hot hatch now – even though it also has a big price.
McLaren launched what was an unofficial reboot in the Artura earlier this year. The cleverly packaged sports car (like all McLarens are) arrived with a hefty £200,000 price tag, but with its V6 plug-in hybrid powerplant, it was the most technically daring project the firm has undertaken since the McLaren P1 hypercar.
Its key performance numbers were also eerily close to what the iconic McLaren F1 recorded back in 1994. Thirty years on, McLaren’s junior supercar has become as fast as its greatest icon. The Artura is a car that feels enhanced by the process of electrification – but not totally reinvented by it.
The most important Lotus in decades arrived midway through the year, heralding a new era for the British brand. But, the arrival of the 3.5-litre V6 sports car also brought sadness, being the firm’s last ever petrol offering.
Anyway, back to why we love the Emira. Firstly, it feels seriously good – it is a Lotus after all. And on challenging stretches of B-road is where it’s absolutely at its best, with its steering direct and accurate.
Of course there are a few niggles, such as the shifter not feeling as tight as the Cayman’s, but it really didn’t bother our tester Matt Prior, who proclaimed: “This is the best Lotus for a generation.”
In the days of an increasing number of serious, four-wheel-drive SUVs, how refreshing Morgan is sticking to what it does best. The Morgan 3 Wheeler was a breath of fresh air when it was launched in 2012 and remained an Autocar favourite throughout its production run. And the launch of this successor, the Morgan Super 3, was a welcome addition.
Trading in its V-twin motorcycle engine for a car-sourced three-cylinder unit brought with it more power and stickier tyres, and, of course, a hell of a lot more fun. It’s a 4.5-star rating from us.