Logo

CAR OF THE YEAR

Car Hero

2022 Car.com Awards

Meet the year´s best models!

The best of the best in one place

By Jack Nerad

Naming a Car of the Year has become a timeworn process for many publications. Looking at their selections, you might legitimately wonder about their criteria are and their goals. You don’t have to wonder about that with the first-ever Car.com Car of the Year Awards. The goal is crystal clear — to provide today’s shoppers with the best possible advice on what vehicles are most worthy of their consideration.

To deliver on that goal, we weigh every vehicle on a scale that includes all the important criteria consumers should have when shopping. First among these is value. Does the car in question deliver the utmost in value?

Everything else is largely a subset of this criterion — but it is still important to name each one. These are dependability, reliability, safety, and versatility.

How does the Car.com Car of the Year Awards differ from others?

Besides being utterly straightforward about the scoring criteria, the Car.com Car of the Year Awards also recognizes the obvious but unacknowledged fact that the typical passenger vehicle these days is not a sedan, coupe, or convertible... but is instead a crossover. Further, it recognizes the fact that consumers don't view cars in neat industry-dictated "segments." Instead, they search through many vehicle categories to find options that meet their needs.

This awards program recognizes that by naming “winners” and two additional top choices in five “functional categories” that cut across typical industry segmentation. Those Car.com Car of the Year categories are Best-Value Car, Best Family Car, Best Electric Car, Best Premium Car, and Best Luxury Car. In all but the Best Electric Car, these categories have cost limits that are appropriate to the type of vehicle being examined.

From the leaders in each of these categories, we then choose the Car.com Car of the Year. It is the vehicle that best represents preeminent consumer value when measured against the critical criteria we have already mentioned.

Best-Value Car ($35K)
1st Place
2022 Honda Civic Sedan
2022 Honda Civic Sedan
Get One Step Closer to Your Next Car
$22,550MSRP
info
Manufacturer's suggested retail price

It isn't easy to build a car that has winning attributes like excellent build quality, steadfast reliability, praiseworthy fuel economy, and being fun to drive. It is exponentially more difficult to do that in a vehicle that costs less than $35,000. But the 2022 Honda Civic isn't just one such vehicle; it is the absolute epitome of such a vehicle. For the 2022 model year, the Honda Civic is all-new, and this generation emphasizes the goodness that has been baked into earlier versions.

The Civic's cabin is so roomy that it exceeds its class, and it is well-finished without being ostentatious. In fact, this new version of the Civic has the best interior of any of its predecessors. Honda is renowned as an engineering company, and that is evidenced by the Civic's powertrains. Customers buying the base model get a highly efficient 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that drives the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission. Upper-level versions are fitted with a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that produces 180 horsepower, more than enough to put real pep in the car. The sedan version will go from 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds. That's quick enough to put a smile on an enthusiast driver's face while still getting 37 miles-per-gallon fuel economy.

Then there’s the price. This category has a $35,000 price limit, which is well under the average new-vehicle transaction price these days. But the Civic, with all its goodness, is priced well below that. The base Civic LX sedan has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $22,695, including the $995 destination charge. An extremely well-equipped Touring model has an MSRP a bit over $29,000. The five-door Hatchback version is slightly more expensive, but it is still an amazing bargain. So too is the sporty Civic Si model.

Best-Value Car ($35K)
2nd Place
2022 Hyundai Tucson
2022 Hyundai  Tucson
Get One Step Closer to Your Next Car
$24,950MSRP
info
Manufacturer's suggested retail price

Hyundai's entry in the red-hot compact crossover class wears new sheet metal for the 2022 model year. It also offers buyers a choice of conventional, hybrid, or plug-in hybrid powertrains. The warm and cozy interior has a very modern dash and infotainment set-up with a 10.3-inch infotainment screen optional. The base price is around $26,000. The most expensive plug-in hybrid has a starting price of about $44,000.

Best-Value Car ($35K)
3rd Place
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross
Get One Step Closer to Your Next Car
$22,445MSRP
info
Manufacturer's suggested retail price

Toyota has just added a subcompact crossover SUV to the Corolla lineup, and the new model has everything that has made the Corolla such a popular favorite in an affordable SUV form. While many competitive crossovers don’t offer all-wheel drive, the Corolla Cross does. It’s powered by an economical 169-horsepower four-cylinder engine backed by a continuously variable automatic transmission. With a base price of about $24,000, it also has Toyota’s strong array of standard safety features.

Best Family Car ($70K)
1st Place
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Get One Step Closer to Your Next Car
$38,325MSRP
info
Manufacturer's suggested retail price

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has always been a well-regarded mid-size SUV that combined the day-to-day demands of a family vehicle with the go-anywhere capabilities of a Jeep. But as a family vehicle, one thing the Grand Cherokee lacked was a third-row of seating. Problem solved! Enter the all-new 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L, a vehicle expressly designed to fix that previous shortfall. With one of the most attractive interiors ever seen in a mid-size SUV — mass market or luxury — the Grand Cherokee L fills every requirement a family-vehicle customer could tick off. Oh, and for those who don’t need three rows of seats, Jeep has introduced an equally stunning two-row Grand Cherokee.

Both the Grand Cherokee and Grand Cherokee L are equally at home ferrying the kids to baseball practice or conquering a rugged off-road trail. While most mid-size SUVs offer a single all-wheel-drive system and call it a day, the Grand Cherokee offers three separate 4x4 systems – Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, and Quadra-Drive II. The Grand Cherokee also has a class-exclusive sway-bar disconnect feature for better traction over rocks and rough terrain. Let's see your typical mid-size SUV do that.

The Grand Cherokee's available air suspension that includes electronic semi-active damping, delivers 1.3 inches of ground clearance and 24 inches of water fording ability. With its optional 5.7-liter V8 engine — one of a handful of available V8s in the segment —the Grand Cherokee has a 7,200-pound towing capacity. The Jeep Grand Cherokee has a base MSRP of $40,120 including its $1,795 destination charge. The Jeep Grand Cherokee L has a base price of $42,120.

Best Family Car ($70K)
2nd Place
2022 Kia Carnival
2022 Kia Carnival
Get One Step Closer to Your Next Car
$32,300MSRP
info
Manufacturer's suggested retail price

The leaders in the minivan segment better watch out because the 2022 Kia Carnival has what it takes to be a strong contender for the best in the segment. Not only is the exterior styling an eye-grabber, but the interior is, if anything, even better. In top trim, it’s fitted out like a limousine. The front-drive Carnival gets its power from a 290-horsepower V6 engine flowing through an eight-speed automatic transmission. It has a starting price of about $34,000, and even the highest luxe version is under $50K.

Best Family Car ($70K)
3rd Place
2022 Nissan Pathfinder
2022 Nissan Pathfinder
Get One Step Closer to Your Next Car
$34,640MSRP
info
Manufacturer's suggested retail price

Long a stalwart contender in the midsize crossover SUV segment, the Nissan Pathfinder becomes even more family-friendly for the 2022 model year. In this all-new generation, the Pathfinder emphasizes off-road abilities although it remains a superb on-road conveyance for family vacations and school pickups and drop-offs. Powered by a 284-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, the Pathfinder has upped its towing game, too. With pricing from about $35,000 to more than $50,000, the likable SUV will please a variety of families.

Best Electric Car
1st Place
2022 Kia EV6
2022 Kia EV6
Get One Step Closer to Your Next Car
$41,400MSRP
info
Manufacturer's suggested retail price

As the first vehicle in Kia's transformation from a maker of internal combustion engine vehicles to battery-electrics, the 2022 Kia EV6 is more than just another vehicle. It is designed to convert buyers of ICE-vehicles to EVs. To do that, Kia decided to make the EV6 a segment-buster not unlike its popular Kia Soul. It has crossover, sedan, hatchback, and SUV attributes, plus some additional attributes — like its open flat floor — that are all its own.

The Kia EV6 is a five-passenger vehicle built on the new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) that Kia shares with Hyundai. It is intended to form the basis of a string of Kia and Hyundai EVs that will soon enter the marketplace. An important feature of the platform is its innovative use of an 800-volt multi-charging system that enables the Kia EV6 to go from a 10 percent battery charge to an 80 percent charge in less than 18 minutes using a DC fast-charger. With charging that quick long-distance drives that would be problematic in other EVs become quite possible in the EV6. Of course, those efforts are aided by the EV6’s top range on a full charge — an EPA-estimated 310 miles.

But there is more to the Kia EV6 than just long range and fast charging. Aided by its long wheelbase, it offers an extremely roomy interior that is studded with innovative features. One of the best of these is its driver's information and infotainment array — two 12.3-inch TFT touchscreens that form a horizontal curved display extending across the dashboard. The base Light trim is powered by a single electric motor driving the rear wheels. With a base price of $42,115, the EV6 Light has an EPA-rated 232 miles of range on a full charge. The upper trims — Wind and GT Line — are available in rear-drive and dual-motor all-wheel-drive form. The all-wheel-drive EV6 GT Line has an MSRP of $57,115 with the destination fee.

Best Electric Car
2nd Place
2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5
2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5
Get One Step Closer to Your Next Car
$39,950MSRP
info
Manufacturer's suggested retail price

If for some reason you don't care for the looks of the Kia EV6, you might give the Hyundai Ioniq 5 strong consideration. From a technical point of view, the Hyundai has just about everything the Kia does since they are built on a shared platform and share drivetrains as well. Because of that, the differences are largely aesthetic. Some will prefer the Ioniq 5's more futuristic interior, while others will favor the more traditional EV6. The Ioniq 5 also gives more choices starting at a base price of about $42,000.

Best Electric Car
3rd Place
2022 Volkswagen ID.4
2022 Volkswagen ID.4
Get One Step Closer to Your Next Car
$41,230MSRP
info
Manufacturer's suggested retail price

The Volkswagen ID.4 small crossover EV plays in the same sandbox as the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5. It brings a European sensibility to the driving experience and to the interior and controls. As with the twin Korean SUVs, the ID.4 can be fitted with one electric motor or two. Those who opt for two will get all-wheel drive and additional horsepower in the bargain, a common theme. The ID.4 starts at around $35K, but the vehicle really comes alive with the second motor. That ups the ante considerably.

Best Premium Car ($60K)
1st Place
2022 Genesis GV70
2022 Genesis GV70
Get One Step Closer to Your Next Car
$41,500MSRP
info
Manufacturer's suggested retail price

There is nothing especially new about the compact premium SUVs, but the 2022 Genesis GV70 manages to breathe excitement and competitive fire into the premium car segment. Of course, as mentioned in the prologue, crossovers like the GV70 are the go-to models for luxury-car buyers, far outpacing sedans, coupes, and convertibles in popularity. And with that in mind Genesis engineers and designers have created a nearly perfect premium car for the current age.

The Genesis GV70 is filled with the right stuff, but simply chronicling its features doesn’t do it justice because — above all — the GV70 has “curb appeal.” Inside and out, it is a vehicle that appears to be much more expensive than it actually is. And what premium-car buyer wouldn’t like that? The rear-drive-oriented platform contributes to the GV70’s attractive proportions, and the designers contributed a number of details that further the upscale look.

When it comes to mechanicals, the Genesis GV70 doesn't skimp either. The base model has a 300-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine while the up-level version boasts a 375-horsepower twin-turbo V6. Both engines drive all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The interior slush well beyond its price range. One very noticeable feature is the large horizontal infotainment screen perched atop the wide and curvaceous dash. It offers Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot among its many features. Those who seek premium audio with find a 16-speaker Lexicon system available.

On top of its arresting looks and riveting performance, another very positive aspect of the Genesis GV70 is its very attractive price-value ratio. The 2022 GV70 starts at $41,500 including a $1,095 destination charge. The GV70 3.5T Sport has a suggested list of just $54,195.

Best Premium Car ($60K)
2nd Place
2022 Audi A3 Sedan
2022 Audi A3 Sedan
Get One Step Closer to Your Next Car
$34,800MSRP
info
Manufacturer's suggested retail price

Driving the 2022 Audi A3 small premium sedan is a delightful experience. With quattro all-wheel drive, a willing suspension, and a superb driving position, the A3 delivers on the Euro-sedan promise of sophisticated handling. More than ample acceleration comes from its 201-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine augmented by a 48-volt electric motor. Inside the A3 delivers many of the things vehicle reviewers have come to love about Audis — understated interior design, great seats, and digital instrumentation. It has a base price of about $35,000.

Best Premium Car ($60K)
3rd Place
2022 Infiniti QX60
2022 Infiniti QX60
Get One Step Closer to Your Next Car
$47,850MSRP
info
Manufacturer's suggested retail price

 The premium market is turning increasingly to crossover SUVs, and Infiniti is ready for the shift with the all-new Infiniti QX60. It is a vehicle that shares a lot mechanically with another vehicle honored here — the Nissan Pathfinder — but Infiniti manages to put its premium stamp on the vehicle. That's very noticeable in the interior that is bathed in leather and other natural materials. Buyers can choose a seven-passenger configuration with a second-row bench seat or a six-passenger with captain's chairs in the second row. The vehicle has a base price of around $49,000, and the top-level Autograph trim starts at over $60,000, right over our limit.

Best Luxury Car ($200K)
1st Place
2022 GMC Hummer EV
2022 GMC Hummer EV
Get One Step Closer to Your Next Car
$108,700MSRP
info
Manufacturer's suggested retail price

The GMC Hummer EV is a revolutionary vehicle in an industry that lives on evolution, not revolution. A battery-electric pickup truck is revolutionary enough, but the fact that the GMC Hummer EV relies on stored electrical energy rather than fossil fuel is just one of its startlingly new aspects. Its batteries are General Motors Ultium cells, unique in ways that limit their use of a rare material while making them flexible and powerful. GM estimates the Hummer EV’s range at a robust 329 miles.

The GMC Hummer EV’s other credentials are even more stirring. Are you seeking power? How about 1,000 horsepower from the Ultium Drive three-motor system? And add to that 11,500 lb-ft (not a misprint) of peak torque. It might not be quite enough to move Denali, but it’s close. The two rear-drive motors can independently drive each rear wheel to optimize traction in a wide variety of situations, while the front axle has its own motor plus an electronic locking differential.

The off-roading abilities don’t stop there either. The Hummer EV has a “CrabWalk" four-wheel-steering setting that allows the rear wheels to emulate the angle of the front wheels up to 10 degrees so the truck can move diagonally. And there's Extract Mode in which the vehicle's body can lift six inches for nearly 16 inches of ground clearance.

And did we mention that on the road the GMC Hummer EV can drive itself? Yeah, it has Super Cruise that uses a driver attention system and Lidar map data to maintain speed, interval and lane, and steer around corners. The Hummer EV will also change lanes for you by just signaling your intention. Space does not allow to even mention many of the Hummer EV's other ground-breaking (ground-crushing?) attributes. With a base price of just $110,395 with a destination fee, the Hummer EV Edition 1 is the luxury car bargain of the millennium.

Best Luxury Car ($200K)
2nd Place
2022 Lucid Air
2022 Lucid Air
Get One Step Closer to Your Next Car
N/AMSRP
info
Manufacturer's suggested retail price

Oh my, oh my, the Lucid Air takes the battery-powered luxury sedan to an entirely new stratosphere. First off, it can offer up to 1,111 horsepower — yes, 1,111 horsepower) — delivering stupefyingly quick acceleration. But there is far more to the Lucid Air than just straight-line speed. For one thing, there is range — up to 520 miles on a charge according to the EPA. And the Lucid Air uses its innovative electrical architecture to facilitate fast charging, adding up to 250 miles of range in about 15 minutes. The Dream Edition is priced at $170,000.

Best Luxury Car ($200K)
3rd Place
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing
2022 Cadillac  CT5-V Blackwing
Get One Step Closer to Your Next Car
N/AMSRP
info
Manufacturer's suggested retail price

The CT5-V Blackwing is the most powerful Cadillac in production ever. With its 668-horsepower 6.2-liter supercharged V8, this luxury sedan will explode from zero to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. Cadillac says the CT5-V Blackwing will top 200 miles per hour, which is pretty fast for a five-passenger luxury sedan. The standard transmission is a TREMEC 6-speed manual that has active rev-matching and "no-lift shift." Others might opt for the 10-speed automatic transmission and the advanced driver assistance features that accompany it. As amazing as all this is, the most amazing thing might be its price — a base MSRP of about $85,000, an incredible bargain.

CAR OF THE YEAR
CAR OF THE YEAR
Best Family Car ($70K)
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Get One Step Closer to Your Next Car
$38,325MSRP
info
Manufacturer's suggested retail price

The first-ever Car.com Car of the Year is the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee. All-new for the 2022 model year, the Jeep Grand Cherokee epitomizes vehicle value in every one of its iterations. If you are seeking a vehicle that can transport your family anywhere in any weather with superior safety, comfort, and convenience, you will find it in the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

For this model year, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is available in two forms, and another is on the way. For years, the Grand Cherokee has had a reputation as one of the best five-passenger SUVs on the market. And for the 2022 model year, it is all-new, and it puts an exclamation point behind every positive the previous-generation vehicle had. As a Jeep, it is a go-anywhere vehicle that scoffs at both bad weather and a lack of pavement. It features two proven engines and both rear-drive and 4-wheel-drive configurations so it can suit families with a variety of needs and budgets. It offers a broad array of passive and active safety equipment, including a robust collection of advanced driver assistance features. And it has one of the most beautiful and useful interiors of any vehicle on the road today.

But wait... there's more. Responding to the need for a Grand Cherokee that will transport more than five, Jeep created the Grand Cherokee L, a three-row SUV that offers seating for up to seven. The Grand Cherokee L offers virtually all the positives of the five-passenger Grand Cherokee in a somewhat larger vehicle that can accommodate two adults in the rear row of seating. With front bucket seats and an available middle bench seat, a total of seven can ride in style, comfort, and safety. In terms of tech, the Grand Cherokee L offers American families an incredible array: 360-degree surround-view and night-vision cameras, 10-inch digital display screens, a head-up display, a Uconnect 5 infotainment system, a digital rearview mirror, a rear-seat-monitoring camera, and a premium 19-speaker McIntosh audio system.

Yes, these two vehicles have everything necessary to cinch the first-ever title of Car.com Car of the Year for 2022. At the same time, waiting in the wings about to make its way to market is the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe. The first-ever electrified Grand Cherokee is equipped with an all-new plug-in hybrid powertrain delivering 25 miles of all-electric range and 56 MPGe. Included among its four sub-models is the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe, the most off-road-capable plug-in hybrid of its kind in the world.

When we examined the Jeep Grand Cherokee against our stringent selection criteria, it checked every box. It delivers unsurpassed all-around capabilities that include all-terrain and inclement-weather driving. It will tow the largest loads of any vehicle in its segment and can transport up to seven passengers in supreme comfort and safety. It offers both tried-and-true and innovative powertrains, including the advanced 4xe plug-in hybrid. Its Uconnect 5 infotainment system is an industry leader, and it is accompanied by innovative features like the 10.25-inch front-passenger-side interactive display and dual 10.1-inch rear-seat touchscreens with Fire TV for Auto. The level of available safety and driver-assist systems will give peace of mind to every driver who transports their family day-to-day.

All of these 2022 model-year vehicles cited in this special Car.com Car of the Year Awards section are incredible values. Each delivers a full helping of what their buyers need and want. And from that group of winners, the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee richly deserves its title as the first Car.com Car of the Year.

Back to Toparrow-icon