Nominees for Best of 2022 Awards are Ford Bronco SUV, Ford Maverick pickup, Genesis GV70 SUV, Honda Civic sedan, Hyundai Santa Cruz sport adventure vehicle, VW ID.4 EV SUV; award judges new and redesigned vehicles for quality, innovation, value

Sample article from our Automobile Industry

February 1, 2022 (press release) –

What’s eligible: All models that are new or fully redesigned for the 2022 model year.

Criteria: Our watchwords are quality, innovation and value. Seldom does a candidate nail all three, but a strong showing in one regard can offset a deficit in another. Vehicles compete as much or more with their own class as they do other 2022 nominees.

2022 Ford Bronco: Nominee
There’s always a risk in resurrecting an iconic nameplate. What if the new one doesn’t live up to its heritage? The first-generation Bronco was an iconic off-roader and among the first SUVs, and subsequent generations have loyal fans, too (even the Bronco II). With retro-inspired styling, the new Bronco walks the walk, but it also talks the talk.

The Bronco is capable of doing anything the reigning gold-standard off-roader Jeep Wrangler can do, with two distinct advantages: a more user-friendly, “for dummies” setup that makes leaving the pavement more accessible, and the Sasquatch Package — adding goodies like 35-inch all-terrain tires, 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels, electronically locking front and rear differentials, and more — available on every trim level and body style.

On top of its off-road prowess, the Bronco’s independent front suspension also makes it more enjoyable on-road than the Wrangler — admittedly, a low bar. And, yes, it can be noisy (particularly with the 35-inch tires), but that’s the price for off-road ability and a removable roof and doors. With more than adequate power from its turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder or optional twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6 and a choice of seven-speed manual transmission (with a dedicated creeper gear) or 10-speed automatic, the Bronco can be civilized when it must.

Our review deemed the new Ford Bronco “worth the bucks” both because we can’t resist terrible puns and because, despite its potentially steep price, the Bronco felt more than worth it. The Bronco is impressive enough to earn a shot at our Best of the Year award for 2022.

2022 Ford Maverick: Nominee
American consumers (ourselves included) have been begging for small, affordable pickup trucks for years, so the 2022 Ford Maverick had a chance just by showing up, though it proves to be much more than just present. But why is it in consideration for’s Best of the Year award and not only the Best Pickup Truck of 2022? Relative value is a large consideration of our top award, and the Maverick has a roughly $20,000 starting MSRP and a hybrid powertrain that gets an EPA-estimated 42/33/37 mpg city/highway/combined. This combo appeals to more than just truck shoppers, as does the Maverick’s low load-in height, easy drivability and svelte dimensions that make affordable utility accessible again. 

The hybrid is front-wheel drive only, and an optional gas-only 250-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter is the power option — enough for a wheel-spinning good time that can be quelled with optional all-wheel drive not available on the hybrid. The Maverick isn’t a poser, either; despite its carlike unibody architecture, it has a 1,500-pound maximum payload and can tow up to 4,000 pounds with the 2.0-liter engine and available tow package. 

A top-trim Lariat hybrid starts at less than $30,000, which seems extraordinary in the world of $78,000 luxury trucks like the 2021 Ford F-150 Limited hybrid bought after the F-150 became the first pickup ever to win this award in 2021. But even in the sub-$30,000 range, the Maverick is a fine place to be with an interesting interior filled with unique textures and color palette, plus storage galore and real buttons versus touch-sensitive ones.

2022 Genesis GV70: Nominee
Last year, the mid-size GV80 SUV represented South Korean luxury brand Genesis among nominees for our top award. This year, Genesis added the compact GV70 to its roster, and now the GV70 is very much a contender for our Best of the Year award for 2022.

For starters, the GV70 oozes style inside and out. Be prepared for jealous looks from drivers of various German compact luxury SUVs and enjoy the airplane-wing-inspired, Atomic Age interior covered in high-quality materials.

Some of those jealous looks may be fleeting thanks to the power available in the optional twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6. With 375 hp and 391 pounds-feet of torque, the GV70 with the V-6 rivals mid-level “sporty” SUVs like the Audi SQ5, BMW X3 M40i and Mercedes-AMG GLC43. (A 300-hp, turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 311 pounds-feet of torque is the GV70’s standard power plant.) The 3.5-liter makes the GV70 genuinely fun to drive, which may not be surprising when you learn it shares a platform with the previous Best Of-winning G70 sports sedan. The GV70 3.5T brings a smile to your face as it devours corners and straightaways. Perhaps even more impressive — and in spite of wheels that can be as large as 21 inches in diameter — the GV70 is civilized and composed in its softer driving modes.

We’ve said before that Genesis was nipping at the German marques’ heels, but the GV70 is taking full bites. A sporty SUV that can still be comfortable and luxurious, it certainly deserves a chance at our highest honor. 

2022 Honda Civic: Nominee
The Honda Civic has been a perennial favorite, not just of our editors but of the world in general. A Civic says that you want a dash of fun-to-drive experience with your daily commute — that of course you care about efficiency and technology, but there’s more to your automotive desires than just basic transportation. The redesigned 2022 Civic builds upon the things that have always made Civics fantastic: It’s responsive and beautifully tuned, providing an excellent driving experience. The Civic displays a chassis sophistication and such an amazing balance between ride quality (on the firm side, but well controlled) and handling (responsive, tight and very entertaining) that it feels like it’s in a class above the compact commuter sedan category.

The new Civic has a choice of two powertrains: a standard 158-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder or the one you really want, an optional 180-hp, turbocharged 1.5-liter four, both mated to a standard continuously variable automatic transmission (a manual is optional on the Civic hatchback). The latest model grows up a bit style-wise, adopting the more adult exterior look of the larger Accord, but the spacious cabin takes an almost retro inspiration with some neat details on the dash and doors, plus a glorious lack of the touch-sensitive buttons that plague so many vehicles nowadays (including some Hondas). The multimedia system has a volume knob and the gear selector is an old-school lever. The 2022 Civic is an excellent choice for people who resist such “advancements” of the day, as well as the SUV trend.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz: Nominee
After years and years of not having a true compact pickup truck, suddenly there are two. Hyundai may insist that the Santa Cruz isn’t a pickup, marketing it instead as a “sport adventure vehicle,” but it’s got a pickup bed. More important: Who cares? The Santa Cruz isn’t just one of the quirkiest vehicles we’ve driven this year; it’s also one of the best.

If you were wondering what would happen if Hyundai lengthened the Tucson’s wheelbase by almost 10 inches while also stuffing the larger Santa Fe’s turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine — with 281 horsepower and 311 pounds-feet of torque — under the hood, the answer is magic. The Santa Cruz’s ride quality is practically luxury-level, and its handling impresses when the road gets twisty. Once the turbo four gets going, the Santa Cruz has more than enough power for passing and merging.

Even better, the Santa Cruz is available in a variety of configurations to meet buyers’ needs. Don’t need all-wheel drive? You can get it in front-wheel drive. Don’t need the turbocharged 2.5-liter? There’s a more efficient, naturally aspirated 2.5-liter instead. No, the bed is not 8 feet long like that of larger pickups, but for most buyers, it’s probably more than enough. And the urban buyer for which Hyundai designed the Santa Cruz will appreciate the integrated, lockable bed cover and additional underfloor storage.

We say the Santa Cruz is a pickup, but more importantly, we say the Santa Cruz is one of the best new vehicles of the year.

2022 Volkswagen ID.4: Nominee
Electric cars have gone from quirky and questionably useful to reliable everyday drivers for some people thanks to a host of new and improved vehicles flooding the market. Volkswagen’s first all-electric SUV, the ID.4, is a solid option that impresses with its competitive range, pleasant road manners and value. 

The ID.4 comes with rear-wheel drive and gets an EPA-estimated range of 260 miles for the Pro trim level and 250 miles for the Pro S. The all-wheel-drive version is similar, with an EPA estimated 249 miles of range for the Pro and 240 miles for the Pro S. 

These ranges are a bit short of the maximum offered, sometimes optionally, by key competitors like the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y, but the ID.4’s comfortable ride quality stands out among firm and bouncy peers. It also beats the others on price: Base MSRPs start around $41,000, and that’s before a federal tax credit of up to $7,500, for which the ID.4 is still eligible (unlike the Model Y).

Alas, no EV is the complete package, and the ID.4 has a quirk: Its heavy use of touch-sensitive controls and a laggy touchscreen frustrated us — big time. If you can get past those, however, there’s a lot to like. The ID.4’s comfortable ride, solid range and appealing price earned it a nomination for’s Best of 2022.




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