A year in motoring: Best cars unveiled in 2022

Shining a headlight on some of the finest and most fun vehicles revealed this year

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Compared to the smattering of new cars that made it to showrooms last year, this year had a significant number of launches and upgrades. In no particular order of specs or sales success, here are the 10 best.

Squat and sporty: Volkswagen Golf R

Right from the off, Volkswagen’s nippiest Golf showed no signs of being anything other than a delight.

The new version is more powerful and agile than ever before, and the thrill factor has been upped with the addition of all-wheel drive and drift mode (just in case the need to go sideways suddenly takes hold of you).

Going in and out of bends has seldom been so exhilarating and, unlike plenty of its competitors, all in a car you can get into with a baguette and not have to bend said breadstick in two to fit it in the cabin.

Read the full review here.

Economy in mind: Toyota Yaris

Few doubted the new Yaris was going to be a worthy contender in the subcompact market, but Toyota decided to nudge the bar up a little by making the new version look and feel more showy than its predecessors.

Hence the manufacturer’s undoubtedly accurate claim that the car strikes a decent balance between aesthetics and engineering.

The Yaris is not startling in any department, but it is comfortable, competent and more than fine to zip around in if you’re after an economical ride that's fun at the same time.

Read the full review here.

Sleek sedan: Audi S8

The Audi S8 is a performance-orientated vehicle

The Audi S8 is the gruntier version of its A8 stablemate, though you could opt for either if what you’re after is a svelte and seductive sedan experience.

These are the brand’s flagship offerings in the four-door sector, and they offer plenty in the way of both manic and manicured motoring.

The S8 weighs in with a decent bit of speed allied to all the sophistication you’d expect from a manufacturer such as Audi.

Read the full review here.

Ultra-premium drive: BMW 7 Series

The latest 7 Series from BMW is, the brand says, its most luxurious and advanced vehicle ever, and few who are familiar with the manufacturer’s products would argue with that assessment.

The new arrival has a radical look and an impressive range of state-of-the-art tech that raises it over the sunroofs of its rivals.

The all-round driving experience could accurately be described as ultra-premium, but it’s the attention to detail and that slightly cheeky exterior that really gives the 7 Series a proper lift.

Read the full review here.

Power player: Hummer EV

Despite its girth and weight, the Hummer EV will go from 0-100kph in 3.1 seconds. Photo: Rob Widdis for General Motors

Those expressing doubts about whether there would be much interest in an electrified Hummer — and there were many early on — were silenced upon hearing that the car in question could do 0-100kph in 3.1 seconds.

It is part of GM’s plan to sell a million electric vehicles a year by the middle of this decade but, a monster though the vehicle is, it probably won't be the manufacturer's biggest seller.

The Hummer EV isn’t available until next year, but a test drive earlier this year showed the beast will be worthy of your attention.

Read the full review here.

Everyday SUV: GMC Terrain Denali

The GMC Terrain Denali has a lot going for it, not least the fact that this top-of-the-range version suffers none of the problems of its more basic underlings.

Not only does the vehicle look attractive both inside and out, it’s fast enough for anyone not needing Formula One safety car performance and suitably quiet at the same time.

There are more capable SUVs out there, but the Terrain Denali is an excellent choice for those wanting a solid, spacious ride that won’t finish them financially.

Read the full review here.

Off-road luxury: Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT

There are plenty of luxury SUVs around these days, but Porsche effectively created the market two decades ago with the Cayenne, and the Turbo GT is among the best of its ilk that is on offer today.

It's seems impossible that cars of this size can reach 100kph from a standing start in 3.3 seconds while boasting a top speed of 300kph, but that is the case here.

It’s a simple, but doubtless hard-to-achieve, formula — a four-wheel-drive that handles like a sports car. Porsche's achievement in this regard remains impressive.

Read the full review here.

A touch of muscle: Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing

The CT4-V Blackwing is a muscle car that has kicked its baseball cap to the kerb and opted to go upmarket with a top hat.

Like its big brother, the CT5-V, the car is a mass of bravura and power, but all wrapped up in a very neat and, most importantly, distinctly restrained package.

The touch of menace is still there but, even though you can make it roar when required, the CT4-V doesn’t blast around in an attention-seeking manner like a tired and emotional late-night party guest. It’s all very refined both inside and out.

Read the full review here.

High-end grunt: McLaren Artura

McLaren has always made supercars that rip up the tarmac and send it home in a body bag, but the Artura takes things to a new level.

The car is obviously blessed with terrific power — it’ll do 0-100kph in less than three seconds — but, unlike some of the manufacturer’s earlier models, the Artura is all about smoothness.

As a name, Artura has Celtic origins, with “she-bear” being one translation. McLaren, though, apparently juxtaposed “art” and “future” to get the moniker. We think the Celtic version may be more apt.

Read the full review here.

Luxurious offering: Rolls-Royce Black Badge Ghost

The Black Badge Ghost targets a new generation of Rolls-Royce fans. Photo: Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce introduced its Black Badge range in a bid to appeal to a younger, less sedate clientele, and it describes the Ghost as the “most potent manifestation” of the brand yet.

Unlike a lot of marketing speak, we have some idea what that might mean — the Black Badge Ghost is indeed different from anything Rolls-Royce has produced before.

The ever-present Roller magic carpet ride is still there, of course, with an interior fine enough to please the biggest fusspot, but this vehicle has a distinctly cool and different feel to it, together with a bit more power than many of its siblings. Expensive, naturally, but arresting nonetheless.

Read the full review here.

Updated: December 28, 2022, 8:15 AM