2022 has been an amazing year for both DiscoverAuto and the global automotive industry with seemingly endless new car launches, new technology everywhere and advances in electrified motoring. As we head further into electrification, new car releases are getting more varied and important – newcomer to the Australian market BYD launching a new cheap small electric SUV and it selling by the thousands already is proof of that.
Without further ado, here are our favourite cars of 2022:
The Ford Ranger range really impressed us here at DiscoverAuto but a personal favourite of mine is the Raptor variant. The very punchy twin-turbo petrol engine paired with trick Fox suspension really pulled at the heart strings too, and no matter the surface, the Raptor performs. It also happens to be an excellent weekend getaway car that offers great performance and strong off road ability – though don’t expect it to be in any way fuel efficient. But regardless, the new Raptor is a great car.
A family hauler is always welcome here at DiscoverAuto and one which I seemingly fell in love with is the Kia Sportage GT-Line – but only fitted with the diesel engine. This engine offers good power, economy and nice low end torque – and it’s fitted with a lovely eight-speed auto and not the dopey seven-speed dual-clutch auto in the 1.6-litre turbo petrol. The Sportage is also a very practical and good value SUV. The interior is spacious and built well with a nicely laid out dashboard and big boot. I’m a big fan!
The Polestar 2 Dual Motor is an excellent modern day vehicle that offers the benefits of an electric car with the quality and clever thinking typical of Sweden. I personally love the small details on it, such as the illuminated badge that projects onto the glass roof and the frameless exterior mirrors. It is also drives very well and feels strong on the road. Plus, its infotainment system is better than the Volvo on which it’s based and it’s a liftback too, so it’s very practical. We expect Polestar’s future to be bright.
In a market where top-of-the range utes are pushing further and further towards the $100k mark, I found it refreshing to discover that a top-spec SsangYong Musso Ultimate (with Luxury Pack) that comes with plenty of premium equipment could be had for a mere $46,090 drive away! While there are other ‘bargain basement’ utes which promise low prices for up to half the price of established market leaders like the Ranger, Hilux and D-Max, the Musso stands out by actually delivering. It’s competent on the road, has plenty of luxurious equipment and a nice interior. The Musso takes my prize for best value and biggest revelation/surprise of the year at DiscoverAuto.
The no longer diminutive Volkswagen Polo has grown from being the brand’s tiny hatch, to being as big as the MK4 Golf was, and wins my award for ‘Goldilocks’ car size. The Polo is almost in a segment of its own being halfway between light cars like the Polo of yesteryear and the larger Golf – the end result is a car that is not too small but not too big – it’s just right. It isn’t just the size that impressed me, but just how well the Polo does everything – from perky 85KW engine delivers great economy, to road and an overall maturity manners that are unbecoming for a car in this category, the 2022 Polo Life 85TSI is a great all rounder and a car I was sad to say goodbye to!
Electric vehicles have been in the limelight all throughout 2022 and are many philosophies and ideas about how EVs should operate, particularly in terms of interacting with the interior of the car. While the Kia Niro might be more subdued than its EV6 big brother, it makes my list for being a fantastic all-rounder EV. Instead of throwing the rulebook of car interior design and controls/instrument design out the window like some competitors, the Niro strikes a fantastic balance between futurism and familiarity. I found the experience to be exciting and new, but also easy to interact with and well thought out. Why the Niro and not the EV6? The Niro feels like less of a proof of concept and more like a production car, where being an EV isn’t the end goal of the Niro, rather being a great car that happens to be an EV. With plenty of technology, a useful battery range, an interesting and comfortable interior and a great size, the Niro is a great EV, if you can ignore the price.
The all-electric Kia EV6 impressed us here at DiscoverAuto with just how complete it felt when I took it on a long distance road-trip from Melbourne to Adelaide and back. The EV6 felt rock solid, comfortable and down-right superb in what was certainly not meant to be its comfort zone. With only two short charges either way, it passed the long-range test with flying colours, proving how quickly electric vehicles are progressing. With its healthy range, comfort and driving thrills (not to mention head-turning cool styling), the Kia EV6 was the highlight of my automotive year.
The LandCruiser name might not be new to Australia, but the all-new 300 Series Toyota LandCruiser in lofty Sahara spec impressed us at DiscoverAuto with its sheer breadth of ability and class. The LandCruiser can do it all – from driving to the shops, to going up a steep bush trail, this is one seriously capable large SUV, seemingly built to cover the vast distances across our huge land in massive comfort.
Seeing a Yaris pop up on my list might be a surprise to many, myself included, but the little Toyota Yaris SX Hybrid blew me away with its incredible fuel economy. For a car which doesn’t require any pluging-in to charge, the Yaris’ ability to consumer around 2.5L/100km around town is simply remarkable. The Yaris proves that it’s nothing fancy, just an honest, well-engineered car with decent driving dynamics, a nippy hybrid drivetrain with out of this world efficiency. If everyone commuted to work in a Yaris Hybrid, would we really even need electric vehicles?
The new-generation Ford Ranger is an insanely impressive vehicle that is without doubt, the best ute on the market and some of the highest scores we’ve ever given at DiscoverAuto. It’s one of the few cars on the market that while yes it can be quite expensive, its engineering comfortably justifies its price tag. It’s polished in every area with a great range of engines, slick technology integration, a good quality cabin and solid towing and off-road credentials – and that doesn’t matter if you buy the base XL or top-spec Raptor. The best part is that it’s been developed in Australia and it’s no wonder that there’s such a long wait list for it.
Having grown up in them, I absolutely adore wagons – they are definite proof that you don’t need an SUV for family car motoring – and my favourite of this year was the Peugeot 508. Yep, it’s expensive and its performance doesn’t set the world alight, but just look at it. It’s absolutely stunning! Add in its excellent interior, punchy Focal sound system, long list of standard features and the best massaging seats in the industry (I’m 100 per cent serious there) and there’s more than enough reason for the 508 to be selling in much bigger numbers than it currently is. It’s excellent.
We were really excited to drive the Polestar 2 at DiscoverAuto for a variety of reasons – it shares its mechanicals with the excellent Volvo XC40 and C40, it looks great, it’s a liftback (which is SO superior to a sedan), it’s great quality, it drives well and it’s just really cool. The infotainment system is also excellent, and it’s reasonably priced as well. The 2 is only its first full EV, but I see big things for Polestar.
As always, no matter if you’re a first time reader, a longtime fan or one of our automotive partners, we thank you for your continued support of DiscoverAuto. We have big things planned for 2023, so stay tuned. In the meantime, we hope you have a great holiday period, and we hope to see you again soon.