Meet the Best Cars of the Year: Top 9 Picks for 2022 //
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Meet the Best Cars of the Year: Top 9 Picks for 2022

Alsyd Eabidin

These exceptional models meet the highest standards of performance, safety, reliability, and more When you're looking for the perfect vehicle for you and your family, there is a huge selection to choose from. 

To help you focus on the best choices, Consumer Reports presents its annual top 10 picks: the best cars, SUVs, and trucks that our experts recommend without hesitation.

To be in this group, the car must have an overall score among the highest in its class, taking into account road tests, expected reliability, owner satisfaction and safety. 

Top Picks should also come standard on all models with forwarding Collision Warning (FCW) and Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection—safety features we consider critical because they have been proven to save lives.

New this year: We're asking our top picks for AEB highway speed. We now also add 2 points to the vehicle's overall score if it has an active driver assistance system that includes an appropriate driver monitoring system. 

The Ford Mustang Mach-E is the only one of our top picks this year that gets the bonus points because its Active Driver Assistance System has Active Driver Monitoring that gives appropriate warnings when the driver looks off the road for an extended period.

Several top-ranked vehicles, including the BMW X5 and Hyundai Tucson, did not qualify this year because they do not have AEB highway speed as standard equipment on all trim levels. 

This year's top picks don't include any big trucks because they lack basic safety features on the base models or have below-average reliability.

More from 2022 Autos Spotlight:

  1. What car do brands make the best vehicles for?
  2. Get the car you need now
  3. How to decide if you're ready for a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric
  4. Driver monitoring systems can help you be safer on the road
  5. New cars on the horizon
  6. Guide to spotlighting cars 2022

See which vehicles have made Consumer Reports' annual top picks list for the past 10 years: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012.

Cars under $25,000

Small car: Nissan Sentra

Meet the Best Cars of the Year: Top 9 Picks for 2022
Nissan Sentra

The sharp-looking Sentra is a low-cost, high-value sedan that feels superior to its competitors, especially when comparing the higher-end models. 

The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine makes the car a pleasure to drive, aided by a continuously variable transmission. Acceleration is among the best in its class, with power coming in smoothly. In addition, the Sentra has a comfortable ride and agile handling. 

The cabin is well appointed for the price, with a more upscale look and feel than most competitors. The infotainment and climate control systems are the epitome of simplicity, and all versions come with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capabilities. 

The real clincher is that the all-in-one Safety Shield 360 is standard, featuring plenty of key safety features.

Compact SUV: Nissan Rogue Sport

Meet the Best Cars of the Year: Top 9 Picks for 2022
Nissan Rogue Sport

Good things can come in small packages, as evidenced by Rogue Sport. It feels more mature and substantial than most of the small SUVs it competes with, thanks to the quiet ride and the class's quiet cabin. 

Front access is very easy, and the driver is handled at a high seat height that aids visibility and provides plenty of headroom. The powertrain doesn't live up to the "sport" moniker, but it gets the job done. 

The commendable expected reliability adds to the allure. And despite the low entry price, the Rogue Sport has a list of safety gear that makes the higher-priced models a shame. In addition to FCW and AEB, the Rogue Sport comes with a full suite of safety features, including automatic rear braking, as standard equipment.

Cars between $25,000 - $35,000

Small SUV: Subaru Forester

Meet the Best Cars of the Year: Top 9 Picks for 2022
Subaru Forester

Marking its ninth consecutive appearance in Top Picks, the Forester received a light makeover for 2022, updating its look with the addition of a more adventurous wilderness trim. The secret to Forester's success lies in its spacious and efficient design. 

Strong fuel economy Focus on safety Great road-test performance And a strong reliability history. The importance of design is hard to overstate. 

The Forester's vertical profile offers more reach, cabin space, and more cargo room than its competitors. The high ceiling and large windows provide an outward view that resembles an aquarium, providing a broad view of the road and surroundings. 

Responsive handling and agile driving further enhance the driving experience. EyeSight's latest suite of safety features is standard.

Midsize Sedan: Honda Accord

Meet the Best Cars of the Year: Top 9 Picks for 2022
Honda Accord

The Accord is the perfect family sedan, with plenty of interior space, a fun ride, great power, and impressive efficiency. Three powertrains are available, ranging from the frugal transmission to the luxury car's wise variant, outfitted with leather and all the trimmings. 

Most impressive is the hybrid, which delivers 47 mpg overall without sacrificing acceleration. The Accord balances comfort and acumen, making driving as fun as leaning back in the passenger seat. 

The cabin is spacious and well-appointed, with nice touches, such as smooth surfaces and wood trim, adding to the ambiance. It comes with all the major safety features, as well as adaptive cruise control. For families that choose to stand up to the SUV trend, this sedan has a lot to offer.

Hybrid: Toyota Prius and Prius Prime

Meet the Best Cars of the Year: Top 9 Picks for 2022
Toyota Prius and Prius Prime

The top aerodynamic Prius is always a choice and continues to set the standard for fuel-efficient transportation. 

Not only does it achieve 52 mpg overall in our tests but it also shines for its consistent reliability and owner satisfaction. 

If you want more electric-only driving, the Prius Prime Plug-in Hybrid has a larger battery that provides 25 miles of electric-only range before switching to normal hybrid operation. The regular and plug-in versions offer an epic 590-mile range between fills. 

Both versions are fun to drive, with a comfortable, stable ride and safe handling. The cab has a high-tech feel, especially when equipped with a large 11.6-inch center screen. Severalpetitors are heading into this space, but practicality remains the norm.

Cars between $35,000 - $45,000

Three-row mid-size SUV: Kia Telluride

Meet the Best Cars of the Year: Top 9 Picks for 2022
Kia Telluride

Telluride has set the benchmark for the popular three-row midsize SUV market since it broke into the arena for 2020.  it'sck for each of its three years in the market. 

Kia does everything well: a road test score of 97 is almost perfect, and it has the highest ratings in terms of expected reliability and owner satisfaction. This is a spacious SUV with a comfortable ride; Easy to reach and fun to drive. 

It uses a V6 engine that delivers strong linear power via an eight-speed automatic transmission smoothly. The boxy shape ensures plenty of space for the driver, passengers,d cargo. The controls are simple and the storage is plentiful. 

In the age of tricks, Kia's straightforward approach is refreshing, and we appreciate thoughtful details throughout.

Compact pickup truck: Honda Ridgeline

Meet the Best Cars of the Year: Top 9 Picks for 2022
Honda Ridgeline

The Ridgeline is the Swiss army knife for pickup trucks. It's built more like a modern crossover SUV than an old-fashioned traditional pickup truck. 

As a result, the Ridgeline offers rare improvements to the pickup body style, with the ride, handling, and interior comfort closer to a Honda Pilot than a typical work truck. 

It uses a smooth, 280-horsepower V6 and nine-speed automatic, adding to the refined driving experience. 

Plus, it has a few clever tricks, like a tailgate that can fold down or swing to the side, allowing easy access to a large, lockable storage box under the bed. 

This American-made truck redefined what a truck could be. It's a perfect fit for the commuter, family driver, and weekend warrior, as well as the active lifestyle driver who is all of these things.

Cars over $45,000

Electric vehicle: Ford Mustang Mach-E

Meet the Best Cars of the Year: Top 9 Picks for 2022
Ford Mustang Mach-E

The Mustang Mach-E borrows styling cues from the powerful Mustang and applies them to an electric crossover SUV with four doors, a comfortable hatchback, high ride height, and available all-wheel drive. The Mach-E stands out in this emerging category for being fun to drive, with quick acceleration, nimble handling, and a good ride. 

The Mach-E stable goes from a dressage horse of 266 hp to a wild horse of 480 hp. The Mach-E Premium Team sprinted from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and has a range of 270 miles. Other configurations are faster or can span more than 300 miles. 

This well-executed new model is driving Ford to the booming market with its first purpose-built electric vehicle that blends green, character and driving pleasure.

Midsize Luxury SUV: Lexus RX

Meet the Best Cars of the Year: Top 9 Picks for 2022
Lexus RX

The RX pioneered mid-size luxury SUVs in the late '90s and continues to be a role model for this popular segment. The winning formula is its combination of comfort, performance, safety,and reliability. 

These advantages are wrapped in an engraved body that still looks modern, despite having been on the market for six years with limited design changes. 

Continuous improvements, including the suspension and infotainment system, have kept the RX line looking fresh. 

Behind the impressive trapezoidal grille is the 3.5-liter V6 engine paired with the RX 350's eight-speed automatic. 

This powertrain delivers the quiet and quiet performance expected of a luxury SUV. The RX 450h Hybrid feels faster, with plentiful torque generated by its electric motors, plus it returned 7 mpg overall in our tests, giving it the fuel economy of a small SUV. It's easy to see why the RX is Lexus' most popular model.