The best car reviews of 2022

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This year was a big one for new cars. We look back at some of the best road test reviews we did in 2022.

From Ferrari to MG, car makers have launched a plethora of new models this year and many of them are important in very different ways.

Whether it’s a prototype vehicle or only a new trim level, we’ve driven them all and have been impressed with some a fair bit more than others. So, after what has turned out to be a rather busy year, here are some of our highlights.

Ferrari 296 GTB

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A new Ferrari? Yes please. And one that left our testers in awe? That’s a second yes, thank you. The Ferrari 296 GTB, the first hybrid supercar to roll out of Maranello, marks a new era for the brand, but boy does it start off well.

Securing a rare 5-star rating, the 296 GTB is remarkable, said our testers, picking up where the previous V8 generation’s lineage ended, seamlessly blending in the advantages of electrification with precious few of the drawbacks we had feared. It’s spectacular to drive and the V6 sounds stunning. Ferrari continues to set the standard.

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS

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The electric age is coming, and Porsche knows it. So it decided on a big old Cayman blow-out, launching this: the GT4 RS. Marking the end of the combustion-powered Cayman, the GT4 RS is built by those who wondered: ‘Could we put a GT3 engine in a Cayman?’. The answer is yes. And it’s a big 5-star yes from us.

It’s one of the “most thrilling and special Porsche GTs yet”, and the car represents a new way to immerse yourself in the character of a truly wonderful engine and savour and cherish its every detonation, vibration and impulse. Big praise indeed.

Lotus Emira

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The most important Lotus in decades arrived midway through the year, heralding a new era for the British brand. But, the arrival of the 3.5-litre V6 Emira also brought sadness, being the firm’s last ever petrol offering.

Anyway, back to why we love the Emira. Firstly, it feels seriously good – it is a Lotus after all. And on challenging stretches of B-road is where it’s absolutely at its best, with its steering direct and accurate.

Of course there are a few niggles, such as the shifter not feeling as tight as the Cayman’s, but it really didn’t bother our tester, who proclaimed: “This is the best Lotus for a generation.”

Honda Civic Type R

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Hot-hatch fans rejoiced last month as the iconic Honda Civic Type R returned. Would it be better than the car it replaces? In fact, yes, and with a more appealing styling, it also opens itself to a wider market.

The new Type R arrives with higher outputs and a bit of a price bump. And given that the old car was at the top of the class right up to the point that it disappeared, and this one is better, it’s no surprise to learn that it’s the best big hot hatch now – even though it also has a big price.

McLaren Artura

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McLaren launched what was an unofficial reboot in the Artura earlier this year. The cleverly packaged sports car (like all McLarens are) arrived with a hefty price tag, but with its V6 plug-in hybrid powerplant, it was the most technically daring project the firm has undertaken since the McLaren P1 hypercar.

Its key performance numbers were also eerily close to what the iconic McLaren F1 recorded back in 1994. Thirty years on, McLaren’s junior supercar has become as fast as its greatest icon. The Artura is a car that feels enhanced by the process of electrification – but not totally reinvented by it.

Range Rover

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We welcomed the fifth generation of the iconic Range Rover – although if ever there were a car that didn’t feel like it needed reinventing, this is the one. For more than 50 years, the Range Rover has simply done what it does: combine the best off-road ability with a plushness. And it returned with that same ability earlier this year, still exceptionally refined and with an unparalleled off-road ability.

BMW iX

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Keeping with SUVs, one of the most diverse of the year arrived from BMW. No, not because of the way it drives but because of its front end.

The new iX was used by BMW to relaunch the i sub-brand, which started with the funkily designed BMW i3 city car back in 2013. Its combination of generous cabin comfort and versatility, and of a genuinely relaxing and understated luxury ambience with world-class rolling refinement and drivability, instant and effortless performance and creditable real-world range, is one unmatched by any of the market’s other zero-emissions SUVs.

MG 4 EV

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Looking for an affordable, stylish, and capable electric hatchback? The new MG 4 EV is likely to be the surprise package of the segment when it launches in Australia next year. It’s also a step-up from Chinese car makers as they push for a bigger share of the EV market.

Starting from around $45,000 (Australian prices are yet to be confirmed) with over 400km of range, the MG 4 looks like it will be a great deal, especially for the price. It’s more agreeably engaging than some rivals to drive, more sporting, better to sit in, and better to look at.

MGs are now a common sight on our roads, and this keenly priced, stylish, roomy, swift and very capable hatch guarantees that they will become more plentiful still.

Toyota GR86

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After one of the greatest affordable driver’s cars? That’s the Toyota GR86, which replaces the equally raved Toyota 86.

We, like basically all other reviewers, loved it. And unlike its predecessor, skids aren’t all this car is about any more. It’s more complex on the palette, ready to ask more of you and do more for you than the original 86 ever was.

Morgan Super 3

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In the days of an increasing number of serious, all-wheel-drive SUVs, how refreshing Morgan is sticking to what it does best. The Morgan 3 Wheeler was a breath of fresh air when it was launched in 2012 and remained a favourite throughout its production run. And the launch of this successor, the Morgan Super 3, is a welcome addition.

Trading in its V-twin motorcycle engine for a car-sourced three-cylinder unit brought with it more power and stickier tyres, and, of course, a hell of a lot more fun.

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Further Reading

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