These Were the Best Cars You Drove In 2022

These Were the Best Cars You Drove In 2022

Making vroom noises in the driver's seat counts, by my decree.

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Photo: JoachimKohlerBremen, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

2022 has been a long year, full of all sorts of ups and downs in the automotive world. Car prices have dropped from chip-shortage highs, but gas prices have risen to fill the gap. Cars have been born, died, and somehow turned out to not be dead after all. But most importantly, we all did some driving. Yesterday, we asked for the best cars you drove this year, and your responses ranged from rarities to rentals. Let’s take a look at what you said.

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It’s All About Expectation Management

It’s All About Expectation Management

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Photo: WNYY98, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

I’m going to cheat: not the “best” car I drove, but the car I was most surprised by was... a Nissan Altima rental.

*ducks rotten fruit*

My expectations were pretty damn low, but I found the interior remarkably comfortable for the 90 minute cruise through central FL back in March. Nothing about the dash/infotainment was annoying either. It was forgettable in the good way, which is all you can ask for that kind of car.

We shit on Nissan so much (and a lot of it is deserved from experience), I was ready for something that made me contemplate swerving into oncoming just to end the experience. Instead it was entirely inoffensive.

For something that’s effectively An Car, it’s sort of amazing the reputation that the Altima has garnered. I take it you, as an erudite Jalopnik reader, didn’t send it at a thousand miles an hour down your local interstate, but maybe you did. I know your name, not your story.

Submitted by: Mosko

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Who Needs Practicality When You’ve Got Fun?

Who Needs Practicality When You’ve Got Fun?

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Photo: Rutger van der Maar from Leiden, The Netherlands, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Not the most “exciting” car I drove this year, but the one that surprised me the most:

Mini Cooper SE (electric). I was seriously surprised by how much I liked it. Enough that I am contemplating buying one. And yes, a Bolt or Leaf will get you much better range for the money, but are not nearly as fun to drive. I think the next generation will address the major shortcoming for most people (the range), but as a 2nd/3rd car I don’t think the current 114 mile range is a problem. Drive one, it might surprise you how enjoyable it is.

Minis are fun. EVs are fun. Putting them together should make for a great combo, and what do you know? It’s fun. Love it when the math checks out.

Submitted by: featherlite

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Yeah, Y’know What, That’s a Good Reason

Yeah, Y’know What, That’s a Good Reason

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Photo: nakhon100, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Drove my BMW 850 because that is what I have

What better reason to drive a car, than it being the car you own and purchased for the purpose of driving. Nail on the head with that one.

Submitted by: Bob

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Okay But Is It as Good as a$5,000 Miata?

Okay But Is It as Good as a$5,000 Miata?

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Photo: Mercedes-Benz

This MF, I adored this car.

How many V6 Mustangs worth of good is it, huh? No answer for that, eh?

Submitted by: darthspartan117

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More Like Très Bien-ts

More Like Très Bien-ts

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Photo: Johannes Maximilian, GFDL 1.2 , via Wikimedia Commons

Not the best, but I’ll bite for most interesting. I drove in a convoy of Trabants in Berlin. First time driving a column shifted manual, and if not the first time driving something carbureted, definitely the most smelly. But it was still pretty darn fun. Slow and rickety but very forgiving.

Another contender for most interesting was driving a VW GTI at speed on the Nurburgring. What you don’t get from playing video games driving here is the crazy elevation changes.

One heck of a month long vacation in central Europe. Drove around there about 3000 miles in an Opel Corsa but that car was nothing to write home about. I did drive a lot of non-cars (scooters and the like) and passengers on many things as well.

My first time driving a column-shift manual, I dumped the clutch on a tractor in second gear because I thought I was in neutral and ripped up my friend’s parents’ perfectly manicured lawn. I hope your attempts went better.

Submitted by: StalePhish

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They’re Grrrrrreat-y Six

They’re Grrrrrreat-y Six

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Photo: Toyota

Pretty self-explanatory but show me a better driver’s car in the market (it’s far better than any Miata too). Winning formula here, and everyone should take notes. If this isn’t the best car anyone’s driven in 2022, you are either NOT a car enthusiast, or you haven’t driven it hard enough. GR86 is modern-day perfection, get at me !

Hey has anyone made the joke that “GR86" sounds like “Great 6" yet? I’ve gotta be the first one to come up with this, right? C’mon don’t tell me I read all that Homestuck for nothing.

Submitted by: Da Car Guru - Sportbikes are driver’s cars

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That Ford Can Be My Wingman Any Time

That Ford Can Be My Wingman Any Time

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Photo: Ford

I have two:

My co-worker’s Ford Maverick with the base 2.5L /2WD.

I’m generally not a pick-up truck guy, but I was rather impressed with this little trucklet. I think Ford hit the mark they intended for the Maverick - a 21st century economical, entry-level vehicle with all the modern amenities and safety features.

The Maverick is the equivalent of a four-door Fairlane with a mini pick-up bed.

Second one was the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

I only had a brief spin in one at an event set-up by a local Hyundai dealer, but wow, the Ioniq 5 or something very similar is probably my next new car when I’m in the market in a few years.

Hyundai has made excellent strides in their interior quality over the past decade. They’re still not up there with Honda, but they’re close.

It does hurt my soul, that a pickup truck is now “entry-level.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s great for the workers and tradespeople who need a cargo vehicle for less than the seventy grand that every luxury truck seems to command, but the Maverick still seems like a lot for most people’s use case. Everyone should buy a Honda Fit, is what I’m saying.

Submitted by: Earthbound Misfit I

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What Happens To A Datsun Deferred

What Happens To A Datsun Deferred

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Photo: An unusual eye, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

I mean, I sat in the (unbolted) seat of my Datsun 240Z restomod project car and made vroom vroom noises. Does that count?

I’m 5 years into it the resto, I’ll actually drive it one day.

Hey, if you need to unload that Z on someone, I may know a guy. Someone who wants a Z with minimal rust, but can’t even pretend to afford one. Asking for a friend. The friend is me.

Submitted by: RattyDatsun

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That Fresh Ownership Feeling

That Fresh Ownership Feeling

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Photo: EurovisionNim, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

My CX-5 when got it paid off, it still runs like a top and just needs basic routine maintenance, driving a reliable paid for daily driver is a pretty great feeling (of course I will be excited when have to choose a successor eventually too). First time in a while where I had the title for a car that wasn’t a money pit.

I’ve never owned a car worthy of a payment, instead preferring four-figure shitboxes that immediately require four figures in repairs, but I imagine fully paying off a car is a freeing feeling akin to putting on sweatpants at the end of the day. I also don’t own sweatpants, though, so I may just be making shit up here.

Submitted by: CitronC

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The “i” Stands for “Incongruously Good at Autocross”

The “i” Stands for “Incongruously Good at Autocross”

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Photo: Alexander Migl, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

I had a chance to autocross an i4 M50 at a BMW event earlier this year and was blown away by its ability to defy its weight on the short course. Electric sedans are usually relegated to daily driver duty but it was clear that BMW had invested a considerable amount of engineering on the powertrain to maximize grip and allow for balanced weight transfer around turns. The suspension was firm with excellent anti-roll control and the motors were able to adjust in real time better than any differential to maintain the highest amount of traction possible. The regenerative braking, like everything else, had adjustable modes and when in Sport+ mode, it played a large role in maintaining control when not on throttle. It handled better and was easier to use than the M235s, M340s, and M440s driven at past events despite weighing over half a ton less than the electric.

BMW seems to be onto something here by injecting lots of sport into their first electric sedan even if most users will only buy the M50 for the dual motors and bragging rights that they have the biggest number on the back of their car. Teslas and Polestars are great electric cars but it is nice to see brands like BMW and Porsche offer a bit more for us enthusiasts and stay true to their roots even when venturing into the automotive future.

If you think about it, EVs should be killer at autocross. Heavy batteries mounted below the floor make for low centers of gravity, so quick changes in direction don’t unsettle the chassis. High-torque electric motors don’t need to rev up to make power, so the constant throttle-brake-throttle-brake of a cone course never takes you out of the powerband. It’s perfect, really.

Submitted by: oddseth

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This One Is Actually Just a Marriage Humblebrag

This One Is Actually Just a Marriage Humblebrag

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Photo: JamesYoung8167, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

We rented a convertible for our wedding over Memorial Day weekend from an off-airport Avis. Two days before pickup, I received a call asking if I still needed a convertible. I said yes. The clerk said he’d call back. Five minutes later, he called back saying that there were no convertibles available in the two nearby areas, despite having booked months in advance. He offered a hardtop coupe, which I accepted reluctantly but also noted I had wanted the convertible for our wedding. I was going to cancel until I got another call. I was offered a new-ish Range Rover Evoque in white. I took that without a second of hesitation. Not only was it fast and high tech, we needed the room for my wife’s dress (she had to sit in the back) and for carrying supplies to and from the venue. I’d never buy one because of the all electronics but it definitely added to a memorable weekend.

Jaguar Land Rover did make the Evoque as a convertible. Maybe that’s what you were supposed to get when you initially placed your reservation. Room for the dress and the wind in your hair would be the ideal combo.

Submitted by: vuwildcat07

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The Patrician Bronco Spec

The Patrician Bronco Spec

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Photo: Ford

The all new Ford Bronco - 2 Door Sasquatch Package with the 2.7L Ecoboost.

Obviously it’s no sports car, but it was so much better than I had imagined. It’s handling, however lackluster, is a massive improvement over what you’ll get in a Wrangler Rubicon. It’s also way more comfortable and spacious. The Bronco makes really good power and torque (410 ft-lbs!) - especially impressive in the stubby 2 door configuration. Lastly, it makes basic off-roading incredibly easy without really taking any fun out of it.

I think Ford nailed it, and my father made an excellent purchase by getting one. I also didn’t really get any opportunities to drive more exciting cars this year, unfortunately.

Two doors good. Big tires good. Ecoboost good. By their powers combined, this becomes a fantastic way to spec your Bronco.

Submitted by: shanepj13

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There’s Something Pure About an Old Manual Corolla

There’s Something Pure About an Old Manual Corolla

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Photo: SsmIntrigue, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The most interesting car I’ve driven recently is my son’s 2000 Corolla with a 5 speed manual. While it was never a sports car it is small and light and you shift your own gears like the old days. I was pleased that I still had the reflexes to drive stick and my wife liked the visibility and low seats. It feels a world apart from our Mazda CX-5 since it’s half the weight and a foot closer to the ground.

The other fun ride was the Bobcat E10 micro excavator we rented for a project. Even though it was tiny it had all the modern conveniences with pilot valve controls adjustable undercarriage and a high gear. Tiny earth movers are a blast and yanking out rocks with a bucket and thumb beats a shovel any day.

I take back what I said about the Altima. This is the purest expression of An Car known to humanity. It sure is Transportation, never more and never less.

Submitted by: Slow Joe Crow

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Can’t Go Wrong With a 3 Series

Can’t Go Wrong With a 3 Series

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Photo: BMW

I was lucky enough to participate in the 1-day BMW M School. I got the opportunity to thrash the Competition versions of the M2, M3 and M4. Overall I would say the M3 Competition was the best to drive. It’s hard to find fault with a factory-fresh BMW 3 series with 500hp and an inline 6.

The other cars were almost equally impressive but the most impressive car was one I rode in - the M5 Competition. For a car that size, it moved and turned quicker than it had any right to.

Before you can mention it in the comments, I’m just going to say it: The grille is fine. Seriously. In fact, it may even be good. Yeah, it’s a departure from past styling cues, but it works with the front end of the car. If you want to tweet your disagreements at me, you can find me at @andy_witz.

Submitted by: Stephen

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Keep It in the Family

Keep It in the Family

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Photo: 1972 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow by Geographer, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

With my Father’s passing this year, I inherited his favorite of his collection, a 1975 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow LWB.

I’ve driven a lot of new cars, and even at almost 50 years old, it still drives like a Rolls Royce.

The thing about an old Rolls Royce is that it’ll drive like an old Rolls Royce forever. Nothing can shake that feeling. especially if the car is well-maintained. Here’s to another fifty.

Submitted by: TRath

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