Big wins for Hyundai, Jeep, Cadillac, and Kia in this year’s AutoGuide Awards.
Today, AutoGuide has announced the first round of winners of the AutoGuide 2022 Awards. There are eight categories overall, with five winners revealed today.
For more AutoGuide 2022 Awards goodness, check out the rest of the stories here:
- Hyundai Tucson Wins AutoGuide 2022 Utility Vehicle of the Year
- Honda Civic Wins AutoGuide 2022 Car of the Year
- Ford Maverick Wins AutoGuide 2022 Truck of the Year
- 2022 AutoGuide.com Awards: Meet the Finalists
With the ongoing chip shortage and low stock at dealerships, we know how important these big buying decisions can be for readers. Our team scored the 40 finalists on numerous attributes, including value, user-friendliness, space, safety, and more. Today’s five winners are the best of their kind, the vehicles that we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to our own family and friends.
Our team of judges included managing editor Mike Schlee, editor Kyle Patrick, and contributing writers Lee Bailie, Matthew Guy, Thomas Hundal, Evan Williams, and Harry Zhou. Combined, they drove hundreds of vehicles this year, to narrow down the best new cars, trucks, and utility vehicles in the US and Canada.
Today we’re announcing the Luxury Car of the Year, Luxury Utility Vehicle of the Year, Family Vehicle of the Year, Performance Car of the Year, and Green Vehicle of the Year. Stay tuned for the Car, Truck, and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards, which will all be announced later this week.
AutoGuide 2022 Awards Winners:
Luxury Car of the Year: Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing
Cadillac’s internal combustion performance cars are going out in a tire smoke-filled blaze of glory, so it’s no surprise that the brand’s best offering yet, the 2022 CT5-V Blackwing, snatched top honors today.
It wasn’t even close. Half of the voters picked the Blackwing as their top luxury car of the year, and those that didn’t never placed it lower than third. “The 2022 CT5-V Blackwing is a monster,” said editor Kyle Patrick when he first drove it, adding that “as the most powerful manual-transmission four-door sedan you can buy, it was always going to be. But it’s a friendly monster.”
A 662-horsepower, supercharged V8 shouldn’t be this approachable. The CT5-V flatters novices and pros alike, on road and especially on track. Cadillac’s engineers have fine-tuned that agile, rear-drive chassis to perfection, with sharp reflexes and excellent steering. The magnetic ride control shocks allow the biggest and baddest Caddy to ride smoothly in town, too.
It’s almost low-key … until that supercharger spins up. There will never be another car like the CT5-V Blackwing, and anybody able to own one will be very lucky indeed.
Luxury Utility Vehicle of the Year: Jeep Grand Wagoneer
The luxury SUV space saw a lot of quality debuts over the last year. The Genesis GV70 was an early favorite, an excellent sophomore SUV from the Korean brand. In the end however, another, newer model overshadowed it. Literally.
The Jeep Grand Wagoneer is all-American luxury writ large, with acres of smooth Palermo leather covering nearly every surface. Those that aren’t are either tasteful chrome, or gorgeous open-pore wood.
If your tastes lean more techy, Jeep will fit up to seven high-definition screens inside the Grand Wagoneer. A 23-speaker McIntosh sound system offers up studio-level audio quality. Uconnect 5 remains one of the best touchscreen interfaces on the market, crisp and clean and brimming with customization options. The reborn GW isn’t just about creature comforts, either. An available night vision display keeps you and yours safe on pitch-black back roads.
Our judges gave the Grand Wagoneer high marks across the board, more consistent than any other finalist. “The Grand Wagoneer is such a pleasant space to spend time,” says editor Kyle Patrick. “It’s all too easy to imagine driving across the continent in it, with only the hushed woofle of the V8 up ahead.” Erase all doubts: Jeep can build a true large luxury SUV to take on the world’s very best.
Family Vehicle of the Year: Kia Carnival
Fit for a party, the Kia Carnival was the clear family choice of our judges. This would be the second year in a row a minivan has won the title—except Kia calls the Carnival either a “Grand Utility Vehicle” (US) or “Life Utility Vehicle” (Canada).
No matter what you call it, the Carnival is impressive. Kia’s big box got a serious style injection when it ditched the Sedona name. An SUV-like exterior design aligns with modern buyers’ tastes, and the feel extends to the interior. The chunky center console and chrome-laced dashboard feels ready for off-roader duty, but the Carnival comes with the sort of friendly driving dynamics and excellent sightlines no SUV can match.
Oh yeah, and of course, it’s massive inside. Big enough to rival some pricey downtown apartments, at least. Any minivan can fit a bunch of baby seats, and this Kia happily obliges. But only the Carnival will impress the grandparents just as much, with its full-recline middle-row seats.
The cherry on top? Kia’s not-a-minivan might’ve ditched the Sedona name, but it hasn’t skipped out on the classic value proposition. The Carnival packs in a whole suite of safety features at a reasonable price, and that helped solidify its position at the top of the category. “A genuinely cool design, clever interior choices that prioritize people over their things, and a long list of standard features make the Carnival the smart choice in the age of the crossover,” chimed editor Kyle Patrick.
Performance Car of the Year: Hyundai Elantra N
Some folks might say the affordable performance car is dead. Apparently, nobody told Hyundai. The pugnacious Elantra N wowed the AutoGuide judges, with consistent high scores across the board securing the win for the hot sedan.
Truth be told, it was a bumper crop for the everyday heroes. The Volkswagen Golf GTI and R kept the hot hatch alive at VW, and Toyota’s second-generation GR86 earned high marks for its traditional rear-drive layout.
What pushed the Elantra N over the top? An engaging and playful chassis balance for starters, with a front-drive setup that isn’t afraid to hang the tail out on the track. Hyundai has given its muscular 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder an update too, with more power and a soundtrack meaner than a mongoose in a pit of snakes. Huge, sticky tires at all four corners, and a trick electronic LSD, team up to ensure all that power makes it to the ground.
Best of all, the N builds on all of the goodness that made the regular Elantra our 2021 Car of the Year. There’s a spacious interior and a big trunk. Performance and practicality can co-exist.
The 2022 Hyundai Elantra N proves that the excellent Veloster N wasn’t just a one-off. Hyundai can produce high-po party animals like the best of them, and we applaud it for that.
“The 2022 Hyundai Elantra N is a proper sport compact, all fiery, barely-contained enthusiasm,” said editor Kyle Patrick in his First Drive Review. “It’s quick and involving, encouraging drivers to explore its considerable limits, and even to step over that line. When they do, they’ll have a smile almost as big as the one on the front of the Elantra.”
Green Vehicle of the Year: Hyundai Ioniq 5
It’s a one-two punch for Hyundai this year, as the Korean brand locks in a second award today with the Ioniq 5 electric vehicle.
The Ioniq 5 is the first in a series that will soon include Ioniq 6 and Ioniq 7. It sets a high bar right from the off, with an exterior design plucked from the autoshow spotlight. Like nothing else on the road, the Ioniq 5 manages to look futuristic and old-school all at once, turning heads at a rate reserved for exotics. “The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 proves high-tech, high-style EVs don’t need to come with a similarly high price tag,” says editor Kyle Patrick.
That’d be all for nothing if it didn’t deliver behind the wheel. Thankfully, the Ioniq 5 is up to the task. An ultra-spacious cabin wows with a flat floor, glass roof, and more smart design details. Features like a head-up display, augmented reality navigation, 360-degree camera are bang up to date, and the Ioniq 5 rides with a focus on smooth, serene comfort.
Under that creased bodywork lies E-GMP, a dedicated electric vehicle chassis with 800-volt architecture, making for fast charging and solid single-charge range.
“… Hyundai’s made an affordable cassette-futurist EV that captures our cyberpunk aspirations,” gushes contributing writer Thomas Hundal. “Giugiaro-inspired creases, Nixie tube skeuomorphism and state-of-the-art 800-volt architecture all combine to make the Ioniq 5 the coolest mass-market vehicle in ages. Job well done.”
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