2022 Best Vehicles. Elantra, Bronco, Corvette Z06.

2022 delivered many incredible vehicles, and Auto Digest picks the top three from the past year. The Elantra N, Bronco Raptor, and Corvette Z06 win top spots.

2022's Best Vehicles
So many great cars were made in 2022, can 2023 beat it?

It’s 2023 folks! What a great year for the car industry. Dealerships made money, people got new cars they wanted, and automakers were aggressive to take risky bets with capital. For all of those involved, be proud of the progress that has been made. The industry is clearly headed towards EV’s but most importantly, some of the best internal combustion engine cars ever made were released within the last few months.

If you are not an enthusiast of cars in the traditional sense you may not typically read something like this. If you are, however, primarily involved in the business side of things, maybe this will inspire you and prove the fruits of your labor.

These are the top three new vehicles for 2022.

While many new electric cars were nice, they don’t take any awards. The competition was tough. The list only includes models that were brand new for the 2022 model year, refreshes and updates did not make your Charger or 911 eligible… sorry.

#3 Hyundai Elantra N – cheap, rowdy fun

The 2022 Elantra hit the market and was praised by reviewers across the US. It is the cheapest on this list, by far, starting at just $33k USD. The little car packs a punch with 286 horsepower out of a two liter inline four cylinder. Rocking a DOHC 16 valve motor in a car that only weighs 3250 pounds makes for a fun commute.

It has a great sounding exhaust for the otherwise extremely practical package. Slotting into the deserted “cheap enthusiast” market, the nature of its existence meant it was predisposed to win over the hearts of many. It has an available 6 speed manual if you don’t want the 8 speed dual clutch, and gets to 60 mph in just about five seconds. Fuel mileage is 23-25 est. combined.

#2 Ford Bronco Raptor – Not your dads jeep

The Bronco occupies a certain place in enthusiast’s hearts. It is attainable, practical, and enjoyable… rare to see these together. Rumors had been circling since 2020 that Ford might do a Raptor version of the Bronco, and in January of this year the car world was validated. Ford’s marketing went viral, and people starting throwing money at Ford in the hopes of getting an allocation.

It has a $70k USD starting price. 15 MPG combined, which is… bad. Love the car but wow. It has 418 horsepower and 440 ft-lbs of torque which are okay numbers. Porsche won’t let the Cayman be better than the 911 for the same reason Ford keeps the Bronco neutered. The Bronco gets to 60mph in 5.6 seconds and weighs about 5764 pounds.

#1 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 – Sticking it to Italy

How could this not be the car of the year? Seriously… it’s so damn good. Chevy really decided that the only thing to make the Corvette faster was move the engine, and so they did exactly that, and it’s incredible. The engineers had exhausted their options with the front-engined ‘vette. Hell, the final ZR1 could barely get traction on a dry, sunny day with glue all over the road. The Z06 takes this winning formula to the next level.

This car is the best of it’s kind. Ferrari probably loathes the engineering of it, which is not accounting for its justifiable starting price tag of ~$130k. It contains an eight speed DCT, which is great in the city, highway and racetrack. Only weighing ~3700 pounds it sprints to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds which is nuts for a car made right down the road in Bowling Green, KY. 670 horsepower and 460 ft-lbs of torque out of a naturally aspirated powertrain is all we can ask for.

Photo credit to Andi Hedrick

Thank you to anyone who helped with the development of this car, even the janitors who helped clean the floors of the suppliers who had contracts with GM. Thanks for your service. A testament to the unwavering devotion of the Corvette team, the Z06 represents America’s engineering prowess. Posters of this vehicle will be on kids’ walls across the nation for years to come.

2022 has been a great year. Let’s make 2023 even better. Cheers and happy new year. – JWK


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