It’s getting harder than ever to choose a new car, with decisions to be made that wouldn’t have crossed the minds of car buyers twenty years ago. Finding the best new car to buy can be a minefield.
Is it best to stick with petrol and diesel or buy a battery-electric model? Is a hybrid or plug-in hybrid car a good halfway house? Crossover, hatchback or old-fashioned estate?
Thankfully, there are several cars that, by dint of their virtues, stand out from the pack, making the decision quite a bit easier. Whatever kind of car for which you’re in the market, Driving.co.uk’s curated list of the best cars to buy in 2022 has you covered.
City car: Fiat 500e
Price: From £23,835
Everything that made the 2007 Fiat 500 such a hit, but modernised and electrified, the new Fiat 500e is an achingly stylish city car and a doddle to drive around town. Even better is the fact that, with a pure-electric powertrain, what was already an excellent city car has now been future-proofed against low- and zero-emission zones.
- Effortlessly stylish
- Tiny turning circle
- Zero emissions
- Not the most spacious option
- Gets a little pricey with extras
- Less than 200 miles between charges
Supermini: Vauxhall Corsa
Price: From £17,330
The Corsa was the UK’s best-selling car last year, knocking Ford off top spot for the first time in decades — and deservedly so. Possibly the best-looking Corsa to date, the latest version is a well-made, good-value product that comes in petrol, diesel and pure-electric forms, meaning there’s something for everyone.
- Well equipped
- Plenty of space
- Efficient powertrains
- Confusing infotainment system
- Lower safety rating than some rivals
- Poor resale values
Family car: Ford Mustang Mach-E
Price: From £47,530
Outright car of the year at The Sunday Times awards in 2021, the Ford Mustang Mach-E is a fine all-rounder, doing no disservice to the Mustang moniker with decent looks, excellent handling and loads of performance on tap. Oh, and it’s electric with 150kW rapid charging capacity and up to 379 miles between charges.
- Great to drive
- Superb interior
- Good battery range
- Build-quality lacking at times
- “That’s not a real Mustang” bores
- Ride a bit harsh
Medium family car: Volvo V60 Recharge
Price: From £50,930
Don’t let the declining sales numbers deceive you — a good estate is every bit as practical as any crossover and the Volvo V60 Recharge (plug-in hybrid) is one of the best in the business. The V60 is a very stylish car inside and out that feels really well screwed together. Practical and roomy though it is, it never feels utilitarian — the Volvo’s interior is a particularly comfortable and luxurious place to be.
- Comfortable, luxurious interior
- More boot space than rivals
- Impeccable safety record
- Not much fun to drive
- Distracting infotainment system
- Quite thirsty when batteries run out
Large family car: Kia Sorento
Price: From £40,590
Built like a tank and with space for seven the Kia Sorento is an excellent family car, particularly as the choice of engines make it suitable for a range of different requirements. The hybrid models return adequate economy; the diesels do better, especially for those covering longer distances and who need the extra torque for towing. The plug-in hybrid manages around 35 electric-only miles meaning that commutes and the school run can often be completed without starting the engine. It’s even quite fun to drive.
- Excellent build quality
- A genuine seven-seater
- Seven-year warranty
- Pricey in top spec
- Hybrids not very economical
- Seats not especially supportive
Electric car: Hyundai Ioniq 5
Price: From £39,400
The number of electric cars on this list shows how their choice has grown in recent years. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is quite possibly our favourite, though, thanks to the fact that not only is it a highly competent electric car and family hatchback but also its retro-futurist looks make it one of the most desirable EVs on the market. We love the design so much that we gave the Ioniq 5 our Best Designed Car of the Year award last year as well as another gong for its superbly comfortable interior.
- Great looks
- Quiet, refined interior
- 220kW rapid-charging
- Lacklustre handling
- Interior quality not outstanding
- Kia EV6
Off-roader: Land Rover Defender
Price: From £45,690
The new Defender had a lot to live up to and, happily, it’s just as off-road-capable as ever while feeling thoroughly modern, comfortable and perfectly at home on the road where, let’s face it, most Defenders will spend the majority of their lives. Still, should drivers decide to go tackle the rough stuff, the Defender, with its raft of advanced technology, should prove more than willing and able.
- Excellent off road
- Seven-seat option
- Strong resale values
- Poor fuel economy and emissions
- Reliability may be a concern
- Boot and rear seat space in shorter 90 models is tight
Sports car: Toyota GR Yaris
Price: From £31,170
An absolute hoot to drive and Jeremy Clarkson’s Car of the Year last year. The big man himself said it best:
“This is a car that made me laugh out loud. I took it into my fields one morning and made a terrible mess, but I didn’t care because it was a complete riot. And once I’d got the hang of how it handled I went on to the roads, which were made from sheet ice. And it was a riot there, too. This is one of the most enjoyable and thrilling cars I’ve ever driven.”
- Huge fun to drive
- Rally-bred performance
- Strong resale values
- Interior a bit bland
- Poor rearward visibility
- Price reflects sporting upgrades
Luxury car: Rolls-Royce Ghost
Price: From £208,000
The Rolls-Royce Ghost, launched in 2020, is sumptuous beyond belief with exceptional build quality, carpets thicker than the deepest moss, hand-crafted fixtures and fittings and truly dazzling levels of comfort and luxury. The Ghost is a sublime car that just feels that bit more special than its ultra-luxury rivals. But of course, that’s what we expected from Rolls. Read our full review here.
- Supremely comfortable interior
- Outstanding ride
- V12 performance
- You’ll pay much more than the base price after customisation
- Trick dampers don’t seem to add much to ride quality
- A bit ostentatious?
- After reading about the best cars of 2022, you might want to see our guide to the best crossovers to buy in 2022
- Keen to go electric? Here are the top 10 longest-range electric cars
- Here are the UK’s Top 10 Most Popular Models