A new year beckons and, with it, a host of fresh cars to look forward to. We’ve been lucky enough to sample a good number of them already and can report there’s every reason to be excited about them arriving in showrooms come 2022 and finally available to buy. And while the emphasis is very much – as you’d expect – on various forms of electrification there are some exciting twists on existing internal combustion power and battery assisted reboots of favourite car types we know and love already, be they supercars or super luxury saloons. Whatever your budget, driving needs or tastes suffice to say there’s a new car coming in 2022 for you, quite possibly in the shortlist we have for you here…
The looks take some getting used to and it’s a world away from the minimalist futurism of the i3 and i8 that launched BMW’s clever electrified sub-brand but the iX is actually cleverer and more stylish than you might think. There’s method to the madness of the styling (it’s super aerodynamic and therefore goes further on a charge) and the interior is a fascinating mix of minimalism, funky materials and quirky design. Expensive. But a generation ahead of anything from Mercedes or BMW.
Having invested so much effort into the all electric foundations beneath the ID.3 and related ID.4 SUV it seems odd that Volkswagen has allowed its partner brands like Skoda, Audi and now Cupra to arguably build better cars out of the same bits. The Cupra Born is basically the Spanish brand’s take on the ID.3 with added bronze detailing and a flash of design flair notably absent in the VW. Nicer to drive, better to look at and good value too, it’s one of the better EVs out there.
Having derived most of its previous range from a 25-year-old platform developed for the original Elise it was time for Lotus to come up with something fresh and the Emira is that car. While the brand is embracing electrification it wants a last blast of petrol-fuelled fun before that happens and, at the start at least, the Emira uses an adapted version of the Toyota engine Lotus has been using for some time before switching to turbocharged motors supplied by Mercedes-AMG. Supercar swagger at a third of the price will be the Emira’s big sell and, going by first impressions, this seems a big moment for a relatively small brand like Lotus.
Nissan Qashqai E-Power
The first of two Nissans in this line-up, the Qashqai E-Power is an interesting twist on the latest Qashqai. The E-Power version is something a bit different, in that it’s powered by an electric motor but, instead of a big, heavy and expensive battery retains a petrol engine that works purely as an onboard generator. In theory this means the efficiency of a hybrid, the convenience of conventional petrol power (with no range anxiety or charging faff) combined with the driving manners of an EV. Marking something of a comeback for so-called ‘range extender’ hybrids it’s an unexpected twist on a family favourite but one that could work for a lot of drivers.
Ora Cat 01
Chinese brands have been making huge strides into electrification in the home market but have so far yet to make a significant impression here in Europe. That may change with the Ora Cat 01, a cute looking electric supermini with some neat retro styling features but impressive combination of tech, range and performance. If it can hit the promised £25,000 price point (and meet European expectations for quality) it promises to give popular affordable EVs like the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe a serious run for their money.
While its hybrids are among the best in the business Mercedes has been taking its sweet time over going fully electric, models like the EQA, EQB and EQC all adapted from existing internal combustion powered models and compromised on range and performance as a result. The EQS has been designed as a pure electric car from the very start though, the benefits of that including much improved range and a host of new tech all integrated into a huge, fully digital dash. It may not look all that exciting on the outside but, under the skin, it’s very much the cutting edge.
Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid
The next plug-in hybrid model in Bentley's armoury after the Bentayga is the Flying Spur Hybrid. This is no cynical ploy, on the basis 75 per cent of Bentayga Hybrid owners plug theirs in to charge every night. A 2.9-litre twin turbo engine plus a 100kW motor equals fast - 0-60mph in 4.1 seconds for this mammoth saloon. Expect every conceivable comfort and some genuine, useful, pure-electric driving around town.
New Range Rover
The six-figure price tag (it starts just below that, but you know how these things go...) is an indication of just what a luxury experience the new Range Rover promises to be. Silky smooth body work, restrained interiors featuring every material you can imagine, including ceramics, and legendary off-roading prowess. Hold out for the pure electric version, perhaps.
The next pure electric car from Nissan, the Ariya SUV looks suitably space-age but promises excellent reliability and should be easy to live with, if the Leaf is anything to go by. Nissan knows how to treat its electric drivers, with a raft of user-friendly information on tap. A decent range of over 300 miles is also promised.
Rejoice - an electrified McLaren is finally here. The plug-in hybrid Artura was meant to launch at the tail end of 2021 but software issues have pushed it into 2022. It still looks the business, with 680 horsepower and 18 miles of pure electric driving. Whoop.
Renault Megane E-Tech electric
Ignore the complicated name - this is a pure electric hatchback from Renault. The brand has electric form with the popular Zoe, which benefits from experience amassed over a decade on sale. We love Renault's infotainment design and large screen, and are fans of the driving refinement and exterior styling of this family-friendly French brand, so we're looking forward to testing it in February.
We drove this car briefly in left-hand drive in December 2021 and really liked it. Sitting on the Polo and T-Cross platform jt feels bigger, and you wonder why you'd want a T-Roc when the Taigo feels this accomplished and looks this good. Surprising headroom in the rear and lovely 1.0-litre petrol engine.