It’s scary to think, but we’re getting close to the end of 2021.
That means we’re gearing up for an influx of hot new 2022 models. Some of them have been revealed already, others have been teased… and some of them are just well-founded rumours.
Here’s what the CarExpert team is most looking forward to driving next year.
Scott Collie: Honda Civic Type R, BMW iX
I know, neither of these cars is exactly mass-market… but they’re exciting for very different reasons.
First up, the Honda Civic Type R. Honda Australia misses some of the coolest stuff from Europe and Japan, but it has confirmed it’ll continue selling the brilliant Type R.
The outgoing model is an exceptional hot hatch. Its engine is a turbocharged tour-de-force, and its manual gearbox sets a standard not just for fast, affordable cars, but for performance cars in general.
It’s dialled-in when you’re in a hurry, but you can also drive it day-to-day thanks to the adaptive dampers, massive boot, and acceptable infotainment. Shame it’s so ugly…
The new model promises to fix that. Our first few looks at the 2022 Civic Type R reveal it’ll maintain the current car’s sense of purpose (just look at those arches!) but dial back on the Fast and Furious tinsel.
If the price is right, I can see one living in my own garage. It just ticks so many boxes.
As for the BMW iX? It’s no oil painting, but it makes up for that by offering us a look at where BMW plans to go as the world moves to electric power.
Its interior blends the brand’s latest infotainment technology with a stunning, lounge-like vibe that makes the Mercedes-Benz EQC and Audi e-tron look a bit dull. Our overseas review says it’s pretty handy to drive, too.
William Stopford: Jeep Grand Cherokee, Cupra range
Jeep Australia needs the new WL Grand Cherokee to be good, as the current car is its best-selling vehicle. The current car has also had a lengthy lifecycle, which could mean the new SUV will be around for some time.
The Grand Cherokee has always taken a different path to the likes of the Ford Everest and Toyota LandCruiser Prado, with unibody construction and a more car-like feel.
However, it’s about to take an even more different path by dropping its turbo-diesel option. Jeep says its new 4xe plug-in hybrid is a more than capable replacement, however this is a very conservative, diesel-dominated segment.
There’s also the matter of pricing, which remains unknown. Could it push further upwards to Volkswagen Touareg territory? And will the petrol V8 remain?
In its favour, there’s a lush new interior, class-leading infotainment, and, finally, a three-row option that brings with it a much longer body.
I’m also excited for the launch of yet another brand to our absolutely cluttered new car market: Cupra.
There might be a lot shared with Skoda and Volkswagen models under the skin but this is no exercise in badge-engineering, and the upstart brand has a distinct performance focus and will bring the first mainstream plug-in hybrid and all-electric options to the Volkswagen Group’s local line-up.
On a purely superficial level, Cupra’s design language is also attractive and the idea of basic Volkswagen goodness with a stylish twist appeals to contrarians like me who don’t want to buy yet another Golf GTI…
Anthony Crawford: Cupra Born, Porsche 911 GT3
For me it’s the Cupra Born EV with e-Boost and 170kW driving the rear wheels, given it will be the first affordable EV from the Volkswagen Group to arrive Down Under. It uses the same rear-drive platform as the Volkswagen ID.4 and Audi Q4 e-tron.
It just looks cool, and it’s going to have some proper grunt behind it. Maybe it will even drift.
The second is the Porsche 992 GT3. I’m not altogether sold on the new front and rear styling, but the performance around the Nordschleife is stupendous thanks to the extra downforce and aero.
It’s better than the 991-generation Porsche 911 GT3 RS, and that is my favourite driver’s car to date
Jack Quick: Kia EV6, Nissan Z
I’m very excited to see the Kia EV6 in person. Kia has been on my radar for a while now with the Stinger and Cerato GT, but the EV6 looks next-level. I’ve seen overseas reviews of the car and can’t wait to see what Kia Australia will bring to our market.
The GT-Line trim looks like the perfect trim to me. It isn’t as shouty or aggressive as the full-fat GT model, but still has that inherent performance electric motors have to offer. The single-motor long-range version would be the EV6 that I go for, as I don’t see the point in having a dual motor EV unless you go to the snow often.
It’s a strange target, but if I was to purchase an EV, I would want it to have a range of at least 500km so I can travel four and a half hours to my family’s farm in Western Victoria without range anxiety.
I know that with the EV6’s 77.4kWh battery pack it has a WLTP claimed range of 510km which suits this need perfectly.
Nissan doesn’t usually get my fire started, but this new Z definitely does. Even though it’s built on the bones of the outgoing 370Z, I don’t really care. When I was younger I got an opportunity to have a little hoon of a 350Z on private property and ever since the Nissan Z cars have had a soft spot in my heart.
I think that I’d go for the nine-speed automatic. I know this choice wouldn’t be popular among enthusiasts, but I get my manual fix from my Jimny. I’m feeling lazy and wanna go super fast without thinking about changing gears.
I’d love to take a look at the Z Proto Spec version. It’s not all that often that you see a concept car more or less morph into a production vehicle. The bronze wheels look awesome and I think that the ‘Ikazuchi Yellow’ exterior paint would contrast perfectly against the ‘Brisk Blue Metallic’ paint on my Jimny.
I know that this engine sounds alright in the Infiniti Q50 and Q60 Red Sport models, but I reckon Nissan is going to make this sound like another beast altogether.
James Wong: Kia EV6, Cupra Leon
As someone of Catalonian heritage, the entire Cupra line-up gets me very excited. I’ve long wished for Seat to arrive in Australia as an alternative to Volkswagen and Skoda, and now my prayers have been answered with the performance range.
The Cupra Leon could be a game-changer for the small car class in Australia, offering a range of petrol options as well as a 180kW plug-in hybrid that can also do 60km of zero-emissions driving.
I would have seriously considered a Golf GTE when I bought my GTI, so either a Leon eHybrid or the full-fat 221kW Leon could well be my next car, while also paying tribute to part of my heritage.
As for the Kia? It’s been met with critical acclaim overseas, so the new Kia EV6 should finally give the Korean brand a proper Tesla rival in Australia which can only be a win for consumers.
Part Jaguar I-Pace, part Aston Martin DBX, the futuristic design of Kia’s first dedicated electric vehicle will no doubt turn heads and it will offer a range of variants when it arrives in 2022 to cater for various price points and performance needs, with the wild 430kW GT to follow either late next year or early in 2023.
If priced right, it could really give the Tesla Model 3 reason to sweat.
Paul Maric: Rivian R1S, Range Rover Sport
My wife drives a Tesla Model 3 Performance, and with a new baby on the scene we are in the market for a new car to haul her mountain of things.
I’m excited by the prospect of Rivian selling the R1T and the R1S locally. They both look bloody cool and I think they’d be the perfect Maric family chariot.
The Range Rover Sport is the default SUV for the wealthy, and Land Rover is about to launch an all-new version. It has always been an SUV that does comfort and luxury all in the one parcel.
It’ll likely be fitted with Pivi Pro, which means it’ll finally feel like a modern vehicle. Plus, I can’t wait to hear what the SVR sounds like.
Mike Costello: Ineos Grenadier, Kia EV6
When the UK’s richest man cracked it at Land Rover and pledged to make his own old school 4×4, the Ineos Grenadier, I was as skeptical as it gets. But a few years later and we have late-stage prototypes; full interior imagery; and even local pricing, retail strategy and an “open source” approach to parts and servicing.
This beast may not pinch too many folks away from their beloved LandCruiser 70s just yet, but in a changing world it offers some reassuring familiarity.
The product looks the part, the suppliers are all top shelf, the management and business model seem sound. All that’s left is to drive it, and to fervently hope it doesn’t suck!
When it comes to the Kia EV6, I quite like the way the Hyundai-Kia-Genesis trio have all put their own spins on their shared skateboard EV platform.
The EV6’s design is very on brand for Kia, which has a youthful skew, and its tech specs stack up well against the established leader Tesla – the deservedly dominant player in this space.
My only real worry is supply: Hyundai has been crippled by Ioniq 5 production shortfalls and Kia surely will fight the same battles.