We're a big fan of cars—it's right there in our name!—especially those that are practical and fun-to-drive. Hatchbacks hit both those marks better than most other body styles, offering a rear liftgate and easily accessible, open cargo area like most SUVs. Plus, they have the perky driving attributes of a small car. Unless you're hauling a family of five or venturing off-road, a hatchback will serve you better than that crossover across the showroom, and it'll deliver better fuel economy too.
The Kia Rio represents cheap, simple transportation at its best. Fuel efficient and inexpensive but with a surprising amount of driving sophistication and features for the price, this subcompact provides good value for the money. It’s available as either a sedan or a hatchback, but neither body style has much space in the rear seat or cargo area. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard equipment, and several driver-assistance features are optional. Now that many of its competitors—including the Chevy Sonic, Honda Fit, and Toyota Yaris—have left the marketplace, the Rio is one of the last truly cheap new cars left, and it’s good enough to earn a spot on our 2022 Editors' Choice list.
The 2022 Chevy Bolt EV not only looks more exciting inside and out, the redesigned electric hatchback also has enhanced features and a much cheaper asking price. While the most noticeable changes are its futuristic sheetmetal and freshly refinished cabin, it still employs a front-drive-only powertrain that delivers near-instant acceleration. Chevy estimates the 2022 Bolt EV can travel up to 259 miles on a full charge. That gives it a slight advantage over the excellent Hyundai Kona Electric, but it still falls far short of the Tesla Model 3. However, the new Bolt's accessible price, roomy interior, and satisfying driving dynamics should be strong selling points. Those who want a more SUV-like model with additional back-seat space and available Super Cruise hands-free driving will be drawn to the all-new 2022 Bolt EUV.
Honda's popular Civic compact car gets a big glow-up for the 2022 model year as it debuts a more grown-up appearance, new features, and a refined cabin design. The improvements and more helped it earn a spot on our Editors' Choice list. A selection of four-cylinder engines—including a turbocharged 1.5-liter—are offered; front-wheel drive will continue to be standard as Honda insists all-wheel drive is not part of the plan. Updated tech features such as a larger infotainment display, wireless smartphone connectivity, and improved driver-assistance features are all meaningful updates that will help the Civic stave off competition from the likes of the Hyundai Elantra, the Mazda 3, and the Toyota Corolla.
At only three years old, the 2022 Hyundai Veloster N is still relatively new to the hot-hatch scene, but it has put the old guard on notice. With a 275-hp turbo-four that makes delightfully juvenile noises and a chassis that causes stirring emotions, Hyundai's three-door hatch is as funky as it is fun to drive. It's also offered with a satisfying manual transmission (unlike the new VW Golf R) or a rifle-action dual-clutch automatic (unlike the current Honda Civic Type R). While revitalized versions of the rear-drive Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 rival the Veloster's prodigious performance-per-dollar ratio, the front-drive N challenges their cargo and back-seat space. We wish the Hyundai's interior was nicer, but it has a host of popular standard features and tech. Although 2022 Veloster N isn't as highly revered as other hi-po compacts, it should be praised for being a thrill ride almost everyone can afford, which is why we named it to our Editors' Choice list.
For buyers with champagne taste but only a sparkling-cider budget, the 2022 Mazda 3 delivers a premium package at a normal compact-car price. It's offered both as a sedan and a hatchback and can be equipped with optional all-wheel drive, a punchy turbo engine, and enough upscale features to be taken seriously among small Audis, BMWs, and Benzes. Entry-level models are, of course, not as posh, but the 3 looks handsome, and its playful personality will win over enthusiast drivers, even with front-wheel drive and base engine on board. That's why we put it on our 2022 Editors' Choice list. Although it is priced similarly to rivals such as the Honda Civic, the Toyota Corolla, and the Volkswagen Jetta, the Mazda offers a level of sophistication and style that those cars can't match.
Fears that Volkswagen would annihilate the entire Golf lineup are all but forsaken, with the 2022 Golf GTI set to begin an all-new generation of the sporty hatchback. Although it appears the German automaker will still stop selling regular (read: boring) Golfs in the United States, the GTI and the even zestier R model, which we review separately, have been spared. The result is a more powerful GTI with even more desirable features and the same characteristics that helped the outgoing version earn our love and affection. With more modern styling inside and out as well as the familiar fantastic-to-drive behavior, the reborn Golf GTI attracts new enthusiasts, continues to reward the faithful, and again makes our 10Best and Editors' Choice lists.
The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R is ready to overthrow the hottest hatchbacks that have been hogging headlines during its absence from our shores. Spawned from the improvements made to the upcoming Mk8 Golf GTI, the R-rated model has a more powerful 315-hp turbo-four and an all-wheel-drive system with a drift mode. We even named it to our 2022 Editors' Choice list. While VW's latest and greatest high-performance hatch still isn't as showy as rivals like the Honda Civic Type R and Hyundai Veloster N, its more sophisticated appearance should only help catch its opponents off guard while attracting buyers who want a fast small car with low-key looks. A slew of exclusive equipment and subtle design details also work to separate it from the GTI, with which it shares a modern interior and myriad technology.
Kia's big sports sedan—the 2022 Stinger—aims high to challenge the automotive elites from Europe, and nearly pulls it off. When compared with rivals such as the Audi A5 Sportback and the BMW 4-series Gran Coupe, the Stinger offers a very similarly premium look and feel as well as lots of driving verve, making it a great option for enthusiasts on a budget. It shares its underpinnings with the impressive Genesis G70 sedan, but the Stinger disguises its roomier interior, larger cargo hold, and hatchback liftgate with a sexy fastback roofline. A pair of turbocharged engines are offered: a 300-hp turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder is standard and a gutsy 368-hp twin-turbo V-6 is available. Rear-wheel drive is standard but all-wheel drive is also available for those who want it.
The 2022 Polestar 2 is a lot of things, specifically a four-door hatchback with the proportions of a sedan and the ride height of a crossover, but above all else it's an electric vehicle. Its Polestar branding will be familiar to fans of Volvo's performance division, but now it signifies pure-electric and plug-in-hybrid models. The 2's odd design isn't very pretty, but its hatchback body and much lower price make it more practical and attainable. Of course, its interior is richly appointed and fitted with an intuitive infotainment system. The 2022 Polestar 2 is available with either one or two electric motors. The car with the single-motor setup is front-wheel drive and has an estimated driving range of 270 miles. The dual-motor 2 has a shorter range, but that's offset by all-wheel drive and significantly more power for quicker acceleration.
Borrowing styling cues from the A5 coupe and the four-door layout from the A4 sedan, the 2022 Audi A5 Sportback offers the best of both worlds. We even named it to our Editors' Choice list. Its fastback styling is seductive, but it hides a giant trunk that’s a boon for practical-minded buyers. A pair of turbocharged four-cylinder engines are offered, and all models come standard with Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Like its two-door and four-door corporate cousins, the A5 Sportback blends spry handling with an agreeable ride, making it a desirable option for enthusiast drivers. The A5 Sportback's cabin may lack the style and substance found in rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz C-class or the Genesis G70, but technophiles will be in paradise, as the car offers a cool digital gauge display, plenty of connectivity features, and a host of driver-assists.
From its sleek fastback design to its refined driving manners, the 2022 Audi A7 is a smooth operator. Audi discreetly hides a hatchback within its fastback profile that makes it more practical than other mid-size luxury sedans such as its corporate counterpart, the A6 sedan, or rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz CLS450. While the A7's racy roofline intrudes on rear-seat headroom, the rest of its cabin is beautifully appointed and packed with state-of-the-art tech. Its 335-hp turbocharged V-6 teams with an unobtrusive dual-clutch automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. This polished powertrain makes the handsome hatch sneaky quick, but we wish it included a more exciting soundtrack. A plug-in-hybrid version also improves the lineup's green cred. While all passengers will appreciate its tranquil ride quality, the driver will also enjoy its adroit handling and excellent outward visibility. The 2022 A7 isn't perfect, but its prettiness and practically help put it near the top of its class and on our Editors' Choice list.
The 2022 Audi RS7 is a super-high-performance hatchback that's as audacious as it is luxurious. Puzzled how something so sexy and powerful shares a body style with something as dorky and feeble as a Chevy Spark? Well, as with the A7 and S7 variants that the RS7 is based on, Audi bookends these sleek four-doors with a hatch for added practicality. However, the RS6 Avant wagon is cheaper and roomier. Still, with haunches this broad and a twin-turbo V-8 boasting 591 horsepower, getting noticed and going fast are the RS7's primary objectives. While its explosive thrust causes passengers to involuntarily cuss, and its sharp handling inspires the driver to smile, the hottest of hatches never feels unruly or raw. Instead, its interior exudes expensiveness, pampering riders with rich trappings and ritzy features. As a result, the premium-priced 2022 RS7 is a rapid expression of both driving enthusiasm and wealth, and it earns a spot on our Editors' Choice list.
The AMG performance division has turned its attention to the Mercedes EQS flagship luxury sedan, imbuing it with extra power and presence. The AMG EQS is the first fully electric AMG model, and its specs are impressive. Mercedes has increased power to a whopping 751 horsepower thanks to beefier electric motors; that's with the optional boost mode, while standard output sits at 649 hp. The suspension has also been tuned to be firmer and sportier, and the AMG gets some additional driving modes. The AMG model's battery is the same as the base EQS, however, with 107.8 kWh of usable capacity, so driving range should be similar. The 2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS also earns a spot on our Editors' Choice list.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan is the flagship of the brand's electrified future and one of the fanciest EVs ever. We even named it to our 2022 Editors' Choice list. Its curvaceous body effortlessly slips through the air for maximum efficiency, and its palatial cabin boasts luxurious appointments and state-of-the-art features for the all-important wow factor. That's made most obvious by the optional glass-covered Hyperscreen dashboard. The sizable EV sedan is offered with a 329-hp, rear-drive powertrain (EQS450+) or a 516-hp, all-wheel-drive setup (EQS580 4Matic). Both utilize a large 107.8-kWh battery that's rated at up to 350 miles of range. While calling the 2022 EQS an electrifying luxury car is an easy pun, it's also entirely accurate.
Without it we wouldn't have the growing selection of electric vehicles we have today, yet the 2022 Tesla Model S remains one of the most compelling and desirable options in that growing market segment. It also earns a spot on our 2022 Editors' Choice list. With up to 412-miles of estimated driving range—depending upon model—the S can easily be used for long drives, and the 1020-hp Plaid version can deliver supercar acceleration while seating four adults. The Model S is also practical, with a large rear cargo area and a secondary front-trunk for extra space. New entrants in the luxury EV sedan category includes the Porsche Taycan and the Audi e-tron GT, both of which challenge the Model S in terms of performance and comfort, but its superior range and available semi-autonomous driving technology continue to draw consumers to this Tesla.