A mix of crossovers and family cars were awarded Editors’ Picks status this month. Plus, we got into a Porsche and a McLaren that share in the accolades. We finally spent some quality time in the Kia Carnival, too, which was the only minivan missing from our minivan-heavy month of Editors’ Picks back in March. There were some near misses, with none closer than the updated Nissan Pathfinder.
In case you missed our previous couple Editors’ Picks posts, here’s a quick refresher on what’s going on here. We rate all the new cars we drive with a 1-10 score. Cars that are exemplary in their respective segments get Editors’ Pick status. Those are the ones we’d recommend to our friends, family and anybody who’s curious and asks the question. The list that you’ll find below consists of every car we rated in May that earned the honor of being an Editors’ Pick.
2022 Hyundai Tucson
Quick take: The new Tucson is a design marvel for the compact crossover segment, and its wide range of powertrains combined with big utility means it has the usefulness to be a great family car.
What it competes with: Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage, Subaru Forester, VW Tiguan, Mitsubishi Outlander, Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain
Pros: Unique and attractive styling, wide range of powertrains, packed with tech
Cons: Thrashing base engine, lack of volume knob
From the editors:
Associate Editor Byron Hurd — “I was really impressed by my brief time behind the wheel of the new Tucson. It’s comfortable, quiet and (in hybrid form) surprisingly peppy and responsive. Hyundai really nailed the interior too. I smell a winner.”
In-depth analysis: 2022 Hyundai Tucson First Drive Review | A bold leap forward
2022 Kia Carnival
Quick take: This minivan wins big in the style and interior tech department. It’s super smooth and comfortable to drive, but the lack of powertrain options is disappointing. No matter, the numerous positives win out.
What it competes with: Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, Chrysler Pacifica, Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey
Pros: Superb design, luxurious interior, excellent tech and driver assistance features
Cons: No hybrid or AWD option, VIP seats clunky for family use
From the editors:
Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “I and my friends had more fun in this minivan than any before, and that’s totally thanks to the epic, reclining VIP second row seats. This van is more than just fancy seats, though. It drives super smoothly, has top-notch tech and a design that has every other minivan beat.”
Senior Editor, Green John Beltz Snyder — “In the right trims, the Carnival looks really neat. It’s a great minivan for hauling people in comfort and — dare I say — luxury. Excellent driver assistance technology makes things easier on the pilot, too. The 3.5-liter V6 is a great engine, but the lack of a more economical offering and no available all-wheel drive feel like missed opportunities to appeal to more customers.”
In-depth analysis: 2022 Kia Carnival First Drive Review | The stylish one
2021 Kia Sorento
Quick take: The new Sorento is considerably more stylish than the last generation, and packed with the latest tech. A compact but usable third row provides practicality, and the more rugged X-Line versions add utility to this solid crossover.
What it competes with: Mazda CX-9, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, Subaru Ascent, GMC Acadia
Pros: Perky powertrains, attractive looks, high-tech interior
Cons: X-Line’s ride suffers, subpar interior materials quality
From the editors:
Senior Editor, Green John Beltz Snyder — “I spent hours wandering the snowy country backroads in this thing, enjoying the comfort and tech. When the roads dried up, the gutsy 2.5-liter turbo-four made running errands much more entertaining. I’ve already recommended this new Sorento to friends with kids for its space, safety and Kia’s excellent warranty.”
News Editor Joel Stocksdale — “That turbocharged 2.5-liter really is amazing with how much torque it produces, and how you don’t have to wait for the turbo to kick in. It’s also super stylish and gives you a lot for your money. I just wish it handled better and had a more composed ride.”
In-depth analysis: 2021 Kia Sorento Review | What’s new, price, hybrid fuel economy, pictures
2021 Porsche Panamera
Quick take: The Panamera in virtually every form drives brilliantly, has a useful, pretty interior and features attractive styling. Its biggest downside is value, as many other luxury sedans and wagons are significantly cheaper in comparison.
What it competes with: Audi A7 (S7 and RS 7), BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door, Maserati Quattroporte
Pros: A performance level for everyone, stellar handling, pretty wagon variant
Cons: Sedan has average looks, shockingly expensive, poor value with options
From the editors:
Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “Another fantastic Porsche. Big surprise. Stuttgart can’t miss these days, and every version of the Panamera I’ve tried makes a great argument as the one to buy. Still, I’m partial to the Sport Turismo, because wagons rock.”
Associate Editor Byron Hurd — “It’s really hard to articulate just how much smaller the Panamera feels compared to other similarly sized sport sedans. More clinical than an AMG or BMW M, it’s amazingly buttoned down and rewarding to drive fast.”
News Editor Joel Stocksdale — “If it weren’t for the Panamera’s huge sticker prices, it would be just about the perfect all-around car, especially the plug-in hybrid ones. They offer staggering performance that’s accessible and fun, and will even let you tackle short commutes gas-free.”
In-depth analysis: 2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S First Drive | S is for ‘spicy’
2021 McLaren 720S
Quick take: Even years after its debut, the 720S is still a performance masterpiece. We’d take it in either Coupe or Spider form. The handling, acceleration and drivability is difficult to beat, even compared to other fantastic supercars.
What it competes with: Ferrari F8 Tributo, Lamborghini Huracan Evo, Porsche 911 Turbo S, Audi R8 V10 Plus
Pros: Mind-melting acceleration, top-notch handling, proper supercar looks
Cons: Seat controls are annoying, poor infotainment system, lack of storage
From the editors:
Associate Editor Byron Hurd — “This is a 3,200 pound go-kart with Hellcat-level power and yet it’s a complete teddy bear in normal driving. The interior is a bit sparse but still charming in an Alfa Romeo 4C kind of way, and man does it move. One of the most impressive things I’ve ever experienced.”
Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski — “There’s no doubt that the McLaren 720S is the fastest car I’ve ever been handed the keys to for a days-long test on the open road. Its acceleration can only be described as brutal. Sure, its interior trim may not compare favorably with the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini, but its engineering certainly does.”
In-depth analysis: McLaren 720S Spider First Drive Review | Absolutely corrupted by power