This latest rendition of Editors’ Picks sees us recognize some enthusiast-focused vehicles on both sides of the price spectrum and a luxury SUV. The 911 GT3 was an easy shoo-in, but the Hyundai Elantra N is what surprised us the most. We’re sad to see the Veloster N bow out after this year, but at least the N model in its place is a worthy one.
In case you missed our previous 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 July that earned an Editors’ Pick.
2022 Volvo XC60
Quick take: The Volvo XC60 is one of our favorite luxury crossovers, and the PHEV option is a killer setup. We dig the interior design, and the exterior is attractively Swedish, too.
What it competes with: Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Genesis GV70, Jaguar F-Pace, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, Audi Q5, Lexus NX, Acura RDX, Volvo XC60, Lincoln Corsair, Infiniti QX50, Porsche Macan
Pros: Great design, epic PHEV option, intriguing interior design options
Cons: Tech can be cumbersome, big wheels lead to a stiff ride
From the editors:
Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “When it comes to plug-in hybrids, there’s no better compact crossover option than the XC60 Recharge. I really dig the extra-powerful electric motor and larger battery Volvo added this year. The interior wool option is my pick of the bunch, but I am a little disappointed that there aren’t as many physical buttons throughout the interior as there were before.”
News Editor Joel Stocksdale — “Although it’s got some age, the Volvo XC60 is still an excellent premium SUV. It’s as handsome as ever with its clean, modern design inside and out, and feels genuinely luxurious. But what really sets the XC60 apart is its available plug-in hybrid powertrain. It’s smooth and refined, and best of all, it’s still great in electric mode. The roughly 35-mile range will get you most places in town, and the healthy electric motor doesn’t feel like it’s penalizing you for trying to be green.”
In-depth analysis: 2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge First Drive Review | Pumping up the electric range
2022 Hyundai Elantra N
Quick take: The Elantra N picks up where the Veloster N lets off, and it’s a dumb-fun hot sedan to drive. You get great tech, features and a showy design to match its great driving dynamics.
What it competes with: Honda Civic Si, Volkswagen GTI, Volkswagen Jetta GLI, Subaru WRX, Honda Civic Type R
Pros: Power, silly noises, offers a manual
Cons: Design is polarizing, firm ride
From the editors:
Associate Editor Byron Hurd — “The Elantra N makes a solid case for itself as a Jetta GLI or WRX alternative. Its cabin and infotainment are better than what’s offered by VW or Subaru, and it’s just as fun to drive. Makes me miss the Veloster, though.”
News Editor Joel Stocksdale — “The Elantra N is about the most fun you can have for the money. It has an eager engine with an excellent sounding exhaust that can switch between mellow and furious. It has amazing grip and balance thanks to its adaptive suspension and trick differential. Add in a more spacious and higher quality cabin than the Veloster N, and you have a car that’s tough to top.”
In-depth analysis: 2022 Hyundai Elantra N debuts for U.S. with 276 hp and manual transmission
2022 Porsche 911 GT3
Quick take: You’ll struggle finding a more perfect sports car. Its engine is one of the best ever, both transmission options are superb, and the handling is on another level. A nearly perfect car.
What it competes with: McLaren Artura, Ferrari 296 GTB, Lamborghini Huracan, Acura NSX Type S, Nissan GT-R, Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Audi R8, Mercedes-AMG GT R
Pros: Dreamy engine, supercar handling, everything you want, nothing you don’t
Cons: Fuel economy is poor for a 911, no rear seat
From the editors:
Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “I can safely say that the 911 GT3 is my favorite car I’ve ever driven. The engine is simply a work of 9,000-rpm art. Shifting through gears with the six-speed manual brings you closer to the machine, and the chassis is unlike any other 911 I’ve experienced. This car is worth every penny, and perhaps more, because there’s a good chance you’ll be paying that in markup.”
Associate Editor Byron Hurd — “The 992 GT3 is the payoff of a ‘the perfect sports car doesn’t exist’ meme. I’ve driven more-capable performance cars and more-comfortable GTs, but I’d kick any one of them out of the garage to have a GT3 in there instead. Too bad the price might as well be in Monopoly money.”
In-depth analysis: 2022 Porsche 911 GT3 Road Test: Exactly the hero you expect it to be