Negotiations for 2022 Motor1.com The Star Awards are starting soon, and this year, we have even more vehicles to win across six categories. From November 6-11, our team will be in Southern California driving 20 different models on the area’s roads, tracks and trails as we try to find out who deserves one of our seven awards.
As a refresher, only vehicles that are new or significantly different from the vehicles we considered last year. So while the Ford F-150 and Hyundai Elantra won awards for best truck and best value in 2021, the all-electric F-150 Lightning and high-performance Elantra N are different enough to qualify for this year’s awards.
The vehicles will compete for Best EV, Best Performance, Best Luxury, Best SUV (a category formerly known as Best Family Vehicle), Best Value, Best Truck, and Editors’ Choice awards. But in the biggest change from last year, vehicles will compete for multiple awards, which has allowed us to significantly increase the number of vehicles competing for each individual award. Scroll through for the full list of vehicles we’ve invited. Motor1.comCheck out the other annual Star Awards and a brief explainer for each competition.
If you’d like to see our editorial team run through all the categories, check out the latest episode of the Rambling About Cars podcast.
The EV segment is one of the fastest growing in the auto industry, and our picks offer a glimpse into the breadth of models available. We have the fairly affordable Hyundai Ioniq 5. The BMW iX and Lucid Air GT are premium offerings. The Ford F-150 Lightning and GMC Hummer are EV pickups that also offer luxury and advanced technology.
The unique features of EVs make it one of the more difficult categories to judge because the vehicles are heavier and much faster than most others. Combine this with EV-specific features, such as motor regeneration, and careful analysis of charging speeds, and the EV category is shaping up to be one of the most controversial at this year’s awards.
We’re testing our performance cars on the road and also opening them up at Willow Springs Racecourse to see how they perform on the track. But beyond just looking at driving character, we’ll be doing instrumented testing (and, possibly, complications with the launch control system and other performance tech.
Speed is important, but it’s not the only factor in our testing, so don’t expect the 819-horsepower (611 kW) Lucid Air Grand Touring to easily run away with victory. For example, the Volkswagen Golf GTI beat out the more powerful BMW M3 competition for the Star Award in this category last year.
The ultimate luxury:
Many factors come together to make a winning luxury vehicle. The ride should be comfortable, and the quality of interior materials should be impressive. For modern vehicles, technology should make the ride comfortable by offering features like massaging seats or advanced driving assistance systems. We’re also taking into account price, which is why the Acura Integra can go up against six-figure models like the Range Rover or Lucid Air.
SUVs are a dominant segment of vehicle sales in the United States because they can do things like off-roading, towing, or just hauling an entire family. We are judging them based on all these factors. Our team is expected to climb around the second row (and third where applicable) to ensure these rigs are as good at holding passengers as they are for the person behind the wheel.
Determining the value of a vehicle is difficult. It’s not just a matter of choosing the least expensive model. The features that the buyer gets for the money are a big part of picking a winner. Also, consider the quality of the vehicle. As with all categories, driving experience is also a consideration. This is going to be a controversial category and is our only vehicle with a price range – none of the vehicles competing for this award cost more than $40,000.
All of the pickups competing this year feature electrified powertrains, showing how the segment is evolving to become greener. Many people use their trucks as their primary vehicle for commuting to and from work. So while the traditional performance stuff is important, drivability, comfort, and technology will be a big part of what we see as we review the F-150 Lightning, Ford Maverick Hybrid, GMC Hummer EV, and Toyota Tundra. take We will evaluate them on all these factors.
All vehicles participating in the Star Awards are also competing for our Editors’ Choice. After spending a week with these models, we’ll put aside our rigorous metrics and cautious estimates and consider which vehicle is, plain and simple, our favorite. The winner does not necessarily have to win in one of the other categories. Last year, the Porsche Tycoon CrossTurismo took the honor despite losing out to the Ford Mustang Mach-E as best EV.