A flood of new cars, trucks and SUVs is expected in 2022.
Even as COVID-19 shreds the fine-tuned supply chains needed to move vehicles from drawing boards to your driveway, automakers will fight to launch new truck, SUV and car models this year.
A shift to electric vehicles will continue and many of 2022’s most talked-about SUVs and trucks will be EVs initially built in small numbers, with many only be available at high prices.
Here’s a look at some of the most intriguing and significant models based on a new vehicle roundtable discussion with IHS Markit Principal Analyst Stephanie Brinley, Consumer Reports automotive testing director Jake Fisher and the Detroit Free Press, part of the USA TODAY Network. You can stream the roundtable here.
Read the full analysis in this subscriber story.
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Honda: New CR-V, Pilot and Civic R
The automaker has all-new versions of its best-seller, the CR-V compact SUV, the midsize Pilot and Passport SUVs, and the subcompact HR-V.
Expect Honda to continue its campaign to bolster its SUVs’ modest off-road capability with references to its rugged ATVs; fender flares and tough-guy grilles, and a few mechanical upgrades. A hybrid CR-V is likely.
Sedan sales have fallen, but the midsize Accord remains one of America’s bestsellers, making the expected update big news to hundreds of thousands of buyers.
The Civic R performance compact will arrive late this year to remind buyers that nobody combines fun, affordability and efficiency better than Honda.
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GM: Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, Hummer EV and Corvette
GM’s bestselling models, the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups, get meaningful technology additions including the Super Cruise highway driving assistant, updated to allow hands-free trailer towing and passing.
Chevy and GMC wanted the updated pickups on the road in 2021, but computer chip shortages delayed them. Other upgrades include a 13.4-inch touchscreen and upgraded 2.7L turbocharged base engine. However, the electric Silverado and Sierra pickups won’t go on sale until 2023.
The GMC Hummer EV super pickup lineup should grow as production at GM’s Factory Zero cranks up, adding the $99,995 3x model in the fall.
The Corvette ZO6 will make everybody forget about EVs – briefly – when it debuts this summer with a unique 5.5L double-overhead, flat crank version Chevy’s legendary small-block engine.
Cadillac Lyriq SUV
The Lyriq SUV, the second vehicle as GM’s ambitious EV rollout finally takes hold, arriving in the absolute sweet spot of the luxury market.
It is packed with new technology, including GM’s internally designed Ultium batteries and motors. Add dynamic styling inside and out and GM’s latest connectivity and entertainment systems and it’ll be a disappointment if this isn’t the vehicle that finally changes the conversation around Cadillac, which got a little image benefit over the last two decades for introducing a sting of great sport sedans and lifting the Escalade to the front of the global luxury market.
Base prices of $59,990 make the five-seat Lyriq attainable to any luxury buyer, but look for loaded models to top $100K. It will compete with EVs like the Audi E-tron, Tesla X and Ford Mustang Mach-E.
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Ford has already boosted production plans of the F-150 Lightning electric pickup several times, but the output will be limited this year. The Lightning work truck has a $40,000 base compared to the loaded $100,000 King Ranch models.
The Lightning pickup work truck and Ford’s upcoming electric Transit delivery van, will play a huge role in public acceptance of EVs.
Ford’s thriving SUV business will benefit from an upgraded Expedition – probably with an outdoorsy Timberline model – and a 400-horsepower Bronco Raptor.
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Mazda tries a different tack with the CX-50 compact SUV launching this spring. Built in Alabama alongside the Toyota Corolla Cross, the CX-50 shares a roof – but not its platform drivetrain or any other components – with the smaller Toyota.
Mazda wants to position the CX-50 as more off-road capable than its popular CX-5.
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Toyota bZ4X, Sequoia and Lexus LX 600 and RX Suv
Toyota’s latest effort to dispel the perception it’s ambivalent about EVs is the bZ4X compact SUV, which looks like the RAV4 design team broke into the Lexus studio.
Due for sale midyear, it promises to overcome shortcomings of name and style with the automaker’s bulletproof reputation for value and reliability. Toyota promises up to 250 miles on a charge and a “spacious, techy interior with abundant legroom.” It’d be the upset of the year if it doesn’t sell out.
Also, expect new versions of the Toyota Sequoia and Lexus LX 600, a pair of big SUVs that use the same architecture as the new Tundra full-size pickup, which itself adds a hybrid model this year.
Lexus also gets a new model of its bestselling model, the RX SUV. The RX is Lexus’ bestseller, and the definitive midsize luxury SUV.
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Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge rumors
A plug-in hybrid version of the new Grand Cherokee should arrive in early 2022. Expect a battery range of about 25 miles. If the PHEV Wrangler 4xe is any model, there’s a big appetite for Jeeps that can run on electricity.
There’s no evidence that’s also true for Dodge, but the affordable-performance brand has been so starved for new vehicles there’s no evidence its customers wouldn’t buy a washing machine if it had a Hemi. That legendary V8 is off the table for the rumored Dodge Hornet compact SUV, but a PHEV is possible.
The Hornet, if it exists, will share its architecture with the Alfa Romeo Tonale, a sporty compact SUV based on an award-winning concept vehicle.
The Tonale, which looks a lot like the midsize Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV and has a PHEV model, is also rumored to go on sale in the U.S. this year, an overdue addition to Alfa’s painfully thin lineup.