Gone are the bulky, body-on-frame sport utility vehicles from years past. The SUVs of today are generally built using the same unibody structures found on sedans and hatchbacks, making them a lot more practical for day-to-day use. They're also invading every segment known to man, so you'll have no problem finding one that's as big or as small as you need it to be.
Of course, with all this choice comes the need to sift through it all. That's where we come in. Whether you want something for heavy off-roading or a subcompact growing-family vehicle, we here at CNET Cars have compiled a list of our favorite SUVs for 2022. And for those of you on the cutting edge, fear not, we have a healthy balance of gas-powered and electrified SUVs for you to peruse.
Better late than never, right? The Volkswagen Taos wasn't the first subcompact SUV to grace our amber waves of grain, but now that it's here and we've spent some time with it, we can tell you with confidence that it's a lovely little number.
The 2022 VW Taos takes what we love about larger VW SUVs and brings it into a city-friendly package. It looks great inside and out. It feels solidly built, which isn't something we can say about every small SUV out there. And in addition to looking good, the interior feels positively cavernous. Its 1.5-liter turbocharged I4 puts out a solid 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, and it's available with either front- or all-wheel drive.
Folks on the tiny-house bandwagon are sure to love the Hyundai Venue, which is basically the tiny house of SUVs for sale today.
The 2022 Hyundai Venue may have a small footprint, but it's big on value. Its 1.6-liter inline-four produces 121 horsepower and 113 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to make this little guy feel quite zippy, and the standard continuously variable transmission keeps things nice and smooth. It's efficient as heck, too, achieving up to 30 miles per gallon city and 33 mpg highway, according to EPA estimates.
Style is a high priority in the Venue, whether it's the funky-fresh exterior or the sensible-yet-interesting interior. The Denim trim leans on a surprisingly cool blue interior motif, if you want to spend a bit more change. Tech takes center stage here, too, thanks to an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, in addition to safety systems like automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist.
The Ford Bronco is back in two distinct forms. The big-boy Bronco that best exemplifies the model of yore can be found elsewhere on this list, but the so-called "baby Bronco" that came before it, the Bronco Sport, is an excellent small SUV in its own right.
The 2022 Ford Bronco Sport is an impressive small SUV. It carries just enough looks over from the larger Bronco while still standing on its own. Even with fully independent suspension front and rear, it does a decent job off-roading. And, if you equip this SUV with its more potent engine -- a 2.0-liter turbo I4 making 250 hp and 277 lb.-ft. -- it can scoot like the dickens. It feels like forever since Ford originally announced this car, but now that it's here, we're glad it is.
If you want something a little bigger than the Taos or the Venue, Mazda's sharp CX-30 is a newcomer to the compact SUV space, but it builds on Mazda's recent SUV excellence.
The CX-30's coupe-like roofline gives this small SUV some major character. That quasi-luxurious angle is best exemplified inside, where higher trims feel positively posh, with soft touch points and a surprising amount of soft leather. Combine that with a no-nonsense layout that keeps distraction to a minimum, and you've got quite the comfortable place to spend a commute.
There's some bite to match the CX-30's bark, as well. Standard equipment includes an 8.8-inch infotainment screen and a whole host of safety systems, including adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist. Under the hood is a 2.5-liter I4 producing an ample 186 hp and 186 lb.-ft., with front-wheel drive standard and all-wheel drive available for a bit more money. The FWD models are efficient, too, with a rating of 33 mpg highway and 25 mpg city.
Despite lasting for what felt like a million years, the outgoing generation of Jeep Grand Cherokee was consistently good, blending comfort and capability in a right-size body. It makes sense, then, that its successor would build on all that good stuff and chart a similar course as before.
The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee picks up some handsome new looks in the variety of trims Jeep offers. But that's just the icing on the cake; there are so many other great updates for the GC's fifth generation, like a bevy of screens inside, including one for the passenger. There's an Amazon FireTV connection for family-friendly streaming on the go, too. In its off-road-ready Trailhawk form, it has enough clearance to ford 24 inches of water, and its approach, departure and breakover angles are on par with the beefiest Toyota 4Runner out there. V6 and V8 models are available, if you don't want to burn too much gas.
The Kia Telluride blew us away when it first launched. More than a year later, it still stands as a seriously impressive midsize SUV that isn't afraid to get fancy.
Despite a low starting price of around $35,000, the Telluride can be kitted out with luxury trimmings including Nappa leather, ventilated seats and power-folding rear rows. The Telluride offers three rows of seating, so big families don't need to opt for a car that won't fit in the garage. An 8-inch infotainment system is standard, but higher trims get a more impressive 10.3-inch display with both touch and physical controls. It's a darned comfortable ride, too.
It's not the most fuel-efficient SUV out there, with its 291-hp V6 offering up 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway with front-wheel drive, although adding AWD only lowers those figures by one or two mpg. But for a vehicle that'll carry the whole family and tow 5,000 pounds, it's still a solid value in the midsize SUV space.
It always felt strange that Jeep never cooked up a full-size SUV to go up against segment stalwarts like the Chevy Tahoe or Ford Expedition. But there's always time to slide one in, and Jeep's new full-size SUV already has us smitten.
The 2022 Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are short- and long-wheelbase versions of the same full-size SUV, although both come with three rows as standard. It's a little blockier than the also-new Grand Cherokee, but it's clear these two are siblings. The interior really ramps up the fancy, with an available 23-speaker McIntosh audio system, screens galore and more storage cubbies than you can shake a stick at. The Grand Wagoneer is capable of towing 10,000 pounds, and with both the second and third rows folded down, you can fit 94.2 cubic feet of stuff in the back. Throw in a 6.4-liter V8 with 471 hp and 455 lb.-ft., and you've got quite the recipe for success.
Body-on-frame SUVs still exist, they're just harder to find, and these truck-based utes are generally quite large. But if you need to haul a whole lot of stuff, whether it's people or cargo, the 2022 Chevy Tahoe is ready to stand and deliver.
The Tahoe was massively refined for 2022, thanks to a new independent rear suspension that takes the ride from truck-ish to plush. That revised rear end also helped maximize space in the redesign, with 66% more cargo space behind the third row (now 25.5 cubic feet) and third-row seats that get an extra 10 inches of legroom. It's practically a Brooklyn studio apartment in here, and for a lot less than you'd pay for real estate in New York City, with prices starting around $54,000.
Families will appreciate, well, just about everything the Tahoe offers. There are a thousand places to store things, there are USB ports available in every row and up to nine cameras can provide a detailed view around the vehicle for pitch-perfect parking. Proper safety systems have finally reached this segment, as well, with the Tahoe packing standard stuff like automatic emergency braking, parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring.
Considering our adoration toward the Genesis GV80 midsize luxury SUV, it shouldn't surprise anyone that its smaller, newer sibling is also quite the excellent ride.
The 2022 Genesis GV70 is a Korean luxury SUV that feels right at home alongside the more traditional segment offerings from Germans like Audi or BMW. The GV70 picks up the same good looks as the larger GV80, albeit modified for its slimmer proportions. The interior takes more of a left-field approach, ditching traditional conservative design elements in favor of something bright and eye-catching. There's plenty of tech here, too, with a standard 14.5-inch display running Genesis' excellent infotainment system. A 2.5-liter I4 making 300 hp is standard, but a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 cranks that up to 375 hp.
The first luxury SUV from Hyundai's Genesis offshoot is a stunner that prioritizes luxury over sporting pretension in a way that few vehicles do.
The 2022 Genesis GV80 looks like nothing else on the road, thanks to Genesis' sharp brand style that features split headlights and taillights with a big ol' shiny grille up front. Its fastback-style roofline doesn't impugn on second-row space, and there's still a commendable amount of storage space on offer, with the option to convert some of it to a fold-down third row.
Luxury is the name of the game in the GV80, with an available 3.5-liter V6 that scoots to the tune of 375 hp and 391 lb-ft. It doesn't have air suspension, but the ride quality is still soft and comfortable for long stretches of time on the highway. The interior is old-school fancy, with a focus on soft edges and high-quality leather surfaces. Genesis' tech is impressive, too, especially its 14.5-inch infotainment display, which looks posher than what the Germans are currently offering up.
By itself, the BMW X7 is quite the majestic full-size SUV, replete with luxurious appointments and packing the driving characteristics to boot. But if you give that ute to BMW's in-house luxury wunderkinder at Alpina, the result is even more stunning.
The BMW Alpina XB7 is majestic. Its twin-turbocharged V8 makes 612 hp and 590 lb.-ft. of torque, all of which arrives as smoothly as can be. While the general design layout of the XB7 remains unchanged from the X7, the folks at Alpina upgraded the interior with high-end materials just about everywhere. Of course, it's not a cheap proposition at $142,295 including destination, but nothing in this segment is a value, per se.
When it comes to performance SUVs, it's hard to top Porsche, and its compact Macan makes for quite the engaging experience.
The 2022 Porsche Macan's GTS trim best exemplifies Porsche's on-road mantra. The chassis is balanced, it steers like a sports car and it will make some of the most glorious noise you'll hear in a sport ute. It may not have the on-paper wow factor of the 434-hp Turbo variant, but the GTS' 2.9-liter, twin-turbo V6 is no slouch with 375 hp and 383 lb-ft. It'll hustle all day long and keep asking for more.
Traditional Porsche style exists throughout the interior, whether it's the gauge cluster with its massive central tachometer or the panoply of controls that live on either side of the gear lever. Porsche's Communication Management software resides on a 10.9-inch touchscreen, and it's one of our favorite systems thanks to a no-nonsense layout with quick access to all the usual menus. Porsche's love of optional packages means you can tailor the Macan GTS in ways that few other automakers can match.
See? I told you Porsche has a lock on sporty SUVs.
The 2022 Porsche Cayenne GTS is the Macan GTS' bigger brother. Available in long-roof and "coupe" body styles, the Cayenne GTS is all about driving purity, and it shows. Its 453-hp, 4.0-liter V8 engine offers an impressive amount of motive force with the sound profile to match, and its suspension offers agility that few competitors can match. Throw in some add-ons like all-wheel steering and active anti-roll bars, and you've basically got a sports car on stilts, albeit mild ones, since the Cayenne GTS sits pretty low to the ground.
Even though Porsche loves to charge you for things that might come standard with other OEMs, the Cayenne GTS has an impressive amount of tech that comes baked into its $110,000-plus price tag. A 12.3-inch display runs the PCM infotainment system, with four USB-C ports on offer for juicing up, in addition to wireless Apple CarPlay and a Wi-Fi hotspot. But you might be having too much fun in the corners to even notice that stuff.
Not everybody is ready to dip their toes into electrification, but thankfully there are plenty of gas-powered vehicles that still put a serious priority on maximizing fuel efficiency. And the winner of that segment is the diminutive Nissan Kicks.
The 2022 Nissan Kicks doesn't make a lot of power, pulling just 122 hp and 114 lb.-ft. from its 1.6-liter, naturally aspirated inline-four. But it's what it does with that power that's impressive, reaching an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 31 mpg city, 36 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined. That makes it the most efficient SUV without any sort of electrification. And it's not like it's a ride fit only for paupers, either; the Kicks comes with loads of driver-assistance tech and is one of the best value-for-dollar propositions in this day and age.
By itself, the Hyundai Tucson is a lovely compact SUV, but adding a gas-electric hybrid powertrain gives us even more reasons to like this little guy.
Some things about the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid aren't limited to the hybrid variant, like its attractive exterior and surprisingly luxurious-for-its-segment interior. The infotainment tech is top-notch, too. But the best bits are under the hood, where a 1.6-liter turbocharged I4 pairs with a 1.5-kilowatt-hour battery for a net 226 horsepower. More importantly, it achieves an EPA combined fuel economy of 37 mpg, a number we had no problem matching. It's plenty affordable, too, starting at $31,045 for its base Blue trim, which is still very nicely equipped.
Plug-in hybrids still place their focus on efficiency, but the immediate torque that comes from an electric motor can provide some lovely side benefits, as well. And that's no more apparent anywhere than in the 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime.
The RAV4 Prime is a garden-variety RAV4 with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. A 2.5-liter gas engine works alongside a 134-kW motor to provide a net 302 horsepower -- and yes, you read that correctly. But even though it may very well win a stoplight sprint against most every other small SUV out there, it's still mighty efficient. Charge up its lithium-ion battery and you'll get up to 42 miles of EV operation. Even if the battery's drained, the RAV4 Prime is still estimated to return 38 mpg combined. It's expensive for a RAV4, though, with a starting price around $42,000 including destination.
Your eyes deceive you. While the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 may resemble a compact hatchback in pictures, seeing it in real life brings about the car's honest truth: It is actually a midsize SUV without oodles of unnecessary ride height. No matter what it is, though, it's an amazing vehicle.
A flat floor, wide chassis and long wheelbase give the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 more interior space than a Ford Mustang Mach-E or a VW ID 4. Both single- and dual-motor variants will be offered, although they both rely on the same 77.4-kWh battery pack. The rear-drive Ioniq 5 makes 225 hp and promises an EPA range of 303 miles, while the AWD Ioniq 5 offers 320 hp and a 256-mile range. Oh, and did we mention how sweet it looks inside and out? If you dig blocky minimalism, the Ioniq 5 should be right up your alley.
Consider the Jeep Wrangler wrangled. Even though it's barely been on sale long enough to make this list, several editors have spent a good amount of time behind the wheel of a brand-new Ford Bronco, and we'd be remiss if we didn't extol its virtues.
The 2022 Ford Bronco is, frankly, lovely. Yes, its body-on-frame underpinnings aren't completely washed away with an independent front suspension, but the Bronco's on-road manners are above and beyond what the Jeep Wrangler can offer. The aesthetics are on point, especially in two-door hardtop form, and it's ready for adventure with removable roof and door panels. There's a lot of great tech in here, too, from infotainment to off-road-specific add-ons like crawl control. If you want to go truly bonkers, the Bronco Raptor variant will deliver more than 400 horsepower, and its track width is nearly 9 inches above that of the standard Bronco. Yee-haw!
The current Honda HR-V is about to become quite the hot value, although maybe not for the reason you might expect.
Honda has already teased the next-generation 2023 HR-V, which is slated to arrive at dealerships later this year. That means that Honda will be keen to get the outgoing model off dealer lots, so there could be some major incentives heading your way. The 2022-and-prior HR-V is still a damned impressive machine, as it remains the top-selling vehicle in its segment. It's efficient, comfortable and decently equipped. Even without incentives, its $23,115 post-destination starting price is still great for people seeking a good SUV that won't break the bank.
There's no substitute for the 2022 Rolls-Royce Cullinan. If you want to spend house money on a car, there's nothing finer available.
After finally bowing to public pressure, Rolls-Royce came out with a sport utility vehicle that possesses every luxury feature you could ever want. Do you want a headliner that contains a fiber-optic star map of the sky on the exact date of your birth? Rolls-Royce can do it. Do you want bright yellow leather to match some equally lemony sheep's-wool floormats? Look no further. Feeling like some champagne from the back seat? Why, just pop open the compartment that holds your chilled crystal flutes.
With a starting price of $325,000 and an options list that might actually lack an endpoint, the Cullinan is a pipe dream for a hefty plurality of the world, but if decadence is what you crave, it's hard to top the Roller.
Comparison of the best SUVs for 2022
|Category||Name||Base engine||Output||Fuel economy (mpg, city/hwy/combined)||Base price|
|Best subcompact SUV||2022 Volkswagen Taos||1.5L I4||158 hp / 184 lb-ft||28 / 36 / 31||$24,790|
|Best subcompact SUV runner-up||2022 Hyundai Venue||1.6L I4||121 hp / 113 lb-ft||30 / 33 / 31||$20,295|
|Best compact SUV||2022 Ford Bronco Sport||1.5L I3||181 hp / 190 lb-ft||25 / 28 / 26||$30,410|
|Best compact SUV runner-up||2022 Mazda CX-30||2.5L I4||186 hp / 186 lb-ft||25 / 33 / 28||$23,725|
|Best midsize SUV||2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee||3.6L V6||293 hp / 260 lb-ft||19 / 26 / 22||$40,120|
|Best midsize SUV runner-up||2022 Kia Telluride||3.8L V6||291 hp / 262 lb-ft||20 / 26 / 23||$34,725|
|Best full-size SUV||2022 Jeep Wagoneer||5.7L V8||392 hp / 404 lb-ft||16 / 22 / 18||$60,995|
|Best full-size SUV runner-up||2022 Chevy Tahoe||5.3L V8||355 hp / 383 lb-ft||16 / 20 / 18||$53,795|
|Best compact luxury SUV||2022 Genesis GV70||2.5L I4||300 hp / 311 lb-ft||22 / 28 / 24||$42,595|
|Best midsize luxury SUV||2022 Genesis GV80||2.5L I4||300 hp / 311 lb-ft||21 / 25 / 23||$51,295|
|Best full-size luxury SUV||2022 BMW Alpina XB7||4.4L V8||612 hp / 590 lb-ft||15 / 21 / 17||$142,295|
|Best compact performance SUV||2022 Porsche Macan GTS||2.9L V6||375 hp / 383 lb-ft||17 / 22 / 19||$81,250|
|Best midsize performance SUV||2022 Porsche Cayenne GTS||4.0L V8||453 hp / 457 lb-ft||15 / 19 / 17||$110,350|
|Best SUV for fuel economy||2022 Nissan Kicks||1.6L I4||122 hp / 114 lb-ft||31 / 36 / 33||$21,285|
|Best hybrid SUV||2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid||1.6L I4 hybrid||226 hp / 258 lb-ft||38 / 38 / 38||$31,045|
|Best plug-in hybrid SUV||2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime||2.5L I4 hybrid||302 hp net||94 MPGe (38 mpg gas-only)||$41,635|
|Best electric SUV||2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5||Single electric motor||168 hp / 258 lb-ft||110 MPGe||$41,245|
|Best off-road SUV||2022 Ford Bronco||2.3L I4||275 hp / 315 lb-ft||20 / 21 / 20||$32,895|
|Best affordable SUV||2022 Honda HR-V||1.8L I4||141 hp / 127 lb-ft||28 / 34 / 30||$23,115|
|Best SUV if money is no object||2022 Rolls-Royce Cullinan||6.8L V12||563 hp / 627 lb-ft||12 / 20 / 14||$325,000+|
How we made our list
We drove them, you silly billy. CNET Cars' editors drive countless vehicles over the course of a year, and we all try to slide into as many different cars, trucks and SUVs as possible. With combined decades of experience evaluating the latest sheet metal, the SUVs on this list represent the cars we'd most like to own in each segment.
Of course, with every best list comes caveats. Our loans are limited to a week at a time, with some long-termers staying on our driveways for up to a year, so long-term reliability and other factors are hard to determine. Pricing can be an issue, too, especially with low-initial-volume, high-demand vehicles like the Bronco. Dealers are keen to adjust pricing as they see fit, so don't forget to do some cross-dealer shopping to find the best price around you. Don't forget to test drive as many vehicles as you can, as well, to make sure our choices also fill your needs as best they can.