QOTD: Best/Worst Car You Drove in 2022
I'm currently multi-tasking -- in a different browser tab, I have open a draft post about the best and worst cars we pros drove this year. It should run right after this one.
But what about you? Some of you don't drive many cars, true, but some of you work for dealers or repair shops. Some of you test drive many a car or are trusted enough that your friends let you take the keys to their cool ride. If you've had the chance to drive a few new (or newish) cars this year, or even some classic rides, give us a shout to let us know what you liked and what you didn't.
Sound off below.
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V8fairy on Jan 02, 2023
Worst by a long shot - MG ZS, made by SAIC Motor (formerly Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation) - I rented one of these things for a fortnight on the Gold Coast in Australia, thought I was going to get a Kia Rio (small Korean economy hatchback). In between me booking the hire and actually arriving, the rental company had refreshed its fleet.
Positives - great reversing camera, great headlights (when I got them to turn on), good brakes, quite comfortable, and very well put together and finished interior for something likely put together by slave labour
Negatives - gutless, OmiGod! Awful transmission. Backwards controls, and counter-intuitive to use. Turning circle is huge (reduces manouverability). Will probablly fall apart by 100k kms
Picked it up from the rental company at night, my partner thought we had been treated to a luxury British sports SUV. Explained to him that the only British thing about it was the badge and that it was all China all the way. The first issue arose before I even go out of the carpark - go to indicate and turned the wipers on, fortuituously as it happened as it then started to rain. Tried a second time on the other side, activated the ASL (Active Speed Limiter) and Cruise Control.
Turns out the indicator is on a third stalk hidden behind the steering wheel. This is extremely counter-intuitive, on everything else I've driven, from Japanese econoboxes to old Holdens to muscle cars and a Cadillac, the indicator is on the right where it falls naturally to hand. This was an issue the whole trip, I turned on the wipers so many times instead of indicating, as well as turning cruise control and ALS a few times as well.
Turning the lights on was a bit easier, the controls are on the indicator stalk but are neither clear not intuitive in their function. The headlights were great once they were on though!
Once I got out on the side street the rental company was on, I then needed to turn right onto a main road - so I stopped, and then when the way was clear, accelerated onto the main road - very very slowly, even with my foot flat to the floor. This thing was severely underpowered, or the transmission is very poorly set up, but my god it is so sloooow it is actually dangerous. It made my partner's 1 litre CVT Toyota Vitz feel like a Dodge Challenger Hellcat by comparison. We had a drag race at the lights with a Citroen 2CV at one point in our trip.... and lost.
Accerleration on the motorway was a little better, although still painfully slow. Overtaking anything required stomping the gas to the floor and then waiting while the engine thrashed and the transmission made all sorts of whining noises as speed crept up. It was an exercise in patience for sure. Do NOT attempt passing anything on a two lane road, it is just not safe as something will come the other way in the minutes that pass as you attempt to overtake anything faster than a tractor or horse and cart.
The speedo is rather oddly marked, at 20 km intervals, and extremely optimistically goes all the way to 220 km/h. I doubt that it's capable of much more than 140, to get it all the way to 220 you would need a lot of spare time, and a strong tailwind or an extemely long hill to drive down. I found the speedo difficult to read at a first glance initially.
Ride and handling were OK, adequate for the job, although I could not really test the limits of the handling with so little available power. Normally you power out of a corner at speed to correct oversteer, that is just not possible with this. Interior noise was not too bad apart from the engine which had a lot of tappet noise and thrashing when used hard which was most of the time.
I will say the brakes seemed very good when I used them hard a couple of times, and there is no possibility of the engine/trans combo overpowering the brakes! The turning circle though - I needed three lanes of a four lane road plus a metre of verge to do a U turn, more than my Holden Commodore and about the same as my old Cadillac Fleetwood! Worse than anything else I have driven that size, and made parking it in parking buildings etc harder.
The infotainment system is on an 8 in screen in the middle of the dash. It was not easy to use, I was able to pair my phone via Bluetooth after some messing around, but it would drop Bluetooth randomly, or whenever an Apple phone was plugged into the USB plug. There is only one USB, mounted in a difficult to access niche in the console, and it was hard to plug anything into it. There is another USB shaped socket in the gear shifter surround - but try as I might, I couldnt actually plug anything into it, nobody's USB lead fitted into the socket.
The infotainment system has Apple Car Play but not Android Auto weirdly. Sound was good when I could get it to work, but I could not get my Android phone to show navigation on the main screen, and nor could a friend. He did manage to get his iPhone to work, but it kept dropping connection even through the USB lead.
The one other thing of note in the interior was the gear shift surround - it was entirely chromed, and that was already starting to peel off at one corner, at only 14,000 kms. Probably just as well, as the glare in the drivers eyes from that chrome surround was extremely disconcerting - I covered it with a black Speedo swim brief the entire trip to elminate this glare for safety.
To sum up, these things are cheap, and they are cheap for a reason. Given the strange noises from the transmission and the tappet noise from the engine at such low kms (I actually checked the engine oil as I thought it was low from the noise) I would not bet on it lasting. On a previous trip, we rented a small Kia hatch that had 200,000 kms of being ridden hard and put away wet and it was mechanically quieter than this.
Wjtinfwb on Jan 02, 2023
Best, an Audi A6 rental courtesy of National. Great freeway flyer; swift, smooth, silent. Better than 30 mpg on my 1200 mile trip. Very surefooted and confidence inspiring in some bad weather.
Worst, my daughter's '16 Subaru Crosstrek. Why these get so much love I don't understand. Slow, noisy, cheap feeling. The Audi got slightly better gas mileage. We bought it for the AWD, safety gizmo's and strong reliability. That's the extent of it's virtues. It has been reliable but so has the '16 Focus ST we bought at the same time for my son.
MQHokie on Jan 03, 2023
Best: '22 BMW X3 M40i. Test drove this after being totally underwhelmed by a Genesis GV70 3.5T. I was absolutely blown away by the chassis and powertrain, and if all goes well I will be buying a '23 this year.
Close second: IONIQ 5 AWD. Amazing power, at least at moderate speeds. Doesn't have the handling of the BMW though, and recent reports of severe winter range drops and unreliable fast chargers in cold weather have me a little skittish on EV adoption just yet.
Worst: '20 Nissan Rogue Sport. Nice interior and handles fairly well, but the "power"train is just god-awful by modern standards. It's comically underpowered and the need to constantly flog it kills the fuel economy.