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Best medium SUVs of 2022

The Nissan Ariya is The Car Expert's Best Medium SUV of 2022, joining a sector dominated by electric models

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Welcome to the new family car category. Saloons and estates are out, SUVs and crossovers are in and the medium SUV market is comfortably the largest of the categories we track in our industry-leading Expert Rating Index.

It’s also a sector that is constantly growing, with 13 new medium SUVs added to our Expert Rating Index in 2022 – most of which were EVs.

As each new model launches, the differentiation between car, crossover and SUV gets more and more blurred. The vehicles in this category might be called SUVs, but that mostly just means that they sit higher than a regular car.

You probably wouldn’t want to attempt any kind of serious off-roading in most of the medium SUVs listed in our Expert Rating Index, as you’d be likely to puncture a tyre before you’ve even lost sight of the tarmac. But as the modern take on the traditional family wagon, they’re great.

Our awards recognise both the best new models to have been launched over the last 12 months, but also the best overall cars in each category – because newest doesn’t always mean best, as you can see below.

Best new medium SUV: Nissan Ariya (75%)

Nissan Ariya – Best Medium SUV | The Car Expert Awards 2022

The long-awaited Nissan Ariya is the deserving winner of our Best New Medium SUV award with a truly impressive driving range of up to 329 miles. Its distinctive exterior design offers something a little different to car buyers looking for an EV, while on the inside the Ariya boasts a spacious cabin and impressively refined interior.

With an Expert Rating of 75%, this is an electric vehicle that’s not just easy to live with, but enjoyable to live with.

Class champion, electric: Jaguar I-Pace (84%)

Jaguar I-Pace (2018 onwards) Expert Rating

The medium SUV category of our Expert Rating Index is now dominated with electric family cars battling for your attention, and the highest-ranked of all is the Jaguar I-Pace. It’s been on sale since 2018 and till maintains an excellent Expert Rating of 84%.

While it’s one of the most expensive models in this sector, the I-Pace has been highlighted for its blend of interior practicality and sports car performance, as well as its excellent safety features that contributed to its five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

Class champion, petrol/diesel: Porsche Macan (76%)

Porsche Macan (2014 onwards) Expert Rating

Even older than the Jaguar I-Pace is the Porsche Macan, which has been on sale since 2014 with a couple of facelifts along the way. Despite its age, it still holds a commendable Expert Rating of 76%.

The Macan has been continually highlighted by UK motoring outlets as a class-leader, thanks to its refined and comfortable cabin, punchy performance and sleek exterior styling.

Interested in a petrol-powered Porsche that is capable of ferrying the family from A to B in style? You might have to act quickly, as the next-generation Macan will be an electric vehicle and we expect to see it revealed next year.

The best new cars of 2022

Notes on eligibility

To be eligible for our Best New Model or Class Champion titles, there are a couple of requirements in addition to having a top Expert Rating score.

Firstly, the Best New Model must have been launched in the UK between 1 December 2021 and 1 December 2022. That means cars registered and on the road, not just available to order for deliveries starting sometime in 2023.

Secondly, a car must have a current Euro NCAP safety rating of either four or five stars. If a car scores three stars or less, we can’t in good conscience give it an award for being best in class. If a new model has not been tested by Euro NCAP by 1 December 2022, it will not be eligible but we will consider it next year if it has been tested.

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