Take a second look at these gems.
You might have to wait right now for a new car to be delivered, but the choice of which car you want to wait for to be delivered in 2022 is massive. With that comes a long list of great cars that are popular with good reason. However, if you don't subscribe to the idea of the latest and greatest and don't want to drive the same car as everyone at the office or your neighbors, then you have real choice. There are some great cars out there being underrated by the general public and enthusiasts alike. These are the cars we've driven and been impressed by, but for one reason or another, they remain overlooked.
The default in the premium/executive sedan class tends to be the BMW 5 Series or Mercedes-Benz E Class. Audi's A6 is also popular, but what if you want to pay a little less and don't need the next-level driving dynamics offered by the BMW or, to a lesser extent, the Audi and Mercedes? Well, there's the Volvo S90 which is like driving a high-end Swedish coffee shop around, or the even more overlooked Volkswagen Arteon. The Arteon is available with a front-wheel or all-wheel-drive system, both powered by a 300-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and boasts loads of style and technology. The best bit? You can live the premium commuter life in an SE R-Line Arteon for around $40,000. We're amazed we don't see more of these on the road in the US.
While Buick is in danger of just becoming GM's China-only brand, the Envision recently got a comprehensive update for the US market. It's a great-looking crossover with a 228-horsepower four-cylinder engine and an interior that slots in somewhere between a mainstream crossover and a fully-fledged luxury model. With price tags ranging from $31,500 to $41,650, the Envision delivers a lot for the money and shows us what the Buick brand could look like if it used this as the benchmark for the rest of its lineup.
Before the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz arrived, the Honda Ridgeline was already demonstrating trucks built with a monocoque chassis are more than strong enough for most people. The Ridgeline is larger than both and powered by a tried-and-tested 3.5-liter V6 making 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft to all four wheels as standard. It drives like a comfortable crossover but has a useful 64-inch long and 60-inch wide bed. Unfortunately, the snobs have put a lot of people off with the whole "if it's not body-on-frame, then it's not a real truck" nonsense. However, if you're not afflicted by fragile masculinity and want a useful lifestyle truck you can daily drive comfortably, the Ridgeline is a mature platform you should take a look at.
Yes, it's got an Acura badge, and that's a brand that isn't synonymous with supercars. However, the NSX is a genuine supercar that will carve canyons and mountain roads at crazy speed before the driver's skills start to be properly tested. On the track where you can actually push the NSX, it's a stunner with speed and dynamics that can embarrass cars that cost much more than its $169,500 price tag. Why the NSX gets overlooked by so many enthusiasts is beyond us.
The Genesis brand was, essentially, established to take market share from BMW and Mercedes. A few Genesis models need a little more time to cook, but the G70 is a bit of a stunner to drive. It goes toe-to-toe with the BMW 3 Series, and if you put a gun to our heads and make us choose between the two as a general recommendation, you might end up pulling the trigger. We recommend the G70 in rear-wheel-drive form with the 364-hp 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 at $46,700 for enthusiasts. That's considerably less expensive than the M340i for not much less power and comparable performance in dynamics. The 3.3T comes with an adaptive sport-tuned suspension, Brembo brakes, and can be optioned with a limited-slip differential and an electronic suspension system. The downside is space for passengers in the back, but you're not buying this as an everyday family car.
The most refreshing thing about the Lincoln Nautilus is that it isn't weighed down by the idea that every vehicle should be sporty. What's relaxing about the Nautilus is everything else. Option the 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 for effortless power, then you can go about your business while enjoying a quiet, spacious, and beautiful cabin with a ton of standard features wrapped up in the Reserve trim for under $60,000.
We also love the larger Aviator for unadulterated American-made luxury with a restrained exterior. The idea of "driver engagement" is tossed out the window, and Lincoln's engineers focused on ride quality that holds up even with the addition of 22-inch wheels. There's also aa surprisingly pleasant minimalist style interior.
For the longest time, the Toyota Avalon has been one of the top choices of Florida retirees that never miss an early bird special and a chance to show off matching leisurewear. However, the current generation of Avalon falls into the same category as the Volkswagen Arteon as a stylish, pleasant, and well-specced commuter car. It doesn't pack the power of the Arteon, but you can't argue with a large sedan cruising around while returning up to 43/44/44 mpg city/highway/combined. It's a little on the expensive side at $37,250 to $43,550, depending on trim level, but with the price of gas looking like it won't be dropping anytime soon, it'll likely end up paying for itself.
If you have a spare bay in the garage and want to park something in there for the weekends, sure, you could buy a Mazda MX-5 Miata or maybe a Caterham Seven, or some other sports car. Or, you could go truly hardcore for your weekend driving expeditions and choose something with just three wheels. With all the drive going to the single wheel at the back, you're not going to set records on your favorite road, but, oh boy, will you be entertained. Remember how excited everyone got when the Toyota GT86 arrived on skinny tires so you could slide it around easily? Well, imagine just having one fat tire on the back while having more grip than a motorcycle at the front. We're not going to pretend the Slingshot is more than a toy as it makes the MX-5 and 86/BRZ look like practical cars, and has nowhere near the track and driving dynamics of a Caterham Seven. However, if you're looking for pure fun and love to take long drives over the weekend, then it's worth remembering that the Slingshot is a thing.