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What didn’t make the cut

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As we announced at the start of the week, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Lucid Air, Mercedes-Benz EQS, Rivian R1T, and Volkswagen ID.4 are this year’s finalists for Green Car Reports’ Best Car To Buy 2022. 

All of the models on the shortlist met a series of qualifications, including a minimum EPA range of 125 miles—or 32 miles for any plug-in hybrids. They’ve been made available to the editors of our editorial group before the end of the year through some means, and delivered to paying customers in significant numbers by the end of the first quarter. For the second year, Covid protocols made logistics more challenging, and we didn’t get the traditional vehicle roundup and in-person debate and discussion.

That said, here are some of the new green vehicles that didn’t make the list, and why. 

2022 Audi RS E-Tron GT

Audi E-Tron GT. The GT shares its underpinnings with the Porsche Taycan, incorporating the Porsche’s speedy 800-volt fast-charging, but trades off some of the Taycan’s sharpness for a well-balanced touring personality. The GT’s 238-mile range, relatively low sales volume, and $100,945 starting price wouldn’t have boosted its standing in this year of tough competition. But the reality is that outside of a few hours of first-drive time for one editor, none of the rest of us got close to one. 

2020 Ford Escape

2020 Ford Escape

Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid. As we look back at a long list of timing updates, this plug-in hybrid was delayed first by a battery issue and then by supply-chain woes. The Escape Plug-In Hybrid is the only new-this-year PHEV to meet our 32-mile minimum, covering 37 electric miles and getting 41 mpg as a hybrid. As of yet Ford hasn’t made it available to press outside the Detroit area, and we’ve seen few in stock at dealerships. We hear it’s good but question how committed the company is to producing significant numbers of it. 

Ford Maverick. Yes, the Maverick didn’t make the shortlist because it isn’t an EV or PHEV. But we’re still shocked that Ford beat Toyota to market with a hybrid pickup—last year, with the F-150. And now it has a smaller one that really returns shockingly good mileage. With ratings of 42 mpg city, 33 highway, 37 combined, the Maverick sets a new bar for pickup efficiency, while its 1,500-pound payload handles most needs without upsizing. If Ford truly plans to build a lot of these in hybrid form, it could make quite the difference in replacing sub-20-mpg trucks. 

2022 GMC Hummer EV fitted with accessories - 2021 SEMA show

2022 GMC Hummer EV fitted with accessories – 2021 SEMA show

GMC Hummer EV. GM has maintained that it will deliver some Hummer EVs before the end of the year, but it’s keeping full press drives under wraps until well into 2022 and it’s not yet clear when a true production ramp will happen beyond those first few vehicles. But there’s another technicality: Our award is for light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks), and the $112,595 Edition 1 version of the Hummer EV is a heavy-duty truck. This is one that will have to wait for next year, when we’ll have had some quality time with it—including subsequent light-truck versions that will most definitely make the cut.

2022 Mazda MX-30

2022 Mazda MX-30

Mazda MX-30. The Mazda MX-30 might have made the cut except for its 100-mile range—although we do applaud Mazda’s efforts to supplement drivers with loans of other models for longer trips. Even if it had made our list of finalists, Mazda is planning on a very limited rollout so far for the EV. Perhaps with a rotary range extender this quirky crossover will make the list as a plug-in hybrid next year. 

Tesla Model S. The Model S received its first comprehensive redesign and update in nine years, and while there’s been a lot of buzz about the yoke in place of a steering wheel, the rest of the Model S Plaid is being summed up as much-improved. Tesla no longer has press demonstrators, which leaves us searching through means such as Turo to ensure long enough of a drive. We’ll get into it eventually, but as the end of the year neared we set the timeline back over the logistics of getting a majority of our editors across multiple cities into this model, which is still quite rare.

2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge

2022 Volvo XC60 Recharge

An entire cohort of premium-brand plug-in hybrids. Our 32-mile cutoff for electric range in plug-in hybrids disqualified a series of new and otherwise strong contenders from Jeep, Volvo, BMW, and others. Although these models might be converting a new crowd to the merits of electric propulsion, virtually all of these models still make it second stage to the gasoline engine, while struggling to cover the daily commute. Let’s hope some stricter potential rules from California push these models toward 50 miles of electric range and beyond, where almost all daily-driving needs could be covered without tailpipe emissions.

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