Looking back at the top test drives of 2021

This photo provided by Ford shows the 2022 Ford Maverick, a compact pickup truck with a choice of a hybrid or turbocharged engine. (Courtesy of Ford Motor Co. via AP)
caption arrowCaption
This photo provided by Ford shows the 2022 Ford Maverick, a compact pickup truck with a choice of a hybrid or turbocharged engine. (Courtesy of Ford Motor Co. via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

As COVID-19 and supply chain shortages continue to affect new car availability, our love affair with the automobile remains undiminished. Vehicles are our escape machines, able to make us forget about our worries as we indulge our passion for the joy of the open road. There have been some wonderful test drives during the past 12 months, and these are the ones that have proven to be the most memorable, in order by base price.

2022 Ford Maverick ($19,995)

The least expensive new Ford you can buy is s hybrid pickup with room for five, more than 33 cubic feet of cargo space in the bed, a 1,500-pound payload and a 2,000-pound towing capacity. And it’s a gas-electric hybrid, one that generates 191 horsepower through the front wheels that returned a stunning 51 mpg. All this from a truck that can haul 500 pounds of 4x8 sheets of plywood, 1,000 pounds of cement or a pair of jet skis. Sweet!

ExploreHow to prep your vehicle for winter driving

2022 Subaru BRZ/Toyota GR 86 ($27,995/$27,700)

You’ll find these identical cousins to be forgiving and well balanced, with sharper steering, and stronger braking. Extremely responsive, yet easily controllable, the tail rotates around on command or stays planted depending on your inputs. With good but not overwhelming horsepower and a flatter torque curve, there’s enough on tap to use while driving to the Piggly Wiggly without arousing suspicions. They’re both just good, cheap fun.

2022 Toyota Tundra ($35,950)

The first Toyota full-size pickup that seriously challenges Detroit’s bestsellers, it comes with a Double Cab or Crew Cab, and is comes with a twin-turbocharged and intercooled double-overhead-cam V-6 or the same engine mated to a hybrid electric powertrain. Both drivelines can handle a payload of 1,940 pounds and tow up to 12,000 pounds. It’s a truly competitive alternative to pickups produced by GM, Ford, Stellantis and Nissan.

2021 Jaguar XF ($43,995)

You can buy a brand new 2021 Jaguar sedan at a price that’s $7,105 LOWER than last year, yet it has a dramatically improved interior, updated infotainment system and styling updates. Its competition from Germany, all of which boast a turbocharged four and automatic transmission like this Jag, cost considerably more. It’s something special, a unique flavor in a segment overwhelmed by mass-produced German luxury sedans.

2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E ($49,700)

A good-looking, practical, sporty, fun-to-drive crossover that just happens to be powered by electricity, not gasoline, the Mach-E is the perfect vehicle for making you forget all about that gas-powered chariot taking up needless space in your garage. Perfectly sized, exceptionally well designed and fun to drive, It will convince you of the wisdom of switching to an electric vehicle.

ExploreWhat’s the cost to ‘fill up’ an electric car?

2022 Genesis GV70 ($52,600)

With masterful styling that stands apart in its segment, the GV70 is the golden mean of a modern luxury conveyance. Its impressive comfort doesn’t come at the expense of its equally impressive athleticism. This means that if you’re a driving enthusiast, you’ll have fun testing its dynamics. If you’re not, you’ll enjoy its remarkable comfort and quiet. It’s truly aspirational, one that you want to own, and not because of its price.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer ($86,995)

The return of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer reignites another storied Jeep nameplate, one that pioneered the idea of a luxury SUV years before Range Rover. Now a luxury sub-brand of Jeep, the 2022 Grand Wagoneer strides the American terra firma with a monied élan that’s surprising. It’s an off-road Blue Blood, a mobile drawing room of the finest order. Look for one soon down a gated gravel driveway or at an equestrian club near you.

2021 McLaren GT ($210,000)

By McLaren standards, this is a GT. By industry standards, it is not. But such semantics are meaningless marketing mumbo jumbo. This is a mesmerizing new McLaren, delivering a remarkable driving experience that thrills you every time you climb behind the wheel. McLaren’s new 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 that generates 612 horsepower, while serving up 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and a top speed of 203 mph.

2021 Lamborghini Huracán Evo Spyder ($233,113)

Extravagant, flamboyant, exaggerated, extreme, speedy, fast, brisk, rapid, quick, sharp, alert, loud, vocal, magnetic, alluring, compelling, captivating, charismatic, fun, entertaining, amusing, exciting, intoxicating, exhilarating, elating, thrilling, stirring, stimulating and rousing, the Huracán Evo Spyder is a racecar disguised as a daily driver, a raging bull of uncompromising fun and refinement. Words hardly do it justice.

2021 Rolls-Royce Wraith Black Badge ($330,000)

This murdered-out grand touring coupe is an extravagant statement that’s not for those who shun showiness or are part of the federal witness protection program. The Wraith is an exercise in extravagance, one that reflects its clientele’s taste, or lack of it. While Charles Rolls and Henry Royce were products of the 19th century, their finely crafted vehicles continue to define high-end luxury cars in the 21st.

Larry Printz is an automotive journalist based in South Florida. Readers may send him email at TheDrivingPrintz@gmail.com.

About the Author