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The revolutionary Lucid Air electric sedan took MotorTrend’s car of the year. But the car’s launch model–the Lucid Air Dream Edition–is already sold out. The next trim-level entering production–the Lucid Air Grand Touring–starts at $139,000. Those of us without six figures to blow on our next car might want to take a second look at the finalists for this year’s Car of the Year. They include the Honda Civic, Toyota GR 86, and Porsche Taycan.

2022 Honda Civic

Over ten generations, the Honda Civic has dominated the compact car class. MotorTrend figures the latest Civic could have remained competitive for years without a major redesign. But Honda reinvented the icon for 2022. The result is better in every way.

You can buy the 2022 Honda Civic with either a 2.0-Liter naturally aspirated I4 or a 1.5-Liter turbocharged I4. These engine make 158 and 180 horsepower respectively. The styling refresh is as jaw-dropping as the performance. Outside, the more refined Civic reminded the judges a bit of the beloved Accord. Inside, the Civic pulls out all the stops with a crisp new touchscreen and a beautiful hexagonal mesh across the dashboard to hide the HVAC vents.

MotorTrend’s only issues with the Civic were its noise and vibration. The cabin is a bit noisier than the competition while the constantly variable transmission (CVT) can feel a bit harsh. Finally, the nicest interior is reserved for the Civic Touring trim. But with the Civic starting at just $21,900, you may be ready to forgive these trade-offs.

2022 Toyota GR 86

MotorTrend was giddy about the redesigned 2022 Toyota GR 86 announcement. It is a competitively priced coupe boasting a performance heritage. Sadly, the results of the reinvention fell short of MotorTrend’s expectations.

The Toyota GR 86 shares a chassis with the sporty Subaru BRZ. Manual fans rejoice: the sports car is available with a 6-speed. Its engine is a 2.4-Liter Subaru-built 4-cylinder rated at 232 horsepower. MotorTrend felt the second-generation car’s engine improves midrange acceleration and dropped 0-60 MPH from almost seven seconds to 5.8. The car handles even better than it accelerates.

You may consider the 2022 GR 86 if you want an entry-level sports car. It starts at just $28,725. But MotorTrend judges would be hesitant to daily drive it. The trade-off of cost-effective handling, in this case, is a very stiff ride. In addition, the interior can be loud and feels cramped.

2022 Porsche Taycan

With the 911, Porsche built an automotive icon. The drivetrain has endured for nearly 60 years. With the new Porsche Taycan, the German manufacture may repeat history.

The signature low-hood looks of the original Porsche 911 are only possible because of its rear-engine layout. With the new electric skateboard chassis underpinning the Taycan, Porsche was able to echo this design language. The resulting sedan looks like a Porsche should. According to MotorTrend it corners and drives as a Porsche should too. The suspension is at home on the track and on the road.

Unfortunately, the Taycan lost out on Car of the Year for a second year running. 2022 sees the new, more efficient RWD model. But the result could be quicker. In addition, Porsche does not seem to be embracing electrification enough to offer a one-pedal driving mode. The Taycan starts at $82,700 and is currently outselling the Porsche 911.

This 2022 Porsche Taycan, 2022 Honda Civic, and 2022 Toyota GR 86 were finalists for car of the year. | Martyn Lucy/Getty Images
Porsche Taycan | Martyn Lucy/Getty Images

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