The deliberations for the 2022 Star Awards start soon, and this year, we have even more vehicles fighting to win in the six categories. From November 6 to 11, our team will be in southern California driving 20 different models on the area's roads, tracks, and trails as we try to figure out which deserves the honor of one of our seven awards. 

As a refresher, only vehicles that are new or substantilly different from vehicles we considered last year are eligible. So while the Ford F-150 and Hyundai Elantra won awards for Best Truck and Best Value in 2021, the all-electric F-150 Lightning and high-performance Elantra N are different enough that they qualify for this year's awards. At the same time, last year's Best Luxury winner, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, is ineligible because it's essentially identical to the 2021 model.

Vehicles will contend for awards in Best EVBest PerformanceBest LuxuryBest SUV (the category formerly known as Best Family Vehicle), Best Value, Best Truck, and Editors' Choice. But in the biggest change from last year, vehicles will contend for multiple awards, which has allowed us to considerably expand the number of vehicles competing for each individual award. Scroll on for the complete list of vehicles we've invited to's second annual Star Awards and check out the brief explainer for each competition.

If you'd prefer to watch our editorial team run through all of the categories, check out the latest episode of the Rambling About Cars podcast.

Gallery: 2022 Star Awards Best EV

Best EV:

The EV segment is among the fastest evolving in the auto industry, and our picks offer a glimpse at the breadth of models available. We have the fairly affordable Hyundai Ioniq 5. The BMW iX and Lucid Air GT are premium offerings. The Ford F-150 Lightning and GMC Hummer EV are pickups that also offer luxury and cutting-edge tech.

The unique characeteristics of EVs make this one of the more difficult categories to judge as the vehicles are heavier and much quicker than most others. Combine that with EV-specific traits, such as motor regeneration, and a careful analysis of charging speeds, and the EV category is shaping up to be among the most contentious at this year's awards.

Gallery: 2022 Star Awards Best Performance

Best Performance:

We are testing our performance cars on the street and also opening them up at the Willow Springs racecourse to see how they do on the track. But beyond simply looking at driving character, we'll be conducting instrumented testing (and, likely, screwing about with launch control systems and other performantce tech.

Speed is important, but it's not the only factor in our testing, so don't expect the 819-horsepower (611-kilowatt) Lucid Air Grand Touring to run away with an easy victory. For example, the Volkswagen Golf GTI beat the more powerful BMW M3 Competition for the Star Award in this category last year.

Gallery: 2022 Star Awards Best Luxury

Best Luxury:

Many factors combine to create a winning luxury vehicle. The ride should be comfortable, and the interior material quality needs to be impressive. For modern vehicles, the technology should make the ride relaxing by offering features like massaging seats or advanced driving assistance systems. We are also taking price into consideration, which is why the Acura Integra can go up against six-figure models like the Range Rover or Lucid Air.

Gallery: 2022 Star Awards Best SUV

Best SUV:

SUVs are a dominant vehicle sales segment in the United States because they can do a little bit of everything like off-roading, towing, or just carrying a whole family. We are judging them based on all of these factors. Expect our team to climb around the second row (and the third where applicable) to make sure these rigs are as good at holding passengers as they excel for the person behind the wheel.

Gallery: 2022 Star Awards Best Value

Best Value:

Defining a vehicle's value is tricky. It's not just a matter of choosing the least expensive model. The features that the buyer gets for the money are a major part of picking a winner. Plus, vehicle quality is something to consider. Like all of the categories, the driving experience is part of the deliberation. This is going to be a contentious category and it's our only one with a price cap – none of the vehicles contending for this award cost more than $40,000.

Gallery: 2022 Star Awards Best Truck

Best Truck:

All of the pickups competing in this year feature electrified powertrains, which shows how this segment is evolving to be greener. Many people use their trucks as a primary vehicle for commuting to work and doing errands. So while traditional work stuff is important, drivability, comfort, and technology will be a big part of what we're looking at as we evaluate the F-150 Lightning, Ford Maverick Hybrid, GMC Hummer EV, and Toyota Tundra. We'll be evaluating them on all of these factors.

Editors' Choice:

All of the vehicles taking part in the Star Awards are also competing for our editors' choice pick. After spending a week with these models, we'll be setting aside our rigid metrics and careful assessments and considering which vehicle is, plain and simply, our favorite. The winner doesn't necessarily have to take victory in one of the other categories, either. Last year, the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo took the honor, despite losing out to the Ford Mustang Mach-E as Best EV.

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