The best cars to own in the UK: Driver Power 2022 results
Buying your next car? Our annual survey of UK car owners reveals the best cars to buy in 2022
These are the best new cars to own in the UK according to you, the people at the sharp end. Here are the 2022 Driver Power results!
Every year, the Driver Power 2022 new-car survey provides the UK’s most accurate guide to what cars are really like to live with, once you’ve driven them out of the showroom.
This year we’ve tweaked the ways we’ve gathered and studied the data from the tens of thousands of owners who have taken the time to share insights with us. These changes have made the survey more accurate, and therefore more relevant, than ever.
The survey asks consumers a range of question over a number of categories, from driving performance to running costs.
Numbers are then crunched and statistical weightings applied, which gives us your views on a national level.
The top 10 best cars to own in the UK
Here are the top 10 cars in the Driver Power 2022 new car survey listed in order. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the full results table listing the UK’s top 75 best cars to own.
1. Kia XCeed
The Kia XCeed absolutely romps to victory this year. So often the top cars are separated by tiny differences in scores, but not this year. The Kia didn’t so much move the goalposts as dig them up, run away with them, then build a new stadium around them.
For a start, the XCeed has two category wins, for exterior and ride and handling. According to respondents, it has the best-quality bodywork of all, and the most responsive steering. The brakes are also beyond reproach, say owners. High praise.
But then the Kia small SUV scores highly for its looks, ride quality and handling.
Indeed, the XCeed performs well in every area, but its interior is a real scoring highlight. You love the way the cabin is designed and how comfortable the front seats are, while visibility is excellent and everything feels like it will last for a very long time indeed. Owners also say the touchscreen is highly visible and responsive, while the balance between physical and touchscreen controls is just about right.
You say the car’s technology is easy to use, and connecting a smartphone to the infotainment set-up is simple. Meanwhile, the heating and air-conditioning systems came in for positive comments, too.
Build quality is fantastic, according to survey respondents, and owners also say that servicing costs are low. Finally, the XCeed features numerous interior cubbies, better child-friendly features than any other car, and a smooth gearbox. Can’t say better than that.
2. Mazda CX-5
The Mazda CX-5 and the Kia Rio simply swap positions this year, with the Mazda climbing from third to second. Value is a big component of the CX-5’s success, because owners love what they get for their cash. Add great scores for reliability and build quality, and the Mazda is a on a roll.
The angular looks of the CX-5 also earn decent marks and owners like the car’s exterior fit and finish.
There’s no let-up in the praise inside, because you love how the CX-5’s cabin looks and the way it is laid out. Build quality is another area in which the car scores well, as are front-seat comfort, rear-seat legroom, and visibility. Combine low servicing and insurance costs, and the CX-5 looks unassailable. So, it’s a pity you feel a bit let down by the Mazda’s fuel economy.
Nevertheless, you say the CX-5’s steering is responsive and it handles well, while the ride quality gets strong marks.
Practicality is another area in which you give the Mazda high scores. You say it has a large boot and plenty of other interior cubbies for odds and ends.
Finally, the seating arrangement is pleasingly versatile, but you say it would be good if the CX-5 had a few more child-friendly features.
3. Kia Rio
The Kia Rio finishes third this year, after being the runner-up in 2021.
The Korean supermini didn’t top any particular area of the survey but nevertheless it scored well in pretty much every section. Infotainment is listed as being a real plus point; the sat-nav system scores well, while the touchscreen is sensitive and backed up by a good number of physical controls.
You’re also big fans of the value for money offered by the Rio, with drivers happy that it’s so cheap to run. Indeed, the car’s fuel economy earns real praise, as do the comparatively low insurance premiums. Moving inside the Rio, you say the interior is both stylish and well made. The front seats are rated as being very comfortable, while the rear seats have plenty of legroom.
On the road, Rio owners are fans of their cars’ roadholding and steering, while the brakes receive good comments, too. The ride is good, too, say respondents, while the boot feels bigger than you might expect for a car of this size. Finally, the number of safety features also comes in for high praise.
4. Hyundai Kona
Last year’s winner may have dropped three places this year, but it’s hardly a fall from grace. Indeed, the small SUV’s fourth-place finish actually reinforces the fact that owners love it.
It topped the survey overall for its infotainment system, scoring well for ease of connectivity, the responsiveness of the touchscreen itself, and how well the sat-nav functions. Owners also find it easy to use.
No matter what’s under the bonnet, be it petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric, the Hyundai SUV earns strong marks for its engine and gearbox. Respondents think the acceleration is good, while the gearboxes are smooth and the car tends to keep the noise down.
You also tell us that the Kona is dependable and feels nicely put together, while the brakes and steering fill you with confidence.
The boot space earns the Kona a black mark, but the Hyundai hits back with high scores for excellent visibility and comfortable front seats. You also praise the Kona’s child-friendly features and its safety equipment, plus its low running costs.
5. Skoda Kodiaq
The Skoda Kodiaq is up one place in 2022. It tops the entire survey for practicality, and the flexibility of the five- or seven-seat cabin arrangement also earns high scores. The large boot and profusion of interior stowage spots reinforce its high score.
Reliability is another area in which the Kodiaq scores well, again topping the entire survey. The high scores just keep coming, with the Kodiaq’s owners praising the exterior’s design and fit and finish.
So why doesn’t it finish higher? Well, the powertrains are its weak spot; you tell us the engines don’t offer enough power for a vehicle of this size and the transmission could do with being smoother.
Running costs are another let-down, with owners suggesting their fuel-economy figures aren’t as good as they’d like. Servicing costs have also been criticised by some.
Still, the Skoda scores pretty well across the board. You like the amount of rear-seat legroom, and the interior styling also comes in for praise, as does the visibility.
6. Kia Sportage (Mk4)
This generation of Kia Sportage may have been replaced, but sixth place for the old crossover is still a great result. It achieved the success because owners are big fans of the styling, practicality and comfort both in the front and back seats.
You also praise the way children are catered for, while the in-car technology is easy to use and servicing costs are perfectly manageable. The driving experience provided by the chassis is highly rated, but the engines let the side down somewhat; a score of 59th place for acceleration isn’t great. There’s another downside, too, because owners need to rev the engine hard to make progress, which harms economy; the Kia is ranked 53rd in this category. Read our review of the latest Kia Sportage here.
7. Honda CR-V
Honda has good reason to be pleased with the CR-V’s result in this year’s survey, because it has risen from 21st in 2020 to seventh this year. That’s an impressive climb, and it’s driven by good scores for the visibility, rear legroom, powertrain and quality.
You also tell us that the way the CR-V drives is a positive, and the safety systems are rated highly enough to put the Honda in top spot for both functionality and ease of use. Second overall for heating and air-con merely cements the score.
That makes it even more of a shame that owners don’t like the infotainment system, while some running costs, such as the insurance, are higher than average.
8. Toyota C-HR
The Toyota C-HR’s owners really like how it looks and how it feels. Its driving experience is highly rated, too, with the car scoring third place for steering responsiveness and second for the ride. The performance and economy offered by the hybrid powertrain are also highly regarded.
So why is the car not in the top five? Well, a couple of areas let it down: while the car looks great from the outside, that radical styling makes it tricky to see out of, where it is rated 45th. Owners are also less than chuffed with the satellite-navigation system, the amount of interior storage and luggage space.
9. Tesla Model 3
At last, Tesla has made it into the top 10 of the annual Driver Power survey with the Model 3, so not only is it selling by the boat-load, but you also like living with it.
The electric car’s powertrain is a particular high spot, because it tops the survey for both acceleration and running costs.
There is, however, one fly in the ointment: quality. The Tesla Model 3 is bottom of all for its exterior finish and materials and 70th for overall quality. Indeed, the fact that 43.6 per cent of owners said they have experienced an issue is a real concern.
10. SEAT Ateca
Owners clearly love the value the SEAT Ateca offers, because it sits in the top 10 for another year.
Not everything is quite as rosy, however, because in some areas the car really disappoints you. For example, ride quality and engine performance don’t figure strongly, whereas roadholding and steering responsiveness take high scores, which is unusual for an SUV. Nevertheless, the Ateca scores only 47th place overall for driving pleasure.
Drivers consider the luggage space to be above average, although more seating flexibility would be appreciated.
The best cars to own 2022: 1-75 rankings
|Position||Make and model||Overall score|
|9||TESLA MODEL 3||90.73%|
|24||VAUXHALL GRANDLAND X||89.13%|
|30||MERCEDES A CLASS||88.78%|
|32||BMW 3 SERIES||88.67%|
|41||LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SPORT||87.53%|
|44||BMW 1 SERIES (2011-2019)||87.08%|
|46||CITROEN C3 AIRCROSS||87.01%|
|47||BMW 5 SERIES||86.99%|
|53||RANGE ROVER EVOQUE||86.54%|
|54||BMW 1 SERIES||86.53%|
|70||AUDI A3 (2012-2020)||84.68%|
Top 10 best used hatchbacks 2022
Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers
Used car mileage: UK average and how much is too much?
Should you buy an Audi, a BMW or a Mercedes?
Engine management light: top 5 causes of amber engine warning light
Top 10 cheapest electric cars 2022
Top 10 best electric SUVs 2022