Written by Tori Tellem for HOT ROD MAGAZINE on November 18th, 2022
The best vehicles to customize? These are SEMA’s picks for car, truck, sport-compact, EV, and 4x4/SUV.
The most influential automotive aftermarket trade association has named the best new vehicles for the automotive aftermarket. That might sound a little like back-patting, but it's (mostly) not. SEMA's annual SEMA Award, first handed out in 2010, is based on what the organization believes are the vehicles with the best platforms for customization, and therefore a good barometer for the aftermarket when developing new products. The winners are named during SEMA week in Las Vegas. The 2022 awards ended up being a massive sweep by Stellantis brands: Dodge Challenger, Ram Truck, and Jeep Gladiator and Wrangler.
The Original SEMA Award Was Hot
The SEMA Award used to be just four categories: Hottest Car, Hottest Sport Compact, Hottest Truck, and Hottest 4x4-SUV. The first-ever awards went to the Ford Mustang, Scion FR-S, Ford F-Series, and Jeep Wrangler, respectively. Over time, not only did the term "hot" age-out, replaced by the "Of the Year" theme, but the categories also expanded to reflect shifts in the automotive industry. This year, the awards spiked to six categories (and sharp eyes will spot the character-choice evolution in category naming compared to 2010): Car of the Year, Midsize Truck of the Year, Full-Size of the Year, 4x4/SUV of the Year, Sport Compact of the Year, and Electric Vehicle of the Year. The EV category was new. Who votes? SEMA Show exhibitors, since they can read the temperature of the industry better than anyone.
2022 SEMA Award Winners And Runners-Up
Here you have it, a who's who of the most popular and upgrade-friendly finalists and winners for the "hottest" aftermarket award.
SEMA Car of the Year: Dodge Challenger (winner), Nissan Z
SEMA Midsize Truck of the Year: Jeep Gladiator (winner), Toyota Tacoma
SEMA Full-Size Truck of the Year: Ram (winner), Toyota Tundra
SEMA 4x4/SUV of the Year: Jeep Wrangler (winner), Toyota 4Runner
SEMA Sport Compact of the Year: Toyota GR86 (winner), Volkswagen Golf GTI
SEMA Electric Vehicle of the Year: Volkswagen ID.4 (winner), Nissan Ariya