These are the 10 vehicles we’re most excited to get behind the wheel of over the next 12 months.
2020 is, thankfully, almost at an end. We don’t have to tell you it’s been a year the world will long remember, even if we’d all rather not. So instead, we’re looking forward to what next year will bring; specifically, which cars (and utilities) we can’t wait to drive.
Our aim with this list is to cover all the bases. We’ve got America’s best-selling car entering a new generation. As a sign of the times, no less than three electric vehicles make the cut. Sports cars aren’t down for the count yet either, so we’ve highlighted a few, from the affordable end of the market on up. Oh yeah, and the Ford Bronco shows up, again. Blame production delays.
Presented below in alphabetical order, here are our 10 most anticipated cars of 2021 (okay, technically 11).
Look, we’re going to level with you: the iX almost didn’t make the cut. It’s included here despite those awkward, awkward looks. The previous BMW i models have been niche products, but the iX is going mainstream as the brand’s medium-sized EV crossover. We remain fans of the cute i3, and hope some of that model’s magic makes its way into the iX.
When it launchess, the iX will feature around 500 horsepower from a twin-motor setup. Range is expected to be 300 miles (482 km), with the requisite DC fast-charging capability offering up to 80 percent battery charge in 40 minutes. The iX’s footprint will be roughly X5-sized, but the longer wheelbase and lack of under-floor drivetrain bits should free up more space for passengers, in what’s a very stylish, minimalist interior. Production begins mid-2021.
Guess who’s back, back again? Yes, the Bronco is once again on our most-anticipated list. What gives? Like it did with everything else this year, COVID delayed the Bronco’s production. Ford had a whole lot on its plate this year, including launching this, the new F-150, the all-electric Mustang Mach-E, and the littler Bronco Sport. Something had to give.
While it may now be launching in summer 2021, the Bronco still holds a lot of appeal. The reborn nameplate represents the first serious attempt at the Jeep Wrangler’s affordable off-roader crown in decades. With two turbocharged engines, a rock-climbing Sasquatch package, and the option of two- or four-door models—and a genuine manual transmission—the Bronco is one SUV we can’t wait to get lost in.
Genesis is on a mission. The newest luxury brand has gone from strength to strength, launching the award-winning G70 sport sedan two years ago, and following up with its first SUV this year, the wonderful GV80. Next on the list is a smaller sibling for the latter, and based on our impressions with the GV80, the GV70 should be another hit.
The GV70 will target the BMW X3, Mercedes GLC-Class, Audi Q5, and—whisper it—the Porsche Macan. To do this, it will use the same two-engine lineup as its big brother: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and 3.5-liter V6, both turbocharged. That means more firepower than the competition, and the chassis tuning will lean more towards the Athletic side of the brand’s “Athletic Elegance” dichotomy—especially in Sport trim. Genesis’ interiors have been home runs lately too, so expect the same high quality and playful use of color here.
Nothing says more about the changing times than the Hummer being reborn as an all-electric vehicle. The hulking beast hasn’t changed too much as part of its migration under the GMC banner, though: it’s still enormous, and the styling is unmistakably Hummer.
The Hummer EV will launch first as a pickup truck. Powering the big guy is GM’s new Ultium modular battery technology. Understandably, it’s the largest Ultium format at work here, with three electric motors and a substantial 1,000-horsepower total. GM is quoting a frankly shocking 11,500 lb-ft of torque, but that’s likely the multiplied wheel figure, not “at the crank.” Pricing will start at $112,595 before destination for the top-spec Edition 1 model, but don’t plan on buying that one: it sold out in a matter of hours. Cheaper, less powerful models will roll out starting in 2022.
It’s not all about crossovers and SUVs next year. People still buy cars, and in the compact class, nothing sells better than the Honda Civic. Even in its final years, the current tenth-generation model remains both a best-seller, and very competitive. So Honda can’t screw the next one up.
Back in November, the Japanese brand showed off a thinly-disguised “concept” version of the upcoming sedan. It sheds the busy styling of the current car for a cleaner look, one that bears at least a passing resemblance to the iconic mid-’90s models. A similar revolution happens inside, with a large “floating” touchscreen and few buttons. The 11th-generation Civic will debut in late spring 2021, with sedan and hatchback body styles—including the hot Type R.
We’re potentially witnessing history repeat itself here. Hyundai once had the Genesis as its top sedan offering, before spinning the name off into its own successful brand. Now we’re seeing the same happen with Ioniq: currently a single Prius-fighter in hybrid, PHEV, and EV form, the name will cover a three-vehicle all-EV lineup coming over the next few years, starting with the Ioniq 5.
We don’t yet know much about the 5, other than it will be a mid-sized SUV based on the Hyundai Group’s E-GMP platform. Fast-charging will be possible, and Ioniq is calling the range “plentiful.” It will also look like the Hyundai 45 Concept, a very cool, angular reimagining of one of the brand’s earliest cars. If Genesis’ rise is any sign, we could see something great in Ioniq.
Yeah that’s right, we’re putting a van on this list. Just as Jupiter and Saturn aligned this year, so did every remaining competitor in the minivan segment. Toyota brought out a whole new (hybrid-only) Sienna; Chrysler significantly updated the Pacifica, adding AWD; Honda continued to evolve the always-strong Odyssey. Kia … well, Kia showed off the next-generation Sedona, known as the Carnival in other markets.
The Korean brand is on a styling tear lately, and the Carnival/Sedona continues the evolution of the Tiger Grille brand’s look. Embracing its blockiness, the new Sedona picks up a more assertive front end, modern full-width taillight out back, and a smattering of SUV styling cues outside. Inside is where it’s at though, with the second-row “Premium Relaxation Seat” offering an ottoman and a full recline typically found on business-class international flights. Other family-friendly features like an available intercom and back-seat camera system, and of course a multitude of standard safety assists, has us itching to line up a minivan royal rumble in 2021.
Nissan’s Z is one of the oldest cars on the market. Thankfully, the Japanese brand is finally giving the world a new generation of the two-seater for 2021, and while it thoroughly updates the look of the car, it still promises to be pleasantly old-school in a few important ways.
For starters, look at it. A rolling Greatest Hits tribute to the iconic Z-cars of yesteryear, the new-age Z features a nose like the original 240Z, and taillights clearly inspired by the 300ZX. It’s longer than the current car, but still compact. Another nod to tradition: a six-speed manual will carry on, in addition to an available automatic. They’ll both hook up to a turbocharged V6 engine, which should put the Z squarely against the Toyota Supra when it launches later in 2021.
We can’t touch on the subject of “tradition” without talking Porsche 911. The evergreen sports car debuted its 992-generation model a year ago, and that means a steady parade of new derivatives for the next few years. It started with the classic Carrera, then the time-warping Turbo, followed by the glorious Targa. For enthusiasts, the best is yet to come however: the high-revving, track-ready GT3.
The GT models have long been the link between the road cars and the racers, and the next GT3 will continue in that role. A massive swan-neck rear wing will provide serious downforce, while a new multilink front suspension will help the nose find even more grip. A revised version of the sensational 4.0-liter flat-six in the current car—which produces over 500 hp and revs to 9,000 rpm—will sit behind the rear axle, as god intended. And after the original blowback from the PDK-only 991.1 GT3, Porsche will continue to offer an available three-pedal setup in the GT3.
We close out the list with two of the most affordable sports coupes on the market: the Toyobaru twins. Subaru has already debuted the second-generation BRZ, and it evolves the formula that made these two so beloved in enthusiast circles.
First, the good news: the engine is still proudly naturally-aspirated, and can hook up to a six-speed in either manual or automatic guise. The boxer-four is up to 2.4 liters now, producing 228 hp and a healthy slug more torque (now 184 lb-ft, and available much lower in the rev range). Subaru is also proud of the fact the new model gained only 17 pounds over the old one. The interior features a digital instrument panel and more up-to-date furnishings. Toyota hasn’t revealed the GR86 sister car yet, but we expect it to look much the same as the Subaru inside and out.
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