As it’s been the case throughout decades past, consumer’s perception and requirements have changed dramatically in recent years, and so has the entire automotive industry as a whole, trying to keep up with the newfound situation. SUVs and crossovers have flooded the global markets, while the traditional passenger cars market has shrunk in their stead. For instance, crossovers and SUVs make up around 50 percent of the entire U.S. car market at the moment. Many of the most anticipated new 2021 cars will hence be crossovers.
Similar can be said about the electric car market which is also expanding in a rapid manner. All-electric cars account for only a little over 2 percent of all new vehicles bought in the U.S. in 2018 but they’re gaining momentum with each passing month. In Norway, for instance, they make up almost 50 percent of all new cars bought in 2018. With the influx of all-new models arriving in 2020 and beyond, these percentages will grow further. More strict regulations and slow but steady phase-out of oil burners could mean this increase will be more significant than first anticipated.
Without further ado, here are, in our humble opinion, some of the best new cars 2021 will bring to market.
11. 2021 Rivian R1S
Rivian ia a new player in the automotive world in sense that they’re only about to field their very first production vehicles. And while the R1T pickup truck will offer a futuristic powertrain to consumers in need of a commuter pickup truck, the R1S SUV is expected to be much more sought after of two Michigan-based startup company’s models.
The 2021 Rivian R1S features a futuristic design blended with traditional boxy SUV shape. An interesting mix that’s sure to polarize consumers will have its advantages though. High stance and no-nonsense slab-sided shape allows for plenty of room inside and considering how the three-row all-electric crossover market at the moment consists exclusively of the Tesla Model X, it isn’t hard to figure who the Rivian has in its crosshair.
Speaking of Rivian’s interior, it too is futuristic but subdued and minimalist. However, it doesn’t trail any of its future competitors in terms of refinement and technology. Leather and wood veneers take care of the former, while a 15.6-inch touchscreen display, Level 3 autonomous driving capability and modern electronic safety features take care of the latter. The R1S also gets a standard adjustable air suspension for a comfy ride and a split tailgate for added utility. Not to mention four different roof styles including one with electrochromic glass.
Powertrain behind both Rivian models consists of a large battery pack and electric motors mounted upon each wheel. The base models will use a 105-kWh battery pack with up to 240 miles of range and 402 horsepower on tap. The mid-range Rivian R1S gets a 135-kWh battery and 310 miles of range. It also serves as the lineup’s performance model with 754 hp and 823 lb-ft of torque, and a 0 to 60 acceleration time of 3 seconds flat. Last but not least, the larger 180-kWh battery might provide only 700 ponies, but makes up with up to 410 miles of EV range.
The Rivian R1S’s deliveries are expected to commence in late 2020 as 2021 model and prices start from around $72,500. Needless to say, that’s also a field in which the R1S looks more attractive than the Tesla Model X.
10. 2021 Mercedes-Benz S Class
The epitome of luxury isn’t an all-new car by any means, but the S Class is still getting a complete overhaul in 2021. The next W223-generation models are expected to remain true to their predecessors’s modus operandi and offer some sort of a breakthrough technological innovation – whether safety or convenience related.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz S Class doesn’t stray too far away from the W222 in terms of overall design. Merc’s hallmark styling is still there, but the new models still exhibit different frontal and rear fascias. There are also all-new pop-out door handles which could become the next big thing in the luxury car market in following years. Most importantly, however, the new S Class will ride on an all-new MRA platform whose benefits will be numerous.
Inside, expect the usual which is the class-leading level of refinement and comfort the S Class has been known for these past few decades. A Level 3 autonomous driving system is expected to be made available at some point during S Class’s life. Infotainment duties will be taken over by a new large portrait-oriented screen, while the wide range of advanced safety gear should be made available from the get-go.
Initially, the 2021 S Class will be limited to a 3.0L twin-turbo inline-six which utilizes a 48-volt mild-hybrid assist system, and generates 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. A 4.0L twin-turbo V8 with at least 463 hp and 516 lb-ft will be made available within a few months, while the most potent AMG models aren’t expected to arrive prior to MY 2022.
The next-gen Mercedes-Benz S Class is expected to arrive in sedan form, in late 2020 with prices likely again starting just below the psychological $100,000 barrier. Of course, anything extra will quickly raise their prices over the mentioned threshold, while the forthcoming range-topping AMG and ultra-luxury Maybach models will require more than double that.
09. 2021 Tesla Model Y
The all-new affordable Tesla crossover is expected to further enhance the California-based company’s sales after its deliveries commence in late 2020. The Model 3 had already sent shock waves throughout the electric car market and by the time the Model Y arrives, Tesla will have been a major player across the world. If it isn’t one already, that is.
The Model Y joins what finally appears a full and competitive lineup of electric passenger cars and SUVs. Design-wise, however, it shares more in common with the Model 3 sedan than with the Model X crossover despite being one of the latter itself. This doesn’t come as a surprise given the two cars also share the same platform.
Their respective interiors are also in-line with one another as they fit into the same price range – much like the more expensive Model S and Model X do. Materials aren’t of the same quality as they are in the flagship models, but overall simplicity and a large touchscreen display are there. The Model Y also sports an all-glass roof which furthers its futuristic demeanor, and will offer an optional $3,000 third row later on. Don’t expect to fit two fully grown adults there though.
The Tesla Model Y will be available with two different range specs. Although most people will likely flock to the most affordable Standard Range models which offer up to 230 electric miles, they’ll have to wait until later in 2021 to get them. Initially, Tesla will offer the Model Y exclusively in the Long Range guise. Available in rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and Performance variations, the Long Range models provide up to 300 and 280 miles of range respectively.
The Long Range Tesla Model Y’s will retail from $48,000, $52,000, and $61,000 respectively, and are expected to arrive in the Fall of 2020. The entry-level Standard Range models should follow in Spring time of the following year and Tesla claims their prices will start from $39,000.
08. 2021 Volkswagen I.D. Crozz
Burned by the Dieselgate scandal, Volkswagen was forced to accelerate its EV development both for the U.S. and other overseas markets. The forthcoming I.D. Crozz is one of nine upcoming I.D.-spec EVs scheduled to arrive in the next few years and the first Volkswagen EV to be sold in the U.S.
The I.D. Crozz is built upon the EV-dedicated Volkswagen MEB platform which won’t only underpin most of the I.D. range, but other Volkswagen Group’s compact electric products such as the upcoming Audi Q4 e-tron. The I.D. Crozz concept first revealed at the 2017 Shanghai and Frankfurt shows (revised version in the latter) already represents a vehicle that’s relatively close to production. Test mules caught this year confirm that, but the production model will still be much more streamlined and in-tune with remainder of the VW range.
Inside, the entire Volkswagen EV fleet is expected to receive a special treatment and the Crozz is no different. At this early stage, there is no official info which would confirm that. Being an entry-level EV crossover, the I.D. Crozz will probably offer a range of standard safety gear, but more advanced features won’t be included in the price.
The I.D. Crozz should be powered by dual electric motors (one upon each axle), and coupled with a large 83-kWh battery pack, provide around 300 horsepower and a corresponding amount of all-electric range (likely less by the time the EPA gets hold of it). Whether the Germans will offer more in ways of customizing the I.D. Crozz’s range and power outputs remains to be seen.
The first of Volkswagen’s all-electric vehicles is expected to arrive sometimes during 2021 with prices starting from somewhere north of $30,000.
07. 2021. Ferrari SF90 Stradale
Not exactly a car we’re waiting for because we might actually look into a possibility of obtaining one, but because it’s expected to revolutionize the way the Famous Italian supercar manufacturer will be conducting its business from then on. Although the LaFerrari already started the electric revolution within the Maranello company, the SF90 Stradale will be their first-ever plug-in hybrid supercar. Needless to say, many more are expected to follow – not only from Maranello but from other major players as well.
The SF90 Stradale weighs only 3,461 pounds thanks to widespread use of aluminum and carbon fiber which don’t only help the hypercar in shedding weight, but also improve its structural rigidity. Aside from the aggressive air vents, diffuser and splitter, the most powerful Ferrari to date sports a unique spoiler which further helps with aero flow. I total, the SF90 generates a whopping 860 pounds of downforce at 155 mph.
The electric hypercar’s interior is almost as interesting as its exterior thanks to a huge 16-inch display which serves as both an advanced gauge cluster and infotainment duty conductor. The F1-inspired cockpit, however, won’t feel as luxurious as it is the case in dedicated luxury vehicles. The Ferrari SF90 Stradale is still a performance car, first and foremost.
The heart of Ferrari’s first plug-in hybrid hypercar consists of a 4.0L twin-turbocharged V8 mill, a trio of electric motors (two upon front wheels and one mounted on a transmission), and a 7.9 kWh lithium-ion battery pack for a combined output of 986 ponies and 590 pound-feet of twist. The V8 alone generates 769 horsepower. Together, however, they’re good enough to help the SF90 Stradale to a 0 to 60 sprint in 2.5 seconds and a top speed of 211 mph. Oh, and it also offers a respectable 16 miles of range on electricity alone.
Sadly, the 2021 Ferrari SF90 Stradale will cost anywhere north of $600,000 and it’ll be as limited as most of the best Ferrari models usually are. Then again’ it’s a small price to pay for one of the best new cars 2021 will have to offer.
06. 2021. Jaguar XJ
Although sedans are struggling to retain their sales figures year in, year out, and keep losses at a minimum, you don’t just give up on an iconic flagship car that’s been the brand’s face for decades. This is why the Jaguar is finally updating its full-size sedan for MY 2021. However, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill redesign but an introduction into something way more significant.
Although the next-gen design will practically be an evolution of the current model’s design, the 2021 XJ’s underpinnings will be all new. And, while the former decision is sensible considering how the outgoing models were some of the most beautiful flagships around despite being almost a decade old, the latter decision was born out of necessity. The 2021 Jaguar XJ will undergo the imminent electrification process, hence it needed a new aluminum MLA platform shared with Land Rovers.
Inside, the all-new XJ is expected to continue offering high-quality materials, and up to date high-tech convenience and safety gear. We’ll have to wait a while longer in order to find out more. but the British are expected to present the prototype at one of the upcoming major auto shows. They teased the new car at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show, after all.
The biggest news about the next-gen Jaguar XJ is its electrified powertrain. Although the British are still stingy with details, the new Jaguar XJ EV is expected to feature dual electric motors (one upon each axle) for around 300 miles of range. Of course, DC fast charging should be part of the equation as well.
The all-new Jaguar XJ is expected to arrive sometime in 2020 as a 2021 model with prices starting at around $100,000 or thereabouts. Will it be one of the best new 2021 cars, remains to be seen.
05. 2021. BMW i4
A 4-door fastback electric luxury sedan or a 4-door electric luxury coupe as good folks from BMW would like us to believe, will be one of numerous upcoming BMW’s EVs marketed under the “i” sub brand. The BMW i4 might prove to be one of the Tesla Model 3’s most successful competitors yet provided the Germans restrain themselves when it comes to pricing.
Built upon the contemporary CLAR platform with a carbon fiber structure, the i4 will be modern in every sense of word. It’ll incorporate the company’s next-gen design language with a more pronounced “kidney” grille as seen in the recently redesigned 7 Series flagships. Furthermore, some of its cues will come straight from the i4 concept car presented in Frankfurt back in 2017.
Expect the new BMW i4 to provide all the necessary driver’s aids and convenience features, but in order to keep it competitive, the Germans will be forced to leave some of the most advanced features out of the picture. At least when it comes to standard equipment.
The 2021 BMW i4 is expected to come with at least two different range configs, and hence at least two different battery capacities. The base versions will likely rely on a 90-kWh lithium-ion pack capable of providing close to 300 miles of range, while the long range models are expected to offer a larger 120-kWh battery packs which could yield around 350 miles of range. The base versions will also likely be fitted with a single electric motor, while the more expensive units should get a dual motor setup – one upon each axle for an all-wheel drive setup.
Expect the BMW i4 to arrive sometime in 2020, likely near the end of the year, with prices starting from around $50,000. The long range models will cost much more though.
04. 2021. Alfa Romeo GTV
It’s impossible not to love the Alfa Romeo despite all of their blunders from the past. At the moment, the Italian automaker fields a contemporary luxurious lineup which, although employing a Ferrari-sourced engine, isn’t particularly sporty. The forthcoming GTV will be a step in the right direction in trying to rectify that issue.
The 2021 Alfa Romeo GTV technically carries over from where its last two predecessors (GTV and Brera) left off. The next-gen GTV will be built upon the FCA’s Giorgio platform, and basically represent a 2-door Giulia. The all-new coupe will also look the part and more importantly, share most of its innards with the larger sedan as well.
The same can be expected from its interior which should be an evolution of Giulia’s current cabin. Being a luxury vehicle, the Alfa Romeo GTV will employ all of the modern connectivity, convenience, and safety features – whether as standard or available as options.
Like it is the case with most of the Alfa Romeo lineup, the GTV too will be available with two different powertrains, and both the standard rear and optional all-wheel drive configurations. A 2.0L turbo four with 280 horsepower will motivate the entry-level models, while the GTV Quadrifoglio will make use of the aforementioned Ferrari-sourced 2.9L twin-turbo V6 which produces 505 ponies in other Alfa applications (Giulia and Stelvio). However, the GTV is expected to employ the next generation of the F154 mill with hybrid assist and torque vectoring which should be able to crank up as much as 600 horsepower.
The 2021 Alfa Romeo GTV is expected to be officially presented at one of the upcoming major auto shows, while first deliveries should be completed during the early MY 2021. Prices should be somewhat higher than those of the comparable Giulia sedan counterparts which currently start from $40,000 and $75,000 depending on powertrain of choice. What’s more, the coupe will likely be followed by a drop-top Spider variant later on. All this should be enough to make the GTV one of the best 2021 cars we’ll get to see.
03. 2021. Ford Bronco
Promised to arrive in 2020, the all-new Bronco will finally deliver. However, most of us expected the nostalgic SUV to arrive in time for MY 2020, but instead, one of the most anticipated vehicles of this decade won’t be ready before MY 2021 knocks at the door. Regardless, its official reveal date and first deliveries are only getting closer with each passing day, and the wait will be over soon. In order to slate the Bronco faithful thirst, FoMoCo will first introduce a smaller “baby” Bronco which will predate the real deal by a few months.
Although the final product will neither be the compact Bronco of the sixties and seventies, nor the behemoth it became after that, the new intermediate will still feature some of its distant predecessors’s hallmark details. Removable doors and top are only one of them. However, the new Bronco will still be a contemporary vehicle based on the mid-size Ranger pickup and poised to compete with the Jeep Wrangler.
Don’t expect a spartan cabin even though the 2021 Ford Bronco promises exceptional off-road capabilities. A contemporary crossover can’t afford such luxury any more. Instead, expect a comfy interior with all the necessary safety and convenience gear you’ve come to expect from a modern Ford crossover.
Initially, the next-gen Bronco will be available exclusively with a 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder mill which generates 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of rotational force. It’ll be paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, and both the rear and all-wheel drive will be available across the board. Later on, the powertrain lineup is expected to be joined by a larger EcoBoost V6 engine and later still by some sort of a hybrid powertrain. What’s more, a new 7-speed manual gearbox might also be on the cards, but probably not during 2021.
Expect the Ford Bronco to finally arrive in the second half of 2020 as a 2021-year model with prices starting from around $30,000 or thereabouts.
02. 2021. Cadillac Escalade
Although they’ll never be able to find a perfect balance between all the family-oriented needs (affordable price, lots of space, good fuel economy, good safety scores, etc.), full-size body-on-frame luxury SUVs are still a legitimate choice for those willing and able to compromise. One such is the Cadillac Escalade which is finally getting a full redesign treatment it probably should have received a year or two ago.
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade doesn’t stray too far away from the well-trodden path when the body-on-frame SUV’s design is concerned. Hulking and boxy are the buzzwords here and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. The full-sizer does switch to the new T1XX platform which uses more aluminum in its diet than the outgoing K2XX underpinnings. It also gets an independent rear suspension setup for improved ride quality.
Inside, the new Escalade is expected to feature more of the ordinary. The spacious SUV does get the new curved touchscreen display on top of the dashboard and a new position for the shifter, lower on the center stack. Most of the arrangements will remain similar to those of the outgoing models, however, but expect more standard safety and convenience features.
Powertrain lineup of the next-gen Escalade is what interests us the most. The 2021 Cadillac Escalade is expected to retain the services of the sturdy 6.2L V8 which currently generates 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with a modern 10-speed automatic which routes the power to either rear or all four wheels. However, there’s a strong possibility the new Escalade will employ some sort of a hybrid powertrain at a later date. What’s more, Cadillac’s new 4.2L twin-turbo V8 seems like a perfect choice for a 500-horsepower performance version of the plushy SUV.
The all-new Cadillac Escalade will be ready just in time for model year 2021 and its prices are expected to rise slightly. The outgoing models start from around $75,000 so expect the new ones to warrant closer to $80,000.
01. 2020 Ford Mustang Mach-E
They fiddled with the iconic Mach 1 name for a while which caused a stir among the purists and has, for a while, left the blue oval brass without a name for their upcoming 2021 electric crossover. The first of many new electric vehicles to come from Dearborn will, however, still be inspired by the Mustang (in some way) and don a slightly different name. It certainly appears to be an unorthodox move, but let us remind you that the Mustang will be the only U.S. market car from the company still present aside from a few stragglers come MY 2021.
The upcoming Ford Mustang-inspired electric crossover is scheduled to appear sometime during late 2020. Newest info from the Dearborn camp clearly showcases a coupe-like crossover with Mustang’s hallmark three-slat tail-lights around the back and more of a Tesla-like frontal fascia. However, the performance-oriented GT models will still sport a conventional grille as performance buyers apparently prefer such treatment over the EV-established solid color cover.
Ford Motor Company states the Mustang Mach-E will initially boast a 300-mile range in the Extended Range models with rear-wheel drive. That also tells us some of them will be available with all-wheel drive and other ranges as well. It’ll also be able to recharge up to 47 miles in 10 minutes. All this is possible due to a large 75.7-kWh battery pack and electric motors which provide 255 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque (417 lb-ft in AWD models). The performance-oriented Mustang Mach-E GT, on the other hand, generates as much as 459 hp and 612 lb-ft thanks to a larger 98.8-kWh battery pack and electric motors. It won’t arrive prior to 2021, however.
The entry-level model’s prices start from $43,895 but don’t forget that blue oval is still eligible for up to $7,500 of federal tax credit. Initially, however, Ford will exclusively offer the First Edition and Premium models which cost $59,900 and $50,600 respectively. The forthcoming GT models will start from $60,500.