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10 of the Best 2021 Crossovers

The Best Crossovers of 2021

Chevrolet Trailblazer

Crossovers and SUVs are the hottest commodity across the world’s car markets, and it looks like they’ll remain the most popular choices for foreseeable time. Not only are their sales numbers growing year in, year out, there are also more and more all-new models with each passing year. Needless to say, the same goes for forthcoming 2021 crossovers.

Just five years ago, when their popularity surge first caught on, crossovers and SUVs made up 34.1 percent of the entire U.S. car market, but sedans were still kings back then with 34.7 percent market share. Fast forward five years and crossovers amount for 47.6 percent of entire U.S. sales after 2018. Sedans, on the other hand, are the biggest losers as their market share had plummeted in the meantime, stopping at 22.9 percent for 2018.

Things pretty much hold to form across the globe as well, as crossovers and SUVs now make up most of worldwide vehicle sales with market share of 36.4 percent. That’s close to 30 million crossovers sold across the world in 2018 or a 6.8 percent increase over 2017.

On a more personal note, the best-selling crossover in 2018 was the Toyota RAV4 with 807,116 deliveries all over the world (with 427,170 of them sold in the U.S.). Despite recording a growth of 4 percent compared to 2017, the compact only came in fourth place behind the Ford F Series trucks, Toyota Corolla, and Honda Civic. The Nissan Rogue (X-Trail overseas) and Honda CR-V came in behind with 771,145 and 736,471 units sold respectively.

This time we’ll only consider the upcoming crossovers and SUVs for MY 2021, regardless of their size and/or price range. At the same time, however, only conventional models will be taken into account as hybrid and electric SUVs have already been accounted for separately.

10. 2021 Ford Bronco

The long-awaited Ford Bronco is finally coming back after almost 25 years of absence. This is finally scheduled to happen during mid-2020, and although initially expected to be fielded as a 2020-year model, the Bronco could easily end up being offered as a 2021-year model instead. The all-new Bronco will also spawn a smaller version that’s actually scheduled to arrive before the big thing, and likely even a Jeep Gladiator pickup truck counterpart that should take a few more years to perfect.

The 2021 Ford Bronco shares its underpinnings with the newly reintroduced mid-size Ranger pickup. After all, both models are being built at Ford’s Wayne, Michigan facility. When it arrives, the new Bronco will be available in both two and four-door variants, with removable doors and roof as an added bonus for all the retro Bronco aficionados out there.

Not only will the new Bronco and Ranger share the same underpinnings, but they’ll also feature the same powertrain setup – at least initially. A 2.3L turbo four capable of making 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque will serve as Bronco’s base engine, while a twin-turbo V6 is expected to arrive later on. A hybrid version of the new Bronco SUV is also on the cards. At the moment, the Ford Explorer hybrid looks like the most likely of engine donors as its 3.3L V6/electric motor combo already works like a charm.

Only automatic transmission will be available at initial launch as Bronco is ready to adopt the contemporary 10-speed setup. There have been plenty of rumors about an optional manual gearbox, but even if they end up being true, a stick won’t make it in time for MY 2021. If/when it does, it’ll apparently be a new 7-speed unit.

As mentioned above, the all-new Ford Bronco is expected to arrive to dealerships in late 2020 as a 2021-year model with prices starting from around $30,000. More should be known after one of the late 2019 or early 2020 auto shows.

Ford Bronco rendering
Rendering from the Bronco6G forum

09. 2021 Genesis GV70

One of the Newest car brands out there is working on expanding its portfolio by adding a duo of new crossovers. While the larger of the two, the GV80 is expected to arrive in time for MY 2020, the smaller should be ready and available a year or so later. The Genesis GV70 has already been caught testing and its reveal date probably isn’t that far away, but we’ll still have to wait for its larger sibling to arrive first.

The 2021 Genesis GV70 will share its platform with the smallest Genesis sedan currently on offer – the G70. This means that, unlike the Hyundai crossovers like Tucson or Santa Fe, it’ll be available in both the rear and all-wheel drive configurations.

The GV70 will be an entry-level luxury crossover and its prices will be set up accordingly. What’s more, Genesis models are some of the cheapest alternatives to the traditional luxury brands, and that fact mustn’t be forgotten. That way, Genesis cars usually offer the most bang for your buck and provide a generous warranty as a bonus.

There’s still no relevant information on GV70’s powertrain, but given the fact it shares the same platform with the G70 sedan, a shared engine shouldn’t come as a surprise either. At the moment, the G70 utilizes either a 2.0L turbo four capable of putting up 252 horsepower, or a 3.3L twin-turbo V6 which makes 365 horses. Both are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, but the former is also available with an optional 6-speed manual. Don’t expect the stick to carry over into the crossover though.

Genesis GV80 concept car
Genesis GV80 concept car pictured

08. 2021 Nissan Rogue

As already mentioned above, Nissan Rogue (known as X-Trail overseas) is the fifth best-selling vehicle in the world for 2018 and the second best-selling crossover for the given period. In order to sustain its competitiveness, the Japanese need to redesign their compact as its last substantial makeover dates back to 2014. Incidentally, they’re planning on doing just that for MY 2021.

The 2021 Nissan Rogue looks to incorporate a slightly boxier styling which probably stems from its correspondingly larger measurements. This could also lead to more room inside, and possibly even to an optional third row of seats which has already been offered with the compact a few years back.

When the all-new third-generation models finally arrive sometime in the second half of 2020, their prices will likely remain similar to those of the current models. In other words, expect the new Rogue to be available for anything between $25,000 and $33,000 prior to extras.

A 2.5L 4-cylinder engine should remain the new Rogue’s base powertrain, but the new Altima’s 188-horsepower unit is likely to replace the outgoing Rogue’s 170-horsepower engine. An optional 2.0L turbo four could also join the range, and hybrid versions should carry over mostly intact. Their 2.0L 4-cylinder coupled with a 40-hp electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack currently raises 176 ponies and returns up to 34 mpg combined.

Needless to say, all Nissan Rogues will be available with both the front and all-wheel drive, with a CVT transmission shifting gears across the range.

Nissan Xmotion concept
2021 Nissan Rogue should borrow a cue or two from the 2018 Nissan Xmotion concept pictured above

07. 2021 Buick Envoy

Buick is expanding its crossover lineup in the midst of their ever-increasing popularity. Considering how sales of their traditional passenger cars are plummeting, and some of them are even getting the ax (LaCrosse, Cascada), this doesn’t really come as a surprise. The all-new 2021 Buick Envoy is only one of five upcoming Buick crossovers scheduled to appear either in China or the U.S. (or both) by the end of 2021.

The all-new Envoy will be a three-row crossover slotting between the smaller Envision and more comfortable Enclave. Its price range will, naturally, reflect that as it’s expected to start from around $35,000 or thereabouts.

Built upon the C1XX platform that’s currently underpinning the likes of Cadillac XT6 and GMC Acadia, the Envoy is expected to offer a similar level of advanced driving aids and other convenience features.

As far as powertrains go, the new three-row SUV from Buick should also look to Acadia and XT6 for inspiration. This means it’ll almost certainly get their larger 3.6L V6 with 310 horsepower, and probably even the Cadillac’s 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder that’s generating 237 ponies, but is exclusively offered on the Chinese market. Look for a new 9-speed automatic transmission as a sole offering, and both the front and all-wheel drive configurations.

More is expected to be known during late 2019 or early 2020 – likely after one of the major auto shows on the U.S. soil.

Buick Enspire concept
Buick Enspire concept serves as a preview for the upcoming Buick Envoy three-row crossover

06. 2021 Cadillac Escalade

The fifth-generation Escalade’s arrival has been pushed beyond MY 2020. but the largest Caddy available at the moment shouldn’t be in any doubt for MY 2021. It’s finally in its last stages of production and should be presented in early 2020 before arriving to dealerships later the same year.

The next-gen 2021 Cadillac Escalade continues on body-on-frame underpinnings, but gets independent rear suspension from now on. This significantly improves the full-size SUV’s ride quality and comfort. Furthermore, the improved T1XX platform should help it shed close to 300 pounds thanks to a more widespread use of aluminum.

Finally, every Cadillac Escalade from now on should feature richer convenience and technology gear selection in order to successfully combat more tech-savvy opposition which the Lincoln Navigator certainly is at the moment.

Escalade’s powertrain lineup is in for a change, but don’t expect burly, fuel-consuming V8’s to go away anytime soon. In fact, the entire Escalade’s powertrain lineup is expected to consist of either naturally aspirated V8’s or their corresponding counterparts with forced induction.

A 4.2L twin-turbo V8 with more than 500 horsepower and a 6.2L V8 with 420 ponies will likely be the initial duo, with a plug-in hybrid and even a performance-oriented Escalade potentially arriving later on. The latter could very well sport the Camaro ZL1’s 6.2L supercharged LT4 V8 with as much as 650 horsepower on tap.

We expect to know more at a later date.

Cadillac Escalade

05. 2021 Lamborghini Urus Performante

We’ve witnessed the birth of ultra-luxury end exotic crossovers and SUVs in recent years, and more car manufacturers are willing to follow suit with their versions of the supercar crossover in the coming years. While Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lotus, and possibly even McLaren are yet to show us a glimpse of their future performance models with extra ground clearance, Lamborghini is already working on a more powerful variation of its existing SUV.

As if the conventional Urus wasn’t the fastest SUV the world has to offer at the moment, the Lamborghini Urus Performante will aim to improve on that much like the Huracán Performante did so for the company’s entry-level supercar. Design-wise, the Urus Performante is expected to don a new set of wheels coupled with more aggressive air intakes and a corresponding aero kit.

Technology-wise, the performance version of the exotic SUV should adopt the ALA active aerodynamics already employed in the mentioned top-of-the-range Huracán and Aventador SVJ. Other than that, it should remain quite similar to the regular Urus which isn’t lacking for anything.

The current model uses a 4.0L twin-turbo V8 mill in order to generate a whopping 641 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of twist which are being routed to all four corners via an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission. Most of the setup is expected to remain intact, but the Performante version of the SUV should still find a way to squeeze around 700 horses out of the same engine.

The Lamborghini Urus Performante will likely arrive in 2021 so there’s plenty of time for the Italians to first introduce a hybridized version of their new halo model. This unit will reportedly deliver 680 ponies thanks to an added electric motor.

Lamborghini Urus ST-X
Lamborghini Urus ST-X FIA licensed racer pictured

04. 2021 Kia Sorento

The third-generation Sorento is one of the South Korean car maker’s best-selling models in the U.S. with close to 110,000 units sold throughout 2018. Being introduced in 2015 and facelifted in 2018, the next few years will pose a struggle to retain that record. That’s why Kia is already working on the next-gen model that’s already been caught testing and is scheduled to arrive in late 2020 as a 2021-year model.

The Korean company’s largest crossover prior to Telluride’s introduction is in for some major changes in every department. The 2021 Kia Sorento will sport a bolder design with more squared-off frontal design that’s gracing the already mentioned Telluride. Interior will likely undergo a similar transformation with addition of new features coming even to lower grades – especially safety-related ones.

Prices, however, are expected to remain mostly intact, as Sorento is expected to continue retailing for anything between $27,000 and $45,000.

The next-gen Sorento’s powertrain department is also in for a major overhaul – especially when it comes to hybrids. It’s still unclear which engine the upcoming Sorento hybrid will get, but there’s very little doubt that one is coming our way.

Otherwise, Koreans will probably try to upgrade their current Sorento engine offering by improving their fuel economy scores. A 2.4L 4-cylinder thus might get replaced by a smaller turbocharged engine, while the larger 3.3L V6 could be in for something similar. Both the front an all-wheel drive will be available throughout most of the Sorento lineup, as well as a contemporary 8-speed automatic gearbox.

2021 Kia Sorento test mule

03. 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee

One of the oldest-running non-body-on-frame SUVs currently available on the market is nearing its production’s end. Available relatively unchanged since 2010, the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee will finally commit a few significant switches that should help it remain competitive for foreseeable future.

Arguably the biggest of these changes will be a switch to the new Giorgio platform that the Grand Cherokee will from now on share with its Alfa Romeo stablemates. This will provide more interior space for an already comfortable SUV, but don’t expect an optional third row of seats just yet. This will be reserved for the Jeep Wagoneer and/or Grand Wagoneer which are returning sometime after the Grand Cherokee makes its own debut.

The next-gen Jeep Grand Cherokee will also sport an independent rear suspension for further improvement in comfort and ride quality. All these changes are liable to raise the mid-size SUV’s prices a bit so expect entry-level models to start from around $35,000 from now on.

The new Grand Cherokee’s powertrain department will also undergo a substantial revision. Wrangler’s 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder with a mild-hybrid setup could very well become the larger SUV’s base mill going forward. It’s capable of providing 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque which should be just enough to haul the 4,500 pounder around without too much trouble. And not to mention the fuel savings.

Otherwise, the initial Grand Cherokee batch will utilize a new 3.6L Pentastar V6 with eTorque assist and, of course, the good old Hemi V8 reserved for the most powerful models. Both the all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive will be available across the range, and Grand Cherokee’s off-road credentials shouldn’t be questioned despite all the mentioned changes.

The next-gen Grand Cherokee is expected to reach the dealerships in late 2020 and promises to become one of the best model year 2021 crossovers in an instant.

Jeep Grand Cherokee promises to be one of the best 2021 crossovers

02. 2021 Alfa Romeo Castello

It didn’t take the iconic Italian brand best recognized for timeless designs to expand its lineup of vehicles on the U.S. market. They made their comeback in 2014 with the 4C coupe and they’re expected to have as many as 6 models by the time 2021 is upon us. The 2021 Alfa Romeo Castello will serve as that lineup’s flagship model.

The flagship SUV is expected to share the company’s Giorgio platform with the smaller Stelvio and Giulia, but some tweaks will have to be conducted regardless. The largest crossover in the Alfa Romeo range is expected to gain as much as 8 inches over Stelvio while providing either two or three rows of seats.

Alongside the large Castello, Alfa Romeo will also offer the all-new Tonale which will sit on the other side of company’s crossover spectrum. Expect Castello to make its official debut in early 2020 with first deliveries arriving later that year.

As far as powertrains are concerned, the largest of Alfa Romeo’s crossovers is expected to utilize the same selection that’s currently available in Stelvio. The entry-level models will thus draw power from a 276-horsepower 2.0L turbo four mill, while the most powerful 2.9L twin-turbo V6 engine with 503 horses is reserved for the Quadrifoglio range.

By the time 2021 is upon us, Alfa will have introduced a hybridized setup to slot somewhere in between the two, with fuel consumption being considerably lower at the same time. Needless to say, all-wheel drive should be available across the range even though rear-wheel drive is a standard setup on the Giorgio platform.

More should be known after one of the late 2019 or early 2020 auto shows.

Alfa Romeo Castello rendering

01. 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer

The Trailblazer nameplate hasn’t been able to enjoy its retirement for too long. After the Chevy Blazer made its comeback without much fanfare, it’s now time for the Trailblazer to follow in its footsteps. The latter slots between the Trax and the Equinox, at the smaller end of the Chevrolet crossover/SUV lineup.

Although its predecessors used to be intermediates, the new Trailblazer is actually a compact crossover which shares its platform with the Buick Encore GX. Design-wise, it’s got plenty in common with the mentioned Blazer, but actually boasts a more boxy shape due to its limited frame.

The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer sports a large touchscreen display with all the necessary tech features tied to it in one way or another. Safety is also imperative as even the base models get automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and lane-departure warning from the get-go. Sales are expected to commence sometime in 2020 with prices starting from around $22,000.

The Chevrolet Trailblazer is expected to offer the same duo of 3-cylinder turbocharged engines as the Buick Encore GX with which it shares plenty in common. Base models will use a 1.2L unit with 137 horsepower, while the more powerful 155-horsepower 1.3L unit is reserved for the upper tiers. While the smaller unit is paired with a CVT gearbox and comes exclusively in front-wheel drive setup, the larger engine offers a 9-speed automatic gearbox and an optional all-wheel drive configuration.

Mind you, this isn’t the official data, hence Chevy might end up taking another road and offering more traditional, but still downsized turbocharged 4-cylinder units. We’ll know more soon enough. Although certainly not the best 2021 crossover out there, the latest Chevy is still expected to prove a competent choice as far as crossovers 2021 will be bringing our way are concerned.

Chevrolet Trailblazer

Nikola Potrebić
About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much!