‘New cars to watch out for in 2021’ by Michael Sheridan
Car models are continually being refreshed, renewed or reinvented. The best sellers from 2020 will continue to be best sellers in 2021 but we will also see cars launched in 2020 gain a foothold. Gems like the electric VW ID.3, the multi-fuel Peugeot 208, Ford Puma & Kuga, and a favourite of mine the all-electric Honda-e will all take off.
A lot of motoring’s household names will be refreshed (new) with many more ‘all-new’ (really new) models arriving in 2021. Here are just a few worth looking out for:
Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA This version of the stunning Giulia Quadrifoglio has been fed extra steroids. It is an incredibly exciting car to drive and will appeal to many and sadly only bought by the lucky few. The GTA represents the best in old school petrol power with its Ferrari sourced engine and deliciously fruity exhaust note. For many the GTA is performance perfection. Alfa will also give us the all new Tonale. It’s a great looking compact SUV crossover (based on the Jeep Renegade) and is powered by petrol, diesel and PHEV versions. Tonale will challenge the usual premium compact rivals: Audi Q3, BMW X1, Jaguar E-Pace, Volvo XC40 and Range Rover Evoque. Like all Alfa Romeos it will be a niche seller.
Audi Q4 e-Tron Audi’s all electric mid-sized SUV is set to be a very important car for the premium brand as competition in this class rises. The mid-size Q5 SUV range gets a sleeker model in the Audi Q5 Sportback. The Sportback shape has been a hit in the smaller Q3 and is a welcome addition to the otherwise predictable looking Q5. A new Audi RS3 arrives too – yum!
BMW will have a busy year in 2021 expanding its ‘i’ electric sub brand range. The all-new BMW i4 EV is a four-door electric car that promises to challenge the Tesla Model 3 for range and power and is a game changer for the Bavarian brand. SUV buyers can go electric too with the BMW iX3 SUV. This car annoys the anti-SUV brigade who won’t be able to argue with its manageable size and zero emissions from its non-existent tailpipe! The petrol engine powered 260hp 128ti compact car will find a few homes in 2021 with it iconic ‘ti’ badge. A new 2 Series Coupe is due too. At the other end of the size scale the all-new BMW X8 will certainly catch the eye. The 5-seat coupe-ish version of the huge 7-seat BMW X7 SUV won’t be easily lost in a carpark, that’s for sure.
Citroen C4 The new multi-fuel compact crossover should turn a few heads and represent good value for money. We think the electric powered version will attract most attention and interest.
Cupra El-Born The all new El-Born is a Spanish twist on Volkswagen’s ID.3 electric car, but with more attitude. Cupra is SEAT’s sub brand and SEAT is owned by the VW Group. As the nursery rhyme goes “The El-Born’s connected to the ID.3” – sorry I couldn’t resist. In every sense the two VW Group EVs are inter-connected. Like all Cupras the El-Born will be a rare enough sight on Ireland’s roads. The all new Cupra Formentor (in picture above) will be a relatively popular car as it is a mid-size SUV. The engine choice has petrol, diesel or PHEV. Depending on your spending power you can get modest or loads of power. The all-wheel drive version is the one to covet.
DS 4 The second generation of the posh Citroen will be a niche seller but oh so stylish.
FIAT 500 The 500 returns in all electric form. This version will join the list of cute EVs that people will find near irresistible like the 2020 launched Honda-e, MINI electric and Peugeot e-208.
Ford Puma ST The hybrid Puma launched in 2020. When you add ST sports performance to any Ford the car becomes a lot more interesting.
Ford Mustang Mach-E Ford’s first all-electric car will be a game changer for the US brand. Ford has been slow to embrace electrification - but it is catching up.
Hyundai Ioniq 5 This electric powered SUV is part of a newly announced ‘Ioniq’ electric only sub-brand from Hyundai. A number of new models will be released in the coming years. Not sure if we’ll see the Ioniq 5 here in 2021, but we might!
Jaguar refreshed its range late in 2020 with new technology taking centre stage. The compact Jaguar E Pace and its sister car the Jaguar XE along with the larger Jaguar F Pace mid-size SUV and its sister car the Jaguar XF all received facelifts and tech-lifts (I may have made that word up, but you know what I mean). The all-new flagship Jaguar XJ arrives in 2021. The once gas-guzzling barge has gone all electric! Wonders will never cease with this dual motor, all-wheel drive, luxury saloon.
Lexus UX300e The compact Lexus UX SUV now comes with an electric only version. This will create a good battle among premium rivals in the compact EV market.
Mazda MX-30 This electric SUV may be low range but is great to drive and looks the part. Urban EVs (a nice way of saying low range) can make sense and are more affordable than large range EVS due to their smaller battery packs. The MX-30 is very impressive.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class The latest version of Merc’s excellent business machine arrives in 2021 with new hybrid technology. Also coming our way from the Germany brand is the full-size luxury SUV Maybach GLS, CLS Coupe, AMG GT four-door and SL.
The ‘EQ’ electric MB sub brand range is expanding rapidly in 2021. The compact SUV Mercedes-Benz EQA and EQV full size people carrier arrive first. An EQS and EQE are due at the end of the year. The daddy of the company carpark the all-new Mercedes-Benz S-Class arrives also in 21 and is a technological tour de force. The CEO’s parking space will look very smart with this new and tech loaded super saloon – there is a Mercedes-Maybach S-Class version also – good news for multi-millionaires.
MINI Countryman The new PHEV plug in hybrid version of their popular compact SUV will be built for the first time in BMW’s ultra-efficient Leipzig plant in Germany.
Nissan Ariya This exciting electric powered SUV crossover is due in late 2021. 2021 will see the new Nissan Qashqai continue to be a significant vehicle for the Japanese brand. At its launch Qashqai was a game changer as it brought SUV styling to the masses at an affordable price. The new car has countless more rivals to deal with but has a deservingly loyal customer base.
Opel Mokka The new baby SUV will shock and delight Opel buyers as it shows a new journey for the now French-owned German brand. The Opel Zafira E as the name implies is an electric car that thanks to being van-based has loads and loads of space. Perfect for large families or as a shuttle or taxi.
Range Rover A new electrified flagship is due later in the year and promises to be a lot greener.
Renault Arkana This stylish SUV crossover will attract a lot of attention when it arrives. Renault is making very stylish machines these days and has also added new E-TECH hybrid technology to its range. The Zoe EV will continue to grow in sales as will the new Mégane. The Mégane Sport Tourer E-TECH Plug-in hybrid has a 50km electric-only range and ultra-low emissions.
Skoda Enyaq The all-new electric-powered crossover SUV from Skoda is in high demand. Two versions arrive in June 2021 with different ranges. The Enyaq uses VW’s ID.3 electric car platform and its running gear under its skin. The new Skoda Fabia is one to watch. The petrol-powered supermini from the historic Czech carmaker will deliver more than the sum of its parts. A sister car of the VW Polo, SEAT Ibiza and Audi A1, Fabia offers a lot - for less.
Suzuki has partnered with Toyota and this year two close collaborations will go on sale in Ireland. Suzuki Across PHEV plug-in hybrid is basically a Toyota RAV4. The Suzuki Swace is a hybrid estate car and essentially a reworked Corolla SW, hence the name SW-Ace.
Tesla Model Y The SUV version of its Model 3 will eventually go on sale but when it comes to Ireland is anyone’s guess. We tend to be last on the list.
Toyota Highlander The 7-seat hybrid all-wheel drive SUV was launched late in 2020 and will become a more frequent sight on Irish roads in 2021. The Toyota RAV4 PHEV Hybrid is an impressive and powerful plug-in hybrid version of the popular SUV. The Yaris launched late 2020 and some variants will be added in 2021. Toyota Yaris Cross is a rugged looking version. The Toyota Yaris GR Gazoo Racing is a stunning 260hp performance hatchback wrapped in a car designed to take people to bingo.
The new Golf arrived mid 202 and will continue to be popular in 2021. The niche Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake will turn heads from the start of the year. The 8th generation Volkswagen GTI is the definitive hot hatch, arrives in early 2021. The most significant VW next year will be the Volkswagen ID.4 This all-electric SUV crossover will really hit the spot. It uses the same platform as the VW ID.3 but is package in a way that is on trend. Even if it wasn’t an EV it would be attractive and desirable, so it is a win win for the German firm. Fun fact: VW designed the ID.4 before the 3 but decided to release the more affordable ID.3 first. The ID.4 is Volkswagen’s first carbon neutral car at the point of manufacturer.
This is an impressive list and far from comprehensive but if I were to choose one car from it that will define 2021 and the direction carmakers and buyers wish to go? It has to be the Volkswagen ID.4.
This article is an independent review by Journalist Michael Sheridan. Michael Sheridan has been a Car of the Year Judge for 20 years, more recently a judge for Van of the Year.
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