This year may not have kicked off to the start we all hoped for, but we think there is still plenty to look forward in the car world. 2021 is set to be a busy year thanks to the arrival of some brand new models, facelifts on some familiar favourites and of course new powertrains with the focus on cleaner power.
You can expect to see more pure EVs from manufacturers as well as the continued introduction of more efficient hybrid and internal combustion engines.
Upcoming Cars in 2021
So let’s jump right in and take a look at some of the most noteworthy models soon to be available.
Abarth will release updated versions of its popular 595 and 695 models in late spring. Unlike the Fiat 500 which has had a major overhaul recently, the Abarth models will be based on the previous combustion engine Fiat 500. So you can expect the same unique styling and fun drive handling Abarth is famed for.
Alfa Romeo is kicking off their year with the release of the special edition Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA to mark their 110th anniversary. With more power and less weight it is built for drivers who wish to experience true driving passion.
We can also expect a first-look at the Alfa Romeo Tonale in the autumn of 2021. Details on specifications are currently scarce but it is thought it will stay true to the concept released in 2019, so get ready to welcome a brand new crossover which redefines existing standards.
Rounding off the year, Alfa Romeo plans to release a new look Alfa Romeo Giulia in November and shortly after a revised Stelvio.
This year Citroen aims to rediscover its quirky side with the release of a revised Citroen C3 Aircross. With more crossover styling, a designed cabin and extensive features it promises to offer everything you need.
Citroen will also release the new e-Berlingo van in 2021 with a 50kWh battery mated to a 134bhp electric motor it will offer around 200-miles of electric motoring.
The CUPRA brand is set to make its mark this year with the release of numerous models. The year kicks off with the attention-grabbing CUPRA Formentor, an SUV promising more potent performance. CUPRA plans to release the CUPRA Formentor PHEV option later this year as well as a refreshed CUPRA Leon.
Towards the end of the year, we expect to see the marque’s second CUPRA-specific model the CUPRA el-Born, an all-electric hot hatch which will really shake up the market.
Dacia is bringing out a refreshed Sandero, yet unlike many newer models on the market, it will retain its incredible low-value starting point. Built on the same CMF platform as the new Renault Clio it promises better ride, handling and safety. On top of that, you get the option of big car tech for added refinement.
2021 is an exciting year for Fiat as it brings electrification to one of its most popular models the Fiat 500. The new Fiat 500e retains the well-loved retro-styling yet offers completely emission-free driving and is capable of 191-miles on a single charge.
Fiat is also set to release a refresh on one of the Fiat 500s breakaway models the Fiat 500X.
As you may expect, there is a great deal to come from Ford this year. Kicking the year off is the Ford Kuga Hybrid a non-plug-in hybrid ideal for long-distance drivers. The 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine and small 1.1kWh battery system is likely to appeal to those looking for a more eco-conscious option, but who don’t have the ability to charge.
Ford will also bring hybrid power to its still popular S-Max MPV. Teaming a 2.5-litre Atkinson engine with a 48V motor ensures this practical model emits fewer pollutants and gets you further for less.
Another new model to bolster Ford’s eco credential is the Mustang Mach-E. Don’t let the name confuse you, despite using the Mustang name, the Mach-E is a bespoke electric production car and set to be one of the best electric crossovers on the market.
Taking a different approach comes Ford’s more performance-focused models. The new Ford Focus ST will come tuned for 425bhp and 380lb-ft torque for casual racers and car club enthusiasts.
Ford will also add another ST model to its line-up with the Ford Puma ST. It combines its practical yet stylish body with running gear straight from the Fiesta ST, for a more fun and feisty commute.
While for the real petrol heads the Mustang Mach 1 is sure to be a winner. It teams old-school driving charm with a 454bhp five-litre V8 engine.
First for Hyundai is the release of its fourth-generation Tucson. With a more upmarket feel, plenty of technology and a diverse powertrain line-up including plug-in, self-charging and mild hybrid there is something for everyone.
Hyundai’s performance i30N will get a mid-life facelift with upgrades including greater use of lightweight materials to boost agility. It is also available with an automatic transmission for the first time.
The Hyundai Santa Fe with Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid powertrains is due around March. Both electric powertrains are based around the firm’s 1.6-litre Smartstream turbocharged petrol engine-hybrid.
The Hyundai i20N will make its debut and is sure to challenge the Fiesta ST. The 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine will produce 201bhp and 2003lb ft torque. With one of the best power-to-weight ratio, it is said to be capable of 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds.
However, it’s in June when things really get exciting with the release of the Hyundai Bayon, the new-entry point Hyundai SUV which will share the same underpinnings and powertrains as the Hyundai i20 supermini.
It is also the month we see Hyundai first new Ioniq model the Ioniq 5 which will spearhead the Ioniq-based EV family. Details are sparse but it will be built on the new E-GMP architecture and will offer 800V charging capabilities for fast charging.
Later in the year, Hyundai is set to release the Ioniq 6 which is said will become its flagship all-electric model. Like the Ioniq 5, it will ride on the new E-GMP platform and is likely to feature Hyundai’s smart living room cabin which promises unrivalled on-board comfort.
Hyundai also plans to add to its ‘N’ performance marque with the release of the Kona N. This performance-based SUV is expected to share much with the new i20N hot hatch in a more practical and family-friendly body.
From Jeep we can expect to see the Jeep Compass 4xe PHEV. It will share a powertrain with a plug-in Renegade to offer off-road capability and zero-emission driving of around 25 miles. The 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine powers the front wheels, while the twin electric motors power the rear.
The Jeep Wrangler also gains a plug-in powertrain with the Jeep Wrangler 4xe PHEV with 370bhp. Power comes from the two-litre turbo and 400V 17kWh battery for 470lb-ft torque for a 59 per cent increase over most powerful existing Jeep.
The popular Kia Sorento is sure to gain a boost this year as Kia releases the Kia Sorento PHEV, making it one of a few seven-seat models available with the efficiency gains of plug-in motoring. Kia claims it will be the brand’s most efficient PHEV model to date.
Models to gain from more conservative refreshes include the Kia Stinger. It will benefit from enhanced in-cabin technology and will only be available with a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6. Meanwhile, the Kia Ceed will gain the benefit of mild-hybrid powertrains and intelligent manual transmissions.
A fifth-generation of Kia’s bestselling Kia Sportage model is also due at the end of the year. Kia promises a radical design overhaul and the introduction of multiple electrified powertrains. However, it is not thought they plan to ditch the diesel powertrain just yet, which is likely to be good news for high mileage drivers.
Kia also plans to unveil an exciting new model this year which is as yet unnamed. The Kia Sports EV is thought to be a crossover hatch which will be based on the E-GMP platform so is likely to offer 310 miles and 800V charging capacity.
It’s fair to say Mazda is taking it’s a unique approach to meeting new emission targets and electrification. The 6 will get a mild facelift this year and gone is the option of diesel power. Instead, the 6 will be available with a two-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine. The CX-5 will also receive a minor update to ensure it keeps pace with the ever-growing crossover market. Diesel could be ditched from this model too as Mazda moves to reduce pollutants.
The big news though is the all-eletcric Mazda MX-30. As we said keen to go their own way as they navigate the emerging world of EVs, the MX-30 has a range of just 124 miles.
2021 is likely to be an exciting year for MG but as yet the brand has released few concrete details. We know we can expect an as-yet-unnamed electric hatch towards the end of the year which is likely to be one of the most affordable EVs yet to enter the market.
Add to that a revival of MG’s sports car heritage with the planned release of a car based on the MG E-Motion concept car. Again details are currently sparse but it is thought it will be a two-door, four-seat model with a 0-62mph of sub-four seconds more than likely.
The Nissan Micra is the first model set to arrive with a style update. As well as more standard kit, the model will no longer be available with a diesel engine, instead, it will only be available with a more efficient one-litre petrol engine.
We can also look forward to the second-generation Qashqai arriving this year. Designed, engineered and built in the UK it is sure to continue to be one of the marque’s bestselling models. As well as being a little larger to increase interior space, the diesel engine option has been scrapped and will be replaced by mild-hybrid petrol engines and a new 188bhp e-Power.
Finally, on the refresh front Nissan plan to release an updated Nissan X-Trail. Another popular model in their range it is likely to feature new styling with cues taken from the Juke and Qashqai, as well as the option of an electrified engine.
The really exciting thing to come from Nissan this year is it’s first all-electric coupe crossover, the Nissan Ariya. A model which promises to bring style and sophistication to the EV market. With all their electric motoring know-how from years of success with the Nissan Leaf, The Ariya promise to offer a real incentive to switch to pure electric power.
Peugeot sets to make a big impact with its new Peugeot 508PSE later this year. Not only is it the most powerful production car Peugeot is yet to produce but it is also the first model to bear the badge of its brand new electrified performance brand. A 1.6-litre turbo engine and two electric motors produce 335bhp for 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds.
Peugeot will also electrify its van range with a new Peugeot Rifter EV. With a 50kWh battery and 134bhp, it will have plenty of oomph for motoring around town. Plus thanks to a 200-mile range you can get a fair way without worrying about topping up charge.
From Renault, we expect to see the Renault Arkana introduced to the UK market. First seen in 2018, it was thought this model would not make it to the Western European market. However, this stylish SUV Coupe is now set to join us with a choice of mild hybrid turbo petrol engines as well as a full hybrid E-Tech model.
The long-awaited SEAT Tarraco PHEV will arrive in showrooms this year. With a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine mated to a 113bhp electric motor and 13kWh lithium-ion battery, the Tarraco PHEV should be good for around 31 miles of all-electric driving. Plus thanks to 242bhp combined power it won’t feel short of oomph wherever you are heading.
SEAT will also bring in mid-life updates to both the SEAT Arona and SEAT Ibiza. No major changes are expected, but style tweaks inside and out will aid refinement while better connectivity is sure to add appeal for many potential buyers.
If you are still mourning the removal of the Jimny from the UK market, fear not. The Jimny is set to be back this year albeit as a two-seater commercial model. Much will stay the same including the 1.5-litre engine and four-wheel-drive capabilities. However, the back of the new commercial model will be a flat load bed capable of hauling 863-litres of tools and equipment.
Toyota will begin the year with the release of a substantially facelifted Toyota Hilux. Styling tweaks ensure more on-road presence while sophisticated updates to the inner workings ensure better off-road performance. It will also come with a new 2.8-litre diesel engine with 201bhp and 396lb-ft torque, for plenty of power when the going gets tough.
Perhaps more excitingly for those looking for more choice when it comes to seven-seat models, is the introduction of the fourth-generation Toyota Highlander to the UK market. It will only be available with an all-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid powertrain, so is sure to be a hit with those looking for practicality and better economy.
Another of Toyota’s larger models the Land Cruiser is set to receive a series of updates this year including overhauled trims and a new 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine.
The Toyota Rav4 will also come with the option of plug-in power this year thanks to the new Toyota Rav 4 PHEV model. With a 302bhp powertrain, all-wheel-drive, 46 miles of electric-only motoring and just 29g/km CO2, we think it will quickly become a popular choice.
Later in the year, we can look forward to welcoming the Toyota Yaris Cross, essentially a jacked-up Yaris. Set to rival compact crossovers it will feature the same 1.5-litre petrol-electric powertrain as the regular Yaris, but comes with the benefit of four-wheel-drive. Something many rival models lack.
All the above models are pretty standard, so if you prefer a more unique approach you might be interested in the release of the second-generation Toyota Mirai. With a completely new design and updates to the powertrains, it remains one of only a handful of models offering hydrogen power.
Meanwhile, for the driving enthusiasts, Toyota is releasing a new GT86 towards the end of the year which will be re-badged Toyota GR86. Few details are known, though it is thought it will be based on Toyota’s TNGA platform, feature a full cabin update and come with a new 2.4-litre flat-four engine, good for 252bhp.
The first refreshed model we expect from Vauxhall is the Insignia. There are no major changes just a facelift and a range of petrol and diesel powertrains available. The Vauxhall Grabndland, will receive a similar style refresh and feature more visual flair thanks to Vauxhall’s new ‘Vizor’ front-end concept.
Meanwhile, the Vauxhall Mokka will undergo a more significant update for a bold and exciting new look and like the Grandland will also feature Vauxhall’s new ‘Vizor’ front end. At launch, it will be available with the choice of two petrol engines and one diesel engine.
But don’t worry if you love the Mokka but were hoping for an electric version you can choose the Vauxhall Mokka-e. The fully-electric model comes with a 134bhp motor and 50kWh battery for 201 miles on a single charge. Plus with 100kWh charging capabilities, it’s ready to quickly boost power on longer journeys.
Vauxhall’s bestselling model the Vauxhall Astra is also set to receive an update this year, although as yet details are few and far between. It is thought it will receive a substantial overhaul inside and out and will come with the option of plug-in hybrid powertrains.
For Volvo, 2021 really is a year of electrification. First will come the Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric P8. It will keep the look of the original XC40 but swap the convention engine for a pair of electric motors with a combined output of 402bhp.
Another larger EV is likely to join the range later in the year taking technology from the Polestar 2. This will be essential as the marque plans for EVs to account for half its sales by 2025.
Finding Your New Car
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