All the best new cars coming in 2021
Don't buy a new car until you've read this – our ultimate guide to the new models going on sale this year...
2020 will go down as a memorable year for all the wrong reasons.
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic were felt in the car industry too, with many models being delayed as social distancing made testing and development much harder. But as things get back to normal, a lot of the new cars scheduled for 2020 will now appear in 2021 instead. Here, then, is your guide to all the best new cars coming in 2021.
The order is chronological, but are subject to change - we start for cars that we expect to go on the roads towards the start of the year
Mercedes claims that its latest S-Class is the “most technically advanced car that Mercedes-Benz has ever placed into series production,” and we wouldn’t readily disagree. The luxurious four-door has been comprehensively re-engineered around a new body structure that’s claimed to be 60kg lighter than the old S-Class’s despite added levels of rigidity and, it’s claimed, even greater refinement. Prices start at £78,705.
Covid-19 has caused delays to the launch of production of this new electric small SUV into 2021. Based heavily on the second-generation GLA, the EQA will provide competition to the likes of the new Volkswagen ID.3 and Kia e-Niro. Reckon on a range of around 250 miles.
Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake
This estate version of the Arteon hatchback puts style before outright practicality (Volkswagen offers the Passat Estate for the latter). Engine options include 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre petrols and two 2.0-litre diesels, with a plug-in hybrid and a hot R model to come.
DS says its first saloon will be “comparable to the BMW 5 Series in every way”, and that’s a huge claim; the BMW is our reigning Luxury Car of the Year. The DS 9’s engine range is borrowed from the Peugeot 508 and consists of two 1.6-litre petrols plus 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre diesels. There will also be a plug-in hybrid that can cover up to 39 miles on battery power alone.
Jaguar XF facelift
This rival to the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series gets an all-new interior in 2021. Particularly eye-catching is its new Pivi Pro infotainment system, with its large, 11.4in touchscreen; in other models, this is far more responsive than previous systems. Changes elsewhere include tweaked exterior styling and an updated 2.0-litre diesel engine.
Skoda Enyaq iV
Skoda’s five-seat Enyaq iV electric SUV will be about the same size as the current Kodiaq. Two rear-wheel-drive variants will arrive first: the 177bhp '60' with a 62kWh battery and an official range of 260 miles, and the 201bhp '80' with an 82kWh battery and a 310-mile range. A cheaper '50' version, with a 55kWh battery, will follow, as will pricier four-wheel-drive Enyaqs.
Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo
We rate the Porsche Taycan electric luxury saloon so highly that we gave it our maximum five-star rating, and this estate version will arrive in 2021. Prices are still to be confirmed, but expect to pay a low four-figure premium on top of the saloon’s £83,635 starting price. PICTURE: spyshot
In a drive to reduce emissions, city cars are switching from petrol to electric power. This electric Fiat 500 has an official range of 199 miles and can be fully recharged in just 35 minutes. With bespoke underpinnings that are separate from those of the petrol car, the electric 500 also has a classier interior and adds rear doors to improve practicality.
Despite adopting more of an SUV-like shape, Citroën’s family car is still very much intended to compete with the big-selling Ford Focus and Seat Leon hatchbacks. An electric e-C4 model with a 217-mile range will be offered alongside conventionally powered versions, and a more modern interior featuring super-comfy seats aims to turn buyers’ heads.
As well as a bold new look, Hyundai’s latest family SUV offers more interior space than before. Every engine is now electrified; 1.6-litre mild hybrid options with either 148bhp or 178bhp will be available at launch, and a plug-in hybrid model is on the way. A new 10.3in digital instrument cluster and an equally large infotainment touchscreen feature inside.
Toyota GR Yaris
Don’t mix this Yaris up with its city-friendly sibling; the GR is as close as Toyota gets to offering a rally car for the road. It has four-wheel drive and only three doors, and it’s noticeably shorter than the standard car. It’s also powered by the world’s most powerful three-cylinder engine. The 1.6-litre unit pumps out 257bhp – enough for 0-62mph in 5.5sec.
Taking its name from the constructor of some of McLaren’s most famous sports-racers of the 1960s, the Elva is the lightest road car ever produced by the brand. Powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, it scorches from a standstill to 62mph in less than three seconds. Only 249 examples will be made, with prices starting from an eye-watering £1,425,000.
Volkswagen Golf R
The Golf R gets 316bhp from a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine; 0-62mph takes just 4.7sec. A four-wheel drive system helps the R to put its power down effectively. Silver door mirrors, a beefy body kit and quad exhausts mark the R out from other Golf models, and there’s a choice of alloy wheels up to 19in in diameter.
On the inside, the Golf R’s 10.0in touchscreen infotainment system is shared by the regular Golf, but the R gets bespoke graphics for its digital instrument cluster, and a lap timer for sessions on the circuit. Prices are expected to start at a little below £40,000. The Golf GTD and GTE derivatives will launch around the same time.
The refreshed F-Pace has an all-new interior with soft leather, wood and metal in place of the previous hard plastic materials. It also has a more responsive 11.4in infotainment touchscreen that allows remote software updates. The petrol and diesel engines get mild hybrid technology, and the new plug-in hybrid option has an electric range of 33 miles.
With a taller profile and more rugged SUV-style bodywork, the next Mondeo will rival the likes of the Subaru Outback and Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Sharing underpinnings with the Kuga large SUV, versions will include a plug-in hybrid powered by a 2.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor. A 10.3kWh battery should give it a 34-mile electric-only range.
The Arkana is Renault’s first coupé-styled SUV model and it sits between the Kadjar and Koleos in the French brand’s SUV line-up. Inside, you’ll find a 10.0in digital instrument cluster and a 9.3in portrait-oriented touchscreen. Buyers can choose from a 1.3-litre mild hybrid petrol engine or a 1.6-litre regular hybrid. It’s expected to be priced from around £25,000.
The new Mokka small SUV represents the beginning of a bold new era of design for the British brand. As well as conventional petrol and diesel models, there’ll be a fully electric version called the Mokka-e, which can officially cover up to 201 miles on a single charge.
That’s not quite as far as the closely related Peugeot e-2008 can manage, though, despite the fact that both cars are powered by the same 134bhp electric motor and 50kWh battery pack. Unusually for a new car, the new Mokka is shorter than its predecessor, but there is more space because of a wider wheelbase. The regular Mokka is priced from £20,735 and the Mokka-e from £33,840, not including the Government’s £3000 grant.
Alfa Romeo Tonale
Previewed in concept form in July 2019 (pictured), the Tonale isn’t expected to change shape much on its journey to showrooms. It will feature a plug-in hybrid system that’s designed to boost performance as well as efficiency. It’s likely to be the same setup used in the related Jeep Renegade, with a petrol engine that drives the front wheels and an electric motor powering those at the rear. In the Renegade, this system produces a healthy 236bhp, and that figure could be increased to suit the more sporting Tonale. An all-electric range of at least 31 miles is likely, too. Reckon on prices starting at around £35,000.
Most of the big changes to Jaguar’s smallest SUV as part of this mid-life facelift are under the skin. It now comes with the option of plug-in hybrid power, for an official electric range of 34 miles and lower CO2 emissions. Mild hybrid technology has also been introduced on most other versions, while the interior receives a new infotainment system.
Based on the same underpinnings as Volkswagen’s ID.3, the el-Born is an electric family hatchback that can travel up to 310 miles on a full charge. Meanwhile, rapid charging should add 161 miles of range in 30 minutes. No 0-62mph time has been released yet, but Cupra is quoting 0-31mph in a sprightly 2.9sec.
Nissan has a habit of shaking up the market when it launches a new SUV; its Qashqai and Juke are among the most popular cars on the road, and it hopes the Qashqai-sized Ariya will follow suit. Futuristic looks and a range of up to 310 miles should help. There will even be a version that can blast from 0-62mph in 5.1sec – quicker than a Porsche Macan.
Audi RS E-tron GT
This new all-electric sports saloon may be a sister vehicle to the Porsche Taycan, but in early drives it already feels like a different animal. Audi is looking to insert greater usability and practicality into this new model. Hefty batteries mean a kerb weight of 2300kg, and a 250 mile range. Reckon on a price starting at £130,000.
Ford Mustang Mach-E
The Mach-E is a very different type of Mustang from its sports car counterpart – not least because it’s electric. The entry-level version comes with a 75kWh battery and 255bhp; there’s a 99kWh model with 282bhp as standard and the option to boost that to 333bhp; or you can choose the 88kWh, 459bhp GT, which blasts from 0-62mph in just 3.5sec.
That means this is a fully electric large SUV with a range from 280 to 379 miles. Models with the bigger battery and rear-wheel drive should have a longer range than any rival. Prices start from £40,270.
Audi Q4 e-tron
The Q4 e-tron is not only its ninth SUV but also one of 12 electric cars that it intends to have in its line-up by 2025. A motor is mounted on each axle to give the Q4 e-tron four-wheel drive, with these delivering a combined output of 302bhp. That’s enough for 0-62mph in 6.3sec, while an 82kWh battery gives the car an official range of 280 miles between charges.
As its name suggests, the Q4 e-tron is sized between the Q3 and Q5 in terms of overall length. But thanks to the small size of its motors, the Q4 should offer more space inside than both of those cars. As well as the regular model, there will be a Q4 Sportback with a coupé-like roofline. PICTURE: Q4 concept car
Cupra Formentor PHEV
We’ve already been impressed by the Formentor in top-rung 306bhp petrol-engined form, and spring will bring this plug-in hybrid version. Its 1.4-litre petrol engine and electric motor combine to produce 242bhp and it should manage 31 miles on electricity alone.
Toyota Yaris Cross
The Yaris hatchback is the most economical car we’ve ever put through our True MPG test, and this Yaris Cross small SUV features the same 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor, so it should be very cheap to run. Designed to compete against the likes of the Ford Puma and Volkswagen T-Cross, the Yaris Cross should cost around £21,000.
Ford Puma ST
The regular Puma is our 2020 Car of the Year, so hopes were high for this sporty ST version when we drove it, and it didn’t disappoint. With 197bhp from its 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine, the Puma ST can crack the 0-62mph sprint in just 6.7sec, and with tweaked suspension and steering, it feels nearly as agile as its Fiesta ST hot hatch namesake. Prices start from £28,495.
Although the Across has slightly different exterior styling, it’s actually a twin to the Toyota RAV4 Plug-in. It shares that car’s 2.5-litre petrol engine and two electric motors and has an electric range of 46 miles and CO2 emissions of just 22g/km, as measured on the official test cycle. In-car technology includes a 9.0in touchscreen infotainment system.
The seven-seat Highlander fills a gap below the Land Cruiser in Toyota’s line-up. It will be offered only as a hybrid, with a 2.5-litre petrol engine supplemented by an electric motor on each axle to give a combined output of 241bhp, along with four-wheel drive. This results in official average fuel consumption of 42.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 146g/km.
Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA
Alfa Romeo will build a total of just 500 GTA and GTAm versions of the Giulia, offering a raft of mechanical and dynamic upgrades over the current Quadrifoglio range-topper, with reduced weight of 100kg. It won’t be cheap though, with prices from around £150,000.
The third generation of the UK’s cheapest new car shares its underpinnings with the latest Nissan Juke and Renault Clio. This means it can offer a wider array of assistance and safety kit than before, including automatic emergency braking. The only engine at launch will be a turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol, but hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions are likely too later.
‘Ti’ refers to the 1963 BMW 1800 Turismo Internazionale, the model that set the template for BMW’s sporting saloons, so it fits that the 128Ti uses a version of the rapid M135i’s 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. It isn’t as fast as that car, nor does it share its four-wheel drive system, but the Ti’s front-wheel drive setup has already proved to be engaging and fun.
Porsche 911 GT3
For enthusiasts, the new Porsche 911 GT3 could easily be the most anticipated car of 2021, as it represents Porsche’s last stand for naturally aspirated, high-revving sports cars. Power from its 4.0-litre engine delivers a maximum of 503bhp, while it revs to a superlative 9000rpm.
This range-topping model in the Audi A3 model family is set to take its power from the same turbocharged five-cylinder 2.5-litre petrol engine as the new RS Q3 performance SUV. The 394bhp output of this unit will make the RS3 one of the most powerful cars in its segment, just below the 416bhp Mercedes-AMG A45 S.
So that's all the cars due in the first few months of 2021 - the following are those due to arrive in the summer period:
Hyundai has announced plans for a new Ioniq sub-brand specialising in electric cars. It’ll introduce three new models in the next four years, the first being a family SUV called the Ioniq 5. Full details are to be confirmed, but we know its design will take cues from the sleek Hyundai 45 concept that was unveiled at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show.
Delays in testing caused by the pandemic have delayed this new near-2000bhp electric hypercar into the middle of 2021. Just 130 examples of the £1.5m-2m (plus taxes) machine will be built. Heavy use of carbon fibre has kept the weight down to 1680kg. Four electric motors feature that can torque vector, powered by a 70kWh battery that can take 350kW fast charging. Reckon on a 250 mile range.
The new Qashqai has a lot to live up to, but Nissan is giving it every chance to succeed. For starters, the new Qashqai is lighter than its predecessor to aid efficiency and handling, plus the suspension has been completely re-engineered in an effort to improve ride comfort. Of the power options that have been revealed so far, the 1.3-litre mild hybrid petrols are expected to be the most popular. One puts out 138bhp and the other 155bhp, and both have electrical assistance that allows the car to coast during low-load situations such as motorway cruising, as well as enabling the start-stop system to be active for longer.
Inside, you can expect a fully digital instrument cluster and a large central infotainment screen, as well as more space for people and luggage than today’s car offers. Prices should start at around £23,000. PICTURE: What Car? artist impression
The 02 is intended to take on the best family SUVs you can buy, including the Range Rover Evoque and Volvo XC40.That’s a huge task, but its electrified engines should help. The 02 will initially come in plug-in hybrid form, mating a 1.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor or a zero-emissions range of 31 miles. A fully electric version is also on the way.
Audi Q5 Sportback
Joining the Q3 Sportback and Q8 in Audi’s growing range of coupé SUVs, the Q5 Sportback is a rival for the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupé and trumps both of them on boot space. The sole engine at launch will be a 201bhp 2.0-litre diesel, but multiple petrol and plug-in hybrid versions will follow. Prices are expected to start at £48,000.
Most of the engines in the new generation C-Class line-up will be assisted by mild hybrid technology, allowing them to switch off completely while coasting. There will also be a plug-in hybrid model from start. Even the range-topping C63 will swap V8 power for a hybridised 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit – albeit one producing more than 500bhp. Mercedes also wants the new C-Class to be the class leader when it comes to technology, with advanced autonomous driving features such as a Drive Pilot system that allows hands-off driving at speeds of up to 80mph.
In addition to the familiar saloon, estate, coupé and cabriolet body styles, there will be a new C-Class All Terrain estate with SUV-inspired looks, a raised ride height and selectable off-road driving modes. PICTURE: What Car? artist impression
Toyota RAV4 Plug-in
The RAV4 Plug-in is the quickest hybrid powered Toyota yet. With a 2.5-litre petrol engine and two electric motors, it can blast from 0-62mph in 6.2sec, and 84mph is possible on electric power alone. It also features Toyota’s latest driver assistance systems, including lane-keeping assistance, road sign recognition and adaptive cruise control.
The replacement for the Toyota GT86, due to be named the GR86, will come out next year with a 252bhp turbocharged petrol engine, recent leaks from a US dealer presentations reveal. There's no clear indication that the Subaru version, the replacement for the BRZ, will make its debut at the same time, but it’s entirely likely. It seems the new BRZ is unlikely to be sold in the UK given poor sales for the current model versus the Toyota version. PICTURE: What Car? artist impression
Suzuki and Toyota are working together a lot these days, and the latest fruit of their collaboration is the Swace, a twin of the Corolla family estate car. Power comes from a 1.8-litre petrol engine and an electric motor producing 120bhp together, and you’ll need Holmesian detective skills to tell the Swace and Corolla apart inside. Prices start at £27,499.
So that's the new cars due in the summer of 2021 – now we'll look at the cars due in the final few months of 2021:
About the same size as today’s X5 and expected to be priced from around £80,000, the all-electric iX will offer Level 3 autonomy. That means it will be able to steer, accelerate and brake for itself in certain situations, at speeds of up to 80mph. Like the Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X, the iX has an electric motor on each axle to give it four-wheel drive. Power will fall somewhere between those two rivals, with the iX offering up to 500bhp, so 0-62mph should be possible in less than 5.0sec.
The car’s 100kWh battery is expected to deliver a class-leading official range of more than 370 miles. And if you can find a 200kW-plus public rapid charger, it can be replenished from 10-80% in 40 minutes.
VW’s decision to target the booming SUV and electric sectors with a single model makes a lot of sense, but, with lots of other brands having the same idea, the ID.4 needs to be something special. Buyers will initially only be offered a highspec 1st Edition variant that uses a single 201bhp electric motor. This sends its power to the rear wheels and allows the ID.4 to sprint from 0-62mph in 8.5sec.
Its 99kWh battery can be replenished to 80% capacity in around 30 minutes using the fastest charging stations. It provides an official range of 323 miles on a full charge.
The latest S-Class limousine was recently revealed and this is its all-electric sister. Previewed by the 2019 Vision EQS concept (pictured), the production car is expected to offer a range of 435 miles on a full charge. It’s likely to share the S-Class’s 12.8in touchscreen and will feature Mercedes’ most advanced autonomous driving system yet. PICTURE: EQS concept car preview
Tesla Model Y
Essentially an SUV version of the Model 3 executive saloon – our reigning Large Electric Car of the Year – the Model Y can seat up to seven. Two versions are likely to be offered in the UK initially; the Long Range can do around 300 miles between charges on the US’s official EPA test cycle, while the pricier, faster Performance manages 280 miles.
BMW has the Tesla Model 3 saloon in its sights with its i4, which will have a range of up to 373 miles – 20 more than the Model 3 Long Range can manage. We also know that four and rear-wheel-drive versions will be offered and that the most powerful i4 will produce 523bhp, dispatch the 0-62mph sprint in just 4.0sec and have a top speed of 125mph. PICTURE: Preview concept car
Jaguar design and technology are expected to take a leap forward with the next XJ; it’s billed to act as a showcase for what the brand can do and will go head to head with the Tesla Model S. The XJ’s two electric motors give it four-wheel drive, and Jaguar is targeting a 0-60mph time of less than five seconds and a range of more than 300 miles. PICTURE: What Car? artist impression
Like the first generation, this all-new, fifth-generation Range Rover will be able to cross continents and climb mountains, but it will be more efficient and high-tech than ever before. We reckon the new model will retain the signature outline of its predecessors, but with plenty of changes under the skin.
For starters, the car sits on new underpinnings that promise to be stronger and lighter than those of today’s car and allow the latest driver assistance technology and safety systems to be used, and allow for a four-wheel steering system that will help around town. As with the current model, the new Range Rover will be sold in both regular and stretched forms. The Range Rover will continue to be offered with conventional petrol and diesel engines, but most of these will include mild hybrid electrification that’s designed to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Reckon on pricing starting around £85,000. PICTURE: What Car? artist impression
This flagship SUV strikes a sportier, more rakish pose than the X7 on which it’s based. It has a shallower front grille and smaller windows but shares many mechanical parts with the X7, including its range of six-cylinder mild hybrid petrol and diesel engines and a plug-in hybrid. The V8 M50i produces around 750bhp and will be the most powerful production BMW yet. PICTURE: What Car? artist impression
The largest, most luxurious electric SUV in Volkswagen’s new line-up, the ID.6 is a seven-seater that’s intended to steal sales from the Tesla Model X. It’s driven by a pair of electric motors that produce 302bhp, with power stored in an 82kWh battery. That’s said to give it an official range of up to 280 miles, and it can be recharged to 80% of capacity in around 30 minutes using a 150kW rapid charger. An expected price of around £70,000 would comfortably undercut the Model X.
This alien-looking electric pick-up will be offered in three versions. The cheapest, with a single motor and rear-wheel drive, is said to do 0-60mph in 6.5sec, with a claimed range of 250 miles. The mid-range dual-motor variant is four-wheel drive and hits 60mph in 4.5sec.The flagship has three motors and a 0-60mph time of just 2.9sec. Range? Around 400 miles.
Range Rover Sport
The 2021 Range Rover Sport is a smaller, more affordable version of the new Range Rover. Both cars share new, more rigid underpinnings and the same list of engines. The Sport will continue to offer seating for seven, but its exterior styling has evolved to echo the smaller Velar. Expect Land Rover’s latest infotainment inside and an almost endless list of luxuries. PICTURE: What Car? artist impression
Based on the same underpinnings as the upcoming new AMG GT, the eighth-generation SL promises to be lighter, faster and more engaging to drive than before. In part, that’s because the luxury roadster is ditching the existing car’s folding hard-top for a fabric roof. Expect a range of potent petrol engines, including a V8 in the tyre-shredding SL63. PICTURE: Spy shot
Vauxhall will give the Astra a bold new look, with contrasting roof colours offered for the first time. There will also be a new front grille and bumper that echo the nose of the latest Vauxhall Mokka SUV. LED lights are expected to be standard, too. Beneath the surface, the new Astra promises to be lighter and stronger than before, thanks to new underpinnings that are shared by other models from within Vauxhall’s parent PSA Group.
The new Astra will share its engine options with the upcoming Peugeot 308. The core choices are expected to be 1.2-litre turbo petrols in various states of tune, with a 1.5-litre diesel reserved for fleets and high-mileage company car drivers. A plug-in hybrid will be offered for the first time, too, using the same 1.6-litre petrol engine and dual electric motors as the Grandland X Hybrid4 to produce 296bhp. This model should be capable of travelling for at least 30 miles on electric power alone. At the top of the range will be a VXR hot hatch to rival the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI. PICTURE: What Car? artist impression
By sharing its underpinnings with the Audi A1, Seat Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo, the all-new Fabia can utilise the same advanced driver assistance and safety tech as those cars. Perhaps controversially, no electrified versions will be offered, in order to keep the price low. The core engine range will instead be made up of turbocharged three-cylinder petrols. PICTURE: What Car? artist impression
Peugeot’s family hatchback will undergo a radical redesign to bring its looks into line with the latest 208 and the brand’s SUVs. It will be offered primarily as a plug-in hybrid, using a 1.6-litre petrol engine mated with an electric motor. A second plug-in variant will act as a range-topping performance version, with four wheel drive and more than 300bhp. PICTURE: What Car? artist impression
Land Rover Road Rover
Land Rover heads to new horizons with a more car-like Land Rover. A vehicle we dub the ‘Road Rover’ will probably wear a Range Rover badge in production. It will also be the firm’s first purely battery electric vehicle.
It will have an allroad-style estate body and deliver a capable, rather than outstanding, off-road performance. Its sister cars will be the Jaguar XJ limousine and J-Pace SUV. PICTURE: What Car? Artist impression