With the coronavirus locking us down tightly, the 2020 car-launch calendar is just one of many, many things that has been affected by the global pandemic. So let’s look ahead to better times and the cars we’re most looking forward to in 2021.
After the brilliant i3 electric city car and the incredible plug-in hybrid i8 supercar, BMW’s ‘i’ range has been waiting for the next instalment. In 2021, we’ll get it with the i4: a fully electric four-door with a 390kW (530hp) electric motor, capable of powering it for more than 600km on a single charge. Just don’t mention its kidney grilles…
Not the most exciting car on this list, but perhaps one of the most important. Dacia prides itself on the fact that, in most markets (ours included), the Sandero is the cheapest brand-new car you can buy. The Mk3 model is due to land in 2021 and, if the excellent Mk2 Duster is anything to go by, the Sandero should make big strides forward in quality and appeal.
Ford Mustang Mach-E
Risky of Ford to leverage one of its most legendary nameplates on a new electric SUV, but when the Mustang Mach-E lands next year it could create problems for Tesla and its Model X. Ford promises the Mach-E will ‘go like hell’; the key thing is the range, which is pegged at between 420- and 600km for the various different battery-pack options.
Kia’s evolution from mid-ranking value contender to one of the best options in the mainstream market has been steady and underpinned by impressive vehicles like the Picanto and the Ceed. If the next Rio supermini can make the same step forward, then the Ford Fiesta might have a lot to think about.
Mercedes’ show-stopping interior aesthetic is making its way into all of its models and there’s no more important a vehicle for the brand than the C-Class. The current Mk4 is due for full replacement in 2021 and the ‘W206’ (as it will likely be known) should be a technological masterpiece – not to mention its C 43/53 and C 63 high-performance options.
It’ll be interesting to see how Opel grows and flourishes under PSA ownership, but there can be no more critical car for the German brand than the next Astra. It is said that it will have particularly striking looks and a plug-in hybrid model with 300hp could also see the long-awaited return of the OPC performance badge.
Porsche’s move towards electrification is gathering pace and nowhere is this more evident than with the all-new Taycan EV sports saloon. But, apart from the 718 and 911 lines of sports cars, there’s one model line in the German firm’s line-up that lacks for any sort of electric option: the Macan. Rumour is the second-generation model, due in 2021, will be an EV only.
For decades, the Rangie ruled the roost as the ultimate luxury SUV/4x4, but a wave of ultra-prestige contenders have arrived in recent years from the likes of Bentley, Lamborghini and Maserati, as well as Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin. The current car’s replacement will push even further upmarket in a bid to retake its crown, allowing the Range Rover Sport to occupy the ground it vacates.
Skoda’s first bespoke production electric vehicle (there’s an electric version of the Citigo, but it’s not coming to Ireland) will be the Enyaq, sitting on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform. It should have 306hp and a range of around 500km, and given this country’s love for the Czech marque, then the Enyaq (its name taken from the Gaelic word ‘Eithne’, or Enya) should be a big hit.
Toyota Corolla GR
We waited a long time for the Corolla nameplate to return on a Toyota hatchback, but when it did last year, we were impressed with the way the Japanese machine drove. Factor in the current excellence of Toyota’s ‘GR’ performance products and the thought of a fast Corolla, with 300hp and more, is extremely tempting indeed.
By the time the SUV-shaped ID.4 arrives in 2021, the world will have already got to grips with the pioneering Volkswagen ID model, the Golf-sized ID.3 hatch. With a 500km range, the brand desirability of the VW badge and some impressive technological touches, the ID.4 could represent the start of a new era of fully electric family SUVs.