By Mark Nichol
Let’s start with the obvious: 2020 was an extremely challenging year for the car industry. Production lines closed (or started making vital PPE), sales suffered, motor shows were cancelled, and the industry as a whole spent much of the year figuring out what the long-term effects would be.
Thankfully things are really looking up for 2021. One of the ways we know that is because we’re starting to see new models again. Here’s the stuff that’s caught our eye. The due dates indicate when you’ll start seeing them on the road.
Due: Spring 2021
Despite never being anywhere near the best compact crossover on the market, Vauxhall managed to shift Mokkas in VAST quantities, putting 700,000 of them on the roads of Europe across an eight-year existence. This is the difficult follow-up, then, although all signs point towards this Mokka being a much, much better car. For a start it has a fully digital twin-screen display as standard, so the cabin feels like it belongs in this decade, and the exterior styling is a clean, modern departure from its predecessor. A fully electric model comes from launch, too.
Take a look at our top leaisng deals on the 2021 Vaxuhall Mokka.
Skoda Enyaq iV
Don’t be confused by the ‘iV’ in the name of the Skoda Enyaq: iV is the name of Skoda’s electric brand. It doesn’t mean ‘4’ as in ‘Rocky IV’. To add more potential confusion into the mix, the Enyaq iV is actually Skoda’s first ever fully electric model, and it’ll only ever be powered by electricity. A family crossover about the same size as a Karoq, we’ll get various power and battery options, with the biggest battery coming in at a gargantuan 125kWh. Tesla-sized, basically. That means its range will comfortably exceed 300 miles. Nice.
The main thing you need to know about the Dacia Spring is that when it arrives – probably in winter, which seems like a missed marketing opportunity – it’ll be the UK’s cheapest electric car. Dacia’s main shtick has always been making the cheapest stuff on the market, in a positive sense. That of course means that the Spring will be a great value lease. It’s quite little though - a compact crossover - and it won’t have the best interior ambience, nor the biggest battery range at just 140 miles officially. And because power is rated at a measly 43hp it won’t be very quick either. Still, this Dacia could be a fantastic electric runabout for those that need a bit more space than you get in a MINI Electric.
Due: Summer 2021
BMW’s first all-electric car since 2013’s i3 is just as controversially styled. But the i3’s styling didn’t seem to harm its sales at all, so BMW can probably be confident that this one will do just as well. That grille though, right? The iX is about the size of a BMW X5, which means in turn that the front snout is probably about the size of a Smart Forfour. Yikes. It’s priced on par with the X5 too, meaning it’s not a mass market EV, but its drivetrains are truly impressive: 250 miles range from the xDrive40 and 375 from the xDrive50, and the latter hitting 62mph in around five seconds. It’s built for silent luxury though, mainly.
Due: Spring 2021
The second electric SUV from Mercedes-Benz, the easiest way to describe it is “EQC minus 20%”. Lazy, we know. It takes all that’s great about the EQC – lovely cabin, silent running and a very sharp turn of pace – and makes it altogether easier to park. To start with there’ll only be one powertrain, called EQA 250 and packing 190hp, with a 66.5kWh battery good for a 263-mile claimed range. It’s front-wheel drive (as in, not a 4x4 despite looking like one), but later we’ll get versions with another motor on the rear axle, meaning it’ll be much quicker and have a bit more grip.
Alfa Romeo Tonale
Due: Late 2021 (TBC)
An Alfa Romeo small crossover is long, long overdue and 2021 will see it finally arrive. The Tonale is about the size of a Ford Puma or Volkswagen T-Cross, but as you can see it’s more stylish than Harry Styles during style week on Style Street. It probably won’t be as dynamic as the Ford Puma because it’s based on the Jeep Renegade, although Alfa Romeo has already said it’s going to work hard to banish all traces of the Jeep’s dynamic sogginess. There’ll be a plug-in hybrid at some stage, and possibly even an electric model using the new Fiat 500 EV’s bits.
An update from the manufacturer this week suggests that we might be waiting until 2022 for to see the Tonale debut.
Due: Summer 2021
Probably the biggest deal in new cars this year...definitely the biggest deal in fact, because you’ll soon see these things everywhere. For that reason Nissan hasn’t really played with the formula too much. The new Qashqai could pass for a mid-life facelift, inside and out. The cabin quality is much improved though, and Nissan has decided to make the electric version a range extender. That’s an unusual decision – very few range extenders exist – but it’s probably a wise one that will make lots of buyers move into an electric vehicle who otherwise wouldn’t because of range anxiety issues. A range extender has a petrol generator that never drives the wheels but can provide power to the battery when needed.
Toyota Yaris Cross
Due: Summer 2021
As the name suggests, the Yaris Cross is a crossover version of the Yaris. But if that sort of plain old clarity suggests a boring vehicle, fret not. While it’s never going to feature on a bedroom wall poster, things do bode well for this Toyota because the latest Yaris turned out to be a little masterpiece last year. Nobody predicted that. Available as a hybrid and with all-wheel drive, it should be good for a real world 50-60mpg and a decent amount of off-road ability. And hopefully as much fun to drive as its more ground-hugging namesake. We’ll see.
Due: At some point, hopefully…
We’re taking a chance on this one. The Cybertruck may have had the most unfortunate launch since Volvo’s self-braking car forgot to self-brake, but it still looks the absolute business. (If you’re wondering, the Cybertruck’s unbreakable glass broke during the car’s unveil event.) Tesla hasn’t confirmed whether we’ll get the wedgy electric pickup at all in the UK – and we probably won’t due to European safety regulations – but there’s a rumour we’ll get a smaller version codenamed ‘Wolverine’. We hope so.
Ford Mustang Mach E
Due: Spring 2021
It was controversial for Ford to transfer the Mustang name onto an electric SUV for obvious reasons. Still is. However, Ford dealt with the same sense of fan indignation when it called its small crossover “Puma”, and that turned out to be a masterstroke, so this will all probably work out okay in the end. The Mustang Mach E is the most exciting electric car coming this year, in our view. It looks much more rakish than the average crossover, the interior (which owes quite a lot to Tesla to be fair) is proper futuristic, and it’s quicker than a Black Friday Stampede into Asda. Its battery range is a huge 380 miles too.