Even in the age of next-day delivery, self-checkout, and gigabit internet, some things can’t be rushed. The cars, trucks, and SUVs seen here won’t reach dealer lots for anywhere from a few months to a few years. Some of them are about to roll down the assembly line. Others haven’t emerged from the design studio yet. We’re telling you about them now, though, because these are the vehicles that will matter, regardless of how many boring crossovers automakers puke out. These are worth the wait.
WHICH CARS ARE YOU MORE EXCITED ABOUT IN 2021?
The reporting for this story was completed before the auto industry began feeling major effects of the coronavirus pandemic. As many automakers are now delaying or pausing development programs, the debut and on-sale dates reported here may change.
2021 Alfa Romeo GTV
It’s difficult not to love Alfa Romeo’s Giulia Quadrifoglio. In spite of the sports sedan’s tragic reliability record, it’s still an absolute joy to drive and looks incredible. Who wouldn’t want that in even sexier form, like, say, a two-door coupe? Good news! One is on its way, and it will resurrect the iconic GTV name and add electrification to the the Quadrifoglio’s 505-hp twin-turbo V-6. Expect up to 600 horsepower.
2021 Alfa Romeo Tonale
The upcoming Alfa Romeo Tonale promises to be a rare beauty in a sea of luxury-subcompact crossovers. Plus it’s Alfa Romeo’s first hybrid model. Previewed by a concept model at last year’s Geneva auto show, the production version should arrive later this year, starting around $35,000.
2024 Aston Martin Vanquish
Aston Martin’s next Vanquish will be a mid-engine supercar targeting the defining dream machines of the moment—cars such as the Ferrari F8 Tributo, Lamborghini’s Huracán replacement, and the McLaren 720S and 765LT. Previewed by a concept car at the 2019 Geneva auto show (pictured), the Vanquish should start just north of $300,000 when it arrives in 2023.
2021 Audi e-tron GT
Audi’s electric e-tron lineup grows for 2021, with the shapely e-tron GT joining today’s e-tron (no name, just e-tron) crossover. There’s no dancing around it: the GT is aimed squarely at Tesla’s Model S. Audi is hoping it will deliver more than 250 miles of driving range and nearly 600 horsepower from a pair of electric motors (one per axle). Underneath its Blade Runner exterior hides the same J1 architecture developed for fellow Volkswagen Group member Porsche, for its Taycan EV.
2021 Audi Q4 e-tron
The Audi Q4 e-tron is smaller and cheaper that the e-tron and e-tron Sportback, and it’s aimed at the core of the crossover market. The Q4 e-tron was initially previewed by a concept car (pictured) shown at the 2019 Geneva auto show. It will be the fourth electric Audi to come stateside but the first to use VW’s MEB architecture designed exclusively for electric vehicles. It, too, will offer a slightly sleeker Sportback version.
2024 BMW i8 M
BMW is working on a follow-up to the plug-in-hybrid i8 halo car, which in and of itself never really lived up to expectations. Previewed by the 2019 BMW Vision M Next concept car, this yet-to-be-named replacement (we’ve taken to calling it the i8 M) should place greater emphasis on performance than its predecessor did. It could also set the Bimmer world on fire with its retro M1-inspired style—it could have rear louvers, people!
2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
The upcoming Chevy Corvette Z06 will be the first of several upcoming ultra-high-performance variants of the C8 Corvette. We expect it to go on sale in early 2021 as a 2022 model, starting at about $85,000. It will use a naturally aspirated DOHC 32-valve 5.5-liter V-8. Plus, it has a flat-plane crank, just like a Ferrari V-8. It should rev to between 8500 and 9000 rpm, spit out 600-plus horsepower, and shriek like something from Ferrari.
2022 Ferrari Purosangue SUV
Ferrari is finally taking the leap and building an SUV. For a brand that built its reputation on racing (cars, that is), this new project is quite the departure. For now, the creation is being referred to by the Purosangue name, which is Italian for “thoroughbred,” and will go up against the likes of the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, and Rolls-Royce Cullinan—if not in pure performance, at least in price.
2022 Ford Fusion Active
Selling a station wagon in an American car market infatuated with SUVs is a risky play for a manufacturer. But once Ford kills off the Fusion sedan later this year or early next year, a lifted version of that stigmatized-yet-highly-practical type of vehicle will soon be as close as shoppers will come to finding a new family car in a Blue Oval showroom. Enter the Ford Fusion Active, which we’ve seen in spy photos and leaked images so far.
2022 Ford Maverick
In a move that’s sure to shake up the truck establishment, Ford is planning a third pickup model that will be smaller than the mid-size Ranger. Built on the same unibody platform as the Escape and Bronco Sport crossovers, the Maverick could be a true compact truck the likes of which we haven’t seen in some time. It’s slated to arrive later in 2021 or in early 2022, possibly with a starting price in the low-$20,000 range.
2022 GMC Hummer EV
In an amazing twist of fate, General Motors’ gas-guzzling middle-finger-flying Hummer brand, discontinued in 2010, is poised to make a comeback for 2022 as an all-electric sub-brand of GMC. The GMC Hummer EV SUT pickup truck offers up to 1000 horsepower and GMC claims it’s capable of blasting from zero to 60 mph in just 3.0 seconds. It’s set to go on sale at the end of 2021 in loaded First Edition form, with an SUV version to follow.
2022 Honda Civic Type R
Honda confirmed that a new Civic Type R is on the way, and it should have a more mature look as previewed by a prototype of the 11th-generation Civic sedan. The second red-badged Civic to arrive in the U.S. will have a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder under the hood—hopefully with a better soundtrack—mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, and Honda didn’t rule out a quick-shifting dual-clutch transmission, either. We’ve heard rumors about a hybrid all-wheel-drive powertrain, but we think it’s unlikely—at least at launch, which should be toward the end of 2021.
2023 Hyundai RM20 N
Of all the newcomers to the mid-engine segment, no vehicle highlights the current sports-car zeitgeist quite like a mid-engine Hyundai, which could be called the RM20 N. When it arrives in two or three years, expect the Hyundai to bring mid-engine dynamics to a new level of affordability. As we understand it, the decision makers in South Korea are still weighing whether their car should be a $40,000 Hyundai or a $70,000 Genesis. In our minds, there’s no question. It’s too soon for Genesis to challenge Corvettes and Porsches, but a proper sports car could validate both N and Hyundai.
2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz
The Hyundai Santa Cruz is the automaker’s foray into the pickup market. It follows Honda’s approach rather than the formula that American manufacturers perfected. The unibody truck will be offered with a single bed length, a four-door crew cab, and a choice of four-cylinder engines. We expect to see the Santa Fe’s 2.4-liter and turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-fours paired with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive.
2022 Jaguar XJ
Jaguar’s full-size XJ sedan is getting old, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the seductive four-door. Time marches on, however, and Jaguar is looking to replace the XJ (however handsome it is now) with an all-new model for 2021. And Jag is going bold: The next XJ will be fully electric, with some 300 miles of driving range and DC fast charging.
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Early in 2021, Jeep will launch an entirely new Grand Cherokee. It likely won’t make it into buyers’ hands until later in the year, as production has been delayed. What those new owners will get is a Jeep based on a version of the Alfa Romeo Giorgio platform found under the Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV. The Grand Cherokee will be significantly longer than the trim little Stelvio, though. Not only will the Jeep’s wheelbase surpass the Alfa’s 110.9 inches, we expect it to be longer than the current Grand Cherokee’s 114.7 inches. Not only will be roomier than the outgoing model, it will offer a three-row version with up to seven seats.
2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Jeep is bringing back the iconic Wagoneer nameplate for a new full-size SUV offering. Shown so far in concept form, the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will compete with the likes of the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban. They will use a version of the Ram 1500’s body-on-frame platform, with the Grand Wagoneer being the more luxurious version costing over $100,000 fully loaded. Three rows of seats will be standard, as will four-wheel drive. We expect V-6 and V-8 engine options along with hybrid and plug-in-hybrid variants.
2023 Land Rover Defender 80
The upcoming Defender 80 is a new baby Land Rover set to be positioned below the recently revived Defender in the brand hierarchy. If it reaches the U.S. market, it could provide a more affordable entry point to the off-road-oriented Defender range. U.K. media reports have named it the 80—given that Land Rover calls the two- and four-door Defenders the 90 and the 110, respectively—although there is no confirmation of that.
2022 Lexus LQ
Lexus is still lacking the modern, high-end SUV that virtually every other luxury vehicle maker has to offer affluent shoppers. The upcoming Lexus LQ, which will serve as a sleek range-topping crossover, should address that shortcoming. Previewed by the LF-1 Limitless concept (pictured), the longitudinal-engine LQ should share key structural elements with the LS sedan. It also should share its powertrains, including the a 416-hp twin-turbo V-6 and its a 354-hp hybrid powertrain. An F performance model might even pack a twin-turbo V-8 good for 600-plus horsepower.
2021 Maserati MC20
The upcoming MC20 is a mid-engine reminder that Maserati exists. Rather than a successor to the ultrarare, hyperexpensive MC12, the MC20 is a run-of-the-mill six-figure Italian sports car offered in both coupe and convertible forms. Maserati promises that the MC20 marks the start of a new phase in the brand’s history, which it desperately needs if its vehicles are going to be relevant again. Maserati recently released technical details about the MC20’s twin-turbo V-6 engine, which will produce 621 horsepower.
2023 Mazda 6
For its next mid-size sedan, Mazda plans to adopt the blueprint of a full luxury model and hang a lower price on it. The next-generation Mazda 6, which should be on sale by the end of 2022, is set to get a full Bavarian, transitioning to a longitudinal-engine platform with rear-wheel drive and an inline-six.
2022 Mercedes-AMG SL-Class
Today’s Mercedes-Benz SL-class has strayed quite far from its glamorous past. Its predecessors’ grace has given way to ungainly styling and a clunky folding-hardtop mechanism. The 2022 SL is Benz’s attempt at reconnecting with its past, so expect this convertible to be sexier and more athletic while switching to a lighter, more regal folding soft top. It’ll also be called a Mercedes-AMG SL, as the performance division has taken over development of this new model.
2022 Nissan 400Z
Nissan will finally give the Z-car the attention it deserves by introducing a successor to the ancient 370Z. The new Z, code-named Z35 and likely called 400Z, won’t be a ground-up rethink. It will continue on the latest version of Nissan’s FM platform and share components with the Infiniti Q60 coupe. The twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 that makes up to 400 horsepower in the Infiniti Q50 and Q60 is under the hood, and a six-speed manual transmission will be standard. So far we’ve seen it in prototype form, and we don’t expect it to change drastically when it reaches production.
2022 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS
The upcoming Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS is a lighter, more powerful, and even more track-capable version of one of the great sports cars of the moment. It is set to arrive in late 2021 or early 2022, starting around $130,000. The GT4 reintroduced Porsche’s flat-six to the Cayman line after the latest redesign replaced it with a turbocharged flat-four. That 4.0-liter makes 414 horsepower. The RS’s six will also displace 4.0 liters, but in the vein of the 690-hp 911 GT2 RS, figure on output approaching 500.
2021 Ram Dakota
Chrysler’s mid-size Dakota pickup is making a comeback! This time, it falls under the Ram brand name (instead of Dodge), and it will cost less than the similarly sized Gladiator that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sells through the Jeep brand. Unsurprisingly, the Ram Dakota will share its underpinnings with that Jeep and likely will be built in the same Toledo, Ohio, facility.
2022 Subaru BRZ / Toyota 86
The next generation of Subaru and Toyota’s jointly developed sports cars are almost here, with the new BRZ having debuted already and the 86 soon to come. They will use a similar formula to the current models, with lightweight construction and rear-wheel drive for balanced handling. Power comes from a larger-displacement 2.4-liter flat-four to raise the performance threshold this time around. They are both expected to go on sale later in 2021 as 2022 models.
2022 Toyota GR Corolla
A hot-hatch version of the Corolla is coming soon wearing a GR badge (for “Gazoo Racing”). It’ll be Toyota’s first sporty compact since the high-revving Corolla XRS from the mid-2000s. The GR Corolla also will serve as an apology to Americans who are upset that we’re not getting the awesome rally-inspired GR Yaris. The GR Corolla should land in 2022, with a starting price around $30,000. It will use the mighty turbocharged hamster wheel from the GR Yaris that pumps out 257 horsepower from just three cylinders displacing 1.6 liters.
2024 Toyota MR2
Toyota is on a bit of a sports-car kick of late, having remained committed to the 86, a rear-drive two-door co-developed with Subaru, and having introduced a new Supra (co-developed with BMW). Next, Toyota is looking at resurrecting the midship runabout two-seater known as the MR2. Unlike previous iterations of this mid-engined sports car, the new MR2 likely will be electrified.
Volkswagen is readying a tidal wave of electric cars—50 total across its various brands—to debut by 2025. This is the first of those that will reach the U.S., and it’s called the ID.4. This electric crossover is aimed at the most popular vehicle segment today, compact crossovers. It makes sense: VW needs people to buy in to EVs if it has any hope of success with its plan to release a great many electric vehicles. Giving the people an EV in the size and shape they prefer these days surely will help.
Every EV That’s Expected in the Next Two Years
These electric vehicles aren’t for sale yet but are in various stages from concept to production—and perhaps a few may never see the light of day.