Best new cars coming in 2021 - Mercedes to Volvo

From electric cars to supercars, this is our list of the best new cars coming in 2021

Mercedes C-Class

  • Price: £38,785
  • On sale: Now

The Mercedes C-Class has been refreshed and is now in its fifth generation, with the new model already on sale in the UK. It’s a mark of the downsizing trend that no model in the regular C-Class range has an engine larger than 2.0 litres, but it remains a rival for the BMW 3 Series.

Prices start from only a fraction less than £40,000, and the new C-Class gets cutting-edge tech including an 11.9-inch central touchscreen display and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, plus active cruise control and other safety features. It’s larger than the previous version and has more space inside, plus its design is closer to the E-Class than ever before. There’s an estate version too, plus plug-in hybrid models are on the way.

Mercedes EQB

  • Price: £45,000
  • On sale: 2021

Not only is the Mercedes EQB a new all-electric SUV, but it also brings a new niche along with it: that of the small premium seven-seat electric SUV. 

Rivals such as the Volkswagen ID.4 are a similar size, but the EQB offers extra practicality with those two extra, and optional, seats, something not seen in the premium class until now. The car made its debut at the Shanghai Motor Show, but a European version won’t be officially unveiled until later this year.

The EQB 350 4Matic model will have a range of around 260 miles, but a longer-range version is expected. It can accept rapid charging at up to 100kW, meaning a 10-80 per cent charge takes about half an hour.

Mercedes EQS

  • Price: £100,000
  • On sale: 2021

The Mercedes EQS is a new all-electric flagship saloon that acts as a zero-emissions alternative to the S-Class. 

It’s part of a new wave of Mercedes electric cars, which use an advanced modular EV platform that will allow impressive battery tech. The EQS shows this off with its 108kWh battery that brings 478 miles of range on a single charge, plus 200kW charging for a 10-80 per cent charge in half an hour.

A key feature in the EQS is the Hyperscreen infotainment system, which is aptly named because it’s 55.5 inches across. It includes three individual screens: a 12.3-inch driver’s display, a 17.7-inch central unit and a third 12.3-inch display on the passenger side.

Mercedes SL

  • Price: £80,000
  • On sale: now

The next Mercedes SL sports car has arrived, and features a new look that retains some key elements of the car’s iconic identity, including its traditional long bonnet and short tail. 

The new model has a similar look to the Mercedes-AMG GT, including a large grille and Mercedes badge, and is be available with the familiar 4.0-litre V8 engine in high-spec models. It rivals the Lexus LC and BMW 8 Series convertibles.

The new SL also uses a new architecture, and is stronger than before: 50 per cent stiffer than the AMG GT Roadster, for example. This new set-up allows for four-wheel drive, and engines include AMG’s powerful V8 as well as six-cylinder motors in more affordable versions.

Morgan Plus Four CX-T

  • Price: £204,000
  • On sale: Now

Morgan is known for its retro-inspired styling and traditional manufacturing techniques, but the Plus Four CX-T is something very different for the brand. Not only is it an unusual type of Morgan, it’s an unusual type of car full stop; there aren’t many rivals for the Ariel Nomad, but this is one. It’s a limited-run off-road-focused performance car that’s designed to go very fast on the rough stuff. The rear-drive car uses a BMW xDrive differential to help off-road traction.

It’s not cheap, at more than £200,000, but it looks the part, thanks to its boosted ride height, spare wheels and roll cage. It uses a BMW-sourced 2.0-litre petrol engine with 255bhp mated to a manual gearbox.

Nissan Ariya

  • Price: £35,000 
  • On sale: 2021

The Nissan Ariya is a new all-electric SUV that will rival the Tesla Model Y and Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge. 

It’s built on the CMF-EV platform shared with Renault, which allows a variety of motors and batteries to be fitted. The lower-spec models will have 215bhp and a range of around 230 miles, while the higher-spec models will have 389bhp and will cover 248 miles. A long-range version will travel up to 310 miles, but will have a bit less power.

While the Ariya does borrow some elements from the Leaf electric car, it’s a departure from the rest of Nissan’s range in many ways. The interior is a good example, because it uses twin display screens, like a modern Mercedes.

Peugeot 308

  • Price: £24,000
  • On sale: Now

The next Peugeot 308 will hit the roads very soon, and will rival the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus in the family hatchback class. 

A plug-in hybrid variant will be offered for the first time, thanks to the latest EMP2 platform it uses. The 308’s new design language will inform future Peugeot models, although the overall shape of the body isn’t radically different from that of the current-shape car. The interior has been overhauled with more tech, though, and it feels more upmarket throughout.

The range starts with a 1.2-litre petrol, and there’s a diesel version for high-mileage drivers. The plug-in model at the top of the range brings 37 miles of all-electric range and low CO2 emissions that will delight company car drivers.

Skoda Kodiaq facelift

  • Price: £27,560
  • On sale: 2021

An updated version of the largest Skoda SUV has been confirmed.  The Kodiaq is the brand’s flagship, available with seven seats, and the new model has a revised look with a new grille, plus different headlights and bumpers.

It brings some trim and engine changes, too, plus added safety equipment, including pedestrian detection for the automatic emergency braking function and rear-facing collision detection. On average, prices have gone up by £930 across the range. 

There’s the familiar 1.5-litre petrol engine, plus two 2.0-litre units, then two 2.0-litre diesels. Trim levels are SE, SE L, SportLine and L&K.

SsangYong Korando e-Motion

  • Price: £30,000 
  • On sale: 2021

The first all-electric SsangYong will be the new Korando e-Motion, which is a version of the existing SUV that uses a 187bhp electric motor in place of its regular combustion engine. 

The Korando’s battery pack will be a 61.5kWh unit that should allow a range of up to 260 miles on a single charge, and as you might be able to tell from the looks (the e-Motion is very similar to the standard model) the EV doesn’t use a new platform, but is an adaptation of the car’s existing chassis, which helps to save development costs. 

Tesla Model S

  • Price: £83,980
  • On sale: Now

The Tesla Model S has been updated this year, including the addition of the Plaid trim level at the top of the range.  This new model is capable of 520 miles on a charge, but costs £130,980. The Plaid version is also the fastest Tesla yet; it has more than 1,000bhp and can cover the 0-60mph sprint in 1.9 seconds and reach 200mph. Even the cheapest Model S, the Long Range, has 661bhp, so performance is strong in all of the versions.

Tweaks include cosmetic changes such as a different front bumper and side skirts, plus a small boot spoiler. These help the Model S to be more aerodynamic as well.  Inside, there’s a new digital instrument cluster and a 17-inch infotainment screen that controls virtually all the car’s functions.

Vauxhall Astra

  • Price: £18,000
  • On sale: 2021

The first Vauxhall Astra produced under Stellantis ownership has arrived, and it has a radical new look, a push upmarket to take on the Volkswagen Golf, and new engines including plug-in hybrid power. 

There will be an all-electric version in 2023, but the combustion-engined editions are almost here. The plug-in model has a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor that produce a combined 222bhp, which is the same as in the mechanically related Peugeot 308 plug-in. It can manage around 35 miles on a single charge, and uses an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Other engines include a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel.  The cabin has been overhauled at the same time as the exterior looks, with a digital display stretching across the dash, plus a new steering wheel.

Volkswagen Golf Estate

  • Price: £25,100 
  • On sale: Now

The new Volkswagen Golf Estate is already available to order, bringing more practicality over the hatchback version at a small price premium. There’s also an Alltrack version, which has increased ride height and four-wheel drive as standard.

The new Golf Estate is longer than the previous edition, and as a result it trumps that car in practicality, with boot capacities of 611 litres with the seats up and 1,642 litres with them folded down. 

The new model has a sportier-looking tailgate, but an identical front end to the normal Golf’s. The engine range includes small petrol units that will suit those who drive short distances, as well as larger diesel engines that are good for towing and longer motorway trips.

Volkswagen ID.5

  • Price: £40,000
  • On sale: 2021

The Volkswagen ID.5 is a coupé-SUV based on the ID.4 that will arrive later this year, and the range will include a high-performance GTX variant with 295bhp. 

This model has a range of 308 miles, although we expect the top-spec version of the mainstream range to travel even farther than that. It will use the same motors as the ID.4, so there will be a choice of power and range figures as you move up through the line-up.

It looks very similar to the ID.4 from what we’ve seen so far; with the same headlights and front-end shape. The rear section has changed the most thanks to a sloping roof for that coupé-like shape. The interior is similar to the ID.4’s, too.

Volkswagen Taigo

  • Price: £20,000
  • On sale: 2021

The Volkswagen Taigo is a new name for UK buyers, but the car has already gone on sale in other markets, notably in Brazil, where it’s badged as the Nivus. In Europe, the car is positioned between the smaller T-Cross and the larger T-Roc in Volkswagen’s SUV range, and will cost from around £20,000 as a result.

It’s based on the MQB A0 platform, which means it will have a range of small engines including a 1.0-litre TSI petrol with 94bhp or 108bhp, plus a 1.5-litre four-cylinder with 148bhp. 

Manual and automatic gearboxes will be available, and there is likely to be a range of customisation options offered, such as a number of dashboard inserts and coloured trim pieces. Visually, the car looks like the T-Cross, but with a sportier style and a sloping rear roofline.

Going down this route means it should be able to compete with the MG ZS EV as one of the cheaper electric SUV options on the market when it arrives later this year.

Volvo C40

  • Price: £57,400 
  • On sale: Now

The Volvo C40 Recharge is the brand’s first standalone fully electric model, and is set to go on sale very soon at just under £60,000. It’s related to the XC40, which was launched in electric form as the P8 Recharge last year, because both sit on the company’s CMA platform. This means it has a familiar look, partly thanks to both cars having an identical wheelbase, so interior space should be similar.

It uses two electric motors in P8 specification, with a combined 402bhp, so it can accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds. It also has a range of 261 miles and 150kW charging capability, so can grab an 80 per cent charge in 40 minutes. More affordable and lower-power drivetrains will come along in due course.

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