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2021's most wanted: Vehicles drivers can't wait for

BMW’s high-performance M division seems to have found its way again. The current M2 coupe and M5 sedan are best in class. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of BMW’s design department. The beaver-tooth grille seen on the recent Concept 4 is rumoured to adorn the next-generation M4 coupe and maybe even the M3 sedan, both of which should be unveiled sometime in 2020. - BMW
BMW’s high-performance M division seems to have found its way again. The current M2 coupe and M5 sedan are best in class. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of BMW’s design department. The beaver-tooth grille seen on the recent Concept 4 is rumoured to adorn the next-generation M4 coupe and maybe even the M3 sedan, both of which should be unveiled sometime in 2020. - BMW - Contributed

Looking at the long list of new cars, trucks and SUVs slated to hit the road in 2020, one thing stands out: so many of them are electric.

The fact this new decade will begin with a jolt of high-profile new electric vehicles is telling. Governments around the world are pushing automakers to reduce vehicle emissions and, in the near term at least, that will mean many new electric cars and SUVs in showrooms. This decade could finally be the one in which EVs become ubiquitous.

If you’re not ready to give up your gasoline-powered sports car or truck just yet, don’t panic. The gasoline automobile has plenty left in the tank, as evidenced by all the traditional new SUVs slated for 2020.

These are some of the most hotly anticipated new cars arriving this year.

SUVs and trucks

The Tesla Model Y, a compact SUV with a claimed range of between 450 km and 480 km, will go into production in late 2020. Unlike the Model X, this one won’t have fancy falcon-wing doors, but it will be significantly cheaper. Prices start at $66,390. - Tesla
The Tesla Model Y, a compact SUV with a claimed range of between 450 km and 480 km, will go into production in late 2020. Unlike the Model X, this one won’t have fancy falcon-wing doors, but it will be significantly cheaper. Prices start at $66,390. - Tesla

The Cadillac Escalade is arguably the quintessential American SUV and the company has announced there’s an all-new version coming in February. As with previous iterations of Cadillac’s full-size flagship, you can bet this one will be kitted out with enough chrome to make it so shiny as to be visible from space. A teaser video released by the company shows the new Caddy will feature an enormous 38-inch OLED screen on the dashboard, as well as Super Cruise, an advanced driver assistance system.

The Escalade isn’t the only well-known American SUV making a comeback this year. After so many teasers and leaks — dating back to the announcement of its return in 2017 — Ford will launch a new Bronco in spring 2020. It’s shaping up to be a direct rival to the Jeep Wrangler, with removable doors and a rugged body-on-frame chassis. The boxy design shown in teaser images make us think the Bronco could be a more affordable alternative to Land Rover’s reborn Defender as well. That all-new British off-roader, by the way, will also arrive in showrooms in 2020.

Ram is expected to enter the mid-size pickup market next year with the Dakota. Speculation is rampant since confirmed details are scarce. We do, however, expect the new truck to be more affordable than the its corporate stablemate, the $47,245 Jeep Gladiator.

Electrics

Automotive newcomer Rivian will soon be joining the electric vehicle segment. - Matt Bubbers
Automotive newcomer Rivian will soon be joining the electric vehicle segment. - Matt Bubbers

Rivian came out of nowhere in 2018 to become one of the most promising EV startups. The R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV will be built in Illinois and should be on the road in late 2020, provided the company can stick to its schedule. The vehicles’ clean design, impressive range of over 600 km and clever features — like the pull-out camping kitchen on the pickup — have generated lots of interest. With prices starting at US$69,000, however, these are luxury machines.

So too are the Audi E-Tron GT and next-generation Jaguar XJ. The E-Tron GT will be Audi’s electric flagship, a sport sedan for a new decade. It won’t be properly unveiled until late 2020, but we know it will use technology from Porsche’s Taycan, so expect class-leading performance if not outright range. The Jaguar, meanwhile, is more of a mystery. The brand’s flagship XJ sedan is due for an all-new model, but the company has been very tight-lipped about it. Rumours abound that it could be all-electric or perhaps a plug-in hybrid, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Volkswagen, on the other hand, is aiming for mass-market success with its ID Crozz electric SUV, which will be unveiled this year before arriving in dealerships in early 2021. It’s a Tiguan-sized SUV with a driving range of between 320 km and 480 km per charge.

The VW could be a strong rival to the Tesla Model Y, a compact SUV with a claimed range of between 450 km and 480 km that will go into production in late 2020. Unlike the Model X, this one won’t have fancy falcon-wing doors, but it will be significantly cheaper. Prices start at $66,390.

Compact SUVs are in high demand, and so it should come as no surprise that VW and Tesla aren’t the only brands making electric inroads into this hot market. Polestar, an all-electric spinoff of Volvo and its Chinese owner Geely, will deliver its first compact car to customers in 2020. The Polestar 2 — as opposed to the exotic $200,000 Polestar 1 — is a $69,000 vehicle that’s halfway between a car and an SUV. It will arrive in summer with a range of around 450 km.

Ford is also taking a shot at the electric SUV market with the Mustang Mach-E. It’s got nothing in common with the current Mustang except the name, but Ford is hoping that might be enough to get people to take notice. Prices range from $50,495 for the base model to $82,995 for the GT Performance edition. The latter has 459 horsepower and can dash from 0-100 km/h in around 3.5 seconds. The Mach-E is expected in late 2020 as a 2021 model.

Speed demons

When an electric SUV can do the 0-100 km/h sprint in 3.5 seconds, what is the point of sports cars? To put it plainly: handling. While electric cars are undeniably quick, their sheer weight gets in the way of making them as engaging or as fun to drive over a mountain pass as the best sports cars. (At least for the time being.)

The Jaguar F-Type is the perfect example. It was never the fastest thing in a straight line, but its playful handling and rip-roaring V-6 and V-8 engines made sure any drive could be thrilling. The new 2021 model-year F-Type has been given a subtle exterior makeover and very welcome update to the infotainment system. As much as we like electric cars, they just don’t make the hair on the back of your neck stand up like the sound of Jag’s supercharged V-8.

The F-Type is a direct rival to Porsche’s venerable 911. The Stuttgart company is set to broaden the 911 lineup this year with the introduction of a new Turbo model. To clarify, that’s the capital “T” Turbo model, the ultimate everyday sports car. Now that nearly all 911s have turbochargers, the Turbo name is more symbolic than logical.

The all-new 2020 Corvette should give would-be buyers of any European exotic reason to pause. Starting at just under $70,000, the ‘Vette looks like a relative bargain. Its 6.2-litre V-8 makes 495 hp and is mounted behind the driver, in proper supercar fashion.

Last but not least, BMW’s high-performance M division seems to have found its way again. The current M2 coupe and M5 sedan are best in class. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of BMW’s design department. The beaver-tooth grille seen on the recent Concept 4 is rumoured to adorn the next-generation M4 coupe and maybe even the M3 sedan, both of which should be unveiled sometime in 2020.

These are just a fraction of the new vehicles we’ll see in 2020. There are sure to be some surprises and perhaps a few disappointments and production delays too. What is clear is that cars are changing faster than ever and the next 10 years are going to be a wild ride.

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