What To Know About Cars In 2021


It’s no surprise to hear new car sales dropped 30% last year but, despite the pandemic, sales of electric cars nearly trebled in 2020. Now that the government has confirmed it will ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, manufacturers are redoubling their focus on electric vehicles (EVs). Here are five things you need to know about – including the all-important EVs – as carmakers look to press the accelerator once more in 2021…


We have nine years beofre the UK bans sales of new petrol and diesel cars. For an industry that traditionally pivots about as quickly as an oil tanker, nine years isn’t a very long time and the big manufacturers are already fighting for pole position ahead of the great switchover. From Audi’s sports saloon to BMW’s SUVs to Jaguar’s luxury XJ, the major players are all betting big in the EV game. Look out too for a couple of less familiar names: Cupra is a Seat spin-off brand that’s set to launch an electric hot hatch in 2021; American startup Rivian will also start sending its genuine off-roaders across the Atlantic this year. If you’re ready to go all in on the electric revolution, check out Lotus’s £2m Evija hypercar, which uses no fewer than four motors to get from 0 to 186 mph in under nine seconds. If £2m’s a stretch, have a look at Rimac’s all-electric C Two – it maxes out at 258 mph and all for just £1.7m.



As Audi, Mercedes and BMW all crowd into the EV space it opened up, Tesla will continue to break new ground. It has to. Such is the hype around Elon Musk’s pioneering EV and clean energy business, its market cap recently topped $800bn – for comparison, Ford comes in around the $40bn mark at the moment. To turn potential into reality, the Silicon Valley-based upstart is talking boldly about taking its Cybertruck into production this year. Looking like something Iron Man might drive, the Cybertruck promises ‘better utility than a truck with more performance than a sports car’ thanks to a stainless-steel shell, armoured glass and an engine that gets it from 0 to 60 in a little over six seconds. At the very least, it’s some stiff competition for GMC’s Hummer EV, which was flagged in these parts last year and is currently being paraded around the internet by the likes of LeBron James. Elsewhere, Tesla’s Roadster supercar has been pushed back to 2022, but speed freaks should be able to get behind the wheel of the top-of-the-range 200 mph Model S Plaid before this year is out.



Dacia might be best known over here for its annoying ‘Another One Drives a Duster’ TV ads (a link is not an endorsement), but now there’s a more positive reason to know the Romanian carmaker. Last week, its budget Sandero won the prestigious What Car? Car of the Year 2021 award. The most basic version of Dacia’s budget supermini can be had for £8,000 – compare that to around £15k for an entry-level Ford Fiesta. What’s more, according to the What Car? experts, it’s “comfortable, good to drive, well equipped and very spacious”. And it didn’t just beat its direct rivals to take this award: it won the Small Car of the Year category, but it also took home the overall gong, crossing the line ahead of other category winners like the Porsche Taycan 4S and the Tesla Model 3.



Ever since McLaren first draped a scantily clad model across the bonnet of its road-going F1 hypercar at an early 90s motor show, top-end carmakers have been looking for ways to make their racing models street legal. In 2021, two big names are hoping to go faster and furious-er than ever before. Aston Martin has been working with Red Bull Racing on its Valkyrie. Only 150 will be made, with the lucky few taking ownership of a hybrid from the gods: a 6.5l Cosworth V12 engine that gets an extra boost from an electric motor. This is also the year F1 champion Mercedes starts producing its AMG One. Another hybrid, this two seater is powered by the same engine that won Mercedes its 2016 world title.



It seems Germans are doing it better right now. Volkswagen nabbed one of those What Car? awards for its Touran MPV; Porsche won the gongs for performance and sports cars; and BMW took home no fewer than five titles. The latest plug-in hybrid version of its 5 Series has been rated the best luxury saloon around. The 4 Series is a classic driver’s car that outperformed the competition to be named coupé of the year. The 3 Series has been a regular award winner throughout its life and right now the pros say there’s no better executive car on the market. A powerful combination of performance and practicality makes the X6 this year’s coupé SUV of choice, while its sister X5 is 2021’s finest luxury SUV thanks to its ride quality, handling and exceptional electric range.

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