New Cars on the Horizon

If you’re looking for a new car, check out these 2021 and 2022 models that might be worth the wait

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Pro Photo: Ford

There are a lot of interesting new cars just around the corner, from long-range EVs to practical family SUVs and everything in between. But are they worth waiting for? Our experts will help you decide with this early peek at some new or revamped models coming out in 2021 and early 2022. Consider keeping them on your “possible” list until we get them out to our test track for a deeper evaluation.

Audi A3

Audi A3 2022

Audi Audi

This redesigned version of Audi’s smallest sedan hits U.S. shores this fall as a 2022 model. It’s longer, wider, and more aerodynamic but also promises more headroom due to a higher roofline and lower front seats. Exterior styling is reminiscent of the latest A6 and A8 sedans. Inside, there’s the newest version of Audi’s MMI infotainment interface, with physical buttons for some key features. Front- and all-wheel drive will be offered, as well as a 48-volt mild-hybrid system.

Cost: $33,500 to $40,000
On sale: Late 2021

Audi Q5 Sportback

2022 Audi Q5 Sportback

Audi Audi

This is a four-door hatchback version of the excellent Q5 SUV. Audi calls it a “coupe,” but we just see reduced cargo space from a vehicle that rides as high as an SUV. Still, drivers who are willing to sacrifice some practicality in the name of styling should find it rewarding: We praise the Q5 SUV for its nimble, secure handling and compliant, controlled ride. A high-performance SQ5 Sportback will follow.

Cost: $45,000 to $55,000*
On sale: Summer 2021

Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV

2022 Chevrolet Bolt

GM GM

Both the Bolt EV and the Bolt EUV are built on the same platform, and feature a cleaner, more chiseled approach to the former Bolt EV’s styling. The Bolt EUV is more than 6 inches longer than the hatchback model, has a longer wheelbase, and is a tiny bit taller. The Bolt EUV has a bit less cargo room behind its rear seats, but rear passengers get more legroom. EPA range estimates aren’t available yet for the Bolt fraternal twins, but GM estimates that the driving range for the updated 2022 Bolt EV will be the same as for the 2021 model at 259 miles. The Bolt EUV, which is almost 100 pounds heavier, will have a slightly lower 250-mile range. Chevrolet says the Bolt EUV will be the first vehicle outside GM’s Cadillac division to get the automaker’s Super Cruise hands-free driver assist technology.

Cost: $31,995 (Bolt EV); $33,995 (Bolt EUV)
On sale: Summer 2021

Learn more about the Chevrolet Bolts.

Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

Ford Ford

Ford brought back the Bronco name for 2021 after a 24-year absence and has applied it to a rugged, go-anywhere SUV designed to compete with the Jeep Wrangler. With between 8.3 inches and 11.5 inches of ground clearance, depending on tires, and a 33.5-inch maximum water fording depth, the Bronco is clearly built for off-roading. Even the interior is designed to resist water, with rubber floors and drains. Two turbocharged engines are available: a 270-hp, 2.3-liter four-cylinder and a 310-hp, 2.7-liter V6. Both engines come with a 10-speed automatic transmission, but the four-cylinder can be paired with a seven-speed manual. Buyers can choose from seven trim levels, and two- and four-door versions. A cloth top is standard, an optional hard top can be taken off, and the removable doors don’t require owners to take off the side mirrors, as the Wrangler’s do. A smaller Bronco Sport is already on sale.

Cost: $28,500 to $59,305
On sale: Summer 2021

Learn more about the 2021 Ford Bronco.

Ford E-Transit, Transit

2022 Ford E-Transit

Ford Ford

For 2021, an all-electric version of Ford’s popular work van called the E-Transit will get up to 126 miles of range per charge. Like the conventional Transit, three roof heights, three body lengths, and both chassis cab and cutaway models will be available. Buyers can choose from cargo and passenger versions, and they can also opt for an onboard power source that can provide 2.4 kilowatts. The gas-powered 2021 Transit gets new packages designed for custom applications. The Adventure Prep package adds all-wheel drive, a drivetrain setup designed for off-roading, and a host of driver assistance features. RV Prep and Motorhome Prep packages set up the Transit for duty as a home on wheels. Delivery and shuttle services will benefit from the Parcel Delivery and Livery packages, which open up interior aisles, change up shelving, and improve rear door access.

Cost: $25,000 to $42,000 ($45,000 for E-Transit)
On sale: Early 2021 (Late 2021 for E-Transit)

Ford F-150 Lightning

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Pro

Photo: Ford Photo: Ford

The Lightning name returns on an electrified F-150 crewcab truck with prodigious power and strong work capabilities. On sale in spring 2022, this pickup is offered in two power configurations, with 426- and 563-hp. The standard-range battery promises 230 miles of range, and the extended-range battery is projected to provide up to 300 miles. Among the benefits for going electric is a large front trunk that can hold two sets of golf clubs. Further, the F-150 Lightning boasts up to a 2,000-pound payload capacity (standard range) and 10,000-pound tow capacity (extended range). Power plugs in the frunk and bed add to the truck’s versatility. And familiar innovations carry over from the regular F-150, such as foldaway gear selector and deeply reclining seats. The Ford Co-Pilot 360 2.0 suite is standard, with FCW, AEB with pedestrian detection, BSW, lane keeping assist, parking obstruction warning, and rear automatic braking.
Cost: $40,000-$90,000
On sale: Spring 2022

Learn more about the Ford F-150 Lightning.

Genesis GV70

2022 Genesis GV70 SUV

Genesis Genesis

Sized like the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC, the 2022 GV70 is an entirely new SUV model positioned as a stylish alternative to the established European offerings. It has the same engine choices as the larger GV80: The base powerplant is a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which we think is one of the better engines in its class. The upgrade choice is a 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 that delivered effortless acceleration in the GV80. The GV70 is based on a rear-drive platform, and it will be available in all-wheel drive. The interior is modern and colorful, with elliptical shapes, slim vents, and controls organized into specific clusters.

Cost: $41,000 to $63,000
On sale: Mid-2021

Learn more about the 2022 Genesis GV70.

GMC Hummer EV

GMC Hummer EV

Photo: GM Photo: GM

The Hummer badge was once antithetical to alternative fuels, representing hulking, gas-guzzling SUVs inspired by military vehicles. The new Hummer EV will be both hulking and green—a large, aggressive-looking four-door pickup with big power and undeniable off-road presence and capability. GM says the reimagined Hummer will come in a three-motor setup good for either 800 or 1,000 hp, or a two-motor version that will make 625 hp. Online preorders for the first of these trucks—dubbed Edition 1—sold out within 10 minutes. Lower-priced versions will roll out over time.

Cost: $79,995 to $112,595
On sale: Early 2022

Learn more about the 2022 Hummer EV.

Hyundai Santa Cruz

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Hyundai Hyundai

Spun off a platform shared with the redesigned Tucson, the Santa Cruz merges the ideas of a small SUV and pickup truck into a single vehicle. Similar in theory, though smaller, than the Honda Ridgeline. The Santa Cruz is offered in a choice of 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines, with about 190 and 275 horsepower. Each is matched to an 8-speed transmission, with the more powerful turbo using a dual-clutch transmission. It will be offered in front- and all-wheel drive configurations. Tow capacity ranges from 3,500 to 5,000 lbs. The short 52-inch bed has a hidden trunk and can be covered with a lockable tonneau cover. FCW and AEB with both cyclist and pedestrian detection are standard. BSW and RCTW are optional.

Cost: $26,000 to $38,000*
On sale: Summer 2021

Learn more about the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz.

Infiniti QX55

2022 Infiniti QX55

Infiniti Infiniti

This new model accentuates the “sport” in “sport utility,” prioritizing the driving experience and coupelike design over passenger space and cargo-toting ability. The 2022 QX55 looks like a coupe version of the QX50. The two cars have the same wheelbase and almost identical lengths and widths, but the QX55 emphasizes the front row over the rest of the vehicle. We experienced the same variable-compression turbocharged engine that will power the QX55 in our tested QX50, where it delivered quick acceleration with hardly any turbo lag. However, the continuously variable transmission allowed the engine to hold revs for too long, and the engine did not live up to its bold fuel economy claims.

Cost: $40,000 to $58,000*
On sale: Spring 2021

Learn more about the 2022 Infiniti QX55.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L

All-new 2021 Jeep® Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve (left) and All-new 2021 Jeep® Grand Cherokee L Overland (right)

FCA FCA

Jeep is ushering in the next-generation Grand Cherokee starting with the three-row version Grand Cherokee L. It will be followed by a two-row version, as the current model is retired. The core powertrains carry over: 290-hp, 3.6-liter V6 and a 357-hp, 5.7-liter V8. Each is mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission. A plug-in hybrid version, badged 4xe, will be added later. There are three four-wheel-drive systems offered with varying degrees of capability. The interior configurations seat six or seven passengers. The SUV will include a generous roster of standard active safety systems. Hands-free driver assistance will be available during the year.

Price: $36,995-$65,290
Destination charge: $1,695
On sale: Spring 2021

Learn more about the Jeep Grand Cherokee L.

Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer

Grand Wagoneer Concept

FCA US LLC FCA US LLC

Jeep turned to a storied nameplate for an all-new, full-sized SUV. The Wagoneer and the more premium Grand Wagoneer are the same vehicle, distinguished by powertrain, equipment, and trim details. The base engine is a 392-hp, 5.7-liter V8 on the Wagoneer. The Grand Wagoneer is fitted with a 471-hp, 6.4-liter V8. Each is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The more premium-priced Grand Wagoneer looks to set a high standard for comfort and convenience features, with large infotainment screens, generous wood trim, and available audiophile-grade stereo. Both versions come with a solid roster of standard active safety features, including FCW, AEB with pedestrian detection, and BSW.

Cost: $59,995-$103,995 (plus $2,000 destination charge)
On sale: Summer 2021

Learn more about the Jeep Wagoneer.

Mercedes-Benz EQS

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS

Mercedes-Benz AG - Global Communications Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans Mercedes-Benz AG - Global Communications Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans

The EQS, a large luxury all-electric sedan, is loosely based on the redesigned Mercedes-Benz S-Class and becomes Mercedes' new flagship. It is available in two trims, the 450+ and the high-end 580 4MATIC. The 450+ features rear-wheel-drive and an electric system that cranks out 329 hp. The all-wheel-drive 580 has a system that outputs 516 hp. Both trims have a 108-kWh battery pack and an estimated 478 miles of range. The massive MBUX infotainment system uses three screens and comes with all the latest technology and features. The EQS is loaded with active safety features such as AEB, BSW, and rear cross traffic assist. It goes further to predict imminent collision, by using systems which will inflate the seat's side bolster to move the driver or passenger a few extra inches away from the point of an impending impact.

Cost: $100,000 to $130,000*
On sale: Fall 2021

Learn more about the Mercedes-Benz EQS.

Nissan Ariya

2022 Nissan Ariya

Photo: Nissan Photo: Nissan

A Nissan Rogue-sized SUV, the Ariya promises to be a formidable competitor to other battery-powered SUVs, such as the Tesla Model Y and the upcoming Ford Mach-E. Though more luxurious and substantial than the Chevrolet Bolt, Hyundai Kona, and Kia Niro EVs, the Ariya will be less expensive than the Model Y. Nissan says two versions will be available—a front-wheel-drive one-motor model with 215 hp and an all-wheel-drive two-motor model with 389 hp. Equipped with a long-range battery, the front-drive model has an estimated range of 300 miles.

Cost: $40,000 to $50,000*
On sale: Late 2021

Learn more about the 2022 Nissan Ariya EV.

Nissan Armada

2021 Nissan Armada

Nissan Nissan

Nissan’s big body-on-frame SUV gets a new look and mild updates for 2021. A revamped interior can sit up to eight, and a larger touch screen comes with standard wireless Apple CarPlay. The 5.6-liter V8 gets 10 extra hp, but the Armada’s abysmal fuel economy remains unchanged—the EPA estimates just 15 mpg combined for a four-wheel-drive model. New towing technology includes a trailer brake controller and sway control, which is part of upper-level trims.

Cost: $47,000 to $64,000*
On sale: 2021

Nissan Frontier

2022 Nissan Frontier

Nissan Nissan

After more than 16 years without a major update, the Nissan Frontier is getting a new look inside and out. The sheet metal is all new and the interior gets a much-needed upgrade. The 3.8-liter V6 engine and nine-speed automatic carry over from 2021. So does a damped tailgate that won't slam open, tons of interior storage, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. The 2022 Frontier's fuel-economy numbers aren't out, and the new model has yet to be crash-tested, The previous model scored a Marginal in both driver and passenger-side of the IIHS small overlap front crash tests. FCW and AEB with pedestrian detection now come standard.

Price: $27,000-$38,000*
On sale: Summer 2021

Learn more about the 2022 Nissan Frontier.

Nissan Kicks

2021 Nissan Kicks

Nissan Nissan

After just three model years, Nissan already has an update for the Kicks—a subcompact vehicle that has the ride height and access of an SUV but that lacks all-wheel drive. The freshened model gets the same grille treatment as other recent Nissan models, plus an updated rear and thinner exterior lights. Inside, there’s standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, an optional 8-inch touch screen, new upholstery and trim, and a center console with armrest.

Cost: $19,000 to $21,500*
On sale: 2021

Nissan Z

Nissan Z Proto

Nissan Nissan

A preview of the next Nissan Z sports car, the Z Proto looks to edge the Z legacy forward, with a more modern style, new features, and increased power. But it doesn’t change the basic formula: two doors, six cylinders, manual transmission, and rear-wheel drive. The current Z has been in production for a decade, and we hope the redesigned model will bring its driving dynamics, safety, and features into a more modern era while retaining the Z’s driver-focused heritage. The new model will get a turbocharged six-cylinder engine, and a six-speed manual transmission will still be offered.

Cost: $40,000 to $50,000*
On sale: 2021

Learn more about the Nissan Z.

Subaru BRZ

2022 Subaru BRZ

Subaru Subaru

The 2022 BRZ will be an upgraded version of the existing car, and that’s not a bad thing: We recommend and have long praised the current model for its agile handling and affordability. The new BRZ will get a naturally aspirated version of Subaru’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that’s good for 228 hp—a slight upgrade over the current 205-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The new engine delivers its maximum torque at lower engine speeds, which should help the BRZ feel quicker in day-to-day driving. The design—a low-to-the-ground, “2+2” sports car—is essentially unchanged. Yes, it’s about an inch longer and almost a half-inch lower than the 2012-2020 version, and it gets more prominent door sills and fenders, but the proportions are the same. Suspension and chassis upgrades promise to improve overall performance, and the cockpit has been improved with some nods to modernity.

Cost: $29,000*
On sale: Fall 2021

Learn more about the 2022 Subaru BRZ.

Volkswagen GTI

Volkswagen GTI

VW VW

The redesigned Volkswagen GTI builds on the long-running tradition of elevating a mild hatchback into a fun-to-drive, yet sophisticated, practical alternative to sports coupes. Power from the turbocharged four-cylinder has increased from 228 hp in the current model to 242 hp in the eighth-generation 2022 GTI. True to form, the GTI comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is optional. VW promises better handling that significantly reduces understeer. Slightly lower than its predecessor, the new model has a more aggressive stance and LED fog lamps up front. The interior has gotten the luxe treatment, with a leather-trimmed steering wheel and personalizable displays. The GTI and subsequent Golf R will be the only Golf models offered in the US.

Cost: $30,000 to $40,000*
On sale: Fall 2021

Learn more about the 2022 Volkswagen GTI.

Volkswagen ID.4

Volkswagen ID.4

VW VW

With an estimated range of 250 miles, the ID.4 will be Volkswagen’s first “long range” EV. A sleek compact SUV, it will be slightly smaller than the Volkswagen Tiguan and will initially come with a 201-hp rear-wheel-drive setup. A 302-hp version with all-wheel drive will be available later in 2021. Volkswagen says that although the first run of ID.4s will be built in Germany, U.S.-market models will be built at the company’s factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., starting in 2022. Built to compete with sporty SUVs, such as the Tesla Model Y and the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the ID.4 will come with three years of free fast-charging through the Electrify America network of charging stations.

Cost: $39,995 to $43,695
On sale: Spring 2021

Learn more about the Volkswagen ID.4.

Volkswagen Taos

2022 Volkswagen Taos

VW VW

This new subcompact model slots beneath the Tiguan and is the same size as the Audi Q3 and Subaru Crosstrek. Volkswagen says it will have the company’s latest connectivity and infotainment systems, a more powerful version of the engine found in the Jetta sedan, and a comprehensive suite of advanced safety and driver assistance features. It’s 9.3 inches shorter than the Tiguan, with interior and exterior styling that borrows significantly from other VW SUVs. The automaker claims the Taos has only 1.6 cubic feet less passenger room than the Tiguan, but the cargo area is significantly smaller. Unlike the Tiguan, which has a 2.0-liter engine, the Taos features a smaller 1.5-liter engine that’s good for 158 hp. Front-wheel drive versions get a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission, and the all-wheel-drive versions use a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Cost: $20,000 to $29,000*
On sale: Summer 2021

Learn more about the 2022 Volkswagen Taos.

*Estimated cost.

Editor’s Note: A version of this article also appeared in the April 2021 issue of Consumer Reports magazine. For more information, see our 2021 Autos Spotlight page.


Jeff S. Bartlett

A New England native, I have piloted a wide variety of vehicles, from a Segway to an aircraft carrier. All told, I have driven thousands of vehicles—many on race tracks across the globe. Today, that experience and passion are harnessed at the CR Auto Test Center to empower consumers. And if some tires must be sacrificed in the pursuit of truth, so be it. Follow me on Twitter (@JeffSBartlett).

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