CarTrends: The Most Interesting Cars Of 2021
For some reasons, 2021 didn't seem like a great year for new cars. Perhaps it's because almost most new cars launched this year are either a mild hybrid, a hybrid, or an EV - where we aren’t really seeing newer and better versions of our favourite cars, but instead, electrified, or fuel optimised versions of our old favourites.
For consumers, these new fuel saving technologies through hybridisation and electrification come at a cost too, and even without the COE spikes, it does feel like cars are generally getting more and more expensive to purchase. As a car buyer, things can definitely feel a little bit jaded at this current juncture, where EVS can feel a little bit too far out of our reach financially, while ICE options may feel a little too stifled in order to meet emission and fuel economy standards.
However, it's not all doom and gloom for the car buying market. Here are some of the most interesting cars that have been released this year that will be worth your consideration.
The new mk 8 Golf is now a mild hybrid, and has the same mechanical underpinnings as the new Audi A3. Still the car to beat in the hatchback segment, the Golf is now more economical than ever before, which is pretty cool considering that it’s predecessors already excelled in this area. As a car, it continues to bring good value to consumers who are looking for a solidly built continental hatchback, with very positive driving dynamics, and a more pocket friendly price tag compared to other continental marquee hatchbacks.
It’s recent move to CAT B has affected the price somewhat, as CAT B COE prices have spiked more violently than CAT A prices, leading to a seemingly large price difference between the Golf and its former counterparts from CAT A. Aside from that, the mk8 shares the same platform with the mk7, which many believe to be the golden standard across all the previous generations of VW Golfs.
Essentially, the mk8 should excel in the handling and size departments just like the mk7, while the adoption of a mild hybrid drivetrain should ensure the car stays relevant in the foreseeable future.
The latest Toyota Harrier is a little of a pleasant surprise. The truth is, a car like the Harrier has and always will have its share of utilitarian minded buyers, so it was nice to know that Toyota actually bothered to create a significantly better version of the car. In the past, the naturally aspirated PI versions of the Harrier were a little dull to drive, and while the distributor backed turbocharged versions were somewhat better, but still fell a little short of expectations.
The new Harrier Hybrid however, feels completely reinvented, thanks to the new e-CVT transmission that has been installed, which features a physical first gear to prevent excessive CVT drone during acceleration. With this setup, the new Harrier feels much more positive to drive, and is silky smooth, comfortable, and feels a little more punchy than the Camry Hybrid, though they share the same drivetrain.
To top things off, the Harrier Hybrid boasts an impressive 21km/l economy figure, which is made even more impressive considering the size of the vehicle.
With Tesla’s official entry into Singapore, the demand and interest in EVs have seen a steady increase in the last 6 months. This new demand and interest has had a spillover effect onto other EV models manufactured by other automakers. However, most of the EV offerings seem to be positioned as ultra luxurious offerings, with the Audi e-Tron and e-Tron GT, as well as cars like the Porsche Taycan, Mercedes-Benz EQC, and the Jaguar I-Pace, all costing upwards of $300,000 - which makes them highly inaccessible to the masses.
On the flip side, the Asian automakers are producing EV offerings that sit upwards of $160,000, which isn’t exactly cheap, causing consumers to feel like they aren’t getting good value for money on such cars.
This is where a car like the Mercedes Benz EQA fits quite nicely into the picture. With a current buying price that is similar to C-Class money, consumers will find that the EQA still offers much of the luxury associated with buying a Mercedes-Benz, while still remaining relatively affordable compared to other EVs in the current market.
Of course, a Tesla Model 3 would be cheaper, but if you’re extremely keen on continental marquee branding, the EQA might just be the car to look at.
Arguably the car that sparked the EV trend in Singapore (and probably all around the world), Tesla single-handedly made the EV a cool thing to have. It’s fast, sleek, futuristic, and there really isn’t a direct competitor for the Model 3 at the moment. It remains to be seen whether or not maintenance issues will plague Tesla owners over time, but for now, consumers seem to be all for it, and you can see this through the sheer number of Model 3 Teslas on the road right now.
At first glance, the car does feel expensive, with the base model sitting at over $200,000. However, if you consider the quality of the infotainment system, combined with the amazing drivetrain of the tesla that allows the performance variant to outrun a Porsche Taycan, it suddenly seems like quite a good deal.
We’re not saying that the Tesla 3 is THE EV to buy, but the drivetrain and infotainment do really excel at their respective functions. Obviously, there are question marks over a China built - American car’s fit and finish, and I would argue that the Model 3’s interior is a little too bland for my liking - so as long as you are clear that with the Model 3, you are buying the car for its drivetrain and infotainment experience, I think its a super cool car worth considering, that still represents quite good value to the consumer.