We have to say it’s been a great model year for vehicles, with a bunch of brand new or redesigned models like the Chevy Tahoe, Kia Sorento, Acura ILX and Lexus IS 350 hitting the road, all vehicles we’ve reviewed. Those models are also among the vehicles that make AutoTrader cut for 12 Best New Cars of 2021.
AutoTrader says its experts looked at more than 300 available models when narrowing it down to the best 12. New vehicles were tested and scored on a range of criteria, including interior comfort, build quality, tech features, driving experience and more. Vehicles had to be of the current or next model-year and score a 4.0 or higher on a 5-point scale. Editors also considered the types of vehicles consumers are shopping for most. Prices were capped at $75,000. Base prices were capped at $75,000, AutoTrader says to ensure they offer a strong value for the cost.
Here’s the full list, with AutoTrader comments following, plus our review video if we’ve had a chance to review the vehicle. CarProUSA Show radio host Jerry Reynolds will be test driving the Hyundai GV80 the week of February 22 so look for his video soon.
Autotrader Best New Cars for 2021
2021 Acura TLX
Acura has returned to its luxury/performance roots with the fully redesigned TLX -- this time, with a greater emphasis on performance and technology. It's an excellent sport sedan that has nimble handling, a smooth ride and a pleasing engine note. If you're in the market for a midsize sport sedan, but you don't like the price or ownership costs of the German all-stars, then the TLX is an excellent alternative with little compromise.
2021 Chevrolet Tahoe
This redesigned Chevy Tahoe has four-wheel independent suspension, which provides a more comfortable ride both on- and off-road, and offers more interior space for both passengers and cargo. It comes in an appealing range of engines, including diesel. The new Tahoe is an evolution of a winning formula.
2021 Ford Bronco Sport
Ford fantastically executed the bold undertaking of bringing the personality of the new Bronco into a smaller crossover that's not afraid of a little adventure. The Ford Bronco Sport is a road-friendly crossover that has off-road capabilities. Ford also did an excellent job of making the Bronco Sport a totally new and unique crossover, while still embracing the spirit of the larger Bronco.
2021 Ford F-150
Ford knows a thing or two about what people want in a full-size pickup truck, and the 14th-generation F-Series simply gives us more of everything. This new Ford F-150 gives drivers more choices, more flexibility and more details that make using a truck easier, including a ruler built into the inside of the tailgate, power outlets and upscale interior options.
2021 Genesis GV80
The new Genesis GV80 is a midsize premium SUV with available three-row seating that starts under $50,000, squarely competing with much more expensive European rivals. This imposing, slick, refined, and comfortable SUV may be completely new, but it's already at the top of its class.
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai's update of the two-row Santa Fe makes it feel like a larger vehicle with a lot more variety under the hood. There's a powerful turbo option, a hybrid (standard AWD), and a plug-in hybrid model. Hyundai is rather good at SUVs and at hybrids, and it was about time the two came together. The interior is notable, too. Hyundai vehicles are quietly becoming more and more premium with each update.
2021 Kia K5
Replacing the Kia Optima, the new Kia K5 is a midsize sedan with a head-turning exterior and a roomy, high-tech interior. Cool-looking high-end options, sharp handling, and a fresh new look are all reasons to test drive the new K5. It's an eye-catching sedan that's good enough to make BMW 3-Series shoppers seriously reconsider their options—especially in GT trim.
2021 Kia Sorento
The new Kia Sorento goes from budget-friendly SUV to near-luxury SUV just by adding a few options. With the Sorento, Kia has captured the spirit of the wildly popular Telluride in a smaller package. The interior and engine choices are impressive and it's fun to drive. The new, rugged-looking X-Line version is especially noteworthy.
2021 Lexus IS
This newly updated sedan is beautifully balanced, precise and crisp, and a pleasure to drive. The update comes with long-term reliability and an affordable ownership experience, something you don't always get in a driver-focused car. This latest version of the IS shows that Lexus is serious about delivering both luxury and sporting performance.
2021 Nissan Kicks
The Nissan Kicks is the most affordable car on the list with a sub-$20k starting price, and it has tons of personality and customizability that a wide range of drivers can afford. It's a great first car because of its price, value, tech and personalization options. This Nissan crossover is proof that an affordable new SUV doesn't have to be just basic transportation.
2021 Toyota Venza
The Toyota Venza is back, this time as a hybrid-only midsize two-row crossover. This vehicle debunks the myth that hybrids are a compromise on performance for better fuel economy. A totally new and modern crossover SUV—if you are considering a hybrid luxury SUV, make sure to test drive the Venza.
2021 Volvo XC40
The Volvo XC40 is an excellent small SUV. The Recharge version is especially compelling because it's a fully electric vehicle with stand-out styling, 402 horsepower and 208 miles of range. It has impressive acceleration and decent range, plus Volvo's well-earned reputation for safety. It's an all-electric subcompact luxury crossover that does just about everything well.
For more on the AutoTrader list click here.