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2021 AutoGuide.com Car of the Year: Meet the Contenders

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Our annual awards are back, with a new format and more categories!

After what felt like the longest year ever, it’s time to separate the merely good from the great. Yes, it’s time for our 2021 AutoGuide.com Car of the Year Awards.


For more 2021 AutoGuide.com Awards information, check out the other categories:


Cars are still a big deal for a lot of consumers. They’re more fuel efficient, lighter—meaning less wear and tear on parts—and generally more affordable than their crossover siblings. While we said goodbye to a lot of models in 2020, there were also plenty of bright new additions to the humble three-box segment.

We saw both the Nissan Sentra and Hyundai Elantra debut in the compact segment. The Mazda3, new for last year, gained a more powerful turbo engine, further emphasizing its march upmarket. A size up, two very different takes on the same essential mid-size sedan platform appeared in the Hyundai Sonata and Kia K5. Both feature plenty of tech, consumer-friendly pricing, and smooth driving experiences. Hyundai went a step further and produced a sportier N-Line model, with a full 290 horsepower funnelling through the front wheels.

As always, this isn’t a direct comparison. What matters here is fit for purpose: how each car accomplishes its goals in its respective class, and how much they raise the bar there. Ideally, they even advance the industry standards across the board, be it in value, styling, technology, or performance. Most importantly, we’ve only included cars our team has actually driven. 2020 delayed a lot of product roll-outs, and while that’s unfortunate, it meant cutting a few models we might’ve initially planned to include earlier in the year.

For Car and Utility of the year, we’ve split the award into Overall, Mainstream, and Luxury sub-categories. You’ll find the eight Car of the Year finalists below, in alphabetical order. Our team will vote on each category over the coming weeks, and we’ll announce the winners early February. Stay tuned!

Car of the Year (Mainstream)

2021 Hyundai Elantra

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All new for 2021, the Elantra is aiming for no less than class leadership. Longer, lower, and wider than the car it replaces, the Hyundai’s fractal-like styling won’t please everyone, but the ample space it offers inside sure will. The interior is light and airy, and top models feature a combined digital instrument panel and infotainment screen, like a Merc A-Class for 40 percent less cash.

SEE ALSO: 2021 Hyundai Elantra Review: First Drive

In regular gas-engined trims, the Elantra offers a smooth ride with a big-car feeling. Those wanting even more fuel efficiency can opt for a hybrid model. Rather make performance a priority? A warmer, turbocharged N-Line is available, and a raucous full-on N model will touch down some time next year. The Honda Civic should watch its back.

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2021 Hyundai Sonata

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid front quarter

Hyundai introduced the new Sonata late last year as a 2020 model, and during the calendar year, continued to flesh out the mid-size lineup. What hasn’t changed are those dramatic looks: like the Elantra, they’re not to everyone’s tastes. It’s certainly distinctive though, with the clever hidden DRLs in the chrome strips on the hood making this an easy car to spot at night.

SEE ALSO: 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review

It’s this year’s new models that really set the Sonata apart in its class. The Hybrid (as seen above) offers a stellar 47 mpg average, a theoretical range over 600 miles, and a very cool solar panel roof. Contributor Chris Tonn called it “one of the best cars I’ve driven for a long day in the saddle.” On the other end of the spectrum is the naughty N-Line model. With 290 horsepower sent through only the front wheels, it’s shockingly fast for what looks, essentially, like a regular sedan. N-Line drivers can revel in one of the year’s most understated performance models, and as ever with Hyundai, it’s a deal, too.

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2021 Kia K5

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There’s another Korean car standing in the way of the Sonata’s run for the crown, however. It’s the Kia K5, which shares the same platform. Despite that, the K5 feels completely different from its sibling, in no small part thanks to its unique drivetrain. Kia offers the K5 with AWD (standard in Canada), something the Sonata doesn’t do, which should please those in colder climes.

SEE ALSO: 2021 Kia K5 GT-Line AWD Review: A Covetable Mainstream Sedan?

The Kia’s daring exterior looks are arguably more appealing to more people, too. There’s a hint of Stinger here, from the low nose to the quasi-fastback profile. Inside, K5 passengers are treated to a stylish, well-thought-out interior with practical solutions to everyday issues and solid quality. A big 10.25-inch touchscreen is as easy to read as it is to use.

Just one engine option exists for now: the ubiquitous 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. That changes early next year, when the K5 GT touches down, packing the same 2.5-liter turbocharged four as—yep, you guessed it—the Sonata N-Line.

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2021 Mazda3 Turbo

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The Mazda3 has felt like a car trying to live two lives since the fourth-gen model debuted last year. It’s incredibly stylish, and the interior does a better job of feeling premium than most actual luxury marques. But even with the top 2.5-liter engine, it didn’t have the power to compete. That changed this year, when Mazda dropped the turbocharged version of the engine in the 3’s low, low hood. Hello 250 horsepower, and a stout 320 lb-ft of torque when running on the premium drink.

SEE ALSO: 2021 Mazda3 Sport 2.5 Turbo Review: First Drive

Long-time Mazda fans may cry foul here, as the Turbo isn’t a proper follow-up for the wild Mazdaspeed3 of yesteryear. That’s not the 2021 Mazda3 Turbo’s jam: it’s a more mature approach, with stable AWD instead of the torque-steering front-drive setup. It’s composed, yet still entertaining on a backroad, and feels every inch a viable option for those not satisfied with the Audi A3 or BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe.

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2021 Nissan Sentra

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We’ll be straight with you here: the previous Sentra was the butt of a lot of jokes around the office halls. It had few redeeming qualities: it was dull, underpowered, felt cheap, and looked awkward. That’s what makes the new car so impressive: it’s a huge leap forward, and we can actually see ourselves recommending it beyond a massive end-of-year discount.

SEE ALSO: 2020 Nissan Sentra Review: Big Car Feel, Small Car Price

For starters, the Sentra looks great now. Nissan dropped the roofline and stretched the car’s length and width, resulting in strong proportions. Space is ample front and back, and there’s an enormous trunk out back. A 2.0-liter engine provides a fine amount of thrust (149 hp and 146 lb-ft), with a CVT ensuring high fuel efficiency in the city and on the highway. Higher trims bring in quilted leather seats, which are a rarity in the compact car segment.

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Car of the Year (Luxury)

2021 Acura TLX

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Acura promised a return to fun with the second-generation TLX. While the real fun will arrive next year, with a high-performance Type S, it was important the Japanese luxury brand get the fundamentals right here. Mission accomplished, then. Starting under $40,000 (or around $45,000 CAD), the new TLX has a stronger dynamic profile than before, in large part thanks to its updated SH-AWD system. A standard 2.0-liter turbo engine is par for the class, but it’s a stronger four-pot than most out there, putting out a healthy 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque through a 10-speed automatic transmission.

SEE ALSO: 2021 Acura TLX A-Spec Review: Making the Grade

Luxury buyers demand more than good handling, however. The TLX has a roomy interior—though maybe not as much as its larger exterior dimensions suggest—positively stuffed with high-quality materials. A dramatic new center console makes the car’s mission clear right from the get-go, prioritizing a drive mode select system over pretty much everything else. Fun is back at Acura, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

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2021 Cadillac CT5-V

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Cadillac is in the midst of (another) revamp, and that includes a new sedan lineup. There’s the smaller CT4, meant to take on the luxury sub-compact crowd, and this, the CT5. We’ve put forward the CT5-V here, a different, more sedate take on the V sub-brand. “Sedate” is a relative term: it’s not packing a fire-breathing supercharged V8 from the CTS-V this car ostensibly replaced, but the CT5-V still has a strong (and sweet-sounding) turbocharged V6.

SEE ALSO: 2020 Cadillac CT5-V Review: My Name is My Name

At 360 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque, the new engine blends more naturally with the rest of the CT5-V’s package. It allows the chassis more opportunity to shine, with a balance that allows drivers to get more out of the car without travelling at extra-legal speeds. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but Cadillac offers both V-Series sedans with AWD as well. Inclement weather won’t get in the way of having fun in these four-doors.

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2021 Genesis G80

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The G80 is the car that launched Genesis. So it’s a big deal that now, four years later, we’re getting a second-generation model. A clean-sheet design, this svelte four-door also adopts the brand’s new styling language, with a swanky, swooping roofline and that unmistakable quad-bar face.

Buyers have two engine and drivetrain options for the G80, like its platform-mate the GV80, the brand’s first SUV. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder and 3.5-liter V6, both turbocharged, hook up to an eight-speed auto, with power going to either the rear axle or both. Both engines put out competitive power figures (300 hp in the four-pot, 375 hp for the V6), but we’re fans of the bigger engine. It suits the big G80, gifting it with effortless passing power and lots of low-down grunt.

SEE ALSO: 2021 Genesis G80 Review: First Drive

Arguably the G80’s best features is its interior. Boldly styled, it’s a luxurious place to be for front- or back-row occupants, with acres of leather and open-pore wood. A whole new infotainment system is pretty and easy to use, thanks to multiple input options and snappy responses. And instead of only offering black, gray, or beige, Genesis includes actual color options for the interior. More cars should have blue leather.

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The post 2021 AutoGuide.com Car of the Year: Meet the Contenders appeared first on AutoGuide.com.

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    • By Jelleuuh
      Hallo allemaal
      Ik beschik sinds 1 week over de nieuwe Kia Picanto versie 2021. Ik heb de auto full option genomen met het nieuwe infotainmentsysteem. Dit systeem zou Wi-Fi aan boord moeten hebben om mijn android auto draadloos te gebruiken, echter: hier loopt het mis.
      De functie Wi-Fi is nergens te vinden in de instellingen van het infotainmentsysteem. Ik kan wel bluetooth vinden, en KIA live services + uvo connect. Dat heb ik ook allemaal geactiveerd. Ik heb begin deze week mijn verdeler gecontacteerd die me bevestigde dat het op de nieuwe picanto + nog 2 andere modellen inderdaad ingebouwd zit sinds dit jaar. Hij heeft het bekeken met alle 3 de modellen in zijn garage maar hij kan zelf ook nergens toegang tot de Wi-Fi instelling krijgen. Het icoon ontbreekt volledig. Hij heeft me gezegd dat hij verder navraag ging doen bij KIA om tot een oplossing te komen, maar in de tussentijd informeer ik me toch eens hier. Ik ben nu toch al een goede week aan het wachten op een antwoord dat hopelijk snel komt.
      Kan het zijn dat de nieuwe wagen uit de fabriek toch nog een software update nodig heeft? Is er nog iemand die dit probleem heeft gehad? Ik ben blijkbaar de eerste klant bij de dealer die deze vraag stelt maar misschien kom ik via jullie wel sneller tot een antwoord.
      Verder ben ik enorm tevreden van mijn nieuwe picanto
      Groetjes
      Jelle
    • By Kiaclub Nieuwsrobot
      Both General Motors and Kia presented new brand logos this week—but which is best?

      It’s not often car manufacturers tinker with their badge. This week we saw two. We’ve broken down the redesigns for both General Motors and Kia down below, and we pose the question to you, dear readers: which one did it better?
      General Motors

      Earlier today, General Motors unveiled its latest logo, only the fifth time the company has significantly changed it in 113 years. It’s a familiar evolution of the previous badge: it’s still roughly square-shaped, and the two initials remain in place. The General has gone for lowercase lettering this time though—think “i’m loving it” from McDonald’s. GM has also switched to a softer, curvier font, for what it says is a “modern, inclusive feel.”
      Loading … The bounding box is now a curved-corner square, similar to app icons on an iPhone. GM’s thrown a blue gradient on the whole package, which has evoked more than a few comparisons to ’90s WordArt across Twitter. The underline moves over to just the m, with the negative space between it and the letter meant to show a plug. The American company isn’t being coy: this rebrand is all about its Ultium battery tech, and a heavy push towards EVs that will see 30 new models across its brands by 2030.
      SEE ALSO: 2020 Cadillac CT5-V Review: My Name is My Name
      The redesign coincides with the brand’s new tagline, “Everybody in.” GM is very specifically tying the rebrand to its massive $27-billion investment in EVs, and believes now is the tipping point for the technology.
      Which vehicles will lead GM into the electric future? Right now we’ve seen the Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer EV, and both will touch down within the next year or two. We’ll find out more at GM’s virtual CES showcase, and the restyled corporate website will go live on Monday, January 11.
      Kia

      Kia has gone a very different direction for its new identity. Debuting on Wednesday, it ditches the staid oval badge of before for an angular wordmark. The old logo was in use since Kia began selling cars on this continent a quarter-century ago.
      Loading … The Korean automaker used hundreds of firework-launching drones to show off the logo—enough to earn it a Guinness World Record, in fact. Kia says the edgy new look symbolizes the brand’s “confidence and commitment to customers.” We’ll leave you to decide that one. Kia’s cars have changed drastically since the ’90s, and we’d argue this new badge should look right at home in the Tiger Nose grille of the new K5 or Sorento. Unlike GM, Kia has only shown off the new logo in flat black; not counting the fireworks display, anyway. Kia also hasn’t tied its design so closely to its electric future, which will focus on the Hyundai Group’s E-GMP platform.
      SEE ALSO: 2021 Kia Sorento Review: First Drive
      Kia has a new slogan as well: “Movement that inspires.” The tagline, logo, and what’s sure to be cars featuring the latter will feature on a digital “New Kia Brand Showcase” event Friday, January 15.
      Which of these two redesigns do you think is more successful? Sound off in the comments.
      Become an AutoGuide insider. Get the latest from the automotive world first by subscribing to our newsletter here.
      The post Who Has the Better Logo Redesign: GM or Kia? appeared first on AutoGuide.com.
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    • By Kiaclub Nieuwsrobot
      [See image gallery at www.autoguide.com] Kia is looking to satisfy every crossover buyer’s needs with its lineup of “just-right” models, the latest of which is this, the 2021 Sorento.

      Last year, it was the Seltos‘ time in the spotlight. That little high-rider split the difference between sub-compact and compact SUVs. The Sorento has been pulling off a similar feat a size up, offering three rows of seating in a footprint more compact than the Telluride. It was very much part of the “old Kia” lineup however, lacking the clever details and eye-catching styling of models like the Telluride, Seltos, and (especially) the new K5 sedan.
      Not anymore. Kia has given its semi-mid-size crossover a makeover for 2021, with a more assertive look outside, a clever interior, and more modern conveniences. It packs in a whole lot of content for the money, and could be just the right choice for those looking for more space than the two-row crew can provide.
      A look all its own
      As this Aruba Stone X-Line model landed in front of my building for the holidays, it served as the latest reminder that Kia’s current design language is as great as it is adaptable. The Tiger Nose grille makes it immediately recognizable as part of the Korean brand kin, yet the front-end treatment follows its own path. The LED headlights blend into the grille a la K5, but it’s a taller, more upright nose suitable for a crossover. The grille insert is an angular one, a theme you find mirrored in the somewhat-fussy rear end.
      SEE ALSO: 2021 Kia K5 GT-Line AWD Review: A Covetable Mainstream Sedan?
      There are a lot of competing angles on the tailgate, but overall I’d say it works. The X-Line avoids the big fake exhaust trim of higher models too, which is nice. At least the flanks are clean of slashes and vents. A little shark fin just behind the rear doors is a funky touch, and something the Sorento will share with the 2022 Sedona when it drops later this year. Wheel sizes range from 17s to the 20-inchers you see here. 
      Like its big brother, the Sorento comes across as more expensive than it really is.
      An interior made for family use

      It’s here that I need to stick a disclaimer: trim levels for the Sorento are quite different between Canada and the US. In America, the X-Line is a $2,000 package in addition to the range-topping SX-Premium trim for a total of $43,765 including destination. The package includes AWD, an additional inch of ground clearance (for 8.3 total), a center-locking differential with hill descent control, and more robust roof racks.
      Loading … The Great White North takes a different angle. The X-Line you see here is a mid-level trim on its own: it keeps all the goodies mentioned above, but sticks to cloth seats, and eschews all the fancy tech you’ll find higher up the range. It’s closest to the EX trim in the US. In this case, I’m happy to test what is a lower-spec trim, as it’s likely more representative of most consumers’ experiences. Alright, that’s sorted.

      Kia’s interior designers have given the Sorento a much-needed refresh. Strips of textured metal-effect trim brighten up the dash and doors, and a quartet of vertical air vents look plucked straight out of the Death Star. The big slab of piano black that joins the instrument panel to the infotainment screen lacks the subtle three-dimensional curving of the one in the K5 I tested last month, making it feel less integrated. Plastics are generally of the soft-touch variety, with the brittlest being the door cards and their grab handles. It’s not Ford Escape levels of cheap, though. The front doors feel strangely soft to close too.
      SEE ALSO: 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Review: Friendly Fuel-Sipper
      The cloth seats are comfortable and come heated as standard on all trims save the base US LX. There’s plenty of room to stretch out in any of the front four seats; space in the way-back is understandably less generous. It isn’t quite what I’d deem claustrophobic, at least from someone around my 5’10” build. The cushions are naturally very low, so you’ll be knees-up as an adult, but kids won’t have an issue. Storage cubbies and cupholders abound everywhere.
      With all the seats up, you’re looking at just 12.6 cubic feet (357 liters) of storage space—the price for carrying three rows. Pull the simple straps on the rear seats and space expands up to 45 cubes (1,274 L); fold all but the front and you’ve got an ample 75.5 (2,139) to play with.
      Tech game strong

      There are USB chargers in every row, ensuring no device goes without juice—I especially like the ones built into the front seatbacks. Plus there’s a wireless charge pad up front.
      An 8.0-inch version of Kia’s UVO system is present here. What it lacks in real estate (a 10.25-inch unit is also available), it makes up for with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. UVO is an intuitive interface, with fast responses and clear graphics.
      A comprehensive active safety suite is standard across the range. Every Sorento includes forward collision avoidance, three kinds of lane assist (keep, departure, follow), auto high beams, and rear occupant alert. Rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring join the list from the second trim on up, while Safe Exit Assist, Highway Drive Assist, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, head-up display, and a 360-degree camera are all available depending on trim.
      Kia’s adaptive cruise control is a great system, so it’s disappointing that it only appears on the top two trims in Canada. If only the X-Line were available higher up the walk…
      Strong performer on road (and off)

      Mid-level Sorento trims gain access to the group’s excellent 2.5-liter turbocharged engine. Under this SUV’s bluff nose, it produces a stout 281 horsepower and—more importantly—311 lb-ft of torque across much of its rev range. It has plenty of power for everyday needs, and there’s little in the way of turbo lag. I found the eight-speed dual-clutch auto to be jerkier around town than the last car I drove with this combo (the Hyundai Sonata N-Line), however. Beyond the first-second swap it was smooth sailing, but it was noticeable nonetheless.
      A non-turbo 2.5-liter is also available. You might consider it under the pretence of better fuel efficiency, but don’t: with all-wheel drive, both engines post the same 24 mpg (9.9 L/100 km) average. The base engine works a lot harder to maintain highway speeds, scoring just 25 mpg (9.4 L/100 km). As both will happily sip regular fuel, the turbo is the easy choice. My tester was a little thirstier, averaging around 22.5 mpg (10.5 L/100 km) over the week. Admittedly, it did more city work than anything else; normally I’d be pulling mega highway miles over the holiday season, but well, you know.

      There’s also a hybrid, which seems like the best compromise, at least on paper. It promises a 37 mpg average (6.4 L/100 km), with a healthy 227 combined horsepower.
      The Sorento rides with the sort of smoothness that would make long-distance trips easy-peasy. It’s well-damped, smothering bumps with no more than a muffled thud from within the cabin. Feedback from the steering wheel is expectedly light, but it is smooth and consistent in its weighting.
      X-Line models gain a dedicated snow mode for their drive-select system. While I didn’t get to take the Sorento down any gnarly trails, I did have to navigate a long, twisting, unplowed dirt road, and the Kia didn’t disappoint. Switching over to Snow (and switching out to Mud when things cleared up), the Sorento always felt in control, using hill descent to keep the speeds in check as I’d round another blind downhill corner.
      Loading … Verdict: 2021 Kia Sorento First Drive Review

      Kia can’t miss these days, and the Sorento is another win for the team. The assertive new styling distances it from the quasi-minivan look of the last model, but its beauty is more than skin deep. A thoughtfully-designed interior makes it great for hauling families, and those rear-most seats allow for more people to come along for the ride. Crucially, it doesn’t drive that different from the normal compact crossovers out there, either.
      My main quibble with the Sorento centers on the limited availability of the X-Line goodies on both sides of the border, and the thirstiness of the turbo engine. Beyond that though, this is a great compact-plus crossover. Regardless of trim, the new Sorento stands out as a genuine deal for SUV shoppers.
      Become an AutoGuide insider. Get the latest from the automotive world first by subscribing to our newsletter here.
      The post 2021 Kia Sorento Review: First Drive appeared first on AutoGuide.com.
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    • By Kiaclub Nieuwsrobot
      Utility vehicles continued to dominate the sales charts this year—and here are the best ones.
      Even in a year as … unique … as 2020, we saw plenty of new and revised utility vehicles launch. Some were good, but these ones were great, and they represent the finalists of the 2021 AutoGuide.com Utility Vehicle of the Year awards.
      For more 2021 AutoGuide.com Awards information, check out the other categories:
      2021 AutoGuide.com Car of the Year: Meet the Contenders 2021 AutoGuide.com Utility Vehicle of the Year: Meet the Contenders Everybody wants crossovers, it seems. Automakers are scrambling to produce enough to match demand, even crafting new categories to drop them in. A few years ago, it was the coupe-style crossovers (“coupeovers”); now, it’s the plus-sized-sub-compact SUV. It’s not quite a compact—a misnomer on its own these days—but it’s not a straight-forward sub-compact SUV either.
      The 2021 Kia Seltos is the best example of this new breed. It majors on the Korean brand’s longstanding reputation for value, offering more interior space than anything else in this fledgling segment. Up in the plain ol’ compact SUV segment, Nissan has given us a whole new Rogue for 2021. The brand’s best-seller needed to be good, as this is the most fiercely competitive segment in America. A high-end interior and a renewed focus on tech makes it a hugely appealing package.
      Toyota revived the Venza nameplate this year, sticking it on a new two-row SUV that shares its platform with both the RAV4 and Highlander. In terms of size it slots in between the two, but comes only in hybrid form. It’s a very different proposition to the old, overgrown Camry wagon model: this is a smooth cruiser, with enough luxury trappings to make you think twice about buying that Lexus.
      Our other two finalists are both domestic offerings, but couldn’t be more different. The Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban are both big, bulky three-row SUVs, sitting on modified truck platforms and powered by equally sizeable V8s. But they also come in diesel form, and a redesigned rear suspension vastly improves ride and interior space. Meanwhile, the Ford Mustang Mach-E is a horse of a different color. This all-electric mid-sizer has a goal of bringing EV motoring to the mainstream, with a dash of the fun that the Mustang name promises.
      Like our other end-of-year awards, this isn’t a head-to-head comparison. We’re comparing each of these models against the standards of their respective classes. Do they shift the needle? They better, not just within their category but, ideally, across the industry. We’ve also only included vehicles our team has driven. That unfortunately means a few models slipped through the cracks that 2020 caused, like the highly anticipated Ford Bronco Sport.
      For Car and Utility of the year, we’ve split the award into Overall, Mainstream, and Luxury sub-categories. You’ll find the 10 Utility of the Year finalists below, in alphabetical order. Our team will vote on each category over the coming weeks, and we’ll announce the winners early February. Stay tuned!
      Utility of the Year (Mainstream)
      2021 Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban

      Chevrolet updated its big rigs this year, with both the Tahoe and Suburban getting new looks, a new rear suspension, and even more imposing dimensions. Naturally there’s more room inside now, but it’s the suspension rethink that’s unlocked the lion’s share of the added passenger space. The third row no longer feels like a penalty box for adults, even in the Tahoe. The independent rear suspension also vastly increases cargo space—plus, it makes for a smoother ride. That’s what we call a win-win.
      SEE ALSO: 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe First Drive Review: Raising the Standard
      Both of these big boys come with three engine options: two gas V8s and a torque turbodiesel. All three offer serious stump-pulling power: Chevy knows that Tahoe and Suburban buyers use these things for actual towing. The trim options have also ballooned with this generation: the RST, High Country, and Z71 go from being options packages on the previous truck to dedicated trims for 2021. The off-road-ready Z71 currently only comes in V8 form, but Chevy promises the diesel will eventually join the lineup. The Bow Tie predicts the lux High Country and Premier trims will account for most of the sales of these two. That might suggest these rigs could step on the toes of the Escalade—found elsewhere on this page—but Chevrolet says they all cater to distinct parts of the market. The Tahoe definitely has value on its side, starting at barely over $50,000 for a two-wheel drive model, and topping out at $73,000 for the High Country.
      Loading … 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

      Everyone has an opinion on the 2021 Mustang Mach-E. How could you not? It’s an EV. It’s a coupe-styled crossover. Oh, and it’s got one of the most beloved automotive badges right there on its nose. Yep, that’ll do it.
      SEE ALSO: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Review: First Drive
      The Mustang Mach-E could have been a marketing disaster. But we’ve driven it, and it’s genuinely good. The Mustang ties are admittedly pretty vague right now—wait for the higher-performance GT model for that—but the Mach-E is hardly the anodyne driving experience some might’ve feared. It rides and steers smoothly, with the near-silence only an EV can manage. Power ranges from 266 to 346 horsepower, depending on battery size and rear- or all-wheel drive. Pair the long-distance battery with rear-drive and you’re looking at 300 miles (482 km) of range per charge. DC fast-charging offers up 60 miles (96 km) of range in 10 minutes, or a refill to 80 percent in 45. Ford has also taken a step forward on the infotainment front, fitting the Mach-E with a huge, tablet-style screen in the middle of the dash. Very subtle, guys. A secondary screen sits in front of the driver, carrying all the pertinent information. Next year, the Blue Oval’s own take on semi-autonomous driving will arrive on the Mach-E. All this starts at $43,995 ($52,395 CAD) before any green-car incentives.
      Loading … 2021 Kia Seltos

      Kia just can’t miss these days. There was the Stinger. Then the Telluride. This year the Korean brand went smaller for both cars and crossovers, dropping the excellent K5 and this, the Seltos. In an age of ever-growing models, the Seltos asks the serious question: do you really need a “compact” crossover?
      SEE ALSO: 2021 Kia Seltos EX Review: Where Do Its Priorities Lie?
      This pint-size model offers nearly as much passenger and storage space as the next class up, in a more manageable footprint. All but a single trim comes with standard all-wheel drive, a feature that’s not as common as you’d think, especially in this end of the market. Kia bundles in plenty of driver assists and amenities too, including an available wireless charging pad, auto climate control, Highway Driving Assist, and the Telluride’s large, 10.25-inch infotainment screen. Despite all these big-car features, pricing starts at $23,110 ($24,790 CAD), and tops out under $30,000 all-in ($34,390 CAD). Again, we ask: do you really need a compact crossover?
      Loading … 2021 Nissan Rogue

      Nissan needs the 2021 Rogue to be good. It’s the brand’s best-selling model, competing in the largest, most cut-throat segment in the market. The Japanese brand has thoroughly overhauled this SUV, starting with a stiffer, more modern platform as a foundation. From there it’s layered on better NVH, more assertive styling, a premium-feeling interior, and lots of screen real estate.
      SEE ALSO: 2021 Nissan Rogue Review: First Drive
      The Rogue is all about the details. Take the available quilted leather seats: where else are you going to find that in this class? How about the rear doors, which open to nearly 90 degrees, making it easier for the very young and very old alike to get in and out? Nissan has clearly given some thought to how people use their crossovers on a daily basis.
      A single engine option exists for the Rogue: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, hooked up to a CVT, sending power to either the front axle or both. Pricing starts at $26,745 ($30,328 CAD), including destination, stretching to around $40,000 on either side of the border.
      Loading … 2021 Toyota Venza

      Talk about a glow-up. The old Venza was an unloved model arguably ahead of its time: it predicted the oncoming onslaught of car-based crossovers. In that sense, this reborn Venza is more of the same, but it’s traded the ungainly looks of old for a svelte, stylish wrapper. More importantly, it also comes with just one drivetrain option: a hybrid-powered AWD setup.
      SEE ALSO: 2021 Toyota Venza Review: First Drive
      With 219 horsepower, the Venza isn’t the quickest of the larger two-row SUV crowd. But you’re unlikely to notice, as this is a ride tailor-made for calm cruising. You’ll probably need to stop for your own reasons before it needs gas too, since the Venza posts an impressive 39 mpg average (6.1 L/100 km). The interior is a great place to spend hours in, thanks to high-quality materials and what is easily the Venza’s coolest feature: the “Star Gaze” electrochromic glass roof, which goes from frosted to clear at the touch of a button. The Venza nails the premium feeling so well we can’t think of a single reason to buy the Lexus NX over it. Pricing starts at $33,645 ($40,330 in Canada).
      Loading … Utility of the Year (Luxury)
      2021 Cadillac Escalade

      The Escalade has gone widescreen. Cadillac’s de facto halo model benefits from all the same improvements as its proletariat Chevy siblings up-page, but naturally gets its own add-ons to justify the inflated price tag. The easiest to spot inside this beast is the huge 38-inch digital screen, spanning most of the dashboard. It feels suitably high-tech, and easily a match for the systems you find in the German competition. An available night vision setup is invaluable on dark roads, and soon, GM’s industry-leading Super Cruise system will join the Escalade’s bounty of features.
      SEE ALSO: 2021 Cadillac Escalade Review: Ghost Protocol
      With a powerful 6.2-liter V8 underhood (a 3.0-liter diesel is also available), the Escalade is the definition of effortless progress. It rides with a level of grace seemingly impossible for something the size of a city condo, thanks to the one-two of the independent rear suspension and the standard air suspension. Pricing starts at a heady $77,490 ($91,998 CAD), but the Escalade feels worth it. As managing editor Kshitij Sharma says, “Cadillac has created something worthy of a standing ovation.”
      Loading … 2021 Genesis GV80

      The year kicked off with the debut of the Genesis GV80, the Korean brand’s first SUV, so it feels poetic to now end on it. Genesis spent the last few years establishing its luxury sport credentials with its sedans, including the G70, our 2019 Car of the Year. It couldn’t avoid the way the industry winds were blowing though, and the GV80 is at least as impressive for its class as that car was for sport sedans two years ago.
      SEE ALSO: 2021 Genesis GV80 Review: First Drive
      What’s immediately striking about the GV80 is how holistic it feels. Everything meshes together. The styling—the first clean-sheet example of Genesis’ “Athletic Elegance” look—makes a strong statement on the road, imposing but not brash. The ride is smooth: not as sporty as the competition (and we’re not even talking the M and AMG variants), but calm, collected, and very quiet. A whole new infotainment system ditches the borrowed-Hyundai setup of old, with pretty menus and a low learning curve. Best of all is the interior itself, plush and inviting no matter which perch you find yourself in. Some things don’t change, though: in this case, it’s Genesis’ reputation for value, with the GV80 starting at just under $50,000 ($65,000 CAD). It’s a designer bargain, like a Zegna suit at Zara pricing.
      Loading … 2021 Land Rover Defender

      The Land Rover Defender is an icon. It’s no wonder it took the British company what felt like eons to replace it. This new-age Defender is different in a lot of ways, but what hasn’t changed is its ability to make short work of gnarly off-road trails. Under those smoother, modern looks is a gloriously complicated chassis which makes that possible.
      SEE ALSO: 2020 Land Rover Defender 110 Review: First Drive
      The interior experience is also bang up to date, thanks to inspired material choices, a clean dash design, and—thankfully—a new touchscreen interface. The Defender feels like a genuinely premium item, which makes sense now that pricing starts over $50,000 ($65,000 CAD). Despite that, you can still hose the interior down after a particularly adventurous trail.
      A mild-hybrid, twin-charged inline-six engine powers the Defender 110, producing 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. That’s plenty to ford streams with, but more importantly, it turns the Defender into a smooth highway cruiser in-between your amateur cartographer sessions.
      Loading … 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLB

      Mercedes has plugged the gap between GLA and GLC, both of which are two-row crossovers, with this, the three-row GLB. Are you confused? Yeah, so were we, until we drove it. The GLB makes almost too much sense. The optional way-back is designed for occasional use: a sticker on the rear doors makes it clear those much over 5’6″ shouldn’t even attempt it. That’s fine: those looking to buy this affordable little ‘ute probably aren’t shuttling most of an adult baseball team from A to B. But if they have two kids, and both want to bring a friend? You’ve got a solution, all in a footprint barely bigger than a RAV4.
      SEE ALSO: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 Review: Scratching the Niche
      The GLB is just as easy to drive as other smaller Mercs, too. It uses the same basic platform as the excellent A-Class, providing it with a smooth, easy-going road demeanor. Available all-wheel drive (standard in Canada) ensures foul-weather security, too. A turbocharged 2.0-liter sits under the bluff nose, pushing out 221 hp in GLB 250 guise, or 302 hp for the hotter GLB 35 AMG. Fuel efficiency is better than most other non-hybrid three-rows on the market, averaging 26 mpg (9.0 L/100 km).
      Best of all, the GLB is one of the most affordable ways into Merc ownership, starting at around $37,000 ($45,000 CAD). A luxury German model that’s not just practical, but affordable? It’s what makes the GLB so easy for us to recommend.
      Loading … 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS

      Mercedes scores not just one but two finalists spots thanks to this, the GLS. The gargantuan SUV saw a full redesign in 2020, finally stepping into the role as the S-Class of the brand’s SUV lineup.
      SEE ALSO: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 Review: Wafting Wunderkind
      Sure, there’s an AMG version of this big boy, because of course there is, but don’t fall for it. The GLS is all about pampering. In GLS 580 trim, it pairs a slightly detuned version of the AMG’s turbocharged V8 to a mild-hybrid system, seamlessly providing even more torque when requested. An electronically-controlled air suspension smothers anything the road can throw at it, helping the GLS glide serenely across vast stretches of land. Best of all, the brand’s excellent MBUX infotainment system is present here, offering myriad customization options, quick responses, and lots of eye candy. Pricing starts at a suitably Merc-like $77,000, or just shy of six figures in Canada. Even optioned-up, the GLS feels worth it.
      Loading … Become an AutoGuide insider. Get the latest from the automotive world first by subscribing to our newsletter here.
      The post 2021 AutoGuide.com Utility Vehicle of the Year: Meet the Contenders appeared first on AutoGuide.com.
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    • By Kiaclub Nieuwsrobot
      These are the reviews (and comparisons) you read the most this year. Go you!

      The week between Christmas and New Years is a time for reflection. You’re not quite sure what day it is, and subsisting on a steady intake of holiday chocolate and leftovers. It’s great. With that in mind, we’re looking at the big hits of the last 12 months here at AutoGuide.
      COVID may have ravaged every part of the globe, but thanks to the careful, ceaseless work of the people in charge of press fleets, we still drove plenty of the most important new cars of the year. Auto manufacturers stepped up, bringing in thorough cleaning and disinfecting processes, spacing out bookings, and modifying event launches to minimize person-to-person contact. Big props to them.
      We also thank you, dear reader. We couldn’t do this job without you. (And you. And you!) We always aim for a thorough, everyday approach to how we conduct our reviews, reflecting what you’re looking for come time to head to the dealership. In 2020 your favorite reviews skewed towards crossovers—no surprise there—but sedans are seemingly making a comeback. And you can’t resist a good pair of affordable sports cars, either…
      To spice things up this year, we’ve included real-world comparisons alongside single-car reviews. Read on then, for AutoGuide’s most popular car reviews of 2020.
      10. 2021 Subaru Crosstrek First Drive Review

      What we said:
      Read the full review here!
      The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek gained a much-needed, more powerful engine option in higher trims. Thanks to its clear car roots, it’s as friendly and easy-to-use as can be, yet the higher ride height allows it to conquer more than the local muddy parking lot. We’re big fans of this little sub-compact crossover: look forward to it facing off against the competition in the new year!
      Loading … 09. 2020 Ford Escape AWD 1.5 Review

      What we said:
      Read the full review here!
      By the end of the year, I drove three variations of Ford’s Escape, redone entirely for the 2020 model year. While the fuel sipping of the Hybrid was very appealing, this lower-rung trim, with the base engine, is the one that made the strongest impression. It’s affordable, spacious, and pretty darn fuel efficient without the added heft and complication of batteries. And now, with the Bronco Sport revealed, the Escape’s more overt car-ification makes sense.
      Loading … 08. 2020 Subaru Ascent Review

      What we said:
      Read the full review here!
      We love it when automakers throw a base model onto their fleets. Evidently so do you: this entry-level Subaru Ascent was our best-performing review for the Pleiades brand this year. It’s easy to see why too: for barely over $30,000, the Ascent offers three-row space, the great EyeSight suite of driver assists, and Subaru’s legendary AWD system. No wonder it keeps selling so well.
      Loading … 07. 2020 BMW 330i xDrive Review

      What we said:
      Read the full review here!
      The BMW 3 Series has been the sport sedan measuring stick since the dawn of time. The last generation let the crown slip though, and the competition capitalized on it, including the newcomer Genesis G70. For this, the G20-generation model, BMW has evidently rediscovered its groove, according to contributor Justin Pritchard. On the subject of steering, Justin said “it almost feels like a hydraulic unit and returns much better feedback as well. This results in predictable steering in the corners and all that’s left after that is target fixation and following the corner through with a massive grin.”
      Loading … 06. 2021 Lexus IS 350 First Drive Review

      What we said:
      Read the full review here!
      There were groans in front of screens all around the globe when Lexus revealed that the 2021 IS would still use the same platform it did for most of the last decade. How could it really take the fight to the sport sedan segment that way, including the 3 Series you just read about?
      But this is more than a facelift: Lexus’ engineers went to town underneath the skin too. The IS is now a fun, indulgent drive on your favorite bit of twisty tarmac. In fact, it’s so accomplished that the carryover engines now feel in desperate need of an upgrade to match. The price of progress we suppose. This is another hint that rumors of the sedan’s death in general may be exaggerated…
      Loading … 05. Smiles Per Hour: 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata vs Toyota 86 Comparison

      What we said:
      Read the full review here!
      Think a fun car costs serious coin? Take a gander at these two machines then: both can be had for less than the median new-car selling price these days. Both offer serious fun and genuine driver interaction, but do so in very different ways. We gave the newer MX-5 the nod in this one (spoiler alert), but as we said in the full article, while we prefer it in this case, we’d rather live in a world with both cars existing. There are no real wrong answers with this duo.
      Loading … 04. 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid vs 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

      What we said:
      Read the full review here!
      The RAV4 Hybrid has wait lists months long. It’s a popular version of the most popular crossover on the market, so Ford building a genuine competitor for it is a big deal. We pitted these two family crossovers against one another in the summer, to figure out which is the right choice. The Ford has the better real-world fuel economy, a more adjustable second-row, and the tech advantage. In the blue corner, the RAV4 brings a more pliant suspension, added space for both passengers and their stuff, and chunkier looks. It was a tough bout, but in the end the Toyota held onto its crown.
      Loading … 03. 2020 Ford Super Duty First Drive Review

      What we said:
      Read the full review here!
      Look, this is America after all: of course a truck was going to end up somewhere on this list. That honor falls to Ford’s revised Super Duty lineup. For 2020 a new, huge 7.3-liter V8 joined the lineup, but the headline figure here was the Power Stroke diesel. Capable of punishing the pavement to the tune of 1,000 lb-ft, it’s the easy hauler’s choice.
      Loading … 02. 2021 Kia K5 GT-Line AWD Review: A Covetable Mainstream Sedan?

      What we said:
      Read the full review here!
      For our final piece of evidence that sedans are mounting a comeback, we present the Kia K5. This was one of our last reviews of the year, and yet it came this close to taking the number-one spot from a review that came out ten months earlier. That’s a heck of a move.
      Then again, this is a heck of a sedan. Super stylish inside and out, the K5 is spacious, practical, and full of clever tech. It’s reasonably priced too, and offers AWD as an option, something its platform-mate the Hyundai Sonata does without. We wouldn’t mind a bit more power—something the K5 GT should definitely address, thanks to a 290-horsepower 2.5-liter turbo engine.
      Loading … 01. 2020 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road Review

      What we said:
      Read the full review here!
      Well this is awkward. The RAV4 is the best-selling non-truck in both Canada and the US, so it topping the list isn’t exactly surprising. But this particular version doing so is. We drove the RAV4 a few times this year—in TRD Off-Road, the afore-mentioned Hybrid, and plug-in hybrid Prime forms—and this one was the least impressive. The rough engine gave it a decidedly old-school SUV flavor. But hey, given the demand for the upcoming Ford Bronco, maybe that’s just what people are looking for?
      Loading … Become an AutoGuide insider. Get the latest from the automotive world first by subscribing to our newsletter here.
      The post AutoGuide’s Most Popular Car Reviews of 2020 appeared first on AutoGuide.com.
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