December, a time to crank the heating up, roast some marshmallows and reminisce about the year we’ve had. It’s been a bit of a topsy turvy one this year, with various threats of yet another lockdown and a constant worry about climate change, the automotive industry in particular has taken quite a beating.
But, in direct contrast to the doom and gloom around us, some of the cars that have been released in 2021 are truly pioneering. We’ve seen more previously ‘lower tier’ brands really step their game, Kia for example with the revolutionary EV6. In this list, we wanted to take a look at the cars that caught our eye this year.
Porsche 911 GT3 (992)
Ever since the 992 generation was released back in 2018, the ever enthusiastic Porsche community has been itching to see the GT3 variant. Now in its third decade, the 911 GT3 is the go-to if you’re looking for a truly raw driving experience, without losing commodities like heating or sat nav. It’s a car that does both exceptionally well, driving to the Nurburgring from South Wales in complete ease, smashing lap after lap at the highest level, only to twist the dial back to comfort mode and pootle all the way home.
It’s a car that continues to shake up the market too. Allocations were incredibly hard to come by, and some of the lucky few who did manage to get one eventually caved into the eye-watering amount of profit that could be made on the resale market. The normal rules of depreciation do not apply to the 911 GT3, and it’s likely the GT3 RS is going to be even more desirable!
Fiat 500 E
Technically launched back in 2020, the first deliveries of the highly anticipated Fiat 500E arrived in March of this year, and it really made people smile. Ever since the fresh-faced Fiat 500 burst onto the city car scene back in 2007, it’s difficult to find a street anywhere in the UK that doesn’t have at least one 500 parked up. Over 2,000,000 have been sold, making it one of Fiat’s most successful models in their rich history.
Being a teeny city car built for the narrow streets of Italy, the idea of throwing a fully electric motor inside makes complete sense with the 500, and that’s exactly what Fiat did. Launched in 2020, the 500 E looked entirely different to its combustion engined sibling, boasting a far sleeker design, even quirkier styling and a much needed update to the interior.
Having actually driven (and nearly bought) the Fiat 500E, I was instantly impressed with the many, many features this car has as standard. Granted it was the top spec La Prima model, with prices starting at £30,495 (before the government grant). It’s a car that you long to drive in, it makes any journey fun, providing it’s within its 199 quoted mileage range. Quite simply, Fiat took everything that was good about the previous Fiat 500, combined their vast portfolio of design ideas and created something that is so effortlessly cool.
Another fully electric vehicle in our list, but this one is slightly bigger than the little Fiat. Built from the ground up to be an electric car by Volvo’s sister brand, the Polestar 2 is a rival for the Tesla Model 3, Audi Q4 e-Tron and anything else that dares to breach the electric SUV/crossover realm.
From a design standpoint alone, the Polestar 2 ticks every box imaginable. Crossover SUVs aren’t exactly the perfect place to showcase creativity or innovation from a design point of view, but this one really does look unique. At 4.6m long it’s a 3-series sized, chiselled hatchback that looks slightly on tip-toes, giving it far more cabin and boot space as a result.
Settle in and you’ll be at once familiar with the Scandi styling and Volvo overtones, but also surprised by the freshness of the design. Materials and build quality are top-notch regardless of whether you’ve got a basic version or a top-spec car. It’s the subtle way to join the electric vehicle community, it doesn’t shout like a Tesla does or turn heads quite as much as a Porsche, but for those who know will appreciate it greatly.
The fact Lotus are back creating compact, lightweight and thoroughly enjoyable sports cars again is just a joy, but early reports of the Emira show this model is going to be one of the best yet.
The Emira will be Lotus’ final non-electrified car. It follows the limited-run Evija electric hypercar in this promising new era for Lotus under the majority ownership of Geely, which is funding not only new cars but also new facilities and manufacturing processes with the aim of products being built to a higher and more consistent quality.
With more emphasis than ever before on electric vehicles, the Emira looks to be the last hurrah for the conventional sports car. We have no doubt Lotus’ next generation of sports cars will be impressive, but for now the Emira takes all the boxes of what a Lotus should be!
Land Rover Defender V8
Speaking of last hurrahs, here’s one of the most iconic names in motoring history with a stonking great supercharged V8 engine under the bonnet. Although questionable at first, the new-look Defender has been a great money maker for Land Rover, appealing to both city slickers and the agricultural type.
What we like most about the V8 Defender is the way it carries its heritage, with nods to the past but remaining an entirely new and innovative model. Reports suggest on the road it’s smooth, refined and still very, very fast, but isn’t as flashy as an SVR Range Rover for example.
It’s an SUV with real purpose, and much like the others in our list, the net is closing in on powerful combustion engines, meaning it’s likely this will be the last ever production Defender we see with such a powerful engine, as JLR moves to become entirely electric in the coming years.
So there’s five of our picks for 2021, a list of cars both big and small, fast and slow, but all so unique in their own way! Let us know what you think should be on our list, is there a car that really blew you away this year?
Elliot is our resident tech-lover and petrolhead, who is in charge of spreading AdFeeder to the masses! Having previously worked with brands such as Porsche and BMW, Elliot specialises in content creation and social media.