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Front Page - Friday, January 22, 2021

Behind the Wheel: Five new trucks, SUVs to look forward to in ’21

Every new year ushers in a new batch of cars, trucks and SUVs from just about every automaker. Some of these new models create little more than passing interest, while others threaten to burn out the internet with hype.

For 2021, it’ll be trucks and SUVs dominating the news. Edmunds’ experts cover the five they think will make the biggest splash.

Ford Bronco

The new Bronco has been one of the most hotly anticipated new vehicles since rumors emerged that Ford was developing it. Returning after a 20-plus year absence, the new Bronco has retro-influenced styling gives it a cool factor that’s hard to replicate. Modern amenities make it far more livable day to day than the iconic-but-basic classic Bronco.

This is an SUV in the old-school sort of mold and the first direct competitor the Jeep Wrangler has had in years.

Like the Wrangler, the Bronco will feature robust off-road capability and will be available as both a two- and a four-door model. Customization is a huge draw, so Ford has made it easy to attach accessories or even remove elements such as the Bronco’s doors, fenders and roof. There’s even a special setting in the navigation that allows owners to share off-road trails with friends.

Expected on-sale date: summer 2021

Ford F-150

Edmunds just named the redesigned 2021 Ford F-150 its top-rated truck, so that should give some indication how good this truck is.

The new F-150 – one of the bestselling vehicles of all time – might not look radically different on the outside, but there are plenty of new and updated features beneath that aluminum sheet metal.

The new F-150 is more powerful, more efficient and more capable than the model it replaces. Notable available features include a hybrid powertrain that provides 430 horsepower plus an EPA-estimated 25 mpg combined and a robust onboard electric generator that’s perfect for tailgating or powering tools on a job site.

The revised interior is more comfortable and more practical than before, with lots of clever storage and available front seats that can recline nearly flat.

On-sale date: now

GMC Hummer EV

The original Hummer and its offshoots, the H2 and H3, weren’t exactly eco-minded machines. That makes the new all-electric GMC Hummer EV a bit of a surprise. GMC promises that the Hummer EV will be plenty capable off-road, and you won’t burn a single ounce of gasoline getting there and back thanks to its touted 350 miles of electric range.

The specs are quite impressive. Three electric motors will send a proclaimed 1,000 horsepower to all four wheels, so power should never be an issue. It also features Super Cruise, General Motors’ driver aid system that allows for hands-free highway driving.

Other neat features include removable roof panels that can be stored in the front trunk and an adaptive suspension that can adjust the Hummer EV’s ride height to maximize efficiency or off-road potential.

Expected on-sale date: fall 2021

Genesis GV70

Genesis has a pair of SUVs – the South Korean luxury automaker’s first – arriving in 2021. Edmunds’ experts have spent some time with the larger GV80, but it’s the smaller Genesis GV70 that they’re most looking forward to. It should rival mainstays such as the BMW X3 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC on luxury and performance while offering superior value.

There’s not much official information available about the GV70 yet, but photos show a sleek exterior design featuring the brand’s latest shield-like grille. Inside there’s a horizontally oriented dashboard with a large infotainment display.

It’s reasonable to expect Genesis to equip the GV70 with a standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine and offer a more powerful turbocharged six-cylinder engine as an option.

Expected on-sale date: summer-fall 2021

Jeep Grand Wagoneer

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer is set to make its return after nearly 30 years. The Grand Wagoneer was a luxury-like SUV before SUVs were a thing. Along with the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, it helped popularize sport utilities in America. It’s also arguably the last vehicle that made wood side panels look cool (sorry, PT Cruiser).

While we’ve only seen a concept version of the Grand Wagoneer, much of it is likely to carry over to the production model. That means you can expect a luxurious interior and three rows of seating.

The latest technology features and hybrid powertrains will be on tap for this flagship SUV too. And don’t forget that it’s a Jeep, so it should be pretty capable off-road.

Expected on-sale date: summer 2021

Edmunds says

The most significant production vehicle launches in 2021 will be trucks and SUVs. Retro themes and born-again nameplates will be big too. But you can also expect to see advanced technology and greater comfort without any loss of capability or utility.

Reese Counts is a vehicle test editor at Edmunds. Twitter: @rmcounts.