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What’s new for 2021

By: Ron Corbett, APA Staff Writer     

While there have been no major auto shows since Toronto in mid February, automakers have revealed a number of significant new vehicles in cyberspace. The following vehicles represent some significant cars seen in Toronto, as well as those that debuted online. This is part one in our series of "What's New for 2021" updates. Part two, from August 10th, features updates on the new and revised Acura TLX and Lexus IS, the now more agressively stylized Nissan Rogue, Ford F-150, and the first purpose-designed electric car from Ford, the Mustang Mach-E. You can read part two here.



Cadillac CT4 (GM Canada Photo)

Built on the same wheelbase as the previous ATS and with all other dimensions being similar, the CT4 looks like an ATS update, but GM insists that the car is all new.

Styling blends an ATS-reminiscent silhouette with a front that displays Cadillac's current styling themes, and a tail that is dramatic and distinctive but not pretty. The interior is edgier than recent Cadillacs. Crisply-marked conventional gauges are located in a tight pod in front of the driver. Dramatic cabin shapes are visually enhanced by some attractive two-tone trim options, complemented by bright accents.

Most CT4s are powered by the same 2L turbo four seen in numerous GM cars. It produces 237 horsepower in this application. The 2.7L turbo four from GM's big pickups, which produces 309 horsepower in the CT4, is optional on the Premium Luxury trim and standard on the CTS-V performance model. Power reaches the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission on 2L cars, and a ten-speed with the 2.7L engine.

Most cars in this segment in Canada are exclusively all-wheel drive, but Cadillac also offers rear-wheel drive, which will have a limited market among the small number of enthusiasts who don't think all-wheel drive is essential.



2021 Genesis G80 (Genesis photo) 

The second-generation G80 sedan shares its platform, power units, as well as styling and cabin trim elements with the new Genesis GV 80 crossover.

Outside, the G80 is fronted by a six-corner grill and dual-stripe headlamps; the front fenders bear the same air-intake covered by twin lit strips as the GV80 crossover. Strong forms, just the right amount of surface interest, and artful bright elements combine to create a very elegant sedan.

The interior shares its styling with the GV80, as well components like the gauge package, climate controls, infotainment screen, upper dashboard structure and gear selector. Like the GV80, the cabin of the new G80 is conservative and rendered in attractive materials.

The previously-standard 3.8L V6 has been replaced by a 300 horsepower 2.5L turbo four. Both the 3.3L turbo V6 and the 5L V8 are replaced by a turbocharged 3.5L V6 with 375 horsepower. Power reaches all wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The 2021 G80 goes on sale in the last half of 2020.



2021 Genesis GV80

Despite the excellence of its cars, the Genesis brand has made little progress in Canada, but the new GV80 gives the company a credible entry in the popular luxury crossover segment and should attract a wider audience to the brand.

Based on a rear-wheel-drive architecture, the GV80 is roughly the same size as the Acura MDX. All-wheel drive with Multi-Terrain control, which offers settings for sand, mud, and snow, is standard. Two engines, a 290 horsepower turbocharged 2.5L four and a 375 horsepower turbo V6, will be available. The sole transmission is an eight-speed automatic.

The cabin of the top-spec GV80 on display in Toronto was sumptuous, and the name "Bentley" came to mind. Crisply-marked gauges face the driver who inhabits a stylish interior finished in subtly contrasting two-tone quilted leather, matte-finish wood and elegant bright accent garnishes. 

The base 2.5T Select is nicely equipped but lacks leather seating, an expected feature at this price level. Moving up to the 2.5T Advanced includes leather seating and is priced to reflect its additional content. Miegrating to the 3.5T Advanced adds the powerful turbo V6 as well as a number of comfort and convenience features but looks very expensive for what you are getting. The top model, the 3.5T Prestige, balances additional features and price quite precisely. 

Genesis plans to have the GV80 on sale in Canada in the second half of 2020.


2021 Hyundai Elantra sedan (Hyundai Canada photo)

After a conservative design period exemplified by the previous-generation Sonata and Elantra, Hyundai has returned to flamboyance with the current Sonata and this next-generation Elantra. The redesigned Elantra is fronted by a massive air intake in Hyundai's signature six-cornered shape. Slim-line headlamps emerge like winglets off the upper extremities of the air intake. There is a prominent lip spoiler moulded in at the bottom of the front fascia as well as very au courant sharp-edged triangular elements at its lower extremities. The side profile is coupe-like, with a steeply raked roofline. The dramatic side profile features a prominent double arrowhead motif that some will find compelling and others superfluous. This design will get noticed but may be polarizing. Rear styling is clean, with a sleek integration of the taillights.

The new Elantra is dimensionally similar to the outgoing car, but Hyundai claims class-leading space. On premium trims, Hyundai has opted to replace conventional gauges with a long, narrow computer tablet, like the one Mercedes-Benz debuted in the A-Class, containing a digital gauge package as well as the infotainment screen. The dash centre stack contains the audio and climate controls which look straightforward and easy to use, a Hyundai hallmark. The rest of the cabin is attractive and some two-tone finishes are available. A wireless version of the iOS-Android cellphone interface is offered.

The previous-generation powertrain, a 147 horsepower Atkinson-cycle 2L four hooked up to a CVT, returns for 2021. Hybrid power is new for the Elantra this year. It combines the efforts of an Atkinson-cycle 1.6L gas four and a 32 kW electric motor to create 139 total system horsepower. Power reaches the wheels via a six-speed dual clutch automated manual transmission.

Hyundai has joined many other mainstream brands in adding active safety equipment as standard equipment to its compact cars. Forward collision warning, including pedestrian detection, is standard, as are autonomous emergency braking, a lane keep assist system, and a driver alert monitor. Lane Follow Assist will help to maintain the car centered in its lane. New options for 2021 include adaptive cruise control, blind spot, rear cross traffic and safe exit warnings, as well as autonomous emergency braking while in reverse.

The redesigned Elantra goes on sale by late fall 2020.



2021 Mitsubishi Mirage

First introduced in 2014, the Mirage undergoes a significant update for 2021, its eighth year on the market. The revised Mirage is new from the windshield forward and displays Mitsubishi's "Dynamic Shield" styling, featuring horizontally-arrayed chrome-finish accents. The cabin is updated as well, and incorporates a display audio screen and an available iOS/Android cellphone interface. Collision avoidance features such as forward collision and lane departure warnings and autonomous emergency braking are optional for 2021.The 2021 Mirage goes on sale this summer.  


2021 Nissan Versa 

When the latest Versa sedan was shown in New York in April last year, Nissan Canada reps stated the car would not be sold here. However, the attrition of vehicles in the small car segment, including Nissan’s own Micra and Versa Note, the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Accent sedan, may have opened up enough space in the market to convince Nissan that the model still has a place in Canada.

Along with the Nissan Kicks, the Versa sedan is built on the new-generation Micra platform that debuted in other markets for 2017. The Versa is an attractive, contemporary design. It has the same wheelbase as the Kicks, but is 201 mm (7.9 inches) longer, slightly narrower, 130 mm (5.1 inches) lower and about 40 kilograms lighter.

Essentially a Kicks sedan, the Versa shares most of its cabin features with its tall hatchback counterpart. The gauges are easy to scan and all controls are logical and work with satisfying precision. Fit and finish are much better than in small Nissans of the recent past.

Power for the Versa stems from Nissan’s ubiquitous 1.6L four that is rated at 122 horsepower. Torque will reach the front wheels via either a five-speed manual transmission or a CVT.

The Nissan 360 Safety Shield, with intelligent autonomous emergency braking, including pedestrian detection and rear self-stopping, will be offered, as will lane departure, rear cross traffic and blind spot warnings.

Although the new Versa is already on sale in the United States, it won’t go on sale until the fall in Canada.  


2021 Toyota Sienna (Toyota Canada photo)

After 10 long years on the market, Toyota has renewed its Sienna minivan for 2021. The new Sienna is fronted by a slim grille that sits above a massive air intake. The side profile has more character than the outgoing model, with prominent blisters surrounding the rear wheels, like Toyota's Highlander. Dimensions are essentially unchanged from the last Sienna.

The driver faces clearly-marked analogue gauges. A large free-standing infotainment screen resides at the top centre of the dashboard under which there are straightforward climate controls. Minivan owners appreciate a sense of openness, so it is odd to see Toyota crowd the once-clear space with a wide, high-mounted centre console that would be more appropriate to a sports car. The rest of the cabin design is sober and traditional, and the interior fittings look more upscale than the last-generation Sienna.

The Sienna LE and XLE seat eight, whereas premium trims accept seven occupants. Pricier models will be available with second-row footrests that deploy from the seat cushions, like a living-room reclining chair. The new Sienna will offer seven USB ports and up to 18 cupholders. Available equipment includes a digital rearview mirror, a 1080p rear entertainment unit, an on-board vacuum cleaner and a refrigerator.

Like the new Venza, the Sienna is built on the Toyota’s TNGA-K platform. Toyota’s punchy 3.5L V6 is no longer available. Given the chronic shortage of hybrid powertrains on the RAV4, it is surprising that Toyota has chosen hybrid power exclusively for the 2021 Sienna. Though the new Venza has migrated to a Lithium-Ion battery pack, Toyota has retained its proven Nickel-Metal Hydride battery pack for the Sienna. The 2.5L gasoline four and electric motors combine to produce 243 total system horsepower. Power reaches the front wheels via a CVT automatic; on all-wheel drive models, power is delivered to the rear wheels by electric motors. Toyota expects the new Sienna to post a combined 7.1L/100 kilometre combined fuel economy figure. Properly equipped, the new Sienna can tow up to 1590 kilograms (3500 lbs).

Toyota's comprehensive Safety-Sense 2.0 collision avoidance system is standard for 2021. Automatic rear braking is included on premium trims. The new minivan is equipped with middle-row side airbags, a driver’s side knee airbag and an airbag embedded in the front passenger seat-cushion.


2021 Toyota Venza (Toyota Canada photo)

Last sold in 2016, the Venza name returns to Canada for the 2021 model year. After some flamboyant designs like the RAV4 and Camry, the clean-lined Venza marks a return to conservative elegance.

While a larger two-row crossover offers very little additional utility over its own RAV4, Toyota has followed other automakers into this segment. The previous Venza sold well, and the competing Ford Edge and Nissan Murano have posted big sales numbers for many years. In addition to the Edge and Murano, the Venza joins the Chevrolet Blazer, Honda Passport and Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport in the burgeoning larger-than-compact two-row crossover market segment.

Given the chronic shortage of RAV4 hybrids, it is surprising to learn that the new Venza will be exclusively hybrid powered. Presumably, Toyota has resolved its hybrid supply problems or a lot of people will be waiting for theirs. For the new Venza, Toyota migrated from its traditional Nickel-Metal-Hydride battery pack to a Lithium-Ion one. The 2.5L gas engine and the electric motors combine to produce 219 total system horsepower. Power reaches the front wheels via a CVT transmission but the rear wheels of the standard all-wheel drive system are driven electrically. Dropping a water pump drive belt reduces complexity and the new system should optimize thermal management. Toyota estimates that combined fuel economy for the new Venza will be a frugal 5.9L/100 kilometres.

Inside, the driver faces crisply-marked conventional gauges separated by a configurable digital readout. The top-centre of the dashboard is dominated by an infotatinment screen (12 inches on some trims). The cabin features some interesting shapes and available two-tone trims. Interior space looks good in photos and the cargo area appears deeper than the very shallow space of the last Venza.

The top Venza will feature a Tesla-style fixed glass roof panel which in the Toyota is electrochromatic and can change from clear to frosted in a second. With the iOS-Android cellphone interface, a power driver’s seat and alloy wheels as standard, even the base Venza is nicely equipped. Newly available equipment includes a camera-view for the inside rear-view mirror and a head-up display for the windshield.

Toyota appears to have listened to comments about how noisy the redesigned 2019 RAV4 is, and made a point of stressing how quiet the new Venza will be. With the same wheelbase and width as the RAV4, cabin space should be similar, but cargo space will be a bit less due to the more raked tailgate.

The comprehensive Toyota Safety-Sense 2.0 collision avoidance system is standard. Rear auto braking will be standard on premium trims.

The 2021 Venza should go on sale by early 2021.



Related Articles 

Part 2: What's New For 2021 (August 10th, 2020)

APA at the 2020 Canadian International Auto Show Press Day (February 13, 2020)