At long last, the truly grim year of 2020 is drawing to a close. We’re under no illusions that things will magically get better on the 1st January, but at least 2021 offers some prospects for improvement. So here’s our quick tour of what, as motorists, we’re looking forward to over the next twelve months — including three stonking new cars.
1. A hot (or warm) electric hatchback from our favourite automotive giant
Sometime in 2021, we’ll be seeing the new electric offering from SEAT’s performance wing. We’ve been salivating over the Cupra El-Born ever since we saw the first renderings. Based on the VW Group’s MEB platform, we think that the El-Born looks as sharp as a Toledo-steel saber.
Cupra has been coy with the performance details, just teasing us with a 0-31 mph time of 2.9 seconds. Now, that doesn’t seem hugely exciting, given that Vauxhall’s electric Corsa can manage roughly the same. But Cupra does have a history of producing performance cars, so we will wait and see.
With a 77kW battery, range is expected to top 300 miles. Nice!
2. Some recovery for the UK car industry
It’s been a horrible year for UK manufacturers, dealerships and garages. Although experts are unsure about how much things will recover in 2021, there’s agreement that there will at least be some improvement. That’s got to be good news for the many thousands of people employed in automotive sectors all over the UK.
The speed of the recovery will undoubtedly depend on how Brexit pans out. Without taking any sides on the issue, we did see two worrying comments from the Society of Motor Manufacturers. According to their projections, no deal with the EU would cost the UK car industry – which is heavily integrated with Europe’s – £40 billion in the next five years. It could also hamstring the burgeoning UK electric car market. Oof!
Having said that, whatever happens with the EU, fewer lockdowns and travel restrictions will boost the UK economy and therefore the amount of trade for garages and dealerships alike.
3. A sweet new British sports car
OK, you can hardly swing a cat for new electric cars arriving in 2021. But the internal combustion engine isn’t dead yet, and there are some exciting petrol and diesel models coming out too. One of our favourites is the Type 131 (as it’s currently known).
According to Auto Express, the new model may resemble Lotus’s second-generation Elan, which would be no bad thing.
Details are pretty scanty, but so far we know that it’s mid-engined, lightweight and may well be powered by a 3.5 litre V6 engine, with no sign of even a token electric motor. But frankly, whatever. We’re just delighted to see Lotus produce its first new sports car in 12 long years. Let’s hope it puts this great marque back in the game.
4. Fuel prices will probably stay low
Across the world, 2020 saw fuel prices plummet as the pandemic destroyed global demand for oil. And at the moment, industry experts suggest that prices are likely to stay flat in 2021. There are a couple of reasons. Firstly, the geopolitical situation is relatively calm: any disturbances between the big players tends to hike prices up. Secondly, demand for oil has by no means recovered to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, some experts think the world has already passed the ‘peak oil’ moment. At any rate, as we’re some way from switching to electrons, it’s one prediction that we hope comes true.
5. The Volkswagen ID. 4
A few weeks ago, we covered why the ID.3 was such a big deal for Volkswagen. It’s early days to see if their big EV gamble has paid off, but so far sales look strong. With their second ID model, the ID.4, VW want to start capturing some of the gigantic SUV market.
The ID.4 is roughly Tiguan-sized, though with slightly less boot space. The highest spec model will be equipped with the larger 77kW battery, which VW reckons will allow 323 miles on a single charge. The same model will accommodate 125kW charging, which will add just under 200 miles of range in 30 minutes. Power is likely to be a healthy 200 bhp.
The new VW faces some stiff competition from established electric SUVs like the Hyundai Kona, though these have been suffering from limited availability. We can’t wait to see if VW have another winner.
Yes, we know that this is a motoring blog. But the arrival of several viable vaccines should mean a cautious return to lots of the things that motorists, really enjoy. Sharing a car with friends, for example… or just having more places to drive to that are actually open.
Of course, we’re light years from a complete return to normality, and there will probably be restrictions and extra dangers for a long time yet. But compared to 2020, vaccines will mark a massive positive step for drivers and everyone else.
The Welsh VW Specialist blog covers a wide range of automotive topics, from the contentious to the light-hearted. We are an independent garage specialising (as the name suggests!) in all the VW group marques, including Audi, Volkswagen, Skoda and SEAT. Welsh VW Specialists provide services, repairs and MOTs, delivering a main dealer level of care at affordable prices. To book your vehicle in, or for any enquiries, get in touch.