TOP 7 best cars to buy in 2021
Kelley Blue Book has just released its Best Buy Awards for 2021. Their clever experts work hard to calculate the best cars to buy for any given year, looking for models that offer "the best blend of comfort, quality, dependability, low ownerships costs and affordability in a package that is easy and fun to drive." This year, Hyundai Motor Group, with six category winners, edged out Toyota and Lexus, which had five. Check out the full list of cars, trucks and SUVs below.
1. Best Compact Car: Hyundai Elantra
The Hyundai Elantra is all-new for 2021. It looks great and drives well. It's efficient and affordable. There's even a sporty N-line version coming. Is the Hyundai Elantra a Good Car? Yes, the 2020 Hyundai Elantra is a good compact car. You have the option to choose between hatchback and sedan body styles, both of which have ample cargo space and deliver a smooth ride.
The cabin is well-built, and the seats are comfortable. The Elantra also gets a good predicted reliability rating. The main knocks against this Hyundai are that it delivers a mundane driving experience and that even in some of its strong areas, it trails the competition.
Price: The recommended $20,645 Elantra SE starts things off with power features and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
2. Best Midsize Car: Honda Accord
Honda has given the Accord and Accord Hybrid models a light styling refresh for 2021 that includes a tweaked grille design, new optional LED headlamps, new alloy wheel designs, and a new color: Sonic Gray Pearl. The cabin gains the previously optional 8.0-inch infotainment display as standard equipment across the range and now also boasts standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which offer a wireless connection on EX-L and Touring trims.
Honda has relocated the Accord's USB ports for easier access and has also introduced a Sport SE trim which combines the equipment of the now-defunct EX trim with the styling of the Sport trim, a new rear-seat reminder feature alerts the driver to check the back seat when exiting the vehicle if one of the rear doors was opened prior to the journey.
Price: The least-expensive 2021 Honda Accord is the 2021 Honda Accord LX 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl Turbo CVT). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $24,770. Other versions include: EX-L 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl Turbo CVT) which starts at $31,090.
3. Best Compact SUV: Toyota Rav4
If you tried to distill down what the average new car buyer wants these days into a single vehicle, you might well end up with something very much like the Toyota RAV 4. In fact, the RAV4 happened to be the best-selling vehicle that wasn’t a pickup truck in America last year; Toyota moved more than 448,000 of them off dealer lots from January 1st to December 31st.
No matter which trim you choose, the RAV4 comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard but all-wheel drive is optional on the LE, XLE, XLE Premium, and Limited, and standard on the Adventure and TRD Off-Road models. The RAV4's square-jawed looks are inspired by the 4Runner SUV and Tacoma pickup truck, but its car-based construction delivers a smoother ride than either of those trucks.
Price: The RAV4 has an MSRP of $26,050. This is slightly above average for a compact SUV, but this Toyota comes standard with more features than many classmates. Topping off the trim levels are the RAV4 Limited, which starts at $34,580, and the TRD Off-Road, which has an MSRP of $35,780.
4. Best Midsize Pickup: Toyota Tacoma
That's where midsize trucks come in, and the 2021 Toyota Tacoma is one of the better choices in the class. It trails behind the more city-friendly Honda Ridgeline and all-terrain Jeep Gladiator in our rankings, but we think the Tacoma is a sensible middle ground between the two.
Reliability and durability are two defining attributes across Toyota’s entire lineup. The Tacoma has always exhibited both qualities in such spades that when it came time to reimagine it for 2020, it was hard to fix what’s not broken.
Price: The 2021 TRD Sport is the next step up, and it sees a $315 price hike. That means it costs $34,235 to start, rising to $39,065 in double-cab, long bed, 4WD form. Starting prices for the more-capable TRD Off Road begin at $35,490 and run to $39,065.
5. Best Fullsize Pickup: Ford F-150
2021 is technically a mid-cycle refresh for the Ford F-150. But it's packed with substantive updates, including a new hybrid powertrain. The hybrid makes 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque, has plenty of pop off the line, and rides on such a smooth shifting transmission that it's hard to notice the shifts after third gear. It also gets an EPA-rated 24 mpg combined. The 2021 Ford F-150 ushers the bestselling truck into the electrified age.
Price: Ford has announced pricing for the new 2021 F-150 pickup, and for the first time its base price jumps above $30,000. The base XL model starts at $30,635—that's $195 more than the 2020 model—and tops out at $75,945 for the four-wheel-drive Limited SuperCrew model.
6. Best Luxury Car: Lexus ES
Seven generations is a long time to get things right, and with that in mind, the Lexus ES has honed its role. Slotted closer to the IS on the automaker’s sedan spectrum, it provides the full Lexus sedan experience without expanding to the heftier GS and LS models.
The new-for-2021 ES 250 AWD has an intelligent system. When all-wheel drive is not required, it can disengage torque to the rear axle automatically. Then reinstate it when necessary. A 302-horsepower V6 propels the 2021 ES 350 and its F Sport variant with a refined eagerness.
Price: The 2021 Lexus ES has a starting MSRP of $39,900, which is among the lowest in the luxury midsize car class. The range-topping Ultra Luxury trim has a starting MSRP of $48,900.
7. Best New Car/Best Supcompact SUV: Kia Seltos
|The Kia Seltos, at least in fully-loaded spec, will blow away most of its segment with its capability, looks and space. And it will reel in some buyers who weren’t even shopping for a subcompact. |
The 2021 Kia Seltos is a competitive small SUV. Bigger inside than similarly priced vehicles and dripping in value compared to the smaller members of the compact SUV class, it's nimble and enjoyable to drive (especially in turbocharged format) and roomy enough to accommodate a family of four.
Price: The all-new 2021 Kia Seltos has a base price of $21,990, which is about average for the subcompact SUV class. The Seltos' top trim starts at $27,890.
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