2020 was indeed eventful and filled with a lot of new cars. However, it was also the year of many teasers and a few postponed events and launches. That makes 2021 a year that is rife with opportunities for manufacturers to launch all-new models and update models that look like they need a refresh.
With a lot of news out there on cars that are due for next year, here’s a list of the models that you can expect for 2021.
The golden bowtie is winding up for a stellar year with three of its heavy hitters, the Tahoe, Suburban, and the Corvette C8, which are, at this point, all big possibilities. With their recent launch in their home country, the Philippine market will likely see the Tahoe and Suburban siblings come with a new and more powerful diesel motor. The Corvette C8 on the other hand will mark the arrival of the brand’s first mid-engine sports car to enter the local automotive market.
The Chevrolet Tahoe brings new styling and an all-new chassis that promises to bring more comfort into the equation with its new independent rear suspension. On top of this, a new 3.0-liter turbo diesel has been added as a new power option for the SUV and its bigger sibling. It promises to deliver 277hp and 632 Nm of torque. Power will be sent to either the rear or all four wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission.
While sharing the same design language as its smaller counterpart the Tahoe, the Chevrolet Suburban brings more features and a bigger size into the mix. It now comes with an increased interior room thanks to its new suspension layout that it shares with its sibling. More room has also been added for the third row as it has been mounted higher for improved comfort.
One of the hotly anticipated cars for the Philippine market is the 2021 Chevrolet Corvette C8. The mid-engine sports car marks the first of its kind to come out of the American brand. Currently, the model that is on offer is the Corvette Stingray C7. It comes with a completely new body and chassis compared to its predecessor, along with a sharper front fascia. The new sports car dresses to impress as well, with its new interior and a stylistic canopy that comes with a wide array of buttons.
Under the hood, the C8 is packing impressive power with a 6.2-liter LT2 gasoline engine that develops 490hp and 630 Nm of torque. Power is put to the ground via an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Tiggo 7 Pro
After launching a lineup of crossovers in all shapes and sizes, Chery Auto Philippines is preparing for the launch of an update to the Tiggo 7. Rumor has it that the crossover will sport a more compelling design and a nicer overall package. The engine will likely remain the same, but the interior and exterior should be totally new. We might also see more features baked into this vehicle, but all that remains to be seen. It is also likely that the regular Tiggo 7 will still be sold alongside this model.
Making its debut earlier this year, the Honda City hatchback could also be making its way into the Philippine market in 2021. Honda Philippines has already launched the all-new CIty in the country, and its hatchback counterpart joining the local lineup could be a very real possibility. This could also mean the end of the Jazz in the country as the two vehicles have been developed separately from one another for their latest iterations.
While Geely has been on a roll with its releases, the lineup consists of only high-riding nameplates such as the Coolray, Azkarra, and Okavango. Now, however, we can expect that the next model will be a sedan as per Geely’s website. It could be a more economical model or a more ornate offering in the market, but we’re betting more on it being a more affordable automobile with premium features much like the Geely Okavango. Though there is another model coming, it’s likely going to arrive in the second quarter of 2021, and its name is still unknown.
There are two big names in the industry due for an update in 2021 from Isuzu, the D-max pickup truck, and the mu-X midsize SUV. Both are some of the best values in the market today and get much notoriety every time a new model gets announced in other countries. In 2020, we’ve covered a Thai launch and even a confirmation from Isuzu Philippines themselves that the two of their best-selling passenger cars are getting an update.
The all-new Isuzu D-max is set to make its debut later in 2021. Hype for the vehicle has not stopped as it has consistently snagged 5-star ratings from multiple NCAP regions cementing its position as one of the safest pickup trucks internationally. While it comes with a new look on the outside and new features on the insider, the power plants remain the same. It still comes equipped with either a 1.9-liter turbo diesel engine or an upgraded 3.0-liter motor that produces 190hp and 450 Nm of torque.
The mu-X is the midsize SUV offering in the Isuzu lineup and goes toe-to-toe with the other rivals in the segment. Though it is not the most luxurious, it’s a robust option since it is based on the D-max pickup. The Japanese brand has confirmed that the mu-X will come to the Philippines in 2021. A new design will arrive with this new model, and at the time of this article’s writing, no official specs have been stated, but we can expect that the engine will be the same as the upcoming D-max as well with the 1.9-liter and upgraded 3.0-liter motor.
The Maxus G50 8 seater from the British brand made waves with its good value and eye-catching color. Now, however, it seems that the Ayala Corporation is gearing up to release a new model that is even more affordable and has a smaller stance. The D60 is rumored to be a mid-size crossover that will come feature-packed and at an affordable price. Its specifications are still unknown as they vary from market to market, however, we expect it to come with a turbocharged gasoline engine.
It is also likely that 2021 will see a new Mazda pickup truck reach the Philippines and it will be based on the 2021 Isuzu D-max. The BT-50 just got a Pangolin edition, but it’s not too far off to speculate that the midsize pickup truck could make its way by 2021. With a 3.0-liter diesel engine, also from Isuzu, and a bunch of other additions and adornments courtesy of Mazda, that will make for an interesting experience given that the two companies specialize in two different things, refinement for Mazda, and robustness for Isuzu.
We were expecting this model to launch in 2020, but MG was relatively quiet during the first and second halves of the year, with the newest model still being the MG 5 sedan. Perhaps they changed their mind or they’re just biding their time. The new SUV is rumored to be one of the bigger vehicles in its segment to come with a turbo gasoline engine and with 7-seats. While not yet confirmed and with its official specifications still unknown, it could prove to be a hit if it comes with an affordable price tag.
Mirage & Mirage G4
Thailand, as usual, gets all the nicest stuff. Earlier in 2020, the Mirage got updated, to much fanfare. Now sporting the Dynamic Shield design, the dimensions are more boxed out while still retaining the familiar general design of the outgoing Mirage and Mirage G4. The rear is still more similar than anything, and we’re anticipating this model to reach our shores come 2021. Though the current model is still being sold, Mitusibishi is slashing the prices left and right, so if you want a Mirage, but don’t mind the more tried and tested design in the market, get one for a great price, or wait.
Terra and Navara
Now Nissan made a big ruckus about its new lineup that is incoming. You got a lot of new additions and updates that have already been launched in other countries but have yet to make landfall in the Philippines. First and foremost, the Navara is slated for a new update soon, also among the new releases, its platform-mate, is the Nissan Terra. Both models may come with a new powertrain, which will have a twin-turbo setup, but the old engine could still be retained.
Another car that is in desperate need of an update is the Nissan Almera. While its competitors were wary of it in the past, it was seemingly left behind and forgotten once other Japanese brands and even non-Japanese brands updated their offerings in the year 2020. That's not to say that the old Almera was a bad car, but put side-by-side with the new one, we cannot help but to long for the new sedan to make its way into and onto Philippine showrooms and Philippine roads. Speculations to its powertrain still remain, as there is a chance that it'll come with Nissan's 1.5-liter gasoline engine, or a 1.6-liter engine, or perhaps a 1.0-liter turbo motor. Either way, there will likely be two transmission options, one being an automatic, and the other being a manual. It is highly likely that instead of a traditional gearbox, the Almera could come with a CVT for the sake of fuel efficiency.
The Nissasn Patrol Royale, on the other hand, is a bit dated, though it can be had for a great price now, it’s a bit long in the tooth in 2020. In other countries, like Dubai, the Nissan Patrol is already updated for the 2020 model year. The interior, as well as the tech that comes with it, will be updated should the model make its way to the Philippines, but we could see a familiar powertrain with the 5.6-liter V8 that produces 400 hp and 560 Nm of torque.
Back in 2019 Nissan Philippines made an announcement that it would be launching the Nissan LEAF in 2020. However, given the current situation, it looks like its official launch will be delayed to 2021. The Japanese brand has already been teasing the LEAF for the better part of a year now, with it being showcased as more than just a mode of transport. Being an electric vehicle, the hatchback will have a lot to prove given that the infrastructure isn’t quite ready yet for EVs in the country. Still, the Nissan LEAF could be a game-changer for the country once it makes its official launch in the coming year.
Another Nissan is launching in 2020, and it is the Nissan Kicks, or so it seems. With the Juke getting the ax from the Nissan lineup in the Philippines, the spot seems very ripe for the taking. Picking up where the Juke left off, and launching in Thailand first before spreading to the rest of the ASEAN region, the Nissan Kicks is a subcompact crossover that could end up in Nissan showrooms in the Philippines for the year 2021. Equipped with either a 1.3-liter or 1.5-liter gasoline engine, or even a 1.5-liter diesel for some regions, we have reason to believe that Nissan could bring even more excitement to the subcompact segment of crossovers. There is also the looming Nissan Kicks e-Power which has a 3-cylinder 1.2-liter gasoline hybrid powertrain that could lead Nissan into a new and electrified age in the Philippines.
Taking a look around the Suzuki lineup will reveal the D-zire and Swift are both due for an update. The lineup could also use a new model to spice things up. Most of the Suzukis are affordable, in fact, a lot of customers are inquiring about a Suzuki because of its price point. Though, great to drive, it could be even better if a performance model were to make it to Philippine shores. We’re not saying it will, but we hope that the Swift Sport can come to the country because that will make a fine rival to another rumored hot hatch. Though, this is all speculation. Realistically, the Swift and D-zire could be due for an update in 2021.
So 2020 was a bumper year for the number 1 brand in the country, and the Innova, Avanza, Rush, and Yaris are among the only holdouts in the mainstream category. The MPV will likely come at an earlier time because there have been sightings of a facelifted model in Thailand that was parked and caught on camera. So far, it seems like a facelift for this model is going to happen soon, but how soon will depend on Toyota if and when it can deliver from its Santa Rosa plant. We're also waiting in anticipation for the update as the model hasn't been touched in over 3 years.
Another model that is rumored to make it to the Philippines is the Yaris. It could because there are murmurs of Toyota bringing in the global model Yaris to the ASEAN region. The vehicle has already been seen doing testing in the ASEAN region which could indicate the model entering the local market very soon. With its introduction, the GR Yaris could also be a possibility but at a much later stage.
GR Sport Vios
Already making its rounds in the internet rumor mill a GR Sport Vios could be a reality in 2021. While essentially it's just an appearance package on a normal Toyota Vios, it could prove to be a hit in the Philippines with its new sportier looks. Further, still, the new variant could also come with upgraded suspension components to complement the look. While it’s not confirmed the Vios has recently gotten a facelift in the country and a GR Sport variant could be a hit for the lineup
GR Sport Corolla Altis
Originally making their debuts earlier this year in Thailand and Taiwan, the GR Sport Corolla Altis adds a bit more styling to the vanilla looks and flavor of the standard vehicle. Available for both the regular and hybrid variants the appearance packages add a bit more flare to the sedan giving it a much sportier look thanks to a new body kit and new wheels. On top of this, the suspension has also been upgraded for this variant, featuring stiffer dampers and a new thicker set of anti-roll bars. While not yet confirmed, Toyota seems to be open to the idea of adding sportier-looking models into its fold.