Future cars: The best upcoming cars worth waiting for

Cars aren’t just a mode of transportation anymore — they’re becoming large smart devices with wheels.

I’m not just referring to EVs. Gasoline-powered vehicles and hybrids are smarter than ever with various driver-assist systems, personal assistants, advanced powertrain technology, and loads of safety features. In the past, future cars were a simple evolution of the model before, but that has completely changed. The competitive nature of the automotive industry coupled with the latest technological advancements will pave the way for future cars that we could have only dreamed of a decade ago. One good example is the Hyundai Prophecy concept, which is a stunning-looking self-driving electric car with Blade Runner-like technology. It comes from a company no one thought much about just a few years ago. It’s not alone; we’ve compiled a list of the 20 best future cars that will arrive by 2022.

2021 Rivian R1T and R1S

Rivian R1T on a beach

Available in: 2021

Base price: $69,000 (R1T), 72,500 (R1S)

Why it’s worth the wait: Because it accelerates like a sports car, can off-road like Land Rover’s Range Rover, and has a quad-motor system (don’t forget about its tank turning ability).   

The main difference between Rivian‘s R1T and R1S is the body. The basic platform (including the lithium-ion battery pack and the four motors) is the same, as are the different power outputs, the 125-mph top speed, and the supercar-like acceleration. There are three variants of each model. The most basic one has a 105-kilowatt-hour battery pack that delivers up to 230 miles of range, 402 horsepower and a zero-to-60-mph time of 4.9 seconds. Next up is a model with a 135-kWh battery, a 300-mile range, a whopping 754 hp, and a three-second sprint to 60. Finally, the 180-kWh model can drive for up to 400 miles between charges, makes 700 hp and reaches 60 mph in 3.2 seconds.

If you’re more into hauling, the R1T has a 1,764-pound payload capacity and an 11,000-pound towing capacity.

2022 Ferrari Purosangue

Available in: 2021

Base price: $350,000 (est.)

Why it’s worth the wait: This is Ferrari’s first SUV, what else is there to say?

For many years, Ferrari promised it would never do what almost every automaker has done: Make an SUV. That’s why the Italian firm prefers the term FUV, which stands for Ferrari Utility Vehicle. Regardless, the Purosangue is going to be good-looking, loud, high-tech, and, of course, exceptionally quick. We don’t expect to find a V12 under the hood, but a hybrid system made up of a twin-turbocharged V8 and one or more electric motors is likely. Early estimates peg its output at over 700 horsepower but under the SF90’s 986-horse rating.

All-wheel drive and an adjustable suspension should guarantee at least a smidge of off-road prowess. Visually, the Purosangue will likely borrow a handful of styling cues from the GTC4Lusso hatchback (pictured above).

2021 Audi E-Tron GT

Available in: 2021

Base price: $90,000 (est.)

Why it’s worth the wait: It’s Audi’s Tesla-fighter.

If you squint, you might see some of the Porsche Taycan‘s DNA while looking at the Audi E-Tron GT concept. That’s hardly a surprise: The two electric sedans are built on the same bones. We haven’t seen the production version of Audi’s sleek four-door yet, but the concept is a real head-turner. Its dual-motor powertrain gives it 590 horsepower and allows it to reach 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, while keeping your foot down will get it to 124 mph in 12 seconds.

Audi claims a 249-mile driving range on the European testing cycle. We’ll have a better idea of what the specifications sheet will look like when the production model makes its debut in late 2020.

2022 Polestar 3

Polestar Precept concept

Available in: 2021

Base price: $70,000 (est.) 

Why it’s worth the wait: The 3 will take Volvo-owned Polestar into the SUV segment.

Polestar’s 1, a plug-in hybrid coupe, and 2, an electric fastback, are both in production. The firm is now looking ahead to its tallest vehicle yet, the aptly-named 3. Official specifications about this SUV are few and far between but we expect dual-motor all-wheel-drive, about 300 miles of range, and an updated version of the Android-powered infotainment system that made its debut in the 2. From a design standpoint, Polestar told Digital Trends the 3 will draw inspiration from the Precept concept (shown above) unveiled in 2020.

2021 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing and CT4-V Blackwing

Available in: 2021

Base price: $65,000 (CT4) (est.), $85,000 (CT5) (est.)

Why it’s worth the wait: They’re Cadillac’s next super-sedans.

Cadillac still gives a shift. The sedan that will replace the CTS-V will continue to offer a six-speed manual transmission. Those who don’t need or want three pedals will be able to order a 10-speed automatic. Either way, we expect the CT5-V Blackwing will receive Cadillac’s 6.2-liter V8 supercharged to 650 hp.

The smaller CT4-V Blackwing (shown above) will replace the excellent ATS-V. It will receive an evolution of its predecessor’s twin-turbocharged, 3.6-liter V6 rated at over 465 hp. Transmission options will include a 10-speed automatic and a six-speed stick. To be clear, neither of these high-performance family-haulers will receive the seemingly short-lived Blackwing V8 inaugurated by the CT6-V. This orphan of an engine might not be used again.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4

Volkswagen ID.4 prototype

Available in: 2021 (or late 2020)

Base price: $36,000 (est.)

Why it’s worth the wait: It’s the first purpose-designed electric car Volkswagen will sell in the U.S.

The Tiguan-sized ID.4 is an electric crossover that will join Volkswagen’s battery-only ID sub-brand. Although not a ton of information has been released about it, we know a rear-wheel drive, single-motor version will be available at launch and an all-wheel-drive, dual-motor model will join the range a little later. The ID.4 will be built on Volkswagen’s modular MEB platform, which also underpins the Europe-only ID.3 and the ID.Buggy we drove in California in 2019. It will later be joined in showrooms by an electric van inspired by the rear-engined Bus.

2022 Tesla Roadster

Tesla Roadster

Available in: 2021 (or 2022)

Base price: $200,000 

Why it’s worth the wait: This will be Tesla’s most powerful and fastest car. 

No, we’re not talking about the original Roadster that Elon Musk launched into space; we’re looking forward to the second-generation model, which will arrive as an electric supercar. The next Roadster will use an extra-large, 200-kWh battery pack that will give it incredible performance. Tesla claims a 1.9-second zero-to-60-mph time (or, if you’re brave, zero-to-100 in 4.3 seconds), an 8.8-second quarter-mile time, and a top speed of over 250 mph. We expect the all-wheel-drive Roadster will pack three electric motors (one up front and two in the rear) but a two-motor configuration is also possible. The four-seater EV will also offer a generous, 620-mile driving range and a removable glass roof. Tesla is already taking reservations so enthusiasts can make a $5,000 initial deposit and a $45,000 payment within 10 days. The Founders Series Roadster requires a much higher $245,000 payment within 10 days. 

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI

2021 Volkswagen GTI

Available in: 2021

Base price: $29,000 (est.)

Why it’s worth the wait: Because it’s a hot hatch icon that’s practical, fun to drive, and affordable.   

The upcoming eighth-generation GTI has more power than its predecessor. This probably answers your first question. It’s still powered by a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine but its output now checks in at 241 hp and 273 lb-ft. of torque compared to 228 and 258, respectively, for the outgoing model. Volkswagen makes a six-speed manual transmission standard but a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is offered at an extra cost.

On the tech front, a 10-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system and a 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster help give the interior a modern and premium look. Expect slightly more space for people and gear thanks to the eighth-gen Golf’s larger dimensions. The GTI will go on sale in Europe before it reaches North America.

 2021 BMW i4

BMW Concept i4

Available in: 2021

Base price: $50,000 (est.)

Why it’s worth the wait: This is BMW’s answer to the Tesla Model 3.

The i4 will be BMW’s third i-badged car when it enters production in Munich, Germany, in 2021. Its 80-kWh lithium-ion battery pack will power a 530-hp powertrain that will unlock a 3.5-second sprint from zero to 60 mph. Range will check in at about 270 miles. We haven’t seen the production version yet, but the concept (shown above) introduced in 2020 gives us an accurate idea of what the model will look like when it lands in showrooms.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

Mustang Mach-E
Mustang

Available in: Late 2020

Base price: $43,895

Why it’s worth the wait: It’s Ford’s first purpose-designed EV.

The sporty-looking Mustang Mach-E is an electric crossover, not a sports car, but it’s quick nonetheless. It will be offered in five variants ranging from the entry-level Select to the flagship GT. The range champion will be the rear-wheel-drive California Route 1, which will be capable of driving for about 300 miles between charges.

Don’t let the name fool you; the Mach-E shares nothing with the two-door Mustang. It’s electric, and it’s packed with cutting-edge tech features like a portrait-oriented touchscreen on the center stack.

2021 BMW M3 and M4

Bradley Iger/Digital Trends

Available in: 2020

Base price: $40,000 (est.)

Why it’s worth the wait: It’s the latest in a long line of driver-friendly BMW models.

Rear-wheel drive and a manual transmission? Yes, please! Don’t worry if that’s not for you; an automatic transmission will also be available. All-wheel drive will join the list of options for the first time, too. Purists will undoubtedly shun this version but it will be a little bit quicker than the rear-wheel-drive variant.

The next-generation M3 (and its two-door counterpart, the M4) will share their twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter straight-six with the X3 M. It makes 473 hp and 442 lb-ft. of torque in its most basic state of tune, and 503 hp in Competition trim. Time will tell if BMW keeps these figures for its lower models or if it builds on them.

2021 Mercedes EQC

Available in: 2021

Base price: $67,900 

Why it’s worth the wait: It’s the most convincing electric car from Mercedes-Benz to date.

Mercedes-Benz delayed the North American launch of its electric EQC crossover by a year, so we’ll have to wait and see what the three-pointed star’s answer to Tesla is really like. Fortunately, for us, we have plenty of information about this dual-motor, all-wheel-drive electric car. The powertrain generates 402 hp and 561 lb-ft. of torque, which launches the EQC to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. An 80-kWh battery pack powers the motors. Its range should check-in at approximately 220 miles, though we won’t know for sure until it lands on our shores.

The EQC will offer a long list of driver-assistance features and dual 10.25-inch touchscreens — one for the digital instrument cluster, and the second for the infotainment system. Pricing starts at $67,900 before incentives.

2022 GMC Hummer

GMC Hummer EV teaser

Available in: Late 2021

Base price: $70,000 (est.)

Why it’s worth the wait: It’s GMC’s entry into the electric truck segment.

Like many electric trucks, the GMC Hummer will have a lot of big numbers to brag about. How do three motors and 1,000 horsepower sound? Or, a three-second sprint to 60 mph?

GMC will offer one-, two-, and three-motor variants of the born-again Hummer. Its large, 200-kWh battery pack will unlock up to 400 miles of driving range, though smaller batteries will be available. Production will take place in Detroit, in the same factory that once built Chevrolet’s Volt and Impala models, and the pickup will reach showrooms at about the same time as some of its rivals, including the Rivian R1T and the electric Ford F-150.

2022 Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer

Jeep Wagoneer Roadtrip concept

Available in: Late 2021

Base price: $40,000 (est.), $50,000 (est.) 

Why it’s worth the wait: Because they will be Jeep’s biggest and most luxurious models.

The Grand Cherokee is big, but it’s not big enough. Considering Jeep is an off-roader specialist in a world dominated by high-riding models, it’s a little odd to notice it doesn’t have a full-size, three-row SUV to compete with the Ford Expedition and the Chevrolet Tahoe, among others. That will change in the early 2020s.

Jeep confirmed it’s bringing back the Wagoneer and the Grand Wagoneer nameplates on a pair of SUVs that will share their body-on-frame construction with the surprisingly docile Ram 1500 pickup. They’ll get an independent rear suspension, up to three rows of seats, and a wide panoply of powertrains including hybrid and diesel options. The luxurious Grand Wagoneer will chase the Cadillac Escalade and the Lincoln Navigator into six-digit territory.

2022 Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla

Available in: Late 2021 (or 2022) 

Base price: $39,900 

Why it’s worth the wait: It’s the first electric truck from the company that started the EV craze. 

Before we dive in to the specs and pricing, remember that this futuristic-looking truck has an outer exterior shell (or exoskeleton) made of what Tesla calls ultra-hard 30X cold-rolled stainless steel. It also has what the company calls armor glass, a glass and polymer layered composite that is made to be stronger than regular glass, though this didn’t work as advertised in 2019. And, the cargo box is configured to hold (and charge) an electric ATV.

The Cybertruck will come in three flavors. The base, rear-wheel-drive single-motor version ($39,900) will have a driving range of up to 250 miles, a 7,500-pound towing capacity, and a 6.5-second zero-to-60-mph time. The mid-range, all-wheel-drive model ($49,900) will have a 300-mile range, a 10,000-pound towing capacity, and a 4.5-second zero-to-60 time. Finally, the flagship model ($69,900) will drive for about 500 miles between charges, tow 14,000 pounds, and reach 60 in 2.9 seconds. Autopilot and an air suspension will be standard on every variant.

2021 Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport

Available in: Late 2020 (or early 2021) 

Base price: $32,000 (Bronco, est.), $28,000 (Bronco Sport, est.) 

Why it’s worth the wait: The legendary Bronco nameplate returns to compete against the Jeep Wrangler. 

The Bronco is back, and it has the emblematic Jeep Wrangler in its crosshairs. This rugged, body-on-frame off-roader will be available with two or four doors and both versions will come with a removable top. Adventurers will also be able to remove the doors and fold down the windshield. Ford has done its best to keep the design under wraps until the model’s official unveiling but a variety of leaked images revealed it ahead of time.

Sources close to the Blue oval suggest the entry-level engine will be an evolution of the turbocharged, 2.3-liter four-cylinder that equips the Ranger. V6 engines from the F-150 might appear on the list of options. Rumors claim a 10-speed automatic transmission will be standard, and a seven-speed manual with a granny gear will be optional.

Aimed right at Jeep’s Compass, the smaller Bronco Sport won’t be as rugged but it should still be capable when the going gets tough. It will be built on a unibody platform shared with the new Escape, and it will receive three- and four-cylinder engines depending on the trim level. Hybrid power will be available sooner or later, too.

Both variants of the Bronco — which won’t share anything other than a name — will make their debut in 2020.

2022 Ford F-150 Electric

Available in: 2022 (or late 2021)

Base price: $60,000 (est.)

Why it’s worth the wait: It’s the electric version of America’s most popular truck. 

Unlike the other electric trucks on the list, there is currently little information on the F-150 Electric (prototype pictured above). Besides its ability to tow a train, which isn’t as impressive as it might sound, we don’t know much about it. It’s safe to say this pickup will offer quick acceleration (zero-to-60-mph in about four seconds), a driving range in the vicinity of 300 miles, and multiple motor configurations with different power outputs. Regardless of specifications, the electric F-150 will have plenty of competition when it goes on sale. It will be interesting to see if Ford’s hot-selling trucks can continue outselling their rivals in the EV world.

2020 Audi RS6 Avant 

Available in: 2020

Base price: $109,000

Why it’s worth the wait: It’s a fast, gorgeous super-wagon — and a rare thing in America.

Audi is finally bringing the high-performance RS 6 Avant to the United States. It was worth the wait, because it packs a twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V8 that sends 591 hp and 590 lb-ft. of torque to the four wheels via Audi’s time-tested Quattro system. These figures correspond to a 3.5-second sprint to 60 mph, though that’s likely a conservative number, and a 190-mph top speed. It’s high-tech, too, thanks in part to a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that keeps fuel economy in check and a long list of driver-assistance features. Inside, there’s a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a pair of large, high-resolution color touchscreens for the infotainment system.

This is arguably the hottest-looking Audi available in 2020, though the RS 7 Sportback isn’t far behind.

2021 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo

Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo

Available in: 2021 (or late 2020) 

Base price: $109,000 (est.)

Why it’s worth the wait: It’s the most practical version of the Porsche Taycan and it’s a wagon.  

Somehow, a second wagon landed on this list. It’s not your average family hauler; this wagon is electric and, best of all, it’s a Porsche. Positioned as a more spacious evolution of the Taycan, the Cross Turismo will get a more rugged design and a few additional inches of ground clearance to allow for light off-roading. We expect it will be identical to its sedan counterpart under the sheet metal, so it will post impressive performance numbers.

2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Available in: 2021

Base price: $99,000 (est.)

Why it’s worth the wait: With the exception of models from brands like Rolls-Royce and Bentley, the Mercedes S-Class has been the benchmark of large luxury sedans for decades.

The new S-Class will arrive as a rolling display of technology, like next-generation driver-assistance systems, and an evolution of the current-generation model’s design (pictured). And, as always, it will get a price tag to match.

We know the sedan will receive a new interior dominated by a large, vertical touchscreen embedded into the center stack. Mercedes will release a base S 500 model with a 3.0-liter motor that delivers 429hp. The EQ boost mild-hybrid system could increase power to 450hp. The upgraded S 580 model will deliver 500 hp and include a plug-in hybrid feature. Both models will have the rear-wheel steering feature to make parking easier. The suspension is another notable feature since Mercedes will use a hydro-pneumatic suspension system that is similar to the one used for the GLC. 

Buyers who want an EV instead of a hybrid vehicle will need to look at the EQS also due out in the early 2020s.

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