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Looking Ahead: EV Pulse America looks forward to driving these vehicles in 2021

We all can probably agree that the year 2020 wasn’t much fun. Aside from the pandemic, Australia was on fire, California was on fire, the economy ground to halt. No good.

So we decided to reach out to our staff and see what they are most looking forward to driving in the new year. Since we’re fortunate enough to have a diverse staff, including contributors from other countries, we’re breaking down the responses into a bit of an America vs. Canada thread.

Here’s what our American staff and contributors are looking forward to most to drive in 2021.

2022 Kia Niro

2020 Niro EV — Photo credit: Kia

Remember the HabaNiro Concept from the 2019 New York Auto Show? Yeah, that was the second-generation Kia Niro (code-named SG2) disguised as a concept car. Most of the styling cues will carry over, too, which should help the car stand out even more. The next Niro could mark a major shift as electrified powertrains get stronger and more efficient. Kia is poised to prove that with its next generation of SUVs and crossovers.

REVIEW: 2020 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid

That means the Niro will be the next vehicle to inherit a higher output powertrain. Whether it’s the 2.0-liter-based unit found in the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and the Korean market K5 Hybrid, the turbocharged 1.6-liter mill in the electrified Sorento models, or a new high output electric motor backed by a smaller more efficient battery, the next Niro is poised to minimize compromise.

— Stefan Ogbac, Associate Editor

Jeep Renegade 4xe Trailhawk

Photo credit: Jeep

Everyone is talking about the Wrangler 4xe right now, as Jeep recently released pricing and specs on that model, but I’m actually more interested in Jeep’s cute Ute plug-in. I’ve driven Wranglers before and left unimpressed with their road manners, but the Fiat-based Renegade Trailhawk is still capable of scaling the Rubicon trail, which is far more capability than you or I really need, but does so with a modicum of on-road comfort. Consider that the upcoming Renegade 4xe is the most powerful Renegade, and that it offers up to 31 miles of all-electric range, and it seems like this Jeep might be the perfect all-rounder for the American market.

— Bradley Brownell, Columnist

2022 GMC Hummer EV

Photo credit: GMC

The Edition 1 versions of the Hummer EV should be heading to customers toward the end of the 2021 calendar year. That means that we, as journalists, should have a chance to drive them just before then.

That means I’m most looking forward to driving the “world’s first super truck.” It should be ridiculous. It should be silly. It should be brash. It should be in your face.

It also should be a hell of a lot of fun.

— Chad Kirchner, Editor-in-Chief

Mini John Cooper Works Electric GP

Photo credit: Mini

Mini’s most recent electric offering, the Cooper S E, is by all accounts a very good car. It brings a level of sport-compact to the EV world that hasn’t really been seen before, and I really appreciate that. However, there is no resting on your laurels in the EV game these days, which makes now the perfect time to launch the world’s first proper electric hot hatch. Mini has all of the ingredients to build a really good car here, as the drivetrain in the current JCW GP is the most underwhelming part of the equation. Chuck a powerful electric motor in there, pump up the battery a little bit—which is fine because the JCW GP doesn’t come with rear seats anyway—and give it all the big-wing and stiff suspension trappings of a hot hatch.

Mini hasn’t officially announced that an electric JCW GP is coming, but it has been spotted testing, and let me tell you, I’m hyped.

— Bradley Brownell, Columnist

2022 Nissan Ariya

Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

A lot is riding on the Nissan Ariya. This all-electric SUV is an important model because it has the potential of becoming a volume seller and could hasten the move toward electrified motoring. Underpinned by a new EV-specific platform and available in single- or dual-motor configuration, the Ariya will be available in a wide variety of flavors. This could be the big hit Nissan needs to cement its position as an EV pioneer. The fact that this stylish EV slots right in the heart of the compact segment should help it appeal to a broader consumer base and satisfy people’s cravings for an eco-friendly SUV.

— Stefan Ogbac, Associate Editor

Written by Chad Kirchner