While 2020 was a challenging year for the motoring industry – as well as the rest of the world – many exciting automotive developments continued behind the scenes. From brand-new tech to 2021 style, we’ve put together a run down of popular car trends to look out for throughout the new year.
Electric vehicles have been on the rise for a few years now, but with even more manufacturers ditching fuel in newer models, they’re more popular than ever before. Compared to previous years, you’ll be able to find cheaper EVs on the market in 2021 – like the Smart EQ Fortwo EV or the Skoda Citigo-e – and government incentives like the Plug-in Car Grant and the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme to bring costs down even further.
It’s not just better accessibility that’ll cause you to see more EVs on the road this year – in 2021, many cities across the UK will introduce new fees for driving petrol and diesel vehicles in busy areas in order to reduce carbon emissions. EVs are exempt from these charges as their battery operation doesn’t put out any harmful gases while driving – in fact, most don’t even have exhaust pipes. On top of the many benefits of electric cars, they could bring some serious savings from this year forward.
Driving AI has also been gaining traction over the last few years, with driving automation set to be a major motoring trend for 2021. This year, as Tesla aims for a car capable of 100% automated driving, Mercedes-Benz is set to feature level three autonomous driving in its 2021 S class – which essentially means technology that allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel for an extended period while driving.
Though it’ll be a while before cars are driving themselves, automated functions for cruising in lane are becoming more and more popular. Even manufacturers with more budget-friendly models are beginning to delve into driving automation – such as Honda, who announced their 2021 Legend Sedan would include self-driving features after approval from Japan’s Ministry of Transport to manufacture cars with level three automation.
Keyless entry has been a well-loved feature on cars for a number of years, but 2021 could see us stepping up from the fob to – nothing. Biometric security is set to feature on a number of vehicles throughout the next year, with cars requiring a driver’s eyes, face or fingerprints to unlock, much like your smartphone.
Hyundai was one of the first major car manufacturers to include this kind of biometric security in one of their vehicles, with the 2019 Santa Fe (released in select markets such as China) featuring exterior and interior fingerprint sensors to unlock and start the car. Since then, we’ve seen some promising patents – such as Jaguar Land Rover’s file for facial recognition technology for door unlocking, and Apple’s file for Face ID for use in vehicles. We’re expecting to see some more interesting developments coming this year too.
You might be thinking that in-car voice assistance is nothing new, with cars of all makes and models being capable of making calls, choosing music or sending texts for over a decade. However, in 2021, this feature is sure to be taken to the next level, with even more advanced voice assistance from the likes of Google and Amazon coming to models and in-car tech more widely than ever before.
Toyota was one of the first to include this feature back in late 2019, adding Amazon’s Alexa service to their new releases, followed by BMW. This feature allows drivers to do even more with just their voice – such as order items they forgot to pick up from the shop on the way home, pull up a new navigation, or even control their smart home devices ready for their arrival. Android Auto has also been working on similar features, and we’re sure to have a helpful assistant on-board more often in 2021.
With new each year comes exciting new colours on the road. According to BASF, German-based coatings manufacturer, 2021 will be all about calm colours that inspire a “positive mood”. BASF predicts that “the three most dominant global colours for the next generation of cars will be ‘Social Camouflage’, which is a light khaki grey-green, ‘Pundits Solution’, which is a warm, golden beige, and ‘Dark Seltzer’, a coarse, dark grey.”
While we’re sure we’ll be seeing these more natural colours on the roads, they might not necessarily be the most popular. In fact, white has been the most popular car shade across the world since 2019, and it doesn’t look like white’s timeless appeal is going anywhere in 2021 either.
Is your New Year’s resolution to keep up with the latest motoring news? For more driving information and tips, take a look at our other blogs. For high-quality, low-cost car parts, type your registration number into our fast finder, and we’ll show you all of the products available for your make and model.