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Best sedans arriving in 2021

The Genesis G70 will be given a significant facelift in the first half of 2021.

Sedans. Not fashionable perhaps, but still very important and relevant to a vast number of Australian new-vehicle buyers. Especially in the premium end of the market, sedans matter!

Some of the trusted old names like Subaru Liberty and Holden Commodore may have faded, but that’s just an opportunity for newer models – and fresh buyers – to swoop in.

So, sit back and take a peek at what’s happening with sedans in 2021. There’s more activity than you probably realise!

Genesis G70 - First half

Barely two years after landing in Australia, Hyundai’s BMW 3 Series rival, the Genesis G70, goes under the knife in first half of 2021, with a sharp new nose and a remodelled bootlid and tail-lights to more closely link the sedan with the luxury brand’s GV80 SUV.

Most of the cabin remains unchanged, save for a larger, now 10.25-inch touchscreen and an upgraded multimedia system as well as minor trim and material upgrades.

An improved 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo and twin-turbo V6 petrol powertrains are also included, along with possibly a Shooting Brake wagon, though the latter’s not yet confirmed.

Kia Cerato - Second quarter

Kia is preparing a facelifted Cerato for the second quarter of 2021, bringing with it a sleeker headlight treatment as per the recently revealed Stinger sports sedan, a revised ‘tiger nose’ grille, reprofiled bumpers (featuring reshaped air intakes up front), restyled alloys and changed tail-light graphics.

Inside, there’s expected to be a larger, 10.25-inch touchscreen; updated multimedia, digital instrumentation availability and altered cabin trim, while improved driver-assist safety is also coming.

Hybrids are mooted for other markets, but Australia is likely to stick with the trusty old 2.0-litre naturally aspirated and 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engines for now.

Kia Cerato

Kia Cerato
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

Audi A3 sedan - Second half

Audi’s second-generation A3 sedan arrives in the second half of 2021, bringing with it many of the driver-assist safety and multimedia upgrades slated for the closely related Volkswagen Mk8 Golf due in the second quarter.

More of a (much more) aerodynamic reskin inside and out, rather than an all-out rebirth, it will be powered by the existing 110kW/250Nm 1.4-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine, driving the front wheels via a new eight-speed torque-converter automatic.

Further down the track will be 2.0-litre quattro AWD options, including inevitable S3 and RS3 high-performance flagship iterations, along with plug-in hybrid powertrain models – if we’re lucky.

Audi A3

Audi A3
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

Lexus LS - February

Lexus’ Mercedes-Benz S-Class-rivalling LS facelift arrived in February with restyled headlights featuring a trick auto high-beam system, a different grille and bumpers, new side vents and some minor tail-light alterations.

The central screen gained touch-input functionality and Apple CarPlay Android Auto support (at last), and there’s a new camera-based rearview mirror and Active Noise Control and Engine Sound Enhancement tuning for quieter progress, among other upgrades.

Meanwhile, the adaptive suspension has been retuned for better comfort, the hybrid LS500h’s 3.5-litre V6 receives more electric motor assistance, and the same engine but with twin turbos in the LS500 now has greater low-end torque and revised transmission ratios for stronger throttle responses.

Finally, an upgrade to the driver-assist safety tech saw adaptive cruise control and full park assist improvements.

Lexus LS500

Lexus LS500
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

Mercedes-Benz S-Class - April

The benchmark luxury sedan from Mercedes-Benz morphs into an ultra-aero understated eco warrior from April.

Sumptuous, spacious interiors are a given, but the S-Class’ stunning new cascade-effect console, minimalist dash design and latest MBUX multimedia interface stand out, as do multi-configurable seating, rich natural materials and claimed cocooning silence.

Engine choices will be limited to the 3.0-litre in-line petrol six with 48-volt mild-hybrid tech in 270kW/500Nm S450 guise initially, with it including 4Matic all-wheel drive. V8s and plug-in hybrids will also follow, while ground-breaking driver-assist tech, active air suspension and four-wheel steering will be available.

Subaru WRX - Fourth quarter

Looking for all the world like a sedan version of the second-generation Levorg, the G5-series WRX finally in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Switching to the Subaru Global Platform, it will include a 2.4-litre turbo-petrol boxer four-cylinder engine delivering performance more akin to today’s STi performance flagship.

As before, count on a six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT) driving all four wheels, while a substantially more modern dash as per the 2021 Outback’s, upgraded EyeSight driver-assist safety tech, as well as advances like adaptive dampers to help give the next WRX broader comfort as well as handling prowess, are also in the pipeline.

Subaru WRX

Subaru WRX
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

Volkswagen Arteon - Early 2021

After more than a year’s hiatus, the Passat-based Volkswagen Arteon returns in early 2021 with a host of changes.

Along with a fresh face (new headlights, a full-length LED bar and reshaped bumpers), it also brings redesigned alloys and tail-lights, while a restyled upper-dash, centre stack, instrumentation, steering wheel and climate control system complete the updates inside. Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto arrives, too, as well as improved driver-assist safety.

Expect a variation of the pre-facelift model’s 206TSI R-Line, developing around 200kW and 350Nm, with 4Motion all-wheel drive. A high-performance R with 235kW is also on the horizon, as well as an all-new Shooting Brake wagon, but the latter’s not yet confirmed.

Maserati Ghibli and Quattroporte Trofeo – March

Look out, BMW M5, because Maserati’s 5 Series-sized Ghibli and Jaguar XJ-esque Quattroporte scored a Ferrari-built, 441kW/730Nm 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 from March.

Badged Trofeo, they can storm the 0-100km/h sprint time in 4.3 and 4.5 seconds respectively, while a 326km/h is possible in both, making these sedans the fastest Maseratis in history.

You’ll be able to pick the Trofeo by their redesigned grilles, bumpers and Maserati 3200GT-referencing boomerang-style tail-light clusters, while the Ghibli also scores a bulgier bonnet for that blown V8.

A new 2.0-litre turbo-petrol mild hybrid will also be joining the Ghibli range at the same time.

Toyota Camry - April

With nearly 70 per cent of the sub-$60K medium-sized sedan market, the Camry is king, but that won’t stop Toyota releasing a revamped version in April.

Restyled headlights, grille, bumpers and alloy wheels are the main visual giveaways, with a choice of two looks for the refreshed front end, depending on whether you prefer ‘classy’ or ‘sporty’ spice.

Similarly-subtle changes mark the facelifted Camry’s cabin, with a new ‘floating’ touchscreen in either 7.0 or 9.0 inch sizes, repositioned air vents and updated trim. Expanded safety includes autonomous emergency braking now supporting night-time pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection as well as intersection assist, improved road-sign recognition functionality and a child-in-car reminder.

While the recently updated hybrid versions (with the old 245V nickel metal hydride battery replaced by a 259V lithium-ion unit last July) carries over, the 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine will actually be new, while the 3.5-litre V6 will be axed. 

Hyundai Sonata - Mid-2021

Hyundai is committed to the mid-size sedan segment, bringing in its new-generation Sonata in mid-2021, but is taking a different tactic.

The Sonata will be available in a single, highly specified grade that leans more towards sportiness and styling.

The Sonata N Line is priced at $50,990 before on-road costs, but comes loaded with equipment and safety as well as a punchy 213kW/422Nm 2.5-litre turbo-petrol engine.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class - Fourth quarter

The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class will arrive in local showrooms in the fourth quarter of 2021, with all engines now featuring 48-volt mild-hybrid technology for improved fuel efficiency.

The Australian line-up is still yet to be finalised, but the fifth-generation C-Class is offered with petrol and diesel engines ranging in power from 125-195kW overseas.

A plug-in hybrid version will also be made available at some point, doubling its all-electric driving range to around 100km compared to its predecessor.