My Favorite Vehicles of 2021

This year was unlike any other year. Yet, it is just like any other year.

No, that paragraph did not make any sense. Which is the best way to describe 2021 in a nutshell. 

We were promised one outcome to look forward to. That outcome was revised several times over. The supply chain issues that affect everything – including the automotive industry – are far from resolved. The COVID-19 Pandemic gave us a new twist after the campaign to get everyone vaccinated from it. In turn, our divisions amongst ourselves have deepened. 

Through these challenges, the work had to be done. Automobiles had to be driven for content. We just went through another #VOTY – a sign that the editorial year will have to be transitioned to the next one.

The work did yield some really great vehicles for me to work with. Some of which I never thought I had half-a-chance to even touch, let alone evaluate them. They were also among the most anticipated vehicles you were hoping I would work with. 

To compile a My Favorite Vehicle list for 2021 was a huge challenge. There were some many great vehicles to sift through that naming just ten of them would leave out about ten more from this article. 

With that said, here’s the best possible list of My Favorite Vehicles of 2021…

2022 GENESIS G70: A sports sedan has to offer the best possible experience for the enthusiast. It is engaging, taut, swift, and sharp – all at the same time! Heck, this even impressed me over a Lexus – if you believe that! It was no surprise that this contender from the Republic of Korea would make a massive impression on me. 

2022 GENESIS GV70: This brand came out swinging in 2021 with a lot of superb vehicles. In the Luxury Compact SUV segment, this vehicle from the Republic of Korea has been called a “leader” ahead of its competitors. It already won a few awards to show for it. It has proven to be solid cruiser, especially coming back from Road America in October. 

2021 HYUNDAI ELANTRA: This vehicle started the year earning the North America Car of The Year. Then, three of them showed up at my home. The result is simple: It was deserving of this win. This compact sedan had better moves than a lot of competitors, while returning excellent fuel economy. This is a huge “wow” car for me!

2022 HYUNDAI SANTA CRUZ: The brand calls it a “Sports Adventure Vehicle.” Some of the awards it has already earned have called it either a pickup truck or SUV. It showed that it could be as versatile as it is designed and engineered – and very fun to drive! Especially, when you take it somewhere, such as Road America!

2022 KIA CARNIVAL: The minivan that is not supposed to be called one. However, its SUV-like cockpit engages drivers unlike every other vehicle of its kind. Comfort is about for seven-to-eight human beings. If this does not win the argument for MPVs (and Minivans) overt SUVs, then what will?

2021 LEXUS LC 500 CONVERTIBLE: #VOTY18 without the roof – and perhaps the best LC I have ever driven. Originally, this was supposed to be a parade vehicle. Instead, it turned heads at car meets and, on the road, where it truly belongs. If you are looking for a truly special vehicle that can return some memorable moments in your life – this is your ride!

2022 MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER: With a little help from Nissan, Mitsubishi finally gave us something to consider. Even though some would dismiss the third row of seats as “useless,” it wins on improved quality and better execution all around. After two stints in this vehicle, it has also proven to be a good road tripper. Not to mention it its the newly crowned #VOTY2021!

2021 RAM 1500 TRX: It’s more than just the Hellcat engine underneath its hood. It is a factory-built trophy truck that puts more smiles on faces, while snapping their necks. You’ll be surprised by how civilized this brute can be. Just take it for a drive and see what I mean. Or, just show up at some car/truck meet and get ready to field a lot of questions. 

2021 TOYOTA CAMRY: To be more specific, the TRD. It gives the Camry a much less boring demeanor. It is actually quite fun, considering the spoiler, 19-inch alloys, lower aerodynamic extensions, and so forth. It looks cool and drives pretty well with the standard V6. Come to think of it, this is what Akio Toyoda had been talking about all along!

2021 VOLKSWAGEN ARTEON: One of the finest tourers on the road for the money. It can do a long-distance journey with space to spare and comfort to enjoy. It was proven on a road trip in Eastern South Dakota and Northwestern Iowa. This is a hatchback for those who have grown up out of their GTIs, GLIs, and Golf Rs. 

Let’s do something different here! Here are some Honorable Mentions: BMW 4-Series, BMW X3, Jeep Wrangler 4xe, Land Rover Defender, Polestar 2, Toyota Sienna, and Volkswagen ID.4

Looking back at this list, it truly reflects the interesting year these past twelve months have become. What the next editorial year will bring…who knows? Hopefully something different…and better. 

All photos by Randy Stern

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