Models worth waiting for in 2021 - From D55L to City Hatchback and Corolla Cross!

CY Foong · Nov 15, 2020 12:00 AM

The year 2020 is about to reach its closure with a little more than a month to go. Though it is mostly a pathetic year and not one we envisioned when we were younger (90s kids will remember this), the cars that were launched were at least worth it (some weren't).

Some of the hottest models launched here in 2020

Instead of gushing over what are our favourite cars of 2020, for now, we would like to focus on what cars to get excited for next year. Here’s a quick summary of what models would be launched in 2021.

2021 Car Launches
Brand Model
BMW 2021 BMW 5 Series
Honda 2021 Honda City Hatchback
Honda 2021 Honda Civic
Lexus 2021 Lexus LS
Mazda 2021 Mazda BT-50
Mazda 2021 Mazda CX-9
Mazda 2021 Mazda MX-30
MG 2021 MG HS
MG 2021 MG ZS EV
Nissan 2021 Nissan Grand Livina
Nissan 2021 Nissan Kicks
Nissan 2021 Nissan Navara
Nissan 2021 Nissan Serena
Perodua 2021 Perodua D55L
Proton 2021 Proton Iriz
Proton 2021 Proton Persona
Subaru 2021 Subaru XV
Toyota 2021 Toyota Camry
Toyota 2021 Toyota Corolla Cross
Toyota 2021 Toyota Fortuner
Toyota 2021 Toyota Harrier
Volkswagen 2021 Volkswagen Arteon
Volkswagen 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTi
Volkswagen 2021 Volkswagen Polo
Volvo 2021 Volvo S90

That is quite a list but we won’t be looking at all 25 models at once. Instead, we’ll only narrow down to around ten models that we think are the most anticipated models that could debut here in 2021.

2021 Perodua D55L

Rendered by The Ajerul

Perodua hasn’t made a brand-new model launch in 2020 apart from a couple of refreshed models, namely the Bezza facelift and the updated Myvi.

Model shown is an accessorised Japanese-spec Rocky

While the hype and anticipation for Perodua’s SUV aren’t as blown out as the Proton X50, the SUV that is based on the Daihatsu Rocky and Toyota Raize could be Perodua's next hit.

Powering the still-unnamed crossover would be a turbocharged 3-pot 1.0-litre engine taken from the Japanese Rocky/Raize. A camouflaged unit has been spied on the road recently and we also have an article on what to expect from Perodua’s spiritual successor to the Kembara.

2021 Honda City Hatchback

Rendering provided by Indian Autos Blog

The Honda City has been a Malaysian favourite ever since it was launched in 1996 and the fifth-generation is no exception. Honda purists will know that the original JDM City was sold as a hatchback and it seems that this body style will return in a few markets.

Based on what we had reported before, the aging GK5 Jazz will not be replaced by the GR-generation Jazz which is currently sold in Europe, Japan, and China. Instead, developing markets which include South East Asia, India, and Latin America would get a brand-new model based on the current City.

No doubt this upcoming model will be the direct rival to the Toyota Yaris which is the best-selling non-national hatchback in Malaysia. There are not many official details on the 2021 Honda City Hatchback but we expect the booty-less City to share the same powertrains as the current City which we have covered here.

2021 Proton Iriz

Proton's B-segment offerings show different tales. The Iriz struggles to dissuade buyers from the Perodua Myvi while the Persona is one of the best-selling B-segment sedans in Malaysia. Nevertheless, spy shots of camouflaged units of both the Iriz and Persona suggest that an update is on the horizon.

Photo credit: Behind the Wheel

Let's start with the Iriz which we praised for its ride and handling but is ruined by the Punch CVT gearbox - a punchline of what a bad CVT feels like. Sales of the Iriz are tanking despite receiving some praises for the way it drives and Proton must react quickly to fix this.

Roof rails indicate that this is the Iriz Active variant

Proton did notice the issue and there could be an update on the Iriz in 2021. Unlike the 2019 update, it won't be limited to a few visual improvements. It will be a makeover of sorts with the 4-AT gearbox from the Saga punching out the Punch CVT as well as a jacked-up variant which could be called the Iriz Active.

2021 Proton Persona

The Persona leading the Iriz in front. Photo credit: The Ajerul

While the Proton Persona is one of the best-selling Proton models, it too faces the same terrible gearbox issue from its hatchback twin. The dreaded Punch CVT gearbox with its whining and unrefined gearchange ruins what could've been a great budget sedan.

Some may consider the replacement of a CVT gearbox for a 4-speed automatic might be a step backwards but to some of us, this is a welcoming change.

Apart from the addition of a new variant, the Persona's changes would be similar to the Iriz including a new gearbox, an updated redesign, and a new floating infotainment screen. Not a major change to some but it's quite possibly a right direction for Proton.

2021 Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is a Malaysian favourite like nasi lemak. It is even selected by our nation’s police force and military as their choice of patrol vehicles.

The evergreen C-segment sedan, however, is due for a new model with the Civic prototype announced for launch on 17-November via Twitch. The current tenth-generation Civic was launched globally in 2015 before arriving in Malaysia in 2016. The facelift Civic was launched here in February 2020.

Based on our renders, the 2021 Civic could look similar to the Accord but minus the Accord’s often mocked stapler taillamps. This could be a plus for Malaysians looking for a more comfort-oriented Civic.

2021 Toyota Harrier

The Toyota Harrier is an SUV with a very storied history among Malaysians ever since it was introduced through grey imports in the 1990s. UMW Toyota has sold the Harrier officially in Malaysia since 2017, giving Malaysians better peace-of-mind in owning the premium SUV.

A new fourth-generation was launched in Japan in June 2020 with its American twin, the Venza launched not long after. As for the Malaysian launch, we expect it to arrive in late-2021. Toyota has dropped the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine for this generation and instead gave the all-new Harrier two Dynamic Force engines.

Powering the 2021 Harrier is a 2.0-litre M20A-FKS NA petrol engine (171 PS/207 Nm) that is mated to a Direct Shift CVT or a 2.5-litre A25A-FXS hybrid petrol engine (178 PS/221 Nm). It’s most likely that we’ll be getting the petrol-powered Harrier but the hybrid-variant could show up here too.

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTi

Volkswagen could be bringing in 3 new models for Malaysia in 2021 but it’s the 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTi Mk8 that we’re more excited about over the 2021 Polo Mk6. Why?

Simply because the 2021 Golf GTi will be locally-assembled (CKD) in Malaysia. Based on the spy shots we gathered, the upcoming 2021 Golf GTi has a sticker on the windshield that read ‘Assembled & Inspected by HICOM’.

This means that the iconic German hot hatch will be assembled in Malaysia for the first time which is pretty exciting for those who wanted to own a modern legend for a little less. The Malaysian-spec Golf GTi could be powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre (245 PS/370 Nm) that is mated to a 7-speed wet clutch dual-clutch transmission (DSG).

2021 MG

The last time a new brand made its debut in Malaysia, it ended up very quiet. Hopefully, MG’s official Malaysian comeback can generate more buzz than Borgward’s local debut.

The British-Chinese brand is confirmed to make a return in 2021 and could be launching 2 SUVs in its local line-up. One is the Proton X70-challenging MG HS which looks pretty handsome, similar to a Mazda at the front.

The other model could be the electric-powered ZS EV which is Thailand’s best-selling EV. Seeing how many middle-class Malaysians have begun to embrace SUVs, could this electric SUV be the gamechanger for the Malaysian EV market?

2021 Toyota Corolla Cross

When the Toyota Corolla Cross made its world debut in Thailand back in July, the hype was certainly strong among Malaysians. In fact, a spy shot of one in Malaysia was mistaken for the then yet-to-be-launched X50 by netizens.

While Toyota introduced the Corolla Cross in Indonesia and Vietnam earlier this year, the Malaysian launch should happen in 2021 instead. This is because the Malaysian-spec would be locally assembled here which does take a bit more time for the plant to get ready for local assembly.

The blue Toyota emblem, a clue that this is the hybrid variant

There are two 1.8-litre engines to choose from and one of them is a hybrid. Both models are likely to be launched as part of UMW Toyota’s plan to introduce more hybrid models. We have a more detailed look at what to expect on the 2021 Corolla Cross in our FAQ.

2021 Mazda BT-50

The previous Mazda BT-50 was an interesting-looking pick-up truck, to say the least. It was based on the Ford Ranger but for the all-new BT-50, the Hiroshima brand found a new partner in Isuzu and their reliable D-Max.

Bermaz CEO, Dato’ Francis Lee has said in an interview that the 2021 BT-50 would arrive in Malaysia in the first quarter of 2021. This makes its local launch much earlier than the Isuzu D-Max which could be launched in Malaysia in 2022.

The cool-looking 2021 BT-50 is aimed more towards urban dwellers compared to the D-Max. Only one engine is offered for the 2021 BT-50 which is the 3.0-litre Ddi BluePower common-rail turbodiesel (190 PS/450 Nm) shared with Isuzu.

What? No flying car?

Those are some of the cars that we can't wait to be launched in 2021. The childhood and sci-fi fantasy of flying cars appearing in 2020 sounds more like a bother for now, but which of these do you look forward to?