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The most surprising cars of 2021

The car industry is predictable at times. Mazda Miatas always an explosion. Stellantis hold cramming big V8s into everything. The Ford F-150 sold several million units. So we’re always delighted when a car comes along to meet our expectations and really surprise us. We’ve rounded up the cars we’ve driven this year that we’ve well caught off guard.

2021 Karma GS-6

2021 Karma GS-6

News editor Joel Stocksdale: Until this year, I have never controlled any form Karma GS-6, was it one of the originals when it was still called Fisker Karma or just an earlier Karma paradigm. And I was a little worried, because of the reviews about Fisker not great version. So I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up the latest GS-6 to shoot, and found it to be not only good, but really great. It’s really quick thanks to the dual electric motors that make 536 hp. The BMW car The three-cylinder turbo is well isolated so it’s unobtrusive most of the time you’re driving. The suspension tuning is remarkable, delivering a pleasurable, flat cornering experience while also being surprisingly comfortable. And of course, it looks extremely eye-catching.

It’s not just me talking, as I have received many compliments from friends and strangers in the car. Plus, it’s relatively affordable. I was tempted to consider this my favorite car of the year, but my favorite fact is even more fun to drive, plus it’s cheaper. Now if I were to actually spend my money on either, I would…have to keep thinking a little more.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe

Deputy Editor Byron Hurd: When Wrangler 4xe when it was first announced, I probably rolled my eyes. After years of rhetoric about electrification, FCA failed to give the correct impression that it was close to putting a capable PHEV system into production. 4xes have “compliance cars” written on them and I bet there are a lot Jeep car Fans think the same thing. Well, while practice has gotten me a year trying to fend off DoorDash’s compelling advancements, I’ve yet to come up with a satisfactory recipe for crows. Yes, I was wrong, which surprised and relieved me. 4xes aren’t just good; it is the best of all Wrangler.

It makes almost no difference in capability only as petrol-only equivalents in the lineup, while delivering more power and torque in everyday driving. Worst of all, it’s a turbo model with half the power and the same energy saving. At best, it’s 9/10 out of 392 that you can drive for money if you’re smart about it. My vintage 2011 Wrangler Sport is just begging to be replaced with a 4xe, but can we please put it in Fighter? Make me blue.

Ford Bronco Sport 2021

Managing Editor Greg Rasa: I expect Bronco Sport like its slightly bland twin, Ford Escape. Wrong. It oozes with character. It’s small on the outside but feels spacious on the inside. Its very beautiful. It drives great around town and is easy to park, and by all accounts, it also surprisingly capable off-road. And it’s filled with clever design touches inside and out. It’s not a cheap imitation of a big boy Bronco. That is its own good, and I wouldn’t mind pairing an orange one in the garage next to my orange Mustang.

2022 Ford Maverick

Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: I love idea belong to Maverick. In theory, an affordable compact pickup truck with a standard hybrid powertrain sounds great (to me). I predict it will have some major flaws, or at least some insignificant sacrifices. Not enough power, maybe? A dull, cheap interior? An expensive board of options that you have to pick and choose to find any indication of usability? Son is I wrong. This comes in the box with the character, content, and driveability. Ford even encourages you to do what many pickup truck drivers do and customize it yourself for a lot less money than the factory option.

Ford has found countless ways to make Maverick works for its owner with smart storage, ample power and impressive fuel economy from the Hybrid, and a fun yet cost-effective design. Maverick is full of incredible thoughts and the client will reap the rewards. And, yes, you can get an all-wheel drive version with a traditional automatic and even an FX4 all-terrain package if you want. You know you want those polished steel guys, though.

2022 Mercedes-AMG GT 43

Senior Editor, Oregon Desk, James Riswick: Is it really surprising that a AMG anything would be good? No, it shouldn’t, but sub-brands aren’t just all-stars. Many of them have been rolling their eyes for one reason or another; The carbon fiber-adorned silence runs fast and makes loud noises but carries a hefty price tag that makes you wonder “who would really spend all this money on a _______?” This C 63 S Coupe, for example, but everyone does. Then there are the various scrapped AMG or “AMG Sports” cars that carry the badge and are certainly more advanced than a regular Class model with a zero at the end of their name, but obviously not to the extent they are. I expect from the label. AMG Lite, so to speak. This is what I’ve come to expect with the GT 43 and truth be told, it’s definitely a less daunting experience than the full GT 63. And you know what? That actually makes it better in a few ways as you can more fully appreciate the chassis goodness and its overall sportiness without the need for a massive turbocharger V8 continuously. try to light the tire or make you go 145 in 45.

At the same time, the “AMG Lite” engine in question is still a mild-hybrid 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six, producing 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. It accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, aided by an AMG nine-speed transmission and AMG-tuned 4Matic all-wheel drive. It doesn’t slow anything down at all, and the inline-six is ​​a treat: incredibly smooth, sounds great, and the power boost eliminates any turbo visuals. With that is sensational handling, a smooth ride and an overall balanced attitude, and you get a perfectly fine driver’s car that’s more about driving pleasure than delivering a performance. silly acting for neighbors in North Hollywood.

2022 Nissan Frontier

Road test editor Zac Palmer: I went in first ride of the redesigned Nissan Frontier with a healthy dose of skepticism. Nissan tried our best to sell us on the novelty of this truck, although it is still using the massager version of the previous generation framework. The completely refurbished exterior and interior is just the lipstick color on a decades-old cow, isn’t it? Wrong. And I couldn’t be happier to be proven wrong.

The Border Drive, ride and act like a modern midsize pickup. It’s sturdy and old-fashioned where it’s needed, but still quiet enough and enough for everyday use. Nissan basically made its own version Tacoma, except it’s better in most ways beyond the “reliability” factor which is still unknown and unprovable. The Frontier has my favorite styling of any midsizer, can be fitted with top-of-the-line interiors, has solid off-road capability with the PRO-4X, and is simply a capable truck. handling and driving comfort to drive around. This truck may be old underneath, but the final product is fit for 2022, easily surprising me most this year.

2022 Ram 1500 TRZ

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: Stay with me here. A $91k truck (as tested) with 702 horsepower named after the king of dinosaurs would probably be pretty good. But I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the attention to detail, including the Easter eggs inside, like the T-Rex outlined at the bottom of the center console. All functional design elements work together to add personality. My truck is finished in black and carbon fiber, so aside from the jacked-in audio and suspension, it’s not immediately obvious what’s so special about this other than a crisp look. 1500. I love it. Lie on the gas, listen to the turbocharger whine and you’re good to go. Note the discharge is outrageous. Still, TRX manages to be strong, menacing and a little subtle.

With those tight Bilstein shocks and all sorts of off-road gear, the TRX is more than capable of what I need, but I’m ready to get a little “meh” on this one. When it delivers 10 mpg in the city and 14 on the highway, it’s easy to roll your eyes and see this as a gimmick. I really enjoyed the TRX and think it could be the best use of the Hellcat turbocharger.

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