Geneva Motor Show 2020

Volkswagen reveals three versions of the 8th-generation 2021 Golf GTI

The Golf adopts a more aerodynamic and modern appearance for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The first time the public will see the eighth-generation 2021 Volkswagen GTI in person will be at the Geneva International Motor Show in early March. Ahead of its public unveiling, Volkswagen has let slip the details of the model along with some pictures.

The fresh model is an evolution of the famed Golf GTI Mark 1 that came to market in 1976. This eighth generation features the debut of three models: the Golf GTI, GTD, and GTE.

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI The front bottom of the car is where a cluster of fog lights is located.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

On the outside, the new Golf features a natural design evolution of the previous model. There are standard LED headlights and daytime running lights that sit low on the front end atop the grille, which has its own LED light strip for the first time. Towards the top of the hood, a narrow line spans the front end—red in the case of the GTI, blue for the GTE and silver for the GTD. The available fog lights form an X-shape in the lower honeycomb of the grille.

The GTI rides on unique standard 17-inch Richmond aluminum-alloy wheels and has red brake calipers. Rims that are 18- and 19-inches are available.

On the exterior, the equipment is supplemented by the 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, the rear diffuser, roof spoiler, individualized tail pipes, red brake calipers and sill extensions. The GTI and GTD have a 0.6-inch lower sport suspension than a standard Golf.At the back are LED taillight clusters. Badging has been shifted around the model and appears in new locations on the front, side, and rear. The GTI has one tailpipe on the left while the GTD has dual left tailpipes. on tailpipe is visible on the GTE.

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI The rear of the car features standard LED taillights.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Under the hood of the GTI is a turbocharged 2.-liter four-cylinder engine that achieves 245 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque and is paired with a standard six-speed manual transmission. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is available.

The Golf GTE is powered by a 150-horsepower 1.4-liter turbo-four engine that is paired with a 114-horsepower electric motor and six-speed gearbox. It delivers 245 horsepower and 295 pound-feet combined and has an all-electric range of 37 miles.

Volkswagen has given the Golf GTD a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged Diesel engine that achieves 200 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. It comes standard with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI The tori-spoke wheel features multi-function buttons.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Undnerpinnning the Golf is a new strut-type front and multi-link rear suspension. They work in connection with the driving dynamics control system (Vehicle Dynamics Manager), which reacts to the road surface and driving conditions with active damping at the rate of a fraction of a second. Drivers have the option of Individual, Comfort, Eco, and Sport drive modes.

The cabin is filled with nods to fresh innovation as well as classic car design. There's a sport steering wheel with three silver double spokes and recessed Wolfsburg emblem, the golf ball shifter knob, and tartan GTI sport seats.

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Plaid returns to the model's seats.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

On the steering wheel, there's a Travel Assist button which helps drivers reach 130 mph while Travel Assist is engaged.

Volkswagen has updated the plaid in the Golf to a new checked design called Scalepepper.

Each of the Golf models has interior accents according to their assigned color motif. GTI has black, gray, and red; GTE gets blue; and GTD is gray.

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Different models get different colored accents.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Buyers can get up to a 10.25-inch digital coconut and 10-inch navigation system. The standard features list includes LED reading lights, two USB-C ports, single-zone automatic climate control, stainless steel pedals, and push-button start.

Spirited driving and safety are both priorities in the model, which comes standard with lane keeping assist, forward collision alert with assist and pedestrian monitoring, and Car2X (local communication with other vehicles and the traffic infrastructure).

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The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is an off-road ready family hauler.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Pathfinder is the company's three-row crossover, sitting below the Armada and above the Rogue in the company's lineup. It's a rival to the Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Toyota Highlander, and Honda Pilot. Check out the Nissan's most compelling features by scrolling down.

Every Pathfinder comes loaded with safety technology.

The Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of safety and driver assist technology comes standard on the Rogue. It includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, land departure warning, high beam assist, and rear automatic braking.

Additionally, the company's Intelligent Driver Alertness and Rear Door Alert technologies are standard.

ProPilot Assist takes the wheel.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan's ProPilot Assist technology doesn't allow for hands-free driving and it's not self-driving, but it does fuse together many functionalities that make daily drive functions easier, especially when your children are doing their best to distract you.

ProPILOT Assist combines steering assist and Intelligent Cruise Control to help control acceleration. It can be used in heavy traffic and on open highways.

For 2021, ProPilot Assist has been enhanced. It has next-generation radar and camera technology that is designed to allow for smoother braking, better steering assist, and improved detection performance when vehicles cut into the lane.

There's a removable second-row center console.

Between the second-row captain's chairs in the seven-passenger Pathfinder, there's a thin center console (enough storage space for two cupholders and some small items) that is removable without using any tools. Removing this console allows for easier access in/out of the third-row for small children and adults. With the console in place, the seats can still be tipped and moved forward for quick ingress/egress to/from the third row.

The second row is spacious.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Sitting in the second-row captain's chairs is very much like sitting in those that you'd find in a full-size SUV. Adults will find that hip-room is plenty big enough while children will relish the opportunity to feel like they're being treated to upscale accommodations.

Three people fit across the back seat.

Second-row captain's chairs are being offered for the first time on Pathfinder with this new model. Nissan has added rear seating flexibility with the ability to fit three across the back seat. While three adults are a tight fit in the third row, children, tweens, and some teens that don't have long legs won't likely have a problem with it.

Pathfinder's drive modes are designed to inspire confidence.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan has made the Rogue available with all-wheel drive. Those models also get five drive modes: Off-road, Snow, Standard, Eco, and Sport. The modes are engaged using the drive-mode selector mounted on the center console. The all-wheel drive system uses new technology that is designed to respond quicker when slippage is detected.

It has a 6,000-pound towing capability.

Nissan boasts that the 2022 Pathfinder has best-in-lass available 6,000-pound maximum towing capacity. That's enough to allow boats, ATVs, camp tents, or trailers to be connected out back. Trailer Sway Control is standard on the Pathfinder and allows for more towing confidence, especially when winds pick up.

Moving the second-row seat is as easy as the push of one button.

Nissan has equipped the second-row bench seat in the Pathfinder with EZ-Flex one-touch mechanics. It takes just one press of a button to activate fold and slide functionalities for the second-row seats. The button can be reached from both the driver and passenger sides of the vehicle for ease.

The cargo area is plenty spacious.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America


Behind the SUV's third-row seats Pathfinder can fit a 120-quart cooler or four golf bags - all with the third row full of occupants. The interior can also accommodate 4x8-foot plywood sheets.

The ride is sublimely quiet.

Nissan has equipped the Pathfinder with acoustic laminated front glass, thicker second-row glass, increased door and floor isolation, and a 60-percent increase in engine noise absorption materials. The result is a vehicle that provides a quieter ride, meaning less likelihood parents will have to should to be heard by third-row passengers.

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The Kia Sorento Hybrid offers a lot to like for families looking to save on fuel.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The redesigned Kia Sorento looks good. Kia has given the three-row SUV new life, not as a substitute for the Telluride SUV but instead as its own crossover, with plenty of differences to give them their own identity.

The 2021 Sorento comes in two variants, the Sorento and Sorento Hybrid. Each is offered in its own set of trim levels. The Sorento base model is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder internal combustion engine that delivers 191 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. Higher grades get a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is rated at 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque.

Sorento Hybrid comes in two trim leaves, S and EX. Both are powered by the company's turbocharged 1.6-liter hybrid powertrain that offers up 177 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The SUV prioritizes fuel efficiency over performance, an important distinction that sets the Sorento Hybrid apart from other hybrid variants, including the Toyota RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid that delivers an energetic boost to the RAV4 lineup.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid The Sorento Hybrid is the type of vehicle that can get you to a trailhead, but isn't built to go beyond that.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The power output is fine if you plan on sticking to in-town driving and aren't looking to load up the Sorento Hybrid for a long road trip. In the default Eco drive mode, the car responds to the throttle the most comfortably. Under traditional and harder acceleration, the Sorento Hyrbid's powertrain is noisy and ill-mannered. It's almost like the SUV is telling you, "I'm built for efficiency, not speed". Message received.

Kia's done a good job making the Sorento agile and it drives nicely and makes for a pleasant daily runaround. Unlike what Toyota has done with the Highlander, all-wheel drive is not available on the Sorento Hybrid.

The 2021 Sorento Hybrid comes standard as a six-seater with captain's chairs in the second row. The seats, leatherette in the upmarket trim level, are comfortable enough. There's a decent amount of cargo space with the third row erect or stowed.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid The cabin of the Sorento Hybrid is plush enough for its price point.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The well-thought out cabin design delvers exactly what customers need and in the EX trim level, the car's appointments are near-premium. The SUV has the usual list of standard and available features, but nothing is too fancy: Bluetooth, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice recognition, satellite radio, push button start, keyless entry, a rearview camera, wireless smartphone charger. Nothing looks, feels, or operates like it's cutting edge, but it doesn't have to - this isn't a luxury vehicle.

There is one very nice design touch in the cabin. On either side of the infotainment touch screen are vents that service the front row of the auto. Their output is divided into two each with the bottom vent able to serve the midsection of front passengers' bodies while the upper part goes higher. More automakers should design vents this way.

The Hybrid EX model that was delivered for testing had its lane keeping and centering system not as honed in on lane lines as is optimal, which resulted in crossing over the lines without any alert going off or corrective action being taken by the vehicle's computer.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid Cargo space is always tight in three-row SUVs, but Kia has given the Sorento a good balance between cargo space and third-row legroom.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid starts at $33,590. That's a thousand-and-a-half over the starting price of the Telluride and $4,000 more than the traditional 2021 Sorento.

There are currently only two other three-row hybrid SUVs on the market, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the Ford Expedition Hybrid. The three models and their varied price tags and third-row layouts service very different customers but they generally all get lumped together. The Sorento Hybrid is, by far, the lowest priced model of the three, and it feels like it when you're inside. There's nothing wrong with that. Dodge sold a lot of Journeys despite the fact that it wasn't the best or most expensive SUV out there.

Think of the Kia Sorento Hybrid as the Dodge Journey of three-row hybrid crossovers and you won't be disappointed.

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