Editors' Picks February 2021 | Ford F-150, Genesis GV80, Mazda CX-30 and more

Autoblog Staff
·6-min read



If we’ve driven and reviewed it, there’s an Autoblog Rating for it. It’s been over two years since we launched a new rating system to help you evaluate cars at a glance. We tweaked and improved it along the way and quickly arrived at a consistent process for giving each and every car on sale today a fair score.

Cars that are exemplary or stand out in their respective segments get Editors’ Pick status. Those are the ones we’d recommend to our friends, family and anybody who’s curious and asks the question. Every car we rate gets a score from 1 to 10, making it easy for you to tell if it’s a car worth pursuing and possibly purchasing.

You’ll find the scores of previously-rated cars attached toward the top of our written reviews. For example, the Bronco Sport’s rating can be found here. The Acura TLX’s rating is in this post, and the Nissan Rogue’s rating is right here. There are hundreds of examples to be found.

The above examples make up the most natural ways to find the Autoblog rating when researching for your next car, but starting today, we’re going to begin calling out each new set of Editors' Picks per month in their own breakout stories. This will put the newest and most recently refreshed cars on sale on a pedestal for you to see which ones are worth your while. We’ll typically rate anywhere between 5-10 new cars per month, so you can count on just a select few from those to make this list. Expect to see this recurring ratings post each month going forward, and read on for February’s Editors’ Picks.

2021 Genesis GV80


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Quick take: The stylish GV80 offers useful safety features, compelling design and sporty dynamics to push it near the top of the segment. Genesis takes risks with this aggressive crossover, and the result is a luxurious vehicle that is rewarding to drive.

Score: 8.5

What it competes with: Lincoln Aviator, Volvo XC90, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, Acura MDX, Lexus RX

Pros: Beautiful design, good road manners, awesome value

Cons: Small third row and cargo space, less comfortable standard suspension

From the editors:

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore — “The GV80 is a hugely important vehicle for Genesis. It makes a style statement, has an elegant interior and is a compelling all-round execution. It looks like a Bentley, and I give Genesis props for taking some risks with the GV80 and largely pulling it all off. It’s impressive.”

West Coast Editor James Riswick — "There are some really special interiors in this segment, some of the most impressive found in the entire automotive industry. I'm thinking the Aviator, XC90 and GLE in particular, but I think it's safe to add the GV80's to the group. It's a beautiful, distinctive design with top-notch materials quality and a fashion-forward use of color and trim. It'll make your friends go wow. Importantly, though, it's quite functional, especially the user-friendly tech interface packed with features that don't overwhelm."

In-depth analysis: 2021 Genesis GV80 Review | A new beginning

2021 Ford F-150


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Quick take: The F-150 has the best all-around truck lineup in the half-ton segment. Not quite as luxurious as the Ram, the F-150 falls back on an unmatched variety of options and configurations. The game-changing Powerboost hybrid cements this as an Editors' Pick.

Score: 8.5

What it competes with: Ram 1500, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan

Pros: Wide array of available powertrains, tech powerhouse, endless configurations

Cons: Not the most luxurious, pricey top end, generic styling

From the editors:

Associate Editor Byron Hurd — "The 2021 F-150 PowerBoost is the shining exception in a segment where doing things the old-fashioned way is the rule. It's still not as pretty (inside or out) as the Ram, but it offers segment-leading utility without any compromises."

West Coast Editor James Riswick — "Ford actually undersold all the changes its engineers made for the '21 F-150. Key updates to the suspension and steering result in a noticeably better truck to drive. Of course, the new PowerBoost hybrid got lots of attention and rightfully so. If you can make the payment, it's without a doubt the powertrain to get in the F-150."

In-depth analysis: 2021 Ford F-150 Review | Newer than it looks, better than expected

2021 Mazda CX-30


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Quick take: Mazda's little CX-30 is a stylish crossover with excellent car-like driving dynamics, quick Turbo option, a gorgeous interior and above average tech. Its biggest downside is limited utility.

Score: 8

What it competes with: Chevrolet Trailblazer, Kia Seltos, Ford Bronco Sport, Nissan Rogue Sport, Jeep Compass

Pros: Enthusiast-pleasing driving dynamics, upscale interior, quick Turbo option

Cons: Cramped second row, small cargo area, polarizing exterior design

From the editors:

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — "It's a lifted Mazda3 Hatchback in nearly every way, making it a big winner. I just wish it had more utility for passengers and their things to make it a better crossover."

News Editor Joel Stocksdale — "It has styling, materials and handling worthy of a crossover costing thousands more. The new turbo engine only sweetens the package.”

In-depth analysis: 2021 Mazda CX-30 Review | Even more power to impress

2021 Audi A4


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Quick take: This conservative yet sporty German sedan is comfortable enough to take your folks to dinner, but exciting enough to cut loose on your favorite dynamic roads. It’s up against tough competition from Mercedes and BMW, though.

Score: 8

What it competes with: BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Acura TLX, Lexus IS, Cadillac CT5

Pros: Quick acceleration, attractive interior, above-average tech

Cons: Generic exterior styling, costly driver assistance features

From the editors:

Senior, Green Editor John Snyder — "I love the A4's dual personality. It plays nice when it needs to, but it turns into a shark on the hunt with the press of a button and the pull of a paddle."

The latest news and analysis: 2021 Audi A4 gets more power, standard all-wheel drive

2021 Cadillac Escalade


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Quick take: Bold and unapologetic, the Escalade is a luxury and tech powerhouse with massive proportions and a loud exterior design. Poor efficiency is boosted by a diesel option, and it's significantly more comfortable with its new, independent rear suspension.

Score: 8.5

What it competes with: Lincoln Navigator, Infiniti QX80, Mercedes-Benz GLS, BMW X7, Lexus LX

Pros: Impressive tech, comfy ride, tons of space

Cons: Poor V8 fuel economy, unwieldy size, lack of standard safety features

From the editors:

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — "The tech in this SUV is remarkable for Cadillac, and the ride with the available magnetic dampers and air suspension is just as notable. This Escalade is miles better than the one that came before it."

Associate Editor Byron Hurd — "I did not expect to like the 2021 Escalade nearly as much as I did. It's still an attention-grabbing monument to ostentation, but at least it offers a luxurious experience to back it up. If you have the driveway space, it's a massive upgrade over the XT6 in every way."

In-depth analysis: 2021 Cadillac Escalade Review | Living large and larger

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