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Get ready to swap those calendars out for next year’s model. 2016 might have been a great year for cars, but thanks to geopolitical chaos and a string of untimely celebrity deaths, many of us will be glad to bid this year farewell.
Rather than dwell on unsavory topics and incur another post-holiday headache, let’s take a look at what automakers have in store for 2017. Maybe this time next year you’ll be sporting one of these fresh sets of wheels, celebrating the fact that you can drive it yourself for another 24 months before government regulations make us all passengers. Here are seven cars I’m excited to see in 2017!
Best Cars for 2017
- Alfa Romeo Giulia / Stelvio
If the names Clarkson, Hammond and May hold any significance to you, you’ll recall that the famous Top Gear trio (now hosting Amazon’s “The Grand Tour”) insist that only after owning an Alfa can one call themselves a true “petrolhead” — a philosophy derived from the Italian marque’s combination of questionable reliability and soulful driver engagement.
The Guilia sedan and newly announced Stelvio SUV seem well aligned with this credo, suffering multiple launch setbacks to resolve “minor” design flaws. But who cares about a few hiccups when a car looks this good and sports a twin-turbo six from the one-and-only Ferrari?
- Lexus LC 500
The last time Lexus brought us a bonafide luxury coupe — hard-top convertibles don’t count — it was the 90’s-era SC400. Now it’s looking to reprise some of that car’s road presence and grand-touring prowess with the svelte new V8-powered LC.
It has serious good looks, and if you’re concerned about the environment, you can have one with a six-cylinder. Also, Lexus plans to build enough that you might actually live to see one on the road, unlike the hewn-from-a-single-piece-of-unobtanium LF-A. Another great car for 2017.
- Porsche Panamera Sport Tourismo
The gang from Stuttgart made a statement about driving dynamics with the first-generation Panamera: size is no longer an issue if you’ve got the cash. Styling dynamics, however, are another matter unless you’re a big fan of armored personnel carriers.
For its second act, Porsche has put forward a much better looking take on the “stretched 911” that is the Panamera. Along with the sweet facelift, you get better fuel-economy, improved infotainment and even four-wheel steering to make the big bahn-burner nearly as nimble as its 911 brethren.
- Tesla Model 3
Since its beginnings with the aped-from-Lotus Tesla Roadster, Elon Musk’s company has promised to deliver an electric car for the everyman. Until the Model 3, that was a pipe dream. Owners who flocked to Tesla dealerships to order the company’s fourth new vehicle release last year will take delivery in 2017.
There’s a lot riding on the idea of the Model 3, so we’re hoping the car is good to drive. Not only could it determine how viable Tesla is as a carmaker, but rumor indicates that it could be ready to launch a pickup, crossover and minibus using the Model 3 platform.
- Ford GT / SVT Raptor
We’re excited to see this car for 2017. You, however, should not be unless you made the ridiculously short list of human beings deemed worthy by Ford to own this exotic beast. It has famous, Ferrari-slaying genes, looks like nothing else on the road, and it forgoes hybrid power plants and fancy electronics for good-ol-fashioned whoop ass.
That the engine in the GT is also seeing use in a number of other Ford vehicles might be the one upside for blue-collared folks who couldn’t offer their first born child to drive Dearborn’s homage to ‘60s LeMans racing. Specifically, one of those vehicles is the exceptional SVT Ford Raptor — now with improved jumping abilities — because hoonigans don’t know any better when they see a Fox Racing logo on truck shocks.
- BMW M760li xDrive
BMW is getting pretty brazen with the M badge usage these days. You can have an M-sport 3 series GT, an X6 M crossover-confusion vehicle, hell they even have a beach cruiser parading around in motorsport nomenclature. All of this begs the question of why the flagship 7-series has never been good enough to get the M treatment.
But it seems the 7’s moment has finally arrived. Even if it’s not an official M7, the M760i should combine the road manners of a competitive sports sedan with the opulence we expect in a top-shelf bimmer. The 760’s 6.6-liter V12 is said to produce 600 horsepower, routed to all four wheels. Exterior treatment won’t be as in-your-face as a full blown M car, which is probably preferential for this car’s well-heeled buyers to fly beneath the radar.
- Honda Accord
Take a moment to consider what the Accord really is. It’s not a Camry, the world’s best-selling transportation appliance. Instead, it’s a stalwart of driving dynamics for the everyman. It’s not a sports car, but it delivers far more fun behind the wheel than competitors from Toyota, Ford and Volkswagen to name a few, and it does it reliably at an unbeatable price.
In 2017 the Accord reinvents itself again, adopting Honda’s new turbocharged line of four-cylinder engines in 1.5 or 2.0-liter displacements for improved fuel economy. An exterior refresh shows the potential for hatchback and sedan layouts, while inside we expect a tech-heavy approach including Apple CarPlay and a large, central screen connecting drivers and passengers to the car’s infotainment system.
Happy New Year!
I hope my small sampler of what’s to come has helped get your mind off of bad combovers, inappropriate tweets and the astounding number of untimely goodbyes we had to say in 2016 if only for a short while. Is there a new car coming that you’d like to hear more about? Let me know in the comments below, and until next time, Happy New Year!