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It’s definitely been a weird year for the car.
In between all the awesome performance car debuts and other exciting new sedans, hatchbacks and SUVs, reports emerged that some governments are moving to ban the internal combustion engine and perhaps even one day implement measures that would make autonomous cars the only viable option for transportation in most metropolitan areas. Both scenarios are a long way out, but it’s certainly got your average car enthusiast thinking about the future.
Today we’re going to count down our favorite new cars that debuted in 2017. And while not all of them are a car enthusiasts dream, we think they all represent the joy of driving and adventure-seeking in a unique way. The end of the personally owned car might be on the distant horizon, but there were plenty of new car debuts to appreciate this past year, and it’s safe to say we’re looking forward to 2018 – when even more exciting product from the world’s OEMs will be unveiled.
10. Dodge Challenger Demon
While not an entirely new vehicle, we feel as though the wildly fast Dodge Challenger Demon deserves a place on this list. In a world of semi-autonomous EVs and subcompact crossovers with more active safety systems than you can count, the street-legal drag car that is the 840 hp Demon is the last of a dying breed. You know a performance car is doing its job when a stuffy automotive publication calls for it to be banned. Dodge Demon, we salute you.
9. Hyundai i30N
The Hyundai i30N is not coming to North America, but this is one solid little hot hatchback and its arrival marked the official launch of Hyundai’s ‘N’ performance brand. We’re expected to receive a Veloster N in North America that will likely have similar equipment to the i30N, so we can’t help but get a little excited about its arrival abroad. It also looks great and has a rather feisty exhaust note – what’s not to like?
8. Range Rover Velar
Most crossovers don’t really get our blood pumping, but the Velar is proof that this SUV craze doesn’t have to mean we’re stuck with ugly cars. The Velar is a beautiful automobile both inside and out, and it’s hard not to love that available JLR supercharged V6. Give yourselves a pat on the back Land Rover – this is a fine looking product.
7. Subaru Ascent
We don’t have a large family, but if we did, we’d probably appreciate the recent debut of the Subaru Ascent. This big three-row SUV might not look particularly exciting, but this is the biggest Subaru to date and the first Subaru-badged product that is truly viable for a bigger family. It will also start in the low $30k range. As one of our commenters put it “they have everything in here but the kitchen sink for a very fair price.”
6. Tesla Roadster
The Tesla Roadster straddles the line between concept and production car, but its debut was important, in our opinion. Its downright insane performance figures (Tesla claims 0-60 mph in 1.9s and a top speed of over 250 mph) will force other automakers to push the electric performance envelope, hopefully leaving us with a myriad of fast EVs one day in the future. Say what you will about Tesla and its slightly misguided fanboys – we’re just happy they care about performance.
5. Mercedes-AMG Project One
The Mercedes-AMG Project One was perhaps the most highly anticipated vehicle debut this year. The Project One is another chapter in Mercedes’ book of insane halo cars, and with the 1.6-liter engine from an F1 car sitting midship, it might be its most radical one to date. How the engineers at Mercedes got the famously finicky 1.6-liter Formula 1 engine to work properly in a road car we’ll never know, but we’re damn impressed. It’s also expected to make somewhere around 1,000 hp.
4. Honda Civic Type R
The Honda Civic Type R is basically the car of 2017. It debuted at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show in March and has been constantly talked about ever since. It’s the first Civic Type R to come to North America, so Honda fans were understandably excited. Its 306 hp engine and six-speed manual transmission also impressed us in a big way when we drove it. Thanks for this one, Honda!
3. Genesis G70
Genesis is definitely a brand to get excited about. Its products might not be on-par with the German competition in every sense, but it’s offering solid, stylish products at a decent price point, so there’s not much to dislike. The G70 is offered with a six-speed manual and a 249 hp 2.0-liter turbo four, or you can opt for the 365 hp 3.3-liter turbo V6, which is only offered with an eight-speed automatic. We were impressed with the overall driving dynamics and also the interior build quality when we drove it in Korea, so we can’t wait to get more seat time in the G70 in 2018.
2. Jeep Wrangler JL
The Jeep Wrangler JL made its debut in Los Angeles last month and definitely didn’t disappoint Jeep faithful with its folding windshield, removable doors, available manual transmission and more refined cabin. Everything hardcore Jeepers might want has been retained, and those who aren’t interested in off-roading and just want a new Wrangler will be happy with the available 2.0-liter engine and comfier interior.
1. Kia Stinger
The Kia Stinger debuted at the beginning of the year in Detroit. This is an important product for enthusiasts, as it shows automakers are still interested in offering relatively affordable rear-wheel drive performance sedans. More importantly, it’s also just a good all around vehicle. Its powertrain combos (2.0-liter or V6, rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive) also make it a viable product for a variety of customers, and it’s well-priced to boot. We can’t wait to start seeing these on the road in 2018.