Now that we’ve made another pass around the sun, we’re well into 2016. For auto enthusiasts, that means something special: It means our local showrooms will soon be sprouting with 2017 model year vehicles. After a relative drought of fresh-slate 2016 models, 2017 is shaping up to be a doozy. In a good way.
New cars have gotten so good in recent years that there’s hardly a truly bad car to speak ill of. There are a few bad apples, sure, but compared to the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s? Hardly. New cars are safer, faster, more efficient, more capable, and better equipped than ever. It’s a good time to be a gearhead.
Without further ado, here are 10 vehicles making debuts for the 2017 model year that we’re particularly excited for.
1. 2017 Cadillac XT5
Amazingly, the Cadillac SRX is still a strong seller for the brand, despite it being the last car in the lineup to get a makeover. Enter the XT5, a far more modern and handsome CUV that the brand will use to fill the void below the Escalade. It starts at under $40,000, uses a 310-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, and comes in four flavors that can flirt with $70,000 after options. Cadillac, we believe, has a big winner on its hands.
2. 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera
At quick glance, it’s hard to discern the 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera from its predecessors, and there’s a reason for that: Porsche has found that rare formula of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Porsche didn’t really need to improve on its beloved spearhead, but it did anyway, and the world is better for it. A throaty, turbocharged engine and rear engine-cover louvres are the most noticeable changes, because Porsche knows a good thing when it sees one.
3. 2017 Ford Raptor
You have to be serious about leaving the pavement to sink over $45,000 into a factory-made off-roader, but Ford has been unapologetically catering to that demographic – and we love them for it. Though the F-150-based Raptor loses two cylinders for 2017, it picks up aluminum-intensive architecture, drops weight, gains horsepower, and will give the Wrangler die-hards something to think about the next time they’re in the market.
4. 2017 Honda Ridgeline
Consider the new Ridgeline to be Honda’s anti-trust argument against the Toyota Tacoma empire. With a V6, a fancy in-bed storage system, SUV-like comfort and truck-like capabilities, the Ridgeline is all the truck most weekend haulers will need. More traditional looking than the past generation but still undeniably Honda, the Tacoma my want to keep at least one eye over its shoulder.
5. 2017 Genesis G90
Breaking free of the Hyundai mothership, the Genesis G90 — formerly known as the Hyundai Equus — is setting out on its own as the Korean brand works on differentiating its high-end and lower-end offerings. Buyers can choose from a twin-turbo V6, or a 5.0 liter V8, and it’s spearheading the way for more Genesis models to follow as Hyundai steps into the ring with Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura as the Asian luxury powerhouses.
6. 2017 Lexus LC 500
The Lexus LC 500 might have been one of the greatest surprises from the recent auto shows. Though it looks like a concept vehicle in almost every way, the LC 500 is actually a production car, and the best showcase for Lexus’s modern styling language yet. It’ll get the 5.0 liter V8 that’s becoming ubiquitous across Lexus’s portfolio, good for 467 horsepower, but there will be hybrid version available as well. Prices are expected to fall around $100,000.
7. 2017 Chevrolet Bolt
Beating Tesla to the punch for an affordable longer-range EV is Chevrolet, with the 2017 Bolt. Capable of 200 miles and costing $30,000 after federal incentives are accounted for, the Bolt is the first car with the potential to disrupt the mainstream car-buying status quo in favor of EVs.
8. 2017 Acura NSX
Fancy an entry-level supercar that’s less conservative than a Nissan GT-R, but more Japanese than an Audi R8? We can finally comfortably say that this year, you’ll be able to sign your name on the papers for a new 2017 Acura NSX, after years of waiting. It’ll take about $157,000 or so of your dollars, but you’ll get 573 horsepower and three electric motors.
9. 2017 Infiniti Q60
After many painful years of dragging the G37 (née G35) through a name change (it flies under Q60, now), Infiniti is getting around to bringing out a car worthy of such a designation. It has two new turbocharged engine options, crisp, modern lines, a stunning coupe profile, and can produce as much as 400 horsepower. The personal luxury coupe is back.
10. 2017 Mazda CX-9
Mazda has a proud tradition of fusing uncharacteristically sporty pretensions in generally un-sporty cars. The CX-5 is a solid example of this, as is the Mazda3. But the CX-9, especially early on, seemed to be the exception to the rule. Well, no longer — for 2017, Mazda has redesigned the CX-9 from the ground up. It promises to not only be among the sportiest of its kind, but one of the best-looking, too.