If you are like many people in 2016, you’re looking out at your car and thinking that a replacement may soon be on the horizon. Luckily for all of us, 2017 is looking to be a fantastic year for car and truck innovation. Though the 2017 model year may well be considered the year of the crossover and hybrid, that doesn’t mean sedans and trucks get left out of the fun. Here, we will take a look at 10 of the most promising cars of 2017, based off a combination of new features, overall performance, price, and safety. For the purpose of this review, all vehicles listed have an estimated base price of below $57,000.
10. 2017 Toyota Corolla
Starting off our list of the best cars of 2017 is the sedan that’s been the go-to of many families for nearly 50 years. While most gear heads will notice that the new Corolla leaves very little to be excited about in terms of drive-train or engine, offering the same 1.8 liter 4 cylinder engine and 140 horsepower, the overall design for exterior and interior has been revamped significantly. Taking inspiration from (of all places) the Toyota Prius, the new Corolla has sharper lines, and a more aggressive look more akin to a street racer than a 9-to-5 sedan. The interior’s redesign includes an updated front dash display which includes a standard back-up camera. Available for the 2017 year is also the 50th anniversary edition of the Corolla with a luxurious interior with custom stitching in the seats and specialty floor mats.
9. 2017 Honda Ridgeline
Have you ever wanted the hauling power of a truck, but couldn’t quite bring yourself to get one of the V-8 Hemis or get used to the feeling of a big truck? Then the new Honda Ridgeline may be just the vehicle for you. Redesigned with a unibody design somewhat reminiscent of the Honda Pilot, this truck can carry 5,000 pounds and is powered by a V-6 3.5 Liter engine that allows for a horsepower of around 280. The interior which is pretty roomy for a truck features an 8 speaker audio system, Bluetooth support, and a multi-angle backup camera which covers blind spots when backing. With a 22MPG average, it’s not the most fuel-efficient vehicle on the market, but it certainly isn’t the gas guzzler that many full-sized trucks of yesteryear were.
8. 2017 Ford Fusion
The baby of the Ford family, the 2017 Fusion makes an effort to offer so many options in terms of both mechanical and luxury choice as to create more a group under the banner of Fusion than a distinct model line. Some of these models include two distinct hybrid engine types, which can range from the conventional MPG of 38, to the plug-in Energi model which will lean more towards the 88MPG range. There are also conventional engines with turbocharge available, which can top out near 200 horsepower. As for tech improvements, the Fusion has it in spades. Between the safety system that can detect and alert the driver of potential collisions and automatic braking to mitigate risk. For the comfort of driver and passenger alike, the Fusion Sport model also allows for an adjustable suspension system which can greatly alter road experience. Perhaps most useful to city drivers is the autonomous parallel parking system, which takes the stress of the most bothersome task of driving.
7. 2017 Ford F-150
The most frequently purchased vehicle in the United States for years has not simply been resting on its laurels. The new F-150, and in particular the new off-road Raptor model have both seen some major changes for the 2017 year. First and foremost, under the hood of the F-150 when compared to previous years may as well be from a different model line altogether. Instead of the previous standard 6 speed automatic transmission, Ford decided on a 10 speed which should incrementally increase gas mileage, as will the Stop-Start feature, which shuts off the engine when idling, turning it on again as you release the brake. With both of these features, there is an estimate that MPG will be closer to 22MPG as opposed to the previous year’s 19. The exterior of the F-150 models continue to balance the look of a sturdy work truck and bad boy toy. Some critics have found plenty to criticize about Ford’s choice in this model to transition from an all steel body and frame to a body made of tough aluminum alloys, which on paper seem to be about as tough with a fraction of the weight. For most models, drivers can expect a somewhat luxurious (if slightly tight) interior, with premium trims including eucalyptus wood, and features like active parking assist, which can always come in handy with bigger rigs.
6. 2017 Ford Escape
One of the compact cross-overs of the past 5 years that has most needed improvement, the Ford Escape is a solid base for the innovations of 2017. With both models of the Escape coming with a turbocharged 1.5 liter engine that can contribute 180 horsepower that does away with the previous iterations 1.6 liter engine that proved to be the source of many recalls over the past half decade. Taking a bit of inspiration from the Ford Edge, the new visual design of the Escape offers a sleeker design than previous years, which include larger headlamps. On the inside, there was a total rework that includes a better designed steering wheel, a push button parking brake, lighted USB Ports, a backup camera and plenty of headroom. Unfortunately for taller passengers, despite there being plenty of room for storage in the back of the Escape, leg room is at a premium. Overall, the Escape is a great choice for those who like to adventure, and still has a bit of traveling to do in the next few years to reach their destination of ideal cross-over
5. 2017 Mazda CX-3
Yet another cross-over to make this list, the CX-3 is feisty enough to maintain itself as a standout. With an appearance of an updated Mazda 3 5 Door crossed with the larger CX-5, the CX-3 is as sporty on the outside, as it has the trademark “zoom” on the inside. With a 2 Liter 4 cylinder engine and a total of 146 horsepower, there’s plenty to get you were you’re going, and having been rated among the best in handling, you can get there with confidence. With an MPG of around 31, you’ll also to manage to get there with relatively few stops for fuel. The base model of the CX-3 comes standard with key less entry and ignition, review backup camera, and Mazda’s CONNECT system, which allows streaming from Pandora and other audio services, as well as allowing for direct connection of your phone. For a few thousand more, the premium Grand Touring Model of the CX-3 also comes with automatic emergency braking, radar-enabled cruise control (allowing you to keep distance from other vehicles on the highway), as well as windshield wipers that detect and respond to rain.
4. 2017 Porsche Macan
For most people, the words Porsche and affordability have never really belong together. However with the 2017 Macan line, this may change. Though certainly not in the realm of price of a Corolla, with a $49,000 price tag, it does fall under some luxury car and SUV price lines significantly. This doesn’t meaningfully affect the performance however, as the Macan carries a 252 horsepower 2 liter turbocharged four-cylinder in the base model. Also available are the 3.0 and 3.6 liter V6 twin turbos, with 340 to 360 horsepower. Fuel efficiency doesn’t seem to be the biggest focus of Porsche this year, as the MPG is around 22. The interior has an encyclopedia of features, which can include a rear view camera, 4G LTE connectivity, and Sattelite/HD radio, One of the handier safety features protects your investment a lane departure warning system in case you find yourself a bit tired or distracted on the road.
3. 2017 Audi Q7
The not so distant cousin of the Macan (both Porsche and Audi fall under the Volkswagen corporate umbrella), the Q7 is one of the largest vehicle options on this list, seating a grand total of 7 inside the cabin. This large size certainly doesn’t make it slow however, with a 3 liter supercharged V6 standard, which can take you from 0 to 60 in around five and a half seconds, using all 333 horses under the hood. The overall outer appearance runs a certain familiarity with previous Audi sedans, making it seem a little smaller than it actually is (though it is a nice touch that the engineers were able to shave off 500lbs from gross weight, a 10% reduction). Inside, you’ll find a luxury cabin with warmed seating, and optional “Audi Virtual Cockpit” instead of your normal control panel, making this vehicle more space-age than highway commuter. Also optional is a 19 speaker Bose sound system, which will make every road trip a concert.
2. 2017 Toyota Prius
Next in our list is a car whose design could not have changed more radically, the Prius. Having started off with a design that was about as enticing as a slightly shaved brick, the newer models, and the 2016-17 years in particular, make this once often mocked hybrid something that will cause double takes around town. With sharp lines, and a frame that resembles a sedan more than the original build itself without alienating an audience, the people at Toyota nailed the image for this car. While under the hood there are not many changes, there is a new plug-in option that can gain about 30 miles off just electric power before kicking in the gas sipping hybrid engine that the Prius has come to be known for. Netting only 121 horsepower, you’ll unlikely see anyone street racing the Prius, though again, it looks like it could. Inside, the Prius has quite a bit of leg room, and the digital console is intuitive while also making the dash seem significantly less crowded.
1. 2017 Subaru Forrester
Topping off our list of best cars of 2017 is the Subaru Forrester, not only for what it changes, but what it keeps. The Forrester already had quite the template with a base engine that’s 2.5 liters and around 170 horsepower, with the option of upgrading to 80 more horses under the hood. The exterior of the car has also only seen minor updates to make it a slightly more smooth, but still classic Subaru appearance. Most of the new features are reserved for the inside of the Forrester, which now features heated seats and steering wheel, as well as the new EyeSight suite. EyeSight is a safety technology made for the Forrester line that includes blind spot detection, a rear-view camera, automatic braking to avoid collisions, and earns this car not only the top spot, but also a high rank as one of the safest vehicles out there.