5 hottest cars to look for in 2017

The world of cars has changed a lot over the last year, and there are no signs of the industry slowing down in 2017. 

Already we’ve seen electric cars start to come into their own, diesels shunned thanks to Volkswagen and the slow death of the manual transmission. 

Despite some low points, 2016 was a great year for performance cars with the release of the Mazda Miata, Focus RS and the newly turbocharged Porsche 911. Sure, manual transmission will be harder to find going forward, but there will always be cars that appeal to the greasiest of gear heads.

But what can we look forward to in 2017? For starters, expect to see a transition away from hybrids to fully electric cars, as well as a slew of performance cars making a comeback. The following are just a few of the most exciting cars coming out next year, ones we think will get your engines revving. 

Chevrolet Bolt

Sure, the Chevrolet Bolt might not be the prettiest or fastest car on this list, but it’s a significant milestone for the automotive industry. The Bolt will be one of the first affordable all-electric vehicle that also happens to get a 200-mile-plus range. 

Tesla is also working on an affordable electric vehicle for the masses, the Model 3, but that won’t be available until some time later.

While the Bolt probably won’t rocket off the line as quickly as a Tesla, the car still houses a 200 hp, 266 lb/ft electric motor to push around its 3,563-pound frame. Like all electric cars, torque is available instantly, and the Bolt should be great for zipping around town. And, yes, the Bolt will offer both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.

The Chevy Bolt will cost just $37,500 (about €33,275) before tax incentives, and will go on sale first in California and Oregon. Chevy plans to broaden the Bolt’s release nationwide in early 2017. Europe is set for a rebadged version of the Bolt, the Opel Ampera-e, according to Car and Driver. Norway was actually the first to get the vehicle went it went on sale on December 17.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla is about as ubiquitous as you can get when it comes to electric cars. Just about everyone knows about the ridiculous performance and self-driving features of Tesla’s vehicles. However, with price tags well into the six figures, these rides have been reserved mainly for those with deep pockets. That’s about to change with the Tesla Model 3

Like the Chevy Bolt, the Model 3 will feature a 200-mile-plus range and a starting price of $35,000 (£30,000) before tax incentives. What you get for your money is a four-door sedan that does 0-60 in under six seconds and Tesla’s famous Autopilot semi-autonomous driving technology. 

As with other Tesla models, you’ll be able to add all-wheel drive thanks to an additional electric motor located on the front axle, as well as an option for “Ludicrous Mode,” which should shave significant time off that 0-60 figure.
The Model 3 is expected to go on sale in late 2017 or possibly early 2018. You can reserve yours now by putting down a refundable $1,000 (£1,000) deposit. 

Honda Civic Type R

For many car enthusiasts, Honda has lost its way recently. The company discontinued the beloved S2000 roadster, leaving the front-wheel drive Civic Si as the performance pinnacle for the car maker. Many lamented Honda’s move to cater towards the mainstream with crossovers like the HR-V. However, Honda’s performance division makes a triumphant return with the Civic Type R. 

If the Honda Civic Type R looks anything like the prototype it revealed during this year’s Paris Motor Show, we’re in for a bonkers-looking hot hatchback. The Type R features muscular flared fenders, carbon fiber side skirts, and a ridiculously large wing. You’ll either love or hate its styling. 

Honda has been silent about how much power the Type R actually packs, but expect more than 300 horses from a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and a 6-speed manual transmission. While competitors like the Volkswagen Golf R and Ford Focus RS have moved to all-wheel drive, Honda is expected to stick with front-wheel drive, which may make the Type R a handful with so much power. 

The Honda Civic Type R is expected to go on sale in spring 2017 in Europe, with North American shipments starting in late 2017. The Type R is expected to cost nearly $40,000 (£30,000, about AU$50,000). 

Renault Alpine A120

One of the most iconic sports cars of the 1960s is back for 2017. You may not have heard of Alpine before, but think of it as the performance division of Renault, like Mercedes’ AMG or BMW M. The Renault Alpine A120 shares a striking resemblance to the Alpine A110 that dominated the World Rally Championship in the early 1970s. 

The A120 will feature a mid-mounted, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and a dual-clutch paddle shift transmission. Renault is keeping quiet about performance numbers, but claims the A120 will hit 0-60 in less than 4.5 seconds. 

With a starting price of around £40,000 (about $60,000,  AU$75,000), Renault has its sights set squarely on the Porsche Cayman 718, Lotus Exige and Alfa Romeo 4C. Plus, there could be an even higher performance model released if the A120 takes off. The A120 is expected to go on sale in early 2017. 

Lexus LC500

Lexus is taking performance seriously in the New Year with the upcoming release of the LC500 Coupe. The company’s current flagship sports car, if you don’t count the discontinued $400,000 LFA, is the RC F coupe. With the LC500, Lexus is laying the groundwork for the future of its front-engine, rear-drive sports cars. 

Whereas the Lexus RC-F reused parts of existing cars, the LC500 is all-new. Lexus claims the LC500 has the stiffest unibody it’s ever produced, even exceeding that of the LFA supercar. This could mean the LC500’s chassis could be used in the highly anticipated Toyota Supra revival. 

Lexus made an interesting choice when it comes to engines for the LC500. As most car manufacturers move to turbocharging for improved gas mileage and performance, Lexus is sticking with its naturally aspirated V8 from the RC F, which pumps out a modest 468 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque. However, Lexus is expected to move to a turbocharged power plant in the near future. 

Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but expect to pay six figures for this Lexus flagship. The LC500 is expected to hit dealerships in May 2017.

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Lewis Leong
Lewis Leong is a freelance writer for TechRadar. He has an unhealthy obsession with headphones and can identify cars simply by listening to their exhaust notes.