review

The most groundbreaking American cars of 2017

The Tesla Model 3 got more attention than any other car this year, but America’s legacy automakers came out with some pretty interesting stuff, too. Here are four of the most significant models to hit the road in 2017.

Chevrolet Bolt

Regardless of which one wins in the marketplace, the Chevrolet Bolt will always have it to hold over the Model 3 that it was the first electric car to go on sale with a range of over 200 miles and a starting price under $30,000, after you deduct the $7,500 federal tax credit. The quick and quiet subcompact crossover’s sales increased all year and beat each Tesla model in November, not to mention the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid. General Motors seems pleased with its performance as it has announced plans to introduce 20 new electric models over the next five years.

Cadillac CT6 with Super Cruise

The CT6 sedan isn’t Cadillac’s best-seller, but it’s a flagship for the brand’s latest technology, which now includes a Super Cruise system that uses cameras, radars and a 3D-mapped database of every highway in the United States and Canada to allow hands-free driving. It can’t change lanes, but it will keep itself in the middle of one for miles at a time, even in heavy traffic, and give you fair warning of any dangers ahead, like toll booths or sharp turns than you need to take back control to navigate. Autonomy? We’re not there yet, but this Caddy is close.

Ford GT

You’ll be lucky to ever see, let alone buy one of the 1,000 Ford GT supercars that start at $450,000. It’s unlike any car the Big 3 has ever sold. Essentially a Le Mans racer for the road, it features a full carbon fiber body and chassis tub, a hydraulic system that lifts and lowers the suspension and the rear wing to improve its aerodynamics, a 657 hp twin-turbocharged V6 and a top speed of 216 mph – making it the fastest American production car ever. Ford says that lessons learned working with its lightweight materials and systems will trickle down to its more mainstream models in the future. If you don’t believe it consider this: the GT’s engine is based on the one in the 2018 F-150 pickup, which you will be seeing a lot of and many of you will actually buy.

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

The Demon truly is hell on wheels. Its supercharged V8 is rated at 808 hp, which makes it the most powerful American production car in history, but you can crank that up to 840 hp by filling it with 100 octane fuel without voiding the warranty. The engine is so hot that it uses the air conditioning system to cool the air it breathes, and the car is loaded with unique technology to harness all of the power it spits out. There’s a drag racing-derived ‘TransBrake’ that gets the driveline torqued up and ready for launch, and a computer-controlled suspension system that helps the car squat on its rear tires as it leaps off the line for a sub 10-second run down the quarter-mile. If the $85,000 Demon ends up being gasoline’s last stand, it’s going out with a very big bang.

THE MOST POWERFUL CARS OF 2017