The Tesla 3.

7 cars that were landmarks of 2017

CASEY WILLIAMS  |  Auto Reviewer
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Every era has its landmark autos that define their time. Cars like the be-finned 1959 Cadillac are obvious, but the original Ford Mustang, DeLorean and Toyota Prius did as well. Corvettes always mark a new generation when they are introduced. Here are some vehicles we met during 2017 that are sure to be remembered.

2017 Chevy Bolt. History will remember it wasn’t Tesla that delivered the first “affordable” long-range electric car, but Chevrolet. Given a base price under $30,000 with incentives, effortless acceleration via 200 horsepower and 238 miles all-electric range are remarkable. Drive without worrying about the next plug. Heated seats front/rear, heated steering wheel, Bose audio, navigation, forward collision mitigation braking and lane keep assist are available.

2018 Honda Accord. Despite the surge of crossovers over mid-size sedans, the Accord remains the affordable benchmark of its segment. An all-new model shows how to win with a more sculptural body accented by LED headlamps, fastback proportions and a unique window line. Soft touch materials, head-up display, and 4G wi-fi trick out the interior. Choose between 192 horsepower 1.5-liter turbo-4, 252 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 and 50-MPG hybrid powertrains.

2018 Dodge Challenger Demon. When history records the second coming of the muscle car, this will be its centerfold. Stoked with an 840 horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8, the Demon can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 2.3 seconds and toast the quarter mile in 9.65s at 140 mph. It’s so fast, the National Hot Rod Association officially banned it from sanctioned events. Performance is enhanced by diverting A/C refrigerant to the supercharger and passenger seat delete option.

2017 Buick Envision. This is less about the crossover, though it’s a very nice compact luxurious ride with heaps of style, than about its origin. See, this is the first domestically-branded vehicle to be built in China and imported to the United States. It was followed by the Cadillac CT6 plug-in. The Envision’s assembly location is a big deal, but what matters more are features like Bose audio, wi-fi, plush leather interior and efficient powertrains.

2018 Tesla Model 3. Here’s the car that may one day school the Chevy Bolt … if Elon Musk can get his plant in gear long enough to produce them. It puts sexy electric car styling in the hands of mortals who will appreciate the $35,000 base price and at least 220 miles of electric range (up to 310 miles with fortified batteries). As with its larger siblings, the dashboard is dominated by a 15-in. tablet-like touchscreen. Navigation, wi-fi, backup camera and automatic emergency braking are standard. Add autopilot self-driving capability for $8,000.

2019 Corvette set us on edge.

2019 Corvette ZR1. Corvettes are both products and definitions of their eras. I was a teenager when the 1990 Corvette ZR-1 dominated magazine covers. It set the standard for supercars to come. The next ZR1, which recently debuted in Dubai, may be the last American supercar of the gasoline era. Check the digits: 755 horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged V8 and top speed over 210 mph. A door-sized rear wing keeps it planted. Sebring Orange paint makes a statement.

Nissan IMX concept set us on edge.

Nissan IMX Concept. What will be our automotive future? Gasoline engines and batteries will compete for dominance while autonomous driving becomes normal. This concept, introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show, brings it all together in one sporty package. It’s an all-electric crossover with 370 miles range, but when the steering wheel retracts, it turns into an autonomous den of leather, wood, and flatscreen infotainment screens controlled by eye movements and hand gestures. Looking back from 2025, this will be the car that predicted the future.