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Hot New Car Trends for 2017

What you'll learn: Hot New Car Trends for 2017


If last year was the year of the crossover SUV, then 2017 is the year all-electric cars take the spotlight. It’s no longer remarkable to see EVs (electric vehicles) humming down the road in metropolitan areas. Hybrid vehicles are reaching further and further afield as well.

New car shoppers are also hot for tech. Smart technology and infotainment systems have reached enough models that drivers have come to expect them in newer vehicles, and the technology is readily available now to upgrade systems in older cars.

What can you expect if you’re shopping for a new 2017 car this season?

Chevy Volt lights up electric cars

Last year, the Chevy Volt was battling it out with the Ford Focus Electric and the Tesla Model 3 for EV supremacy. This year, the winner has become clear. The Chevy Volt has pulled out in front with a 238-mile range at a reasonable $29,995 after the $7,500 federal tax rebate.

A safer driving experience

The design and technology of this year’s vehicles make them considerably safer than older cars. Since the average American car is more than 11 years old, many cars still don’t have side airbags, which didn’t start appearing in many cars until 2006. And electronic stability control (ESC) didn’t become a federal safety requirement until 2012.

Speaking of safety requirements, this is the last year you’ll be able to buy a car without a rearview camera. Most new models already have them. LED lights are making it to the mainstream this year too, as well as lane drift technology that warns you when you swerve out of your lane.

Impact safety continues to improve. Today’s new cars absorb and protect passengers from impact better than ever. Car frames are getting stronger; and even body welds are bracing up to higher standards.

Assistive driving features

Assistive driving features keep drivers safer all the way around, and 2017 models are beginning to reap the benefits. The ones that beep and buzz to warn you of impending danger are most popular. Those that take over the brakes or steering, however, tend to annoy many drivers.

Looking for real convenience? Parking assistance may help you gain back those sanity points you lost during the parallel parking segment of your driver’s license test. The car does all the twitchy maneuvering; all you do is apply the gas at the right times. Assistive parking is available mostly in luxury cars for now.

Expect tech

In the era of the touchscreen, infotainment systems are becoming a must-have for many consumers. Drivers today want to stream their audio collections in the car, navigate via live GPS systems and handle phone calls and texts via voice recognition.

Fortunately, you can upgrade your older car relatively inexpensively to work with auxiliary devices (like your smartphone) that help you do these things, but in 2017 models, you’ll get it all baked right in.

Still going strong

The big story last year was the rise of the subcompact SUV and the crossover. The wildly popular crossover sits atop a car chassis rather than a truck chassis to pamper drivers with a more comfortable ride and better gas mileage. Crossovers are still a big hit in 2017, and you’ll find plenty of them to choose from.

Ready to go shopping? Check out the Motor Trend 2017 New Car Buyer’s Guide for a complete look at what’s new this year.

Up-to-date financing options

Now that you’re looking at new cars, make sure your financing is ready for today’s models too. Auto financing with PenFed gets you behind the wheel for as low as 1.49% APR*. Dealers at the new car showroom will be motivated to give you the best deal on their lot up if they know you’re already set with an auto loan from PenFed.

And if the whole showroom and dealer experience is not your thing, try the PenFed Car Buying Service and handle the process online. Search and sort cars by the features you’re looking for, double-check that you’re not overpaying for the car and features you want, and then make the deal happen. It’s never been simpler.

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