2017: The Year the Future Arrives

Think back five years.

The year was 2012. It wasn’t that long ago, but in terms of advancements in the auto industry, it was an eternity. After doing a quick Google search for “car trends 2012,” I found a quaint little article from January of that year in the USA Today with the headline “Five auto trends that will shake up 2012.”

The article mentioned things like stop/start engine technology, multiple air bags, smaller gas-powered engines, and simple infotainment controls.

Earth-shattering stuff, right?

Compare that list to what to expect for 2017 and you’d think we jumped ahead 20 years, not just five. Here’s where we are now.

A Washington Post article published this week says to watch for autonomous driving, online-connected vehicles, and more electric vehicles. Of course there’s also a fair share of retro throwbacks on the way, but even those are more futuristic than anyone could have guessed.

Self-driving cars weren’t even on the radar in 2012, and today we have the technology for at least Level 3 autonomous driving, with the promise of completely autonomous cars within just a couple of years.

The Post also mentions the rise of “big data” in our cars. As cars continue to merge with smartphones, app developers can fully integrate the driving experience with our phones and vice versa. The possibilities here are endless and include summoning our cars with the push of a button, using our phones as “keys” for our cars, using our voices to command our cars, and syncing every piece of our digital lives to our cars.

Whether or not those are positive developments remains subjective.

In 2012 EVs were limited to the new-on-the-market Nissan Leaf and the exotic Tesla Model S. Today virtually every automaker has plans to release and/or develop electric cars and the technology is widely seen as the eventual replacement for gas engines.

Even cars based on retro designs are taking on a whole new life. The Volkswagen Microbus, for instance, revived as the I.D. Buzz concept, could actually reach production as an autonomous EV.

The world is much different than it was five years ago and automotive trends are looking far more futuristic than most of us expected.

The average car on the road is about 12 years old right now, which means many car buyers are in for quite a shock when they finally decide to step foot into a dealer and kick some tires. In this day and age, the tires just might kick back.

When was the last time you bought a new car?


Find Certified Pre-Owned Cars and Used Cars in your area at CarGurus.


  1. I bought my current car 2004. It is still in good condition and quite up-to-date regarding safety and exhaust emissions – it’s a Volvo S60 Bi-Fuel (runs on biogas or petrol). Things that are missing compared to new models are auto-brake and modern infotainment system.

  2. I’m 34 and never bought a new car. I hope that among all the changes the auto industry understands that there is still a market for people that like to actually, you know, drive a car. Not everyone wants a sensor on every part of their car telling them how to drive.

    I like my 2002 Subaru WRX, it’s simple and it has a CD player AND a casette player.

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