Auto companies are making big advances and big promises.
Newer technologies — such as gesture controls and other hands-free ways to interact with your car, connectivity, innovations in alerts, crash prevention and partly self-driving vehicles — are at the forefront of the minds of automakers and car buyers alike.
Here's what experts say you should know about what's new or improved in 2017:
NEW TECHNOLOGY AND SAFETY
But, Kitzmiller said, safety advancements very rarely sell vehicles by themselves. As the industry fought about airbags, Kitzmiller said, consumers still paid the increased cost. Now it’s standard, and Kitsmiller said he thinks that will become the case for the newer driver-assist technologies seen today.
HYBRIDS, PLUG-IN'S AND ELECTRIC VEHICLES
Until recently, most electric cars could travel little more than 100 miles on a single charge. New models such as the Bolt and the Tesla Model 3 will travel 200 miles or more between charges.
For people who may not want to buy into a fully-electric vehicle, manufacturers are investing in or churning out hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles — including sport utility vehicles — at record rates. Plug-in hybrids allow owners to enjoy the advantages of a shorter-range electric vehicle that can be charged at home but that also can run on gasoline.
Voelk, who lives in Seattle, said he personally sees the practicality of owning hybrid or electric vehicles. He owns a plug-in hybrid Cadillac ELR that he said he took to the gas station just once within the first 9 months of ownership.
"There's no question that the manufacturers have invested billions of dollars in the new vehicles, the zero-emissions vehicles. It's part of their product," Kitzmiller said. "You are going to see more of these vehicles coming out and they'll be pushing them."
THE CONSTANTS, THE NEW AND THE RESURGENCES
Automakers continue churning away on their bread-and-butter best sellers, like the Toyota Camry, GMC Terrain and the Honda Odyssey. But they’re also bringing back revamped, re-energized older models for a second life, and giving more attention to the quickly-rising crossover segment.