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HOT RIDES FOR 2017

A few of our favourites from the models being rolled out for 2017
By Casey Williams

 
There are plenty of new or significantly refreshed cars and trucks coming in the 2017 model year. From affordable and practical to expensive and luxurious, one of these new models will surely entice your inner driver.
 
Mercedes-Benz E-Class
The world’s most advanced sedan boasts dramatic curves, broad shoulders and “stardust effect” LED tail lights. Interiors harbour twin screens for instruments and infotainment. Natural-grain ash wood, contrasting leather, heated armrests and 64-hue ambient lighting add serious panache. A 241-horsepower 2.0-litre turbo-four delivers pace; a dynamic air suspension system adds grace. The Drive Pilot system can automatically follow traffic up to 209 km/h, assist in steering around corners, and change lanes automatically.
Base price: $61,200
 
Honda Ridgeline
Honda’s crossover-based pickup goes from homely to handsome as designers rebuff origami styling for streamlined normalcy. The bed has its own audio system, power outlet, under-floor trunk with drain for iced beverages, and a tailgate that swings and folds. The flip-up rear seat allows cross-loading cargo. A standard 280-horsepower V6 engine easily tows a couple of jet skis. Safety is enhanced by available Collision Mitigation Braking, Lean Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and LaneWatch camera.
Base price: $36,590
 
Chevy Cruze Hatch
Affordability takes a stylish turn with the Cruze Hatch. The extra port allows crossover-like flexibility inside. Cruze Hatch is available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, heated steering wheel, heated front/rear seats, and leather surfaces. Projector-beam headlights with LEDs accent the exterior. The 1.4-litre turbocharged engine with Stop/Start delivers 6.2-L/100 km highway. Lane Keep Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Park Assist enhance safety.
Base price: est. $20,000
 
Mazda MX-5 RF
I adore the MX-5’s elegant manual cloth top, but the new RF has a hard top for touring that, with the flip of a switch at speeds up to 10 km/h, converts into an open-roof targa. Fastback styling gets pulses quickening, as does a choice of SKYACTIV 1.5- or 2.0-
litre gasoline engines (the latter delivers 155 horsepower). Interiors can be upholstered in nappa leather, but are models of simplicity. The RF should please MX-5 enthusiasts while enticing new fans.
Base price: $38,800
 

 
CASEY WILLIAMS is a contributing writer for Gaywheels.com. He contributes to the New York-based LGBT magazine Metrosource and the Chicago Tribune. He and his husband live in Indianapolis, where Williams contributes videos and reviews to wfyi.org, the area’s PBS/NPR station.

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