2014 has been an eventful year in the automotive world. From developments in new technologies to the quest to perfect more familiar ones, from the arrival of new car companies to the return of long lost ones, the year was filled with important cars and trends.
Here are 15 of the most important and significant cars of 2014.
15. Acura TLX: Honda once-popular Acura near-luxury brand has lost its way a bit in recent years. The new TLX seems to have helped the brand find some firm footing again. The new sedan -- which replaced both the TL and TSX models -- have been well received by critics and buyers alike. This has translated into an increase in Acura sales.
14. Cadillac CTS-V: The newly announced 640 horsepower, 200 mph CTS-V makes history as the fastest and most powerful car ever produced in the brand's 112 year history. GM may finally have a super-sedan capable of going toe-to-toe with the best Europe has to offer.
13. Aston Martin DB10: Once again James Bond will find himself behind the wheel of an Aston Martin. This time it will be the gorgeous DB10 -- a car commissioned specially for the film.
12. Alfa Romeo 4C: After a 20 year-long absence, Alfa Romeo returns to the US with the stunning 4C sports car. Powered by a 237 horsepower 1.7 liter turbocharged engine, the pint-sized 4C is pure old-school driving pleasure.
10. Porsche Macan: Porsche is synonymous with the 911 and its other sports cars. However, its bread-and-butter moneymaker is its Cayenne SUV. The smaller Macan will take Porsche's SUV sales to new levels. Don't be shocked to see it account for as much as 30-50% of the company's worldwide sales.
9. Lincoln MKC: Ford's Lincoln luxury brand had been in the doldrums for the better part of a decade, until a recent slew of new models triggered a renaissance for the brand. At the heart of its rebirth is the compact MKC crossover SUV and its Matthew McConaughey-centric marketing campaign. The result is some of the best sales numbers Lincoln has seen in years.
8. Ford Mustang: As the pony car celebrated its 50th birthday, Ford rolled out a brand new model that should make its ancestors very proud. With modern brakes, suspension, and a bunch of high output engines, the new Mustang is more than a stoplight drag racer -- it's a true-blue world class sports car. The 'Stang's 2.3 liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder and its 5.0 liter Coyote V8 engines are true gems.
7. BMW i8: The BMW i8 is a new leap forward for sports car technology. Its advanced carbon-fibre-and-alloy construction along with a 3-motor hybrid powertrain make the i8 truly unique.
6.Hyundai Genesis: Moving upmarket for a traditionally mass-market brand is monumentally difficult. However, Hyundai may be well on its way to succeeding. The Korean brand's second-gen Genesis sedan has been truly impressive. Its style, performance, and luxury have earned the car praise from across the industry.
5. Jeep Cherokee: With sales up more than 20%, 2014's biggest winner is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. At the tip of Chrysler's spear is Jeep's highly successful Cherokee. There were doubts as to whether the SUV's controversial styling, Italian compact-car chassis, and its 9-speed transmission would pass muster with American car buyers. They have and the Cherokee has sold more than 160,000 units so far this year.
4. Dodge Charger/Challenger HEMI Hellcat: 707 horsepower. The 707 horsepower supercharged HEMI Hellcat engine was a gut punch to GM and Ford's muscle cars. The massive new motor instantly made the ageing Challenger a viable competitor against the new Camaro and the new Mustang. Even more, the Hellcat instantly made the 204-mph Charger the fastest sedan in the world based on top speed.
... and Mercedes-Benz CLA were big hits for Germany's triumvirate of automakers. This was especially the case in North America where the cars gave Germany's luxury brands access to a younger consumer base.
2. Tesla Model 3. I'll admit it the Tesla Model 3 isn't here yet. However, the announcement of its planned 2017 arrival made waves in the auto industry. As great as the Model S has been, it is still a high-end luxury sedan and will never be more than a niche product. The Model 3 will change that. Based on the announced performance specifications, it will be the most competent mass-market electric vehicle to date.
1. Ford F-150: A redesigned full-size Ford truck may not seem like a very sexy story, but it's certainly the most important. As America's best selling vehicle for the last three decades or so, the fate of the Ford Motor Company rests on its ability to compete. The big worry this time around is whether the F-150's new aluminium construction can take the punishment. In the short term and in terms of sales success, the new Ford F-150 hit it out of the park.
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