Each forthcoming car, truck, and SUV is an as-yet-unrealized promise, but none emerges wholly from the ether. Clean sheets of paper are found at Staples not car companies, whose planners juggle plants, partnerships, powertrains, and platforms to feed global sales channels. This guarantees a high likelihood of product success, but often also a bland if competent uniformity. So, when something reaches off the page and slaps you in the face, when a just-launched online configurator has you rushing to check your bank balance—that’s amazing. We are celebrating that here.
These are the vehicles that make news each time they shed a bit of camo or whenever a jet-lagged executive reveals a detail about a redesigned wiper stalk. Mere rumors of their existence accelerate competitors’ product cycles. The wait to drive them—one, two, sometimes even three years—is rewarded with hoped-for revelations in advanced technology, structural integrity, mass reduction, fuel economy, features, and acceleration. Fun, too.
Curating this stream of information is nearly as fraught as managing the billions it takes to develop a new model. We beg and borrow insights from around the business, tap sources, and hold our bladders until after the wine glasses have been cleared from the dinner table before asking questions. This year we are even ranking them, counting down to the one that’s most worth waiting for.