2018 was a good year for American automakers.
Last year, we celebrated 4th of July with a top 10 list of the best American cars of the year. The list included the Ford GT, Dodge Viper ACR, Chevy Corvette Z06, Shelby GT350, Cadillac CTS-V, Ford F-150 Raptor, Chevy Camaro ZL1, Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, Tesla Model S, and Dodge Challenger Demon. This year, we wanted to update the list with 10 of the coolest American cars to come out in 2018, and since this is a brand-new year, we left off the awesome cars from last year's list.
If there is one thing the 707 horsepower Dodge Challenger Hellcat didn't need, it was 90 additional horses. That didn't stop Dodge from creating the insane Challenger Hellcat Redeye, which now produces 797 hp and 707 lb-ft of torque from its 6.2-liter supercharged V8. The redeye name signifies that the Hellcat has been "possessed" by the more powerful Demon, and even features red eyes on the Hellcat logo. We want to shake the hand of the marketing boss who signed off on that.
Although it was recently outdone by the Hellcat in terms of power, the Corvette ZR1 should not be ignored. The ZR1 produces over 100 hp more than the Z06 (755 hp) from a new supercharged LT5 V8. Zero to 60 mph takes just 2.85 seconds with the automatic. The ZR1 has already taken down the Demon in a drag race, and will dominate the Dodge on a race track.
Though it is not an all-out V model, the CT6 V-Sport represents an important step for the Cadillac brand. This luxury flagship is now powered by a 4.2-liter twin-turbo V8, producing 550 hp. This engine will likely be tuned to produce even more power in future V models, and could even act as the base engine in the rumored mid-engine Corvette.
On the luxury end of the spectrum, Lincoln has knocked it out of the park with the redesigned Navigator. The Navigator was once maligned as a gussied up Ford Expedition, but is now the benchmark of its segment. Even Land Rover should watch out for this wonderful SUV.
On the SUV front, Fiat Chrysler wowed us by stuffing the 707 hp Hellcat engine into a Grand Cherokee. While it is not quite as crazy as the Trackhawk, the Dodge Durango SRT-8 is still an extremely awesome SUV. The Durango SRT-8 produces 475 hp from a 6.4-liter HEMI V8, and even has a third row to take the kids to soccer practice.
While we patiently wait for the new Bronco, Ford has brought back another model from its past. The new Ranger will offer another American alternative for the hot-selling Toyota Tacoma. The US-spec Ranger is powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost, producing an as-of-now unknown amount of power. In other parts of the world, Ford sells an off-road focused Raptor version, which will hopefully make its way to the US.
General Motors may have killed off its last RWD sedan, the Chevy SS, but it left us another performance sedan: the Buick Regal GS. The GS isn't as powerful as the SS, but does produce 310 hp from its 3.6-liter Camaro-sourced V6. Buick tuned the GS more for comfort, but it also works pretty well as a sport sedan.
Elon Musk has been teasing the prospect of an all-wheel-drive, performance oriented Tesla Model 3, aimed at rivaling the BMW M3. Tesla has finally delivered with a sedan that can do 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, and travel 310 miles on a charge. The M3 and its competitors better watch out.
Last year, we included the Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE on our top 10 list. That car has since been outmatched by the ZR1, but Hennessey built a special ZL1 meant to dethrone the Dodge Demon. It's called the Exorcist, and Hennessey tuned it to deliver an insane 1,000 hp.
America is a land founded by immigrants, so we wanted to include at least one non-American car on the list. Although it comes from Swedish automaker Volvo, the new S60 is actually built in the US. The most powerful S60 T8 Polestar is powered by a twin-charged four-cylinder mated to a hybrid drivetrain. Total output is 415 hp, which is extremely impressive for a four-cylinder. The S60 Polestar will also be among the rarest cars on the list, with only 20 examples coming to the US.