Every year brings more improvements and advances in the automotive industry, but now consumers are wondering if there can be anything new to debut in the coming year.  The answer is yes, and here are the top five trends in automobiles expected for 2013.

More Horse Power

2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang
The Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang returns with 662hp in 2013

The return of the Shelby to the forefront of Ford’s arsenal of powerhouse vehicles is nothing short of exciting.  A production car that offers a 200 MPH stock speed is mystifying, but one look under the hood explains it all.  An aluminum block 5.8-liter V8 engine gives the Shelby GT500 662hp, and that makes it the highest horse-power rated car ever produced in America for this class of vehicle.

The Year of the Ecoboost Motor

Bigger muscles have always needed higher fuel consumption, with every 100 HP translating into about 1.0 liter of engine capacity, till now.  The Ecoboost motor is showing that smaller engines do not need to be unresponsive and boring.   The Ford Fusion and Hyundai Genesis both include a 2.0-liter engine that delivers about 135 hp per liter when topped with a turbo.  Smaller consumption with bigger output are helping car buyers find a balance between the need to conserve and the desire to drive.

Hybrid Revolution

It seems every car company is making a hybrid now in an attempt to bandwagon on the trend, but there are a few that are changing the game.  BMW’s i8 is a futuristic looking sports car that out performs all other hybrids and most other cars in its class.  It is a reinvention of the hybrid produced by a leader in the automotive industry, and it is revolutionary.  However, those that are looking for a full-sized 4WD SUV hybrid need only turn their attention to the Toyota Highlander, which just keeps getting better each year and further ahead in MPG of any SUV on the road.  With the choice between a real sports car and a real 4WD, 2013 will offer fewer reasons to not drive a hybrid.

Tesla Goes Mainstream

2013 Tesla Model S
2013 brings the debut of the Tesla Model S

The boutique car maker, Tesla, is such a niche producer of electric cars that few people have ever seen or heard of them.  But that could all change in 2013.  The general price for an ultra-limited production Tesla was over the $100k mark, but it gave drivers a car that could hit 60 MPH in 3.7 seconds on electricity.  That was great, but generally unattainable to the masses.  Now, with a full production factory outfitted and ready to produce 20,000 new Model S cars for public consumption, many are saying Tesla is poised to become the new fourth in the American car industry’s leader group.  The Model S may only be a sedan that delivers 0 to 60 in 5.6 seconds, but they are selling fast at half the price of the company’s flagship model.

Smarter Keys

The future of electronics has typically seemed to revolve around personalization and convenience, which is now extending in a very useful way into the world of cars.  New smart keys, like MyKey from Ford, allow parents to program settings that help monitor and govern teenage drivers.  Speed limiter, heightened traction control system and stereo volume limiter are some of the expected features, but the addition of texting block and blind spot assistance are surprising bonuses.

Guest author Jen Carrigan writes for STITA Taxi where you can find trendy and up-to-date taxi service in the greater Seattle area.