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Each new year brings the promise of new consumer trends, as new products are released and attentions shift from one style to another. From clothes and fitness to food and drinks, 2017 will introduce us to many fresh and unique fads. And, while they might not be as glamorous as what debuts on fashion runways, new trends in the auto industry are likely to show up this year too.
One trend seen in recent years which is expected to grow in 2017 is the evolution of the driving experience. Modern drivers want to get the most out of every minute they spend in their car. For many, it is no longer enough to simply get from point A to point B. These drivers have a new desire for cutting-edge tools and accessories that will make their driving experience more entertaining and accessible. Some newer items which are expected to be popular in 2017 include:

  • Rooftop tents. The car tent category is not necessarily a new one. However, until recently, most of these pop-up tents were made exclusively for use in truck beds. Now, many brands are beginning to offer models which unfold to sit on top of the car. Drivers with all types of vehicles now have a convenient and portable way to be shielded from the elements when camping – without having to sleep on the cold ground or shell out big dollars to rent a camper.
  • In-vehicle WiFi hotspots. Some manufacturers have already begun offering vehicles with hotspots built in. But older cars now have the option to join the 21st Century with battery-powered units that create a personal hotspot. The addition of a hotspot can liven up road trips by allowing passengers to stream all the music and videos they want on their smartphones without running up their data bill! Nothing is worse than a long road trip with little ones in the car, and no way to entertain them. Now you can connect to all of your devices without issue, making your travels that much more comfortable.
There are also other drivers who consider their car to be a novelty and conversation piece with other car fanatics. This group is interested in accessories which revamp the appearance of the car and allow them to personalize their ride so it stands out amongst their friends. Experts expect to see an increased interest in modifiers and add-ons in 2017. Some examples include:
  • LED headlights. These alternatives to traditional halogen bulbs have seen a rise in popularity since 2014. This year, "Mustang Style" versions of the headlights are expected to be trendy. The style gained popularity after being featured on, you guessed it, newer model Ford Mustangs. In addition to giving the car a more sleek and futuristic look, these lights have practical advantages. LED bulbs give off stronger light, draw less power, and last a long time. Some drivers will opt for colored LEDs too, for a more personalized look (though this is not legal in all states).
  • "Mod" Trucks. More and more in the truck community, we are seeing a trend towards modification and customization. In 2017 this trend is expected to be reflected particularly in truck wheels including all-terrain tires and negative offset wheels which stick out beyond the truck's fenders. Don't remember seeing any trucks in Fast and the Furious? You didn't – but expect to see a lot of customization for trucks moving forward as more options become available in the marketplace.
Like other markets, car trends come and car trends go (remember the car bra?). But one thing that will remain consistent is the broad availability of aftermarket parts, as car lovers alike look for more ways to personalize their ride and make it stand out on the road.

Richard Reina is the Product Training Director at CARiD.com, and an auto enthusiast with more than 30 years of experience working with cars.

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