It’s easy to get wistful about the disappearance of America’s great cars: The Shelby Cobra. The Buick Regal GNX. The Jeep Wagoneer (for now). We don’t, however, lament the days of the AMC Pacer or the Chrysler LeBaron — both of which will forever live in the annals of the awful.
But times have also changed for the better, and the new breed of stateside vehicles doesn’t just benefit from great design, but also excellent driving dynamics and cutting edge automotive technology.
Here are our 10 current favorites.
The Cadillac ATS Coupe
The ATS ($37,995 MSRP) is the sporty coupe we’ve been waiting for, with clean, crisp lines and a sleek silhouette. Opt for the 3.6-liter V6 with a rich 321 HP and all-wheel drive for four seasons drivability. It retains a sophisticated American flavor while delivering European driving dynamics.
The new Camaro ($37,295) is even better than the last one. A more taut chassis and body show up, along with up to 455 HP from a naturally-aspirated V8 make it the modern pony car built for straight lines and switchbacks.
After 50 years of production, the new Mustang ($24,145) is at its peak, with head-turning design and neck-snapping power ranging from a 3.7-liter V6 with 300 HP all the way to the monster 435 HP V8 GT. Now that the solid rear axle is gone, the independent rear suspension lets the Mustang take fast curves like a champ.
Ford Focus RS
The upcoming 2016 Focus RS ($35,730) is a true rally car for the street. The 2.3-liter turbocharged four bumps out a whopping 350 HP and sends that power to four driven wheels. Its torque vectoring system ensures crazy levels of handling, and it should make other hot hatches soil their oil pans.
Dodge Charger R/T
You don’t have to have the 707 HP Hellcat to do some damage. The R/T ($33,895) spits out 370 HP from its potent 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and has the chiseled looks to back it up, along with ample room for five people.
If there’s one American sports sedan to rule them all, it’s the CTS-V ($84,990). A thermonuclear-like 640 horses tosses it to 60 in a mind-boggling 3.6 seconds. The big Brembo brakes and hi-tech magnetorheological suspension keeps it all in check.
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
There isn’t a better sports car for the money ($55,400). It’ll outgun cars costing twice as much, and now it has the interior to match. Choose the base model with 460 HP and the 7-speed manual, and you’ll be in purist heaven.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
The new Grand Cherokee ($30,990) is as good as it’s ever been thanks to the more cohesive sheet metal and four engine options, including a 5.7-liter V8 with 360 galloping horses. Add true 4x4 capability and their Quadra-Lift Air suspension, and you have a recipe for on- and off-road prowess.
Tesla Model S
Elon Musk has created a legend ($70,000) and not just because it’s electric but because it’s nutty quick. 240 mile electric range with up to 422 HP and complete silence. The fact that it can handle seven passengers with an optional third row makes it more practical than any other luxury sedan.
Buick Regal GS AWD
The Regal ($37,415) is the anti-Buick Buick. The peppy 259 hp turbo four drives all four wheels, and the adjustable dampers and taut suspension make it shockingly good on the track. It bucks the whole Buick land barge image quite nicely.
— Amos Kwon