As the end of the year quickly approaches our rear view mirror, We wanted to take a look back, and highlight what surprises 2017 brought to Car-Revs-Daily. This year proved to be a very busy one, with a swarm of new vehicles visiting our offices, as well as several key automotive events that occurred throughout the year. With old man winter firmly entrenched at our Metro Detroit outpost, here's a look at some of the best and not so best vehicles that visited the Michigan office during 2017.
Best: 2018 Lexus LC500
It's only fitting that we start this list with the lone vehicle that was the subject of not one, not two, but three different Car-Revs-Daily reviews during 2017, the 2018 Lexus LC500. This sleek and impressive two door coupe won over our hearts (and our Supercar of The Year Award) with its throaty V8 soundtrack, elegant appointments, and its concept car inspired styling cues. When it visited Metro Detroit, we immediately fell in love with its charms, and the LC500 visited the visually elegant Meadowbrook Hall at Oakland University for a special photo shoot, where it had a chance to take artistic beauty full circle. While its $100,000 price tag will limit this futuristic two door to the rarefied few that can afford such opulence, look for the LC500 to be a potent halo offering for Lexus, with the show car looks drawing in buyers that might buy other models in the lineup especially its CUV offerings.
Best: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox
Chevrolet has the growing crossover segment in its crosshairs, and the 2018 Equinox aims to solidify the brand's foothold in this extremely lucrative market. When it visited the Metro Detroit office this fall, we took a unique approach, and pitted it in a comparison test against our resident 2017 LT Equinox, to see if it could truly fill the lofty shoes left by its predecessor. Ultimately both of these capable CUVs managed to shine in this unconventional test, and we look forward to seeing what the future has in store for the current generation Equinox especially if rumors of a Blazer revival do indeed produce fruit.
Worst: 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road
Before we go on any further, the reason why the 4Runner made it to the worst category this year is NOT because of its off-road capability. When it comes to going off the beaten path, the 2017 Toyota 4Runner is still a top choice for eager enthusiasts thanks to its potent off-road tech, rugged interior, and its impressive cargo capability. However, it also serves as an indirect example of why the traditional SUV is slowly fading away, with the 4Runner flunking in on-road driving during our time with it. From shockingly bad braking behavior, to sluggish freeway acceleration, and lousy interior ergonomics, the 4Runner proved to be a one trick pony which might turn off mainstream SUV buyers. With the 2018 Jeep Wrangler (the 4Runner's chief rival) adapting its bag of tricks to cater to buyers that want both on and off road performance, the next generation 4Runner will have to evolve to not only gain ground in this category, but also to stay relevant in the marketplace as well.
Worst: 2017 Lexus RX350 F-Sport
With the high levels of design synergy that Lexus has achieved with the fore-mentioned LC 500, it's a pity that it has not translated to some of its other models. Case in point was the 2017 Lexus RX350 F-Sport that visited the Michigan outpost along with the 2017 Dodge Challenger GT this summer. The exterior design bordered on visual overload, and was an aesthetic mess with random curves, angles, and creases scattered everywhere. It's a shame since the interior of the RX 350 we tested was actually one of the best we have ever sat in with sound design, solid interior materials, and comfortable seats. We hope that the next generation RX will retain the interior's winning ways, while also smoothing out the exterior design to create a well balanced luxury CUV contender.
With 2017 slowly slipping away at the time of this writing, we wish everyone a happy New Year, and we look forward to the new thrills, chills, and adventures that 2018 will bring our way. Stay Tuned!!!!!