Best New SUVs That Debuted in 2017
2017 has been an amazing year for the automobile. Sales have increased across the board, high-performance models are quicker and faster than ever, off-roaders are more capable than before, and a slew of new models have hit the streets. That’s what we’re looking at here: the all-new vehicles the debuted in 2017. But more specifically, we’re looking at the crossovers and SUVs that made their initial splash into the fastest-growing segment in the industry.
Before we dive in, it’s worth noting that practically dozens of SUVs and crossovers were revamped in 2017. Models like the Jeep Wrangler JL, Chevrolet Traverse, Mazda CX-3, and plenty more were made new again. But these are familiar nameplates. This go-round, we’re focusing on completely new models.
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Earlier this month we named TopSpeed’s picks for car, truck, and performance car of the year. Following out strict criteria of judging things like overall improvement in design, safety, value and intended function (among other things,) we chose the Mazda MX-5 Miata as the car of the year, and the Nisan Titan XD as truck of the year. Following our points system, the Miata and Titan scored 32 points and 30 points, respectively. It was a relatively close battle, though, with the 2016 Honda Civic taking 20 points and the 2016 Volvo XC90 taking 24 points, earning them both a second place spot on our list in their respective segments. As it turns out, those second place picks have officially been named Car and Truck of the year, so you could say we judged the automotive market pretty well this year.
The North American Car of the Year and Truck of the Year is chosen by a group of 53 international automotive journalists. All 53 journalists are from the U.S. or Canada, and they carefully consider each model before naming the absolute best. Sometimes it can be difficult to get a small group of people to agree on something, so just imagine the conversations between this select group of people.
When it comes to deciding a winner for each category, the journalists take into consideration things like design, safety, performance, innovation, value, and even driver satisfaction. I’m sure it wasn’t a very easy choice to come to, but this year, the group chose the 2016 Honda Civic as the North American Car of the Year and the Volvo XC90 as the 2016 North American Truck of the Year.
The 2016 Honda Civic was redesigned for the 2016 model year, and was underpinned by a whole new vehicle platform. Safety features included things like Honda Sensing and a list of semi-autonomous technologies like lane departure warning with lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and an automatic emergency braking system. It is also the first compact car in the world to include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as part of its infotainment system. It’s also the first Civic to take on Honda’s turbo engine technology. It should be noted that both the Sedan and Coupe variants of the Civic are built in either Indiana or Ontario, using domestic and globally sourced parts.
The Volvo XC90 was chosen as Truck of the Year by the same 53 automotive journalists. This year, it too is built on a whole new architecture and includes a whole new powertrain and semi-autonomous technology. Offering up configurations in the five- or seven-passenger variety, the XC90 is a trusted family hauler, and available with several engine configurations. At the low end, the XC90 offers up 250 horsepower, while a 316 horsepower turbocharged engine is also available. In hybrid form, the XC90 offers up and amazing 400 horsepower and 53 MPGe – the first seven-passenger plug-in hybrid vehicle. Like all Volvo models, the XC90 comes with Volvo’s amazing City Safety system that includes automatic emergency braking, pilot assist, and pedestrian protection. The XC90 was also on the IIHS’ Safety Pick+ list.
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The 2015 model year has been an extremely exciting one that now flows into automotive history. We’ve seen the automakers stumbling inches from death while others have somehow been reborn. Vehicles are now getting better fuel economy than ever, yet horsepower and performance numbers continue to grow – though not usually from the same platform. Still, this year has been a fantastic ride full of drama, big debuts, and lots of honestly excellent cars.
It’s our job here at TopSpeed to bring you the latest news from the automotive industry and reviews of the newest products. It might be the best job in the world, second only to being an astronaut, in my book – but naming winners from this year’s crop of cars will be tough. Automakers have poured vast amounts of time and money into making products better. Cars in the last five years have risen in quality, feature content, and connectability. Those found on dealer lots in 2015 represent the latest in a century’s old industry that prides itself on creating things people desire and chase after.
Thankfully we have criteria that should make the task simpler. If you haven’t read how TopSpeed’s award system works, click here. These vehicles will be judged not against each other, but against our seven key points. Narrowing the field, contenders must be significantly refreshed or all-new for the 2015 or 2016 model year, and must have been in dealer showrooms within the 2015 calendar year.
Lastly, each of our editors will submit their top five pick for each of the three categories that include car, truck, and performance vehicle. Here are my top picks.
Armed with that info, let’s get to it.
There is never a time when I feel more like a massive car nerd then when I’m picking a best of list. It’s not that these kinds of lists are inherently nerdy, it’s just that I think about them far too much, and invariably go full High Fidelity. As always, my list of top picks for 2015 has been amended several times and mulled over for days. I have tried to offer up a diverse list, both when it comes to pricing and also intended function, although this comes through mostly with the trucks section.
I haven’t included any Volkswagens and I will admit that this is possibly unfair. I like VW’s cars, but I also used to love its diesels, so I feel my assessment of VW products is tainted. I’m not entirely sure any of them would have made the list anyway, but I will give the GTI an honorable mention here. I have included a couple of Audis and a Porsche too, so that kind of counts. It was a struggle not to make this list about half Ford products as well. Ford brought out a lot of new products this year, and it’s difficult not to be biased as the owner of a 2015 Ford. I resisted, perhaps wrongly, but that’s why naming the best of 2015 is a team effort.
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With the 2015 calendar year coming to an end, it’s time to evaluate what has happened in the industry over the last 12 months and honor the best vehicles that arrived in showrooms in our annual TopSpeed Awards. This year, we are set to crown three winners – the car, truck, and performance vehicle of the year – and to do that we’ve put together a set of criteria. You can learn more about it here.
Granted, 2015 has been an eventful year with several new or updated releases for each segment, including the three we are set to judge. With so many new vehicles to choose from, picking five nominees and judging them against the criteria has been rather difficult. But after much thorough analysis and deliberation, I’ve come up with what I consider to be the top five greatest contenders for this year’s TopSpeed awards.
Check them all about below and make sure you stick around to find out what my fellow editors picked for each category, as well as for the big announcement on January 4th, 2016, when we will reveal the winners. Also, feel free to agree or disagree with my nominations in the comments section.
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Of all the things I write about here at TopSpeed, picking a “best of” list is without question the toughest one to do. Don’t get me wrong: I like the idea of trying to come up with a list of cars, trucks/SUVs, and performance cars that really stood out this year, but there’s also a lot of pressure that comes with it. Did I make the right choices? Did I forget a model that should’ve been on that list? Did I overrate a model that made it on my list? These are only a handful of questions that I’ve struggled through in the past few days as I compiled my list.
In the end, I think I managed to come up with a list that’s at least half-decent. Okay, I think I did a little better than that. As much as I wanted to include some models on my list, the inevitable last-second cuts happened in all three categories. I wish I could’ve picked more, but given the pressure that already comes with choosing five models in each category, anything more might have resulted in my head exploding.
Alas, this is my list. Feel free to agree or disagree until the cows come home.
It doesn’t really matter what your automotive predilections may be – 2015 was a helluva year to love cars. Technological breakthroughs and developing social perceptions continue to transform the industry on an almost daily basis, and automakers are beginning to see the inherent opportunities of this transformation, rather than just the threat to the status quo. And while no one will deny the mounting pressure to evolve, the basics of what’s positive about cars remain. Icons change, expectations change, but that original kernel of what makes four-wheeled transport so fundamentally good continues onwards. The result, at least for folks like you and me, is some truly fantastic cars.
While I’d be happy to discuss the broad strokes of trends in the car world, my purpose here is different. I’m here to highlight 15 of the best new models on the road, whether they’re economical commuters, elegant SUVs, workhorse trucks, or exotic if-I-had-the-money fantasies. While I admit that my own tastes skew towards the lightweight, affordable, and fun-to-drive, I appreciate any vehicle that taps into that original kernel of goodness, no matter what the shell on top may look like.
Continue reading for my top picks for 2015.
With 2015 coming to an end, it’s time for us look back over the year and evaluate the year as a whole. This year, we’ve decided to pick out the best cars available in 2015 from three different segments and crown them as such. Our criteria for selection was strict, but not so strict that we couldn’t have fun with our nominees.
With a year like 2015, it is hard to label out just a few cars, so I’ve picked five cars, trucks, and performance beasts to nominate as the best cars of 2015. The rest of the staff here at TopSpeed has done the same, and we’re excited to tally up the results. The winners will be crowned on January 4th, 2016, but until then, make sure to check out everybody’s picks for car of the year.
What’s your input on car of the year? Hit us up on our Facebook page, or drop a comment below to let me know what you think of my choices, or what you think is the absolute best car of 2015. Remember, only cars available this year count. Happy New Year!
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The finalists for the 2016 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year have been announced. All in all, six vehicles made the final cut, including three cars, two SUVs, and one pick-up. The first three will vie for the 2016 North American Car of the Year award, while the latter three will go head-to-head-to-head for the 2016 Truck/Utility of the Year award. Making up the finalists for the North American Car of the Year award are the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, 2016 Honda Civic, and the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. Likewise, the three finalists for the North American Truck/Utility of the Year are the 2016 Honda Pilot, 2016 Volvo XC90, and the 2016 Nissan Titan XD.
The distinction of being named the North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year is something that automaker’s take pretty seriously. Last year, the Volkswagen Golf and the Ford F-150 took home the awards in their respective categories. Not surprisingly, both Volkswagen and Ford spent a great deal of time touting the awards they received to the public. Expect more of the same from the eventual winners of the two categories, all of whom, it must be said, are part of some pretty competitive segments in the industry.
The Civic and the Malibu, in particular, are direct competitors so being named the car of the year will give the winner a huge amount of bragging rights over the rest of the segment. The same holds true, albeit to a lesser extent, for the Pilot and the XC90. Both are SUVs and while one is considered a premium SUV, the two models are still part of the ever growing SUV market in North America.
The final round of voting is scheduled to take place on January 4, 2016. The two winners will then be announced in a ceremony at the start of the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 11, 2016.
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This year’s World Car Awards were pretty much a Mercedes-Benz affair, after the German carmaker snatched three of five awards. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe was declared the 2015 World Luxury Car during a press conference at the New York Auto Show, continuing in the same vein as the S-Class sedan, which won the inaugural edition of the category in 2014.
"The S-Class Coupé lives up to the claim ’The best or nothing’ in every detail and in an exceptionally exclusive fashion: in terms of aesthetics, technology and quality. A brand ambassador par excellence. And the entire Mercedes team is proud that the World Car Of The Year jury takes a similar view." said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The 2015 World Luxury Car winner was first selected from a list of 12 nominees and then from a short list of three finalists, which included the BMW i8 and the Range Rover Autobiography Black LWB. No fewer than 75 international automotive journalists comprised the 2015 World Car Awards jury panel, who normally test each new car model as it arrives on the market. Available exclusively with twin-turbocharged V-8 and V-12 engines and featuring even more high-tech technology than its sedan brother, the S-Class Coupe apparently convinced most of the jurors in this highly disputed category. The three-pointed star also took home the 2015 World Car Award and the 2015 Performance Car Award for the C-Class and the Mercedes-AMG GT, respectively.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe
The Citroen C4 Cactus has been declared the 2015 World Car Design of the Year at a press conference hosted by the New York International Auto Show. The French crossover, equipped with Citroen’s innovative air pocket panels that prevent dents and scratches, gathered most votes in a final that also included the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Volvo XC90.
As with each edition of the awards, the candidates were first reviewed by a panel consisting of five highly respected design experts. The 75 World Car Awards jurors then voted on the expert’s recommendations. World Car Design of the Year candidates are required to be available in quantities of at least 10 in one major market during the period beginning January 1st, 2014 and ending May 31st, 2015.
"The Cactus is a truly innovative piece of design. It has an appealingly distinct exterior announced first by its slender upper front lights, proportions slightly different to any other car, and by those stand-out ‘air-bumps’ that help safeguard against parking scrapes. Inside it eschews lots of dials and buttons for a very minimal uncluttered approach: controls centered on and around a central digital screen and many of the core surfaces and volumes kept linear, reduced, and pleasantly un-car-like. The Cactus design is a proper breath of fresh air," the experts that favored the C4 Cactus concluded.
This is the second Citroen to win the World Car Design of the Year, after the C4 won the inaugural edition in 2006.
Continue reading to learn more about the Citroen C4 Catus.
Most people would never have guessed that BMW’s first mid-engine sportscar since the M1 would go on to win a "World Green Car Of The Year" award, but the i8 actually did it at the 2015 edition of the event. The i8 is the second BMW model to win the award in a row, after the smaller i3 cliched victory in the World Green Car Category in 2014, and the third model if we also include the title won by the BMW 118d in 2008.
"I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of the team in Munich," said Dr. Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Sales and Marketing BMW, speaking at the Award Ceremony in New York. "The BMW i8 represents the future with its unique lightweight construction and unrivaled connectivity. To win this award for the second year in a row shows that our BMW i products are truly leading the world."
Even though it is touted as the first plug-in hybrid built by BMW and it features low-rolling resistance tires, the i8 is also a sports car at heart. The model is powered by a turbocharged, 1.5-liter, three-cylinder with 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. An electric motor delivers an extra 129 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels, essentially making the i8 all-wheel-drive and giving it a combined output of 357 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough for a 0-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds and a 155 mph top speed.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW i8.
Following a press conference hosted right at the New York Auto Show, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class was declared the overall winner of the "World Car Of The Year" competition in 2015. The C-Class received the award over 24 other vehicles; first short-listed to 12 and finally to just three finalists: the Ford Mustang, the Volkswagen Passat and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
"Taking its design and technological cues from the S-Class, the C-Class employs an all-new aluminum/steel hybrid platform and updated rear-drive powertrains that delivers levels of refinement, luxury, safety, ride and handling that challenge best-in-class." said the World Car Awards jurors about the model. Speaking of which, the international jury panel consisted of 75 car journalists from 22 countries around the world, and the World Car Awards program is now in its 11th year.
Mercedes-Benz also won the award for "World Luxury Car," for the S-Class Coupe, which was chosen over the BMW i8 and the Range Rover Autobiography Black LWB. The Mercedes-AMG GT was named "World Performance Car" after having been chosen over the BMW M3 Sedan/, M4 Coupe and the Jaguar F-Type R Coupe. Mercedes-Benz pretty much stole the entire show, since the S500 Plug-in Hybrid came close to winning the "World Green Car" award, while the C-Class was also short-listed for the "World Car Design Of The Year" trophy.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes C-Class.
There are worse ways to make a living than gallivanting around the world driving some of the greatest cars mankind has ever produced, so it’s fair to say that Chris Harris has a job we all want. He calls his latest video “Car of the Year 2014,” but contrary to what the name suggests it’s not so much a contest, but rather a 42-minute celebration of Harris’ favorite cars of the last two years or so.
The setting is the beautiful Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão, Portugal and the players are the Porsche 918 Spyder, Porsche GT3, Ferrari 458 Speciale, Ferrari F12berlinetta, Renault Megane 275 Trophy-R, Aston Martin V12 Vantage S, and BMW M3. There are no winners or losers, just Harris and a few of his friends who have helped him out along the way, torching Pirellis and leaving long black marks all over the Portuguese tarmac.
Side activities include an impromptu go-kart race, with Harris and his longtime cameraman Neil Carry switching roles and failing miserably, and an unlikely drag race between the Porsche 918, Ferrari F12 and Renault Megane Trophy-R. No prizes for correctly predicting the finishing order for that one.
The past 365 days have been an exciting time in the world of cars. Little by little, the statistics say automotive sales are making a comeback, and vehicular technology, like driverless cars and alternative fuels, seems to be accelerating at breakneck speed. But beyond these forecasts for the future, the present is positively saturated with new and interesting cars. We’ve seen manufacturers make many bold moves to entice buyers back to dealership lots. And alongside each new innovation, we’ve seen the refinement and revival of classic hits, as automakers build on what works to make a good product even better. Per your amusement and befuddlement, we’ve assembled five cars from the past year that most impressed us, then ranked them, profiled them, and burdened them with our opinions.
The judging criteria were simple; whichever car we liked the most won. In alphabetical order, the five finalists are: the 2015 BMW i3 (an electric luxury orb), the 2015 Ford Mustang (modern ‘Murican muscle), the 2015 Mercedes GLA (refined European niche-mobile), the 2015 Subaru WRX STI (Japanese boy racer wunderkind), and the 2015 Volkswagen Golf (the platonic ideal of “hatchback”). With entries cobbled together from North America, Asia, and Germany, each vehicle is easily recognizable as a leader in its respective segment. Each bears it’s own unique philosophy on how to move about. Each is a top-notch choice for a brand-new purchase. But as they say, there can be only one.
Click past the jump to read more about TopSpeed’s 2014 New Car of the Year.