Winter Storm Stella, microwave cameras, and St. Patrick dominated the news this week, but we’re more interested in the 2017 model year and which new cars shoppers want to see themselves driving. We’ve published 37 Test Drive Reviews of 2017 vehicles so far, and we’re going to take a look at those vehicles that have garnered the most inquiries from CarGurus shoppers. We haven’t spent enough time with a bunch of big sellers to review them yet, so we suspect our end-of-year list will look different, but we want to see which 2017s have already started generating interest. If you were buying a new car this year, do you know which 2017 you’d want to test drive first?
The Chevrolet Camaro, one of America’s original pony cars, got a full re-design for 2016. The 2017 Camaro lineup will mark the return of the range-topping ZL1 trim, which will use the same supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that gives the Corvette Z06 its go. We’re confident the ZL1 won’t be the volume seller for 2017, but it will no doubt get test-driven with enthusiasm across the country this spring and summer. George Kennedy spent a week with a 3.6-liter V6-powered LT2 2016 version and liked its look and technology, but wished it offered better visibility and storage. Old-school muscle-car fans should be very happy with the new Camaro.
The Toyota Tacoma pickup also received a major redesign for 2016, and the 2017 version includes a new TRD Pro trim intended to offer truck fans who like off-roading a vehicle that can handle the sorts of terrain Jeep Wrangler fans enjoy so much. Our reviewer loved the 2016 Tacoma’s aggressive look and quiet interior, not to mention its new 3.5-liter V6. The 2017 lineup’s TRD Pro trim definitely looks off-road-ready, but we wish it offered a little more grunt, particularly since its engine’s Atkinson cycle boosts mileage, not power. We look forward to seeing whether the new Tacoma can win over some of CarGurus’ avid off-road fans.
Reviewer Chris Wardlaw has already spent an enjoyable, nostalgic week with the 2017 Ford Mustang. He didn’t find it mechanically able to match the 2016 Camaro, but he calls the new ‘Stang a perfectly enjoyable cruiser and a fantastic reminder of why Americans fell so in love with muscle cars in the ‘60s. He readily admits that he enjoyed the car for emotional rather than practical reasons, but he also found driving the Mustang heightened every one of his senses while also putting his mind at peace, even while dealing with sharp, fast turns. And isn’t our hunt for that feeling exactly what turns certain drivers into enthusiasts?
The 2017 Hyundai Elantra’s been available for longer than most of the 2017s on sale in the U.S., and George Kennedy reviewed it for us just over a year ago. He loved its redesigned look, finding some evidence of German inspiration in the taillights and interior, and he also enjoyed its strong voice-recognition system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, and hands-free trunk. Hyundai has come a long way over the years, having given us the auto industry’s strongest warranty back in 1998 and a new luxury brand via its Genesis marque last year. The 2017 Elantra costs less than the Honda Civic and offers more than the Toyota Corolla. Do those two longstanding compact sales champs now have a worthy competitor?
We haven’t done a full review on the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 since the third generation’s 2016 refresh, but we look forward to spending time with the 2017 later this year. Ford’s move to aluminum construction generated a lot of questions and concerns for 2015, and CarGurus shoppers apparently want a bow tie rather than the blue oval on their truck’s grille, at least for 2017. The ’17 Silverado offers plenty of power, with two available V8s and class-leading towing capacity, and it also has a comfortable interior that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The new version also offers parents a new Teen Driver feature that will follow the lead of Ford’s My Key system by letting parents set speed and geographical boundaries for young drivers. We look forward to seeing how the ’17 Silverado competes with America’s best-selling vehicle since 1981.
The Honda Accord got a refresh for 2016 in response to relatively poor sales in 2015, though those lost sales probably owed more to surging demand for crossovers, such as Honda’s own CR-V, than to a problem with the Accord. Chris Wardlaw spent a week with a top-of-the-line Touring trim of the 2016 Accord, finding its 3.5-liter V6 enjoyable and capable, though he did wish for paddle shifters and that the materials in the lower half of the cabin looked a little better than those in the substantially smaller and less-expensive Civic. The 2017 Accord offers paddle shifters in Sport and Sport Special Edition trims, and it also adds support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We think Honda will sell a whole bunch of Accords and CR-Vs this year.
The new 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport trims sit between the “entry-level” Stingray trims and the 650-hp Z06 versions that debuted last year in price and power, though it’s worth noting that Grand Sports are closer in both respects to the Stingray. Grand Sports use the Stingray’s 6.2-liter 460-hp naturally aspirated V8 as well as its optional dry-sump oil system, standard Brembo brakes upgradable with carbon ceramic rotors, and standard 7-speed rev-matching manual or available 8-speed paddle-shifter-equipped automatic. Aerodynamic improvements and weight shaving get the Grand Sport up to 60 mph one-tenth of a second faster than a Stingray and should also give it better handling on a track. Our reviewer had a blast with the 2016, and we bet the new version will also be fun and sell well.
CarGurus shoppers like Jeeps. And pretty much anyone who likes Jeep will probably love the vehicle that sits proudly at the top of its model lineup, the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Featuring a roomy, luxurious interior, offering gas or diesel capability, and able to handle tougher terrain than ever with a new-for-2017 Trailhawk trim, the Grand Cherokee earned a perfect 10 for Performance from George Kennedy when he reviewed the 2017 version. He loved its overall look and feel, and he appreciated its enormously capable Quadra-Trac II 4-wheel-drive system as well as its air suspension, which gets increased articulation and ground clearance in Trailhawk trims. He, like most reviewers, also likes FCA’s Uconnect infotainment system as well as its self-parking feature, which handles both finding and getting the Grand Cherokee into a space.
Some of the cars we’ve discussed got redesigned for 2017, but that model year will mark the end of the current generation of the Toyota Camry, which debuted back in 2011. The Camry has never been a compelling car for drivers, but it has sold huge volumes based largely on its reliability and quiet, comfortable interior. It’s also been offered in a range of trims from Spartan to luxurious and with 4-cylinder engines for efficiency and V6s for more exciting driving. Strangely enough, the Camry’s getting a whole new and much more aggressive look for 2018, and we can’t help but wonder whether those who appreciate the Camry’s practicality will find its new look a little too much. Which do you think would look better on you, the 2017 Camry or the 2018?
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is a recent innovation on the Wrangler platform, which still looks very much like it did for its 1987 arrival. Since some of the changes we’re seeing as a result of Americans’ shift from sedans to crossovers suggest sedans want to look and feel a little more like a Wrangler—a higher ride, a sturdier look—maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised that the Wrangler has taken an important lesson from sedans by adopting their 4-door layout. True off-road fans would most likely prefer a more compact and nimble 2-door Wrangler, but we know plenty of folks with 4-wheel-drive vehicles that almost never leave the pavement. We suspect some of them would be perfectly happy to take three friends out to the woods, particularly in a Wrangler Unlimited that can get there with help from a new cold-weather package—or without a roof and doors in warmer weather.
Which 2017 vehicle do you most want to test drive?
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New Chevrolet Camaro
New Toyota Tacoma
New Ford Mustang
New Hyundai Elantra
New Chevrolet Silverado 1500
New Honda Accord
New Chevrolet Corvette
New Jeep Grand Cherokee
New Toyota Camry
New Jeep Wrangler Unlimited