Autotrader lists its Must Test Drive Award winners for 2017

(March 24, 2017) ATLANTA — With more than 300 new car models to choose from, shopping for a new ride can be overwhelming. And since the average age of existing vehicles on the road today is more than 11 years, current in-market new-car shoppers may be surprised to find just how much the automotive landscape has changed in the last decade.

With all of this in mind, the editors at Autotrader announce the winners of the 2017 Must Test Drive Awards, featuring the best new cars worth taking for a spin before shoppers make their final purchase decision.

“Autotrader Must Test Drive Award winners are so unexpectedly good, they will change the way a consumer perceives not only that particular model, but even the entire segment or brand,” said Brian Moody, executive editor at Autotrader. “Buying a new vehicle is one of the largest purchase decisions most Americans make, so we want to be sure shoppers are not missing out by glossing over a vehicle that could be a game-changer in their shopping process.”

The Autotrader Must Test Drive Awards are a uniquely consumer-focused program designed to highlight 12 vehicles that car shoppers simply must see and experience to believe. Autotrader’s editorial experts, who log thousands of miles test driving the latest cars, trucks and SUVs on the road each year, choose the winners of the annual Must Test Drive Awards based on a diverse set of criteria.

To be considered for a Must Test Drive Award, a vehicle must be of the current or next model-year and available to purchase at the time of the awards announcement, featuring a base price under $75,000, offering a significant value for the asking price and scoring no lower than a 3.5 on Autotrader’s five-point scale.

All the Autotrader Must Test Drive Award winners impressed our seasoned editorial staff, proving they are worth the time it takes to visit a dealer and schedule a test drive before deciding what new model to buy next. The variety of award-winning models below are weighted equally and are unranked, as Autotrader’s experts understand the needs of each shopper are unique.

Autotrader’s 2017 Must Test Drive Award Winners

The models below are listed alphabetically and are not ranked.

2017 Audi Q7
Unanimously praised by Autotrader’s experts as one of the best all-around SUVs on the market and applauded as “unbelievably good,” the Q7 has luxuriousness, versatility, drivability, all-around solid execution and undeniable good looks.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Touted as a game changer with accompanying “welcome to the future” nods by Autotrader’s editors, the Bolt EV is a pure electric vehicle that anyone can drive daily without range anxiety. This, combined with its versatility and great driving experience, solidified its spot as a Must Test Drive Award winner.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica
Coined by one of Autotrader’s experts as the vehicle that “will really make you rethink your anti-minivan stance,” the Pacifica is lauded for its surprisingly car-like ride, luxurious interior and family-friendly features like stow-and-go seating and rear-seat apps and entertainment. The fact that it is both easy to drive and easy on the eyes is exactly why it’s the family van you must test drive before buying anything else.

2017 Ford F-150 Raptor
Deemed as “a monster in the best way possible” and “gnarly personified,” the Ford Raptor’s combination of proven real-world off-road capabilities and features combined with its surprising everyday drivability left Autotrader’s editors wondering, “Is there anything this massive truck can’t do!?”

2017 Honda CR-V
The newly redesigned CR-V — a longtime staple in the extremely popular compact SUV segment — features “numerous notable improvements over the outgoing model,” including well-executed exterior styling and upscale interior features, solidifying its spot among Autotrader experts as a Must Test Drive Award winner.

2017 Jaguar F-Pace
Autotrader editors claim the F-Pace “brings Jaguar into a whole new light,” attracting a new generation of buyers to the brand with this all-new crossover and its distinctive exterior styling, spacious interior, fun-to-drive features and surprising practicality and comfort.

2017 Kia Sportage
Praised by Autotrader experts as a feature-packed “awesome value” and “excellent alternative to more familiar small SUVs,” the well-equipped, nicely priced Sportage has unique styling loaded with touches that make it look and feel like a more expensive little SUV than it really is.

2017 Lincoln Continental

Praised as “the crown jewel in Lincoln’s lineup” and “a more affordable Bentley” by Autotrader editors describing Lincoln’s all-new flagship, the premium-feature-filled, ultra-luxurious Continental was praised as “the reinvention of American luxury.” Customizable features and a remarkably rewarding driving experience are part of the Continental package too.

2017 Mazda CX-9
Deemed “100% worth the wait,” “beautiful inside and out” and the “overall best three-row crossover in the market” by Autotrader experts, the newly redesigned CX-9 features a rare combination of luxury, efficiency and driving dynamics that make it a must-experience vehicle.

2017 Nissan Armada
The redesigned Armada surprised Autotrader editors by just how well it drives and how nimbly it handles for being such a large vehicle, and combined with its high-quality interior materials, features and off-road abilities, the Armada “squarely competes with the best” in the class.

2017 Porsche 718 Cayman

Autotrader’s experts praise the new Cayman with comments like “beautiful,” “gorgeous,” “dream car,” and “THE Porsche to own.” The 718 Cayman wows with its exceptional driving dynamics, great combination of modern and classic looks, brilliant packaging and luxurious interior.

2017 Subaru Impreza
Subaru’s freshly updated compact sedan is now “one of the best small cars you can get” according to our editors. The Impreza’s cool new look, fun-to-drive factor and nicely-detailed interior are just a few of the reasons it’s on our Must Test Drive list for 2017.