The best cars of 2017 according to Autocar’s highway testers

Our highway testers have tested an awful lot of cars over a final 12 months. To finish a year in style, any picked their favourite automobile of 2017 and collected them all together in an try to collect an altogether winner. Here’s what happened…

MATT SAUNDERS: Right, I’ll be ‘mother’. We’re here to speak about a favourite cars of a year, and substantially to not determine on that is a best overall.

There’s a Porsche, a McLaren, a Lamborghini and an Aston Martin in a automobile park – as you’d pattern of a garland of highway testers.

And afterwards there’s yours, Prior. Presumably, being your often organized self, we found that all of a cars we unequivocally wanted to move had been oral for by a time we alighted on a Suzuki Ignis, right?

MATT PRIOR: Now, now, that’s not wholly loyal – nonetheless not wholly false, either. The Suzuki isn’t a best automobile I’ve driven this year nonetheless it is one of a cars I’ve favourite a most. we consider it’s unequivocally simply engineered: it’s small, it’s short, it’s light, it’s clever, it’s four-wheel expostulate and it’s a usually automobile here that’s unequivocally compress adequate for these nation roads. It’s definitely good to expostulate but, moreover, I’ve usually got a lot of time for it –because it’s harder to make a automobile like this good than it is to make a carbonfibre supercar, isn’t it? It’s a good square of kit.

MS: When we gathering it, we remember thinking: “If we was 23 again, I’d unequivocally imagination this.” It’s usually so many some-more characterful and engaging than many small, inexpensive cars.

ANDREW FRANKEL: As someone who has a bit of an hatred to a complicated trend towards crossover SUVs, I’d contend we can get in a Ignis even after something absurd like a McLaren 720S – and it’s not unpleasant. You can conclude a purpose it serves and suspect a chairman you’d suggest it to. And that’s what we onslaught to do with all those crossovers.

It’s definitely focused, a fun and it creates we feel happy. There we go, it’s a winner. Shall we eat?

RICHARD LANE: we like it too. It’s simply expansive on nation roads, it doesn’t feel totally out of control during high speeds. But it’s a bit out of a abyss on a motorway.

MP: Sure. And a float in a behind seats, above that live axle, isn’t great. Several people I’ve driven around in it have pronounced as much, so it contingency be true.

Right, can we have 5 beef and chips, please? Go on, who’s next?

AF: My McLaren? Based on practice I’ve had in this automobile other than here in Lambourn – since on narrow, soppy lanes, it’s unfit to get a same pattern of a implausible opening with a traction control light roughly never off – we was vacant by dual things. Obviously usually a ideal speed of a thing and how easy it is to go unequivocally discerning in it.

But also we unequivocally like a fact that it does all that and nonetheless it works on a totally unsentimental basis. The prominence in it is amazing. If you’re aged and fat, we can get in and out easily; a proceed they’ve forged out those doorway apertures is unequivocally crafty indeed. It’s got good luggage space. And a pushing sourroundings is sublime. They’ve evidently suspicion prolonged and tough about what unequivocally matters to blokes like me about cars like this.

And afterwards they also remembered to make it so utterly, insanely rapid. For energy and pace, it was on another spin progressing this year. Not definitely now, perhaps, interjection to a Porsche 911 GT2 RS, nonetheless when we gathering it, it was a supercar that felt undoubtedly quicker than a hypercar: quicker than a McLaren P1, no question.

MS: It’s also a usually five-star highway exam automobile here, that should count for something. Back when we highway tested it, of course, we had reservations about possibly it was sparkling adequate in all a scenarios and situations that a supercar ought to be. But when we get an suspicion of usually how discerning it is, and how many faster than a evident rivals it is, we don’t unequivocally see how we can be anything other than massively vehement by it. AF And there’s a unequivocally specifying virginity to it. Unlike roughly everybody else in a niche, we think, McLaren has defended hydraulic energy steering – and it’s simply improved than electric.

DAN PROSSER: And some-more pleasurable. Because we can expostulate a 720S slowly, put it by a dilemma during 40mph and feel so many some-more connected to a automobile than we do in other supercars. You don’t need to expostulate it discerning to suffer it.

MS: Yup. For that reason and others, I’m assured it’s a improved highway automobile than a Ferrari 488 GTB. Not certain you’ll all determine on that…

AF: we find a McLaren’s extremities easier to judge. The usually thing for me is that I’d usually like it to float a bit some-more like a 570S. we know they deliberately changed a float concede a bit: finished it closer to a 675LT than a 650S. And we do wish they had that Ferrari-style ‘bumpy road’ environment in that a dampers usually relax a bit more. That’d be easy to do, wouldn’t it? we consider it’s a pretence they’re missing.

DP: Personally, we didn’t many like a flipping arrangement on it – it usually seems like a gimmick. When it’s rotated downwards, a graphics are tiny and tough to read, and it still doesn’t definitely get out of your proceed so you’re not saying some-more of a road. Actually, if they’d simply redesigned a LCD instruments for a reduction distracting arrangement mode, they’d have achieved accurately a same result. It’s as nonetheless somebody pronounced “we need a ‘delight’ underline in here” – and so they came adult with one. And that’s unequivocally un-McLaren.

RL: I do like a McLaren, enormously. But we also adore a Huracán, and you’d be dismayed by how associated it’s been via a 700-odd miles I’ve put underneath a wheels this week.

You unequivocally can live with it and, for a automobile that looks as good and goes as absurdly good as this one does, that has been a genuine surprise. And, of course, there simply isn’t another supercar in a universe with such a untamed engine – with a valves open, a exhaust’s whoop is not usually noisy nonetheless also expressive, distinct another supercar here…

Just as we found in a McLaren, Andrew, a Performante is reduction than ideal around here, nonetheless a framework gives we such certainty that on usually unequivocally somewhat wider roads we can get adult nearby a redline on a unchanging basis. And, okay, a steering isn’t ideal – it’s a bit light and remote – nonetheless it’s now good adequate to let we pull tough even by off-camber corners and large undulations. You radically get a massively intimidating persona we wish in a automobile like this and nonetheless it’s not scarcely as intimidating as you’d consider it would be to drive; it’s usually means and pin-sharp. It allows we to squeeze it by a horns and get a bit carried away, and that’s what a Lambo ought to do.

But what’s unequivocally blown me divided is that it feels well-sorted and liveable on all sorts of UK roads, and in dirty continue – and this is an Italian supercar grown for lane days during a Nürburgring we’re holding about. They’ve finally strike a brief, and that was always going to move about something flattering damn special.

DP: we know a automobile you’ve brought with we today, a UK demonstrator, doesn’t have a ‘LDS’ active steering set-up on it, and we theory since of a tyre and other cessation changes, it’s simply a best-steering Huracán I’ve driven. That pacifist steering shelve creates such a difference.

RL: Agreed. Like a 720S, it could do with an additional pushing mode, since we wish to be means to mix ‘strada’-mode damping with ‘corsa’ settings for all else.

DP: And that’s a aged Lamborghini frustration, since we can’t definitely configure it accurately how we wish it.

AF: we have to say, though, we disgust all a Audi cabin calm in it. To me, it usually booty a illusion: it creates it feel reduction special than it ought to.

Ferrari stopped creation a same mistake in a early 1990s. If we demeanour during a inside of a Testarossa or a 512TR, it’s usually full of Fiat bits, nonetheless from a 355 and 456 onwards, all those pieces were different. Sometimes a tools used were still rubbish, and we all know a sat-nav on their cars has been flattering bad over a years. But a McLaren is accurately a same. we hatred their ‘IRIS’ infotainment set-up – nonetheless during slightest it’s theirs.

Everything in that automobile feels special, since a switchgear in a Huracán is all sourced proceed from Audi. And it’s not even Audi’s latest stuff: it’s a kind you’ll find in a 10-year-old A4.

MP: Hear, hear. It’s a £200,000 car. For that price, we shouldn’t have to put adult with parts-bin components.

RL: Okay, satisfactory enough. The interior is disappointing. The interfaces are a bit crap. The seats aren’t great, either. But those things haven’t disturbed me too many these final few days – and we don’t consider they would if we owned it.

I could put adult with all of it. Nobody around this list can tell me they’d take a McLaren’s V8 instead of that V10. And we consider it’s a best-looking automobile here by some way.

MP: You’re doing a Suzuki a substantial harm there, Ricky…

MS: we determine with Ricky. And we don’t caring that a Lamborghini’s cabin ergonomics are compromised – that there’s no room in it and a pushing position isn’t ideal – since each time we feel like angry about either, I’m reminded how marvellous it looks from a outside.

I wish a Lamborghini to be designed like that: from a outward in, in sequence to demeanour definitely implausible and some-more vast than any competitor. That’s pursuit one for a Lambo. Whereas a McLaren is a Lamborghini’s opposite: they’ve seemingly started with a motorist and worked their proceed outwards, with form following function. They’ve finished adult with a pattern that isn’t scarcely as impediment – and not by chance. But McLaren’s proceed is right for them.

AF: we couldn’t remonstrate with we more, Matt. we see no reason since a Lamborghini couldn’t do both. To me, putting a good, gentle chair and a good pushing position in a automobile like this is so basic. And if each time we get in it we consider “I’m going to be in pain by a time we get out”, that’s a massively tying cause for how many you’ll use it.

Having pronounced all that, we still consider a Performante is substantially a best Lamborghini I’ve ever driven. It’s a Lamborghini for those who aren’t usually into a design – it’s a correct driver’s car. But we fear that we usually wouldn’t have a stomach to use it anything like we have finished this week, Ricky.

DP: And how many some-more would we use a Porsche 911 GTS, Andrew? Both of us finished adult on a press launch of this car, behind in January. Remember that? We both suspicion it was illusory to drive. You get a spin of usability we don’t even get with a GT3, interjection to a second-row seats. You don’t get a GT3’s engine, sadly. But even so, a GTS’s engine is good by turbocharged standards.

The automobile is some-more road-biased than a GT3, that is also great. It’s got comfy chairs, steel brakes and adaptive dampers, nonetheless we can have what we like on it: carbon-ceramic brakes, bucket seats, we can get it usually a proceed we wish it.

And we could indeed use it each day. You wouldn’t be disturbed about pier on a miles.

AF: You can leave it anywhere too. You’d have to unequivocally consider tough about where we parked a McLaren and a Lamborghini, nonetheless we wouldn’t consider twice about parking a 911 on a street. If I’d parked a 720S on a residential street, I’d usually be disturbed about it all a time. we wouldn’t worry about a 911. They have usually adequate ubiquity to make them a bit inconspicuous. 

DP: You’re passed right. we had an Audi R8 long-term exam automobile for a while. It was my usually car, so we had to use it as such. So we had to park it on a transport now and again. And, certain enough, somebody crushed a windowand pennyless into it. Would that have happened to a 911? Perhaps – nonetheless we reckon it’d be many reduction likely.

MS: So that’s honestly your most-liked car, in a year when you’ve also driven something called a Zenvo?

DP: The Zenvo was unavailable, sadly. But seriously, a answer is yes. For me, it’s unequivocally not distant off being as good to expostulate as a GT3, and afterwards there’s all that usability. It’s tough to disagree with.

MP: And if we told me, right now, that we had to expostulate any of a cars in a automobile park – nonetheless we had to expostulate it everywhere we indispensable to go for a rest of a day – I’d take a 911. It’s compact, we can see out of it, there’s room in it, it stops, it goes, it’s discerning nonetheless not ballistic and it doesn’t make we demeanour like a sum tosser.

MS: But does it still feel special after you’ve finished 15,000 miles in it over a integrate of years? Does it spin typical since we usually use it too much?

AF: Quite a opposite. I’ve finished 10,000 miles in a 911 Carrera S long-termer, and it has spin some-more special if anything. we got out of a BMW i8, after that a 911 roughly felt like being downgraded. But with miles and use, I’ve unequivocally begun to conclude how good a Porsche is to drive. The some-more we expostulate it, a deeper is my venerate for it. And oddly, we don’t skip Porsche’s aged windy prosaic six, either. I’d usually rather have a turbocharged torque.

Now come on, Saunders. What about your Aston Martin?

MS: Well, what do we blokes consider of a DB11? How many of us have driven a initial V12 chronicle and suspicion it was a right DB11 when we gathering it?

AF: Yeah, we did.

MP: Me too, we think. But I’m peaceful to have my opinion revised by this new one.

MS: Well, that’s good. Because, for me, a DB11 V12 didn’t definitely feel like an Aston Martin – or maybe not definitely Aston enough.

AF: Because there was too many Mercedes calm inside it? Or a engine?

MS: It wasn’t a engine so many as a proceed it steered; that it didn’t mount adult as a driver’s automobile in a ways we was looking for.

But when we gathering a DB11 V8 a integrate of months ago, we realised we usually got half a pattern final year. The V8 and V12 are dual halves of a same design – and a V8 is a half dictated to interest to blokes like us, we think. In some ways, it does seem a bit peculiar that they indispensable to get an AMG engine in sequence to make a DB11 that feels like an authentic Aston Martin. But it speaks volumes to me that Aston is formulation to take many of a V8’s cessation and steering settings and hurl them onto a V12 for a 2019 indication year.

I suspect a reason we like it so many is since it roughly feels like a automobile built to my specification, to residence all a things we didn’t like about a V12. And a automobile also feels important. There’s some-more roving on a DB11 than on any other automobile here, we reckon, and it matters that it fulfils a intensity as a sports automobile and a loyal Aston Martin. The V8 does that, for me. It’s not a biggest driver’s automobile in a world, sure, nonetheless now it feels like it’s about as good as it can be.

AF: Do we consider anyone will have a problem with a fact that we can buy a Mercedes estate with a same engine and another 100bhp? Should an Aston not have a ultimate chronicle of any engine it uses?

MP: No, we don’t mind that. I’ve got a bigger problem with a Mercedes mainstay stalks, usually like a Audi ones in a Huracán. At £150,000, we could do me a correct stalk, really. It’s not that many to ask, is it?

AF: Well, it substantially is, actually. But it positively doesn’t seem that way.

MP: What do we consider of a engine note, Stormy? we haven’t driven it far, nonetheless it doesn’t seem definitely as shrill as an AMG’s.

MS: No – it isn’t. AMG uses a lot of orator cunning these days to furnish that bassy empty noise, and a initial thing Aston did was to allot with that. To me, it’s a bit some-more breathy and ethereal than, say, an AMG GT; usually conflicting adequate to feel like Aston’s own. It feels like it belongs, no question. But we remember pushing six-cylinder DB7s…

MP: Ah – we see a food’s here. That’ll do us, then. Straw poll: if we couldn’t go home in a automobile we brought with us, how many of us would take a Aston? No one? What about a Suzuki? Another no score. The Porsche? That’s three. And what about a Lamborghini? Two, then. No one for a McLaren? Now that’s interesting…

MS: Well, I’m branch a voice recorder off. And if this is like that radio uncover and I’m a one articulate when a song stops, that means a Aston wins. Either way, could someone ask photographer Stanley to stop searching during me and eat his fish and chips?


VAUXHALL GRANDLAND X – Such an critical automobile to Vauxhall and they muffed it. To an already underachieving class, it brought medium ability and no genuine talent, afterwards charged too many for it. If this is where PSA’s Vauxhall/Opel is heading, it contingency spin behind now. AF

SMART FORFOUR ELECTRIC DRIVE – It costs some-more than a Renault Zoe, is many reduction unsentimental and conjunction rides nor handles good in a city. You’re propitious to get a 70-mile operation and discerning charging is hardly possible. With all a EVs to select from, don’t let this put we off. MS

LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR S – Too complicated and with a blunt ’box, a Aventador S feels like a bit of a dinosaur. Some of a revisions make a useful disproportion and in some ways a Aventador is still splendidly exciting, nonetheless it usually isn’t involving adequate to drive. DP

PORSCHE 718 CAYMAN – Yeah, we know it’s spin deeply shabby to whack a influential prosaic four, nonetheless we feel robbed. The Cayman always felt like a baby supercar; now it sounds as nonetheless there’s a Harley sneaking in your blind spot. RL

JAGUAR E-PACE – A co-worker pronounced it was ‘the misfortune Jag he’d ever driven’ (but he never went in an X-Type). The E-Pace tries to duplicate a XE’s dynamics nonetheless is shorter, wider, taller, transverse-engined and primarily front-wheel drive. Physics wins. MP


PORSCHE 911 CARRERA T – If Gordon Murray decides not to give us his IGM supercar, I’ll take a 911 Carrera T. Few Porsches don’t advantage from a ‘less is more’ approach, and a T tweaks seem usually a sheet to optimise what is already one of my favourites. AF

BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT – What can Porsche’s new Panamera height do for a all-new Conti? Crewe has finished a some-more prosperous oppulance GT than roughly everybody for years; if it can plea a best for motorist appeal, too, it could blow a rivals into a weeds. MS

ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE – There are certain versions of a vacating Vantage that arrange in my tip 20 favourite cars of all time, quite a strange V12 Vantage and a N430. I’m shaken a new turbocharged engine will change a firmly wound character, nonetheless I’m looking brazen to anticipating out. DP

DALLARA STRADALE – It’s tantalizing to collect a new RS Mégane, that Renault knows has to be improved than ever. But no, I’ll take a Dallara Stradale: 400bhp, 800kg and a framework grown by people who know their onions. I’ll be vacant if it isn’t brilliant. RL

MERCEDES-BENZ X-CLASS – I don’t know why. I’m not a self-employed businessman and we don’t have an ‘active’ lifestyle by any quite jaunty or brave standards. But we like a suspicion of a pick-up that’s a bit some-more imagination than a common kind. MP


AUDI TT S – The RS5 came tighten to being my undercooked turkey, so what wish for a TT S, a automobile not even finished by Audi Sport? we knew it would be discerning and gorgeous, nonetheless beautifully balanced, staid and aurally great? Didn’t see that coming. AF

HYUNDAI i30 N – Hyundai’s initial genuine go during a prohibited induce has a kind of float and doing you’d pattern of a organisation with decades of knowledge and copiousness of opening pedigree, so for a association such as this to get that so right deserves recognition. Take a bow, Albert Biermann. MS

KIA STINGER GT – Are we repelled that Kia, with a nearby gigantic budget, engineering expertise traceable to one of a excellent sports coupés of all and a sister code in a WRC can emanate such a constrained saloon? Maybe not, nonetheless this is still a triumph. RL

FORD SHELBY MUSTANG GT350R – Who knew there was a buoyant and manageable lane automobile buried within a idle Mustang? The GT350R has a screaming V8, interjection to a flat-plane holder and shining steering. With a aero kit, it also looks ideally aggressive. DP

CITROEN C3 AIRCROSS – Citroëns of late have cessation that’s unequivocally soothing during a tip of a travel. The high C3 Aircross counters a inclination to gaunt with stiffer hurl control, nonetheless that ties it down rather nicely, giving it a good ride/handling balance. MP

Read more 

Lamborghini Huracán Performante review 

McLaren 720S review 

Porsche Carrera GTS review

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