By Mark G. McLaughlin
Every driver’s idea of what constitutes the “best” of a class of vehicles is different, as every driver sets different standards and looks for different qualities in their ride of choice. There are over 1,000 new vehicles from 36 manufacturers at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, including 40 debut models. As difficult as it is to sort out the cream of the crop, here are five vehicles that most drivers would not argue to be deserving of the title of Best New Models of their class at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show.
2017 Chicago Auto Show
2301 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60616
Date: February 11—20, 2017
2018 Audi SQ5 – A High Performance Turbocharged Mid-Size Luxury Crossover
Audi’s A5 and S5 series are among its best and most popular, and the company has powered up the basic model to produce the SQ5, a high performance crossover with a punch. The turbocharged 3-litter V6 engine puts out 354 horses. The eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive give the SQ5 a great deal of versatility on the road, and it has more leg room and storage space than its predecessors. As a mid-size luxury crossover, it’s hard to beat, and it certainly looks sporty, too, what with the aluminum optic trim, 3D LED headlights and rear roof spoiler.
2018 Lexus LS – A Luxury Sedan With 415 Horses Under the Hood
The LS has long been the pride and joy of the Lexus fleet, but as the new 2018 model on display in Chicago shows, Lexus is not about to sit on its laurels. This is an LS redesigned from top to bottom, front to back and inside to out. The new 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 produces 415 hp and is controlled by a unique 10-speed direct shift automatic transmission. It is sportier than previous models, yet maintains the standard of luxury set by its elder siblings. Priced below the German competitors in its class, the Lexus LS might not out-drive the BMWs, Audis and Mercedes off the road, but it will at least give them a run for their money in grabbing the luxury sedan market.
2018 Ford F-150 – Everything a Hard-Working Truck Lover Could Want, and More
If any vehicle is truly built “Ford-tough” it is the F-150, but the new 2018 version is, according to Ford, even tougher and “smarter.” It is also a bit prettier – or more handsome, depending on the point of view. While it has brains and beauty to spare, this F-150 also has more muscle than earlier models. The new 3.3-liter V6 produces 282 horsepower (the popular 5-liter V6 and 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engines are still available as an option, as is a 3-liter turbo diesel). Automatic start/stop is now part of the standard package, and there are other new safety features, including lane and pre-collision assist and pedestrian detection technology. Multimedia infotainment systems and upgraded sound systems are also available for those who want some musical accompaniment to their work day.
2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT – A True Roadster for the Sports Car Set
Sports cars don’t come much more high-end than the new 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT. It has a 4-liter biturbo-charged V8 whose roar announces a stampede by 469 horses. (There are upgrades that yield 515 and even 577 horses for those who want even more power under its shiny, sleek hood.) The sporty two-door rear-wheel drive roadster has a lush interior, but also a reinforced body shell to add confidence to comfort and performance.
2018 Toyota Camry – A Sensible Car Gets a “Seductive” Makeover
The Toyota Camry is one of the most popular cars on the road, and has long been highly thought of as a sensible, reliable car that holds its value longer than most. This year the automotive version of the Girl Next Door has gotten a sexy makeover, along with a big boost under the hood. Even Toyota is calling its new Camry “Eye-Candy,” but the Camry is more than just another pretty grille on the highway. It has been given an upgrade where it really counts. The new Camry is wider and roomier inside, and comes with Toyota’s new Safety Sense package, which should give drivers and passengers peace of mind to match pride in their new car’s looks and performance.