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You know what they say.

“With the good comes the bad.”

 

Well, they weren’t kidding. 

 

On January 1 I published my Top 007 favorite rides for 2017. Although I know people are interested in that, something tells me there’s greater interest in the vehicles I didn’t like throughout the past 12 months.

 

Having said that, let’s not delay any further. To the list we go.

 

Note: This list only consists of vehicles I piloted in 2017. If I didn’t drive it, it was not considered.

 


 

1. Volkswagen Atlas. The all-new, seven-seat Volkswagen Atlas is the marque’s foray into the three-row world. I’ve given it the nickname “Atlast,” because the company finally is meeting the market need. Having been the owner of a 2004 Touareg, I have very high expectations for a VW sport-utility vehicle. Although the Atlas undoubtedly delivers space at a relatively aggressive price, I was really let down with a couple things related to the Atlas. First, this monster SUV cannot take bumps and its ride quality is abysmal. Were VW’s engineers asleep on this one? I was hoping for something on par with the Touareg, which had a more isolated experience over potholes. Working my way around Manhattan, passengers told me without any prompting “This car can’t handle bumps.” Secondly, VW used to produce fairly nice interiors for the money. Those days are long gone. Everything, top-to-bottom, was discount grade — similar quality as General Motors. Aside from that, the SUV drove OK and the six-cylinder engine was more than adequate. 

 


 

2. Ford Mustang Shelby GT350. I am donning my flame-retardant clothing for this one. My first experience with the GT350 was on the track and I had a good time with it given the limited seat time. The car felt special. Well, in this case what happened at the track stayed at the track. Driving this vehicle on public roads was, frankly, terrible. While the suspension was predictably not so great, what really stands out is its high-revving V8 motor. On the open road or on a track you can really exercise this vehicle and have a blast. But below 4,000 revs this engine is a dog and when you’re puttering around town or commuting, it just feels lazy. The steering is another low point with its rather meandering feel — changing the modes only makes it worse. While I was impatiently waiting for my BMW M2 to go into production earlier in 2017 I almost switched my order for a GT350. After spending a week with one I am SO glad I did not make that mistake. If you have access to country roads and a track, by all means go ahead. 


 

3. Mercedes-AMG GLE43 Coupe. This is the three-pointed star that’s clearly taking some creative license from the BMW X6. Now when I first listened to My Chemical Romance’s third studio album I just thought “Boy, this sounds like Queen.” Why listen to the knock off when I can dial up the real deal with the originals — Freddie Mercury and Brian May — that do it much better? That’s how I feel here. Even though the GLE43 makes use of a six-cylinder that produces 362 horsepower (MY 2017) it feels underpowered. Carving corners in the San Francisco Bay Area it was OK but it just didn’t feel as composed when compared to what I’ve experienced in the Bavarian. While I did like the Sport mode, which leaves you with a crackling exhaust note on the overrun, it just isn’t enough to swoon me. At the end of the day its just too damn big and bloated to feel like an AMG product. The 63 variant is an entirely different story because it has the right motor. Last, but not least, the GLE43 Coupe is very expensive and to be straightforward this is not how I’d spend my hard-earned bucks. Its base price is around $70,000 and that doesn’t even include leather. Essentially, you’re looking at nearly $90,000 for a well-equipped AMG that isn’t really an AMG. 


 

4. Ford F-150 Raptor. I’ll be the first to admit I am not a truck guy; however, I’ve been jonesing to get behind the wheel of the all-new Raptor since I first set eyes on it. Simply put, it’s the best looking truck ever made. There’s just one problem: I took delivery of the smaller two-door model. Though I cackled and howled for the first two days as I drove the truck during my daily routine, that ended soon. That’s because the short wheelbase Raptor really bounces around due to the super stiff suspension. At high speed its not uncommon to lose traction at the front wheels, which is particularly unsettling. While I understand the reason why Ford equipped this vehicle with the EcoBoost motor, it just doesn’t make the right sounds for me. Whatever Ford did to the GT to make the EcoBoost sound amazing needs to be applied here. In addition, Ford should really consider reengineering the rear doors. Over each and every bump they rattle, which reminds me of riding in a 1980s conversion van. Long story short, in 2018 I really want to see if I can get my hands on a SuperCrew. With proper doors and a longer wheelbase, I think it would add up to a much better Raptor. Avoid the two-door variant. 

 


 

5. Cadillac XT5. OK, so there’s no question that the XT5 was a nice step forward from the SRX. The revamped interior is a nice touch; however, let’s be real here: General Motors just applied lipstick to a last-gen Equinox pig. Even though the XT5’s interior improves upon the SRX, when you look at the competition — Lexus RX, all-new BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and Audi Q5 — it is left in the dust. To keep this short, the XT5 is just a dated revamp that is below par across just about every metric except how quiet the cabin is kept at cruising speed. Given the strides seen with the CT6’s cabin, which still could use some work, I am looking forward to seeing Cadillac’s replacement for the XT5. I hope it is sooner rather than later as the competition continues to get stronger and the XT5 is left dangling in the wind. 


 

6. BMW X4 M40i. Although many said the X6 wasn’t going to be a sales success, it clearly opened up an all-new niche in the sport-utility vehicle segment. The X4 is the X6’s little sibling, however, it just cannot pull off the look with the same sleek attitude. It has a bulbous greenhouse and, frankly, it really hurts the vehicle’s design. It’s not good — at all. While its motor and overall driving experience is quite good, the cockpit is extremely dated. Ultimately, I feel the M40i’s engine should have been dropped into the same-gen X3 but BMW must have thought it was a better idea to hold it over until the all-new X3 was released. Now you can get the all-new X3 M40i, which will give you the updated technology that was lacking in the X4 I drove. That’s the move, folks. Simply put, the X4 M40i is not worth ~$63,000 when equipped even as a poor man’s Porsche Macan. 


 

7. Lexus IS200t. So, Lexus finally put the right motor in this vehicle that works all around. There’s just  one major issue with the IS: This vehicle does not stand a chance against the competition. Its interior is way too small whether you’re in front or in the back. In addition, there’s noting about it that really screams premium. Let’s say you do find it comfortable though and you start exploring the infotainment system, I guarantee that frustration will ensue. That’s because this Lexus’ user experience is really, really poor. It’s so bad, in fact, that one of my doctors told me she sold her one-year-old GS because she simply couldn’t deal with the clunky software and her inability to create preset radio stations. Considering how amazing Lexus’ latest all-new vehicles are — this includes the LC, LS and RX — this has to trickle down into the IS. 




00R List His Top 007 BIGGEST Disappointments Of 2017 — WORST Rides Of The Year

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