The Best Cars of 2017!

clifford chow
28 Dec 2017

While the Range Rover Velar was crowned Oneshift’s Car of the Year 2017, for its excellent build, features, and overall appeal, here is a look at just some of the cars that came our way, which qualified to be this year’s Car of the Year.

Volvo XC60 T6R – Best Compact Executive SUV

We all know that the SUV is all the buzz these days, Volvo’s XC60 is in its second generation, and it features sharper styling over its predecessor. The new car features fancy “Thor’s Hammer” daytime running lights, sharper styling and an interior which is among the best in quality among all the cars we have seen this year.

With a greater emphasis on quality, we certainly loved how Volvo had married simple good looks, technology and performance into this compact package.

The gem of a 2.0 engine in the T6 model, which is supercharged and turbocharged, produces a superb 320bhp and a whopping 400Nm of torque, with an 8-speed transmission providing the drive, and like many cars in this league, the XC60 delivers added traction with all-wheel drive, and does offer a light off-roading drive selection.

Ride quality is near-excellent, with good dampening from the height adjustable suspension. Thoughtful use pf materials within, including a unique expansion slot, featuring the Swedish flag, certainly adds to the fun factor of this seriously good performer built by the blue and yellow of Scandinavia.

Check here for the full review!

Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TSI R-Line – Best Compact Premium SUV

Upping their game was what VW did this time round, when producing the second generation Tiguan. Quality is nothing short of impressive in this segment. There is some clever packaging done with their near-universal MQB architecture, to produce a car with more-than ample space for five.

VW’s design language is well-carried on their SUV, with a pair of nifty dynamic rear LEDs, and also on its angular face.

The available 2.0 turbocharged engine, lifted out from their iconic GTi powers this SUV to 100km/h in a healthy 6.5 seconds. Also new, is the seven-speed DSG transmission, providing a good selection of ratios, while driving all wheels. While it is a road-biased car, which shines with its road manners, VW has included switchable drive modes, together with a well-tuned suspension which is able to respond to different terrains. And there is enough electronic trickery, like an electronic differential lock to take you off the beaten path a little.

Drivers will not only find the commanding seating position a plus in a sea of traffic, they also benefit from a 360 camera which aids in their parking. This is one of the first cars from the German manufacturer to feature a digitised instrument binnacle, which also doubles as a SatNav display, and as an added plus, there is a HUD, to take eyes away from all the visual noise of that very binnacle.

The Tiguan is definitely a good alternative for those who may want a luxury marque, but are not able to come to terms with things lacking, like one more cylinder, the issue of practical space (passenger and cargo), and a whole list of features.

Check here for the full review!                                                   

Jeep Renegade Limited 1.4 – Best Compact SUV

Playful “Jerry Can” and “Bigfoot” Easter eggs on this car… The Jeep brand is somewhat an oddball here in Singapore. But that is really part of the fun. Their compact-sized Renegade is built on Fiat 500X underpinnings, and is front-driven.

Jeep has scored well styling this car, including a power hump on the bonnet, just to hint of a “make belief” larger longitudinal-mounted engine. As with Jeep’s design language, one cannot escape the upright grille with seven slots, and as a nod to the original Willys, a cute pair of round headlamps flank them.

The 1.4 litre turbocharged unit is a Fiat carry-over, delivering more than sufficient power and torque to the compact. What we found surprising, was the build quality, as-compared to its larger siblings, is actually better in some areas.

While most brands tend to go the direction of building a serious-looking car, we certainly love the play going on here!

Check here for the full review!

Audi S Q5 – Best High Performance SUV

Audi’s new Q5 gets an added dash of power, with a 3.0 V6 turbocharged engine under the hood, some subtle body kitting to show-off its sporting intentions, and an 8-speed hydraulic transmission with Quattro (Audi talk for all-wheel drive).

We simply love the performance, with 500Nm on-tap, as early as 1,370rpm, the S Q5 does the century sprint in a very respectable 5.4 seconds. We appreciate how the taller car is still able to stay composed, even with the effects of transitioning, with plenty of weight-shifting, thanks to the five-link suspension in the front and rear, further assisted by the adaptive CDC dampers (continuous damping control), which works together with the engine, steering and transmission, bringing out a well-balanced drive.

Simply, the S Q5 delivers easily manageable performance with a reachable price tag. Audi’s famed interior quality is evident in this car, and it is very practical too. Passenger room is good, even for those in the rear; and the folding rear seats expand cargo room from 610 litres to 1,550 litres.

Check here for the full review!

Infiniti Q60 2.0 T – Best Compact Executive Coupe

We love it that the sweeping lines of the Q60 is by far not a straight-up copy of a Q50, that had been shortened, but a conscious effort to ensure that every swooping line made with the flick of the pen tucked the car in a way so pleasing to the eye.

All coupes may seem equal, but some coupes seem to be more equal than others… We love how balanced Infiniti had built their Q60. The rear-driven coupe delivers a sporty, but non-jarring ride, and does turn on the dime, with a little oversteer, like how a sports car should be.

The Mercedes-Benz developed 2.0 turbocharged straight four is mounted in north-south fashion, and linked to a seven-speed cog swapper. Performance is nothing sluggish too, with the Q60 hitting 100km/h in 7.3 seconds.

Check here for the full review!

Audi A3 Sedan 1.0 TFSI S Tronic – Best Compact Sedan

We do like it that Audi had chosen to go the direction of producing an honest sedan, instead of what Mercedes had done, with their A Class, in producing a 4-doored ‘coupe’.

While smaller than its Japanese counterparts, the A3’s formula for success is in its new 1.0 3-cylinder engine, which not only saves fuel, but also delivers an impressive 200Nm of torque. With a 7-speed transmission delivering the drive, the A3 makes an attractive proposition to those who want something with a prestigious badge, which is also well-engineered.

Handling is very good too from this front-driven sedan, with minimal roll around the bends. Audi’s smallest sedan also delivers on the quality of its interior, something Audi is known for.

Boot space is a respectable 425 litres, and rear seats fold down in 60:40 fashion to accommodate more.

Check here for the full review!

BMW 530i M Sport – Best Executive Sedan

BMW’s fiver definitely left an impression when it was launched a few months ago. The 540i  was choc-filled with goodies like automated parking, gesture control, a wonderfully tuned 6-cylinder, adaptive cruise, and the ability to remote forward and back your car. While it is an excellent car, which showcases all of its tech in all of its glory, we preferred however that the 530i delivered on most of these goodies, at a more practical cost.

As a plus, having four, instead of six cylinders brings with it the added benefit of a car, while delivering 100bhp less than its big brother 540i, still comes across as a little more nimble (working together with that M Sport suspension), especially when dealing with multiple directional changes, due to less weight in the front end.

There are also bits of tech which you would not see, but work for you all the time. Their Special Synergy Thermoacoustic Capsule (SYNTAK) engine encapsulation technology, where the windshield is glazed with an acoustic layer, and so is their headliner, significantly reduces the amount of noise which enters the passenger cabin.

Other bits of tech like their Adaptive LED Headlights which features variable light distribution, and features their BMW Selective Beam anti-dazzle high beam with a range of up to 500 metres, which shuts down various diodes in the lamp assembly, when it detects vehicles or pedestrians within its range.

Check here for the full review!

Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 – Best Compact Executive Performance Car

Well-measured proportions of the C-Class body gets added kitting and 19” shoes, and large 360 X 35mm ventilated discs up front, and 320 X 24mm ones in the rear for added stopping power.

Under the hood, a 3.0 AMG tuned twin-turbocharged V6, churning a healthy 362bhp and 520Nm of twist, passing all this through a nine-speed 9G-TRONIC transmission. Pop the C43 into a few corners and activate the paddle shifters, and you’d find that there is plenty of torque on tap, and there are sufficient gears. Getting the right ratio takes a while getting used to, but once you’re in the groove, the driver satisfaction you get from dropping, entering and exiting on the right band of power is extremely addictive!

While it is a fabulous road car, with plenty of charm, we however liked how practical it still is, with very good cargo room, and 40:20:40 folding rear seats, providing good flexibility. The aperture leading through to the passenger cabin is largely rectangular-ish without too many blockages. Under the boot board, there is additional space to store smaller valuables, preventing them from shifting around in the cargo area.

Check here for the full review!

Porsche Panamera PDK 3.0 - Best Executive Performance Car

Porsche broke with tradition when the first launched the Panamera. The second generation sports sedan looks even better than the first. But being a Porsche, there are plenty of expectations to satisfy, it has to drive like a relaxed GT car, provide enough interior space, especially in terms of legroom for the rear passengers, and still deliver on cargo space, to be practical. And the Panamera does it all.

Quality, together with design definitely takes centre stage here, with how well planned the external proportions are. On the inside, the new dash features a chrome sill which spans right across, holding their large 12.3” touchscreen infotainment unit. Within the instrument binnacle, flanking the analogue rev counter (we like), are another two 7” display units built to mimic the traditional two dials left and right format of conventional Porsche dashes. And all the fun is not just for those in front, even in the rear, there is an available control panel for operating the climate control and audio settings.

On practicality, it is not just how Porsche has planned this car for passengers, but cargo room is actually very good. Among the high posts in the boot to house that suspension, space made to stow away the battery and the like, the guys at Stuttgart have managed to work in 500 litres of trunk room. The flat folding rear seats expand on this and bring it to 1,340 litres.

But where it all comes together, is when you are in the drivers seat. The way the car performs, and responds to your driver inputs, while experiencing the quality of the rich interior.

Check here for the full review!

Hyundai Ioniq 1.6 GLS Hybrid – Best Compact Hybrid

A coupe-like exterior hides practicality in this Korean compact. With manufacturers riding on the green theme, the Korean brand has finally fielded their hybrid car.

Frontal styling sees a neat set of daytime running lights, which sit low in the front bumper recess, which is also the intake point for the front wheel air curtains.

Giving a hint of Hyundai’s fuel-saving ‘Blue Drive’ Strategy, there are blue accents adorning the parts of the exterior trim.

The hybrid drive means that the fuel sipper is capable of delivering a very good 25.6Km/L combined cycle.

Check here for the full review!

Audi A5 Cabriolet – Best Compact Cabriolet

The second generation A5 Cabriolet carries over the wave-shaped shoulder line, which gives the A5 its identity. While the wheel arches feature bulges to underscore the A5’s Quattro DNA (but this 2.0 is actually FWD). There is better proportion with the new styling, with just the right amount of frontal and rear overhangs to deliver a fabulous silhouette.

Audi’s famed interior quality definitely shines in their open top. Little touches, like a discreet third brake lamp, hidden in the silver surround trim which visually splits the passenger cabin from the outside of the car, preserves the rear-end styling tastefully.

The available digitised instrument binnacle is able to duplicate the SatNav, making wayfinding easier for the driver.

The 2.0 turbocharged engine delivers a healthy 320Nm of torque, and delivers a healthy 7.3 second century sprint. While not built for high performance, but rather efficiency, the A5 delivers a respectable combined cycle of 17.5km/l.

Check here for the full review!

Lexus LC500 – Best High Performance Coupe

Just when the hype of their LFA supercar had died down, Lexus delivers a front-engined, rear drive grand tourer…

Just like the LFA, the LC 500 breaks away from traditionally predictable design… With Lexus producing one of the most proportionately balanced and beautiful cars we have seen this year.

The coupe’s L-shaped daytime running lights, pinched grille with chrome surround, and tri-LED headlamps, on each side which drop downward to a large air intake, forms up to produce one of the most attractive bits of styling we have come across with this year.

On the inside, there is a bit of seriousness in the interior design, perhaps a little more business-like. Quality though is excellent, with very good fit and finish.

We might be in an era where we may be the last to see a large V8 or even V10 engine without any force feeding, The 5.0 V8 pumps out a healthy 470bhp, and we love how Lexus engineers have taken the effort to ensure that the engine and exhaust notes work in tandem to produce one of the best sounding cars we have to date.

We also love how balanced this car is. It may not be the fastest thing on the road. But how well it delivers on driver satisfaction and styling, makes the LC a car which you would turn around to have a second look at with the greatest satisfaction, right after parking it.

Check here for the full review!

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