9 out of 10 points and recommendedSharp, light, VRII, inexpensiveRotating front element, questionable hood quality (new design)
This lens is pretty much a longer version of the 55-200 which is a great lens in its own right. I saved over $100 by getting this lens over the 70-300mm.reviewed October 17th, 2010 (purchased for $355)
The zoom is smooth and image quality is as good as the venerable 70-300 VR lens, perhaps a bit better to my eyes (especially at 300mm).
There's some CA as expected but nothing to worry about.
VR is the second version like my 16-85mm and works very well at 300mm. The only thing I noticed about the VR is that it takes a half-second or so to stabilize, so you have to be a bit patient before you press the shutter.
Auto focus is not the swiftest and is about the same as the 55-200 and perhaps not as fast as the 70-300 so this may not be a good sports lens.
It's a nice light lens for its range. Build quality is okay (although the metal mount is a nice touch).
The hood is a new design and snaps on to the front element (easier to put on for sure because you don't have to line up any notches). It's always loose so it rotates freely (not too easily though). To remove it, you have to depress two tabs and pull it off. I don't get the feeling this is a solid design here and worry that any bang on the hood will break it off. I'm hoping it's sturdier than it feels and I think Nikon got a little cheap here.
In the end I think Nikon built a nice, light lens here and, despite some minor niggles, I prefer it over the 70-300 for my purposes (general photography - family & scenics/wildlife - no sports).
If you like the 55-200 but want more reach, then this is your lens.