When I decided to buy EOS 400D (Rebel XTi), I had two options, one with 18-55 kit and another was 17-85 IS USM Kit.
17-85 lens really gives a nice range for general purpose and the IQ is also bad. I encountered some distortions at 17mm.
I think I'm getting what I have paid off. It's not an L series lens, so we cannot expect those qualities out here and I'm in a learning stage, so this is the perfect for those who are in this stage.
I recommend this lens for the beginners.