Just saw a review of a similar lens, the Sony 16-105mm.
It got a recommended, but I think that was partly because it's entry level stablemate, the Sony 18-70mm was so poor that DPReview did not even give it an average. Sony wants $550 for this lens vs. the $679 for the Nikkor 16-85, and it doesn't have stabilization (Recall that Sony does build this into the camera).
Right now, DPReview is working through the various brands entry lenses, so it may be a while before they get to the 16-85VR. I hope it does better optically than the Sonys did.
Nikkors: 17-55mm f2.8, 18-200mm f3.5-f4.5 VR, 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 VR, 35mm f2, 50mm f1.8, 55mm f2.8 AI-S micro, 105mm f2.8 VR micro
Other Lenses: Tokina 12-24 f4, Tamron 75-300mm f4-5.6 LD macro
Stuff: Nikon SB800, Nikon MBD200, Gitzo 1327 Tripod w/RRS BH-55LR Ballhead, Sekonic L-358 meter