First Drives

2013 Nissan Altima: First Drive
2013 Nissan Altima: First Drive

It's been twenty years since Nissan decided the old Stanza nameplate had had enough, and brought out the Altima as its new standard-bearer in the mid-size family-sedan segment. What a difference those decades make: not only has the Altima swelled in size along with the other four-doors in its...Read More»

2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK 250 BlueTEC
2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK Class: First Drive

It's an unusual day--or maybe a coming of age--when our editors look forward so eagerly to a new diesel-powered vehicle. Don't judge. In this case, it's not just any diesel, and it doesn't just go into any vehicle. It's a Mercedes turbodiesel, and it slips neatly into a sport-ute that not only...Read More»

2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI
2012 Volkswagen Jetta GLI: Driven

If you want a new Jetta sedan, skip the thirsty, coarse five-cylinder base engine. Heck, we're even tempted to tell you to go ahead and skip what's long been our favorite, the turbo-diesel TDI. That's because for about the same price as the TDI you can have what feels like a much more sophisticated...Read More»

2013 Dodge Dart test drive, Austin, Texas, April 2012
2013 Dodge Dart: First Drive

The single most important thing about the 2013 Dodge Dart is that it proves Chrysler is still in the game. The new Dart compact sedan may not leapfrog every other compact on the market to set lofty new heights of excellence. But it's stylish, fun to drive, offers some pioneering features for the...Read More»

2013 Ford Escape
2013 Ford Escape: First Drive

When you think "Ford," you probably think of several brands--F-150, Explorer, Mustang, Taurus. Shame on you if that list is missing the Ford Escape. Last year, Ford sold more than 250,000 copies of its compact crossover, capping an eleven-year run on sale with the ute's best year ever, and with...Read More»

2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI
2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI: First Drive

Forget for a few minutes about your urge to make the absolute smartest fiscal choice. Yes, the economics of diesel ownership often take many, many years to work out as positive. Yes, diesels, as in the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI, do generally cost thousands more initially; and yes, diesel fuel...Read More»

2013 Volkswagen CC
2013 Volkswagen CC: First Drive

Four years ago, when Volkswagen first introduced its CC, this “four-door coupe” was a design standout, unlike anything else on the road—and for that matter, a surprisingly daring look for normally conservative VW. Now, for the 2013 model year, after the introduction of curvaceous...Read More»

2013 Ford Flex
2013 Ford Flex: First Drive

How can so many people still not see the beauty in the Flex? The boxy Ford Flex wagon isn't just fashionable; it would be on our shortlist of best vehicles to take on a cross-country trip; and for carrying six adults out for the evening; and for busy moms; and for all of an afternoon's ill-advised...Read More»

2013 Ford Taurus Limited  -  First Drive, 3/2012
2013 Ford Taurus: First Drive

The Ford Taurus was once the epitome of the mainstream, All-American mid-size sedan. But the current version of the Taurus has never been anything but a niche car, and as much as the 2013 Taurus is much-improved, we'd venture to say it's destined to stay that way. Why? While it's a big...Read More»

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo
2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Driven

When the New Beetle arrived, back in 1998, it elicited waves of nostalgia from Baby Boomers who had owned the old air-cooled Beetles, and loved what they had come to symbolize. At the time of the New Beetle's launch, it was exactly what they wanted—a vehicle that carried forward the iconic...Read More»

2012 BMW 528i  -  First Drive
2012 BMW 528i: First Drive

As a casual luxury shopper considering the 2012 BMW 528i, you might not think that there's anything all that radical about this model. It's a good-looking sport sedan, fitted with some noteworthy tech features, and rated an excellent 34 mpg on the highway. What's not to love? But if that's you...Read More»

2012 Dodge Charger SXT
2012 Dodge Charger SXT: Driven

The 2012 Dodge Charger SXT would most definitely see more attention—and more respect—if it weren't for the bombastic greatness and over-the-top V-8 muscle of the models slotting just above it. We've driven the Hemi models of the Charger—including the SRT8, with its...Read More»

2012 Hyundai Azera  -  First Drive, 2/2012
2012 Hyundai Azera: First Drive

While cruising at 70 mph in the 2012 Hyundai Azera, it's what we didn't have to do that's especially telling. My co-driver and I didn't have to raise our voices above normal, quiet conversation level to carry on a conversation in front—and the same held true in speaking with our two...Read More»

2012 Toyota Yaris SE  -  First Drive
2012 Toyota Yaris SE: First Drive

Toyota has the small-car market pretty well covered. In addition to the 2012 Toyota Yaris, there are the Scion xB and iQ models, which share in many places the same showroom and the same sales lot. And that's before even considering the only somewhat larger Matrix (and Corolla), as well as the...Read More»

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco
2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco: First Drive Review

Chevrolet's car fortunes are on the upswing, the momentum generated by new vehicles like the beautifully finished Cruze compact sedan and the eager little Sonic hatchback. Now it's the Malibu's turn, and the venerable nameplate ushers in big changes for the 2013 model year, all in the name of...Read More»

2012 Acura TL
2012 Acura TL SH-AWD: Driven

Mention the Acura TL as a next-car possibility, in certain sport-sedan enthusiast circles, and it's possible you might lose some credibility. If you want a serious sport sedan, they'll argue, you might as well get one on a dedicated rear-wheel-drive platform, like the BMW 3-Series, Cadillac CTS, or...Read More»

2013 Mazda CX-5 compact crossover on test drive, Southern California, Nov 2011
2013 Mazda CX-5: First Drive Of All-New Compact Crossover

The Los Angeles Auto Show, which opened this weekend, was definitely the show of compact crossovers. Both the 2012 Honda CR-V and the 2013 Ford Escape were unveiled to the public there, but we think a third crossover deserves equal billing despite being from a smaller carmaker. The 2013 Mazda CX-5...Read More»

2012 Honda CR-V
2012 Honda CR-V: First Drive

In these days of tighter family budgets, and in many cases a desire to be more understated, compact crossover vehicles like the Honda CR-V have a lot of appeal. Parents know that they provide more versatility—and freedom, by some gauges—than sedans, and they’re a little smaller...Read More»

2012 Mazda Mazda3 SkyActiv
2012 Mazda Mazda3 Skyactiv: First Drive

In less than a couple of years, 40 miles per gallon has gone from a lofty goal, met by only a few select high-mileage machines (almost entirely hybrids and diesels), to, almost the small-car highway norm. Now even Mazda is laying claim on 40 mpg in the 2012 Mazda3, with a new-generation engine and...Read More»

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