First Drives

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Driven
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»

2012 Honda Civic EX  -  Driven review
2012 Honda Civic EX: Driven

Throughout the '90s and even well into the last decade, large swaths of shoppers on both coasts of the U.S. tended to dismiss small cars from GM and Ford, and flocked to the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla—for a number of good fiscal reasons, like durability, reliability, and resale value. As...Read More»

2012 Chevrolet Sonic  -  First Drive
2012 Chevrolet Sonic: Subcompact, Definitely Not Subpar

With the introduction of the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, General Motors at last has some truly competitive, top-notch small-car choices in its lineup. And it's about time; with decades of inconsistent model entries and frequently shifting nameplates—Chevette, Vega, Spectrum, Sprint, Metro...Read More»

2012 Hyundai Veloster
2012 Hyundai Veloster: First Drive

Hyundai chose to give us the first drive of its all-new 2012 Veloster in Portland, Oregon, a city that's seemingly flooded with the young, educated, creative types that many other cities are trying so hard to attract. It's absolutely brimming with (often underemployed) 20- and 30-something...Read More»

2012 Toyota Camry XLE
2012 Toyota Camry: First Drive

Practical, value-minded American families used to be wild about the Toyota Camry. But a few model years ago, word started to spread among shoppers—and review sources—that the outgoing Camry felt cut-rate inside compared to the competition, and it was no longer the refinement or...Read More»

2012 Jeep Wrangler - First Drive
2012 Jeep Wrangler: First Drive

Oregon's Coast Range doesn't get very high, but near the top its peaks and ridgelines are so steep and boulder-strewn that all the highways and paved roads follow lower passes. Yep, to get to the great viewpoints, you either have to huff it, or you need a serious off-roader—like a Jeep. This...Read More»

2012 Scion iQ - First Drive
2012 Scion iQ: First Drive

I never expected to be hustling the new 2012 Scion iQ city car so quickly along the tightly wound, undulating two-laners in Marin's Muir Woods area, near San Francisco. And I'd been quite surprised that Toyota, known for its conservative cars and conservative routes, wanted us to head up from the...Read More»

2012 Nissan Versa Sedan
2012 Nissan Versa Sedan: First Drive

After having been behind the wheel of nearly every new model on the market, as we have, it's tempting to lump vehicles into two categories. On one hand are the cars that inspire and encourage you to enjoy driving, give you innovative features, or just make you look or feel exclusive or stylish. And...Read More»

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo – Copyright High Gear Media
2012 Volkswagen Beetle First Drive

When you think of Volkswagen and the people behind the brand, the image of engineers wearing black turtlenecks and speaking with thick German accents springs to mind. Their design haus would be a sterile white lab filled with clipboards and fluorescent lighting that churns out concepts created with...Read More»

2011 Chevrolet Volt
2011 Chevrolet Volt Plug-In Hybrid Hatchback: Quick Drive

It's received accolades as the North American Car of the Year, Motor Trend Car of the Year, and it still doesn't fit the definition of what a "car" should be. The 2011 Chevrolet Volt front-wheel-drive hatchback is both an electric, or plug-in, car and a gas-powered car. Sounds like a personality...Read More»

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