First Drives

2012 Volkswagen Tiguan First Drive
2012 Volkswagen Tiguan First Drive

Blending new elements with an existing look is tough, and often fails. You should have seen the 70-something gentleman trying to rock 30-something "hair" aboard my recent flight to Munich. Once in Bavaria and on a drive to Austria courtesy of Volkswagen, updates to the 2012 Tiguan proved more...Read More»

2012 Fiat 500C Cabrio, SoHo district, New York City
2012 Fiat 500C Cabrio: First Drive

When a guy in a glossy black twin-cab diesel pickup truck leans out the passenger window with a camera to take your picture--and you're driving a tiny avocado green 2012 Fiat 500C Cabrio with the roof rolled down--you know this is an unusual car. Not since the introduction of the 2002 Mini Cooper...Read More»

2011 Kia Forte 5-Door SX
2011 Kia Forte 5-Door SX: First Drive

The Kia Forte replaced the compact Spectra a few years ago, bringing style to and dare I say flair to the Kia showroom. But the market is changing and Kia recognizes this. For 2011 Kia is introducing a 5-Door model to the Forte line-up. Last week we had the opportunity to drive the Forte 5-Door SX...Read More»

2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Driven

Mitsubishi's idea, last year, of previewing its Outlander Sport by making it the first model ever that could be remotely test driven, live—via a virtual system that promised way more than a tilt-and-pan virtual showroom tour—was the first of its kind. And it's definitely one of the...Read More»

2011 Kia Sportage SX
2011 Kia Sportage SX: First Drive

When we first drove the 2011 Kia Sportage EX we said that it's one of the most svelte crossovers on the market. After being on sale for over a year there is no question that the statement is as true today as it was then. Though you can only get so far on your good looks. Upon taking a closer look...Read More»

2012 Ford Focus
2012 Ford Focus: First Drive

While it's easy to find a good, sensibly-sized and relatively fuel-efficient small car, it's really hard to find much personality. At the same time, you could argue, Americans haven't seemed to want much charm behind the wheel. The first-generation Focus, for instance, came in a wide range of body...Read More»

2011 Ford Explorer
2011 Ford Explorer: First Drive

Reinvention has become something of a specialty among the domestic automakers. GM's kicked its reputation as being electric-car killers with the 2011 Volt, and Chrysler's axed battalions of quality demons from its lineup with the likes of the new Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee. It's Ford...Read More»

2011 Nissan Quest
2011 Nissan Quest: First Drive

If you've been shopping for a new family minivan this year, you're probably confused--and you're forgiven. With changes to every minivan offered in the U.S. this year, shoppers are faced with completely new versions of the 2011 Toyota Sienna and 2011 Honda Odyssey, the highest-rated minivans at...Read More»

2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon
2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon: First Drive

Carmakers [in 1998]: “SUVs are the new minivans, because young parents hate the minivan’s Soccer Mom connotation. Also wagons are a non-starter for precisely the same reason.” Carmaker [Acura, in late 2010]: “The new-new: wagons.” If you’re scratching your head...Read More»

2011 Hyundai Elantra
2011 Hyundai Elantra: First Drive

Hyundai has been making much more than baby steps forward with every vehicle they redesign. As of late, they've felt like flying leaps. Such is the case with the mid-size Sonata, which was redesigned this past year. And now, it's also true for the compact Elantra sedan, too. And in case you haven't...Read More»

2011 Chrysler Town & Country
2011 Chrysler Town & Country: First Drive

The usual flurry of new vehicles that comes each year is a confirmed blizzard at Chrysler. Everything's changing, mostly for the better. And though the most dramatic upheavals are taking place inside and outside the 2011 Dodge Charger and Durango, and the 2011 Chrysler 300 and 200 (nee Sebring)...Read More»

2011 Dodge Grand Caravan
2011 Dodge Grand Caravan: First Drive

Along with most of the Chrysler lineup for 2011, this year's Grand Caravan pitches headlong into the rejuvenation fad. Not that it didn't need a tightening here, a mini-lift there, a spa weekend most everywhere (and mostly for its plasticky, creaky cabin), but the Grand Caravan's always been a...Read More»

2011 Dodge Journey
2011 Dodge Journey: First Drive

In the two years since the Dodge Journey first showed up in showrooms, Chrysler's been through a couple of near-death moments. For all its turmoil with the private-equity crowd and the bankruptcy courts, Chrysler's now churning out a heavily revamped line of 2011 vehicles that includes a Journey...Read More»

2011 Chrysler 200
2011 Chrysler 200 Limited: First Drive

No more drama, please. It's not just us making the request. It's the folks at Chrysler, too, we're sure. The last three years have played out in Auburn Hills like a season of ER, with divorce, a near-death experience or two, and a non-stop triage running in the background. There are signs the...Read More»

2011 Lexus CT 200h
2011 Lexus CT 200h: First Drive

Remember the Lexus HS 250h that was introduced last year? Yes? Well kindly forget about it for the moment and reboot. Actually, consider it a full-on system crash and reinstall; all is well again and Lexus is back on track with what hybrid shoppers want. That's how we felt after spending part of a...Read More»

2012 Ford C-Max
2012 Ford C-Max: First Drive

In the world of the 64-ounce Big Gulp, the sizzling buffet and the Expedition EL, can a size-medium MPV make a big noise? Drive the 2012 Ford C-Max, and you'll hope so. Minivans are a gang of four: the Chrysler twins, the Toyota Sienna and the Honda Odyssey dominate the niche, and for families...Read More»

2011 Ford F-150 EcoBoost burnout
2011 Ford F-150 EcoBoost: First Drive

If you're not ready for the notion of a V-6 engine in a full-size pickup truck, you're probably even less prepared for the thought of a twin-turbo V-6 challenging some of the best V-8s in the business for truck performance. That's the case with this year's 2011 Ford F-150, which gets four new...Read More»

2011 Ford F-150 XL
2011 Ford F-150 V-6: First Drive

What does the best-selling pickup truck on the planet do for a follow-up act to the biggest recession in a generation or two? Last week, High Gear Media traveled to Dallas, Texas, to find out. We jumped in behind many wheels in a one-of-a-kind press event that put us, and Ford's new F-150 lineup...Read More»

2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor CrewCab
2011 Ford F-150 5.0 and 6.2: First Drive

It's second nature in trucks, like the first beer of football season. You order a full-size pickup--you order a V-8 engine, unless you're buying for Uncle Sam or someone equally tightfisted. Ford knows the allure of the V-8 better than just about anybody in the truck business. For more than three...Read More»

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