First Drives

2012 Toyota Camry: First Drive
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»

2012 Volkswagen Tiguan
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»

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