First Drives

First Drive: The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer pulls a bait and switch, and pulls it off
First Drive: The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer pulls a bait and switch, and pulls it off

The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer has pulled a sly one over on us all. The name’s meant to make us think of a macho weekend spent off the grid. The reality? Weekends of errands and chores, from Costco to installing garage door keypads to cleaning up hairballs. (Where is the Outside magazine for...Read More»

2019 Honda Passport
2019 Honda Passport first drive: Five seats, just right

Discovery of uranium in the sandstone around Moab, Utah, sparked a rush of prospectors into the Four Corners region in the 1950s. With its 2019 Passport, Honda may very well have struck gold instead. The new Passport is a five-seat crossover SUV that looks, drives, and for the most part, acts like...Read More»

2019 Mazda 3  -  first drive  -  Los Angeles, January 2019
2019 Mazda 3 first drive: Welcoming a “hip” era for Zoom-Zoom

Before letting us drive its redesigned 2019 Mazda 3, the company’s engineers had us spend time on core-strengthening desk-chair toppers popular in Japan. No, it wasn’t because they saw too many beer guts in the room. In designing and engineering the latest version of the Mazda...Read More»

2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali review update: The tailgate you want, the interior you don't

In the arms race that is full-size pickup trucks, the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali takes a right turn with a new tactic: tech instead of brawn. For 2019, the GMC Sierra 1500, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram 1500 are new and the reigning sales champ Ford F-150 recently received an update. At a time when...Read More»

2019 Ram 1500 Limited
2019 Ram 1500 Limited review update: The luxury pickup truck you want

Pickup trucks used to be a tool that tradesmen and farmers put to work. It's a different era now, as many pickup trucks live their lives running between to Starbucks on Monday morning and hauling the family boat or snowmobiles on the weekends. For 2019, the big three full-size pickup trucks from...Read More»

2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn
2019 Ram 1500 eTorque first drive review: The hybrid pickup truck you can (and should) drive

Late on a weekend night in the 1970s, Woodward Avenue in Detroit thrummed with the roar of V-8 engines and bias-ply rubber wailed as it roasted on the pavement. Today’s Detroit is not 1975’s Detroit, especially on a cold January morning. Mopar now speaks with an Italian accent. Traffic...Read More»

2019 Nissan Maxima
2019 Nissan Maxima first drive review: Sports sedan subtly reworked

Depending on who you ask, 2019 is either the worst time to offer a four-door-sedan—or the best. In a stroke of good timing on Nissan’s part, both of its mid-size sedans are new for 2019. The 2019 Altima arrived earlier this year, and now its bigger brother, the 2019 Nissan Maxima, is...Read More»

2020 Hyundai Palisade first drive
2020 Hyundai Palisade first drive review: Enter Sandman

Sleep is underrated. Underrated like Vermont as a state, pepper as a spice, or veggie as a pizza. Many of us sleep on, well, sleep. Any parent, new or old, will tell you that bed time is a sacrosanct ritual, Holy Communion with Oreos and milk. If I’m saying the 2020 Hyundai Palisade makes me...Read More»

2019 Ford Ranger
2019 Ford Ranger first drive review: The global pickup truck goes American

The 2019 Ford Ranger looks all-American, but it waves more flags than just the stars and stripes. Its chunky looks blend Detroit swagger with southeast Asian swoopiness because it was initially designed for places like Thailand where workhorse trucks sized like the Ranger make sense. Underhood, the...Read More»

2019 Nissan Murano
2019 Nissan Murano first drive review: Steady as she goes

Way back in 2003, Nissan brought out the first Murano, a nimble car-based crossover that banked on style as much as it did substance. It was different from most SUVs because it was car-based and avoided the trucklike ride of its body-on-frame competitors while still retaining a commanding view from...Read More»

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 2.7 first drive review: Daring to be different

Paradigm shifts tend to be either brilliant or disasters. Chevy's made just such a gamble with its full-size pickup line with a new turbo-4 engine for its Chevrolet Silverado truck. The new engine takes over in LT and RST trims where a 4.3-liter V-6 once lived, and it makes the 2019 Silverado the...Read More»

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE first drive review: Bellwether luxury crossover SUV

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class that I rushed through a washed-out road on a steamy October afternoon didn’t seem to mind that when it rains in Central Texas, it pours. For Mercedes-Benz, the GLE has become a beacon of stability. It’s a middle child in a lineup of crossover SUVs...Read More»

2019 Toyota RAV4
2019 Toyota RAV4 first drive review: Reaching new heights

Traffic on California’s winding, tourist-riddled Highway 1 creeps along on a Tuesday morning in November. I’m in a 2019 Toyota RAV4 and I’m stuck behind a wandering Mustang with Nevada plates, almost certainly a rental, and I watch in vain as its occupants snap photos of the...Read More»

2019 Subaru Forester Sport
2019 Subaru Forester Sport review update: Crossover plays the name game

The 2019 Subaru Forester Sport is a new name but not a new concept. The last-generation Subaru Forester XT had more power than it needed from a raucous turbo-4 pulled from the WRX four-door sedan that made 250 horsepower and a wall of torque. In the Forester XT, it propelled the crossover to 60 mph...Read More»

2019 Volvo S60
2019 Volvo S60 first drive: Sublimely looking beyond SUVs

Volvo refuses to ignore sedans—and wagons. Even though about 80 percent of the vehicles that leave the automaker’s showrooms are high-riding crossover SUVs, it’s sedans—and wagons—that put Volvo on the map. The 2019 Volvo S60 and its V60 wagon sibling may not tip the...Read More»

2019 Nissan Altima
2019 Nissan Altima first drive review: The long game with a Hail Mary

The 2019 Nissan Altima is hardcore normcore. Judging by the way the automaker describes its new mid-size sedan, I’m not sure they mind the hashtag classification. If normcore sounds to you more like an arts and crafts mounting board, it’s fine—you haven’t missed much...Read More»

2019 BMW X5 (40i X line)
2019 BMW X5 first drive review: The generalist

The 2019 BMW X5 is no specialist. It can’t afford to laser-focus on doing one thing well, like BMW’s M2, which really only cares about getting your passengers to grip the oh-crap handle. Or the BMW i3, which really only cares about letting you know its coffee table reading consists...Read More»

2019 Subaru Forester
2019 Subaru Forester first drive review: Backwoods solitude

Deep in the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountains, which covers more than half a million acres, American forestry was born over a century ago.
 Maintaining the dense old-growth forest takes patience and a close attention to detail. Disturbing its countless...Read More»

2019 Cadillac XT4
2019 Cadillac XT4 first drive review: Fashionably late, but a crossover to consider

Cadillac can’t turn back time to capitalize on shoppers who’ve left sedans for tall-riding crossover SUVs. It can’t take back the bad bet on a diesel powertrain in lieu of hybrid batteries. Perhaps it’ll rethink its plan to keep from the XT4 its SuperCruise driver-assist...Read More»

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