First Drives

First drive: 2022 Honda Civic expands on winning compact car formula
First drive: 2022 Honda Civic expands on winning compact car formula

The prospect of testing the redesigned 2022 Honda Civic excited me, given its outsized importance to Honda and domination of the compact car market. But it also gave me pause, because I have a lot of familiarity with the car. Not only do I come from a family of Civic owners (a 1997 and a 2009), I...Read More»

2021 Toyota Mirai
5 things to know about the 2021 Toyota Mirai

At a recent press event at Toyota Motors North America's headquarters in Plano, Texas, the most popular vehicle to test drive was not the gorgeous six-figure Lexus LC500 sports coupe, nor was it the Toyota Land Cruiser leaving American shores. Instead media members lined up to test the redesigned...Read More»

2022 Nissan Pathfinder
First drive: 2022 Nissan Pathfinder SUV carves a straightforward path

The redesigned 2022 Nissan Pathfinder doesn’t pretend to be a performance SUV or aspire to be an electric tech dynamo. Instead, it excels at what it’s meant to be: a roomy three-row SUV with enough seating flexibility and towing capability to stand out in a crowded class. The base...Read More»

2022 Lexus LS 500h AWD with Teammate
First drive: Lexus Teammate driver-assistance system wants to know you’re there

Lexus’s Teammate driver-assistance system flashed red at me and grew impatient. As I ignored its alerts to take control of the steering wheel, it rang audible alerts in increasing levels of alarm. I wanted to see if I could game the hands-free driving system, but Teammate wouldn’t have...Read More»

2022 Kia Carnival
First drive: 2022 Kia Carnival comes to town masked as an SUV

A teenager at the drive-thru said he liked my car. I lowered my sunglasses; he was sincere. Later, a couple stopped me in the Costco parking lot. “What is that?” “It’s a Kia.” I explained how the new badge with futuristic script replaced the circle on the liftgate...Read More»

2022 Volkswagen Taos
First drive: 2022 Volkswagen Taos small SUV fits the bill

The new 2022 Volkswagen Taos puts the “good things come in threes” saying to the test, becoming the company’s third compact SUV alongside the Tiguan and the all-electric ID.4. Though the trio might all be in roughly the same class, there’s enough that’s different to...Read More»

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness
First drive: 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness pushes further into the wild

It feels like the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness was constructed out of the fever dreams of a cooped-up adventurer. Which means that the Wilderness arrives at exactly the right time (and the right price) to become the weapon of choice for Outback buyers who are looking to really get away. This is...Read More»

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392
First drive: 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 proves just how fun nonsense can be

When I was a kid on family road trips, and I wasn’t getting yelled at to stop playing with the damn door lock, I’d daydream of a vehicle that could handle all the terrain passing by my window. One that could trundle through dale and dell, shred the roadside cornfields, launch over hills...Read More»

2021 Volkswagen ID.4  -  First drive, Portland OR
First drive: 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 plays catchup to Ford Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model Y

The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is a good car that needs a better interface and minor controls. It and the forthcoming dual-motor all-wheel-drive ID.4 need to work out the kinks before the arrival of other electric compact crossovers, such as the Nissan Ariya, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, and many more...Read More»

2022 Hyundai Tucson
First drive: 2022 Hyundai Tucson electrifies its looks and powertrain

Automakers, like humans, are creatures of habit. If we find something that works, we tend to stick with it until it doesn’t anymore. Hyundai has done exactly that with the redesigned 2022 Tucson. After the Elantra’s successful update in 2021 that garnered the compact sedan a TCC Best...Read More»

2022 Volkswagen Taos
First drive (again): The 2022 Volkswagen Taos shows off its handling, unwraps interior

Though the 2022 Volkswagen Taos is named after a town in New Mexico, I find myself in the middle of the desert outside of Phoenix at Volkswagen’s proving grounds. “Proving grounds” are the two words that excite me more than “free food,” but I’m not sure what it...Read More»

2021 Mazda CX-9
Review update: 2021 Mazda CX-9 outhustles the big boys

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 defies conventional judgement. Sure, it's a three-row, seven-seat crossover like a Honda Pilot or a Ford Explorer, but with its tailored outfit and its other luxury trappings, it doesn't have much time to worry about fitting kids in its skimpy third-row seat, and it doesn't...Read More»

2021 Lincoln Nautilus Black Label
Review update: 2021 Lincoln Nautilus crossover SUV comes around to luxury

The 2021 Lincoln Nautilus has finally come around. The refreshed interior finally shed the vestiges of its MKX skin with an interior befitting Lincoln’s upward class mobility. This poses a problem for me. My dad likes Lincolns. Even since the Town Cars of our youth, my brother and I have...Read More»

2020 Toyota Avalon TRD
Review update: 2021 Toyota Avalon TRD refills the fountain of youth

When we first drove it on the track, we wondered out loud whether a car like the 2021 Toyota Avalon really needed the TRD sport-sedan treatment. The Avalon's prime directive has always been to coddle its passengers in a cocoon of sound deadening and sensory deprivation, without costing them too...Read More»

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander
First drive: 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SUV looks different, feels Roguish

The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander arrives with a unique redesign that finds the compact crossover SUV sporting new styling on the surface, but a familiar platform underneath shared with the Nissan Rogue. This is the first Mitsubishi produced in conjunction with Nissan, and that closeness conveys a...Read More»

2021 Honda Ridgeline
First drive: 2021 Honda Ridgeline bridges crossover comfort with pickup truck capability

It feels like the Honda Ridgeline always has something to prove. The mid-size pickup truck rides on a unibody car platform that buffer trucks might shame as soft, even though that’s what makes it so good. I see you, Ridgeline, and I hear the imposter syndrome, but understand this: you are...Read More»

2021 Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo Hatchback
First drive: 2021 Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo Hatchback rekindles an old flame

A few days with the 2021 Mazda 3 2.5 Turbo hatchback reminded me of reuniting with an ex. The strong attachment I once felt for the hatch a few years ago was rekindled with a new shape, a more sophisticated interior, and a powerful new turbocharged engine. The thrills were there, and more exciting...Read More»

2021 Hyundai Elantra
First drive: 2021 Hyundai Elantra has a new wrapper, but old strengths still drive it forward

By Brian Wong The Hyundai Elantra compact sedan has traditionally stood out for its value and not much else. Previous generations of the car were among the most understated vehicles on the road, devoid of style or clear identifying details. I tried to picture an Elantra from before 2010 and I drew...Read More»

2022 Volkswagen Taos
First drive: 2022 Volkswagen Taos small SUV shows big promise

by Brian Wong Volkswagen has a big gap where a small SUV should go. Filling that gap will be two compact crossover SUVs in the 2022 Taos and the all-electric ID.4. The electric ID.4 goes on sale early next year and is nearly ready to go. The Taos (pronounced like “house”) has a much...Read More»

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