First Drives

2019 Volvo S60 first drive: Sublimely looking beyond SUVs
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»

2019 Lexus UX (UX250h E-Four hybrid)
2019 Lexus UX first drive review: Small-minded, but not like that

When SUVs first bubbled up from the primordial ooze, size truly mattered. From Wagoneers to Land Cruisers to Suburbans, the most popular sport-utility vehicles dwarfed the passenger cars that shared the road. Eventually, they bullied many of them off the streets entirely. Now size is less a...Read More»

2019 Kia Forte
2019 Kia Forte first drive: Compact car blues wiped away

Even though they are divisions of the same company, the divide between Kia and Hyundai has never been wider than with the 2019 Kia Forte. Under its clean styling suite of standard active safety tech sits the automaker’s first continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Don’t go...Read More»

2019 GMC Sierra
2019 GMC Sierra 1500 first drive review: A few steps forward, a few steps back

Big pickup trucks such as the 2019 GMC Sierra have been locked in an arms race for more than a decade. Payload, tow capacity, total output, even fuel economy, they’re all battles waged to win over millions of new pickup buyers each year. The undisputed champ of the class, the Ford F-150...Read More»

2019 Chevrolet Malibu
2019 Chevrolet Malibu first drive: Mid-size sedan let down by its details

With the 2019 Malibu, Chevy has dressed up its mid-size sedan to take on Accords, Camrys, Altimas, and every crossover SUV under the sun with an RS trim package. But what it now has in flash, it lacks in some substance. The new Malibu RS trim adds a gloss black grille up front surrounded by...Read More»

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe first drive
2019 Hyundai Santa Fe first drive: Name a better deal

That the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe name now applies to a spacious, five-seat family crossover SUV is no surprise. For Hyundai, “Santa Fe” is kept for the people-pleasing tall wagon that’s less offensive than Thomas Kinkade. The automaker’s blitz of new SUVs to complement its...Read More»

2019 Ram 1500 Limited
2019 Ram 1500 eTorque first drive: The silent assassin of pickup trucks

The USS Seawolf attack submarine is said to be so quiet that the only way to discover it is to listen for the absence of sound. That’s a pretty tall order, and one we remembered while attempting to discern the activity of the mild hybrid electric assist motor in the 2019 Ram 1500 eTorque...Read More»

2019 Honda Pilot
2019 Honda Pilot first drive: Soft-roading for the whole family

Hiking-style boots with knobby soles and Gore-Tex trim can be found just about anywhere, but there’s a reason that mountaineers don’t shop at Macy’s. This becomes evident as I inch a 2019 Honda Pilot Elite along a special course Honda set up on the grounds of a winery in the San...Read More»

2019 Chevrolet Silverado first drive, Wyoming, August 2018
2019 Chevrolet Silverado first drive: American workhorse

Wyoming is the American ideal for truck buyers. The sky is vast, the mountains big, and people have room to spread out. Any drive can pass by amber waves of grain with purple mountains’ majesty as their backdrop. It’s that beautiful. Chevrolet has designed the 2019 Silverado not for...Read More»

2019 Ram 1500 Laramie
2019 Ram 1500 review update: the new leader of the pack

The pickup truck wars have never been more fierce. Cheap gas, active lifestyles, and luxury-level creature comforts make full-size trucks viable family cars more now than ever before. For 2019, the Ram 1500 is new, and it came prepared to knock the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, and GMC Sierra...Read More»

2019 Honda Insight
2019 Honda Insight first drive: relief in a rising sea

Consider us as proverbial frogs, adrift in the rising oceans and paying nickels, dimes, and quarters more for gallons of the same gasoline every time we go to the pump. Impervious to the slow march toward $5 a gallon again, we’ll march happily along in crossovers and pickups until our credit...Read More»

2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter first drive: generational shift, but as useful as ever

When you consider that new-car life cycles are usually measured in years, not decades, it seems silly to describe new models as “generations.” The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is an exception: the 2019 Sprinter is only the third generation of Mercedes-Benz’s flagship van since its...Read More»

2018 Nissan Kicks
2018 Nissan Kicks first drive: the used-car alternative

Tasked with spending $20,000 on a transportation, most shoppers head to the classifieds. The 2018 Nissan Kicks wants to be the antidote to a used Honda CR-V or Ford Escape. It wafts its eau du voiture nouveau toward budget-conscious shoppers, luring them away from the pre-owned lot to the main...Read More»

2019 Lexus ES
2019 Lexus ES first drive: a luxury staple breaks into three-part harmony

Freed from its burden of being the mid-size sedan for every luxury buyer, the 2019 Lexus ES sedan, now in its seventh generation, grows slightly sharper in each of its several distinct flavors. The 2019 ES350 plays the middle-of-the-road luxury role, the ES300h hits hybrid high-economy notes while...Read More»

2018 Mazda MAZDA6
2018 Mazda 6 first drive: a blown opportunity

Accords and Camrys long ago became shorthand for family cars. Fusions and Malibus have thousands of showrooms for buyers to stumble into. In the vast universe of mid-size sedans, the Mazda 6 has toiled in semi-obscurity. It’s a fringe player, a Pluto with rarer news pegs. Mazda’s blurry...Read More»

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