First Drives

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

2021 Nissan Rogue
First drive: 2021 Nissan Rogue splits the difference

The 2021 Nissan Rogue headlines a major overhaul underway at Nissan. The compact crossover SUV is the first and arguably most important of six new or redesigned vehicles for 2021, ranging from the cutting edge Nissan Ariya electric SUV to the old-as-salt Nissan Frontier mid-size pickup truck. The...Read More»

2021 GMC Yukon and Hurricane Sally
First drive: The 2021 GMC Yukon weathers Hurricane Sally

When the test-car fleet crew drops the 2021 GMC Yukon to me on Tuesday, September 15, I’m still optimistic. “I think you made it just in time,” I joke. Sally is a tropical storm much further down the Gulf Coast at that point, but I’m aware of it. I track it on my phone all...Read More»

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport
First drive: 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport inspires rallycross dreams

On trips out to the country as a kid, I’d daydream about four-wheelers running over rutted muddy hills or spitting up chalk dust clouds on gravel roads. I was surprised to revisit that fantasy on Appalachian Ohio’s country roads in the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport. Typically, the Subaru...Read More»

2020 Subaru Outback Onyx Edition XT
Review update: 2020 Subaru Outback Onyx Edition XT spares no expense

The redesigned 2020 Subaru Outback comes with a new Onyx Edition XT trim level to give shoppers even more confusion—I mean options. With seven trims now, and a host of standard safety equipment ranging from all-wheel drive to automatic emergency braking, the erstwhile wagon has grown into a...Read More»

2021 Chevrolet Tahoe
First drive: 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe High Country makes it big time

The 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe got big. Bigger. Swole. The Tahoe’s new for 2021, and it’s grown to gain some easy-to-see benefits: more third-row room, greater cargo volume, and enough space to handle all the generational family growing pains. But there are consequences to bigness, too, as...Read More»

2020 GMC Sierra 3500 Denali
First drive: 2020 GMC Sierra 3500 Denali eclipses its former self

Until the GMC Hummer EV makes its debut in the fall, the 2020 GMC Sierra Denali Heavy Duty pickup truck totes the truckmaker’s banner as a flagship. It’s suited to the task. Up to three tons of anything can be heaved into its boxy rear bed, or it can tow up to 15 tons—roughly...Read More»

2020 Lincoln Navigator
Review update: The 2020 Lincoln Navigator reserves its best for the highway

Since air travel ranks with drinking molten gold on my want-to-do list this year, I've piled on thousands more interstate miles than I'd planned in January. Some 1,200 of them happened this month in a 2020 Lincoln Navigator Reserve, which easily beat down the existential dread of I-85 with square...Read More»

2020 Tesla Model Y
First drive: 2020 Tesla Model Y charts an electric crossover-SUV course

The Model Y compact crossover might not be the best Tesla, but it’s the one that best advances Elon Musk’s goal of the mass adoption of electric vehicles. With a sporty crossover profile that’s all the rage, strong performance, plenty of range, and an advanced but simplified...Read More»

2021 Kia K5
2021 Kia K5 first drive: Name games dilute a fine follow-up act

The sedan formerly known as the Kia Optima gets a new look this year, but the change hardly stops at the body. It gets a new name too. The question we still have, after hundreds of miles spent in it—is the mid-size 2021 Kia K5 different enough to earn the new K5 badge? The Optima and K5 have...Read More»

2021 Toyota Venza Limited
First drive: 2021 Toyota Venza boasts a Lexus feel and hybrid efficiency

Walk up to the 2021 Toyota Venza and it looks familiar. The fast roofline and the way the window line resolves at the rear are clearly influenced by the last-generation Lexus RX from Toyota’s luxury brand. The chrome exterior trim and wheels give the same impression. Jump inside, spot the...Read More»

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer
2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer first drive: The name returns but the small crossover marks its own path

The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer blazes no new trail but it reorients Chevy for the modern crossover era. For those of a certain beautiful age (yes, you are), the Trailblazer may evoke the rough-and-tumble days of pickup truck-type SUVs such as the Ford Bronco, or in its later days, a 4Runner...Read More»

2020 Lincoln Corsair first drive
Review update: The 2020 Lincoln Corsair Reserve flies under the radar

Lincoln's SUVs get more subdued as they inch down the price ladder. The Navigator's fabulous—as it had better be, with a six-digit sticker price all too easy to reach. The Aviator's blessed with the same finesse but less bulk. (It's also ever so slightly more environmentally conscious; it has...Read More»

2020 Mini Cooper SE
First drive: 2020 Mini Cooper SE comes with a big but

The 2020 Mini Cooper SE electric vehicle comes with a big but. It’s cute, it’s punchy, it’s distinct, it’s versatile, but... But. The range is only 110 miles. That’s a but so big even Sir Mix-a-Lot ain’t down with that. That “but” narrows the...Read More»

2020 BMW 228i xDrive Gran Coupe
Review update: 2020 BMW 228i xDrive Gran Coupe burns up some good credit

On the day I paid attention in science class, “conservation of energy” resonated in my adolescent brain. Something about energy in a system remains constant—energy saved doing homework could be spent in other pursuits, I suppose. Broadly applied to cars today, that theory would...Read More»

2021 Buick Encore GX
2021 Buick Encore GX first drive: So many Encores, so little drama

You’ll be forgiven if you shop for a new Buick Encore and get confused. For 2020 there are two Encores: the familiar Encore with a standard engine and transmission and a choice of all-wheel drive, and the new Encore GX with a choice between two engines, two transmissions, and front- or...Read More»

2020 Lexus ES 300h
Review update: The 2020 Lexus ES 300h shelters drivers in the right place

Long-distance journeys may have settled into your mind, in this time of sheltering in place. One day we'll be able to drive far, far away—and for that day your shopping list could start and begin with the 2020 Lexus ES 300h Ultra Luxury. If you can avoid the lure of a crossover SUV, the 2020...Read More»

2021 Kia Seltos
First drive: 2021 Kia Seltos rides in style

Each pint-size ‘ute from nearly every automaker on the planet now promises something different. For many buyers of those small crossovers, all that matters is whether they arrive in style. The 2021 Kia Seltos piles on style like fresh Wranglers, crisp button-up shirts, hard-wearing felt...Read More»

2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport
First drive: 2020 VW Atlas Cross Sport crossover hits the middle in a big way

Until now, Volkswagen’s answer to mid-size crossover shoppers unswayed by their three-row team bus dubbed the Atlas was silence so wide that you could drive one through it. Admittedly, the smaller VW Tiguan already on dealer’s lots is a giant-size compact crossover with more leg room...Read More»

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