First Drives

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

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»

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