First Drives

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

2020 Audi Q7
First drive: 2020 Audi Q7 goes long on tech, short on space and fuel economy

The mid-cycle refresh of the 2020 Audi Q7 crossover SUV brings a mix of contradictory developments. One of the better infotainment systems gets better, but the new turbocharged V-6 contributes to lower fuel economy than the outgoing supercharged V-6. While it may seem like one step forward, one...Read More»

2020 Toyota Camry XSE AWD
First drive review: 2020 Camry AWD adds confidence but not performance

The front tires of the 2020 Toyota Camry XSE are sliding sideways in the snow. Usually, that could be dangerous, but it’s all right this time because I’m causing the slide. I’m on an autocross covered in ice and snow in a field outside of Park City, Utah, and I’m sliding the...Read More»

2020 Hyundai Venue (Australian spec)
First drive: The 2020 Hyundai Venue sets a small but splashy stage

I struggle with sentience while a hotel clerk tells me there are four Australian accents: university, city, Western Australia, and everywhere else. None of them make sense at 9 a.m., not after a 24-hour ride over the ocean for a first drive in the 2020 Hyundai Venue. Hyundai chose Australia’s...Read More»

2020 Nissan Sentra SR, left, and SV, right, trim
First drive: 2020 Nissan Sentra balances sport with value

The redesigned 2020 Nissan Sentra is lower, wider, sportier, and loaded with more standard features, without much of an upcharge over the 2019 model. Starting at $20,015 (including $925 destination), the compact sedan appeals to a still-significant slice of shoppers who don’t need a bulky...Read More»

2020 Mazda CX-30
First drive: 2020 Mazda CX-30 small crossover is driven by details

As a carmaker, Mazda’s proudly majored in the minors. They’ll tell you as much, too. With the 2020 CX-30, Mazda’s American-sized small crossover is full of minutiae that defines the cars they make. Want details? The front passenger gets a perfectly placed grab handle that’s...Read More»

2020 Porsche Taycan 4S
First drive: The 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S boosts Porsche into electric era

Reports of the Porsche Taycan have evoked the kind of superlatives that can only overstate. Porsche’s first electric vehicle has been called game changing, the future, and, of course, a Tesla killer. It’s even been posited that the Taycan (pronounced TIE-khan) will not only outperform...Read More»

2020 Hyundai Sonata
First drive review: 2020 Hyundai Sonata Limited does the work of two cars

The Hyundai Sonata already worked overtime at its day job, providing efficient and safe wheels for families unconvinced by the whole crossover-SUV conflamma. Now has two jobs: the base sedans keep that pace, while the 2020 Sonata Limited ascends a few steps to become a replacement for the former...Read More»

2020 Ford Escape
First drive: The 2020 Ford Escape you want is the Hybrid

The 2020 Ford Escape may look like one compact crossover SUV, but like the English language, it’s really three different things wearing one trenchcoat. The 2020 Escape comes with a choice of four trim levels, three engines, two transmissions, and a choice of front- or all-wheel drive...Read More»

2020 Toyota Camry TRD
First drive review: 2020 Toyota Camry and Avalon TRD inject fun into the family sedan

It’s 102 sweltering degrees at Texas Motor Speedway and I’m driving a 2020 Toyota Camry family sedan on an autocross. Not only that, but the next car I’ll toss from sharp, chalk-outlined corner to corner is a 2020 Toyota Avalon, a car with a famously elderly audience. What world...Read More»

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Duramax
The 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Duramax diesel pickup is a V-8 alternative

Truck buyers in the U.S. have drastically transformed in the past several years. Between more available mid-sized trucks and full-size overhauls that have challenged traditions, buying a truck is harder now than it ever has been. GMC makes buying a truck even more complicated for 2020 with the...Read More»

2020 Subaru Legacy
The 2020 Subaru Legacy sedan runs toward the best mid-size value

“Runner-up” has defined the Subaru Legacy sedan longer than the automaker would like to admit. Marooned to the back of shoppers’ minds behind crossovers, the Legacy’s been playing third, fourth, or fifth fiddle to the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord sedans longer than Garth...Read More»

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
Power, efficiency, reality all catch up with 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

For 2020, Ram isn’t letting off the gas—or maybe I should say “accelerator.” The 2020 Ram 1500 marks the return of the EcoDiesel engine under the hood of the automaker’s light-duty pickup truck. With a $4,995 price premium (or $3,000 over the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8...Read More»

2020 Nissan Versa First Drive
The 2020 Nissan Versa tests the limits of content in a value-driven segment

The average transaction price for a new car is now more than $37,000. For those with access to low-interest, long-term loans, that's not too difficult to stomach. In the real world, not everybody is in that position. Some need new-car reliability and the peace of mind brought about by the...Read More»

2020 Cadillac XT6 Sport
The 2020 Cadillac XT6 settles for second best

The Cadillac lineup has exactly one spot for a no-compromise SUV. That slot belongs to the Escalade. It’s powered by a V-8, not some dinky turbo-4. It answers the critics who say it’s too long with an even longer-wheelbase model. Take that! In an era of underplayed modernist design, it...Read More»

2020 Subaru Outback
First drive: 2020 Subaru Outback crosses over into the un-crossover

Don’t tell the 2020 Subaru Outback it’s an SUV. Talking to cars not only makes for poor one-way conversations, it also looks weird. And certainly, don’t tell Subaru Outback owners they’re driving an SUV. Most Outback owners I know are proud that the longtime wagon...Read More»

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