First Drive

First Drive articles

2018 Nissan Kicks



MIAMI — Though the vehicle started arrivng in showrooms in May, Nissan took time to “introduce” its latest model, a subcompact crossover dubbed Kicks, at a preview for media. It is the second such session company publicists have conducted for automotive journalists, the first being earlier in June in San Diego.

2018 Audi S4



PHOENIX — Last year, Audi updated its fifth-generation A4 sedan. Audi didn’t do anything radical, with the basic dimensions staying the same, but Audi aficionados certainly recognized some significant changes. So, understandably, for 2018 the A4 is almost exclusively a carryover from last year, and a much stronger performance-oriented S4 has joined the lineup.

2019 Lexus ES



NASHVILLE, Tenn. — When the Lexus brand first launched in the U.S 28 years ago, it did so with just two sedans: the LS and the smaller ES. Over the years, Lexus, of course, added numerous vehicles to its portfolio — SUVs, sportier models and more coupes and sedans. With 2.18 million worldwide sales — one million in the U.S. alone — it is the most popular Lexus ever.

2018 Mercedes AMG S63



MIAMI — If you’re looking for a vehicle that tells the world “I’ve got it made” yet exudes a more carefree air and fun driving experience than you might ordinarily find in the Super Luxury Class, the Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet may be a perfect fit. After bringing the coupe back to the S-Class portfolio from under the CL banner for 2015, Mercedes unveiled its first S-Class convertible since 1971 with the the S-Class Cabriolet a year later as a 2017 model.

2019 Hyundai Veloster



AUSTIN, Texas — I first heard about the Veloster back in 2012 when Hyundai initially launched the quirky little hatchback, and the name reminded me of a carnival ride. “Weird name for a car,” I thought. Fast forward to May 2018, when Hyundai fittingly introduced the second generation 2019 Veloster to the media in Austin, a city that takes immense pride in proclaiming itself the weirdest city in the country (although Portland, Ore., takes exception to that claim).

2018 Bentley Bentayga



PHOENIX — The notion of purchasing a new vehicle costing upwards of a quarter million dollars is clearly out of reach for middle-class bourgeois like myself. However, if you’re among the global one-tenth of one-percent who can easily write that check, you need pay attention to this: The long black luxury sedan is so yesterday as the choice of livery servitude, pushed aside by chrome ablaze, boxy, giant ultra-luxury SUVs in all their glorious swaddled seduction and refinement.

2018 Bentley Bentayga



PHOENIX — The notion of purchasing a new vehicle costing upwards of a quarter million dollars is clearly out of reach for middle-class bourgeois like myself. However, if you’re among the global one-tenth of one-percent who can easily write that check, you need pay attention to this: The long black luxury sedan is so yesterday as the choice of livery servitude, pushed aside by chrome ablaze, boxy, giant ultra-luxury SUVs in all their glorious swaddled seduction and refinement.

2019 Toyota Avalon



SAN DIEGO — There’s a pretty good chance that if you’re not wearing reading glasses to read this review, don’t read newspapers or have the slightest clue what the letters AARP stand for, then you probably have no idea what a Toyota Avalon is — let alone have exciting thoughts about trading your current ride for one.
That’s because average age of a current Toyota Avalon buyer starts with the number six. But that isn’t stopping the folks at Toyota who aim to knock a decade or so off the median age of the owner by introducing the fifth-generation 2019 Avalon sedan.

2018 Ford EcoSport



INDIANAPOLIS — In the fastest-growing automotive segment, Ford only had one entry.  Compact crossovers have become the new mid-size sedan as sub-compact crossovers supplant sub-compact cars.  Ford has the Escape crossover, but needed something a little smaller — a vehicle to compete with the Honda HR-V, Chevy Trax, and Subaru Crosstrek.  Fortunately, there was the little EcoSport being built in India and it arrives stateside for 2018.

2019 Ram 1500



SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Pickup trucks are more popular than ever and the market for them is about to get even hotter and more competitive for the 2019 model year. Ford raised the stakes this year with a refresh of the industry’s top-selling F-150. Chevrolet has already previewed an all-new Silverado, and GMC has an all-new Sierra. Further, Ram has just introduced its totally redesigned 15th generation Ram 1500.