First Drive

First Drive articles

2019 Audi S5 Sportback



INDIANAPOLIS — I fly way too much, but sometimes the destination can be reached by car — preferably a very fast and comfortable one.  It’s a great challenge.  Which car to drive?  A large luxury SUV would be great, but they’re not fun fast.  A sports car is fast, but not very comfortable.  Coupes can be comfy and fast, but aren’t very practical.  So, I settled for a top flight “five door coupe.” 

2020 Jeep Gladiator



SACRAMENTO, Calif. — It’s been 28 years since there’s been a Jeep-branded pickup, the Comanche, sold from 1986 through 1992. As one of the most highly anticipated new vehicles to launch in years the Gladiator finally arrives amid renewed interest in midsize pickups among the likes of Chevrolet Colorado, Toyota Tacoma, and Ford Ranger entries.

2019 Nissan LEAF PLUS



PHOENIX — Nissan first debuted its all-electric LEAF in 2010. It quickly became the best-selling electric vehicle in the world, with more that 400,000 sold since that time. However, given the recent success of the more advanced Tesla Model 3, that distinction may not hold up for much longer. When Nissan introduced its second-generation LEAF for 2018 with a new 150-mile driving range — up from the first generation’s 107 miles — Chevrolet had already announced the game-changing Bolt with its breakthrough 238 miles.

2019 Mercedes CLS450 Coupe



PHOENIX — For 2019, Mercedes has launched its third-generation CLS 450, which originally debuted in 2004. Often confused as a stable mate in the C-Class category, slotting below the S- and E-class, the CLS actually occupies a class of its own between the S- and E-class sedans. The new CLS actually rides on the E-Class platform but uses the S-Class’ engines and electronics.

2019 Audi SQ5



MIAMI — Three things you can count on in a German luxury car. The latest in technology will be available and it will be fussy, and sometimes frustrating to operate. The cabin will live up to the highest standards of luxury while giving you the feel of a high-class English gentleman’s club. It will go like a bat out of hell. The 2019 SQ5 from Audi encompasses all three.

2019 Ram Heavy Duty



LAS VEGAS, Nev. — At the North American International Auto Show in January, Ram 1500 earned top honors as North American Truck of the Year, as chosen by automotive media jurors from across the U.S. and Canada. Fresh off of that win, Ram introduces its all-new 2019 line of 2500, 3500 and Power Wagon Heavy duty trucks.

2019 GMC Sierra Denali



PHOENIX — Pickup trucks are better than ever and the hottest selling vehicle segment on the market thanks to America’s growing love affair, an insatiable appetite for them and a strong economy. It also helps that most automakers have dramatically upped their game with new entrants like the return of the Ford Ranger and Honda Ridgeline mid-sized trucks. Still others like Ram, Chevrolet and GMC are all new for 2019.

2019 Chevrolet Bolt



MIAMI — Though the electric car may be viewed by some as a recent development, its history dates back well over a century when, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the work of innovators in the 1800s led to the first electric vehicle on the road in the U.S. in 1890. By 1900, electric cars were a popular choice among budding automotive enthusiasts, more convenient than steam-powered vehicles and cleaner and easier to drive than the gasoline-powered versions.

2019 Mercedes E53



PHOENIX — Please excuse my being didactic, but to fully appreciate the 2019 Mercedes E53 coupe, it will help the reader to have a modicum of high-performance automotive knowledge, and an interest that goes beyond getting from point A to point B with a reasonable amount of gas and least amount of trouble-free driving.

2019 Fiat 500 Abarth



GOLDSBORO, N.C. — There was an outcry from some driving enthusiasts when Fiat decided to outfit the performance-oriented 500 Abarth with a six-speed automatic transmission for the 2015 model year. The Abarth, according to these enthusiasts, properly started life in 2012 with a five-speed manual transmission. The problem for Fiat — most people favor automatics these days and Fiat needed to listen to the masses for increased sales.