First Drive

First Drive articles

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.

2019 Toyota RAV4



CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, Calif. — Toyota has taken its best-selling compact RAV4 crossover up a notch — perhaps two notches depending on your definition of a notch — with its all-new fifth generation. After experiencing several varieties of the stylish new RAV on Pacific coast highways and mountain roads, we think Toyota has done enough to keep its prized vehicle at the head of the class.

2019 Ford Edge ST



INDIANAPOLIS — Ford had a really good idea back in 1989.  It commissioned Yamaha to conjure a high-revving V6 engine for what became the Taurus SHO, a sport sedan that could take the family to church, and afterwards, kick dad and mom into twisty two-lane backroads for a very spirited Sunday drive.
Through generations, the SHO gained a bigger V6, small V8, and finally, a twin-turbo V6 in today’s iteration.  Well, sedans are quickly going out in favor of crossovers.  No worries because Ford is already building a better SHO, the 2019 Ford Edge ST.

2019 Ford Ranger



SAN DIEGO — Back in 2011, after years of lackluster sales, Ford bumped off its mid-sized Ranger pickup. Dodge/Ram did the same with its Dakota, and then a year later GM pulled the plug on the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Those moves effectively ceded the mid-sized truck segment to just two players: Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier.