First Drive

First Drive articles

2017 Honda CR-V



PHOENIX — Sales of compact crossover utility vehicles are booming; consumers have a seemingly insatiable appetite for them and the segment continues to grow. In fact, utility vehicles now outsell cars. With players like Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue and others continually updating and refreshing their products, competition is keen and the vehicles are only getting better.

2017 Volvo S90



PHOENIX — We were more than impressed with the completely redesigned XC90 when it was introduced for 2015. It was the first Volvo to be updated since Chinese automaker Geely bought the Swedish car company from Ford in 2010. For the record, the brand has kept its promise to completely refresh and revamp its entire product line by the end of 2017, recently introducing a redesigned XC60 crossover, V90 and V60 crossover wagons, and the all-new flagship S90 mid-sized luxury class sedan tested here.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas



SAN ANTONIO, Texas — A new SUV is coming to Volkswagen showrooms in May. And yes, the VW folks say, its an SUV, not one of the growing numbers of “crossovers” that basically put an SUV body over a sedan chassis. (Though Mark Gillies, senior manager for Product Communications, sees them as “interchangeable terms.”)

2017 Hyundai Ioniq



DURHAM, N.C. — Automobiles, not unlike other products or events, are, from time to time, recognized and lauded with superlative citations: the fastest, largest, class-leading, most advanced, first, and so on. Some are even strange or bizarre: The first crash-test dummy came to be back in the 1930s, replacing a live human with a cadaver.

2017 Lincoln Continental



INDIANAPOLIS — The Lincoln Continental is not just any car — it’s Edsel Ford’s car.  It’s also President Kennedy’s, Elvis Presley’s, James Brown’s, Frank Lloyd Wright’s, and if Lincoln’s ads are to be believed, Matthew McConaughey’s car.  It’s appeared in movies as diverse as Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, American Hustle, The Jazz Singer, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, The Avengers, and The Normal Heart.  It’s not a car; it’s an icon indivisible from the automaker that builds it.

2017 Land Rover Discovery



ST. GEORGE, Utah —  The boxy Land Rover LR4 is fresh off a complete redesign and is not only a thoroughly different looking vehicle, but also has a new name: Land Rover Discovery. This fifth-generation model sports a new look inside and out and features a slew of technological advancements. This includes the lightweight monocoque body construction, made of up to 85 percent high-strength aluminum, reducing total vehicle weight by 1,000 pounds or about 20 percent over the outgoing LR4 model.

2017 Subaru Legacy



LOS ANGELES — Subaru doesn't need any help selling cars and crossovers from the likes of automotive sites like MotorwayAmerica, the Japanese company has got the formula down to a science enjoying increasing sales month after month for years. To understand this phenomenon better, spend some time behind the wheel of the 2017 Legacy mid-sized sedan.

2018 Toyota C-HR



AUSTIN, Texas —  Back in 2002, in an attempt to attract teens and twenty-somethings (now called millennials) into a car they could call their own, Toyota introduced the funky Scion brand. Early on, Scion was a bit of a hit, but it never gained buyer loyalty or serious interest in the brand and its product offerings. Last year, Toyota pulled the plug on Scion, shuttering the brand. In doing so, the Scion iA, iM and FR-S cars were rebadged as Toyotas for the 2017 model year. The tC coupe was discontinued.

2017 Jeep Compass



SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Jeep, a brand that builds nothing but more than capable SUVs, is absolutely booming. Overall sales are up for the seventh year in a row, including three straight years of one million vehicles sold, with a record breaking 1.4 million in 2016. It doesn’t hurt that American car buyers have made a dramatic shift from traditional family sedans to utility vehicles; the hottest segments are compact and subcompact crossovers.

2017 Honda CR-V



INDIANAPOLIS — I remember seeing the Honda CR-V during its Detroit Auto Show debut nearly 20 years ago.  There, in the middle of this grand hall, was a tiny little crossover among a sea of large full-framed SUVs.  I, and many others, laughed until our stomachs cramped.  Nobody laughs now as the CR-V has become America’s best-selling SUV.  Turbo power and a fashion makeover ignite this rocket’s fire.