First Drive

First Drive articles

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.

2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross



PHOENIX — For years there have been rumors and innuendo of Mitsubishi’s U.S. demise. The company has been mired in one scandal after another, including its admitted overstatement of the fuel economy of at least four models, including two under the Nissan badge. That misstep cost Mitsubishi some $3 billion, further damaging a brand that has already been losing market share.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace



PHOENIX — Until now, if you wanted a luxury electric crossover utility vehicle, your choice was limited to one: Tesla Model X. However, Jaguar has started delivery of its luxury crossover EV, the I-Pace, and Audi has unveiled its e-tron SUV. Others like Porsche are close behind. The I-Pace is sleek, sharp looking five-passenger crossover that’s powered by a 90-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery that powers a pair of electric motors.

2019 Mercedes E450 Wagon



GREENVILLE, S.C. — The only thing that would prevent me from buying the 2019 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic Wagon is its $65,195 price tag. Or, in the case of the press loaner E450 Mercedes recently left in my driveway, $88,535. It's simply out of my budget. I do find wagons irresistibly appealing. Furthermore, I find wagons with some serious gusto beneath their hoods even more appealing. Dear Dodge: Please bring back the Magnum SRT Wagon.

2019 Lexus UX



SEATTLE — Small is now big in the ever-growing crossover game and that's just fine with us. We have always been drawn to small, maneuverable vehicles — tossable little guys, if you will — and so its not surprising we were attracted on first drive to Lexus' new sub-compact entry into the luxury crossover segment — the UX. UX standing for "urban crossover" according to Lexus.

2019 BMW X2 xDrive28i



PHOENIX — The newest Bimmer in the German automakers lengthy lineup of luxury crossovers is the compact X2. It’s essentially a sportier, funkier, sleeker and slightly less roomy version of the company’s X1 subcompact crossover.
Joining the wildly popular entry-level luxury crossover segment, X2 offers the versatility of a hatchback with available all-wheel drive, an impressive looking cabin, and performance that results in a near perfect vehicle to satisfy even the most inflated car ownership expectations.

2019 Acura RDX



PHOENIX — RDX is Acura’s premium compact to mid-sized crossover utility vehicle that first arrived for 2007. With its turbo-powered engine and upscale appointments, it was an enjoyable vehicle to drive but, unfortunately, didn’t catch on with the car-buying public. Later, the second-generation RDX added more luxury and a standard 279-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine. But it was predominantly a gussied up Honda CR-V, sharing the same basic chassis architecture.

2019 Honda Insight



PHOENIX — It comes as a surprise to most people that Toyota Prius wasn’t the first hybrid electric vehicle sold in the U.S. Rather, it was the Honda Insight, an odd looking three-door, two passenger hatchback that arrived in 1999 as a 2000 model, seven months earlier than the Prius. Fuel economy estimates under then-current EPA standards were 61 mpg city, 70 mpg highway, and 65 mpg combined.

2019 Nissan Altima



SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Nissan has not given up on cars — sedans in particular — as several other major automakers have done in favor of crossover SUVs. Sedan sales have slipped from 50 to 30 percent of the U.S. market in recent years and Nissan figures 30 percent is the bottom. That implies there's no where to go but up and Nissan wants to be there for the comeback.