First Drive

First Drive articles

2014 GMC Sierra

INDIANAPOLIS — Trucks are not meant to be glamorous. Sure, they’ll pull a glimmering vintage Airstream trailer, put a wooden Chris Craft boat into crystal water, or carry home that mid-century credenza, but any trucks worth their fully-boxed frames can also haul a bed load of dirt, plow through snow, and charge through muddy fields.

2014 Infiniti QX60

GOLDSBORO, N.C. — After just one year on the market the stylish and good-selling seven-passenger Infiniti JX35 crossover has been scrapped by Infiniti. It's gone from the 2014 lineup. The 2013 JX will become a one-year wonder, equivalent to music's one-hit wonders.

2014 Toyota 4Runner

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — Nearly all of the truck-like body-on-frame sport utilities have been transformed into unibody crossovers, which is great for getting to soccer practice, but what about the rock climbers? The mud boggers? The mountain men (and women)? In other words, what’s left for the real adventurers?

2014 Toyota Tundra

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — Bear with me, here. Do you remember when Charlie Bucket went on the tour of Willy Wonka’s amazing chocolate factory? Remember all the choices and options there were? Lickable, flavored wall paper. Everlasting Gobstoppers. Chewing gum that packed a 3-course meal into one delicious treat.

2014 Fiat 500L

BALTIMORE — We've spent time with two Fiat 500 models on home turf over the past two years and our usual small crowd of "what are you driving now?" folks were enthralled by the two-door mini hatchback, never having seen one or ridden in one. Both times the 500 "won" over people whose previous knowledge of Fiat was limited to "they aren't very good cars, are they?"

2014 Nissan Versa Note

SAN DIEGO — Nissan introduced its new Versa sedan nearly two years ago and since then it has become the best-selling subcompact in the country. Now comes the hatchback version, which is being tagged around the world as the Versa Note. It also has the makings of becoming a best seller in North America.

2014 Ford Fiesta

DEARBORN, Mich. — The Ford folks at the 2014 Fiesta staging area couldn't stop talking about the high-performance Fiesta ST due in U.S. showrooms later this year with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder pumping out 197 horsepower. It's truly a small car juggernaut with the ability to hit 60 mph in the mid-six-second range and carve up a canyon road in sports car style. The Fiesta ST should give such nameplates as the Fiat 500 Abarth and the Mini Cooper S a real run.

2014 Acura MDX

PORTLAND, Ore. — While Acura trimmed some significant weight from the latest version of its best-selling MDX crossover it also cut horsepower and only subtly advanced the design. This may sound like playing it too safe with the all-new third-generation, but we discovered that Acura actually took a solid step forward. The proof is in the details — and the driving.

2014 Kia Cadenza

SAN DIEGO — Before we set foot and butt into the all-new full-sized luxury offering from Kia, we knew we would like it because we were enamored of its platform mate, the Hyundai Azera, after a recent 1,500-mile trek. What we weren't expecting was how much more we liked the Cadenza. Both sedans have the same energetic 3.3-liter direct-injection V-6 producing 293 horsepower mated to a six-speed automatic and both provide a generous helping of performance measured in the mid-six-second range from 0 to 60.

2014 Chevrolet Silverado

SAN ANTONIO — Our first look at the all-new Chevrolet Silverado full-sized pickup left us scratching our head last December when it was unveiled to the press a few weeks before the Detroit Auto Show. At first glance, it appeared devoid of styling changes. And then came the announcement that it would be motivated by a 4.3-liter V-6 and 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V-8s, the same engine displacements that have been found under the hood for years. It left us wondering, "what was General Motors thinking?"