First Drive

First Drive articles

2013 Range Rover

GOLDSBORO, N.C. — No matter how adept a sport utility vehicle is at climbing rocks, fording streams or tackling wild terrain, most of its life will be spent on hard pavement accomplishing the chores of life. For that reason the all-new 2013 Land Rover Range Rover is one honey of a luxury SUV.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

AUSTIN, Texas — Throughout history there have been some classic skirmishes: you say tomato and I say tomahto; paper or plastic; I could have had a V8. But perhaps the most notable of all is the deadly debate of whether to buy a vehicle that specializes in off-roading or one that is a family ride. Just like Mighty Mouse, Jeep has come to save the day and after putting it through a multitude of paces there’s no doubt that with the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee you can have your cake…and eat it, too.

2013 Toyota RAV4

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Toyota has unveiled the fourth generation of its iconic RAV4, the world’s original crossover sport utility vehicle. Nearly 1.7 million have been sold since 1996 in 150 countries, and more than 80 percent are still on the road.

2014 Kia Forte

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. —The Kia Forte this spring will join the popular compact sedan segment that includes such vaunted competitors as the Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra. This newcomer, based on our afternoon of driving in the Arizona desert, will be  a player.
Oh, hold on, wait a minute. You say the Forte isn't new to the segment, it came on board in 2010 as replacement for the forgettable Spectra.

2014 Kia Sorento

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Usually when an automobile manufacturer says a new model is a mid-cycle facelift that’s a fairly accurate description. Mostly there are minor changes; maybe it sports a different grille or front and rear fascias. Maybe it has a new dashboard using higher-grade materials. Or in some instances it’s simply called the “new” 20XX vehicle. For its 2014 Sorento CUV Kia has thrown conventional wisdom to the wildebeests.

2013 Land Rover LR2

MONTREAL, Quebec — It has often been said that Land Rovers are the Swiss Army knives of the automotive world, albeit it with a British accent. You can rock climb, go for a leisurely drive, wade through bodies of water or just sit in your own driveway listening to classical music through orchestral hall-quality speakers…all in the comfort of your own vehicle. This was emphasized  in Montreal and northern Quebec driving the 2013 Land Rover LR2.

2013 Buick Encore

ATLANTA — Luxury in a small, fuel-efficient package is the new hot commodity in the automotive world. We want our good stuff, but we want it in a tidy container that makes us feel good about saving precious resources and disposal income that otherwise would land in the pockets of big oil. In this vein, Buick is offering up for 2013 the very tidy and compact crossover Encore.

2013 VW Beetle convertible

LOS ANGELES — Few of us were around in 1949 when the type 15 Convertible was introduced by Volkswagen. In essence it was the first Beetle convertible and over a 32-year span the company produced more than 330,000 of the popular little cars. With a salute to the past, the third-generation Beetle convertible, introduced at the L.A. Auto Show, has three specific editions that harken back to the three distinct decades of the iconic vehicle in American history: the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

2013 Toyota Avalon

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — We give Toyota designers a standing ovation for their work with the 2013 Toyota Avalon, which turned a predominately senior citizen's entry-level-luxury sedan into a vehicle that should appeal to a wider — and younger — audience. Toyota officials say this is their new design direction for the entire fleet.

2013 VW Jetta Turbo Hybrid

SANTA FE, N.M . —  If one believes the automotive hype, the new darling of the industry seems to be electric vehicles. But, maybe not. There is a technology that seems to be appearing in many car lines that’s been around a while…but hasn’t received the respect it deserves — and this time I’m not referring only to diesels. What I’m talking about is hybrids.