First Drive

First Drive articles

2014 Ford Fusion Energi

INDIANAPOLIS — Ford’s Euro-designed Fusion sedan is a pretty handsome ride and it’s loaded with all of the latest technology.  However, it is what you don’t see on first glance that will spark attention.  Check out the little round door on the front fender.  Strange place for gas, right?  It’s not a Porsche or old VW Beetle., so yep, this Fusion gets plugged.

2014 BMW X5

VANCOUVER, B.C. — We’re on winding roads leading up into the mountains north of Whistler and the car we’re driving handles just about as well as any BWW. Yet it’s not a car it’s the all-new, third generation 2014 X5 SAV. BMW insists on calling its SUVs Sports Activity Vehicles, which, we guess, is really a more appropriate designation than Sport Utility Vehicle.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid

DETROIT — The Ford Fusion Hybrid’s reign as the top mid-size hybrid sedan didn’t last long. (Yes, I know, Toyota claims the Prius is a midsize sedan, but most buyers don’t equate the car’s two-box, fastback design and compact exterior with your average midsize sedan.) Along comes Honda with its Accord Hybrid, and — wait a minute — ties the Fusion with a 47 mpg combined rating?

2014 Kia Soul

MINNEAPOLIS — When Kia introduced the boxy Soul four years ago in Miami, little did the company realize what a hit it would become. Manufacturers love to predict how many cars they will sell and the Soul has far exceeded their initial expectations selling four times as many as planned. Its success has left its closest competitors — the Honda Element, Nissan Cube and Scion xB — all but dead in the water.

2014 Toyota Corolla

MINNEAPOLIS — Two years after launching in Japan as a 1966 model, the Corolla joined Toyota’s U.S. lineup where it has stayed for the past 45 years. In that time, Toyota has sold more than 40 million Corolla’s worldwide, including 10 million in the U.S. Last year, despite being an old design in a sea of new releases, the Corolla was the second best selling Toyota in the U.S, and number two in the compact segment overall. That should tell you something.

2014 Cadillac XTS VSport

GOLDSBORO, N.C. — It seems the headlines coming from Cadillac these days are all about the new all-new 2014 CTS and also its all-new VSport model. The CTS VSport features a twin-turbo version of Cadillac's 3.6-liter direct-injection V-6 making 420 horsepower and producing performance in the upper ranges of 4 seconds from 0-to-60.

2014 Volkswagen CC

INDIANAPOLIS — I’m a big fan of the Mercedes-Benz CLS63, BMW M6 Gran Coupe, and Audi RS7 — all super sexy four-door German super coupes.  Packing muscles of the gods, they romp from 0-60 mph in less than 3.5 seconds  and touch 190 mph with their 560 horsepower V8 engines.  Of course, these fabulous show ponies cost around $130,000.  Yeah right! 

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?