First Drive

First Drive articles

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Turbo



SAN FRANCISCO — For too many years the midsize sedan segment has been populated by a group of plain-Jane’s that were adequate for the job, but quite honestly a little underwhelming when it came to styling and performance. If complacency was the disease then Chevrolet has found the cure.

2013 Chevrolet Spark



SAN FRANCISCO — Chevy sure hit the nail on the head when it named its first mini car for the U.S. and Canadian markets the Spark. That’s just what it is — a spark plug of energy and driving experience. It’s a sporty four-passenger, five-door hatch and it is the perfect vehicle for city dwellers and first-time buyers.

2013 Ford Fusion



LOS ANGELES — When we got our first look at the 2013 Ford Fusion at the Detroit auto show last January we were astounded. What a great-looking mid-sized sedan. Since than it has received rave reviews from the automotive press.This is the bold styling that has been lacking at Toyota and Honda. But, we thought, will this turn out to be just a fancy new wrapper for the same old contents?

2013 Honda Accord



YPSILANTI, Mich. — The common belief is “the third time’s the charm.” If that’s the case imagine how charming the 2013 Honda Accord must be, being the ninth generation of this venerable nameplate. Accord is the single most important car in the Honda lineup so getting it right isn’t just a goal; it’s an imperative. Furthermore, Honda is celebrating the 30th anniversary of building Accords in Ohio.

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid



LOS ANGELES — Ford invited comparison to the larger Prius V during an evaluation of its all-new-to-the- U.S. 2013 C-Max Hybrid, a station-wagon-like vehicle about the size of a Ford Focus. The C-Max is popular in Europe where it lives in the fuel-efficient and cargo-friendly multi-purpose vehicle segment.
Ford thinks Americans are ready for such a vehicle, especially one that is EPA-rated at 47 mpg highway, 47 mpg city and (of course) 47 mpg combined.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe



PARK CITY, Utah — Suppose you were Hyundai Motor America and you wanted to hold a media ride and drive to show off your all-new, third-generation Santa Fe family CUV. Where would be the most logical place to hold it? That’s’ right, Park City, Utah, home of the 2002 Winter Olympics. The Olympics are all about activity and so is the new Santa Fe. And just like the Olympics have two versions (winter and summer), so, too, does the 2013 Santa Fe.

2013 Ram 1500



NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It seems like the entire world is on the edge of a war of some kind but most people ignore it because it’s “over there” and not in our country. Well, truth be told, although no weapons are involved, Ram just fired a powerful salvo that is going to make 2013 pickup truck sales a war like John Rambo would say, “You wouldn’t believe!”

2013 Audi allroad



BEAVER CREEK, Col. — Truth be told, the Germans may make questionable decisions when it comes to picking fights…but they sure do know their stuff when it comes to manufacturing motor cars. I was reminded of this recently in Colorado to review a variety of Audi’s 2013 models. Germany lays claim to some of the finest-engineered vehicles in the world, a distinction that says something when one weights its competition throughout the rest of the non-European world. Case in point is the all-new 2013 Audi allroad.

2013 Mercedes-Benz GL



SANTA FE, N.M. — Mercedes-Benz unveiled its second-generation GL-Class luxury sport utility. If initial impressions mean anything the legendary German car company will not be able to build enough to meet the demand, which is good news for American workers because every one of the vehicles is manufactured at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

2013 Lexus ES 350, ES 300h



DETROIT and NEWARK, N.J. — Welcome to the big leagues, ES. Lexus introduced its ES luxury sedan in 1989 and six generations later will be offering the popular mid-size sedan as both a gasoline and a hybrid variant. The first five generations of the ES shared the Camry platform, but for 2013 the new ES is “its own man” and enters the market with all guns blazing.