First Drive

First Drive articles

2013 Scion FR-S

LAS VEGAS — Scion is reinventing itself in the wake of declining sales over the past few years. After hitting its peak in 2006 with sales of 173,034, the little Scion boxes lost favor in the U.S. slumping to 49,000 in 2011. One of the cars coming to the rescue is an amazingly well balanced and extremely fun-to-drive rear-wheel 2+2 sports car for 25 grand called the FR-S.

2013 Dodge Dart

AUSTIN, Texas — With all apologies to Mr. Pun, just as Robin Hood had a quiver full of arrows, so, too, does Chrysler’s Dodge Division have an arsenal of Darts. In automobile lore, Dart has a storied past, selling more than 3.6 million originals between 1960 and 1976. During its run it had something for everybody, power-wise.

2013 Ford Escape

SAN FRANCISCO  — Ford unveiled its all-new 2013 Ford Escape in San Francisco in April and used the location’s twisty mountain roads to illustrate the SUV's handling and ride improvements. The Escape is an important element to Ford's continued domination of the sport utility market, and Ford has high hopes the revitalized Escape, which comes with a choice of two fuel-efficient EcoBoost engines, will continue to be the compact segment leader.

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550

LOS ANGELES — If you ever wanted to be the center of attention may we suggest the following — pick a nice, crisp spring day in the City of Angels, climb into a 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550, put the top down and proceed to drive for hours on the Pacific Coast Highway and other environs where you’re in your element.

2013 Ford Flex

PORTLAND, Ore. — We heaped the Ford Flex with praise upon its introduction four years ago because of its incredible utility, its outstanding versatility and its family friendly demeanor. The boxy Flex was in our estimation the embodiment of the 21st Century station wagon. But the fly in the ointment is its polarizing styling, and that's probably the chief reason sales have sagged. Ford hopes styling tweaks and upgrades in packaging will give the grand wagon a new lease on life for the 2013 model year.

2013 Ford Taurus

PORTLAND, Ore. — Ford’s latest major revision of its flagship Taurus occurred in 2010. However, even though the 2013 model is not referred to as “all-new” it has so many refinements and upgrades it might as well be. It has better fuel economy, more technology, enhanced design, improved craftsmanship and sharpened driving dynamics.

2013 Ford Mustang

PORTLAND, Ore. — Ford unveiled its 2013 Mustang to a group of journalists here in March and although it bears a strong resemblance to the current model there’s a lot more to the '13 than meets the eye. But first, the eye. The Mustang gets a new front and rear fascia, a more prominent grille and splitter, standard high-intensity headlamps (HID), painted body-side rockers, and LED tail lamps.

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth

LAS VEGAS — A well-worn adage is “good things come in small packages.” Perhaps with the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth (pronounced ah-bart') that adage can be altered to "wicked things come in small packages." The odd moniker for the performance version of Fiat’s popular world car comes from legendary racer Karl Abarth who is responsible for more than 10,000 individual race victories, 10 world records and 1,334 international titles.

2012 Hyundai Azera

LAS VEGAS — There’s a hit song by the Eurythmics called "Sweet Dreams" that has a line, “Sweet dreams are made of these.” After test-driving the all-new 2012 Hyundai Azera it sounds like lead singer Annie Lennox must have just driven one, too.

2012 Toyota Prius c

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Let’s play a game of word association. Say “hybrid” and what’s the first word that comes to mind? That’s right, Toyota Prius. The Prius family just welcomed its fourth member and the gateway into the Prius world, the five-door subcompact Prius c. The “c” signifying “city.”