First Drive

First Drive articles

2012 Nissan Versa



SEATTLE — When the sub-compact Nissan Versa was introduced in the U.S. five years ago we were impressed with its cavernous interior. The next-generation has arrived and we are delighted to report the large passenger area is still there, but in a sedan that features more up-to-date styling, considerably improved refinement, and better gas mileage.

2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio

NEW YORK — If there was ever a city that was suitable for a Fiat 500 Cabrio (another word for convertible) its New York. Sure you shudder and tremble as giant Crown Vic yellow cabs try to squeeze you into pulp, but let them try to park in a half sized parking space.

2012 Hyundai Genesis



LAS VEGAS — In the 2009 model year Hyundai took one giant step without saying “Mother May I” and entered the rarified air of full-sized mid-luxury sedans. It was already crowded with such inhabitants as the Lexus GS and ES350, Infiniti’s M, BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

2012 Hyundi Accent

LAS VEGAS — What do you call a vehicle that competes head-to-head in a segment with the likes of the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, Ford Fiesta, Mazda2 and Chevrolet Sonic? Confident comes to mind. The real answer is the 2012 Hyundai Accent.

2012 Toyota Prius V

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The 2012 Prius V is a rather brilliant idea. Our biggest question after a day of driving did not involve Toyota's newest hybrid, but what took the world's gas-mileage leader so long to build this vehicle?

2012 Volkswagen Passat

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — There’s an old saying — “Betting the farm” — in other words, betting it all on one roll of the dice. Volkswagen has done just that with its all-new 2012 midsize Passat. It not only created an entirely new generation of this popular vehicle it also built a factory in Chattanooga just to manufacture it for North American consumption.

2012 Saab 9-4X



WASHINGTON D.C. — It has been about a year since Saab, Sweden's iconic automobile brand, was released from the captivity of General Motors. It started its independence with one upscale model — the 9-5 sedan. It has now doubled its offerings by unveiling its new 9-4X Crossover.

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302

FORT WORTH, Texas — With the approaching high-mileage regulations we may eventually see the end of affordable muscle cars, those rumbling V-8 ground pounders that get the blood pumping and the adrenaline flowing. But that's in the future. For the time being we are very happy to say the true unadulterated muscle lives on at the Detroit Big Three.

2012 Audi A7



GOLDSBORO, N.C. — If we were forced to pick the best brand car-for-car — bottom to top — it would have to be Audi. The German company continually amazes with its quality vehicles from one end of its lineup to the other. Spending several days driving the stylish all-new 2012 Audi A7 fastback sedan only reinforced our opinion of the brand.

2012 Honda Civic

WASHINGTON, D.C. — My daughter peered over my shoulder looking at the large picture of a red 2012 Honda Civic coupe on my computer screen. "Hey, that's my car," she said. She owns a 2007 Civic coupe. Her mistake points up a good thing for Honda.