First Drive

First Drive articles

2012 Ford Focus

LOS ANGELES — For some time Ford has been on a real roll. A group of us had the good fortune to be among the first to put the 2012 Focus through its paces and as we rolled through Southern California it didn’t disappoint us one bit. In fact it was sweet.

2012 Mazda5

SAN DIEGO — Arguably the first sport utility vehicles were actually minivans, a new segment ushered in by Chrysler in 1984. These vehicles were versatile and family-oriented and somewhat diminished the onus that began to surround the description “station wagon.”

2012 Fiat 500

SAN DIEGO — Italian design, be it chairs or toasters or cars is fraught with color and style. As a society they have an eye for cool, contemporary and chic. Even Fiat’s 500 extols the virtue of its artful masses not only as a mass market car but as a statement of simple artistry.

2011 Hyundai Equus



RALEIGH, N.C. — Perhaps Hyundai's biggest mistake with its all-new 2011 luxury sedan is the name. The car is indeed worthy of comparison to the Lexus LS 460 and the S-Class Mercedes. The Equus is nothing short of astounding considering it is Hyundai's first foray into the premium-luxury segment.

2012 Nissan NV

MIAMI — Although Nissan has been building commercial vans for 75 years in the global market, this is its first product for the U.S. "As the first non-domestic nameplate to design, manufacture and sell CVs in the United States, we bring a more than seven-decade tradition of durability, quality and reliability to our products,” said Joe Castelli.

2011 Chrysler 200 Convertible

SAN DIEGO — Several months ago Chrysler unveiled its new 2011 Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan. Now the company has added a convertible to the Chrysler 200 family that replaces its former Chrysler Sebring convertible. It’s unique in the standard specialty segment as a true mid-sized convertible.

2011 Chrysler 300

SAN DIEGO — What a difference a grille makes! No, that’s not a parody of a Dinah Washington song…it’s an initial reaction to the changes made to the 2011 Chrysler 300 Luxury Sedan.

2011 Chevrolet Volt



LOS ANGELES  — Rube Goldberg would have loved the Chevy Volt. Two electric motors, a gasoline engine that powers a generator that powers the electric motors via a giant lithium ion battery, 32 computer modules, all fed by a fist full of wires that somehow plug into everything that turns the wheels and makes it go.

2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon



SAN FRANCISCO — If you are a fan of the entry-level luxury Acura TSX sedan — and there will be about 30,000 new owners this year — then we think you will be a fan of the new TSX Sport Wagon. It has the same sporty nature as the sedan.

2011 Nissan Quest



DEL MAR, Calif. — Historically, Quest has almost been like the industry’s minivan after-thought. But after driving the all-new 2011 product there’s no doubt it came to play. Considering the renewed interest and products in the import minivan segment catering to the active family has been the battle cry.