First Drive

First Drive articles

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. 

2011 Hyundai Elantra

SAN DIEGO — The Korean onslaught continues with the introduction of the all-new 2011 Hyundai Elantra. It’s only been four years and four months since the launch of the last generation Elantra but appearance-wise it might as well have been a decade.

2011 Dodge Journey

NAVATO, Calif. — To bastardize a famous title, for this Dodge it has been a long day’s journey into light. Not long ago we spent 1,500 miles behind the wheel of a 2010 Journey. It was spacious enough for our stuff, it averaged about 21 mpg, and it was relatively comfortable. But there was a problem.

2011 Dodge Charger

SAN FRANCISCO -— Proving you “can go home again,” the 2011 version of the new-generation Dodge Charger enhances its position as the flagship of the Dodge brand. Although only available as a four-door sedan it has all the proportions of a fastback coupe.

2011 Chrysler 200

NAPA VALLEY, Calif. --- The Sebring sedan replacement made its world debut in L.A., but we found ourselves behind the wheel of the new 200 a couple of weeks prior to its public premier. Although Chrysler refers to the 200 as a mid-cycle refresh virtually every system in the sedan is new or upgraded.

2011 Chrysler Town & Country

SAN FRANCISCO — In 1983, Chrysler Corporation unveiled the minivan to the world. Soccer moms were created, the mobile family was born and “bringing your stuff with you” was the order of the day. Through various incarnations, Chrysler’s heralded minivans are still the best-selling vehicles in the segment.

2011 VW Touareg Hybrid

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Volkswagen is known as the diesel engine carmaker. Hybrids up to now had been left to the rest of the industry. Now VW has also taken the hybrid route with its all-new-for-2011 Touareg crossover vehicle.

2011 Lexus CT 200h

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Lexus is finally accomplishing with the new CT 200h what it set out to do with the 2010 HS 250h, build a luxury level hybrid. The 250h has proven to be a bit of a bloated albatross for Lexus.

2011 Nissan Leaf

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — No fuel tank. No tailpipe. No gasoline engine. Is this a car or some kind of video game toy with a joystick? We discovered that the revolutionary Nissan Leaf, the first mass-produced all-electric sedan hatchback in North America, is indeed a car — albeit a very unconventional car.

2011 Kia Optima

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Like fraternal twins that have reached the age of going their own way so have Kia and Hyundai separated to do their own thing, but still connected at their roots; case in point — the Hyundai Sonata and the Kia Optima.