First Drive

First Drive articles

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.

2011 Infiniti G25

NAPA, Calif.— One of the most popular vehicles in the entry-level luxury segment has been Infiniti’s G37. Whether a coupe, sedan or convertible, the G37 has consistently ranked among the top performers in the Infiniti line, only slightly stigmatized by the fact they are thought of as vehicles for a male audience.

2011 Infiniti G37 IPL

NAPA, Calif. — The G37 in itself is a dandy sports coupe displaying a fine balance of performance and handling. Infiniti’s selection of the G37 coupe to kick off its new Infiniti Performance Line (IPL) is a smart and powerful choice as we learned after spending time on winding northern California roads.

2011 Volvo S60

PORTLAND, Ore. — Fun-to-drive safety has taken a quantum leap with Volvo’s all-new 2011 S60 T6 AWD four-door sedan. With its sleek roofline and sculptured lines it truly is more of a four-door coupe than a typical “family sedan.”

2011 Lincoln MKX

WASHINGTON, D.C. — For 2011 Lincoln has pulled out all the stops to prove to the Lexus RX luxury crossover and others who the real king of the hill is. To say it’s been done with style doesn’t begin to describe the ammunition Lincoln has loaded up to see the MKX through competitive comparisons.

2011 Ford Edge

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Edge made its initial debut as a 2007 model and has become the best seller among its segment of 27 competitive crossovers with more than 400,000 sales to date. And the number one reason for purchase is styling.

2011 Saab 9-5

NEW YORK — After suffering a near-death experience at the hands of General Motors, the vaunted Saab brand has been given new life at the hands of Spyker Cars. Its first vehicle is the 9-5.

2012 Smart Fortwo Electric

NEW YORK — The 2012 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive is best described as a two-person golf cart that’s not big enough to carry any clubs. A group of auto journalists were given the opportunity to be among the first to test the all-electric car.

It can actually seat two Big & Tall guys in relative comfort. And there’s a storage area above the rear bumper that will hold a backpack and computer bag if it feels like it.