First Drive

First Drive articles

2018 Lexus LS 500



SAN FRANCISCO — Luxury carmakers always have one flagship vehicle. Most often it is their biggest sedan, the one they want as their lead vehicle, one that radiates the essence of excellence, along with all the substance and presence of a dreadnought-class luxury sedan. For Lexus, that vehicle is the LS sedan, originally launched 28 years ago to compete with cars like the Mercedes-Benz S Class, BMW 7 Series and Audi A8 sedans.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox



MIAMI — The Equinox served as Chevrolet’s first venture into the crossover market when it was introduced over a decade ago, and after years of producing truck-based SUVs, it looks like Chevy made a wise decision. The Equinox is now the company's best-seller behind only the Silverado pickup with nearly 2 million sold since its introduction as a 2005 model. With the improvements made for 2018, it figures to maintain that pace.

2018 Honda Odyssey



PHOENIX — 
It occurred to me that the Honda Odyssey, first introduced almost 25 years ago in 1994, is the perfect stealth vehicle. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not encouraging any suspicious or illegal activity. But Odyssey’s never been a vehicle that will turn heads or be followed home to ask the owner what they are driving. They’re everywhere, yet no one pays any attention to them. But who cares?

2018 Hyundai Sonata



CHARLESTON, S.C. — In 2011 Hyundai brought its Fluidic Sculpture design language to its mid-sized Sonata sedan deviating from the pedestrian styling of many of the other mainstream mid-sized offerings with flowing, coherent lines, a large expansive grille and swept-back headlights. Interior styling was also groundbreaking. And the sixth-generation Hyundai resonated with buyers.

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio



INDIANAPOLIS — If your idea of an Italian car is something small, sexy, fast, and with two seats, then with the first-ever 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio, two out of four ain’t bad. Named for the Stelvio Pass, the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps, Alfa Romeo’s suave new crossover looks ready to conquer its namesake — or America’s grand Interstates. It literally expands the definition of “Italian sports car.”

2018 Subaru Crosstrek



DEADWOOD, S.D. — Is there anything better than waking up in a tent to the sound of thunder, lightning, and rain pattering?  I’m crazy, but I love it.  If there’s anything better, it’s knowing the new 2018 Subaru Crosstrek is sitting outside, able to get you back out of the remote place from which you’re enjoying Mother Nature’s fury.  Subaru people camp. They also surf, ski, hike, bike, and kayak. 

2018 Mercedes E-Class Coupe



VANCOUVER, B.C. — As American drivers persist in their unquenchable thirst for luxury SUVs and crossovers, the popularity of coupes, in particular, continues to decline; they make up less than 2.5 percent of all new vehicles sold. Yet, auto manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz see an opportunity in a market segment being abandoned by others.

2018 Volvo V90



PHOENIX — The all-new 2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country is one of the best luxury wagons in the world. But is it good enough to persuade SUV-crazed new car shoppers to forego their high-end utes and opt for the Swedish built Volvo Wagon?
You do remember station wagons, don’t you? Although both demand and product availability in the wagon market has shrunk dramatically in recent years, thanks to the immense popularity of SUVs and crossover vehicles, few automakers have remained as dedicated to the station wagon as Volvo, having sold millions worldwide to date.

2018 Toyota Camry



NEWBURG, Ore. — To say that the midsized Toyota Camry sedan is a massively popular car would be a gross understatement. After all, it’s been America’s best-selling passenger vehicle for 18 of the past 20 years, and 18 million have been sold around the world since it was first introduced in 1982.
Toyota sold over 388,000 Camry’s last year, but that’s down from more than 430,000 in 2015. Through May of this year, sales are down some 20,000 units over last year. Still, Camry is a popular vehicle and a solid bet to sell more than 300,000 by year end.

2017 BMW 5 Series



PHOENIX — For BMW enthusiasts, there’s no car more epochal than the 5 Series. It was first introduced by the German automaker in 1972 and is now in its seventh generation.  Called the G30 in BMW parlance (the original 1972 model was known as the E12), the mid-sized sports sedan has grown and is slightly longer, wider and taller than the previous F10 generation (2010-2016), yet sheds 137 pounds thanks to the extensive use of aluminum, magnesium and high-strength steel.