First Drive

First Drive articles

2017 Mercedes AMG GLS63



PHOENIX — In case you haven’t been paying attention, the definition of upper social class, prestige, luxury motoring is now the SUV, having supplanted large luxury sedans from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche as the choice vehicle for the global one percent. That certainly includes the seven-passenger Mercedes-Benz AMG GLS63 tested here.

2017 Kia Niro Hybrid



INDIANAPOLIS — Whoever said a compact fuel-sipping hybrid couldn’t also be cool? Perhaps it needs to be aerodynamic, but it doesn’t have to look like an out-of-control science project merged with some sci-fi future-set flick. An efficient little hybrid could just look like a crossover. And, it could still have all of the technology and utility expected in a cutting-edge ride. At least that’s what Kia designers and engineers apparently thought as they conjured the Niro.

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport



NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Nissan Rogue is the hottest-selling vehicle in the hottest-selling segment, one replete with excellent competitors — Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4. Other than the “big 3” pickup trucks, Rogue is the biggest-selling vehicle in the U.S. for two of the first four months of 2017.

2017 Chevrolet Trax



PHOENIX — It’s been just two years since Chevrolet introduced its diminutive four-door, five-passenger crossover to the booming utility vehicle segment. GM has sent the Trax back for a refreshing to its front and rear looks, interior, and has made a few other minor changes in response to increased competition in the segment. The refresh also addressed some of Trax’s initial flaws.

2017 Evoque convertible



INDIANAPOLIS — With the summer season we’re going to have many warm days with clear blue skies and gentle breezes. And, you may be looking at your SUV thinking, “I sure wish I had a convertible instead of this hulking beast.” Apparently, the designers at Range Rover had the same thought because they took the compact Evoque crossover and ripped off its top for summer.

2017 Honda CR-V



PHOENIX — Sales of compact crossover utility vehicles are booming; consumers have a seemingly insatiable appetite for them and the segment continues to grow. In fact, utility vehicles now outsell cars. With players like Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue and others continually updating and refreshing their products, competition is keen and the vehicles are only getting better.

2017 Volvo S90



PHOENIX — We were more than impressed with the completely redesigned XC90 when it was introduced for 2015. It was the first Volvo to be updated since Chinese automaker Geely bought the Swedish car company from Ford in 2010. For the record, the brand has kept its promise to completely refresh and revamp its entire product line by the end of 2017, recently introducing a redesigned XC60 crossover, V90 and V60 crossover wagons, and the all-new flagship S90 mid-sized luxury class sedan tested here.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas



SAN ANTONIO, Texas — A new SUV is coming to Volkswagen showrooms in May. And yes, the VW folks say, its an SUV, not one of the growing numbers of “crossovers” that basically put an SUV body over a sedan chassis. (Though Mark Gillies, senior manager for Product Communications, sees them as “interchangeable terms.”)

2017 Hyundai Ioniq



DURHAM, N.C. — Automobiles, not unlike other products or events, are, from time to time, recognized and lauded with superlative citations: the fastest, largest, class-leading, most advanced, first, and so on. Some are even strange or bizarre: The first crash-test dummy came to be back in the 1930s, replacing a live human with a cadaver.

2017 Lincoln Continental



INDIANAPOLIS — The Lincoln Continental is not just any car — it’s Edsel Ford’s car.  It’s also President Kennedy’s, Elvis Presley’s, James Brown’s, Frank Lloyd Wright’s, and if Lincoln’s ads are to be believed, Matthew McConaughey’s car.  It’s appeared in movies as diverse as Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, American Hustle, The Jazz Singer, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, The Avengers, and The Normal Heart.  It’s not a car; it’s an icon indivisible from the automaker that builds it.