First Drive

First Drive articles

2018 Dodge Durango SRT



PHOENIX — Dodge is the last automotive brand that has remained committed to building true muscle cars. Some will argue that Chevrolet has the Camaro and Corvette, and Ford the Mustang, but nobody does high-performance better or on a wider scale than Dodge. Dodge already does Challengers with up to 840-horsepower with its human-hauling rocket sled Demon, and 707-horsepower Hellcats in a choice of either a Challenger coupe or a four-door Dodge Charger, that’s popular as a cop car.

2018 Ram Rebel



INDIANAPOLIS — There are 11 Ram 1500 models, ranging from the work-ready Tradesman through the Big Horn, Lone Star, Sport, Night, Laramie, and Limited Tungsten editions.  Each has a unique character that appeals subsets of the broad spectrum of full-size truck drivers.  Towards the top is the Ram Rebel, which is perhaps the most expressive of an expressive family. Rebel is big and bold with hints of Power Wagon and Lil' Red Truck. 

2018 Mercedes GLA 250



PHOENIX — The small, compact luxury crossover segment is growing rapidly, with numerous manufacturers flooding the market with a vast choice of vehicles and trim levels. Audi Q3, BMW X1, Infiniti QX30 are just a few, with Jaguar’s new E Pace going on sale in 2018. We last drove the Mercedes-Benz GLA 250, the German automaker’s first compact crossover utility vehicle, shortly after it was introduced back in 2015. It’s actually more of a hatchback than an SUV and is smaller than the company’s GLC compact crossover.

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan



INDIANAPOLIS — With a name conceived as some amalgamation of a tiger and iguana, the Tiguan was always part car, part SUV and styled like a Golf on heels.  It identified as a Volkswagen, but looked bland.  But, driving it was a spicy delight with that turbo engine propelling it down the left lane of fast freeways.  Well, it’s all new for 2018 and it’s gone from bland to a big spicy habanero.

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.