First Drive

First Drive articles

2017 Land Rover Discovery



ST. GEORGE, Utah —  The boxy Land Rover LR4 is fresh off a complete redesign and is not only a thoroughly different looking vehicle, but also has a new name: Land Rover Discovery. This fifth-generation model sports a new look inside and out and features a slew of technological advancements. This includes the lightweight monocoque body construction, made of up to 85 percent high-strength aluminum, reducing total vehicle weight by 1,000 pounds or about 20 percent over the outgoing LR4 model.

2017 Subaru Legacy



LOS ANGELES — Subaru doesn't need any help selling cars and crossovers from the likes of automotive sites like MotorwayAmerica, the Japanese company has got the formula down to a science enjoying increasing sales month after month for years. To understand this phenomenon better, spend some time behind the wheel of the 2017 Legacy mid-sized sedan.

2018 Toyota C-HR



AUSTIN, Texas —  Back in 2002, in an attempt to attract teens and twenty-somethings (now called millennials) into a car they could call their own, Toyota introduced the funky Scion brand. Early on, Scion was a bit of a hit, but it never gained buyer loyalty or serious interest in the brand and its product offerings. Last year, Toyota pulled the plug on Scion, shuttering the brand. In doing so, the Scion iA, iM and FR-S cars were rebadged as Toyotas for the 2017 model year. The tC coupe was discontinued.

2017 Jeep Compass



SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Jeep, a brand that builds nothing but more than capable SUVs, is absolutely booming. Overall sales are up for the seventh year in a row, including three straight years of one million vehicles sold, with a record breaking 1.4 million in 2016. It doesn’t hurt that American car buyers have made a dramatic shift from traditional family sedans to utility vehicles; the hottest segments are compact and subcompact crossovers.

2017 Honda CR-V



INDIANAPOLIS — I remember seeing the Honda CR-V during its Detroit Auto Show debut nearly 20 years ago.  There, in the middle of this grand hall, was a tiny little crossover among a sea of large full-framed SUVs.  I, and many others, laughed until our stomachs cramped.  Nobody laughs now as the CR-V has become America’s best-selling SUV.  Turbo power and a fashion makeover ignite this rocket’s fire.

2018 Lexus LC 500



KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii — Almost everything about Lexus’ new flagship coupes screams “irresistible.” Inspired by the 2012 LF-LC concept car, the LC 500 and LC 500h hybrid have presence and savoir-faire that are nearly off the charts. At the recent media introduction of the all-new Lexus LC500 on the Big Island of Hawai’i, Lexus executives made it abundantly clear that their objective is for the words “boring” and Lexus never to be used in the same sentence.

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 SE



PHOENIX — When shopping for a new car, the Mitsubishi brand is one that seldom bubbles to the top of consumers’ consideration set. That isn’t a surprise, since the Japanese automaker has little relevancy compared with stalwarts like Toyota, Honda, Nissan and others. Mitsubishi has had an on-again, off-again approach, with a complicated marketing history.

2017 Toyota Prius Prime



PHOENIX — When it comes to pioneering vehicles that get exceptional fuel economy, Toyota is the world’s leader, with more than 25 years of alternative fuel vehicles under its belt. Product offerings include the gas-electric hybrid, plug-in hybrid and even a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle in a few select markets.

2017 Mercedes CLA250



INDIANAPOLIS — Every generation of entry-level compact Mercedes endured criticisms.  My grandmother loved her 1987 190E and drove it 170,000 miles, but that car received constant carping from journalists for its cramped interior, underpowered engine, and supposedly low-rent interior materials.  Having driven many 190E miles, the first two were correct, but the last is nonsense.  I’ve heard similar carping about today’s compact Mercedes, the CLA250.

2017 Kia Forte



PHOENIX — When it comes to shopping for compact sedans, most buyers immediately think about small-car stalwarts like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, with good reason. They have an excellent reputation for quality construction, reliability, and bang for the buck — and those manufacturers spend a lot of money on advertising.