First Drive

First Drive articles

2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross



DALLAS — I have to admit, as a brand, Mitsubishi has grown on me in the past couple of years. Back when the Mirage was first introduced I was provided one to test drive and wrote a quite scathing review on it because I did not consider it safe. When driving I found that when any other vehicle passed me (it had terrible acceleration and power) I was almost blown off the road. Later, when attending the Los Angeles Auto Show, the media representative courted me extensively, explaining that the Mirage sales were going fantastic and I should reconsider.

2021 Mercedes-Benz E450



MIAMI — If the $141,000 price tag for the AMG E 63 S wagon reviewed on this site back in February was just a bit out of your financial reach, Mercedes-Benz has another wagon (though it doesn’t call it that) that doesn’t go into six figures but is quite stunning in its own right. The 2021 E450 4MATIC All-Terrain model is a real beauty and features all the bells and whistles you expect from the company with a stunning two-tone interior and a new mild hybrid powertrain that provides both power and pretty decent fuel numbers for its class.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1



PHOENIX — Since it was first introduced back in 1964 — almost 60 years ago — Mustang has been on the short list of cars most everyone wants to own. For decades Ford has created its own Mustang ecosystem with an interconnected stable of high-performance offerings like the Boss 302 and 429, Mustang Bullitt offered three times — 2001, 2008 and 2019, Mach 1 and the super rare SVT Cobra R, with only 300 copies ever built — all in red, to name just a few of many over the years.

2022 Kia Carnival



INDIANAPOLIS — One of my favorite cars is the Moderne-style 1936 Stout Scarab  — a rear-engine aluminum forerunner to the minivan that was aimed at Hollywood’s elite as a more fashion-forward limousine.  Drivers worked in an airplane-inspired cockpit while passengers lounged in the rear. Kia harbors the Scarab’s spirit to create a glamorous and obscenely comfortable multi-purpose vehicle for all you carry. Just don’t call the 2022 Carnival a minivan.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GLA 45



PHOENIX — There’s a certain metronomic cadence relative to some of Mercedes’ new product introductions that’s reassuringly Germanic. Having previously driven the staggeringly powerful Mercedes-AMG A 45 sedan, I knew it was only a matter of time before the wizards of Affalterbach performance got their hands on Mercedes’s baby GLA SUV (built on the same platform) by fitting it with the hand-built searingly powerful and ridiculously quick 382-horsepower 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport



MIAMI — Ford put the Bronco on what would become a 25-year production hiatus after the 1996 model year even though just two years earlier it had been the most widely viewed SUV in the country. That was, of course, on June 17, 1994, when television cameras focused on Los Angeles freeways as A.J. Cowlings led LAPD and California Highway Patrol  officers on a slow-speed chase with his former Buffalo Bills teammate, O.J. Simpson, in the back holding a pistol and allegedly threatening suicide rather than face murder charges over the stabbing death of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Brown.

2021 Ford F-250 Tremor



INDIANAPOLIS — Is it a luxury car or an all-capable pickup?  Well, in the case of the 2021 Ford F-250 Platinum Tremor, the answer is “both.”  Interior accommodations rival a Lincoln Navigator while its heavy duty engineering and off-road fortifications make it the ultimate pickup too.  It can take your family to church, then out to the wilderness to pray.  Just don’t ask it to squeeze into small spaces.  That’s not one of its luxuries.

2021 Mini Countryman plug-in



INDIANAPOLIS — I have long been a fan of the Mini, a fun little zipper with classic British looks that can fillet cars way above its weight class.  About ten years ago, my family even bought a first-generation Countryman crossover.  It was underpowered, but drove like a BMW, got good gas mileage and had the best Harman Kardon audio system I’ve ever heard.  It became too small for our growing family, so it had to go.  I wonder if we would have made the same hard choice if we owned the 2021 Mini Countryman SE ALL4 “plug-in.”

2021 Cadillac CT5-V



MIAMI — A replacement for the aging CTS when it reached showrooms as a 2020 model, Cadillac’s CT5 — previewed at the 2019 New York Auto Show —  made a rather impressive debut by earning the No. 1 ranking for midsize sedans in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. For 2021, it is offered in five trims, but this review will concentrate on the 2021 Cadillac CT5 V-Series edition that tops the portfolio at a starting MSRP of $48,700 when the $905 destination and delivery charge is tacked on.

2021 Acura NSX



PHOENIX — The Acura NSX supercar couldn’t help but turn heads and draw a crowd whenever I parked. The styling is gorgeous with an exterior design that’s enticingly worthy of praise. No crazy swoops, no melodramatic over-the-top spoilers at the rear or sculpted fins, rather styling that’s astonishingly beautiful, mostly. The snout is large and a bit on the fussy side, the rear a bit heavyset, but overall errs on mimicking the likes of the McLaren 570S in my eyes.