First Drive

First Drive articles

2023 Hyundai Palisade



MIAMI — The Hyundai Palisade has been been around for only a short while but already the South Korean automaker’s largest SUV has made quite an impression. Such respected publications as U.S. News & World Report has the 2023 Hyundai Palisade sharing the top spot with Kia’s award-winning Telluride in its rankings of midsize SUVs.

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor



PHOENIX — While it isn’t quite the Rubicon Trail located in California’s historic gold rush territory in the Sierra Nevada, the 27,000-acre Butcher Jones OHV, UTV, ATV and Off-Road Trail system Recreation Site in Arizona was the perfect location to test the limits of Ford’s new and nearly unstoppable Bronco Raptor. It’s the most capable production off-road vehicle ever built snatching that title from its Jeep Wrangler competitor.

2022 Mercedes-Benz S580



PHOENIX — The Mercedes S-Class is the world’s best-selling luxury sedan and the latest generation recently introduced as expected is impressive with spectacular new features and amazing technology.  Mercedes is offering two versions of the S-Class, the base level S-500 powered by a 430-hp V6 engine or the S-580 reviewed here with a 496-hp bi-turbocharged mild-hybrid drive V8 engine. All-wheel drive is standard on both models. Of course, luxury not horsepower is what the S-Class is all about.

2022 Jaguar F-Type convertible



INDIANAPOLIS — Change has come to the British Empire. We knew it was inevitable, but is sad nonetheless.  It is hard to replace an icon that’s beloved by millions across the realm.  The next one will be a worthy successor, but will neither sound nor drive the same.  It’s a different world.  Yep, Jaguar is going electric by mid-decade and the F-Type will soon join the great beyond.  But, let’s have one more go at it before it’s gone.

2022 Lexus LC 500 Convertible



HERNDON, Va. — These are, as you’d know and anyone can tell you, anxious times. Whether your anxiety is political or economic, over here or over there, our shared angst can be pervasive to the point of suffocation. And at a moment when people still lose jobs, go to bed hungry and die — by the thousands — of Covid, the Lexus LC 500, especially as a convertible, might seem little more than an irrelevant and expensive bauble.

2022 Mercedes C-Class



PHOENIX — Seemingly with all the talk these days about all-electric cars dominating the new car automotive spotlight it isn’t surprising that Mercedes could launch one of the most important and best-selling cars in the German automakers lineup and it seems no one knows about it. Is a new C Class sedan a significant car for Mercedes? You bet it is, not the least because it’s sold 2.5 million of them since the fourth-generation C-Class sold over 2.5 million of them since it was launched in 2014.

2023 Kia Sportage



MIAMI — After “earning” a reputation as a producer of cheap economy cars of say questionable quality after its arrival in the U.S in the early 1990s, Kia has established itself in the 21st Century as the manufacturer of top quality products New vehicles such as the Telluride full-size SUV, playful Soul, and performance-driven  Stinger sedan are responsible for some of that growth.

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec



HERNDON, Va. — If born before 1996 you’ll have little memory of Acura’s beginnings. Honda was the first of Japan’s ‘Big Three’ to move upscale with a luxury division, launching Acura in 1986 as a competitor to the near-luxury models of BMW, Mercedes and Audi. And while it hit the showroom with just two models — a 4-door luxury sedan dubbed Legend and a 2-door Civic-based hatch it called Integra — the Honda offshoot hit those new showrooms running.

2023 Honda HR-V



PHOENIX — The smallest of Honda’s utility vehicle offerings, the HR-V subcompact crossover, has been given a complete redo as its second-generation is launched for 2023. The outgoing first generation was popular finding homes for more than 700,000 units in the U.S. during its 2016 debut to 2022 run.

2023 Nissan Z



INDIANAPOLIS — Too many automakers have tried to update classic designs with a retro flair to put an amber light on their boring product line.  That’s not the case with the 2023 Nissan Z.  While design references the original 1970 Z, and the chassis dates to the last Z, absolutely nothing about the driving experience or technology within seems outdated.  It’s as if a little bit of Greg Brady blended with George Jetson and this is what we got.