First Drive

First Drive articles

2023 Honda Civic Type R

PHOENIX — Honda's highly desirable high performance oriented Civic Type R (for Race) makes a return for 2023 after a one-year hiatus. Dating back to 2017, the Type R has had one of the most unique purpose built design and styling packages on the market for a relatively affordable price. That is if you are able to find a Honda dealer that hasn't added a sizable "market adjustment" upping the price of the window sticker by as much as an additional $20,000 or more.

2024 Ford Bronco Wildtrak

PHOENIX — It seems since Ford reintroduced the Bronco — the highly capable SUV that combines on-road practicality with go anywhere terrain capability, open-top fun, and a "must have" retro look — it has become the most talked about darling of new vehicles. But now in its fourth year, there's still a waiting list should you decide to spec one out the way you want it and order it from the factory.

2023 BMW X4 M

MIAMI — High-octane performance is not usually what you expect from SUVs, even luxury makes, but there are exceptions. Not surprisingly, a prime example of an SUV that is all about horsepower and torque comes from Germany. The 2023 BMW X4 M Competition model that the company bills as a Sports Activity Coupe and most others call an SUV sports a 503-horsepower, turbocharged inline-6 engine that produces a whopping 479 pound-feet of torque.

2023 Kia Niro Hybrid

PHOENIX — In a world of lookalike vehicles few standout with an uncommon yet attractive design appeal. It's easy to see that one could make a legitimate claim that the throughly redesigned 2023 Kia Niro is one of them. Part hatchback, part wagon and part SUV, there's design cues from its Kia sibling the Soul. Undoubtedly the most exclusive and unique aspect of its exterior is the contrasting black colored "Aero Blade" with its slight protrusion across the rear-most pillar that directs airflow through and around it toward the rear hatchback.

2023 Cadillac Escalade V-series

MIAMI — Two decades after unveiling the 2003 Cadillac CTS-V and nearly a quarter-century since jumping into the SUV pool, Cadillac has brought high performance capability to its signature Escalade. The result is a full-size work horse with the DNA of a 1960s-era muscle car. It is capable of towing up to of 7,000 pounds, and its spacious interior has a cargo capacity of 121 cubic feet behind the first row, 72.9 behind the second, and 25.5 with all three rows in place.

2023 Mercedes EQE SUV

PHOENIX — There's yet another EQ-branded fully electric Mercedes and the EQE SUV tested here is its newest offering that shares its platform and styling cues with the mid-sized Mercedes EQE sedan. If you're familiar with Mercedes' popular gas-powered GLE the EQE is similar in size, but totally different and not just because it's all- electric.

2023 Mercedes AMG C43

MIAMI — The traditional mantra when it comes to getting more get up-and-go from your car is that bigger is better. Mercedes-Benz, however, is going the other way with performance-oriented versions of its popular C-Class sedan. After a year’s production hiatus, the Mercedes-AMG C43 is back for 2023 with a smaller engine that packs a bigger punch than its predecessor.

2023 Kia EV6 GT

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. — It was in the spring of last year that I first "plugged in" to Kia’s all-new EV6. Kia has been exploring the EV market for some time, but its efforts — in the guise of Niro hybrids and both an electrified Niro and Soul — were small, conservative steps rather than a dramatic leap. The EV6 was — and remains — a leap.

2023 Range Rover Sport

MIAMI — Offered in four trims including the limited production First Edition model, the 2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is a slightly smaller version of the company’s flagship Range Rover full-size SUV with a slightly more economical price tag. And it still has that sophisticated British air that gives you a feeling of driving not just a fully off-road capable SUV but a piece of history as well as an urge to stop in somewhere for a cuppa and scones.

2023 Toyota Crown

PHOENIX — Following a nearly 30-year run Toyota retired its large-sized sedan the Avalon last year after the 2022 model run. Not surprising since Americans have had an insatiable love affair with trucks and SUVs with sedans of all sizes taking the brunt of their popularity. Yet there's still a few sedans — Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Corolla as example have rather held their ground amongst the stampede and don't look to be sent out to pasture anytime soon.