First Drive

First Drive articles

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.

2024 Chevrolet Trax

PHOENIX — All-new for 2024 the Chevrolet Trax — the brand's new entry-level model now that the Spark has been discontinued — is larger, much better looking inside and out, less expensive and surprisingly a bit larger than the Trailblazer, Chevy's other small compact SUV. The previous Trax ended production after the 2022 model year, and there is no 2023 Trax model rather just jumping to 2024 for the Korean built sub-compact crossover.

2023 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

INDIANAPOLIS — When an automaker says a vehicle is “more approachable,” that usually means it costs less as a concession to its poorer clientele.  But, being more approachable can also apply to size, maneuvering, fuel economy, and handling.  When I tested the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk a couple of weeks ago, I liked it very much, but it is a bit large for city living and tight trails…and it cost $72,000.  Fortunately, Jeep offers the more approachable Compass Trailhawk.

2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid

PHOENIX — For 2023 Honda introduces an all-new 6th generation CR-V crossover utility vehicle. After first being launched back in 1997 the CR-V is now more than a quarter century old and a perennial best-seller. Over the years, the small crossover segment continues to be one of the fastest growing and the CR-V maintains its reign as the best seller over those 25 years.

But as the segment grows so too does the CR-V that adds another 2.7-inches of length on the wheelbase that's 1.6-inches longer and another half inch wider.

2023 Nissan Ariya

INDIANAPOLIS — My favorite magazines as a kid were Car and Driver issues from the late ‘80s with all of the glossy concept cars.  The 1986 Buick Wildcat, 1986 Pontiac Trans Sport, and 1988 Pontiac Banshee had the sleekest next-century style.  The Wildcat even flashed a flatscreen instrument cluster while the Trans Sport ported a laptop in its dash.  They predicted today’s rides, but none fully match the 2023 Nissan Ariya electric crossover.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla

PHOENIX — Hammering out 300 horsepower with 273 lb.-ft of torque to the all-wheel drive system through a six-speed only manual shifter, the all-new for 2023 five-door Toyota Corolla GR hatchback is the newest performance offering from the detail-obsessed TOYOTA GAZOO Racing team, with master driver Akio Toyota, a.k.a. Morizo promising to infuse excitement into the Japanese automakers brand. Few cars for the 2023 model year has generated as much buzz and hype.