First Drive

First Drive articles

2024 Cadillac Escalade-V ESV

PHOENIX — Not unlike European high performance marques including the AMG moniker from Mercedes and BMW's M division, Cadillac threw its horsepower into the competition with its own performance-focused skunkworks within the brand by creating the V-Series some two decades ago.

2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2

MIAMI — Still slightly smaller than its sibling Silverado, the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado has grown some since its introduction as a compact pickup for the 2004 model year. A midsize truck now, the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado is more of a work horse than those of earlier generations and is a good option for the budget conscious who need more capability than a compact offers but can’t afford, or want, a bulky full-size pickup.

2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV

HERNDON, Va. — Enzo Ferrari drove for Alfa Romeo in the early 1920s, and campaigned the company’s race cars — under his Scuderia Ferrari banner — in the decade immediately before World War II. Italian driver Tazio Nuvolari would pilot various Alfa Romeo Grand Prix and sports cars throughout the ‘30s, compiling a record of legendary wins for Alfa, Ferrari’s Scuderia and — not incidentally — himself.

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.