First Drive

First Drive articles

2016 Toyota Prius



DANA POINT, Calif. — For those many hundreds of thousands of people who love their Prius hybrid, but feared Toyota's first all-new model since 2010 would alter their cherished eco-friendly transportation into something radically different, we say "fear not."
The fourth-generation 2016 Prius is here and we discovered during a day of driving that it's still every bit a Prius. Toyota it seems has hit the vaunted Prius brand nail squarely on the head.

2016 Volkswagen Passat



STOWE, Vermont — We've marveled over the past few years at the interior space of the Volkswagen Passat — particularly for rear-seat passengers who get a near-limo feeling — and the satisfying driving experience. Introduced as an all-new model in 2012, the Passat is built at the state-of-the-art Chattanooga plant in Tennessee.

2016 Mercedes GLC



PHOENIX — For 2016, Mercedes-Benz introduces the GLC crossover utility vehicle, a completely new vehicle replacing the discontinued GLK. While the GLK nomenclature meant nothing, the GLC is akin to the C-Class sedan and coupe. In fact the vehicles share the same rear-drive foundation and are powered by the same engine.

2016 Lexus RX



RALEIGH, N.C. — For almost two decades, the Lexus RX has been the benchmark for luxury midsized crossovers and SUVs. The yard marks are wide, but you’re going to shell out anywhere between $45,000 and $70,000 to purchase one. The competitive set includes the cream of the crop: Audi Q5, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and a few others. Price notwithstanding, this segment is growing so fast, it seems that within five years, Americans will be issued one with their learning permits.

2016 Honda Civic



WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — Honda was accused of cutting corners with its all-new ninth-generation Civic for model year 2012. It seemed the Japanese car company was content to live on its reputation of building solid, affordable and reliable entry-level transportation. We had no qualms with the '12 Civic, admitting that it wasn't the leap forward we had expected. That's not a problem this time around. There's no question Honda has raised the bar with the 10th generation Civic.

2016 Scion iM



PHILADELPHIA — The iconic xB boxy wagon and a no-haggle "pure price" mono-spec trim shopping experience defined the Scion brand when it entered the U.S.  automotive scene in 2003 aimed at younger buyers — a brand within a brand at Toyota stores. It seemed the Japanese company was on to something as Scion enjoyed initial success.

2016 Mercedes AMG GT-S



INDIANAPOLIS — Since the mid-‘50s, Mercedes-Benz sports cars have been some of the most desirable in the world.  We’re talking about the 300SL “Gullwing,”  McLaren-developed SLR, SLS AMG “Gullwing,” and now, the AMG GT-S.  All have been sexy as sin, but from styling to technology, the latest takes the three-pointed star to different tracks.

2016 Toyota Tacoma



SEATTLE, Wash. — Now ladies and gentleman please closely observe our final — and best — magic trick of the afternoon. Our driver is about to drive the all-new 2016 Toyota Tacoma into this huge pile of loose sand where he will bury the truck up to its axles. Then we will hook a tow rope to the rear and pull the buried truck out of the mess it has created. Actually, ladies and gentlemen, no such assistance will be needed.

2016 Mazda CX-3



WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — When Shakespeare posed the question, “What is in a name?” he could have had the all-new Mazda CX-3 in mind. You see, in terms of size and handling, it’s a crossover in name only. Mazda’s 3 sedan is seven inches longer and nearly three inches wider than the CX-3. Mazda suits — well, most of them don’t wear suits — tell us that the CX-3 really has more in common with the Mazda2 than the 3. In the long run, though, does it really matter? Nah.

2016 Hyundai Tucson



ANN ARBOR, Mich.  — In the past year, car registrations have dropped 3.9 percent while light truck registrations have increased by 10.7 percent. Why then have Hyundai’s crossover utility vehicle sales fallen 14.5 percent over that same period? “The U.S. market is currently 56 percent truck and CUV,” says Dave Zuchowski president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, “and this has made it hard for us to keep our sales momentum. It’s not that we don’t have the capacity to build these vehicles. It’s that we have to reallocate our current production from cars to light trucks.”