First Drive

First Drive articles

2022 Lexus GX Black Line

PHOENIX — The 2022 Lexus GX SUV is a throwback vehicle can be traced back some two decades, all the way to 2002; the generation tested here dates back to 2009. Since that time, the GX has received very modest tweaks, getting the brand’s identifying spindle grille in 2013, and modest changes for 2020 such as an updated spindle grille, triple beam LED headlamps, the addition of two rear USB ports, a new exterior color and new interior trim choices.

2022 Mercedes E450 All-Terrain

INDIANAPOLIS — Mercedes-Benz had a pretty crazy strategy when it introduced the jacked-up All Terrain E-Class wagon in Europe, home of fast cars and faster highways, and left crossover-crazy America with the more boring Rodeo Drive version.  I mean, hadn’t they learned the basic lesson of the Subaru Outback?  Americans want to look ready for adventure whether they’re hitting the trails…or shopping mall.  Mercedes mends its ways with the 2022 E450 All Terrain.

2022 Mini Cooper Convertible

MIAMI — Just as the word “dated” began to appear in reviews of the iconic Mini in recent years, the 2022 Mini Cooper Convertible arrives refreshed and updated but still with the sassy attitude that has been an integral part of its DNA for just over six decades. While still retaining its distinctive overall outer appearance, the 2022 Mini gets new bumpers front and rear, a revised grille and new wheel designs, and three new colors — Island Blue, Rooftop Grey and Zesty Yellow.

2022 Infiniti QX60

PHOENIX — Sedona, Arizona, is tailor-made for a travel brochure — a picturesque small town surrounded with stunning red rock buttes, mesas, and canyons with bright colorful foliage in the fall. It’s a perfect destination for test driving the all-new-for-2022 Infiniti QX60. First introduced for the 2013, the second-generation of the QX60 is long overdue. The three-row mid-size SUV has been dramatically redesigned both inside and out.

2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid

INDIANAPOLIS — I’m trying to imagine the conversation in Ford’s boardroom several years ago when some enterprising executive lofted this nugget:  “Let’s take our Ford Escape crossover, replace its aft half with a bed, slap on the name of a sub-par compact from the ‘70s, and use it to replace our compact sedans.  We’ll make it a hybrid too.”  I’m sure eyebrows slanted askew, but 2022 Ford Maverick pickup is a pretty good idea.

2022 Infiniti QX55

PHOENIX — Infiniti, the luxury brand of Nissan products, has introduced a new crossover utility vehicle: the QX55. For those who think the QX55 is the sloped-roof offspring of the QX50 compact crossover, well, you would be partially correct. With a striking exterior design that features a bulging hood, swooping roofline and sharply styled rear end and LED piano key taillamps, the boldly sculpted QX55 borrows styling cues from the mid-sized Infiniti FX model that first appeared for the 2003 model year and continued until it bid farewell in 2013.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

PHOENIX — Much like the Ford Bronco and GM’s Hummer, Jeep has resurrected an old nameplate, Grand Wagoneer. One might be surprised it’s a Jeep save since the raised aluminum two-piece copperchinio-accented “Wagoneer” is the only badging you’ll see on the humungous all-new SUV; the name “Jeep” appears nowhere on the vehicle.

2022 Ford Ranger Tremor

PHOENIX — When it comes to hard core off-road capability, the Ford Ranger sat in the parking lot watching competitors like Chevy Colorado ZR2, Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro and Jeep Gladiator (in Rubicon or Moab trim levels) hit the rough stuff: steep boulder-strewn trails, deep sand, and streams. Ranger’s FX4 off-road trim did add a rear differential locker and skid plates, but it was no match for and couldn’t go places the Jeep or Tacoma tackled.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L

PHOENIX — The Jeep brand, now in its 80th year, is introducing its fifth-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee that was first introduced in 1992. That first Cherokee was dramatically launched by literally driving the SUV up the steps of Detroit’s Cobo Hall and through a glass window, signifying the breakthrough premium SUV for the Jeep brand. The 2021 Grand Cherokee is its first redesign in a decade.

2022 Forester Wilderness

BEND, Ore. — I’ve been driving for hours, slogging supposed roads that are more like rock-strew moonscapes with moguls that sometimes leave only three wheels touching earth.  The scenery is heavenly though, with snow-capped peaks dotting the distance and vast prairies of pine trees between.  I’m in Bend, Oregon driving the 2022 Forester Wilderness — the latest of a growing family of Subarus for adventure-getters.