First Drive Reviews

  • 2020 Ford Interceptor Utility Hybrid

    Ford has just let me loose in its new cop car, the 2020 Explorer Police Interceptor, so I can take it for two laps around a short handling loop at its testing facility in Dearborn, Michigan. I channel my inner Mike Lowrey, and drive it hard, pretending I’m after a bad guy who simply can’t get away with it. I’m in Ford’s new hybrid Interceptor. Off the line, the 3.3-liter hybrid powertrain launches the Explorer cop car forward with authority, though the 7.27-second sprint to 60 isn’t about to set the tires on fire. As I get into the turns, the SUV reads my rapid...

  • 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350
    First drive review: 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 gets a grip on its mission

    The logo is a snake. The engine sounds a rebel yell upon startup, and from there only shouts more, more, more. The tires are steamrollers meant to provide grip on a racetrack. It sits low and lean, and looks downright mean. It’s the anti-SUV. It’s the 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, and...

  • 2020 Toyota Supra
    First drive review: 2020 Toyota Supra is fast and frenetic

    It’s late in the day at Summit Point Raceway, the warm sun of a late West Virginia spring is starting to pack it in for the day, and I’m still working on smoothing out my hamfisted ways behind the wheel of the 2020 Toyota Supra in my few remaining laps on the track’s Shenandoah...

  • 2019 Volkswagen Arteon R-Line package
    First drive review: 2019 Volkswagen Arteon puts SUVs on notice, if it’s not too late

    It would be easy to write off the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon as yet another misguided attempt to push the people’s automaker in an upwardly mobile direction. See: Phaeton, CC, two cars that undoubtedly stressed the suits back in Wolfsburg as they languished on dealer lots. Perhaps those stiff...

  • 2020 Jaguar XE
    First drive review: The 2020 Jaguar XE puts gravity on hold

    We’ve said it in so many ways, but it bears repeating: The sport sedan is in full wane. BMW’s X3 is a better 3-Series, the GLC’s our favorite C-Class, and Jaguar’s I-Pace points to the future of electric transportation. What to make then of the pert and lively 2020 Jaguar XE...

  • 2019 Audi A8 L
    Review update: 2019 Audi A8 L takes it easy

    Just as winter has arrived in Westeros, spring attempts to gain traction in Chicago, but winter won’t let go. A trip to Wisconsin during a mid-April snowstorm gave me more time to learn more about the 2019 Audi A8 L than when I drove it in Spain for our initial review. This time, I could...

  • 2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVR

    We stop at the top of a ridge in the French Alps, after a round of hide-and-seek played with a low scud of clouds, and I’m shaking in disbelief. I’m shaking because it’s 42.8 degrees Fahrenheit outside. On a clear day, you might see the balmy, mythic sands of St. Tropez glimmering in the distance. Today, there’s no Bain de Soleil, no suntan. We get leftover snow on the ground. The Mediterranean may as well be a mirage. I can’t argue because we’ve reached the top of this Alp in no time behind the wheel of the 2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVR. Take the standard-issue...

  • 2020 Hyundai Sonata
    First drive review: 2020 Hyundai Sonata doubles down on sedan segment in style

    Pulling out of the 123-story Lotte World Tower into the crush of Seoul’s morning traffic in the 2020 Hyundai Sonata, the striking symbolism isn’t lost on me. The 1,819-foot tower is new, the fifth-tallest building in the world, and the tallest in Korea. This engineering marvel...

  • 2019 Mercedes-Benz AMG E 53 sedan
    First drive review: Sweet on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz E 53 AMG sedan

    The 2019 Mercedes-Benz E 53 AMG is conflicted. The pugnacious luxury sedan that arrived this year is sandwiched between a Hammer and a scythe. No, really. The former was a 1980s wonder machine that helped set the table for a tradition of sleeper sedans, and the latter is a modern-day...

  • 2019 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 coupe
    First drive review: 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS 53 AMG is adulthood served

    Stick around long enough and: 1) What’s old is always new again, 2) Reading large-print books becomes not only preferred but also, mandatory. For Mercedes-Benz, which first plunked an inline-6 under the hood of a passenger vehicle in 1926, reading from the same large-print playbook is...

  • 2020 Jeep Gladiator
    First drive review: 2020 Jeep Gladiator is armored for battle

    The 2020 Jeep Gladiator brings all the right hardware to the mid-size pickup truck fight. It’s even dressed for battle. Pundits might argue that the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is a Wrangler with a pickup truck bed, and they wouldn’t be entirely wrong. The Gladiator shares its retro design that...

  • 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI
    First drive review: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI channels GTI better than ever

    The Tail of the Dragon sits at, or near, the top of any list of great driving roads in America. This 11-mile ribbon of U.S. Highway 129 between Tennessee and North Carolina entices enthusiasts with more than 300 turns and 1,000 feet of elevation change. Unfortunately, it also attracts...

  • 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque P250 R-Dynamic S

    “Sweaters and lunch,” my co-pilot points ahead. The flock of sheep being herded across the road ahead can’t tell the difference between our Range Rover Evoque and the grass they crop. Their herder smiles at our SUV, waves, and keeps his charges off the broken pavement while we buzz along a ridge framed by a sea so vibrant blue it has its own Crayola. I’m bald, so this is the one Grecian formula I aspire to: sun, sea air, and the promise of salty local feta for lunch. MORE: Read our 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque review The Evoque’s a Birkin bag of an SUV, a...

  • 2019 BMW X7
    First drive review: The 2019 BMW X7 has grit, grille, and grandeur

    Somewhere on the interstate between Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina, it finally clicks, like the incessant drops of rain on the glass. We’re not getting any decent weather on this first drive of the 2019 BMW X7. No useful turns, either. The descent into Low Country evaporates all hope...

  • 2019 Subaru WRX STI S209 first drive
    First drive review: The 2019 Subaru WRX STI S209 has zero chill

    In the shadow of an active volcano, a pop-up city rises up and shouts in unison. The noise bounces off the tarmac and visibly shakes the delicious vapors that rise from nearby food trucks. The young women in long ponytails and short blue satin shorts who cheerlead from a low stage have to be...

  • 2019 Audi Q8 vs. 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
    Luxury SUV rumble in the Rockies: 2019 Audi Q8 vs. 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE450

    Ask me if I consider luxury crossovers to be vital to the human experience, and I’d say probably not. Ask me again on icy roads, in the middle of a blizzard, on an interstate in the middle of Colorado, while being massaged in my seat? Different answer. Luxury SUVs have a time and place and...

  • 2019 BMW Z4 Roadster
    First drive review: The 2019 BMW Z4 sDrive30i revives the roadster

    Coachella is a town, not a thing. For the 356 days a year when Boy Pablo and Childish Gambino aren’t in residence, it’s a prosaic farm community, where highlighter-pink and yellow signs hawk Medjool dates, shaken fresh from the trees that tower over checkerboards of agri-business green...

  • 2019 Ram 2500 Power Wagon
    First drive review: 2019 Ram 2500 Power Wagon conquers nearly anything

    If it can’t climb up the hill, it’ll just pull itself over the hill. That’s life for the 2019 Ram 2500 Power Wagon. For 2019, the Ram 2500 Power Wagon loses some weight, gains some useful technology, refines its edges, but loses zero capability. I flew out to Las Vegas to put the...

  • 2019 McLaren 720S Spider

    Among the hottest toys of the 1970s were the Kenner Super Sonic Power (SSP) race cars, which employed a central spinning wheel that propelled them over jumps, down the stairs, and into furniture legs in houses everywhere. The utter ubiquity of these toy cars led to innovations, such as a spark emitter on the spinning drive wheel to add excitement. They also evolved from regular dull molded plastic to luminous hues in a shiny chrome finish. Preferences are influenced early in life, and I’m left to guess that some McLaren product planners spent their formative years pulling the rip cords...

  • 2020 Bentley Continental GT Convertible
    First drive review: 2020 Bentley Continental GT Convertible offers a break from the digital world

    “Digital detox.” That’s what Bentley design director Stefan Sielaff promises in the 2020 Continental GT Convertible, and the opportunity sounds appealing. We are so inescapably immersed in the digital, the synthetic, and the artificial that a retreat to reality and authenticity...

  • 2020 McLaren 600LT Spider
    First drive review: 2020 McLaren 600LT Spider sounds serious, delivers on the track

    Arizona Motorsports Park sits beside Luke Air Force Base outside Phoenix, so visiting drivers are treated to a non-stop free display of air power courtesy of F-16s and F-35s. The base is home to the F-35 demonstration team, whose preparations for the 2019 air show season provided overhead...

  • 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
    Review update: 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro yearns to get lost, and found

    Twenty minutes from my front door is nowhere. And that’s somewhere I want to be. That’s true for many of us who live in Denver. It’s probably true for the 30 people who will move to Denver today, the 30 people who will move here tomorrow, and the next day, too. The greatest lie...

  • 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country
    First drive review: The 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country is Swedish perfection on wheels

    The sun bathes Lulea, Sweden with light for less than eight hours during the middle of the winter. It rises over the Gulf of Bothnia and its small, frigid islands and sets behind the charming and colorful town scattered with red, yellow and white buildings. As pretty as this small city near the...

  • 2019 Maserati Levante GTS
    First drive review: 2019 Maserati Levante GTS completes a beast

    Italian cars are known for four things: beauty, speed, noise, and a special feel. Fail on any of these and the car feels authentic like ravioli from a can. Maserati’s Levante is the Italian automaker’s first crossover SUV. It’s beautiful, but base models weren’t fast...

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