First Drives

  • Byton concept first ride

    Walk up to your Byton and an exterior camera knows your face. The door unlocks and you open it. The car boots up and it knows your name. It knows your health data, reads your blood pressure, checks your schedule, and streams whatever video was on your smartphone. It even knows where you need to go next. From the caramel-colored leather seats and warm leather dashboard, this Byton prototype projects the automaker's vision for the future; it's even called the "Byton life." On Wednesday at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas I received a first-hand look at what this Chinese start-up...

  • 2018 Buick Regal Sportback
    2018 Buick Regal Sportback first drive review: the crossover of cars

    The decision to do away with a sedan shape and offer the 2018 Buick Regal as a hatchback (called Sportback) and a wagon (called Tour X) is an odd one at first blush. After all, mid-size sedans traditionally have been among the strongest selling vehicles, while hatchbacks and especially wagons have...

  • 2018 Infiniti QX80
    2018 Infiniti QX80 first drive review: age is more than a number

    The 2018 Infiniti QX80 is a frustrating vehicle. It's (finally) attractive. There's a charming powertrain moving it along. And this big truck does luxury well, with beautiful leatherwork and a quiet cabin. But these attributes aren't enough to to overshadow the QX80's age. At the very least...

  • 2018 Cadillac CTS-V
    8 things you need to know about the 2018 Cadillac CTS-V

    Rip out the heart of a C7 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, shove it into a four-door luxury sedan, and what do you get? The 2018 Cadillac CTS-V. With far more horsepower than anyone truly needs, loud noises that will instantly put hair on your chest like a Chia Pet, and a chassis that should be a dynamic...

  • 2018 Jeep Wrangler first drive, Tucson, Arizona
    2018 Jeep Wrangler first drive review: expectations defied

    With anticipation comes expectations. Before venturing to Tucson, Arizona, to experience the 2018 Jeep Wrangler, we assumed that it would be more refined, more livable, more comfortable, more efficient, and more feature-laden. And it delivers all those superlatives. But what we also expected was...

  • 2019 Volkswagen Jetta prototype
    2019 Volkswagen Jetta prototype first drive: stress relief

    Matthias Erb, the engineer tasked with turning VW’s North American operations from car importer to full-on development office, isn't able to relax for long. Last year, VW finally got competitive in the American crossover market with its redesigned Tiguan and new Atlas. This year, it’s a...

  • 2018 Volvo XC60

    Volvo is reinventing itself with fresh products, the latest technologies, new 4-cylinder and electrified powertrains, and ground-up platforms faster than most believed it could. Now that it has successfully captured the automotive world's attention with the flagship XC90 and S/V 90 models, it's time for the smaller XC60. Volvo has managed to pull off quite a feat by distilling the terrific mid-size XC90 into something with some finer details, more beauty, and the same levels of luxury in a tidier package to create the 2018 XC60. Swedish beauty The exterior starts from the XC90's design...

  • 2019 Volvo XC40 First Drive
    2019 Volvo XC40 first drive review: fountains of hope, and crossover SUV potential

    Shooting through the streets of Barcelona behind the wheel of the 2019 Volvo XC40 is doubly appropriate. Not only because the Spanish city has been dubbed “Gothenberg South” after regular visits by Volvo engineers, but also because the XC40 is the automaker’s version of Juan Ponce...

  • 2018 Jaguar F-Type
    2018 Jaguar F-Type first drive review: fulfilling the mission

    If there was ever a reason to save $10,000—that’s the price premium Jaguar charges for a V-6 over a turbo-4 F-Type—this is it. For 2018, Jaguar has stuffed its new 2.0-liter turbo-4 under the F-Type’s long hood to create a new entry-level model, one that perhaps best...

  • 2019 Land Rover Range Rover P400e PHEV
    2019 Land Rover Range Rover PHEV first drive: London, here's your off-roader

    A cynic could argue that the 2019 Land Rover Range Rover P400e PHEV is a compliance special for the well-heeled. But the reality is that adding an electric motor both keeps the world's flagship SUV a viable option for city dwellers in places like London and points toward the future of off-roading...

  • 2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo
    2018 Porsche Panamera video road test

    To Porsche enthusiasts, the Panamera may be heresy. The engine is up front instead of mounted in the middle or the rear. The Panamera debuted in 2010 and immediately became the brand's second-best selling car. Heresy be damned. Now in its second generation, the 2018 Panamera atones for some of the...

  • 2018 Ford Mustang first drive review
    2018 Ford Mustang first drive review: getting serious

    Ever since Chevrolet relaunched the Camaro, it’s effectively been poking Ford, almost trying to provoke its oldest rival with cars like the SS 1LE, Z/28, and ZL1. And Ford has spent the past several years politely asking Chevy to stop with a short string of competitors in the Boss 302, GT500...

  • 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

    ALGARVE, PORTUGAL – The most fearsome, trackworthy Porsche is no longer the naturally aspirated GT3. If Nürburgring Nordschleife lap times mean anything to you, the wondrously capable 918 Spyder has also been eclipsed. The latest King of the ‘Ring and sharpest weapon in the Porsche lineup is the $294,250 911 GT2 RS, a twin-turbocharged, 700 horsepower, rear wheel-drive monster that demolished a lap of the 12.9-mile 'Ring in 6:47.3. The bespoilered 911 steals the crown from the Lamborghini Huracán Performante by 5 seconds, and is a stunning 10 seconds faster than the...

  • 2018 Ford Expedition FX4
    2018 Ford Expedition first drive review: an "A" student at last

    For a long time, the Ford Expedition was forgotten—perhaps, even forgettable. Last redesigned in 2007, the SUV received next-to-no attention until 2015, when Dearborn deigned to drop a 3.5-liter Ecoboost under the hood as part of the mildest of refreshes. It was fine, the “C's get...

  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 4x4 Squared
    Mercedes-Benz G550 4x4 Squared review: top tax bracket bruiser

    “Hey dude, your car is huuuuge!” We expected that reaction while driving a vehicle with nearly 18 inches of ground clearance through Washington D.C. What we didn’t expect was someone to ask us if it’s a Hummer, though. Come on! This is definitely not a Hummer. It’s the...

  • 2018 Aston Martin DB11 V8
    2018 Aston Martin DB11 V8 first drive review: with a little help from friends

    Aston Martins are known for two signature traits: drop-dead gorgeous looks and bad-ass soundtracks. But how do you maintain the band’s identity when you have to play a cover tune? If he were still alive, I’d tell you to ask Joe Cocker. Sometimes you get by with a little help from your...

  • 2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo
    2019 Porsche Cayenne first drive review: an epoch-ending SUV

    Back in the 1980s, Porsche knew it could build an SUV. And it knew a Porsche SUV would sell well. It finally got around to building that first Cayenne in 2002. Instincts: correct. Since then, it’s sold more than 770,000 of them. It’s so successful, Porsche now sells a smaller Macan SUV...

  • 2018 Mercedes-AMG S65
    2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class first drive review: driving the most- and least-expensive models

    The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is widely recognized as one of the most luxurious full-size cars on the market, and with that luxury comes an exclusive price. But there is luxury and then there is luxury and there is exclusive and then there is exclusive. We already reviewed the 2018 Mercedes-Benz...

  • 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar first drive

    Land Rover has learned a thing or three since its sale nine years ago. First, pegging your future and bottom line on an all-SUV lineup can be rewarding (except when it isn’t). Second, British automobiles and reliability don’t have to be mutually exclusive (except when it is). Third, economy of scale can work wonders—especially when it’s called the 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar. It doesn’t take long for the Velar to run away from the Jaguar F-Pace from which it’s based—it only needs to climb a mountain. The Velar daringly rids itself of the...

  • 2018 Kia Stinger GT
    2018 Kia Stinger first drive review: an upscale, sporty bargain

    Along its journey from builder of cheap but reliable transportation to budding luxury market player, Hyundai-Kia’s strategy has been “if you can’t beat them, join ‘em.” Or more appropriately, have them join you. When its cars looked like poor imitations of melting...

  • 2017 Honda Civic Si First Drive
    Living with the 2017 Honda Civic Si: the good and the bad

    The latest Honda Civic is also the best Honda Civic. That's an easy statement to make, but it's not quite as simple when you add the “Si” designation on the end. Because despite a raft of bad Civics for the current model to overshadow, the reality is that the Si range has been a much...

  • Cadillac Super Cruise
    Cadillac's Super Cruise provides a glimpse into the self-driving future today

    When I was a kid, "The Jetsons" promised me flying cars would be part of the future, and I would have a robot housekeeper. It’s the future, and I don’t have either of those things. Now, automakers are promising self-driving cars are the next big thing, and they will be on the road very...

  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador S
    2017 Lamborghini Aventador S: the right car for a racetrack

    A little evolution now and then is a good thing. That distorted maxim holds true for the Lamborghini Aventador. Originally released as a 2012 model, Lambo’s most-expensive supercar boasted loads of technology derived from Formula One, but it had some issues. It was heavy, it understeered on a...

  • 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C Edition 50
    2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C first drive review: AMG’s celebratory gift is a delight

    Mercedes-Benz and Porsche have not always been adversaries. The two German automotive icons, hailing from east and north of Stuttgart, Germany, respectively, were once occasional collaborators. Not that you’d know that from behind the wheel of the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C coupe. This squat...

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