First Drives

  • Dirt 4

    Codemasters' "Dirt 4" has beautiful graphics, immersive physics, delightful sounds, and intimidating weather. This isn't big news in a modern console-based racer. Where "Dirt 4" distinguishes itself is with a combination of accessible and advanced driving modes and an enormous variety of gameplay beyond a simple career simulation (which itself packs an immersive team management aspect). It's not better or worse than "Forza Motorsport" or "Gran Turismo," but it's refreshingly different and just as charming. “Dirt 4” introduces gamers to rallying using a watered-down version of the...

  • 2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
    2018 Porsche Panamera 4S first drive review: the quiet heretic

    What’s a little heresy among friends? Porsche put out its first Cayenne SUV in 2003, and oh, the hand-wringing, the garment-rending. The haterade flowed like Dom in the VIP room or so we’ve heard. Porsche 911 loyalists–mostly, people who’d never driven one–hauled their...

  • 2017 Maserati Levante first drive review
    2017 Maserati Levante first drive review: beauty is pain

    Check the tape: Maserati owned the U.S. comeback before Fiat and Alfa Romeo crowded into the party. Trident-clad cars could be found roaming streets in the U.S. for more than a decade before Alfa Romeo returned. Yet, despite being the elder statesman at the ripe old age of 15, Maserati had to wait...

  • 2017 Honda Civic Si First Drive
    2017 Honda Civic Si first drive: looking the part

    The ascending shift lights dart along the tach, green to yellow to red, before the revs bounce and the 2017 Honda Civic Si stretches its legs in the tawny California desert. As the center-mounted exhaust bellows a convincing growl and a short throw from third gear easily finds fourth, the new Civic...

  • 2018 Genesis G80 Sport
    2018 Genesis G80 Sport first drive review: it's not all in the name

    The letters and numbers on a car's trunk usually are its calling card, a shorthand mission statement. As writers, we'd suggest an edit on the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport decklid. Sport is a silly name here, and not because alphanumerics are arbitrary and terrible. This vehicle isn't sporty. It is quick...

  • 2017 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS, Lake Tahoe
    2017 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet first drive review: the one you want

    At times, it has felt like Porsche’s myriad 911 configurations serve only to answer questions nobody was asking. But this is not one of those instances. After a few hours behind the wheel of a 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet, Porsche's wisdom becomes crystal clear. Sure, it's...

  • 2018 Audi SQ5

    Vancouver Island is one of the most beautiful places in North America. An old-growth temperate rain forest, it is impossibly green, and it offers spectacular views of mountains, streams, inlets, and even fjords...at least when the fog lifts enough to see them. It's the perfect place for a well-heeled family to take a vacation, and the roads are more interesting than the open highways of the American west. They consist mostly of gentle sweeping bends that carve through thick forests and run parallel to coastlines. The 2018 Audi SQ5 is the ideal vehicle for this kind of trek. It's not a pudgy...

  • 2018 Acura TLX A-Spec
    2018 Acura TLX A-Spec first drive review: character by committee

    A jack of all trades, the 2018 Acura TLX is so balanced it fades among more daring, extroverted rivals. A mid-cycle update rather than a full-scale redesign, the 2018 Acura TLX hammers yet another nail in the coffin of Acura's hated shield grille. The new grille stretches more horizontally and sits...

  • 2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk off-road
    2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk off-road review

    Just what is Trail Rated? For years, Jeep has separately branded its most off road-oriented models. Years ago, it was the Up Country package. Today, it's the Trail Rated badge, which is affixed to all Wranglers and certain versions of Jeep's Renegade, Compass, Cherokee, and Grand Cherokee. Yes...

  • 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 First Drive
    2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 first drive review: cast in convenience, forged off road

    There’s no substitute for the right tool. How do I know that? Decades of hammering nails with a meat tenderizer. Don't ask. Off-roading requires the right tool, and Chevy owners have waited a long time for that equipment to show up in their Snap-On chests. Fast-rewind to the 2015 LA auto...

  • 2017 Ford GT
    2017 Ford GT first drive review: Ready for supercar liftoff

    The nose draws to a point. It's an arrow. The tail tapers like the business end of rifle ammo. It squares up, impossibly mean in its stance. The 2017 Ford GT sets the newest benchmark for things that look fast while standing still. Lots of street cars ape track machines. Ford developed its striking...

  • 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF
    2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF first drive review: the Miata coupe (targa?) we've always wanted

    As soon as sports car fans discovered the Miata was a fantastic roadster, some started asking for a stylish coupe version. That was probably a couple days after the first Miata hit the street in 1989. I'd argue that the 2017 MX-5 Miata RF answers that call. Coupe, roadster, or targa? The latest...

  • 2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription

    I don't think there's a single brand that has a stronger identity than Volvo. Hear me out. Its focus on safety and reserved, stylish design with just a hint of Swedish flair and modernism survived Ford's perpetually rudderless, mismanaged Premier Automotive Group. Meanwhile, anyone who thought Chinese ownership would stamp out this unique character has been proven wrong. If anything, Volvo's identity under Geely is stronger than ever. Take the new S90, for example. I spent a week in the handsome 2017 S90 doing what most of its owners do—commuting. I slogged up and down Interstate 75...

  • 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor
    Living with the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor: the good and the bad

    We've already flown across the sand, climbed dunes, and picked our way down steep hills like a mountain goat in the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor. The truck proved to be up the off-road test, but then it should have been. This thing was designed and built to be a desert runner from the get go. Heck, a...

  • Raptor vs. Hellcat Race
    Dodge Challenger Hellcat and Ford F-150 Raptor race around, over a mountain

    It was the question burning on our minds for all of 10 minutes: What's the quickest way to conquer a mountain? Around, or over? Like a forced induction race between a rabbit and a super-powered rabbit, we took the strongest examples to Sugarloaf mountain. Motor Authority editors Andrew Ganz and...

  • 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
    2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro first drive review: the everyman's Raptor

    The Toyota Tacoma's "just right" recipe has long made it a leader among smaller (but still rather large) pickups, and this year the most capable out-of-the-box Taco TRD Pro offers an even more compelling reason to get dirty. It's sort of a "Raptor Lite," an off-road-ready pickup built up to save...

  • 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, Seattle area, April 2017
    2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD first drive review

    The Acura MDX is the most popular three-row luxury crossover vehicle, says Honda's premium division, with 850,000 sold since 2001. The vast majority of those were sold in North America, since the Acura brand is almost entirely focused on the U.S. The MDX was also Acura's highest-selling vehicle...

  • 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport
    2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport first drive review: the sporty choice...for now

    Though it may seem like the terms “Honda Civic” and “hatchback” are inextricably linked, in truth the brand as well known for its lawnmowers as its family cars has had an up-and-down relationship with tailgates. The Civic hatchback is back for 2017, a more practical (and not...

  • 2018 Audi S4/S5 First Drive

    We have a tough time nailing down what “performance” means anymore. Automakers work really hard telling us that every car has sporting potential—right down to a minivan. We’re easily not convinced. We know “sssspeed” when we see it, and Audi’s twins here have it down to the first letter: the 2018 Audi S4 and S5. Let’s talk performance first. The S4 and S5 are new and are based on their sedan and coupe counterparts—same as always. And, same as always, the numbers matter. The S4 and S5 sub in a turbocharged V-6 rated at 354 hp and 369 lb-ft...

  • 2018 Audi S4/S5 First Drive
    2018 Audi S4 first drive review: Whip, without lash

    The 2018 Audi S4 carves the desert better than a blistering sandstorm. Turn after turn, the S4 knifes ribbons of pavement like a scalpel in bread dough. The looks of Audi’s new sport sedan were hewn in the same way too. Audi’s newest S4—now firmly planted in the middle of the...

  • 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster
    2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster first drive review: a special sports car, topless or not

    I'd like to start this review by prattling on about how this 550-horsepower super sports car can slay the toughest track set before it. I'd love to wax poetic about its relentless grip, its composure at speed, its hunkered down feel in sharp bends, and the feeling of joy it imparts to the driver as...

  • 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country
    2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country first drive review: the wagon Americans should want

    Americans have made it clear. We don't like wagons anymore and haven't for quite some time. That makes it hard for automakers to justify building them despite enthusiasts screaming and running with pitchforks. This, of course, presents a problem for an automaker like Volvo, whose history is tied to...

  • 2017 Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar
    2017 Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar first drive review: the 365-day sports cars

    Everyone has a parent or friend's parent who owned a Volvo. Why? Because the cars are known for being sensible and safe, and that's what you buy when you have a family. But today, there are Volvos available in Cyan Racing Blue with a little blue badge, and these aren't the sensible Volvos you...

  • Bugatti Chiron first drive
    2017 Bugatti Chiron first drive review: The king of the exotics

    When a Bugatti Chiron fires up, the sound it produces is loud—surprisingly, dramatically, crazy loud, even while idling at a mellow 650 rpm. Sixteen cylinders, eight liters, four turbochargers and six exhaust pipes can do that. But if you’re lucky enough to be manning the driver's seat...

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