First Drive Reviews

  • 2018 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid, Six Flags Magic Mountain, California, Dec 2017

    Some plug-in hybrid models are easily distinguishable from the rest of the cars their maker sells. Others, like the 2018 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid, are all but invisible. It takes a sharp eye to see the charging port door on the left-front fender or the trim and badging differences that distinguish it from a garden-variety Niro Hybrid. We spent 500 miles over two days in California with the new plug-in version of the Niro last week, and came to appreciate it as a total package. ANOTHER ALTERNATIVE: 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid first drive Like the conventional Niro Hybrid, the...

  • Tesla Model 3 with BMW i3 driver Tom Moloughney, Dec 2017  [photo: Tom Moloughney]
    Tesla Model 3: impressions of a BMW i3 driver (and reservation holder)

    With DC fast charging fully electric vehicles can be charged to around 80% of their full battery capacity in under 30 minutes

  • 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid drive, Napa Valley, Caifornia, Dec 2017
    2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid first drive

    There's a new plug-in hybrid in town, and it could expand the audience for cars that provide useful electric range for daily driving while retaining an efficient gasoline engine for longer trips. The 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is the third and most important model in the Clarity lineup...

  • 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid
    2018 Honda Accord Hybrid first drive review: lighter shade of green

    It’s easy for the 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid to get lost. Short of small “Hybrid” badges on the front fenders, not much on the car’s exterior says it's powered by electrons. There’s no plug-in variant for now (a role reserved to the Clarity Plug-In sedan), and the latest...

  • 2018 Nissan Leaf
    2018 Nissan Leaf electric-car prototype driven: first impressions

    When visiting an automaker's proving ground to drive cars still under development, security is extensive. Cameras have to be left on the bus, all phone lenses have to be covered, and documents committing you to keep quiet until the embargo lifts must be signed. In late June, we drove a...

  • 2017 Audi A5 Sportback g-tron (European model), driven, Aug 2017  [photo: Ronan Glon]
    Audi A5 Sportback g-tron: first drive of natural-gas luxury sport sedan

    Audi’s vision of future mobility primarily centers around an array of long-range electric cars scheduled to debut in the coming years under the "e-tron" badge. These are intended to be Tesla killers, as they’re often called in Germany. But there’s another kind of tron with a...

  • Kirk Bell and John Voelcker in Volkswagen ID Buzz electric Microbus concept vehicle

    When you see a concept car drive onto the stage at an auto show, don't be fooled into thinking it's what you'll drive out of the dealer a couple of years later. We got to drive the Volkswagen ID Buzz all-electric Microbus concept car Saturday for a couple of miles along the oceanside road outside Monterey, California. Our drive in the ID Buzz concept was powered by a battery pack and single electric motor from the current Volkswagen e-Golf, and the vehicle was firmly limited to 25 mph. DON'T MISS: VW to build ID Buzz electric Microbus, cargo vans too, on sale in 2022 That's because its...

  • 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier and 2017 BMW i3 electric car, Aug 2017        [photo: Tom Moloughney]
    Chevy Bolt EV reviewed by BMW i3 driver: electric cars compared

    Owners of specific electric cars sometimes tend to become boosters and fans for their particular EV as well as plugging in to drive in general. So it was with Tom Moloughney, whose purchase of the very first 2014 BMW i3 REx range-extended electric car in the U.S. he wrote about for us three years...

  • 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE, Willamette Valley, Oregon, June 2017
    2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid first drive

    The 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient version of all-new range of Toyota's popular mid-size sedan, its best-selling vehicle in the U.S. until very recently. The new Camry Hybrid is based on some of the same underpinnings as the 2016 Prius, and uses that car's updated hybrid system...

  • 2017 Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid, New York City and Westchester County, NY, May 2017
    2017 Cadillac CT6 Plug-In: first drive of hybrid luxury sedan

    The 2017 Cadillac CT6 Plug-In will be a rare beast in the U.S.; fewer than 1,000 are likely to be sold each year. In many ways, that's a shame. This version of the CT6 large sedan is a worthy competitor among plug-in hybrid luxury cars, the rest of which will come from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and...

  • 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf, first drive, New York City, April 2017
    2017 Volkswagen e-Golf: first drive of updated 125-mile electric car

    The 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf, the only battery-electric car sold by VW in the U.S., got a large range boost for its third year on the market. While the current model year is winding to a close, 2017 e-Golfs are just now reaching dealers in the handful of states where the compact electric car is...

  • 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell, Santa Barbara, CA, March 2017
    2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell: first drive of hydrogen-powered sedan

    There are now three different vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells on sale in California, and we've driven them all. The 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell is the first one in which we were able to forget about the powertrain and simply drive. It's the best of the three, although that won't matter...

  • 2018 Toyota C-HR

    Sport-utility vehicles started out as truck offshoots, essentially tall wagon bodies on truck underpinnings. Think of the first Chevy Suburban in 1935, which remained a specialty vehicle (mostly for Texans) for its first 40 years. Fast-forward another 40 years, and my, how things have changed. DON'T MISS: 2018 Toyota C-HR - full review With steadily increasing fuel-economy rules, buyers not only in North America but worldwide are migrated from passenger sedans, wagons, and hatchbacks into what are called "crossover utility vehicles." They look sort of like the old SUVs, but they're built on...

  • 2017 Hyundai Ioniq video road test with Green Car Reports editor John Voelcker
    2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid video drive review

    It's been said that the only global carmaker Toyota is really worried about is Hyundai. This year, the legendary Prius hybrid—which celebrates its 20th anniversary—has some new competition. This is the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq. It's a hybrid, but there are actually three models of the Ioniq...

  • 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
    2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid: first drive review

    The 2017 Hyundai Ioniq isn't one car but three, with a unique choice of powertrains. The volume seller will be the Ioniq Hybrid, a dedicated hybrid (as is the Toyota Prius) with a 58-mpg combined EPA fuel-economy rating for its base model. But you can also get it as a battery-electric car (starting...

  • 2017 Subaru Impreza, La Jolla, California, Dec 2016
    2017 Subaru Impreza: first drive of AWD compact sedan, hatch

    The 2017 Subaru Impreza is one of the most fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive vehicles in the U.S. market, and has been for many years. The entirely redesigned 2017 Impreza rides on new underpinnings, but it's easily recognizable as an evolution of the company's popular compact sedan and hatchback. One...

  • 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid, Catskill Mountains, NY, Jan 2017
    2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid: gas mileage review

    Last year, Nissan sold almost 330,000 Rogues in the U.S., making it by far the brand's most popular model. For 2017, the compact crossover utility vehicle has added a new model, a hybrid that competes with the very successful Toyota RAV4 Hybrid—of which 44,000 were delivered last year. We...

  • 2017 Kia Niro, San Antonio, Texas, Dec 2016
    2017 Kia Niro hybrid: first drive report

    According to its maker, the 2017 Kia Niro is the first "crossover hybrid vehicle" sold in the U.S.—but what does that really mean? We drove150 miles in two different versions of the top-of-the-line Niro Touring model two weeks ago, and concluded that the Niro represents an interesting package...

  • 2017 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive - first drive, Miami, Nov 2016   [photo: Jeff Jablansky]

    On a hot, muggy day in south Florida, nothing is more comforting than knowing that your well-cooled car will make it to its destination. When that car is a reboot of the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive, the tiny battery-powered European city slicker—and you’re surrounded by a sea of drivers who couldn't care less about keeping to a speed limit or staying in their lanes—you want to hope that you can make it. The forthcoming new-generation Electric Drive coupe and convertible proves that there is again room for an electric version in the revamped lineup of Fortwo city-sized...

  • 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
    2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid: first drive of plug-in hybrid minivan

    The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid wraps a number of firsts into one innovative package. The Pacifica minivan, launched this year, has received positive reviews for its combination of stylish design, comfortable interior, easy-to-use infotainment, and capacious carrying capacity for up to eight...

  • 2017 Toyota Prius Prime test drive, Ojai, California, Sep 2016
    2017 Toyota Prius Prime: first drive of new plug-in hybrid

    The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime is a considerably better car than a few electric-car fans had feared. In fact, with an EPA-rated range of 25 miles (more than projected) and energy efficiency so high—at 133 MPGe—that it matches the BMW i3 with all its whizzy advanced technology, it’s a...

  • 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, road test, California coastline, Sep 2016
    2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV first drive: 240 miles in an electric car

    We drove a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car 240 miles on a single charge last week. And that was the lowest range achieved among four journalists driving four Bolt EVs along the California coast. One driver covered essentially the same trip with fully 32 miles remaining, according to the...

  • 2016 Chevrolet Spark, test drive outside Detroit, July 2016
    2017 Chevrolet Spark first drive

    The 2017 Chevrolet Spark is both the smallest and the least expensive car sold by Chevy in North America. The Korean-made hatchback minicar isn't among the brand's top sellers—those would be its full-size pickup trucks and the Equinox compact crossover—but the previous generation found...

  • 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid, Napa Valley, California, Jul 2016
    2017 Honda Accord Hybrid first drive

    The Honda Accord Hybrid was an impressive car when it launched as a 2014 model, but supply constraints frustrated buyers, and the hybrid mid-size sedan actually skipped the 2016 model year. For 2017, it's back in the lineup, with a slightly improved hybrid system and a host of updates made to the...

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