First Drive Reviews

  • 2016 Tesla Model X

    When you want to buy a Tesla electric car, and you've got four kids, there's only one choice on the market. That's the 2016 Tesla Model X six- or seven-seat SUV, and courtesy of an owner in just that situation, we've finally been able to spend a few hours driving the luxury crossover. Unlike other automakers, Tesla Motors almost never makes cars available to the media—so it took until last month for us to get behind the wheel. DON'T MISS: 2016 Tesla Model X - full review Our test vehicle was a black Model X P90D delivered earlier this year to an affluent suburban neighborhood in the...

  • 2016 BMW X1 xDrive 28i, Bear Mountain, NY, May 2016
    2016 BMW X1 quick drive review

    It looks like a BMW, offers relatively sporty roadholding for an SUV, and delivers a quiet, solid ride. The 2016 BMW X1 is so cleverly proportioned, in fact, that many buyers will never noticed that it's actually a transverse-engined car with a front-wheel-drive base—the company's first. And...

  • 2016 Tesla Model X owned by Ron Merkord, March 2016  [photo: David Noland]
    2016 Tesla Model X electric SUV first drive by Model S owner

    Its maker is doing a great job these days of quarantining the new 2016 Tesla Model X electric crossover SUV from unwanted prying eyes. The only folks lucky enough to get up close and personal with the slick, powerful electric SUV are those who’ve plunked down deposits of up to $40,000 to...

  • 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Catskill Mountains, NY, Feb 2016
    2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: Gas Mileage Review

    The 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is the first mass-market crossover utility with a hybrid powertrain since the demise of the Ford Escape Hybrid in 2012. Granted, there's the luxury Lexus NX hybrid (using some of the same underpinninngs), and the low-volume Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, with a mild-hybrid...

  • 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, Catskill Mountains, NY, Dec 2015
    2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid: First Drive Of Sedan Using Volt Hybrid System

    The second generation of GM’s Voltec plug-in hybrid system is now powering a car that doesn’t actually have a plug at all. The new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid uses essentially the same powertrain as the 2016 Chevy Volt, but with a far smaller battery pack. That makes it a new entrant...

  • 2016 Nissan Leaf SL, Hudson Valley, NY, Dec 2015
    2016 Nissan Leaf: First Drive Of 107-Mile Electric Car

    Electric-car buyers have eagerly waited for the 2016 Nissan Leaf, whose SV and SL models now offer a higher range, rated by the EPA at 107 miles. That's up from the 84 miles of last year's Leaf, and so we eagerly accepted a short-term loan of a new 2016 Leaf SL to test the car ourselves. The bottom...

  • 2016 Toyota Prius - first drive, Laguna Niguel, CA, Nov 2015

    When a Toyota Prius drive event comes with a handling course, you know that things have changed. And in some ways, the all-new 2016 Toyota Prius hybrid is a very different car from the three generations of Prius that preceded it. Perhaps the main difference is simply that it drives, handles, and feels pretty much like a regular car from behind the wheel. DON'T MISS: 2016 Toyota Prius - full review We've been very eager to drive the fourth-generation Prius hybrid, which debuted in Las Vegas in September and made its first auto-show appearance just weeks later at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It'll...

  • 2016 Scion iM drive event, Philadelphia area, Sept 2015
    2016 Scion iM: First Drive Of New Compact Hatchback

    The 2016 Scion iM compact hatchback is the second two of new Scion models for 2016, joining the iA subcompact sedan. It's part of a much-needed new lineup that takes Toyota's youth brand away from funky "tall box" cars or 10-foot-long urban cars and gives it a product that competes in the heart of...

  • 2016 Chevrolet Volt, first drive in California, July 2015
    2016 Chevrolet Volt First Drive: Plug-In Hybrid Home Run

    The all-new 2016 Chevrolet Volt is just about here, and it builds on all of its predecessor's virtues while resolving most of that car's vices. It's got a lot more electric range--53 miles--and at 42 miles per gallon, it's more fuel-efficient on those rare occasions when the range-extending engine...

  • 2016 Hyundai Tucson
    2016 Hyundai Tucson: First Drive Of New Compact Crossover SUV

    The redesigned 2016 Hyundai Tucson lets its maker mount a new attack on the compact crossover utility segment, where it's lost market share even as sales have soared due to low gas prices and new, more fuel-efficient entries. A tough competitive set includes popular rivals like the Honda CR-V...

  • 2015 Tesla Model S 70D, Apr 2015  [photo: David Noland]
    2015 Tesla Model S 70D: First Drive Of New Electric Car Base Model

    Last week, the new base version of the Tesla Model S, known as the 70D, hit the electric-car world like a thunderclap. No early-warning publicity, no teasing tweet from Elon. Just the sudden appearance on the Tesla website configurator of the new model--with dual motors, all-wheel drive, a 70-kWh...

  • 2016 Smart ForTwo (European version) - First Drive, Barcelona, Nov 2014
    2016 Smart ForTwo: First Drive Of European Version

    The 2016 Smart ForTwo minicar will arrive at U.S. dealers this fall. When it does, it will be playing the redemption card every chance it gets. Smart was created to counter the increasing global trend toward urbanization. One way to make cities more manageable is a microcar that fit the needs of...

  • 2016 Volvo XC90 T8 'Twin Engine' plug-in hybrid, Spain, Feb 2015

    By the end of this year, there will be several luxury SUV models offered in the U.S. with plug-in hybrid powertrains that let them run 12 to 20 miles on electricity alone. We've now driven one of them, the 2016 Volvo XC90 T8 "Twin Engine" model, which will go on sale this fall. And based on our impressions of a pre-production prototype driven 96 miles through the Spanish countryside southwest of Barcelona, we think buyers will be pleased. DON'T MISS: When Will Plug-In Electric SUVs And Crossovers Go On Sale? (Jun 2014) The plug-in XC90's most immediate competitors will be plug-in hybrid...

  • 2015 Jeep Renegade, Hollister, California, Jan 2015
    2015 Jeep Renegade: First Drive

    Jeep got its start with the U.S. Army more than 70 years ago, and the brand has huge global recognition. Now we've driven the first Jeep designed to sell in greater volume outside the U.S. than at home, the 2015 Jeep Renegade. DON'T MISS: 2015 Jeep Renegade - full review It's a subcompact Jeep...

  • 2016 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell car, Newport Beach, CA, Nov 2014
    2016 Toyota Mirai: First Drive Of Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Sedan

    The 2016 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell car will get a huge amount of promotion and attention from its maker, despite the very low numbers that will be built in its first years. In that respect, it's very similar to the first Toyota Prius hybrid back in 1997--a first sketch of what a future...

  • 2015 Kia Soul EV First Drive  -  Portland  -  November 2014
    2015 Kia Soul EV: First Drive Of Newest Electric Car

    The hamsters are back in Kia’s ads for its new Soul EV all-electric hatchback. And while their geeky, sexy, danceable 'science experiment' is definitely memorable, after driving the 2015 Kia Soul EV we have to wonder if perhaps the Energizer Bunny would have been a better cheer-creature. More...

  • 2016 Mercedes-Benz S550e Plug-In Hybrid
    2016 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-In Hybrid: First Drive

    The 2016 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-In Hybrid luxury sedan will arrive in the U.S. next spring. We've now driven a prototype of the U.S.-spec car, which is quiet, luxurious, and likely to carry a six-figure price tag. And it will be followed within a year by two more plug-in hybrids using the same...

  • 2016 Audi A3 e-tron  -  First Drive
    2016 Audi A3 e-tron: First Drive

    Plug-in hybrids like the 2016 Audi A3 e-tron—especially those with well-tuned responses and zippy performance—are the evangelists that have the best chance of converting the masses to the joys of all-electric motoring. Yes, electric-car fans, please set aside your all-the-way-or-nothing...

  • 2015 Lexus NX 300h, global launch, Whistler, BC, Canada, June 2014

    The 2015 Lexus NX is the first compact crossover from Toyota's luxury brand, and it's been a long time coming. Unlike the mid-size Lexus RX, which helped to launch the luxury crossover category 15 years ago, the smaller NX faces established competitors from the German luxury brands. But Lexus will likely sell quite a few NXes anyhow, and it's hoping that younger buyers will view its edgy styling and standard turbo engine as akin to the crossover version of its IS sport sedan. DON'T MISS: 2015 Lexus NX - Full Review The 2015 NX comes with a second powertrain, though: the predictable hybrid...

  • Toyota Aygo minicar European drive
    Toyota Aygo Minicar Driven: Much-Improved Scion iQ Alternative U.S. Won't Get

    The Scion iQ has not been a success story for Toyota's youth-orientated brand. In 2013, just 4,406 iQs found homes in the U.S. That's half as many as were sold in 2012, hardly a stellar year itself. By contrast, Toyota's other small car had a bumper year in 2013. The Aygo minicar moved nearly...

  • 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI SE
    2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI: First Drive Of All-New Diesel Hatchback

    In today's American car market, 45 miles per gallon is a rare occasion, and 50 miles per gallon is pure fantasy. That's the case for nearly any vehicle that has a fuel tank and isn't a hybrid—and for many hybrids, actually. Enter the 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI, a vehicle that seems to buck...

  • Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid quick drive (European model)
    Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid: Quick Drive

    Aside from the all-electric Toyota RAV4 EV, there's a distinct lack of plug-in crossovers and SUVs on the market right now. Mitsubishi was hoping to change that with its Outlander Plug-In Hybrid, but battery issues and legislative delays mean it could be early 2016 before the car hits American...

  • 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive  -  First Drive, May 2014
    2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive: First Drive

    Can electric cars be sexy? Look at the exclusive Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive gullwing sports car, and that question has been answered. But put your sensible cap on for the moment, have a look at the 2014 Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive, and you'll find little of such flirtation. That's...

  • 2015 BMW i8, test drive in greater Los Angeles area, Apr 2014
    2015 BMW i8: Sexy Plug-In Hybrid Sport Coupe, Our First Drive

    Could the 2015 BMW i8 sports coupe, coming this summer, do for plug-in hybrids what the Tesla Model S did for battery-electric vehicles? That is, could the sleek, sexy, attention-luring coupe with doors that open like insect wings make plug-in hybrids...sexy? ALSO READ: Chevy Volt: How It Really...

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