First Drive Reviews

  • 2012 Coda Sedan

    It's been a long time coming, but the 2012 Coda Sedan is now on sale at a handful of dealers in California. Six months after the very first Coda compact electric cars were delivered to buyers, the company is gearing up a major publicity push to sell the electric sedan--which we've now driven. Our bottom line is that the Coda Sedan is a practical electric car with 100 miles of real-world range in mixed use. Its interior is attractive, if short on features, and the floorpan location of the battery pack gives it not only a sizable trunk but the ability to fold down its rear seats to carry large...

  • 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid
    2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid: First Drive

    Last week, Honda released the specs and photos for its 2014 Accord Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid. Now, we can talk about what it's like on the road. The short answer? Like the Ford C-Max Hybrid, it offers new and strong competition for a model of the well-established Toyota Prius--in this case, the...

  • 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid, Los Angeles, August 2012
    2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid: First Drive

    The verdict is in: At last, the fabled Toyota Prius hybrid has a viable competitor. If you're in the market for a five-door hybrid hatchback with very high fuel economy--an EPA rating of 47 mpg combined--you should drive a C-Max Hybrid before you trot down to your local Toyota dealer and sign the...

  • 2013 Chevrolet Spark minicar, New York City, Aug 2012
    2013 Chevrolet Spark: First Drive

    Yeah, we drove the pink one. The 2013 Chevrolet Spark, the first Chevrolet minicar in many, many years, comes in a remarkable array of pastel colors, including one called Techno Pink. One of two Sparks we tested yesterday came in that very distinctive shade; the other was Salsa (lime green). Other...

  • 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, Newport Beach, California, July 2012
    2012 Toyota RAV4 EV: First Drive From Behind The Wheel (Video)

    The new 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV is quick, relatively fun to drive, and the only all-electric crossover utility vehicle on the market today. It has a good, intuitive touchscreen display and instrument cluster that shows both the maximum possible range and a constantly updated range based on both the...

  • 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, Newport Beach, California, July 2012
    2012 Toyota RAV4 EV: First Drive Of Tesla-Powered Crossover

    If the ideal electric car has a real-world range of 100 miles or more and the practical utility that American families buy crossovers for, the future may be arriving this year. The 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV has every bit of space that the gasoline versions do. Its Tesla-engineered battery pack and...

  • 2012 Nissan Versa 1.6 SL, New York City, July 2012

    When auto writers drive test cars, they're usually loaned out from carmakers' regional fleets. So when we asked for an 2012 Nissan Versa sedan to test over a four-day weekend, following our brief test drive of the all-new Versa in May, the car we got seemed rather familiar. It was, in fact, the exact same car. Or at least an identically equipped model in the same color (we forgot to check the VINs). Our drive, which covered almost exactly 300 miles, gave us an overall gas mileage of 33.3 miles per gallon--right in line with the car's EPA combined rating of 33 mpg (30 mpg city, 38 mpg...

  • 2013 Honda Fit EV drive event, Pasadena, CA, June 2012
    2013 Honda Fit EV: Video From First Drive Of All-Electric Car

    Yesterday, Honda delivered its first Fit EV electric car to private buyers--or, more accurately, private lease customers, since the car isn't available for outright sale. Only 1,100 lucky lessors in a small handful of states will ever get behind the wheel of a 2013 Honda Fit EV, because for Honda...

  • 2012 Tesla Model S Signature
    2012 Tesla Model S: Seven Little Things A Buyer Doesn't Like

    Let's make one thing clear right up front: I think the 2012 Tesla Model S is the coolest freaking car in the history of Western Civilization. I put down my $5,000 deposit more than two years ago. I've chugged the Tesla Kool-Aid, extra-large size. But after a 7-minute spin in a dark green Model S...

  • 2012 Tesla Model S, brief test drive, New York City, July 2012
    2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive Video

    With Tesla Motors opening new Tesla Stores at a rapid pace, the 2012 Tesla Model S all-electric sport sedan has now been seen by hundreds of thousands of people. Thus far, however, very few of them, however, have gotten behind the wheel. Tesla's working to change that, with a traveling nationwide...

  • 2012 Tesla Model S, brief test drive, New York City, July 2012
    2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive Of All-Electric Sport Sedan

    After an hour in a 2012 Tesla Model S all-electric sport sedan, one thing became clear: It's a viable car. The Model S gives Tesla Motors a shot at turning into a real car company. That's a provisional judgment; as many journalists have noted, 10-minute drives or an hour driving and riding in...

  • 2013 Honda Fit EV drive event, Pasadena, CA, June 2012
    2013 Honda Fit EV: First Drive Of Honda's All-Electric Car

    The 2013 Honda Fit EV is a fun and well-executed little all-electric hatchback. It's quick, handles decently, gets the highest EPA efficiency rating of any vehicle on the market (118 MPGe), and its rated range of 82 miles is longer than that of the somewhat larger Nissan Leaf. Too bad you have very...

  • GigaOm's Katie Fehrenbacher behind the wheel of a 2012 Tesla Model S (video screen capture)

    On Friday, Tesla Motors delivered its first production Model S electric sedans to retail customers, an event the company webcast live. Watch the 26-0minute video above if you want to relive the glorious event. While Green Car Reports wasn't there, we've watched the deluge of coverage and read the handful of drive reviews published so far. Happy new owners have posted photos of their cars--Bill Lee, for example--and blogged about them. Many are following the lead of Tesla board member Steve Jurvetson, who wrote about taking delivery of Model S # 001 well before Friday's fete. In general...

  • 2012 Volkswagen Beetle, Bear Mountain, NY, May 2012
    2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Quick Drive

    It's not all that fuel efficient, but it's more fun to drive than we expected. That's our reaction to a quick drive last month in a blue 2012 Volkswagen Beetle. It's the entirely redesigned follow-on to the former New Beetle model that was perhaps best known for its dash-mounted flower vase--which...

  • 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE
    2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Quick Drive

    On paper, the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport sounds like the ideal compact crossover solution for those on a limited budget. It’s small in size, coming in at over a foot shorter than the standard Mitsubishi Outlander, which shaves some 700 pounds off the crossover’s curb weight. Power...

  • Audi A3 e-tron prototype: first drive, June 2012
    Audi A3 e-tron Prototype: First Drive Video (Exclusive)

    Unlike other carmakers--including BMW with its ActiveE program--Audi has chosen to use only in-house drivers to test the fleet of electric A3 e-tron prototypes it has brought to the U.S. So we're pleased to be among the few media outlets to drive an Audi A3 e-tron, one of just 17 such cars in North...

  • 2012 Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost
    2012 Ford Focus 3-Cylinder: Quick Drive Report

    Downsizing: The car industry's buzzword for both consumers shopping for smaller cars than their previous model, and carmakers equipping their models with smaller, more efficient engines. Both are linked to lowering the cost of driving, but the latter is most interesting from an efficiency...

  • 2013 Lexus GS 450h First Drive. [Photos: Antony Ingram]
    2013 Lexus GS 450h: First Drive

    Ever since Lexus launched the RX 400h hybrid SUV in 2005, gasoline-electric hybrids have been an integral part of the Lexus lineup. Cleverly combining performance, luxury and economy, they allow luxury buyers to avoid the compromises that might otherwise be associated with making a luxury vehicle...

  • 2013 Nissan Altima

    The all-new 2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 does a surprisingly good job of blending fuel economy, performance, comfort and value in a midsize sedan.

  • 2013 Lexus ES 300h
    2013 Lexus ES 300h: First Drive

    When Lexus rolled out its HS 250h hybrid sedan a few years ago, there was a lot of head-scratching. The HS 250h was rather cramped inside, had a powertrain that was way too noisy for a Lexus, and was rated at just 35 mpg city, 34 highway—barely better than the Camry Hybrid of the time, which...

  • 2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5
    2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 First Drive Report

    Earlier on this year, we asked you if the 2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 was really green, or not? Now we've had a chance to drive it. Combining a 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo straight-six engine and full-hybrid drivetrain into a 5-series body, the ActiveHybrid 5 looks just like any other premium 5-series on...

  • Chinese battery electric crossover: BYD e6 test drive, Los Angeles, May 2012
    Updated BYD e6: First Drive Of Chinese Electric Crossover

    Most Chinese carmakers have backed away from plans to attack the U.S. market, and their hopes of dominating electric cars have slowed. But Chinese maker BYD continues to develop and test the e6 all-electric crossover utility it hopes to sell in the U.S. within a couple of years. Now, we've had the...

  • 2013 Acura ILX
    2013 Acura ILX Hybrid: Driven

    Though it has wandered through a handful of brand identities and images over the past decade, Acura continues to reinvent itself. This time, the next new thing is a hybrid using Acura's first ever implementation of Honda's familiar hybrid system (on a modified Civic platform) in the 2013 ILX. Entry...

  • 2012 Ford Focus Electric, New York City, April 2012
    2012 Ford Focus Electric: First Drive

    The 2012 Ford Focus Electric is the company's first-ever production battery-electric vehicle, and that alone makes it noteworthy. But the fact that it's also pleasant to drive--somewhat on the fun side of unremarkable--means that it's the first compact all-electric competitor to the Nissan Leaf...

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