Archive for the ‘First Drive’ Category

First Drive: 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport

New Disco relies on old Rover toughness and modern technology.

by on Jun.11, 2019

The 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport features the brand's renown capability while mixing it a slew of new technology.

The new 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport has been revised to make it more versatile and technologically advanced.

The new Discovery Sport strikes a balance between a bold evolution of the original design and the familiarity that comes with its capability. Design cues, including the clamshell hood, rising beltline and tapered roof remain, but the new model is a bold exterior evolution.

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Modernity and refinement are reflected in the new front and rear bumpers, grille design and LED lights, making the Discovery Sport a compelling, sophisticated and sporty addition to the Discovery family. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Volkswagen Golf 1.4T S

Small, but mighty and continuing to evolve.

by on Jun.07, 2019

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf continues the little car's big legacy of being small, but mighty.

In automotive years, the Volkswagen Golf seems to have been around forever.

But its survived because, while the Golf is a compact, it also offers solid performance and an impressive array of technology for less than $25,000, which makes it a relative bargain when sport-utility vehicles routinely roll into showrooms with price tags in excess of $50,000 and current generation of road-worthy pickup trucks can exceed $60,000.

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The Golf rides on a 103.8 inch wheelbase, stands a shade over 58 inches tall and weighs a bit less than 3,000 pounds when it is equipped with an automatic transmission as the model I tested was. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Toyota Sequoia

Big ute gets refined ride, slew of safety technology.

by on May.30, 2019

The 2019 Toyota Sequoia features a more refined ride than its predecessors on the traditional frame.

The Toyota Sequoia has been around for a while now, but the automaker continues to change the vehicle enough to keep it interesting for both loyal fans of the buyers and new buyers, looking for a big vehicle capable of hauling people and their stuff.

The Sequoia is built with an old-school body-on-frame construction. In years past, body-and-frame sport utility vehicles had a tendency to roll and pitch in a way that could leave even experienced sailors a bit sea sick.

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But there is none of that with 2019 Sequoia, which has been nicely tamed with a series of engineering tweaks that give the big SUV a stable, comfortable foundation for towing, driving off the pavement and everyday motoring on the vehicle’s 122-inch wheelbase. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Audi e-tron

Audi plugs in with its first long-range battery-electric vehicle.

by on May.23, 2019

Audi's first electric vehicle, the 2019 e-tron, is almost indistinguishable from a regular sport-utility.

It may be the middle of May but it feels a lot more like the dead of winter as we race up the narrow, winding road to California’s Lake Tahoe ski resort. As we approach the 7,000-foot mark the winds swirl the freshly falling snow across the landscape.

Considering we’ve already traveled almost 80 miles, this would be a recipe for trouble were we driving a first-generation battery-electric vehicle. But that, the harsh weather, as well as the steep climb to Lake Tahoe, don’t begin to phase the new 2019 Audi e-tron we’re driving for the first time.

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While Audi has toyed with a variety of clean-car technologies, including natural gas, hybrids and plug-ins, during the past decade, the e-tron is its first pure battery-electric vehicle – though it won’t be the last, the automaker confirming a total of four models, including the e-tron Sportback and striking e-tron GT that was one of the stars of the 2018 Los Angeles International Auto Show. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate

Plenty of room, technology make this ute tough competition.

by on May.16, 2019

With room for five adults, the new 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe gives the automaker a viable competitor agains the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe has lots of things going for it including a huge “likeability” factor.

After all, there is a lot to like about the vehicle. It’s handsome on the outside, spacious and comfortable on the inside, delivers and smooth and efficient ride and has ample power in segment where horsepower seems to have become a major consideration for manufacturers if not for consumers.

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Hyundai, in my estimation, has actually solved one of the riddles of the contemporary car business by figuring out the placement of the center stack screen that carries information for the navigation system and entertainment system with a horizontal screen mounted just above the dashboard. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

Power, handling, performance, new Shelby GT350 has it all.

by on May.14, 2019

Ford's new Mustang Shelby GT350 lives up to the hype with stellar track performance and impressive fo

By this late in May, it should be getting warm in Detroit, but despite the 50-degree chill and a depressingly leaden sky, at least the rain has held off as I strap on a HANS Device and helmet and head out to pit row at Pontiac’s M1 Concourse, where a 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 is waiting for me.

On the way, I pass a vintage version of the car, one of just a handful of original 1965 models that survive. It might look dated, but when it made its debut back in 1965 it transformed Ford’s little pony car into a wicked contender. With its tiny tires and live rear axle, it was a handful to drive but nonetheless raised the muscle car bar to new heights.

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Today, the GT350 takes a back seat to the Shelby GT500, an all-new version of the 700--horsepower monster set to roll out later this year. But for those who don’t need to go to the ultimate extremes – or who simply don’t have quite a large enough bank account, the latest update of the GT350 that rolled out in 2016 has plenty to offer. (more…)

Behind the Scenes: How Toyota and BMW Teamed up to Develop New Z4, Supra

You can't cost-cut your way to a world-class sports car.

by on May.13, 2019

Tetsuya Tada, chief engineer for the 2020 Toyota GR Supra flashes a thumbs-up during the sports car's first media drive.

(This story has been corrected to reflect the proper spelling of Supra Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada.)

The call came as a surprise. The chief engineer overseeing Toyota’s joint venture with Subaru that resulted in the 86 sports car, Tetsuya Tada was attending a media event in Barcelona when he was asked to jump on a flight for Munich seven years ago this month.

“Don’t tell anybody,” his boss said, and didn’t give Tada himself much to go on, beyond advising him there would be a car waiting at the airport. Once he arrived, the Toyota veteran learned he was being driven over to BMW headquarters, putting into motion one of the most unusual alliances in the history of either manufacturer.

Beyond the Headlines!

Almost seven years to the day after that first meeting, Tada is sharing a dinner in suburban Washington, D.C. and, for the first time, revealing the back story of what eventually became the 2020 Toyota GR Supra – as well as the new BMW Z4.

(more…)

First Drive: 2020 Toyota Supra

Are sports car fines likely to debate its merits? Probably, but the new Supra was well worth the wait.

by on May.12, 2019

The 2020 Supra was born of an unusual collaboration between Toyota and BMW.

It’s easy to feel intimidated at Summit Point Motorsports Park. The Shenandoah Circuit is an undulating, 2-mile course that sends you ping-ponging from one blind corner to another, rising and falling over the rocky West Virginia landscape. But it was as close to perfect a place to get my first ride in the all-new 2020 Toyota Supra as I could imagine.

It’s been 21-years since the last Toyota to wear that badge appeared in U.S. showrooms. Rumors of Supra’s revival have been circulating ever since. We got a hint that something really might be in the works five years ago when the Japanese automaker revealed the striking FT-1 concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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The show car was anything but the sort of plain vanilla product Toyota has become known for, it’s long nose and sweeping roofline embodying the “passion” that Akio Toyoda has been crying out for since being named Toyota president and CEO in 2009. But the question was whether the Japanese automaker would actually ever put the FT-1 into production. Coming up with an answer became even more iffy in the years that followed, as new car buyers around the world began to migrate from sedans, coupes and sports car to SUVs, CUVs and pickups.

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First Drive: 2019 Kia Forte EX

Newest compact car update proves its mettle.

by on May.07, 2019

Despite the segment shrinking, Kia is plowing ahead with small cars with an all-new 2019 Forte sedan.

New compact cars keep showing up on roads and streets all around the United States despite the surge in sales of utility vehicles and pickups.

In fact, the compact car segment has become one of the most competitive as buyers look for ways for transportation that both relatively economical and comfortable. The new Mazda3 and the new Toyota Corolla and new 2019 Kia Forte are all putting new life into a segment that also includes cars such as the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Golf.

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The 2019 Kia Forte EX I drove recently had a roomy and comfortable interior that made it easy to like and fun to drive. I never had to worry about parking spaces and the car had ample power to address the challenges of everyday driving. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Audi Q8 Quattro

A seamless blend of design, performance and functionality.

by on May.03, 2019

The 2019 Audi Q8 features a number of distinctive tweaks to the brand's familiar cues, including the signature singleframe grille.

Audi made its reputation building sleek, road-worthy sedans that have earned their way into the hearts of motorists around the world. The A8 is a great example of the sort of benchmark-setting model, one that has done well challenging competitors like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series.

But that’s becoming a smaller and smaller segment of the premium luxury market as buyers around the world continue migrating from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs. The good news for Audi is that, among its impressive stable of utility vehicles it has an alternative to the flagship A8. Like the sedan, the Q8 crossover is flush with all the industry’s latest and most advanced technology. And it also boasts the solid driving characteristics for which the German automaker has won over a legion of loyal fans.

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We had a chance to spend a full week getting to know the 2019 Audi Q8 and while its base price of around $70,000 certainly would stretch the budget for most buyers, we found it an attractive, lavishly equipped and fun-to-drive alternative to the classic luxury sedan.

(more…)


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