First Drive

2016 Acura ILX first-drive – Luxury chasing loyalty

2016 Acura ILX first-drive – Luxury chasing loyalty

There’s an odd dance to be followed when, as Acura is with the 2016 ILX, you’re launching a revamped version of an existing car. On the one hand, you want to highlight just how improved it is over its predecessor; on the other, you can’t be too critical, because then drivers start asking why you were so enthusiastic - and are now so cruelly honest - about the older car. For the 2016 ILX, Acura is more blunt than many: the old model was designed before the host of “entry premium sedans” hit forecourts, with Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus, and others changing the game in the process. For the MY2016, then, the focus is more rewarding driving, more luxury, and a generous injection of tech borrowed from Acura’s TLX.

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Driving Toyota i-ROAD: Crazy tilt meets genius strategy

Driving Toyota i-ROAD: Crazy tilt meets genius strategy

Who says electric cars have to be boring? Toyota's Prius may be poster child for the eco-pious, but its i-ROAD tilting trike shows there's still potential for madness in the EV. SlashGear is no stranger to the i-ROAD, and in fact we've driven earlier prototypes over in Japan before now. They're less commonly found in the US, however, but Makoto Morita, Grand Master of the Product Planning Division and lead of the i-ROAD project brought a handful with him to test the waters among potential American drivers.

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Volvo V60 Cross Country first-drive – Because wagons are sexy

Volvo V60 Cross Country first-drive – Because wagons are sexy

“Wagons are sexy,” I insisted when I told people I was going to drive the new Volvo V60 Cross Country. Not everyone was convinced. While in my native Europe there’s a long-standing affinity for the wagon - or, as I grew up saying, an “estate” - the wood panel hangover has been tougher to overcome in the US and, like diesel engines, its taken some clever branding to even get a foot in the door. The V60 Cross Country, then, picks up a nameplate that has served Volvo well for two decades, lifting the regular V60 and positioning itself as the de-facto “urban active” option for those not quite convinced with crossovers.

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2016 Audi S6 and A6 first-drive – Autobahn blitz

2016 Audi S6 and A6 first-drive – Autobahn blitz

There are some interesting options when you're in the market for a big sedan from the mid-$40s upwards, but the 2016 Audi A6 and S6 are hoping to make their case that they're all the car you need. Overshadowed in recent years by the stunning A7/S7, Audi's handsome sedan is making a renewed play for 2015 with updates across the styling, engines, transmissions, and the accommodations inside. I headed to the autobahns of Dresden, Germany, to see how the A6 and S6 hold up.

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2015 Chrysler 300 first-drive – HEMI Hero

2015 Chrysler 300 first-drive – HEMI Hero

Brash, bold, and anything but banal: when it comes to "American Luxury", the Chrysler 300 epitomizes it perhaps better than anything else. Finding favor over the past decade among rappers and suburbanites alike, its combination of Baby-Bentley styling, meaty engine options, and relatively affordable luxe mean the 300 has set out a clear stall of Chrysler's approach to the full-size sedan space. With drivers more mature, however, and expectations tougher than ever, the 2015 300 has a careful line to follow: the bruising attitude drivers lust after, paired with the cosseting they secretly covet. I cranked up the Beats Audio to find out if the new 300 is Kingpin or Klonopin.

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2016 Toyota Mirai First-Drive – Fuel-Cells Dawning

2016 Toyota Mirai First-Drive – Fuel-Cells Dawning

You can’t accuse Toyota of rushing the 2016 Toyota Mirai to market. The hydrogen powered sedan may look like a vision of the future circa Buck Rogers, but its fuel-cell powertrain is decidedly cutting-edge, not to mention determinedly optimistic around issues of infrastructure and regulatory commitment to zero-emission vehicles. At $57,500 pre-subsidies, it seems the future carries a significant cost of entry, too. So, after some time behind the wheel of the Mirai, the question remains: is the age of hydrogen finally upon us?

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I drove Audi’s car that talks to traffic lights

I drove Audi’s car that talks to traffic lights

Imagine how much better your life would be if you were less preoccupied with traffic lights. If your car was connected to the the city's traffic network of lights, and could let you know precisely how long before the light you're approaching turns green. Or if, should you be already waiting at the light, you knew exactly when it was about to turn green: your car's start/stop engine knowing to start up again when there are 5 seconds left before the light changes, while you know if it's worth pulling your phone out of your pocket to check Twitter or iMessage. Imagine the number of minutes you'd gain back per day, week, month and even year?

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Man vs Machine: I raced against Audi’s self-driving RS 7

Man vs Machine: I raced against Audi’s self-driving RS 7

When it comes to proving the potential of self-driving cars, you can go big or go home, and in the case of Audi that means it's racing time. This track day is unlike any other I’ve been on, simply because this is the first time in history where I or any automotive journalist has had the opportunity to take a hot lap inside what Audi calls a “piloted driving” vehicle or, to the rest of the world, an autonomous car. Taking autopilot smarts to a level never done before, Audi modified two RS 7 sedans with race car driver-like levels of intelligence, and then challenged me to beat them in a hot lap.

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SlashGear to race against piloted Audi RS 7 at Hockenheimring

SlashGear to race against piloted Audi RS 7 at Hockenheimring

Automobile development has traditionally progressed on separate paths that only ever so rarely dipped into another's territory. That is most especially true when it comes to developments in driver assistance and autonomous driving technologies, more often than not geared towards sedans and consumer models. Audi, however, is pushing the boundaries with the RS 7, the world's sportiest piloted driving car, which it will put to the test at the Hockenheimring track. And SlashGear's Vincent Nguyen will be getting an exclusive first-hand experience before anyone else, in a race that will pit man against machine.

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2015 Ford F-150 First Drive: The big aluminum risk

2015 Ford F-150 First Drive: The big aluminum risk

The stakes are high when you're redesigning the best-selling vehicle in America, and you could've perhaps forgiven Ford for taking a low-key approach to the 2015 F-150. Instead, however, the new truck aims for a trio of improvements (and companion challenges): an all-new aluminum body and box that needs to convince traditionalists that steel isn't the only metal; a new 2.7L EcoBoost engine that has to compete with the de facto V8; and lashings of tech at odds with the "simple workhorse" many expect. Ambitious, then: read on to find out whether Ford's new star succeeds.

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