First Drive

2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 First Drive: Fiercely relaxing

2018 Mercedes-AMG S63 First Drive: Fiercely relaxing

Throbbing red and scented with bespoke perfume, the 2018 Mercedes-AMG S63's cabin made absolutely clear that, even by Stuttgart's standards, this is no ordinary luxury sedan. Still, to describe the 2018 S-Class as an important car for Mercedes-Benz is to damn it with understatement. What's under its handsome sheet metal doesn't just represent the pinnacle of the automaker's engineering efforts, but in effect sets a roadmap for the rest of its vehicles over the next ten years.

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2018 Hyundai Sonata First Drive: 5 things you need to know

2018 Hyundai Sonata First Drive: 5 things you need to know

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata is here, and while the automaker's mid-size family sedan hasn't been completely redesigned there are a few aspects of its recent refresh that are definitely worth discussing. The Sonata has moved past its challenger status and now sells at or over 200,000 examples every year in the United States, although it's starting to show the same battle scars as other sedans as a result of growing consumer interest in SUVs.

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2018 Hyundai Elantra GT First Drive: 5 things you need to know

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT First Drive: 5 things you need to know

Compact hatchbacks like the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT have never really caught on in America, but it has little to do with their merits. Easy to park, cheap on gas, and remarkably practical, the fickle gods of fashion have long turned their backs on the humble hatch, a state of affairs made all the more ironic by the exploding popularity of small SUVs, which are essentially hatchbacks on stilts.

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Cadillac Super Cruise First Drive: Trusting the machine

Cadillac Super Cruise First Drive: Trusting the machine

It was, conservatively, 90 seconds before I was satisfied Cadillac's Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving system wasn't going to kill me. By that point, a combination of cameras, super-accurate maps, and a fancier-than-usual GPS system were keeping me dead-center at 65 mph on California's 280, headed north toward San Francisco. As the CT6 eased its way around the corners, I spent a few moments considering that the car of the future apparently communicates not with the voice of Mr Feeny from Boy Meets World, but with a glowing green steering wheel instead.

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2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio First Drive: Offbeat Italian SUV comes to conquer

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio First Drive: Offbeat Italian SUV comes to conquer

When you're Alfa Romeo, and a decent chunk of your appeal is that you're not the mainstream option, building an SUV like the 2018 Stelvio presents a tricky balance to strike. After all, Alfa drivers may not want a predictable car in their garage, but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles shareholders want mainstream sales. The Giulia sports sedan may have found favor among passionate drivers, but crossovers and SUVs are where the widest wallets are. Alfa Romeo had a choice, therefore, and the Stelvio is the answer, born of the Giulia but out hunting mutineers from the mainstream.

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2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SUV First Drive: 5 Things You Need To Know

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SUV First Drive: 5 Things You Need To Know

Volkswagen has found itself on the outside looking in when it comes to the current SUV zeitgeist that has seized American car shoppers. The all-new 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan compact sport-utility vehicle, in combination with the full-size VW Atlas, is intended to address that oversight and snag a larger slice of customer affections (and paychecks) than the previous Tiguan and the ignored Touareg were able to claim.

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2018 Toyota Camry First Drive: Potent family sedan shrugs off SUV onslaught

2018 Toyota Camry First Drive: Potent family sedan shrugs off SUV onslaught

Is it hard to get excited about the all-new 2018 Toyota Camry? After all, this is a car that has been at the top of the mid-size sedan heap for decades, reaping handsomely the rewards having sown so much loyalty amongst families seeking affordable and above all reliable transportation. How much better can it get, really - and how noteworthy would an improvement actually be when it's already such a dominant force in its class?

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2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe First Drive: The new benchmark

2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe First Drive: The new benchmark

It's tough to stand out on the increasingly crowded forecourt of a Mercedes-Benz dealership, but somehow the 2018 E400 Coupe manages it. Maybe it's not the most aggressive of the German automaker's cars, or the most powerful, or even the most expensive. Yet it's a coupe that draws a direct line back, all the way to 1968, through a rich seam of Mercedes heritage. Go figure, then, that when the company invited me out to British Columbia to try it for myself, this grand tourer turned out to perfectly encapsulate the thoroughly modern Mercedes.

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BMW Concept 8 Series exclusive first drive: Borrowing a priceless prototype

BMW Concept 8 Series exclusive first drive: Borrowing a priceless prototype

I’ve seen countless concept or prototype cars at auto shows and press junkets over the years. Rarely does anyone ever get to drive them, because concept cars are, well, only concepts. One of kind and invariably hand-built, they’re obscenely expensive, too. Their primary purpose in life is to showcase new styling and new technology. Think of them as eye candy aimed to grab attention, from everyone and especially away from the competition.

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2018 Hyundai Kona First Drive: Better late than never for all-new SUV

2018 Hyundai Kona First Drive: Better late than never for all-new SUV

Is it ok to be late to the party if you make a stylish entrance? That would appear to be the question asked by the new 2018 Hyundai Kona, the Korean automaker's first 'cute ute,' a subcompact crossover aimed at the growing slice of buyers trading in sedans for the all-wheel drive hatchbacks on stilts that are taking over the industry. The Kona's appearance in showrooms might lag chronologically behind options like the Jeep Renegade, the Mazda CX-3, and the Honda HR-V - we're unlikely to see it go on sale in the United States until the first quarter of 2018 - but Hyundai has pegged its hopes on pairing strong value with appealing design in its bid for the affections of space-seeking shoppers.

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2018 Honda Accord Prototype First Drive: All-new 2.0 Turbo packs a surprise

2018 Honda Accord Prototype First Drive: All-new 2.0 Turbo packs a surprise

That’s right folks, Honda’s turbocharging the all-new model year 2018 with a new 2.0-liter direct injection turbo-four. In a recent event held at Honda’s R&D facility in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, I got a taste not only of the new engine but also the similarly-fresh 10-speed automatic transmission the automaker has been working on. The fun didn’t stop there: wrapped up inside a Civic test mule was the Accord’s other engine option, a 1.5-liter turbo-four CVT, waiting for me to take it on a couple of laps at the proving grounds.

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2018 Audi A5 / S5 Sportback First Drive: Luxury SUV alternative for a wagon-less world

2018 Audi A5 / S5 Sportback First Drive: Luxury SUV alternative for a wagon-less world

What a cruel joke the American automotive market continues to play on the once-proud station wagon. At a time when new car buyers seem determined to turn their backs on traditional sedans in favor of SUVs and crossovers of all shapes and sizes, manufacturers are equally resolute in their desire to leave the just-as-practical wagon in the lurch. Audi, a company which produces beautiful long-roofs that are sold everywhere but here, has been forced to play the game, too. In doing so, however, it's tapped into a level of style that has produced some of the most appealing luxury options for the cargo-friendly set: the Audi A7 / S7 twins, and their new, more affordable siblings, the 2018 Audi A5 and S5 Sportback.

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