First Drive

2019 Toyota Avalon first drive: Finally memorable

2019 Toyota Avalon first drive: Finally memorable

Toyota has pushed the boat out with the new 2019 Avalon, both figuratively and literally. The last four generations of Avalon could easily be described as boat-like: big, uninspiring, and fairly wallowy sedans that struggled to make a dent in your memory. This new car, though, isn't willing to share the same fate, and Toyota has raided both its design studio and its tech labs to make sure of it.

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2019 Aston Martin Vantage first drive: The Porsche hunter

2019 Aston Martin Vantage first drive: The Porsche hunter

In the long-running battle between Porsche and Aston Martin, the familiar - and legendary - 911 is getting a very different challenger. The all-new 2019 Aston Martin Vantage is the automaker's new weapon, starting with a clean sheet design from the ground up, inside and out. Its goal is simple: be the most badass, Ferrari, Porsche and Bentley-hunting machine you could hope for.

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I took the 2019 Camaro Turbo 1LE to the track

I took the 2019 Camaro Turbo 1LE to the track

The battle is no longer just Camaro versus Mustang. The 2019 Camaro Turbo 1LE is the tip of a new spear for Chevrolet: an entry-level track car with a key differentiator that sets it apart from what its rivals - beyond simply Ford - are offering: it's all under warranty, should something blow up on the track. Final pricing hasn't been confirmed but, with a sticker expected to fall somewhere inside $30-$35k, the Camaro Turbo 1LE is on course to be appealingly affordable, too. Still, is that appealing enough to sway would-be buyers in this increasingly competitive segment?

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This is Track Day Heaven, BMW style: M5, X2, M4 CS, more

This is Track Day Heaven, BMW style: M5, X2, M4 CS, more

BMW has hardly been idle of late, with no shortage of new models arriving on dealership lots, and plenty more still in the pipeline. What better way, therefore, than to show off the riches of the latest range - not to mention tease a few tidbits still to come - than heading down to beautiful Palm Springs, California, and the BMW Performance Center West. It promised to be a jam-packed day, with the keys to the all-new X2, M5, M4 CS, and seventeen other vehicles up for grabs.

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2018 Hyundai Kona review: A subcompact crossover SUV with an attitude

2018 Hyundai Kona review: A subcompact crossover SUV with an attitude

The all-new 2018 Hyundai Kona is the new kid on the block with plenty to offer first-time new car buyers on a budget. Mind you, don’t let my use of the word budget and a starting price of $20,450 imply a lack of style, creature comforts, safety, or even that it’s cheaply built. Those opting to fully spec out the Kona - as was the case for our test car, fittingly, on the Island of Kona, Hawaii - will be nothing short of delighted, just as long as their expectations are in check.

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2018 Audi R8 RWS first drive: Rear-wheel drive rarity

2018 Audi R8 RWS first drive: Rear-wheel drive rarity

All-wheel drive systems in sports cars like the Audi R8 are a little like boxing gloves, in that the added safeguards give the people behind them the confidence to attack past their usual means. A bare-knuckle pugilist is less likely to put hand-bones vs face-bones to the test with a full force skull punch, but shod them with a padded mitt, and they’ll have no issue ringing the other guy’s bell all night long.

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2019 Audi A7 Sportback First Drive

2019 Audi A7 Sportback First Drive

While SUVs may seem the darlings of the automotive industry right now, there's definitely plenty of room to innovate and wow the crowd in other segments: especially when you have a long list of new things to show off, like Audi. While the 2019 A8 represents the marque's vision for sedans, the 2019 A7 Sportback embodies Audi's vision for those buyers who demand a sportier sedan. The A7, however, is not one that can be confined and defined inside a rigid box. Instead, it takes inspiration from both past and present, and in the process embracing coupe, sedan, and even wagon in a single body.

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2019 Jeep Cherokee First Drive: More than just a new face

2019 Jeep Cherokee First Drive: More than just a new face

SUVs are one of the fastest growing segments in the automotive industry, which makes now the best time to put one’s best SUV foot forward. Jeep, a name more associated with offroad vehicles, broke into the SUV market with the Cherokee as far back as the 70s. But as it expanded its portfolio, adding the luxury Grand Cherokee to its roster, the Cherokee seemed to have gotten left out of the massive changes, the grand innovations, and the big splashes. And so for 2019, Jeep is giving the SUV a much-needed pampering, giving the Cherokee a new face, a new interior, and a new powertrain, all while keeping it an unmistakable part of the Jeep family.

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2018 Jaguar E-PACE First Drive: The crossover cub

2018 Jaguar E-PACE First Drive: The crossover cub

The world may have embraced the practical charms of the SUV but, as the 2018 Jaguar E-PACE demonstrates, there’s still room for experimentation when you’re building a compact crossover. Second in the automaker’s SUV line-up, and arriving just ahead of the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE, the new 2018 E-PACE is an unusually thoughtful take in a segment jam-packed with options. Indeed, a whole lot more thought has gone into the E-PACE than the tiny footprint might suggest.

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The 2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante doesn’t want to kill you

The 2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante doesn’t want to kill you

"Don't crash." Two simple words, but with a lot of emphasis when you're talking about the brand new 2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante. The line-up of professional drivers responsible for coaxing faster and faster lap times - not to mention more and more trophies for the automaker's awards cabinet - currently facing me does nothing to disabuse the knowledge that, on a track, I'm a novice at best. Suddenly, the idea of planting a raging $280k supercar into a wall seems all too possible.

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2018 Mercedes-Benz S Class first drive: From Maybach to S65 AMG

2018 Mercedes-Benz S Class first drive: From Maybach to S65 AMG

The Mercedes-Benz S Class represents the commitment to build the best car in the world, so you can't accuse the German automaker of having low ambitions. Then again, with more than four million sales of the "Sonderklasse" - or "Special Class" - and its variants under its belt since 1972, it seems there's a market out there for obsessive attention to detail and a price tag to match. That makes the 2018 S Class line-up not only important to Mercedes-Benz, but to the industry as a whole.

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2018 BMW M5 First Drive: V8 and AWD for the most advanced M-car

2018 BMW M5 First Drive: V8 and AWD for the most advanced M-car

There’s a war brewing. In the world of the all-wheel drive, best-of-the-best performance sedan, a new challenge approaches. Watching, warily from the corners is the 2017 Audi RS7 Performance, with its massive 605 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. Then there’s the 6,000-pound elephant in the room, the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S, with its 603 hp and faintly ridiculous 627 lb-ft of torque. Each is a stellar performer, and each has some big new competition. The new 2018 BMW M5 is here, and I’ve been testing it on and off the track.

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