First Drive

2017 Audi Q7 First-Drive

2017 Audi Q7 First-Drive

Audi isn't ready to let the public loose in its autonomous cars, but the robo-racers are donating safety tech en-masse to the 2017 Audi Q7. The new luxury SUV not only gains a sharp new suit and an interior borrowing heavily from the classy A8 sedan, but packs the sort of auto-braking, road-following, pedestrian-spotting gadgetry that not long ago was science-fiction.

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2016 Chevrolet Malibu First-Drive

2016 Chevrolet Malibu First-Drive

You could argue that midsize sedans like the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu are victims of their own success. What's possibly the most mundane car segment around is also one of the most popular in terms of US sales; that makes price a key factor, as well as finding a package - design, specification, performance, and the rest - that's palatable to as broad a range of people as possible.

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2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S first-drive

2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S first-drive

On road or on track, the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S is ready to thrill the thrill seekers. It’s a beast - 503 horsepower does the trick there - but one that's also refined; more than track-capable yet finessed in so many ways that it could well be the perfect road-going sports coupe.

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Man vs Machine: My rematch against Audi’s new self-driving RS 7

Man vs Machine: My rematch against Audi’s new self-driving RS 7

Last year, I beat Audi's autonomous race car on the track. Robots might not have feelings, but that didn't stop Audi's engineers calling me back for a re-match with the latest, greatest version of the self-driving RS7s. AJ, Bobby, Jack, and now Robby all have two things in common: first, they’re named after famous race car drivers, and second, they've successfully driven autonomously on racetracks, on the autobahn, and on a cross country trip.

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2016 Toyota Prius First Drive: Eco-chic Gets Redone

2016 Toyota Prius First Drive: Eco-chic Gets Redone

Beloved by owners, bemoaned by automotive enthusiasts, championed by environmentalists, no car is as polarizing as the Toyota Prius. In California, it may be the only thing more abundant than sunshine. While other automakers have low-volume eco-friendly cars, or tout future solutions, the Prius delivers real-world results here-and-now.

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2017 Audi Q7 e-tron 3.0 TDI quattro first drive – Diesel redeemer?

2017 Audi Q7 e-tron 3.0 TDI quattro first drive – Diesel redeemer?

Damned by diesel, or redeemed by electric? The timing seems ill-fated for Audi's brand new 2017 Q7 e-tron quattro, a plug-in hybrid that arrives under the NOx cloud of the VW group's ongoing emissions scandal. Though on paper it makes sense - the plentiful torque of a V6 diesel paired with the eco-peppy zing of a plug-in EV - the fuel's already patchy reputation in the US hasn't been helped by the recent "dieselgate" revelations.

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2016 Kia Optima First Drive

2016 Kia Optima First Drive

Fourteen years ago, Kia was last on J.D. Power's quality survey; today, it's second behind Porsche. That's a big deal, but what does it have to do with the new 2016 Optima? Turns out, pretty much everything, inside and out. It's Kia's best-selling vehicle for the past three consecutive years, not to mention its first model to top the 150,000 yearly sales mark, with demand up 480-percent versus 2010.

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Driving Fifty Years of Classic Mazda Rotary Power

Driving Fifty Years of Classic Mazda Rotary Power

In the early 1960s, Mazda was facing a crisis. The Japanese government, seeking to mold its nascent automotive industry into a powerful global force, had set in motion plans to combine the many different companies operating within its borders into three large conglomerates. Sensing that Mazda was on the verge of losing its identity and being absorbed into a faceless megalith that would be forced to produce only the specific vehicles deemed 'appropriate' for export by elected officials, its president, Tsuneji Matsuda, sent a group of engineers to Germany to investigate an intriguing technology developed by NSU - the Wankel rotary engine.

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Driving this electric Honda was more fun than the new NSX

Driving this electric Honda was more fun than the new NSX

You know something is up when a Honda engineer giggles while he's talking to you about his car. Turns out, the Honda "4-Motor Electric SH-AWD with Precision All-Wheel Steer" prototype - a clunky name for a heavily modified CR-Z - is enough to cut through the usual restrained enthusiasm of Honda Japan's handling experts, and turn them into squeaking fanboys. Then I drove it myself, and instantly understood why.

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2017 Acura NSX First Drive Preview

2017 Acura NSX First Drive Preview

We've been waiting for the new 2017 Acura NSX so long, I was starting to worry I'd find it passé even before I drove it. It's been three years since Acura first showed off the NSX Concept, and only a little less than that since their abrupt about-face on the powertrain that turned what was shaping up to be a relatively mainstream sports car - albeit with an iconized nameplate - into a complex hybrid.

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2016 Lexus GS F First Drive

2016 Lexus GS F First Drive

“Man, this is nice,” my driving partner says, as if a little surprised. We’re just seated inside the 2016 Lexus GS F, awash in colorful leathers, soft Alcantara, and crisp digital displays. While I’m trying to figure out how far we are from the Circuito de Jarama track, our destination for the day, 8:30a.m. traffic engulfs Madrid on the roads all around us.

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2016 Honda Civic first drive

2016 Honda Civic first drive

What do you expect from a mainstream car? If you're talking about the 2016 Honda Civic, then those expectations vary hugely, with what's considered a "must-have" proving just as broad as the age range of the car's audience. It's no small issue, and one Honda can't afford to ignore. Some drivers prioritize economy above all else; others demand space and luxury features; style is vital but potentially divisive; and even in this mass-market segment, driving feel can't be ignored.

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