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Archive for the ‘First Drive’ Category

First Drive: 2019 Hyundai Nexo Fuel-Cell Vehicle

An Olympic effort: Hyundai’s 2nd-generation hydrogen car delivers mainstream manners, 400-mile range.

by on Feb.23, 2018

Hyundai offered Winter Olympic visitors a chance to test drive the new Nexo outfitted with its latest Level 4 autonomous drive

With the winter games heading into their final days, busloads of tourists have been flowing through the gates of Pyeonchang’s Olympic Village, but on this crisp, sunny morning, a steady stream of visitors veers off shortly before reaching the turnstiles, detouring to a small, downtown corner where a cluster of new SUVs are parked.

With a little patience, they’ll have the chance to go for a test drive in what some are calling the vehicle of the future – in this case, twice over. The slate gray Hyundai Nexo SUVs are not only powered by zero-emission hydrogen fuel-cells but use the Korean carmaker’s latest Level 4 autonomous vehicle technology.

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I climb into the shotgun seat alongside a Hyundai engineer assigned to serve as a backup “operator,” just in case something unexpected happens along the 10-minute route, In passable English, he explains that the Korean carmaker hopes to have its first hands-free vehicle on sale “in a couple years.” But the Nexo itself, he quickly adds, will be in showrooms in barely a year.


First Drive: 2019 Jeep Cherokee

New look supported by legendary capability.

by on Jan.29, 2018

The redesigned Jeep Cherokee retains its off-road capability while getting a fresh new look for 2019.

Even though they are made Toledo, Ohio, Jeep is one of Detroit’s great stories of resilience and change at a time when the car business worldwide is going through a huge transformation.

As one of the most famous vehicles born during World War II, Jeep gradually has grown over the years into a one of the industry’s best-known nameplates. Today it has an intensely loyal fan base both in North America and now in other corners of world even as it also spawned all kinds of imitators.

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Having finally emerged as a true global powerhouse, Jeep has been extending its model lines with the addition of vehicles such as Jeep Cherokee, which was given a thorough mid-cycle overhaul for 2019 model year. (more…)

First Drive: 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport

A worthy competitor in an increasingly crowded segment.

by on Dec.28, 2017

The new Hyundai Elantra GT Sport is ready to run with the others in the "hot hatch" segment.

As a challenger brand, Hyundai has never been shy about pushing into new segments so the fact the South Korean automaker elected to take one of the company’s most popular models and turn it into a “hot hatch” should not come as a big surprise.

The result of the effort is the Hyundai Elantra GT Sport, a nifty hatchback that I thought clearly lived up to the GT nomenclature that has been hung on the car.

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The fact is the 2018 Elantra GT Sport spices up the Hyundai’s strong and popular Elantra line. (more…)

First Drive: 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Struggling automaker pins comeback hopes on new compact crossover.

by on Dec.20, 2017

The new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross sees the company seizing on the rising trend favoring compact crossovers.

The death of small cars has been greatly exaggerated, particularly since they have been morphing into small crossovers that are becoming more and more popular.

Mitsubishi is seizing on this trend with the introduction of the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross; a small crossover vehicle with a flat floor so it’s technically a truck but it combines a stylish contemporary exterior with the quickness and maneuverability of a compact car.

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The name basically tells the story. The Eclipse was a sporty compact that as popular with buyers years ago while the Cross indicates the vehicle has been completely revised as a crossover for buyers, many of them way too young to remember Mitsubishi’s glory days, who are looking for an affordable vehicle today. (more…)

First Look: 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Mercedes reinterprets maker's military-based classic.

by on Dec.14, 2017

The new Mercedes-Benz G-Class gets a makeover for the 2018 model year.

Daimler AG has updated its G-Class sport utility vehicle, which like the Jeep Wrangler, began its life more than 40 years ago as a military vehicle but is now one of the most coveted vehicles in the Mercedes-Benz model line.

The G-Class or Geländewagen or G-Wagen as its now known was developed as cross-country vehicle for use in remote places such as the desert or Arctic region is a midsized, boxy style SUV that is built for Daimler by Magna-Steyr in Graz, Austria.

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The redesign, which is described as the most extensive in the vehicle’s long history and includes a more spacious cabin, maintains the ute’s iconic elements to give the G-Class its unique appearance such as distinctive door handles, exterior protective strip, exposed spare wheel on the rear door and the prominent indicator lights. (more…)

First Drive: 2018 Jeep Wrangler

New design means better performance on-road and off.

by on Dec.13, 2017

The Wrangler is back — again! The 2018 Wrangler Sahara is part of a portfolio considered the most capable Jeeps ever.

Few vehicles can match the storied history of the Jeep Wrangler, born nearly 80 years during a competition to build a light-weight military vehicle.

The Willys Corp., one of the many, many ancestors of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, won the design competition and the rest, as the saying goes, is history. The forerunner of the Jeep Wrangler has carried scouts, wounded soldiers and weapons during combat around the world and during the years has also evolved into a favorite of outdoorsman, hunters and fisherman who prized its ability to traverse all sorts of terrain.

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The 2018 Jeep Wrangler continues the long tradition of being able to travel over all sorts of ground. But it adds a measure of civility and safety that is sure to capture the attention of less adventurous buyers with its ride and handling and new technology. (more…)

First Drive: 2018 Lexus LS 500h

Bold new exterior matches top performing powertrain.

by on Sep.26, 2017

The 2018 Lexus LS 500 features bold new exterior styling, which has been the focus of the company's higher ups.

Throughout the years, Lexus has built a reputation for reliability that has always inspired confidence if not loyalty among the increasingly fickle, affluent buyers, who use their car both for transportation and to make a statement about their status and accomplishments.

With the new latest versions of the LS, the LS 500 and LS 500h, Lexus is also serving notice that it prepared not only to move away from the boring styling that has characterized the brand’s vehicles in the recent years but also plans to give customers a genuine choice of powertrain technology by offering a hybrid right alongside gasoline version.

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Moreover, the 2018 LS 500h and heir to LS 600, which was one of the more compelling Lexus vehicles to debut in recent years, isn’t some afterthought but a well-planned and -equipped vehicle featuring a refined powertrain with a range of 600 miles, which is more than enough for most any weekend trip. (more…)