In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by News Editor Joel Stocksdale. They're going over a seriously busy week of news including the reveals of the 2024 Toyota Tacoma and BMW 5 Series; announcements of an electric Cadillac Escalade, four-cylinder Mercedes SL-Class, Honda's return to F1; as well as Corvette spy shots and rumors about the Hyundai N Vision 74. They also discuss their recent drive experiences with the 2023 Kia Telluride and a Polaris Slingshot. And the podcast wraps up with the editors doing a Spend My Money segment.
Send us your questions for the Mailbag and Spend My Money at: Podcast@Autoblog.com.
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GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to "The Autoblog Podcast." I'm Greg Migliore. We have an awesome show for you this week. A lot of stuff to get to. So I'm going to bring in News Editor Joel Stocksdale, who is fresh back from the island, one of the islands, in Hawaii. Where were you?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: On the Big Island.
GREG MIGLIORE: The Big Island.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Started out in Kona and then took a couple of days and went to the other side of the island.
GREG MIGLIORE: Very cool. Very cool. I haven't been there in 10 years. I would love to get back. And you were there to drive the Toyota Grand Highlander, which we can't talk about as far as drive impressions. That'll be a future podcast.
But by the time you listen to this, actually, it'll still be a few days out from the embargo. So come back next week, we'll have the full story. But you may have noticed there is a new Toyota Tacoma. That was one of the things Joel saw. It was pretty cool.
There's a lot to unpack there. We'll run through some other news items. There's the electric Escalade, Mercedes SL 43, news out of BMW. Honda is back at F1. That's kind of cool. We'll talk about some sports cars, specifically the Corvette and maybe the Hyundai N Vision 74. It's off and on again. We'll see-- lots of rumors flying there.
I've been driving the Kia Telluride SX Prestige X Pro, and Joel spent some time in a Slingshot. So that's pretty cool. We've got some money to spend, so let's get right into it.
The Tacoma-- I think the most significant part of this is it actually is a really new Tacoma. This isn't, like, the typical Toyota playbook where it's the same truck, it's the same frame. It's like, this is a legitimately new generation.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, it's built off the same platform as the Tundra, and the Land Cruiser, and the Sequoia. And yeah, it's very new. It's got 4 cylinder engines across the board. One of them is a hybrid. There are no more V6s.
It's got loads and loads of trims. There's definitely still some old school stuff, though. You'll still be able to get a manual transmission. The base models still have leaf spring suspension, whereas higher trim ones get coil spring rear end.
There are new offroad models. Yeah, there's a whole lot to cover with it. Any particular areas you want to talk about first?
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. No, it's really interesting, I think. What do you think of the design? That's always, like, just first looks-- it definitely to me has more of a Tundra vibe, which I kind of like the older almost dated look. It was a very signature appearance. But I mean, you saw it. What do you think? Start there.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, it definitely looks like a small Tundra. But I think it takes the Tundra's design idea and improves on it, because it does add a good dose of Tacomaness. It's got a slightly more modest kind of main grille.
The whole thing looks just a little bit smaller and more lithe. And not just in the sense that it is a smaller truck, it just-- it doesn't look quite as massive as the bigger trucks. And I think that works pretty well. And to be honest, I think-- I think there's more classic Tacoma look in there than maybe it looks like in photos. In person, it still comes across very much as kind of very similar size and feel.
GREG MIGLIORE: Now, a couple of things here. There's the Trailhunter, which is kind of a cool trim. And there's also the Hybrid. Maybe let's start with, like, the Trailhunter version, because that's maybe a little funner than the Hybrid. But the Hybrid is very important. So Trailhunter. What's that?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Well, the Trailhunter is a hybrid. The hybrid engine is available across the range. You've got two-- there's basically two versions of a 2.4 liter turbocharged 4 cylinder, one that's not hybrid and one that is hybrid. Although that's not entirely accurate either, because the non hybrid version has a couple of variants. There's a low output version for the base SR, which is-- it's detuned slightly so that Toyota can get away with a little bit less cooling and a little bit less on the kind of noise and vibration harshness mounts and things.
Since with that lower peak output, it doesn't quite need as heavy duty equipment. And the manual makes ever so slightly less power and torque than the automatic version of that turbo 4 cylinder. And then there's the hybrid version, and that makes a very impressive 326 horsepower and 465 pound feet of torque.
That engine comes in the Trailhunter as well as the TRD Pro. And besides all that horsepower, there's also, like, actual electrical power that's kind of nice. It adds 2.4 kilowatts worth of onboard power to power tools, or camping equipment, appliances, things like that. As for the Trailhunter, that's the newest off-road variant.
And it's designed to be kind of the over landing sort of slow and steady offroader, kind of to combat, like, the Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison that has American Expedition vehicle stuff on it. The Trailhunter has parts from ARB and Old Man EMU, Australian brands that have been doing off roading stuff for decades.
And the Trailhunter gets special shocks from the Old Man EMU. It gets 33 inch tires. It's got an air compressor in the back for camping equipment, for airing up your tires. You can get it with a snorkel for the intake, and roof racks, and things like that. So that's a quick overview of the engines in the Trailhunter.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. You know what I think is interesting is the fact that they're going to try to go with a hybrid here. You know, Toyota has stuck with hybrids. Obviously, that's exhibited not just by, like, some of these in-between models, but, like, the Prius.
But, I mean, if you're-- like, let's say you're kind of more agnostic in the segment, you're just trying to figure out which one works for me-- I mean, the hybrid is a pretty compelling argument, I think, for a lot of people. We don't know fuel economy yet. And you know, I really will be interested to see where that falls. But I think that could be a key differentiator.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. I really hope that the hybrid gets fairly impressive fuel economy. I'm not holding my breath all that much, though. I think it'll be good and probably compared with, like, equivalent engines from other automakers-- like, in particular, the high output turbo engines from Ford.
I could see it being more efficient in that sense. But I would not be expecting anything, like, kind of Prius-like. Because, I mean, the numbers are-- the numbers for power and torque that we just covered are quite high.
And so I am expecting this hybrid to be much more like what is in the Tundra and the Sequoia, in which the focus is more on outright performance and power as opposed to efficiency? Which, you know, there's nothing wrong with that. And, like, Toyota's sort of more output oriented hybrids are nice. But I'll also be slightly disappointed if we're not getting something maybe almost akin to, like, a Maverick hybrid, but in a slightly larger, more trucklike form factor.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. I mean, I guess if you're looking for a hybrid truck, your options are a little bit limited-- same with the manual transmission. It's this or the Gladiator. And I've never been a huge fan of Jeep's manual transmission, specifically in the Wrangler or the Gladiator.
So, I mean, you know, Toyota, I think the floor is yours if you can offer something that's a little less notchy but still kind of trucky. I mean, that's kind of cool I think. They really are sticking with some of the really hardcore Tacoma buyers here. So you know, I imagine that'll be pretty good.
Would you take a manual transmission? Or is that-- you wouldn't bother with that in the Tacoma?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Well, on the outgoing one, the manual is far and away the one that I would recommend, because I don't think that the 6 speed automatic in the current Tacoma is very good. As for this generation, the automatic will probably be a good one to go with, because it's going to an 8 speed automatic. And Toyota's multi speed transmission, multi speed automatics, have been, honestly, pretty good.
That being said, I really like the idea of that base turbo engine with a manual transmission, because I'm sure that it's going to be easy to squeeze out more power with an aftermarket tune and things. And, like, I honestly would kind of like to see, if Toyota doesn't do it, to see the aftermarket kind of offering stuff that lets you turn, like, a two wheel drive manual transmission Tacoma into sort of a little sports truck.
Turn up the boost, lower it, and have, like, a fairly quick and somewhat affordable vehicle that is also super practical. Basically, I'm thinking, like, a lower TRD Sport.
GREG MIGLIORE: OK. What else? You saw-- you know, you were there. What other takeaways here do you have?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: So we should definitely talk about TRD Pro, which has a lot-- which shares a lot of things with the Trailhunter but gets some additional special parts. It gets manually adjustable Fox racing shocks. And it also gets 33 inch tires and a little bit of suspension lift.
But one of the show pieces is inside, where it has these-- they call them iso dynamic seats. And they're seats that are outfitted with shock absorbers. And they're pressurized with air.
There's a couple of vertical shocks, and a couple of horizontal shocks, and then some ball joints that let the seat kind of move a little bit. And it's all there so that when you're offroading, like, high speed type stuff, kind of like if you're trying to keep up with your buddy's F-150 Raptor or something, those seats will also help absorb some of the bouncing and shocks other than your truck suspension.
And the idea is that it will help keep you from getting overly tired. And it will also kind of help you maintain your visibility and be more confident and quicker offroad as a result. And besides the potential physical helping, they also look really cool, because you can see all-- you can see the shock absorbers, and the frame, and stuff in it from the back. So it's pretty neat.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, that is neat. I mean, you-- I don't know who else would do that. Who else does that in production vehicles? Off the top of my head, I would struggle to name one. Do you happen to know? It's definitely an interesting play.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, I mean, usually I've seen, like, suspended seats as more of a feature for, like, commercial trucks and things that may have otherwise very rough suspension. And so that's done so that without having to invest too much in making the rest of the truck comfortable, they can make the seat comfortable.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, it's interesting.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: But as for like consumer grade stuff, this is very unique.
GREG MIGLIORE: It's cool. It's cool. I think my kind of general takeaway here is that they did enough to make it new-- obviously new. But they also brought enough to it to make it different, advance it, move the ball down the field-- like, from the seats, to the new trims, to the hybrid, maintaining a manual transmission offering, the style.
I mean, it's very significant. And I think Toyota is, perhaps, the one brand in the segment that could have gotten away with doing, well, we'll keep the platform. We'll change the styling a little bit. We'll do some different things. Because they have so much built up loyalty and goodwill.
But by doing what they did, I think they can, like, definitely do some conquests. You know, this is one of those things where, like, the segment is very strong right now. But if you're not, like, in the top three or four, you know-- if you're not-- you know, you're on the menu at that point.
You know, you're not really-- you could be what's for dinner. And Toyota has decided they want to be the hunter rather than the prey. And I think that's cool. I think that's reflected in this truck. I can't wait to drive it.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, I think Toyota finally realized that the competition, particularly from GM and Ford, have gotten very serious. And Toyota-- and I think Toyota finally figured out that they can't just keep sitting around on the same old Tacoma forever, which is kind of what they've done. And it's been working, because they have so much momentum in the segment. But they-- I mean for years, I think all of us on the Autoblog team have been like, I don't know why you would buy a current Tacoma because it's not all that great.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yep.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Except for reval-- except for, like, resale value and reliability. But I think Toyota finally figured out that they need to get serious. And I think they really did.
I mean, one of the things that's also impressive that we didn't quite get to was the amount of choice you have with this new Tacoma. You can get two different cabs. You can get an extended cab or a quad cab. You've got two bed choices.
You've got the 5 foot bed on the quad cab that comes standard or you can get it with a 6 food bed. And that 6 food bed is standard on the extended cab. And you've got manual, you've got automatic, you've got non hybrid, you've got hybrid. You've got oodles of trim levels. You've got coil spring and leaf spring suspension options.
Like, the amount of selection is almost rivaling some full size trucks. And it's also-- and it's interesting to see this in the mid-size truck segment where things are kind of consolidating to the crew cab short bed body style. That's all that Ford is offering on the Ranger. That's all that GM is going to offer on the Colorado and Canyon for this generation.
So it's impressive to see that level of selection and to see modern powertrains, modernized interior, really serious offroad variants. Toyota got serious with Tacoma. And I think everybody wins with it.
GREG MIGLIORE: Well said. Let's leave it there. Check out-- obviously, check out the site. We have a ton of content related to this. Joel did some walkarounds of the truck itself if you want to kind sort of put yourself on the Big Island there in Hawaii. Full coverage.
So check it out. Drop us a line. That's Podcast@Autoblog.com if you have any initial reactions. Maybe we'll read some of them on the air if you want to get in there. And of course, let us know what you think in the comments.
All right, there's going to be a 4 cylinder SL. That's kind of weird in some ways. I think it makes a lot of sense too. This is the Mercedes SL 43 that, you know, Mercedes actually has brought this up, jeez, over a year ago globally. Unclear if, hey, this is actually going to be a thing in the United States. And they have now said it will be.
I think this could be very OK play for them. I guess I don't have a hot take on it. I think it doesn't hurt anything. I don't think it's going to really change much. What do you think?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Well, I like the idea of it, because I could see it being sort of a cool alternative to, like, a BMW Z4 or maybe even, like, Porsche Boxster. But then I was looking at the numbers and the pricing. And I do-- I don't think this is a great idea, to be honest.
GREG MIGLIORE: It's a good value compared to the other SLs, but not compared to the cars you just named.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Well, is it a good value next to the others? I mean, like, I'm looking at the price. The SL 43 starts at $111,000.
GREG MIGLIORE: It's a lot for a four banger.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: And the next one, the SL 55, you know, it's a big jump. It's another $27,000. But that $27,000 doubles your-- doubles your cylinder count. You get a V8 out of it, which, I mean, aside from, like, performance improvements, it just sounds and kind of feels like a more impressive thing.
And if I'm spending six figures on a car, I don't know, I feel like I'd have a hard time accep-- I mean, I like 4 cylinders. There are really great 4 cylinders. I don't think 375 horsepower for $100,000 plus is a good value.
Like I said, 4-- like, I was expecting something kind of like Boxster Z4 supra competitor. And the power is actually very close to those, but the price just isn't. I think this is-- I think this is kind of a bad deal.
GREG MIGLIORE: Bad deal, OK. You heard it here first. Don't waste your money. Don't spend your money on the SL 43. I don't disagree with anything you said. I think my argument is that in all elements of the automotive industry, if you will, having different things is good, you know?
But as I look at it, I do kind of wonder, who would be the customer for this? Because if you have the money for the SL, I don't think that extra, is it, $27 grand as we wrote in our story, I don't think that's going to be a problem. Like, you have $111 grand for a car, you probably have $138, $139, you know?
And given the fact that a lot of people are probably using these things to pull up to very nice golf clubs and things, you do start to lose some of the pizzazz with the 4 cylinder. Now, I will argue on the other hand just the merits of the car-- 375 horsepower is pretty good. I mean, if they had called it some inline 6 that was designed and built by you know the descendants of Gottlieb Daimler and it has some design that harks back-- you know, I think maybe you could have-- like, you would just say 375, that sounds pretty good.
I think an inline 6, that could work too. I do think that's where, like, the inline 4, you run into-- like, there's some cognitive dissonance there.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. And you make a good point. Like, if it was a 6 cylinders, I might not be balking quite as much. And honestly, the thought was crossing my mind-- Mercedes has a really, really sweet straight 6 that they offer in some of their cars.
And I'm a little surprised and confused why that's not being offered instead. Granted, the performance isn't really a huge amount more than the 4 cylinder, depending on, like, state of tune. But it is a very, very sweet engine. It sounds so good and it's so smooth. But I think even that, I just-- man, $111,000 is a lot for just 375 horsepower.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: I mean, this is a lot more than even, like, a base Corvette. And that's getting you 500 horsepower, and a big meaty V8, and supercar vibes because it's a mid-engine thing. Like, what does-- like, what does even a Porsche 911 start at right now? Because this is getting into that territory, I think.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. And I mean, which would you rather drive? I mean, I think we both know the answer. I do like the SL a lot for what it is. But it's-- yeah, I mean, in some ways, it does have kind of like a luxurious retirement car feel. You know, like, it's-- yeah, I mean, it's not super crazy sporty other than, yeah, the power numbers are great and it looks great. But as far as, like, having that dialed in connected feel, I mean, Yeah
JOEL STOCKSDALE: OK, so a base 911 starts at around $115,000 and it's 379 horsepower. So, I mean, yeah, I guess it's comparable to a 911. And that is kind of the area that it's playing in. But, man, I just-- it still just feels like a lot. And, granted, I know that the new SL has gone a long way in returning to its sports car roots as opposed to its kind of boulevard cruiser type convertible feel.
I don't know. I just-- maybe I'm too value conscious to be kind of a Mercedes buyer. I don't know. It just feels like a lot. And especially when, like-- when you're getting to this price point, making that leap to the V8 doesn't feel like that huge of a jump.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, ballgame. I agree with you. That's where it's kind of like, you're going to spend $111, why not just go to $138?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: And then at that point, you know, you're-- I guess that's comparable to a Carrera S, which is kind of also similar on power. But, like, you're getting an engine that has something-- has, like, at least kind of equivalent character in that it's kind of a big rumbly V8.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Yeah, that's true. I mean, and the other thing too is I don't think anybody cares about the fuel economy play at this price point and this-- you know, even with 375 horsepower, it's still going to probably drink a fair amount of gas. You know, it's not like you're going to, like, get this, like, amazing 39 miles per gallon Roadster that you can daily drive or something.
But it'll be interesting. I will be-- honestly, this is one that will be intriguing to drive, because we can legitimately look at this very expensive, undoubtedly well done Mercedes and say, is this legitimately not worth it? We don't get to say that very often about super high end cars, just because value is relative and they all come with sumptuous furnishings often.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: And it could end up being that I end up driving it and really like it, because I-- at the same time as I'm saying all this about, like, well, you could just get the V8, honestly, the 4 cylinder-- like, the ecoboost Mustang, the high performance one that they offered, is one of my favorite Mustangs.
And a big part of that is because it's got so much less weight on the front end that it feels much more nimble, and fun, and better balanced. So who knows? I might end up driving it and being like, you know what? This is actually the sneaky best version of the SL. So we'll see. On paper, it feels like a hard sell.
GREG MIGLIORE: I honestly feel like knowing you a little bit here, I feel like you would be the one who would be like, guys, actually, this car isn't bad. You kind of come in out of left field and say, well, wait a minute, wait a minute. It does this. It drives pretty well. Here it is. So we'll see. We'll see.
All right, there's a new 5 series. That's actually a pretty big deal in our world. It looks the same as the electric version, known as the i5, which in and of itself is rather newsworthy. BMW, they're going down the path with our EVs are just powertrains. And more than anything else, they're BMW. Which, fair.
That's one way to do it. It's a little bit different than the Mercedes spaceships you could get in the EQ lineups and things like that. But you know, I've actually always really liked the 5 Series, to be quite honest. It's sort of like the right size sedan, I guess, in my book.
I always like the balance of it's a good sized car, but it also handles pretty well. Historically, it's, obviously, very significant. What's your initial impressions here?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Well, I think probably the first thing that is maybe the most surprising is that the twin kidney grille up front is quite modest based on modern BMW standards.
GREG MIGLIORE: That's fair. Yeah. It's a modest traditional grille. That's a very good point. Yeah. And you know, if you look inside, it's a very-- it's just an evolution of the very BMW interior, a fair amount of variety under the hood such as it is.
So I think that's good. It's a competitive segment now too, you know? And it definitely is one of the more distinctive 5 Series. You know? It doesn't look exactly like the 7, the i7, the 7, or the 3.
You know, so I think they definitely have done the work there. Yeah, I mean, we've-- I believe one of our contributors, Ronan Galon, has seen the prototype. So, you know, this is one that I think as the year goes on-- I think to me, trying the electric one, the all electric one, the i5, is where I'm curious if that will change my opinion of the 5 Series itself.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, I've never-- I've never been, like, a big 5 Series booster. I mean, I think it's a very competent luxury sedan. I think this new one will be interesting.
I like some of the interior touches. It's got the cool backlit kind of geometric glass crystal trend that we've seen in, like, the new 7 Series that's really neat. And I mean, I do appreciate that some of the exterior is toned down just a little bit. But it's still-- it's still quite distinct.
It's very-- well, what's the word? It's very much kind of folded, and creased, and a little bit more straight edged than past 5 Series models. So I mean, I've never been super into the 5 Series. I mean, I'm sure this will be good.
I guess I don't know that I'm, like, super excited for it. But I will be-- I will be intrigued to drive the electric one, because a lot of BMW's electric offerings so far have actually been pretty good. The iX has been one of my more favorite modern BMWs, because I feel like they're starting to bring back a little bit of the old kind of BMW driving character.
For years now, they've-- it's been almost like numbers over experience. Kind of very dead, numb steering and kind of effective but not very enjoyable suspension. But I feel like it's starting to change a little bit. So I'll be interested to try it out.
GREG MIGLIORE: All right. Speaking of electrics, the Escalade is going electric. We kind of expected this. They're going to use the IQ naming structure, which falls in, roughly, with, like, the LYRIQ, that type of thing, and the Celestiq. It sounds like the Escalade is going to be more like the Escalade IQ, not the Elestiq, Elastiq? I don't think that sounds right. The Escaladiq. I don't know.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Esqalade, but with a Q instead of a C in the beginning.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. There you go, I didn't think of that one. But you know, this is going to be significant for General Motors. We don't know, really, anything else about this. But they put out the name and a teaser that shows nothing. It's basically the name itself. Escalade IQ-- I don't know if that's right.
I guess what it does is it starts the conversation that, what is that? It's the electric Escalade. Which maybe-- maybe is better than calling it the electric Escalade, like Genesis does with the GV70, the electrified Genesis-- GV70. I don't know.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: I don't think it's really any better or worse than anything else that they could really come up with. And the thing is you can't kill the Escalade name. There is way too much value and way too much powerful imagery in that name. Like, that is the Cadillac, even more than, like, anything, like, El Dorado was a long time ago. Like, Escalade is that-- that is the Cadillac nameplate that you don't mess with.
GREG MIGLIORE: Agreed.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: I'm guessing-- I'm guessing it's probably going to basically have the powertrains from, like, GMC Hummer EV, Chevy Silverado EV. It's pretty much going to be that but packaged in a big boxy SUV.
GREG MIGLIORE: Once they've really, I'd say, perfected the Altium componentry, you know, the world is their oyster. You know, you can-- I assume we'll see an electric Yukon, an electric Tahoe, which I think could be really intriguing.
It's just literally plug and play, pardon the cliche. So you know, frankly, an electric Escalade, that could even overshadow the Hummer, you know, when you start to think about, like, true name brand recognition. I mean, there's no, like, negative connotation with the Escalade other than it's expensive. Where I think some people debated like, well, the Hummer, the Hummer is electric-- you really want to go down that road? I think there's going to be a lot of people that are like, an electric-- electric Hummer, sign me up.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. And I mean, in some ways, it's almost surprising that it's taken this long for--
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: The Escalade electric to be even announced.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yep.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Because it is such a key product for Cadillac, and especially since we're seeing other full size truck platform vehicles coming out of GM, that it seems like just a natural thing. And also, since it feels like GM and a lot of automakers are kind of prioritizing expensive, high profit, low volume vehicles over, like, more entry level stuff.
And Escalade fits that bill very well. But I am-- I'm excited to see it, in part because I think there's a real opportunity to make it an even more distinct vehicle than it is now. Seeing how much variation there is on the, like, GM electric full size truck platform between Silverado, Sierra, and Hummer-- all three of those look significantly different from each other.
So I'm excited to see what Cadillac has planned, especially because the Lyriq and the Celestiq are really good looking, really striking vehicles. And so I'm excited to see what they can pull off with kind of their biggest, most bold-- well, I say biggest-- Celestiq might be bigger, because that thing is huge.
GREG MIGLIORE: It's a battleship of a sedan, such as it is.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: But yeah, I'm excited to see what they can do with it.
GREG MIGLIORE: All right. So let's shift gears here. We've got a wide ranging news section. We'll start to run through a few of these. Honda's back in F1. It's Wednesday afternoon. This news broke Tuesday night, actually, around 10:30 in the evening. And I mean, they're going to come back as a supplier.
This is very significant, I think, in the fact that you are seeing automakers get back into Formula One. Ford is going to be an engine supplier with Red Bull. General Motors is trying to get on the grid with the Cadillac brand.
You've got Alfa Romeo on there. And just for a while in the mid, like, '10s, if you will, it seemed like automakers kind of moved away from Formula One, perhaps questioning what really is the bang for your buck here? You know, Toyota certainly made that calculation.
And now it's like people are, like, rushing to get back in, which I think is-- we'll see how that affects things. You know, there are going to be rule changes in 2026 obviously affecting the powertrains, which is when Honda is going to get on there.
I generally think this is good for the F1 fan. I think having more, like, car companies that everyday people recognize is good, you know, even if it is, like, as more or less an engine supplier.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. I mean, I just think it's funny because Honda's barely been gone. They were around two years ago. Their final year was the year that Max Verstappen won the championship with a Red Bull Honda. And so it's interesting that Honda was pretty set on leaving, and now they're coming back after having only been gone just a little bit.
I don't know. It's kind of weird. I'm not entirely sure what prompted them to come back. I don't know, maybe Aston Martin gave them an offer that they couldn't refuse.
GREG MIGLIORE: It's a good deal for Aston Martin. Honda knows how to make pretty good F1 engines. I'm not sure Aston Martin necessarily has the long term cash to keep spending F1 money. So I think it's a good deal for all parties, really.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: And coming in in a year when everybody is going to have new engines means that it's a more even playing field than if you're going up against companies that have been doing it for a while and have things really dialed in.
GREG MIGLIORE: Fernando Alonso was not cool with Honda almost 8, 9, 10 years ago. But that was one of the things they even said is like, hey, if he's still racing, we're cool. Apparently time heals all wounds.
So I hope Fernando Alonso is still racing in 2026. I mean, he's going to be well into his 40s at that point. But my guess is he won't still be around. But apparently, both sides are good with it.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Well, and, honestly, at that point when he was being critical of Honda's engines--
GREG MIGLIORE: He was kind of right.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, they weren't great.
GREG MIGLIORE: Right. Like, he wasn't wrong.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. Semi-related, I really wish that F1 would go ahead and green light Andretti and GM to enter F1. It's still just ridiculous to me that they would question at all the viability of that kind of entry.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I agree. I think having an American team on the grid is only good for everyone-- you know, for the fans, for the series, for General Motors, for Cadillac, for Andretti. Like, you know, you do this, you're going to get not just, like, the physical presence of a new American team, you're getting all the money that General Motors spends on advertising.
Like, you don't think they're going to promote the hell out of this, that they're back in F1? That's essentially-- if you're F1, it's like you're essentially getting free GM advertising. So yeah, I agree. I agree with you. I kind of keep waiting for something to drop on that, and nothing does.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: It's like Andretti is one of the premier racing groups in America, to say nothing of the world. And they know open wheel racing from IndyCar. And you can kind of say the same about GM. They've been building open wheel race engines for decades. And they have the engineering might of General Motors. It should be a no brainer.
GREG MIGLIORE: Should be. But you know, the other thing about F1 is politics. They love politics in Formula One. So I imagine something that, perhaps, maybe is a little strange is holding things up. You never know.
All right, we had some cool spy shots this week on a couple of Corvettes being tested. Associate Editor Byron Heard really kind of looks into his crystal ball and offers up a number of different scenarios of what could be going on. You know, the wheels look kind of weird. It's heavily camouflaged. So you got to check this out.
Nobody really wants to hear me describe the spy shots on the podcast. But you know, you're kind of wondering what this could be. Some wonder, Byron brings up the specter of this could be the Zora. What do you think in your crystal ball?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. I haven't looked super close, because these did come in recently. And I only just got back into the work groove of things after my trip pretty much last night. I mean, the logical progression would be for a ZR1 of some sort-- something that goes above and beyond even the already impressive Z06.
I don't know if that means maybe making the Z06 all wheel drive. I would imagine probably adding forced induction of some sort, whether it's turbocharging or supercharging the regular V8, or doing the same, or doing that to the flat plane crank double overhead cam engine from the Z06.
GREG MIGLIORE: Well, it's probably not the 4 cylinder, speaking of things like the SL 43. So I don't know, get in the comments. Let us know what you think. I mean, this is-- there's a lot going on here.
Corvettes are a really cool story right now just with all the different things they're doing. I think we've seen more innovation in Corvette in the last few couple of years than we did in, arguably, the previous 50. You know, you go mid-engine, you go electric, you go hybrid, all wheel drive. Lot to unpack there.
So Corvette spy shots to me, it's one of the fun parts of this job, you know? All right, let's talk last thing rumors here-- the Hyundai N Vision 74. I wrote a column a couple of weeks ago saying, "hell yes. Please build this."
There were rumors that the concept was going to go to production. Then there were some rumors that there weren't. It seems like there's just a lot of competing rumors. For what it's worth, when I wrote my piece, I tried to be very careful and be like, this isn't official, despite what some people say.
But they should do it. It may not happen, but it should. And then there was a report saying, hey, no, it's not going to happen. Then there's another report saying, no, wait, wait, wait-- it might happen.
So yeah, I just go back to my original position-- they should do this. You know, forget the hydrogen stuff. Make it electric. Probably hybrid might be OK if that's what it takes to get this design out.
But Hyundai has more than enough electric componentry. Grab the powertrain from the Ioniq 5 and 6, drop it in this thing, use that design. Let's party. What do you think?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. I mean, I think it would be really cool if it came into production. And as an electric, I think it would make the most sense, especially as, like, as a way to kind of have a halo for Hyundai's current electric platform. The Ioniq 5N will definitely go some way to that.
But to have-- I mean, I also generally would like to see semi affordable electric sports cars. And I could see the potential here. I-- it's such an out there car, though. And it sounds like it is pretty much built on, like, a borderline race car chassis.
I guess part of me kind of wonders how production feasible it is-- maybe as, like, a track only toy, which I'd be a little bit disappointed in. I mean, it would be neat, but, like--
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: I'd like to see something that actually you could drive on the street.
GREG MIGLIORE: I don't think that-- for what it's worth, I don't think they should do, like, a Lamborghini, Ferrari, track only toy. I don't think they should do that. I think they should take the design and make it something that's-- I argued more like a Genesis coupe, you know? So we'll see.
Maybe what I'm even advocating for isn't even possible, you know? Maybe just based on this concept, it is more like an expensive track only toy. I believe it's related genetically to the Genesis X, which is quite large.
So you know, we'll see. But we're also hearing rumors that that thing could be heading to production. So Hyundai is willing to throw some money around in the coupe segment. I think they should throw some here.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. And the Genesis X, I believe that has been confirmed that something is coming from that.
GREG MIGLIORE: Officially official. OK.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: And that, I think, makes a lot of sense for them and I think is probably an easier sell. Because, like, you could probably keep the volume very low on that, and charge a whole lot of money, and more or less break even. It's always trickier with something that would be potentially more affordable, like kind of the hypothetical electric production N Vision 74 that we're talking about.
I would agree with you that, like, something akin to the Genesis coupe from years ago would be kind of a sweet thing, sort of like an electric sort of Mustang fighter of sorts. I think that would be super, super, super cool. And the thing is Hyundai Motor Group has shown time and time again, they are willing to put something into production that might not be super successful just to kind of give it a try and see what happens.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: We've seen that with Stinger. We've seen that with Veloster. We're probably going to see that with Genesis X. And that's something that I do admire that they're willing to give things a shot, even if it doesn't necessarily work out.
And I think that has, overall, paid off for them, because I do think, even if some of those models haven't sold amazingly well, I think they have been great image boosters-- Stinger, especially. And some of that may have something to do with how bold the company has been in other things. Like, just the styling of the Ioniq cars is so bold, exciting, and different, and something that you wouldn't necessarily expect to see from, like, a car company rivaling Toyota, Volkswagen, and GM.
And I think Hyundai is the better for it. Like, because they've been willing to take chances on some really bold things, they've got stuff that looks and feels like nothing else, and performs amazingly, and is letting them kind of become that company that can rival the big ones.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, no, well said. Well said. I think they've taken some risks. And I think this would be another good spot for them to take another risk. Let's talk about what we've been driving.
Speaking of Hyundai Motor Co., I've been in the Kia Telluride. This is the SX Prestige X Pro with the V6. So you know, it's pretty nice. It's dressed up kind of like an offroader, if you will.
People love the paint. Multiple people came up to me and asked me what color it was. And one time, I actually just picked up the window sticker and said, oh, it's a midnight lake blue paint, $495. They're like, wow, aren't you lucky? You got a new car. It's so hard to buy a car.
And I just left it there, because trying to explain what in the world this press car was, that's a lot. I like the X Pro feature. I think it kind of-- the tires, it's got those kind of beefy, knobby tires. This one has 18 inch block alloy wheels. It's got the X Pro exterior styling, which isn't really much.
And it does have a self-leveling rear suspension, which is kind of cool. I kind of like that. So that's basically what it is, if you will. It's got the V6, which is 3.8 liters.
And generally, it's a pretty enjoyable large crossover. I like the Telluride. This one is 55. So some of the, like, the really-- like, we always looked at the Telluride as a supreme value. This one, you get into 55, you still get a lot of stuff. I don't really know what most Telluride owners, they really want that offroady look. But maybe they do. I don't know.
I probably-- as much as I liked it, if it were my hard earned cash, I don't know if I'd go quite this way, because $55 grand for a Kia Telluride-- still a good value, but you had some stuff I don't know if I necessarily would need. Interior was beautiful-- brown seats. Kind of like that, like, Hyundai-Kia, like, wood trim stuff they use.
I really enjoyed it. Put a ton of stuff in it, logged a ton of miles on it. It gets 21 miles per gallon combined. So not great. You know, you do kind of run through the fuel. Highly functional-- baseball gear, golf gear, a ton of, like, various, like, eating adventures as you do that type of thing.
I don't think the dog went in it. But all the things you would do in a Telluride. For what it's worth, it just reaffirmed my general positive vibes of the Telluride. You know, again, this trim level, kind of expensive compared to some of the other ones you could get in the Telluride.
But it was V-6 and all wheel drive. So really any largish crossover, once you do that, you're going to start paying. So OK value. Yeah, I liked it. I liked it. Have you driven a Telluride lately?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Not for a while.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: And I believe the tagline is actually, have you driven a Ford lately?
GREG MIGLIORE: Technically, yes.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Throwing back to those old commercials.
GREG MIGLIORE: It is.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: No, it's been a little while. But I mean, everything that I remember from driving Telluride or even Palisade is just that they're extremely good SUVs. There's not really much of a weak point to any of them, except maybe kind of that fuel mileage that you mentioned.
GREG MIGLIORE: Cool. So speaking of things you have driven more recently, you drove Slingshot, which I have never driven one of those. So how was it? What did you think? You drove it in Hawaii, no less, so that's kind of cool.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. So I had never driven one either. And I figured, hey, you know what? I'm going to have a little bit of time in Hawaii, beautiful weather, beautiful sites, I'll get something open-- and why not try a Slingshot?
Well, boy, do I have reasons why not at this point. The Slingshot is a very unique experience for a variety of reasons, many of them not great.
GREG MIGLIORE: OK.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: I'll-- yeah, where to start? I guess maybe-- I guess maybe the first thing to say is you can definitely tell that the majority of the vehicles the Polaris designs, engineers, and builds are side by sides and ATVs. And that is clear everywhere.
Immediately when you get into it, the whole thing feels like kind of a plastic tub and very sort of all weather plastic tub kind of thing. It's definitely weatherproof. And that's important because there is no roof and there's no windows. But it definitely feels kind of low rent, especially when, like, these-- you should also keep in mind that these cars start in the high $20,000 range.
And that's where they start. And that's Mazda Miata money. And when you bear that in mind, you're realizing that you don't get a roof, you don't get a top, you don't get heat, you don't get air conditioning.
You can't get any kind of, like, power seat adjustment or anything like that-- or heating, or seat heaters, or coolers. As far as I could tell, it doesn't have any radio reception either. It's just Bluetooth. This one did have-- this one did have navigation, which is kind of impressive.
But you're going with very little features for the money. And let's see. The refinement is also characteristic of side by sides. Everything is loud. When you get ready to start it up, the fuel pump is really loud.
When the engine starts, the engine is really loud. And it's not just-- the engine does actually have some good points to it. It's actually got not a bad exhaust note. When you're really getting on it, the intake has kind of a good sort of deep honk, almost akin to kind of, like, some Hondas. It actually makes good power too.
It makes around 200 horsepower. And it will technically rev up to, like, 8,000 RPM. But you're also getting lots and lots of just general drivetrain and engine noise-- just kind of the metal sliding, and clattering, and all that kind of noise.
You're also getting kind of whines and groans from, like, the belt drive that goes to the rear wheel. Because the slingshot is rear wheel drive, which is interesting. It's a layout that would seem great. The downside, though, is that when you have just one tire, you have effectively halved the amount of rear wheel traction that you have, in comparison with, like, a four wheeled vehicle.
And it's that much worse when you're going around a corner, because you've got this little bitty tire that's-- it's not like-- it's not like a conventional car where you've got a differential that can change the speeds at each end, which is necessary. So you basically have, like, this really narrow locked rear axle. And so when you're going around a corner, it's actually very easy to get the back end to break out-- either to do a burnout or to slide it.
And surprisingly, the traction control will let you do a fair bit of that before it kicks in. Depending on your perspective, that can be a good thing or a bad thing. It can certainly be entertaining. Ride and handling actually not that bad.
It doesn't have a whole lot of travel. But, like, it absorbed things all right. Very little ground clearance, which was a bit of a negative in some areas around Hawaii. As I mentioned, the engine does actually have good power and can sound pretty good.
If you get one, I beg of you, get a manual transmission one, not the automated manual-- not the automatic. Because the automatic is literally an automated manual. It is doing the clutching and shifting automatically for you.
And it's sort of like if you were driving a car and you had to tell somebody, hey, I want you to shift now, and they have to kind of guess the shift timing and the clutch engagement and disengagement without necessarily having a direct feeling of, like, what your throttle is and what exactly you're wanting.
It works better than you might think. But the shifts are really slow. And especially, like, leaving from a stop or backing up, there's lots and lots of slip and it's not necessarily all that quick at doing it. So strongly, strongly recommend getting a manual transmission one if you do decide that you do want one.
And the lack of a top means that if you're caught out in the rain, which I was frequently, it's pretty miserable to drive it in the rain. And a lot of my time with it, it was feeling kind of like a classic "Top Gear" segment where like this vehicle is causing me lots and lots of misery.
And it was also kind of like a classic "Top Gear" bit because when I finally got to Volcanoes National Park, and I drove this road called Chain of Craters, and it is one of the most gorgeous roads I have ever driven on-- not necessarily, like, one that you would go hit up if you want to, like, drive fast, but just the views are incredible.
Like, you get to see rainforesty, jungly kind of stuff. You get to see old lava flows. You get an incredible view off the volcano and down to the coast. And in that moment, in those gorgeous places, not having a roof, or a windshield, or even, like, just pillars-- not having anything that could obstruct my view was pretty amazing. And it was kind of the perfect car for that moment.
Was it worth it for the entire trip? It's close. I'm not quite sure I can go all that way. But in that moment, I was like, you know, I'm kind of glad that I've got this. So there are moments-- there were moments where it kind of finally came together.
And I think Polaris has something with this. I mean, the fact that they sell a lot of them and the people that buy them, they absolutely adore them. But I think there are things that they could do to make it a lot better. And something I was thinking-- if they could make an electric version, I think that could fix a lot of the issues that I have-- kind of, like, the responsiveness with it being an automatic, a lot of the powertrain noise that just kind of dominates the experience when you kind of just want to enjoy the openness.
I kind of think an electric version could really be something special. Yeah, so it was an experience. Oh, and if you ever wanted to-- if you ever wanted to feel like you were driving a supercar, the Slingshot kind of does it, because so many times I was stopped at a restaurant, or at a gas station, or in traffic.
People were asking me about it and saying, like, man, that thing is so cool. That must be the most fun thing in the world. So you get a little bit of a supercar experience too.
GREG MIGLIORE: OK. That's fair. That's fair. I would say, just kind of listening to you, it sounds like it was worth it. It sounds like there were a lot of tradeoffs and kind of craziness, but it sounds to me like it was worth it.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: I think in the end, yeah. I still don't think-- I don't think I would necessarily recommend it for a trip to Hawaii, in part just because while that moment was really awesome, so much of the rest was really--
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Man, driving in the rain is bad. It's really, really bad unless you have, like, a helmet that will-- with, like, a face shield. Because the visibility and the discomfort were pretty awful trying to drive it in the rain. And it rained-- and it rained a lot while I was there.
GREG MIGLIORE: It does that in Hawaii. It does that from time to time.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: So I think I would actually probably recommend, like, a Jeep Wrangler for driving around Hawaii.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Especially because you pull the doors off of that thing, and you get pretty close to the same kind of open air experience. In fact, you might even get a little bit more airflow. I think the way the Slingshot is designed where it's got a really large rear cowl behind you, I think in some ways might impede some of the airflow. Because, honestly, I kind of feel like I got almost as much airflow, like, in my Miata when I was driving that with the top down.
GREG MIGLIORE: OK.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: So I think I would probably actually recommend, like, a Wrangler for that kind of thing. And just kind of open it up as much as you can for those special moments. And then most of the rest of the time, just, like, flip the top back and keep the windows down so that when you get caught in that inevitable rain shower, you still have a windshield and can flip the top back up.
GREG MIGLIORE: Makes sense to me. Makes sense to me. So that brings us somewhat to our Spend My Money question. Basically, the writer, and we grabbed this from Our Cars on Reddit. So if you're a Reddit user, you know, hey, feel free to respond.
Feel free to send us some feedback. I hope there are some Reddit and Autoblog users that are there all at once. So the writer says almost 40, looking for a midlife crisis car that's flashy, but also offroad capable.
I have a work truck that's fully loaded with tools but that's my only vehicle. I just had my second kid two weeks ago, so I need something that's decent for two kids. Tricky part is I would, on occasion, like to use it for work when I don't need so many tools in the day. And I often drive unpaved roads.
So let's see. I think Subarus are most suited for me. But I love Golf GTIs and Stingers. Budget is 40 to 50 grand Canadian, which basically translates to roughly $29,000 to $30,000 US. So one of the things bandied about, if you will, was a used Bronco, which at this point, there are some, like, used Broncos out there.
I see one on Carfax, actually. You can get a 2021 Ford Bronco Black diamond for, like, $47 grand. So that's doable. There's a 2021 Ford Bronco Wildtrak-- these are US dollars, so it's going to be a little bit over your budget, I would say, given the exchange rate here.
Or my other option would be go really old. Find, like, a '90s squared off Bronco. And you might even come in under budget. It's fun. It sounds like there's the work truck with the tools and all the stuff can be a daily driver. But for me, you're thinking midlife crisis, maybe go a little bit sort of vintage.
Would you recommend a Slingshot for the writer? Or would you go in a different direction? Probably not given that one of the elements was offroading. But midlife crisis, what do you think?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, offroading definitely rules out the Slingshot.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Something I was thinking in the back of my head-- I haven't thought it very far through, so this could be a horrible idea-- but part of me was kind of wondering with Polaris' experience with, like, offroad side by sides and things, I was thinking to myself, could they do, like, an offroady 3-wheeler thing like the Slingshot?
Maybe it's a horrible, horrible idea. I know that-- I know that 3-wheeler with one wheel up front in an offroad configuration are quite bad. I remember that the offroad trikes from, like, what, the '70s and '80s , from, like Honda and other makers were kind of dangerous. But thinking about what might be good for them, I kind of think, like, a Maverick Tremor or maybe even Bronco Sport Badlands.
And I bring that up, because he does say that he likes kind of sporty vehicles like GTI, Stinger, things like that. Both of those get the pretty punchy turbo 4 cylinder that Ford puts in those. And the Badlands, in particular, even though it has the twin clutch rear differential, mainly for offroad stuff, I can speak from experience-- it makes it quite fun in town. It does a good job, like, doing torque vectoring stuff.
And it-- like, these things can corner pretty impressively. I think I would lean toward the Maverick, because I think the Maverick is a little cooler than the Bronco. But you know, your mileage varies with styling. It's eye of the beholder and whatnot.
So I think I'd kind of be leaning toward those. Or possibly Santa Cruz Turbo, because that thing is another excellent handling little truck. And it's got, like, a little bit of ground clearance and stuff so you could do kind of light driving and things. Back seat's maybe a little tight. But if the kids are small for now, that might work.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Yeah. Another one I would bring up too as I think about this-- and I think this fits a little bit of the daily driver, a little bit of the midlife crisis-- is, like, a mid-teens Tacoma. Kind of end the segment here, end the show here bringing things back to the taco.
Get, like, a TRD, TRD Pro. It's kind of fun. But you can still daily drive it, obviously. Can still put the kids in it too. And just random thought of 3-wheel offroad thing like you're suggesting sounds terrifyingly awesome. I don't know, it sounds terrifying.
Just the lack of stability like that would be crazy. I mean, it would be literally like-- I feel like you either want to go 2 or 4. You know, you either want, like, a buggy type thing or you want, like, just a dirt bike or something, you know? All right, so send us your Spend My Moneys.
That's Podcast@Autoblog.com. If you enjoy the show, please leave us a five star rating on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you might get the show. Be safe out there. Have a great holiday weekend. And we'll see you next week.