2022 Toyota Tundra, Ford Expedition and Detroit's Motor Bella | Autoblog Podcast #697

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by News Editor Joel Stocksdale. This week they talk about cars they've been driving including the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLA 35, Audi SQ7 and the long-term Hyundai Palisade. They also discuss this year's Detroit Auto Show, its outdoor format, and its two big reveals, the 2022 Toyota Tundra and Ford Expedition. They cap things off by helping someone spend their money on a new car.

Send us your questions for the Mailbag and Spend My Money at: Podcast@Autoblog.com.

Video Transcript

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GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to the Autoblog Podcast. I'm Greg Migliore. Joining me today is news editor Joel Stocksdale, coming to us with his dog. How's it going, man?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Good, good.

GREG MIGLIORE: Well, we have a great show for you today. We're going to talk about the Mercedes GLA 35, that's the AMG. Had a lot of fun just driving that car. I literally just got out of it about maybe 20 minutes ago. So that's a fun car, hatchback crossover sort of thing. Also talk about the Audi SQ7 a little bit. Many of you probably didn't even know that existed.

Joel has spent some time in our long-term Hyundai Palisade, as have I, a little earlier in the year. So I'm very interested to hear your thoughts. We'll talk about Motor Bella. That is sort of the Detroit Auto Show, such as it is, this year, in the fall. It was interesting this year. So we'll get into that a little bit.

Talk about some of the things that were there, like the Tundra and the Expedition. Then, finally, we will spend your money, but first let's jump right into the Mercedes GLA 35 4matic. To me, this is a fun little hot hatch. It looks pretty good. It's, you know, relatively diminutive, if you will, pretty small. The proportions are good, attractive.

I drove the AMG version. Do you want to take a guess at how much the GLA 35 4matic costs, Joel?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: I'm going to guess around $50,000.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, I'm going to read you a few options here. You tell me if you want to go up or down. 302 horsepower turbo four, so you probably knew that, that's a pretty ubiquitous engine, had all sorts of, you know, every electronic gizmo you can think, like the lane departure that pushes you back onto the road, beautiful leather seats, beautiful blue paint on the outside, deep blue metallic, black leather on the inside.

Every AMG thing you can think of, Napa leather, those big spokey wheels, if you will. They look really good. And when I open the doors, Mercedes crests light up my driveway. So you want to go up or down? Just curious.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Honestly, I kind of want to stay where I'm at, but--

GREG MIGLIORE: $63,000.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: OK.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's a little bit of sticker shock for me, simply because at one point the GLA and the CLA were the entry level vehicles in the Mercedes lineup. Since then, the GLB has been added and the A-class have really rounded out this sort of compact subcompact area, which is, to me, it's very interesting. It seems like Mercedes is bringing some of its European strategy to the United States, which, you know, it's a very German approach. I think it could work, especially if like maybe fuel prices go up in the near term.

Hey, it's good to have a lot of-- to sort of flood the zone here. That being said, I think they have one too many vehicles in this area. I think the GLB is probably overall the strongest, most American car. And then you really don't need two sedans, the CLA and the A-class. I feel like the A-class is probably the stronger version. But I do like the CLA.

So that leaves me with the GLA, which is, I would say, nominally a crossover. It's almost that, it's basically a hatchback, though. This to me feels more like a Mazda fighter. So, you know, that's where, I guess, I would slot it. This specific car, I would say it's the right car for you if you need a small car, you're rich, you love AMG's, and you want to drive something that is really fun to drive.

It's engaging. It's powerful. It sounds good. It has all the Mercedes gizmos. It is just, it's a smaller car. So for $63,000, you can get a lot of Mercedes, larger Mercedes, for sure. But, if you want a smaller car, and you want everything, I guess this is your play. In some ways it's-- you know, maybe this is just my Americanness.

I struggle to figure, to put in place a $63,000 like small hatchback. You know, it's a little-- there's just too much cognitive dissonance for me. But, I mean, for what it is, it's outstanding at what it is. I would say the GLA, it's not as dialed in as, say, like the GTI or the Golf R, you know, Volkswagen's hot hatches, or other options out there, like from Hyundai or Mazda. Steering's just a little bit lighter, but the chassis is pretty tight.

You know, we did a target run last night, and my passengers were kind of like, hey, this is rough over these roads here in Michigan, you know, this is a pretty tight chassis. So, to me, it is a very enjoyable hot hatch. Yeah, it's a fun car overall. I think maybe I just kind of-- that's where it is for me.

It starts at $47,500, so, you know, that's a little more palatable. But it's still not cheap. Let's put it that way. So I don't know, you've driven a lot of these smaller Mercedes over the years. What do you think?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, well, I was just thinking about the pricing and, well, what's funny is that, now that yours is all optioned up, it actually, well, it costs more than the GLA 45, which is also available. And that one gets the even more powerful four cylinder, the 45, it gets the 382 horse four cylinder, whereas the 35 gets the 302 horse one.

So if you are looking at these, you'll probably want to think long and hard about what matters more to you, getting xyz options or getting something that's actually significantly quicker. But, yeah, I've driven a few of these smaller ones. I don't think I've actually driven the 45 yet. I think I've only driven the 35 ones.

But I've enjoyed them. I think they're quite nice. And if you are a bit of a badge snob, these little Mercedes are probably some of the better choices. The like, having talked with Zac and some of the other people that have driven like the BMW 2 series sedan and things like that, haven't been all that impressed with them.

The Mercedes certainly has a nicer interior. And it's kind of the same case on the Audi front, like the A3 and things like that, so far, have had kind of disappointing accouterments. So the Mercedes is a good way to go. And, I mean, you can get it in so many different flavors. You've got the regular A-class sedan.

You've got the more coupe-like CLA. You've got the kind of rounded hatchback crossover GLA. And then you've got sort of the boxy-looking GLB. And the GLB, for reasons that I am still kind of shocked that they offer that with a third row seat, it's such a tiny thing. I don't know, I don't know who you're cramming in that third row.

But, yeah, they're neat little vehicles. I do feel like the price is a bit high for what you get.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's tricky. You get everything in some ways. But it's like, do you want everything in this car, you know, is your use case, are your personal needs in a car this size? You know, it's different, because it's like in the US market, we tend to think, well, the more means you have, the larger of a vehicle you got.

You know, it's just, you don't get a ton of US buyers who are like, yeah, you know, I need a smaller car, but let me get the nicest smaller car I can get, smaller crossover. So that's where these things get a little, you know, confusing, I think for a lot of us. But, I mean, you know, inside, you know, like to your point, I think the Mercedes interior is the best in the segment.

Like this interior is just beautiful, with the ambient lighting, the leather, the screen like right in front of you, like everything is beautiful, deep colorful screens. You know, I was driving my son to school, and I'm like, hmm, can look at how many Gs I'm pulling as I make a left turn, which, you know, is sort of superfluous information on random suburban street, but, hey, good to know, right?

So, you know, I will say this. Mercedes in its small cars generally has like pretty good, like, layouts, you know. There's a big center console for cups. You can put stuff in the middle. There's cupholders on the side, which, in smaller cars and sometimes larger cars, you see, companies tend to struggle with that. So, you know, it's functional.

It's fun. You know, like you, it's tough for me to believe the GLB has three rows, but, hey, I think that just speaks to the broader trend of people want three rows whether they need them or not, and whether they use them or not. I think a lot of people get three rows, and, you know, maybe you put the dog back there, or one kid.

And that gives you just a little more space that the second row has. So but, you know, that's the GLA 35. You know, a few years ago, when we were talking about, or more like 10 years ago, like just the proliferation of AMG, this is one that people would have been like, OK, so it's got a turbo 4 cylinder, you're putting it in your entry level crossover. What are you doing there.

That being said, to me this is a really authentic hot hatch, you know? I mean, like driving, it's a blast. You know, and it's a handsome car. So the wheels are kind of tucked under. It's got the right stance. Like it's one of those things where the execution is definitely there.

So looking forward to driving it. I actually have a Jeep, I believe, Grand Wagoneer showing up today. And at first, I was so excited about that. And I still am. I drove the Grand Cherokee L last week. This week Jeep is rolling out the, again, the Grand Wagoneer over here, too.

And my first thought was like, Yep, going to get that right when it gets here. But now I'm like, you know what, make that the weekend vehicle. I'm going to like maybe let the Mercedes run with that one more day, you know? Just have some fun with it, because it's a lot of fun. Plus it's a paid, you know, trade car seats. So there's that but--

Yeah, and I'm getting all these cars. This year I'm actually on the North American Car and Truck and Utility of the Year jury. Check out our post of the semi-finalists that were revealed earlier this week at Motor Bella, which we're going to talk about in a little bit here. That's why I'm running my own personal fleet of cars here, it seems.

Cars are coming and going and definitely making the neighbors even more curious about what it is I do. So, real quick on the SQ7, it's funny the center console thing that just came, stream of consciousness. That was the thing that really bugged me about the SQ7. So, yeah, eight cylinder, beautiful, expensive Audi, three rows, but you know what? The center console is not great. Like it's just a small little area.

There's barely any space to put your phone, your wallet, your keys, your hand sanitizer. There's just no room. Like I just kept smushing it down. You can adjust it to make the center console come out a little farther over this, I forget if it's a cell phone charger or just another like flat space, because, you know, that's what I need to do I need to do. I need to extend the leather cover. Like what is that? So not a fan of that.

Otherwise, the things people probably care much more deeply about, it's an absolute rocket ship of a three row SUV. The tagline they have is more cylinders than seats. OK. I can get on board with that. But it's fairly roomy in there. 500 horsepower, that seems pretty good to me, torque 568. They say you can get to 60 in 4.3, which I would believe sounds good, looks pretty good. Mine was bright red.

If you want to make a statement in drop off or running errands, pull up in an Audi SQ7, because it's also a relatively rare vehicle, you know? Even, you see plenty of like loaded up, you know whatever, Explorers, Expeditions, Navigators, Audis, Mercedes, you know, wherever you might be, like, those types of SUVs. You know, you just see them.

But, like an SQ7? It's really a rare bird, in my opinion, just because you don't generally see that kind of treatment to such a substantial SUV. It's pretty fun to drive, handles pretty well. It felt like for a relatively big crossover, it felt like relatively narrow. Like I don't know the dimensions off the top of my head. But it, you know, for just sheer size, it handles pretty well, far better than like any domestic SUV I've driven in this sort of category.

It's cool. It's fun. If this is, again, how you want to spend your money, go for it. You know, but I mean it's just, I think it's a good Audi take on a very, you know, segment that people are definitely looking at, you know? It starts at I think it's 86, $86,500 is what the website says here. Don't have the sticker in front of me, but mine had a lot of stuff on it, let me put it that way.

But, I mean, overall, it was a lot of fun, drove it for a week. There is some space in the third row, too. So that's kind of nice, not like a ton of space. But you get back there and it's all right. I would also ding Audi for the seats. That's a thing with me. Like I feel like these sort of like, they have quilting stitching patterns in them, but they were just these kind of like gray Audi seats that reminded me of the same seats I drove in like, you know, the S4 or S5 like 10 years ago.

It just, it didn't feel like, ooh, you know like the GLA's seats do, I guess. Let me put it that way. Or even some of the really nicer interiors you see from Lincoln. So don't need to hit on this too much, but, I don't know, it's a fun, large, three-row SUV, in that segment, to your point, it's becoming ubiquitous. Have you driven anything like this recently, Joel?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Well, so I think I actually drove an SQ7 late last year.

GREG MIGLIORE: OK.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: And, yeah, I also thought it was a really nice SUV, really quick. It's, like, I mean, as you would expect from a 500 horsepower SUV. But it's got a really strong mid-range, from what I remember. So it feels like more muscular than some other 500 horsepower engines, I guess, because, I mean, it is turbocharged, and with that strong mid-range, you don't have to build up to that high horsepower number, high on the RPMs.

It just kind of slams you when you really want it. And it's a way to get a surprisingly capable sporty SUV. Just looking on the website, it's got a 7,700 pound towing capacity. And I believe you can get it with a third row seat. I think, if I'm-- don't quote me on this, because I know that there have been like updates to Cayenne and things like that. But I believe the Q7 is still based on the same platform as like Porsche Cayenne and Bentley Bentayga and things like that.

But it is slightly long. It's slightly lengthened to accommodate that third row. So it is kind of a way to get like a really stealthy, really practical sporty crossover. So I guess, I don't know, if you've got a family and you're wealthy, but you can't quite convince your significant other to let you get a fancy sports car, this is a good way to kind of sneak that into the garage.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think I would probably go Cayenne, if I were going to pick among those three, just as far as like what I'd be looking for. But I will say this, the SQ7 did remind me just how cool Audis can be. You know, you roll up with those four rigs on the hood. Yeah, I mean Audis can be very cool and sporty, let's put it that way, even in three-row SUV form.

Speaking of three row SUVs what's going on with our long-term Hyundai Palisade?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Well, to be completely honest, I haven't driven it a whole lot since it's arrived, and partly because I've recently upgraded the clutch in the Beetle and I'm trying to reach the 500 mile break-in period for that. So I've been just trying to rack up kind of stop and go miles, and to get that broken in. But I've driven it a little bit, and actually this is the first time that I've had it since it's been in our long-term fleet.

And, I mean, my first impressions, I can get why our green editor John Snyder bought one. It's a really, really nice big crossover. It's really quiet, the engine makes good power. And it's smooth and it's well isolated. The interior is really nice.

This one is really well equipped. It's even got nice kind of parchment white leather, and it's got the faux suede headliner inside it. I mean, it's got pretty much every option you could want. There is one thing that I feel very split on, and that's the faux wood trim.

And I like the color and kind of the pattern of it. It's this very kind of pale white stain kind of look to it, with sort of like little black pinstripes. And I think it looks really nice, and it matches kind of the light gray parchment leather interior. But when you touch it, and even when you look at it closely, it's very clear it's just like printed vinyl kind of wrapping.

Like it's clear that it is not real. And it bugs me, because like everything else in this interior is really, really nice, and, I don't know, it just bothers me. It's like, and I think maybe part of it is that some of the competition is definitely raising its game. One of, I had a Mazda CX 9 a couple of months ago. It was one of the top-level trims. And it had really very nice, real wood trim in it.

And like GMC with some of its like AT4 and Denali models, adding like real wood trim and things, and it feels like a weird kind of, I don't know, just kind of a weird oversight, but everything else is super, super nice in there. And then kind of one of the more prominent accents is pretty clearly fake. But, again, like the color and pattern of it does fit the interior nicely.

So it's one of those things where it's like I like the look of it. I just wish it was real, not fake, or just like a slightly more convincing fake. Honda actually has done some really nice fake wood trim, over the past few years. So I don't know. I guess, if you can make the fake convincing enough, I don't mind it. But this kind of sticks out.

But it's also just kind of one of the only real complaints I have about it right now, because everything else about it is so nice. It's so comfortable. It's so quiet. It handles pretty decently. It's got a good engine and transmission, like, I really have like almost no complaints about it, at least at the moment. But I guess maybe that's why this kind of stands out to me.

It's like everything else is so good, and then there's like this one nail that didn't quite get pounded in right.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's interesting. So I did a piece on the interior earlier this summer. And I like the calligraphy trim. I think it looks pretty good. For that, it's basically like I think the headlighter and the quilted like hexagonal like sort of leather stuff you get in there. I like the wood. It was fine with me.

I think, upon further review, and I will still say this. I like it right now in 2021. To me, I guess, I also sort of like, I didn't expect that to be real wood. Like in a Volvo, maybe it's real wood. You mentioned like GMC and Mazda going with the real wood. To me, that's actually a little surprising, even on the higher trims. Like those are such like mass market brands that you don't generally expect to see the real wood enter into the equation.

Not to harp on this too much, but for me, I guess, I was like, yeah, it looks pretty good. It's probably not real. But I could go with it. But to somewhat contradict myself, or maybe analyze this, over analyze this. Do you remember the Nissan Murano from like '14, '15, somewhere in there? They had those, we had a long termer. And it had white seats that basically, they looked beautiful.

But if you wore a pair of jeans, they would like melt into the fabric, or vice versa. It was not good. And it had acres of this like beautiful, like, I forget what the pattern was. I want to say it was almost like a pearl or marble thing. But it was clearly plastic. And I remember at the time I liked it. But then I got in one later. I was like, well, jeez, this was maybe OK at '15, but not OK now.

So this might be an area where I think Hyundai could probably at a like a relatively minimal cost sneak some real value in there, and then be like, hey, look, in a Palisade, maybe a Genesis too. But in a Palisade, a Hyundai Palisade, you do get some real wood. And, you know, don't raise the price, because like don't pass that extra couple hundred bucks on to the consumer. And then, hey, you know, you're continuing to chase value. and offer a very premium offering. So--

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, well--

GREG MIGLIORE: You know, that's how I look at it.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: And I wouldn't expect this for every Palisade trim. But we've got the, like, top level calligraphy trim.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, yeah.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: It's got the quilted leather and the faux suede headliner and 20 inch wheels. It's got all the fixings. And, I don't know, it just, it comes so close to like being completely convincing, that it is an even more expensive vehicle than it is. I would just like to see that last little bit finished off a little nicer. Well, and like I said, if they just do a more convincing fake wood, I don't think I would-- I think I would actually probably be OK with that.

It just needs that last little bit of polish.

GREG MIGLIORE: All righty. Let's shift gears over to Motor Bella. You attended this week here at M1 Concourse, that's a club track sort of event here, north of downtown Detroit. It's a relatively new facility. Owners actually have garages where they put their Porsches and Corvettes, and any other car, for that matter.

It's a pretty cool place. We've done video shoots there. We've tested cars there. It's pretty cool. It was pretty close to our old office, actually. Anyways it was the site of Motor Bella, which is sort of like a festival of speed, if you will / outdoor auto show / placeholder for the Detroit, the North American International Auto Show, this year. A lot of things happened that made this happen, if you will.

I feel like they probably would have done it anyway, even with NAIAS as it's known by its acronym around here. But without, you know, the Detroit show happening, interestingly they're actually both put on by the same organizers, something to note. I think they would have done it anyway.

But that allowed it to step into like the lurch, if you will. and have like an actual somewhat of a press day, a press preview, kind of, to me, like just sort of organizing and planning for it, it felt like the run up to a Detroit Auto Show. But then it was actually much different on the ground, if you will. So, I mean, what did you think of it? How did it feel?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Well, I mean, I was a little bit skeptical about how things were going to go. And going in, we knew there were only like two big reveals, the Toyota Tundra and refresh Ford Expedition, and just not really sure what the like manufacturer participation was going to be like. But, getting there, you know, it was actually pretty neat.

And one of the big things that was really cool about it was having vehicle demonstrations that were a lot more dynamic than what you get at most other auto shows, because at a lot of auto shows they have added dynamic displays. Jeep almost always has like an off-road section where you can go for a ride in a Wrangler or something, around this kind of tight obstacle course in the convention center, and stuff. But moving outside, and at like an actual racetrack facility, automakers really went all out.

Stellantis, one of the first things that you saw going over to M1 Concourse's facilities, were just enormous mounds of dirt, and a lot of the construction vehicles that have been brought out to set up these giant dirt obstacle courses for the Jeeps and also for Ram. They had a dirt track set up for the Ram TRX, and were taking people out in that, and actually getting air. Our editors Zac Palmer and also John Snyder, they went for a ride in one of those TRXs, and so got to experience a little bit of that air time.

And even if you weren't in it, it was cool to just hear this big rumbling V8 followed by a multi-ton pickup truck going through the air. And in other parts, Ford had a huge display, again, with another little obstacle course, and then an area to ride around in their electric vehicles, Mustang Mach-E, and they had a Lightning prototype there, during the press days. I don't know if they'll have that around during the public days.

But that was neat. And while I was there in the morning, Toyota was looping some of its race cars and some custom cars around a blocked-off section of the road course. And it was just fun to see just cool vehicles just being out driven, and not just a static display. And I think it's stuff that would really appeal to just public goers.

I think this is something that would really kind of reinvigorate sort of public opinion and interest in going to auto shows, because it's not just cars parked in a building. It's getting to actually see them out and about and doing stuff. That's not to say that there weren't things that could have been a little bit nicer. It kind of seems like the automakers that have actually put some work into their displays, like they normally would, were GM, Ford, Stellantis, and Toyota, for the most part.

And then a lot of the other vehicles I think were mainly provided by like the local dealer associations, and so they didn't really have fancy displays or anything. It was basically a couple of the cars parked along the main walkway on the course, with like a flag next to them. So it felt a little bit thin on kind of the manufacturer support, but I think part of that may have to do with, I mean, the current pandemic going on, and the fact that this was going to be a smaller event than a normal Detroit show, too.

So it's one of those things where I think if it were to expand, like in the next few years and get a little bit more manufacturers' support, I think having kind of large outdoor sections is really appealing. I think it's pretty neat. So, overall, I actually had a pretty positive outlook on this whole thing.

Granted, weather is an issue, just so happened that they were having it the week that we would have some of the worst rain that we've had all summer. And actually, yesterday, they canceled the remaining press events, because of flooding and damage to displays and stuff, because what, in the last like 36 - 48 hours, we've had like almost nonstop rain

GREG MIGLIORE: I'll say this, picking the third week of September, literally the week that it changes from summer to fall, is probably the best window you could get in Michigan, hoping for good weather. Anything later, like right now it's like 55 degrees, it feels like fall. Last week, like, or two weeks ago, I'm pretty sure we still went to the pool. Like it was super hot.

An outdoor auto show when it's like 85 and the sun's blistering down on you, that's not going to be everybody's, you know, flavor of brandy either. So, I mean, I think they took a good swing at the weather, and, you know, just thinking about the venue. I mean the venue is very cool.

But also just the outdoor experience. I think, you know, kind of walking around a relatively like open place, where you can sort of savor the cars, is a cool idea. I think it's also cool to be indoors under the bright lights, where they make the cars look as cool as they possibly can. Like they do at like Cobo or Javits or any place they would, obviously, indoor convention centers.

So, I mean, I don't know, I think they took a big swing at this. And I'm excited to see what happens next. I actually would hope that, whether or not there's like two auto shows in Michigan, or whether there's like this fall speed festival with some dealer support, OEM support, then there's like more of a traditional North American show, like this, to me, is something that should continue, in some form, you know, like do this and then figure out, and maybe this evolves into the North American International Auto Show.

Who knows, you know? Like a big part of that is the media. It's very prestigious, because car companies send their top executives. They reveal cars there. In the last couple of years, we've seen people doing virtual reveals, reveals on Hulu, Tik-Tok, like you don't need to have 1,000 journalists in a basement of, I think it's actually called the TCF Center now, to show your product to the world.

So there's a lot of different ways to do it. And this, to me is a very, like, working prototype for how auto shows could evolve. The Expedition and the Tundra were both there. You probably got a look at them. What did you think?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, so those were kind of the main reveals. The Tundra was the biggest one. I'm trying to think if it was literally the biggest one. It's probably close. The Expedition is pretty big, too. And, yeah, they had a-- well, let's see, they only actually had really one version of the Tundra on display, which is kind of a surprise.

I would have figured they would have-- and it wasn't the TRD Pro version that they had on display. It was the Limited trim, I believe, which I've always thought it's a little bit funny that Limited is like a high-end trim, because in like writing or speaking, limited would tend to be a negative thing. But I digress.

The Tundra, I actually think it looks kind of cool. I totally get why there are people that don't like it. The grille is a lot. But, and this is a segment where grilles tend to be a lot. And I actually do like the proportions of it.

It doesn't look-- like a lot of modern pickup trucks look very tall and kind of chunky, and not in a good way. Bulky, bulky is the word that I'm looking for. The Tundra actually looks a little bit leaner. It looks like it's kind of got a little bit longer nose. And it doesn't look quite so thick between kind of like the floor and like the door sill, and like the window sills and things.

In some ways, it kind of looks like a scaled-up Toyota Tacoma. And it's got a lot of impressive stuff. They've ditched V8s altogether and have just gone with a twin turbo V6 in either just conventional internal combustion form, or as a hybrid. And the hybrid has class-leading torque for a gas engine in the segment, which is impressive.

Oh, and the other big thing that I'm glossing right over is that the Tundra has also gone to coil spring rear end, instead of leaf springs. And yet, with all of that being said, part of me feels a little bit like Toyota has just like caught up with the competition, as opposed to leap-frogging it or anything. And the reasons I say that are, well, it's not the first truck to go to coil spring rear suspension.

Ram has done that for years now. The previous generation, Ram 1500, had coil spring rear suspension. And as for hybrid, well, Ford is doing that, too, and Ford goes beyond just trying to improve fuel economy with it. You also get the perk of being able to run power tools and stuff off of it without necessarily running the truck, which is really nice.

And you can even, I mean, it comes in handy if you've had a power outage. There were all those stories about down in Texas, people with their hybrid F-150s basically using them as generators to run their appliances and stuff. It's just such a brilliant feature, that it's like, man, that's awesome.

And it's hard to think of, like, Oh, I've got a giant battery in my pickup truck, like what are other ways we could use it? It seems like such a no-brainer. And it's a little bit weird to not see anything like that on the Tundra hybrid. So I don't know, it's obviously going to be a vast improvement over the old Tundra, because the old Tundra was really, truly, ancient.

Like it had been around for over a decade at this point. And when the full size truck market receives as much attention and innovation as it does in the US, from American automakers, that age shows up a lot more, because I feel like I have kind of maybe let the Nissan Frontier get a bit of a pass. Part of that is because the compact pickup truck segment didn't move as far in like all the time that the Frontier had been sticking around, because they're still kind of building those to a price point and can be a little bit more on the rough and tumble side.

But the full size pickup truck market is, in a lot of ways, a cost is no object thing because they're so profitable. So they can do a lot of work to refine them, to advance them. And so, I don't know, the Tundra feels a little bit like it is now fully caught up with the American trucks. But it makes me a little bit worried about its competitiveness long-term, because one of the other things is that maximum towing and payload on the Tundra are below that of all of its American competitors, not by a huge amount, but, I don't know, it's one of those things, that it's like I guess I was expecting, after so long, something that might leapfrog the competition and be competitive for another like 10 years. Whereas with this, I'm kind of, well, I'm hoping that Toyota is open to the possibility of more innovation in the next like three to four years.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I would agree with that. I think it's a very solid execution. I like how it looks, but it also, to me, feels like, when you break down all the features and attributes and metrics, it still feels like it's like roughly the fourth place truck, you know, behind Ram F-150, Silverado, you know, whatever, Sierra can go in there, however you want to put it. But it's like roughly the fourth place truck in there.

I think that's how I break it down. Still ahead of the Titan, but, you know, that's about it. But solid, looks good, significant reveal at Motor Bella. Real quick, any Expedition thoughts.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Oh, right. Oh, and one last note on the Tundra. Of course, it also comes down to, I mean, we won't know for sure where it ranks until we drive it. It could be that it is an absolutely fantastic truck. And as an on the road and off the road, it might blow away the competition. But, right now, based on the numbers, based on everything else, ah, it doesn't really seem like kind of a class leader for sure.

But anyway, on the Expedition, it gets a really light facelift for the most part, slightly tweaked on the outside. It's got new LED headlights. On the inside, it's a little bit more interesting. They've updated the interior. It now comes with, I think, about a 12-inch standard infotainment display. And you can get an optional 15-inch one that's taken out of the Mustang Mach-E, so that really big vertical tablet with the little floating volume knob in the middle.

And kind of the bigger news is the introduction of two new trim levels. The more interesting of them is the Timberline, which is the kind of off road oriented Expedition trim level. And it follows in the footsteps of the Explorer Timberline. It's got the slightly tweaked front rear fascias, it's got orange highlights. It's got tow hooks.

And it's got the requisite badging and stuff. But it also comes with some nice off-road upgrades. It's got a limited slip differential at the rear, for additional traction. It's got all terrain tires that measure about 33 inches. It is the highest ground clearance of any Expedition. It's got 10.6 inches of ground clearance.

It comes with extra drive modes, and it also has the trail turn assist function, from the Bronco, where it can lock up one of the inside wheels so that you can execute a super tight turn on loose surfaces. Oh, and it's got skid plates off of the F-150 Raptor. So it's actually, you know, it's actually pretty well equipped for off roading.

And you can also get it with a cool like super dark green leather upholstery, which I think is pretty neat. And it comes with the twin turbo 3.5 liter V6 that makes 440 horsepower and 510 pound feet of torque. So it's actually really a pretty neat trim level, and I think is a good option to have, especially when you've got the Chevy Tahoes 71 and the GMC Yukon AT4, pardon me, I've just developed a little bit of hiccups.

As for the other trim level, it's a new package for the Expedition Limited called the Stealth Edition Performance Package. It's not the most eloquent name, especially if you were to read out the entire make, model, trim, and package, which would end up being Ford Expedition Limited Stealth Edition Performance Package. But--

GREG MIGLIORE: If you're going to put stealth in the name, just do stealth, and leave it there.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. Yeah. It does, the appearance definitely does live up to the Stealth name. It's kind of a blackout appearance package. So the badges are black. The grille is black. The mirror caps are black. The wheels are black, with just a little silver outline. The interior is black leather, but with red contrast stitching, and actually the brake calipers are painted red, too.

They're big wheels. They are 22 inches. But the performance part of it comes in with the fact that it gets adaptive suspension that's tuned for more sporty handling and stuff. And it also gets that 440 horsepower V6, like the Timberline. But it's a good looking package. And if you want slightly sportier on-road handling, it's not a bad way to go.

It's a nice alternative to Chevy Tahoe RST, which is a very similar kind of sportier street performance SUV. I wish that they had gone with some kind of different name for it. I mean, I would have even accepted like ST line. It's like, it's sporty, but it's not full on ST. But that's kind of nit-picking.

It's an appearance package that comes with a little bit of performance upgrade. It's perfectly fine. But it's also not a big deal. Kind of the big news from Expedition is the Timberline trim.

GREG MIGLIORE: I, you know, the Expedition is a very hulking vehicle. It's also lucrative. They sell a good amount of them. I think making some sort of tweaks like this, and, you know, showing them at, you know, kind of an auto show-like setting is a good move for Ford. Yeah, let's leave it there. Spend some money.

All right. Carl writes to us, good news, my son got into the school he wanted to study aviation. Congratulations, that's awesome. Bad news, it's a commuter college, which means he now has a 60 mile round trip drive. He currently has an '88 Subaru XT6, forgot about this car, which he loves but doesn't want to beat it up on the near daily drive. Can you suggest something that's used that will get good mileage and be reliable that his 6 foot 2, 210 pound frame can fit into, preferably around $15,000.

Good question. It sounds like a very fun '88 Subaru to be rolling around in, for starters. I'll jump right in. I'll take this one for starting. And I always want to hear what Joel says, because he always is, I think, our best Spend my Money person. Two choices here. I think you look at like maybe a 2015-ish Honda Civic, or maybe a Honda CRV, which is, you know, a little bit bigger, also in that same vintage, you know, 2013, '14, '15, and, you know, I think those would be reliable, comfortable, relatively nice modern commuter cars.

You know, the CRV is going to give you a little bit more space, obviously for somebody who's 6 foot 2, that probably is the play. But a Honda Civic, it's a good car. It's going to run. You could probably sell it again, flip it, and still have some value, some equity in it. Maybe somebody else in the family might want it.

I think those are both very safe, conservative plays, that I don't think you're going to go wrong with that. So with that, I'll toss it over to you, Joel.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, honestly, I can't really argue with them. I mean, either of those would be an excellent choice. And, yeah, it's really hard to offer much else. And actually, like the Civic, you can get the hybrid version and get really excellent fuel economy, excellent reliability, and something that's perfectly roomy. I guess I think really maybe the only thing, the only other thing I might suggest is like a Prius or a Camry Hybrid, both of which are going to be really, really economical, really reliable, and both of which should be plenty roomy for someone that's pretty tall.

And, I mean, that's really what you're looking for, is like fuel economy and reliability, because he's already got a really cool car for fun. Subaru XT 6 is a wild looking little thing, super wedgie and kind of like peak 1980s design. It's really cool. It's neat that he's got that.

But, yeah, I think, I mean, we don't have very exciting choices here, but that's not necessarily what you're looking for when you've got a 60 mile commute.

GREG MIGLIORE: I will just echo your thoughts. That is really peak '80s like wedge-shaped design. Very, very cool. I've been really getting into some of those like wedge-shaped, like almost transformer vehicles. Like everything from McIntosh and so on, back from the '70s and '80s recently. But, yeah, probably think Honda.

Let us know how you end up with this, Carl, and thanks for writing. Everybody else, thank you for listening. It's been a fun show this week. If you're in Michigan, check out Motor Bella, that's still going on and, you know, you're listening to this podcast in relatively recent timing, real time, if you will. Send us your Spend by Money, that's podcast at Autoblog.com. We'll see you next week. Be safe out there.

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