2022 New York Auto Show, and Subaru Solterra driven | Autoblog Podcast #725

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder. This week was the return of the New York Auto Show, and it was a busy one. Our editors run down some of the reveals, including the updated Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade, the long-wheelbase Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer L, refreshed Subaru Outback, the gorgeous Genesis X Speedium Coupe concept EV, the 2,200-horsepower Deus Vayanne electric hypercar, a new generation of the Kia Niro family, and the updated Nissan Leaf and Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek. Then they discuss the news surrounding Elon Musk's offer to purchase Twitter before diving into reviews of the cars we've been driving, including the new Subaru Solterra, Subaru Forester Wilderness and our long-term BMW 330e xDrive and Hyundai Palisade.

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

Video Transcript


GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to "The Autoblog Podcast." I'm Greg Migliore. We've got a great show for you today. It's the New York Auto Show special. We're going to bring in senior editor for all things green, John Snyder, to help me break it down. Lots of reveals. It was a legitimate Auto Show. John, how are you? Happy Thursday.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Happy Thursday to you. It's spring auto season. Auto Show season is starting up. And yeah, things are turning green. All the snow's gone. So it's time to start thinking about putting the summer tires on your vehicles, folks. Maybe give it a few more weeks if you're in the Midwest or in the Northeast. But [LAUGHS] even Portland got some snow last week.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's funny. We're at that point where you get snow and it's kind of weird. You're like, wait a minute. I had snow Sunday morning up here. And I thought, oh, I was thinking of maybe trying to go golfing today. I guess not. But then it was 70. And now it's just that nice kind of sweet spot of spring right now. It's still a little on the cold side, but that's OK. So yeah, when I think of spring Auto Shows, I really think of two. I think of Geneva, which is really like a winter Auto Show, and I think of New York.


GREG MIGLIORE: So we have a great show for you guys this week. I think everybody is going to really enjoy getting it to just the Auto Show reveals and stuff. Yeah, we actually have driven some pretty cool things too. John was in the Solterra, the Forester Wilderness. I'll do a brief update on the Hyundai Palisade long termer which is still on winter tires. And John's in our long term three series.


GREG MIGLIORE: So-- oh, and hey, in case you haven't heard, Elon Musk is trying to buy Twitter. That's happening as we're recording this. I've actually heard they're going to probably have a meeting literally during this recording. So if something breaks while we're recording this and we can try to maybe offer you a quick take on it, we will. Otherwise, obviously check out the site and we'll cover it from all angles there, especially as it relates to Tesla.

We do want to spend your money questions, spend my money questions, spend whoever's money. That's podcast.autoblog.com. Please get those over to us because we would like to-- it's the spring buying season, right? Good time to buy like an off roader or maybe a convertible, something like that. So--

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Off-roaders seem to be a theme. And there is a few off-roadish things shown at the new Auto Show too.

GREG MIGLIORE: So let's get right into it. I mean, there's a lot of different directions we could go with this. Why don't you kind of give me your initial impressions of these reveals?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Well, there's a lot of mid-cycle refreshes.


JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: The Telluride and the Palisade are both wildly popular for good reason. These are both great vehicles. And so they each got a little refresh. And the refresh sort of sets them apart a little bit more. The Telluride got an X line trim and an X-Pro trim.


JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: And these give it a little bit more capability, a little bit of a 0.4 inch lift in the suspension, and then upgraded traction control. The X-Pro gets all terrain tires and a plug-in the outlet, perfect for getting out to a campsite or something like that. So yeah, there's a little bit more capability there. And also the X-Pro Telluride gets an extra 500 pounds of towing, 5,500 versus the standard 5,000 pounds. Then yeah, like a new infotainment, some exterior looks.

On the Palisade, the big thing you'll notice is is the grille up front, and I think it looks really good. It's very tall, sort of waterfall like grille. Some styling stuff inside and out. That doesn't really get a lot of substantial changes like the extra trim levels of the Telluride. It does get another trim level though called, I think, yeah, XRT which is sort of the analog to the Kia's X line. So cladding dark chrome, black roof rails, stuff like that. But yeah, they both get a little bit of an update as a mid-cycle refresh. And they're only a few years into their life, their entire life cycle. And the improvements they're making are incremental but not insubstantial. And yeah, they both look great.

GREG MIGLIORE: I was sort of-- I think I made a little bit of maybe on the outside here. I was getting into what some people on Twitter. I think the Palisade-- the current one looks better. I feel like this new one-- and it's-- again, it's a mid-cycle refresh. So you're just you're getting a few more features and they change the grille, which is definitely standard for mid-cycle refreshes. But I'm met our long term Palisade and I just kind of think it's a good classic look. I tend to think aesthetically, it's a little bit less is more. And this one seems just a little bit like almost too much with the waterfall grille and that chrome strip.

That being said, I was looking at our Palisade after seeing the new one and then driving the old one. And I think-- I almost feel like they do have to do something because the trend for design is getting more like these flashy grilles. So I mean, it's what it is. I probably will actually help sales because, again, this is sort of where the market's going.

I kind of like the Telluride a little bit more at this point with the off road trims. I've often thought both vehicles could use a little bit more of like ride height. It's not a problem. The Palisade and Telluride-- they're great to drive. But I've often thought, you know what, I kind of want it to be a little higher off the ground in these sort of large three row SUVs. I think if it were my money, I would probably go with that extra 10 inch elevated ride height just to get that feel behind the wheel.

But solid business-like approaches for them. Good places to do it to it like a coastal Auto Show, get the media spotlight on them. Another one sort of the business side of things-- I thought the Jeep press conference-- you've got long Ls, if you will, for the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. So even bigger which, again, makes sense. I really am-- the Jeep SUV lineup, I think, has gotten a little-- it's very large right now. You've got every variant and then you've got the L version. And sometimes, I'm kind of a little confused.

Well, you've got the-- what's the difference between a Wagoneer L versus a Grand Cherokee L or-- and there's some different missions here. You start to get to the point where it's like-- nobody would confuse the Trailblazer-- excuse me-- the Blazer or the Equinox with the Suburban. There's some dimensional differences. But just this onslaught of Jeep SUVs in the last couple of years, I found myself being a little confused by it. But I'm sure it'll be a good moneymaker for them.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: I mean, they're getting bigger. I think cars are getting bigger. And Jeep's going bigger with this. They needed some three row vehicles to keep those customers that were outgrowing the regular Grand Cherokee and whatnot. And they're going more upscale. These are basically luxury vehicles in their top trims. I mean, definitely luxury vehicles on their top trims. The interiors are really fantastic. And you might find someone going with a Grand Wagoneer instead of an Escalade. But you'd be also with Jeep you get that. There's always something extra for the people who want to take it a little further off the beaten path and the Jeep name which has a price of its own.

These Wagoneer Ls are huge though. They're incredibly big. And I still think it's a beautiful vehicle from the front. From the rear, when I've seen the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer in person on the road, some of the lines look a little-- I don't know-- arbitrary and sort of off putting. I think these Ls with a bigger rear end sort of accentuate that a little bit. But from the profile, they look they looking real nice. It's a really sharp profile and really catches your eye. And it's big and boxy and looks like something that you could see on the trail or towing a trailer or that you could see it being driven as almost a limousine with VIPs in the back. I think they're definitely reaching further and further upscale with these.

GREG MIGLIORE: And one of the things that they're doing to try to sort of mitigate just how atrocious the fuel economy was especially in like the Grand Wagoneer is rolling up the Stellantis Inline-Six. This is the Hurricane. You get a little bit better fuel economy. The power is fairly comparable here. So I think that's going to help. I think it's going to make these things a little more efficient in the near term, which is probably where they need to be. And I'm intrigued to drive a Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer, with the Hurricane Inline-Six

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, I'm really looking forward to driving a Jeep with an I-Six. Jeep and I-Six go together well.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yes, definitely.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: It's a good recipe and one that I've enjoyed in the past and glad to see it again. I hope it lives up to my memories.

GREG MIGLIORE: Keeping with the mid-cycle refreshes-- the Outback got a bit of a tweak here. More cladding. Well, yeah, I guess you can say more cladding. And fog lights really pop. We tended to kind of say it almost like a wilderness vibe, but that's across the Subaru Outback lineup now.


GREG MIGLIORE: Pretty light refresh, but definitely worth mentioning for all of our Outback buyers among our listeners, which I know we have plenty. I kind of like it. Thought the Outback was getting a little boring. I don't generally like cladding. But I feel like the way they played it, looks pretty good. So--

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. I mean, Subaru is one of those brands like Jeep-- they're recognizing that more and more people are spending more time outside and which means going places where your car might need a little more protection. And so cladding-- cladding is a very Subaru thing. We'll get more to that with the Solterra. But the Solterra has people-- Subaru loves dogs. They're always trotting out Golden Retrievers and whatnot. And dog owners are a big part of their buyers. And Subaru on the Solterra touted this unpainted plastic rear bumper that goes all the way up to the load floor for things like dogs. Your dog jumping in and out, it won't scratch up the paint. And I know that I've had cars are old GLK. There is definitely dog marks on the back there from the dog trying to get in the rear of it. So something like that-- cladding is a very Subaru thing.

I know the Outback-- this generation, they designed it to sort of look like a hiking boot. So cladding on it kind of looks like the rubber of the sole and I think it fits for Subaru and what they're doing with the Outback for sure.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Pretty evolutionary. So yes, that's the Outback. Moving along-- I think we should probably-- we've done a lot of the mid-cycle refreshes and trims. Why don't we change things up and what do you think of this Genesis X Speedium Coupe?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: [LAUGHS] It's beautiful, man.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's awesome, right?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: I mean, the designs there are just fantastic. Genesis is doing wonderful things. And I'm happy to see them exploring more with their EVs, some of the things they can do without having to have as big of a grille, things that they can do with the lighting. Genesis has done these sort of two strips of lighting on a lot of its vehicles that sort of follow around the car. You can follow the two strips from the grille to the fenders back to the rear, to the tail lights. And then on this X Speedium, those strips sort of diverge right on the nose of the vehicle and make a sort of a big triangle. That sort of cuts into the air intake below and I think it looks good.

Sometimes EVs, when they have that big blank space up front where the open grille would normally be, they kind of look weird. But this, they're playing around with that space and making it stylish. And then, I mean, look at the lines on the hood of this thing. It's a gorgeous vehicle. The rear fenders, that sort of fastback almost shooting brake, roofline to the rear deck, it looks the business. I love it.

GREG MIGLIORE: I really take my hat off to Genesis here. They rolled out all the awesome concept car plays. Nice color, coupe-- hey, who'd have thought that? Do a coupe? No, it doesn't have to be an SUV. Let's do a two door kind of sporty luxury thing. I think it looks great. They have some connections to like a racetrack, I think, to different parts of it. And to me, this reminds me of when Cadillac was rolling out those coupes 10 years ago at Pebble Beach every couple of years. And so it's good to see. I think it's just a nice attention getter. Yeah.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. And this design on this was led by Luke Docker volke who is-- I think he's just a fantastic designer. He's a cool guy. I've watched him draw on napkins at dinner. And it's really, really interesting. And his process is really-- he's an interesting guy to talk to. But he's a legit designer. He's one of the best in the business right now, in my opinion. And it shows here with this Genesis.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. No, I think this is a good move for Genesis. Get people talking about the brand and have some fun. That's kind of what auto shows are supposed to be.


GREG MIGLIORE: Well, while we're talking about performance or at least the idea of performance, the Deus Vayanne-- I guess I'm saying that right.



JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Like the Latin word for God which is-- seems like a little hubris for this company. Deus Vayanne.

GREG MIGLIORE: Wow. OK. That's not coming in quietly. That's-- wow. I didn't realize that. I mean, I know Latin is a dead language. But maybe it's just hibernating. But leave it to the car industry to try to bring it back, right?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Right. Yeah, it's an ambitious name and it's an ambitious car. It's an electric hypercar. They say they're targeting 2,200 horsepower, which is incredible, and 1,475 pound feet of torque and top speed of 248 miles per hour. 0 to 62 in less than two seconds, less than-- they specify less than 1.99 seconds. But they don't really tell you how they're going to do that. They didn't give any details about the battery or the motors or anything. But they're working with Williams in [INAUDIBLE] design--

GREG MIGLIORE: Two pretty good names.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: --to make this. Yeah. It's some outfit out of Vienna, Austria. And I guess that's where the Vayanne sort of is a nod to Vienna.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: But, yeah, it's one of those things that's the first time we've seen it, kind of came out of nowhere, kind of easy to write it off as most likely vaporware. But we'll see. [LAUGHS] It'd be cool to see the limits of performance get pushed even further by an electric vehicle. I don't think it's a necessary goal. It's not as important as like putting someone on the moon or something. But if they're going to do it, if they're going to try it, why not? Root them on.




JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: And they're only going to make 99 of them, and they're supposed to come out in 2025. And they haven't said what the price is going to be, but I imagine it's going to be a pretty penny. But I don't know. This thing kind of looks like a-- looks like a lotus to me with just a weird sort of front and rear fascia. But it's kind of got that lotus vibe to me in terms of its proportions.

GREG MIGLIORE: The rear, the back end is crazy. I don't even know what to make of that, those aligned tail lights sort of thing.


GREG MIGLIORE: It reminds me of almost like the front end of some of those Mercedes electric concepts in the last couple of years, but yeah. No, I mean, say what you want. New York was not boring this year. I mean, this is like hey, let's throw some stuff at the wall and see what sticks. I think we've hit the show pretty hard here. A couple of things we should probably go back and mop up though-- there's a new Niro complete with arrow blades which I think look awesome. There's a nice piece road test editor Zac Palmer was at Javits at the convention center. And he got up close with that. So if you're listening to this, that's on the site now. So check that out. Really interesting read. This is nice. Kia has done a really good job with the Niro. I think the only thing they could do better is really amplify it so more people know about it and what just the scope and the range that the Niro product line offers. But--

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: The Niro is a fantastic vehicle. And I especially like the Niro EV. I like it quite a bit. I've driven it and really, really enjoyed it. It feels very sporty. The design is sort of funky and out there. But I think they've sort of dialed it in a little bit with this refresh, with this new generation. I'm glad that they are still making investments in this platform because it's a good EV and it deserves to stick around. I know they're coming out with a lot more, but I'm glad to see that they aren't just sort of letting this one linger in the shadows and they're continuing to update it and improve it.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think that perfectly sums up the next car we're going to run to real quick which, is the 2023 Nissan Leaf. Still there. It's a pretty good deal actually. Some very light updates. I think New York, again, is a good show for Nissan and the Leaf. I think, it's very utilitarian EV.


GREG MIGLIORE: It's been around forever. Remember, its original archrival was the Chevy Volt with a V.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. Those were the two.

GREG MIGLIORE: And they were the ones that even made like the EPA come out with the MPG-E, that whole way to explain fuel economy and efficiency. But the good old Leaf is hanging around and it's a little better anyway.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. And I mean the ARIA has been sort of pushed back in a couple of markets due to supply constraints. I don't know if that's going to happen here. They haven't said anything about it being delayed in the US. But it's supposed to come out a little bit earlier in Japan. But with that being pushed back, maybe the leaf is still looking a little more appetizing to someone looking for just a Super solid straightforward commuter EV. And the leaf does that very well.

I've been thinking lately about my next daily driver. It'd be good to have something that I could just leave the car seats in and whatnot. I would love to get a Hyundai Ioniq 5 or something. But like I said, it wouldn't be driven all the time. It would just be for me, moving the kids around and running for groceries. But I've been considering-- a used Leaf sounds like a great buy for me. Our former editor, Alex Kirstein, when he was here, he actually did that. He bought a used Leaf and loved it. And it's a car that I've driven a bunch of times and have always been happy with. It's not anything flashy or particularly special. But it gets the job done and it gets it done well and efficiently.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's interesting because the Leaf was and is an all electric car whereas the Volt was sort of built as an electric car, but really it was just a plug-in hybrid with a good amount of front end range, if you will, which is plenty. And to me, it almost shows a little bit of the-- it demonstrates, I think, the marketing muscle of General Motors. They like they made that car like their moon landing if you will. And it was out everywhere whereas the Leaf did kind of fly below the radar in a lot of places. But I mean, I guess, at the end of the day, the Volt has been gone for three or four years and the Leaf lives on. So pretty cool.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. And the ARIA will be here soon. So we'll have sort of a Leaf inspired crossover with all wheel drive.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good to me. Sounds good to me. And real quick too talk about the Ioniq 5. I saw that basically swept the world car of the Year awards which-- sometimes we look at those and-- the Ioniq 5 is just-- it's so impressive to me from the design, the way it drives, the interior. Honestly, I cannot wait to drive it again. When I make my list of things I want to get into this year, I drove that once last fall. And I'm not even kidding, it was the most sought after car vehicle to get into at this group test I was at. And I only got into it for like 30 minutes. And it was basically because I stood by where the keys were being signed out and was like, OK, it's here. Here you go, Greg. You can take it. It's your turn now.

So I mean, I really would love to spend a week with one. And the design has really grown on me too. It's got a lot of the-- I don't know. I would almost put it as like a 1980s sort of aesthetic but fully modern and futuristic which I think is a really good look.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: It would be right in place on the set of Robocop in my opinion.

GREG MIGLIORE: And that sounds great to me. That sounds good. Yeah, I think we hit everything here. Let me see. We went through the Niro, the Leaf--

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: There's the new Rock Creek.


JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Gets a little bit more off roady and 11 more horsepower. And yeah, new badges. You get updated with the new Nissan badge. But yeah, it's not really a whole lot new there. But yeah, it'll be a little better off road.

GREG MIGLIORE: One take away with the Pathfinder is I think the identity now is taking root for the last few years, the last-- this car and then the last generation-- of being like a Pathfinder off road vehicle. For a while, it was kind of like what is this thing, did it get a little soft probably purposefully to sell more of them.


GREG MIGLIORE: And then for this new generation, they're like, it's four wheel drive, even though it's really not four wheel drive. And really, the commercials show this rough and tough off road thing. And then when you start throwing out Rock Creek editions, it's pretty clear how they're trying to position it. And I think that's great. I think that's kind of what people want right now is they want to identify that way with their car.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. And they want to do those things with their car more than they did pre-covid, I think. People have gotten back in touch with the outdoors because that's basically where you could go and have fun when you couldn't sit inside an arena and do stuff or a lot of the indoor entertainment was just not as accessible. And so people made their way outdoors. And that's being reflected in cars all over the place and definitely here at the New York Auto Show.

GREG MIGLIORE: Since the pandemic, we have gotten into-- the zoo has become a year round activity because why not? There's a Nature Center near us that is like a great just kind of afternoon weekend kind of thing.


GREG MIGLIORE: I would say this-- that's been a nice honestly side effect of the pandemic is you start to look around, you're like, well, OK, what do we want to do. Well, hey, there's this stuff. Maybe we would have, I don't know, done something else before. And it's just-- that's been nice. Now we don't have a off road tuned vehicle to do this mainly because this stuff's just not that far off road. But no, I hear you. The Branco and the Wrangler really were popular, especially in 2020. They're always popular, right? But we saw--

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Branco came out at the perfect time.

GREG MIGLIORE: 100%. I mean, literally, those commercials captured the tone of people wanting to get away and-- yeah. So I think we hit the New York Auto Show pretty hard. Zac, Joel, and Ammar were all on site. So as they come onto the show in the coming weeks, we'll probably get some more first person just like flavor of the show, just feel what it's like.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. They're there talking to people and finding out some interesting tidbits.

GREG MIGLIORE: It was actually-- I found it really easy to just watch the reveals and really do impressions this year. And it felt like an Auto Show as opposed to like, Oh, hey. Here's to reveals walk around and lunch.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. Yeah. It definitely feels like the auto shows we know and love. Glad to see it back, especially when auto shows seemed to be in decline even before COVID. Everyone was worried about auto shows going away. And I'm glad to see that this one was successful and downright entertaining.

GREG MIGLIORE: This is a good template too. I think a lot of times being based in Michigan, we tend to view it through the very upper crust of auto shows which Detroit is one of the top three in the world, right, at least in the historic rankings. And then you put in like Geneva and then sometimes Frankfurt, maybe Paris, maybe not. Sometimes Tokyo, sometimes Shanghai or Beijing. But that like upper crust.

And Detroit was the number one Auto Show in America. But it was also based on a very high profile media day. This is where all the important cars were revealed. It's where Elon Musk would be, Mary Barra would be, Bill Ford-- it was the show. And what you're seeing in New York was not so much like famous CEOs or even the most jaw dropping reveals. And I think part of this is still a little pandemic influenced. But it was just notable products in front of an influential crowd. Some other brands took some risks with their concepts, which I think is-- I love that in auto shows. And it was just-- it was a good solid show.

And I think in some ways, these almost mid-level shows are on stronger footing right now. New York and LA both have put out very strong performances in the last, what, five months here whereas Detroit had kind of an uneven Motor Bella thing which was cool. But I mean, people weren't even sure they could get it in right there. And now they're going to do one in the fall and I'm excited to see how that turns out. Is it going to be as newsworthy as it was in the past? Are you going to be more like Chicago where it's just, hey, we're going to make it more of an event and less newsworthy? I mean, Geneva has been canceled for three years now.


GREG MIGLIORE: I haven't heard anything about the next Paris Auto Show. Some of the Blue Bloods, if you will, don't necessarily seem to have as much of a path forward. But we'll see. I mean, there's always going to be a Detroit Auto Show. It's just what's going to be the identity. And just looking at New York, it was, I would say, heartening to see some semblance of a traditional Auto Show pulling itself together. That's good for our business, right? And--

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, absolutely.

GREG MIGLIORE: So that was good to see.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: And it's good for car fans and it's good for consumers too who want to get to know the products better before they go out and buy something.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. All right, well, we'll hit on our news segment here real quick. My Advil has kicked in, so I guess I'm ready to weigh into this. Elon Musk is trying to buy Twitter. This is really escalated quickly. It went from like just sort of like a quiet stock by up until he owned like over 9% of the company. It seemed like it was going to be a passive maneuver. Cynically, I never really thought it was going to be. And now here it is-- Thursday, he's trying to buy the company.

We won't get into this too much because literally, the Twitter board is going to meet today. And I believe Musk is scheduled to do like a Ted Talk or something. By the time you hear this, something's going to be different. But I'm curious. Here's what I think is going to happen, and I'll be wrong in five minutes probably-- I don't think Twitter is going to agree to this. I feel like they're going to find a way to push him back. And that'll eventually be that.

It reminds me a little bit, to make this a little more automotive themed, is when Kirk Kerkorian kept trying to buy Chrysler and take it over. And then he did the same thing with General Motors. So it's a chess move. It doesn't necessarily mean he's going to buy the company or wants to buy it. I think Elon Musk wouldn't mind it if they said yes and he took over. But I don't know. But to me, this definitely feels like a chess move.

And then my other kind of take away is this really underscores. I think Elon Musk is, for good or bad, is one of the most transcendent business people of the 21st century because in Autoblog, we think of them as Tesla. But he's SpaceX, he could be Twitter. There's a few other ventures he's doing that I'm blanking on. I mean, he's trying to play in every area. He's not just trying to be a bill forward. He's trying to be-- who would be a good comparison? Like JP Morgan, Carnegie, somebody like that, the Vanderbilt's who-- I mean, they did sort of have their areas of the economy going back to finance and the Industrial Revolution.

I don't know. I think it's interesting. My guess is, like I said, I think Twitter will probably fight him off. But who knows. And then what do you think?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Well, he's a man with as close as one can get to unlimited resources.


JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: And offered enough, what's best for the shareholders to get bought out at a higher price or-- in which case, the company would go private and would no longer be publicly traded. I don't know. He's an interesting guy with just a ton of money and this vision of the way the world should be in terms of the future of the planet, the future of transportation, the future of the internet now, it seems. Yeah.

He got his ideas about free speech and that was his biggest gripe with Twitter was not really feeling like it was free speech. People getting banned and not being able to say certain things. But with Twitter, he would get in trouble with the SEC and there's things about stock price manipulation, worries about that. And that could be happening all over again here.

There is a class action lawsuit underway filed by a Twitter shareholder for him delaying disclosing his investment in Twitter to the SEC. So there's that little rub to it too, another little complication to the whole thing. So it's hard to say what's going to happen. But yeah, we'll find out soon enough. Maybe probably by the time you are listening to this.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's interesting because Twitter is one of the social media platforms that-- I mean, this is where you really get into the whole First Amendment rights, where do those intersect with essentially tech companies and their right to build a capitalistic business and make money. It's really tricky because of all the users who are on it. The media is on it. We're on it. I spent yesterday morning watching reveals on live streams and tweeting about it is whose interest is that in if it's a privately held entity. That sort of changes the calculus.

But before we go too far down that rabbit hole, do you think this will matter for Tesla, I mean, just from a carmaking perspective? My gut is no, unless somehow this really blows up in his face in some way that I can't foresee. My guess is, I mean, he literally has a rocket company, a space company on the side. You could always make the argument-- if you only focused on Tesla or SpaceX, maybe those companies could really achieve their greatest potential. But I mean, that's not who he is and that's why he is who he is and why Tesla and SpaceX are what they are. So my sense is this isn't going to matter to Tesla at the moment.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, probably not. I don't think it will have a huge bearing on Tesla. He does a decent job of keeping his separate businesses separate. There is some crossover there. It's like solar stuff and whatnot. But yeah, I just worry about-- I mean, when does this guy sleep? [LAUGHS]


JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Take a nap. You get some rest.

GREG MIGLIORE: He's even said too that he doesn't sleep.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: He just does so much and he just wants to do more and more. I mean, good for him for having that vigor, that ambition. But wow, it's a lot.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. No, I think we might as well leave it there because, like I said, this is a very fluid situation. We'll see what happens next. But let's go back to the sheet metal. You drove the Subaru Solterra.


GREG MIGLIORE: Pretty important first drive. This is the Subaru version of what we sort of call the Toyota fax machine, the Toyota BZ4X stuff which I think Solterra sounds a lot better.


GREG MIGLIORE: But very important car for Subaru. What are your impressions?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: It's their first all electric vehicle. You sort of wonder, going into it before you drive it, is this going to feel like a Subaru. It's manufactured by Toyota and developed alongside Toyota with a lot of Toyota stuff in it. And the BZ4X, James Riswick just drove that and reviewed it. And editing that review, I was noticing how similar they really are.

But driving the Subaru, it really feels like a Subaru. I was worried that it wouldn't. But this one-- all wheel drive, standard. It's got a decent amount of ground clearance, 8.3 inches, which is pretty good.


JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: The regular Forester and Outback are 8.7 while the Wilderness models go up into the 9s. But 8.3 inches is a decent amount of clearance. And we did drive this thing sort of off road, these really rocky trails and these sort of dunes out in the desert. And it felt just like the other Subarus. It was very comfortable off road. Feels almost like it really comes into its own once the pavement ends and you're on dirt and gravel and there's a little looseness there, the traction. It really feels sort of fun. It transforms.

And then, yeah, it's got dual function X mode for snow and dirt and another one for deep snow and mud, has a feature called grip control which is kind of like Hill descent and ascent control, but also works on level ground. Just maintains a low speed. And it all works great. And of course, it's got a roof that's capable of holding 700 pounds. So Subaru loves to advertise that you can put a tent on top.

And yeah, so you can get pretty far out in the wilderness. You can ford some pretty deep water and, yeah, get out to the campsite and have your plug and your tent on your roof and really do a lot with it. And yeah, on normal roads, it just feels like a regular EV. It's not super quick compared to some other EVs, but it's still plenty quick compared to a naturally aspirated Forester. It's far quicker.

So yeah, I was really interested with this car. I owned a WRX, a 2004 WRX for over a decade and I loved it. And I had always loved the Subaru Outback. And Subaru was just such an interesting compelling company to me with the products it had. And then something happened a couple years, sort of around when I got rid of my Subaru. Some of the products were starting to feel like they were a little watered down, even the WRX and STI weren't quite as, I don't know, maybe as good as I thought they could be.

And, I don't know, then I did an ice drive in some Subarus and I was like, yeah, that's cool. I miss my old Subaru. But then driving this Solterra sort of made me realize that Subaru is coming back into its own and really doing the Subaru thing well again and setting itself apart. And I find myself really interested in the brand again.

GREG MIGLIORE: I am intrigued that this is-- when you mentioned some of the competitors like from the ID-4 to the Mach-E to even the Ioniq 5, this is the most off road capable one of the bunch, it seems like, by bar none. And I'm almost a little surprised that it's taken this long for somebody to say, OK, there's some daylight here. Let's just make the off road SUV.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, the affordable one.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yes. Yeah. I mean, and this isn't like an electric Branco or Wrangler or something.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Right, no. By no means. But it's pretty much just as capable as the Outback or the Forester. And yeah, I'd be thrilled if they made a Wilderness version of the Solterra one day and gave it even more capability. I think that would be a great play, depending on how well this sells for them. But yeah, I think that would be a really cool thing because the Wilderness-- I've been wanting to get behind the wheel one and I finally got a week in the Forester Wilderness--


JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: --and again was sort of-- this was just a week and a half after I had driven the Solterra. And again, I found myself really enjoying it and starting to think about Subaru in the way that I did when I was a teenager and a young adult when I really loved it and thought it would be a great lifestyle brand for the things I like to do. And it's becoming that again. And these cars are-- they're interesting and capable and also helps that they're within reach of a very large segment of the population compared to some of the other semi off roadish vehicles out there.

GREG MIGLIORE: Real quick-- to the uninitiated, how big is the Solterra? What is this competing against?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: It's kind of right in there with the rest of the bunch. It's smaller than the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5. But it does the same sort of thing where it's sort of smaller on the outside, but really big on the inside. They're able to package these EVs in such a way that they can really open up the space. Of course, with the battery under the floor, don't have as much headroom. You're sitting kind of high and the roofs kind of close to you. It wasn't that bad in this at all. But in terms of passenger space, front and rear legroom is huge.

And then there's decent storage back. It's not quite as big as the Forester and Outback. But it comes pretty close. And like the Ioniq and EV 6, it has a sort of aggressively raked rear window. So that kind of cuts into the height of the cargo you can put in the back. But if you put the seats down-- and the actual footprint of the rear cargo area is pretty big. So if you put the seats down, you've got a lot of room, ton of room in there.

There's no frunk. Like I said, they packaged it in such a way that they put a lot of the stuff up front that would otherwise take up some of the room. And they were able to move the firewall forward and just give the front and second row passengers a good amount of legroom.

GREG MIGLIORE: I'm really intrigued by this. This is, I think, one of the most intriguing Subarus of the last four or five years because to me, it changes a little bit about the mission of the company, but it also sort harks back to what I think of Subaru is really being, especially when we're all sort of shaped by our experiences, especially when we're like-- when we get into something, like you, when I first got into automotive journalism and was driving some of those STIs and the different versions of the Foresters over the last going back to '08 and forward, you build the idea up in your head of what these things should be. We've both talked about this on the podcast how it really felt like Subaru kind of wandered for a bit there. And I think this is kind of like in one fell swoop, kind of maybe bringing them back and taking them forward with an electric option here. So I'm intrigued and it's reasonably affordable, it sounds like.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. They haven't priced it yet. But I imagine it'll start at around 40.

GREG MIGLIORE: OK. And how much is the range? 240?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Between 222 for the touring and limited and then 228 for the base premium trim.


JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: So I mean, it's not segment leading, but it's definitely more than you'll drive most days--


JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: --and maybe more than you'll drive most weeks.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think that's going to be a sweet spot too is for a while, electric vehicles-- it was almost like the horsepower thing. Every car had to like one up the previous car in its segment where it's like, what are you doing, whereas now I think you can find something where we'll be like, oh, this car is turning 80 horsepower, this car is turning 95 horsepower. Who cares? As long as the car fits your needs and it's priced competitively. This is in that range where if you have a home charger, you're good. If you have a charger at work, you're probably fine.


GREG MIGLIORE: If you live in an area that has a respectable grid, which I'm not quite sure where that area is, that's always tricky, you're probably fine too. But I'm excited about this one. Excited about this one.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. It quickly made its way onto my list of-- if I was looking for a new EV right now, it would be on the short list for sure. I could go for the Ioniq 5 or EV 6 and that would be the fun performance EV. Or if I wanted to go the more outdoorsy route, which a lot of people are doing like we said, and get a little bit off the beaten path, drive out down some forestry trails or out to a campsite or whatever you're doing, the Solterra is the one to go with.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. I mean, like I said, I'm almost surprised it took this long for the off road EV to show up. And buy offered, I don't mean again, the rough and tough Wranglers and Brancos. Obviously, there's the 4 by E and all that. But just sort of like the commodity--


GREG MIGLIORE: --soft roader, yeah. But yeah, while we're talking Subaru, what about the Wilderness that you were in?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, the Forester Wilderness.

GREG MIGLIORE: Forester Wilderness, yeah.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, so I got into that just a couple week and a half after driving the Solterra. I was back in Arizona and was driving the Forester Wilderness for a week. And yeah, we had that Forester long termer a couple of years back. And it was a good car. There were some problems with it. Some things about it we're pretty annoying. But overall, it was spacious and capable and could do all the things we really wanted to do.

But the Wilderness has genuine personality. This thing, even just looking at it, you can see the extra ride height. And you can see the all terrain tires on it and the extra cladding and even the badging looks cool. And the little supports for the roof rails were-- my car was a sort of deep blue paint and then it had these almost gold and yellow accents which the blue and yellow, I think, is always a pretty good combination if you ask me. But it looked really good on this car.

And then you get inside and there's things like more of that golden stitching and, yeah, it looks really good. It has the rubberized floor mats with the Wilderness badge on them, Wilderness embossed on the headrest. But otherwise, inside, it feels like a normal Forester.

Some of the foresters I've been in, the interior materials and textures kind of can clash with one another. They can kind of look busy. This seemed a lot more uniform and congruent. And you driving it, it was a little rough and tumble. It's a loud vehicle, especially with those knobier tires on there. Going down the highway, you sort of feel like you're in a tin can. You can hear the tire roar of the cars next to you quite clearly. But I mean, that gave it a little bit more personality. It makes you feel sort of like when you're in a Jeep with a soft top or something. Not quite that loud, but lets you know that this is something a little different.

And then I went out. There's just open desert near where we were staying. And I flew down some gravel roads and then detoured off onto these desert trails a little bit. And it was perfectly comfortable out there doing that. It made me want to take it further because I know it could. But yeah, I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a really great package. And like I said, it has personality. And it's that personality that I felt like Subaru had been missing for a while. So I'm glad to see them coming back to this. And I'm really starting to feel that interest and love for the brand again.

GREG MIGLIORE: Nice. I think it's been a pretty good theme of this podcast is a little bit of a resurgence here for Subaru and of course Latin. We've mentioned that language is sort of back in some ways with car makers anyway. Cool. Why don't we talk about the three series long termer? This is your first try with it. It started out with Zach, our road test editor. I am super excited about this car. But it's a plug-in hybrid. So I think it's good to get your take on it.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. So I drove it up North to our cottage where I didn't really have a place to plug it in up there. So I basically just using it as a hybrid over that trip. And it's not a very super-- it doesn't have all the boxes ticked. There's not adaptive cruise control and all this and that. So it's a pretty basic feeling 3 series other than it's got sort of more of an advanced power train, which is charming. It makes you sort of appreciate the actual drive a bit more because you're always connected to it.

And you sort of forget sometimes when you're commuting in these cars just how good they handle, the handling in this 330e years is fantastic. It's really fun to take down a curvy road at speed. There's some nice roads up by our cottage. There's this lake called Black Lake that we sort of circle around and there's some really curvy roads with some beautiful views of the lake and some bluffs and stuff like that. And it was just a pleasure to drive around that.

But yeah, I was using it basically just as a hybrid over that time. And I was still getting really decent gas mileage. Mix of city and Highway driving, for gas only, it's rated at 25 MPG combined. I was getting probably closer to 30 combined. When I was doing more highway driving, it was pushing it up to 32 combine when it was highway heavy. But yeah, it was great.

I have since you put car seats in it and I put my daughter's rear facing seat behind the driver's seat, which I'm going to have to move that. I'm going to swap them around because it makes me have to sit too close to the pedals for my comfort. But it was still pretty good on rear space. The leg room isn't huge. I definitely moved the passenger seat forward from my forward facing son in his car seat. But yeah, it was easy to get the car seats installed.

There's a couple of weird things. Gesture control-- I can't stand. I can't stand BMW gesture control. I'll have my hands on the wheel and my right hand at 2, 3 o'clock. And if I wiggle my fingers, just fidgeting, I'll do something weird to volume or pause it or something. And it's really sort of annoying and distracting.

And the other thing-- this is a really small thing-- but this being a long term car, we're going to end up getting granular with the reviews of it. But the rain sensing wipers on the auto-- they just don't go fast enough. It waits too long before it even starts wiping even when it's on its fastest setting.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's interesting.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: And I was driving in a lot of rain. So that was kind of annoying. But I found myself-- in our Palisade, I just leave it on auto all the time and never have to touch that stalk. In this, I'm constantly having to switch it to low rather than the auto.

GREG MIGLIORE: Interesting.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: But going back to the hybrid part of it, it has a very small gas tank. So if you're not plugging it in every day or if you're driving a long distance, you're going to have to stop for gas fairly frequently. But I've noticed that the regenerative braking works really well. Just driving around town or a little bit of highway driving, you can add a couple miles to the battery just by driving it around pretty quickly. So it feels like a very efficient car. And Zach did a test and found it beat its stated electric range. Its electric range is 20 miles. He's able to do 25. And so I have a feeling that over the course of our year with this car, we're going to find out that we can really push those limits and really eke out a lot more mileage out of this vehicle.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's intriguing to me, looking at the notion of this long termer, the three series as a plug-in hybrid. And just real quick-- what's your take on just the three series in general in this flavor of it?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: I like it in this flavor.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think I will too, to be honest.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Again, this sort of mirrors that feeling with Subaru. But for a while, I was sort of feeling kind of ho hum about BMW and especially the very middle of its product lineup like three series. But this has me more interested. And yet, the handling of it-- just a car that basic Sedan handles really well. It's fun. It makes me really appreciate the engineering that goes into this BMW. And then I think styling, it looks good inside and out. And yeah, I'm starting to warm up. I'm warming up to it quickly.

GREG MIGLIORE: I am pretty excited to drive it. It's up there with, again, the Ioniq 5, these vehicles I cannot wait to get into the fleet, my personal fleet if you will. So yeah, I mean, speaking of my personal fleet, the Hyundai Palisade remains in it. Not too much to report. I would say anecdotally, it really is going through the fuel.


GREG MIGLIORE: It's not good on gas. I think a lot of it is is my lifestyle. But I also think this is the lifestyle that a lot of people would use it for, which is driving short distances, then driving far ranges, and also sitting places with the engine running while some member of your family is doing something else. So I mean, that's not going to be good for fuel economy under any circumstances for anything. But so that's what I've been doing with it.

One thing I wonder if you've noticed in your own Palisade is the center console keeps sticking for me. Just the latch does not work. It almost feels like the lever that uses to pull up on the hinge isn't grabbing it appropriately or something. But that's something that's new in the last probably month or so. Punching does not help. If you're wondering, that's not going to help you achieve what you want. I've tried that.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: I mean, you always got to try that because a lot of times, that does work.

GREG MIGLIORE: Right. Right. So that's the only real new thing. We currently have the seats in the back down. As winter was sort of going away, we still had a lot of gear and sleds back there, skates, things like that. So we're mainly using it as a Turow SUV with the seats down to just put stuff, tons of stuff in the back. And that's working out pretty well. Yeah. Still enjoying it, though.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. It fits a lot of stuff--


JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. We lament the fuel economy too. I can't wait until Hyundai comes out with a three row EV which, 2024 is looking like. That'll be something-- I mean, we'll probably keep this for-- we tend to keep our cars for a long time. So we'll probably keep this until it's pretty close to dead. At which point, who knows what the options would be out there for EVs?

But there are a couple of things I would change about it. One-- I would move the wireless phone charger to its own dedicated spot. Right now, it's kind of in that little storage bin on the center console but in front of the closeable compartment. And I don't know, stuff just accumulates there. You take off your glasses and drop them in there. You throw a pen in there. You get change at the teller window and drop in there. And it makes that wireless charger sort of unusable because you just want to use that space for something else. I would like to see that moved somewhere else.

Another thing I would like-- another thing I would like to see would be a power telescoping steering wheel specifically so it could have a memory function. Between my wife and I, we change the position of the steering wheel a lot. And for me, it's all the way back, all the way down. So it's easy for me. But my wife has to sort of find just the right spot. And it's not all the way up or all the way down and not all the way back or all the way forward. So it's always a struggle. She finds herself adjusting a lot after I've been in it.

And finally, I would love to have but digital rear view mirror option because we have packed this thing full of stuff far more than I actually thought we would. We took a vacation in the long term and that was sort of our extreme use case test with two dogs, two kids, and a week's worth of luggage. We found ourselves, because we can, doing that sort of thing a lot more, which has been really freeing. But then you have to rely on your side mirrors. At least there's a good surround camera for parking. But I would love to have a switch to-- switch it to a digital rearview mirror so I could see better out the back when there's lots of stuff or people blocking the view out the rear.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's a really good point. I just realized that does apply to me. When we took this thing up North last summer, I couldn't see out the back. This made at least one or two journeys up there into the UP. And yeah, you get to a point where it's like you just keep filling because it's like, yeah, sure, let's bring this, let's take that. And the digital camera could definitely be a game changer for people who have to load up their vehicles. I almost feel like you should write a thing here, how you would do the mid-cycle refresh of the Palisade or something.


GREG MIGLIORE: It's interesting. I mean, I think I line up-- that's a great point I agree with you on. Yeah. I mean, I think my take right now on the Palisade is that it really was a game changer for Hyundai. They had never done anything like this before. And now, their first at bat, they did something this good. That's very impressive.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: It is a great vehicle. It really, really is. We're just super happy with it. It fits our needs perfectly. And like I said, there's something freeing about being able to put the whole family in it and a whole bunch of stuff and go anywhere. You can go away for a week and have everything you need right there with you. It's great.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's highly functional. And I mean, after a year, I think we are seeing some of-- the strengths and weaknesses are becoming crystal clear. I think it looks great. The infotainment is pretty good, the interior is very solid, great value. I think, to your point, it could use a few more bells and whistles or at least options that might make sort of like the daily family experience a little better. Fuel economy, not great Bob.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: At least it runs on regular fuel and-- man, it would be rough filling up on premium right now.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I agree to that. I mean, Hyundai's entire current generation of internal combustion engines are kind of due for an update. Engines aren't something that are super exciting. But I mean, I remember when they launched this generation. It was about like eight or nine years ago. And they tend to last forever. But at some point, oftentimes car companies, especially in these widely used engines, they find a way to incrementally make them a little bit better or sometimes they don't. They just are what they are. And you got to-- it's really more like a transplant situation.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: And Hyundai has done a good job of working on their engines making them more efficient like thermal efficiency. I remember a few years back, they had an engine that had 40% thermal efficiency, which doesn't sound like a lot. But compared to the rest of internal combustion engines, that was quite efficient. So they have the knowledge and the engineering and the know how to keep. Yeah, incrementally making these engines better and better throughout their lifespan.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good. Any final thoughts on anything?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Looking forward to whatever the next Auto Show is, man. I'm especially looking forward to Detroit. It's going to be neat.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. We've got Detroit's in the fall. Then we have sort of like the lifestyle events in the spring. Not spring, summer. Pebble Beach Woodward Dream Cruise, for those who like that. Lots of stuff coming up. We'll see. And during the Detroit shows, kind of couple few years of transition, let's put it that way, the fall event, like Motor Bella and M1, has gain some traction. So I think that's-- it'll be interesting to see even how they coexist in that sort of time period. Geographically, they're different, not depending on how familiar are with Michigan. M1 is farther out to the West, and the Auto Show itself is going to be downtown. So Yeah, I'm excited for auto shows too. I think it'll be fun.

You need to try to get to a cars and coffee. I missed-- there was one at M1 a couple of weeks ago and I just chickened out because it was 24 degrees when I let the dog out. You know what? I don't care if it's April. I'm not going to a car show when it's 24 degrees out. Although, Zack Palmer did end up going. He's like, yeah, it was cold, but it warmed up. So but now, it's going to be warmer.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: And that reminds me-- it's time to start busting out my 74 beetle.

GREG MIGLIORE: It is time for that.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Driving that around town. It's going to be a good summer.

GREG MIGLIORE: Well said. Well said. I think we can leave it there. April 14th, it's going to be a good Summer. Cool. Hey, send us some spend my spend your money Podcast at autoblog.com. We'd love to hear from you. If you have any questions about the car business or just anything, we like to do mail bags and things like that. So please send those over.

If you enjoy the podcast, please give us a five star rating on Apple Podcasts. "The Autoblog Podcast" is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you get your podcasts, we are there. Be safe out there. We'll see you next week.