Driving the 2024 Lexus GX and Land Rover Defender 130 | Autoblog Podcast #818

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor James Riswick. We kick off the week by reviewing cars we've been driving, including the new Lexus GX, Land Rover Defender 130 Outbound, Jaguar F-Pace, Hyundai Kona and our long-term Subaru WRX. Next, we break down the best wagons of the 21st century, before discussing the Audi Sport RS6 GT. Finally, we discuss a bit of the 2024 Chicago Auto Show.

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Video Transcript


GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to The Autoblog Podcast. I'm Greg Migliore. We've got a great show for you this week. Lots of things to talk about. We have our senior editor for all things West Coast and reviews, James Riswick.


He's been driving all sorts of things. Things like the Lexus GX, the Defender 130, the Jaguar F-pace, in the Hyundai Kona. We'll try to get to as much as we can. You've heard me talk about our long-term Subaru WRX for the last few weeks. I have a mini update on that. It's still orange. I can tell you that.

Our new section is going to consist mainly of station wagons. So hey, that's kind of cool. If you have a Spend my Money, please send that to And as always, if you enjoy the show, please give us five stars on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you get the show. James, welcome aboard.

JAMES RISWICK: Thank you. So the appropriate, appropriate terminology there is, I'm in Southern California here. And I haven't needed a boat, but some have. And I got to tell you-- so I have the perfect car for it at the time-- at this time. I have the Land Rover Defender 130 Outbound. This is the most off-road overlanding version of the Land Rover Defender.

OK. So it's really long. So its departure angle does kind of suffer as a result. However, this would be the three row Defender. That's family friendly three row, except the third row is chucked in favor of having the most cargo capacity possible. It's still a Defender, so it can jack up the ride height. It has the all terrain tires.

So if there was ever a "I need to survive the atmospheric river," I got the car for it. So it's perfect, perfect timing. The BMW X1 that's replacing it on Friday, it would not have been up to the task. Not that I'm like fording overflowing rivers and mud flows or anything, but still perfect timing.

GREG MIGLIORE: Historic storms is how they've been characterizing it. So whenever they say historic, that usually means, like, a crazy amount of rain, I guess. So this thing is-- this is impressive. It's very rare that we get something in the press fleet, we actually get to test things like, you know, departure angles and wading depth. I don't know if you had to use the wading depth yet?

JAMES RISWICK: Well, no, because you don't want to be running into the massively overflowing rivers. But nevertheless, it is an appropriate car. I thankfully, was able to-- I don't-- I have a very cool bike rack for my electric bike. And I don't really have a vehicle that has a trailer hitch on it. And test cars don't have them. This one does. So I was able to set up the bike rack and use that element. It is kind of the outdoor adventure model.

So I was able to sneak that in on Saturday before the atmospheric river arrived. And then unplug that. And then it was just making sure the windshield wipers worked, and they do. Lots of outdoor adventures, to be sure.

GREG MIGLIORE: This thing is monstrous. As I look at the pictures, when you said Outbound, I actually had to look up, I'm like, what the hell is the Outbound here? There you go. It's definitely pretty beastly. And--

JAMES RISWICK: I got some pretty cool-- got some pretty cool pictures of it with the bike on it. Because the rack and my bike actually matches this thing perfectly. It's matte gray with gloss black trim. Well, the rack's gloss black and the bike's matte gray. So it looks like went out of my way to match it all, even though I didn't.

But I took the photos of it on the surrounding mountains that, after the winter, it's very green and it was cloudy. And it looked like Scotland. It was very-- it was just absolutely perfect. So I was pretty pleased with those. And yeah, it's a matte gray. Because it's the third-- it's the three row defender. But the 110 has a third row too available, but please.

So do you remove the third row? Well, you don't really need those windows back there. So they actually cover them up with body panels that are painted. So there's kind of like this work van vibe at the back that's kind of cool. And then they do mount this fold down ladder, which is available on other Defenders. But it's there. And this gear locker on the side. I don't know, do you know what a gear locker is for outside the car?

GREG MIGLIORE: Whatever you might want to put in there. Your sandals, maybe, a kazoo.

JAMES RISWICK: It can't go in the car. I can only think of poopy diapers, honestly.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's a really good idea.

JAMES RISWICK: But otherwise, it's just slapped on the side of the car, creating noise and drag.

GREG MIGLIORE: Side note, do you a really good place to put poopy diapers, is the like trunk in the bed of the Honda Ridgeline. So you kind pull it up. You don't want that-- it's a pretty tight cabin, put it in there. It's outside. It's covered. It's everything you need.

JAMES RISWICK: Roof carriers as well.

GREG MIGLIORE: Roof carriers as well. Yes. That's true. That's true.

JAMES RISWICK: Yep, needed to take care of that advantage. So yeah, this thing is really cool. I dig it. The interesting-- like, driving a Defender with like all terrain tires, like, hard sidewalls, you'd think that's kind of a normal for thing for the Defender, but no, not actually. So it does make the ride a little worse. But that thing-- the Defender is so good. It is really so very good.

And this is an unusual version. Unfortunately, because it's the Outbound, I don't get to test the three row-- the third row seat of the 130. I haven't done that yet. I can't do a luggage test on it. Because normally, three row vehicles, I test behind the third row, like, duh, all of my bags are going to fit in this humongous cargo area of a 130 Outbound.

So maybe I'll try and get that in at another time. But it looks cool. It's great to drive. I love the interior functionality. Interior is lovely. And it's also a good time because, hey, I just drove the Lexus GX.

GREG MIGLIORE: That sounds good. That's an excellent transition. Let's talk about that. That is-- looking at just the auto journalism socials, which could not be less representative of what mainstream consumers think about, cars, frankly, at times. But the GX really just lit up. I think it was last week when you were on that. I mean, generally, people really liked it. But people were not shy about their opinions about it, that's for sure.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. And I mean, talk about the Defender. I mean, it's the closest-- I mean, there's not many-- the Defender is kind of like the luxury real off roader. So it's above the Wrangler or Bronco, in that respect. And that's what the GX is as well, specifically, the Overtrail version, which has the all terrain tires. And it does have the electronic stabilizer bar disconnect, which [MUMBLES] that's a long explanation. Locking rear diff.

It also does not have a third row, this Overtrail version, which is the coolest looking one. It has the raised roof rails. It's like the one that, if you looked at all the GX's you probably go, yeah, I want that one. But it's five passenger only. And unlike this Defender 130 Outbound, that's just a special version.

You could get a lot of the Outbound stuff on other Defenders. That is not the case with the GX Overtrail. You can't get E-KDSS-- that's the stabilizer bar thing-- or the locking diff, or the proper all-terrain tires, the higher roof, the more functional roof rails.

That's five passenger only. And Lexus said that they viewed it as, this is the one envisioned for Overlanders. And they found that most Overlanders who were currently using-- who currently had GXs, of which, it was a popular car because they sold them for 14 years. And despite the kind of Kardashian land grocery-getter vibe of it, it actually is a very capable vehicle.

So most of the Overlanders who bought that they hauled out the third row anyway. So they're like, OK, well, we're going to not put it in the Overtrail. And we're going to give you a five extra cubic feet of space for your gear. Logical. However, 30% of GX's Lexus figures are going to be Overtrails, which works out to over 10,000 cars. How many of those buyers do you think are Overlanders?

GREG MIGLIORE: It's a good question. 15%.

JAMES RISWICK: Pooft. Right. If that. Most people-- because it looks cool, right? But at least give them the option of the third row. And they said, yeah, we've already had that feedback from potential customers. And the marketing guy-- when I made that observation, the marketing guy perked up and introduced myself and wanted to know more about that thought. And you get the impression that fact will-- there there'll be a seven row-- or seven row, jeez, seven passenger one in not too long.


JAMES RISWICK: So that's something to keep in mind.

GREG MIGLIORE: So what really, I think, piques my interest is-- and you used a line in your review called, it's not insane to call it the Lexus Land Cruiser or something. Because obviously, they share some underpinnings. There's a pretty good resemblance to the two.


GREG MIGLIORE: Both of these are, I think, among the SUVs I'm most excited about driving this year. Every year we see what's coming out and these two definitely are at the top of the list. You have not driven the Land Cruiser yet. But do you have a sneaking suspicion as to which one you might prefer.

JAMES RISWICK: So one, it's very smart for them to bring out the Lexus first. Because then you don't have the, oh, this is just a rebadged Land Cruiser. So Land Cruiser comes out second. They have a very different face to them, but you look at the side of the car, they are the same. Same body. And they have-- so much is shared. It really is like the old Land Cruiser and the Lexus LX. The similarities are very strong.

Personally, I think the GX looks better. It's just-- I think this is just a classic SUV. I think it's one of the best looking SUVs ever. It looks-- it's both rugged and very handsome. Kind of like a Defender. It kind of has that, kind of, well-dressed person-- I don't know, rugged thing going on. It just-- you know what, when you see it with the Defender and the GX has that same thing, whether it's the Overtrail or even just the more luxury versions, literally called the Luxury or the Premium.

The interior, kind of the same too. That's one of the lower points of it, is even if like the quality is OK in places, it doesn't look that luxurious, especially compared to the Land Cruiser. Key differences between them is what's under the hood. So the Land Cruiser is the four cylinder hybrid. That engine is not available on the GX. That's available with the turbocharged V6, whose facts and figures, I can't actually find at the moment. Where are they? Hello.

It's the 3.4 liter twin turbo V6, good for 349 horsepower and 479 pounds feet of torque. For those of you who are sadly lamenting, oh, there's no more V8. Yeah, OK. The hill you're dying on made only 301 horsepower and 329 torques. So that's not very good. It just made a lot of roaring noise and was incredibly slow.

It also had a six speed automatic and it could only tow 6,500 pounds. The new one, 9,000 pounds. So huge performance upgrade. There is eventually going to be a hybrid.

We don't really know, but presumably, it will be more than the Land Cruisers, which might be good because fuel economy is terrible. It's 17 miles per gallon combined. The old V8 was 16. The Defender 130 Outbound I have out there is also 17. But it is-- it's more powerful and it's attached to a much bigger vehicle.

The 110, the Defender 110 is 20 combined, which is a big difference. I don't-- I regret not noticing the fuel economy until after I left the event. I was talking to the engineers about a lot of the suspension stuff. So I did not-- unfortunately, this is on me, did not get the opportunity to ask them about the fuel economy, specifically, or what's the deal.

There's a lot of things that would indicate it should be more fuel efficient than it is, but dude, it really isn't at all. That's a main problem with this GX compared to, say, the Lexus TX, which is, effectively, the new Lexus three row family hauler, allowing the GX to be the off roader it always has been. And it doesn't need to be the suburbanite going thing.

The old one wasn't really good at split the three row market there. The other thing is third row space, it's actually decent for people-- for luxury vehicles, which isn't saying much. But the third row-- but the space behind it is LOL. Like, no bags can fit. Like, my backpack barely fit back there. So that's another thing that compares to other more crossover luxury vehicles.

GREG MIGLIORE: OK. Yeah. I think there's a pretty interesting entry for Lexus. The approach they took, I mean, the whole repositioning of this, and of course, the Land Cruiser. It's a little bit of a risk. Because then you've got the 4Runner, which we expect to see a new version of that somewhat soon. Somewhat in the same field here. So I'm somewhat a little surprised. I think it's a big risk how they're sort of positioning these different off roading, off road styled crossovers and SUVs.

To go back to something you said earlier about the classic design. When I'm looking at this Lexus, I almost think, man, that GX reminds me of the old XJ Cherokee a little bit. It's got that classic three box design. It's squared off. And back from the 90s and even the 80s. So I think from a design perspective, they appear to have just totally nailed it. So I'm excited to drive it.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. And how many times have we said that about Lexus?

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. That's a good point too. I think it's very rare that we're as excited about the Lexus counterpart as maybe the original Toyota version of it. And I think they got-- not to harp on the styling too much, but again, I didn't drive it. I think they kind of have the right blend here of giving it maybe purposefully that Land Cruiser vibe.

But still having some of the Lexus stuff in there too. Because I mean, Lexus with their spindle grilles and angles coming at you from every, well, angle. They're a lot to take. And I think most people have decided they like them because people like Lexus.

They like the luxury and premium image that it conveys. But it's a bit of-- it's a polarizing design. And I think this new GX really strikes the right kind of balance.

JAMES RISWICK: Well, it's also important to note that like that last GX, which was sold for 14 years, had multiple faces put on it. And the signature Lexus spindle grille was never meant for that vehicle. And any time they put that stupid thing on anything, be it just a rebodied thing like, the GX was a Land Cruiser Prado. And the LX to the Land Cruiser. It just didn't work.

You're putting a face on something that was never really meant for it. But it works really well on the LC. Because that was meant to have it from the beginning. And this thing, which is different. It is not-- it is not the Lexus signature spindle grille. It is the evolution of it. It is related, but still new and different. And it just works because it was meant for it from the very beginning. And it's also not overwrought. It's like just the right size.

Anyway, I think it's a very successful design. And it's a very appealing and capable vehicle. It's not just the looks. We could go into the weeds a lot about what makes it so good off road. But it is, certainly.

GREG MIGLIORE: I believe you. I believe you. It's been a minute now. Shifting gears over to the Jaguar F-Pace. We're kind of doing some British stuff here. That's kind of a good angle here for this podcast.

I have not driven an F-Pace in almost two years, as I'm looking at some of my own clips. They're not super abundant in the press fleet, for starters. The last one I drove was the SVR, with the 5 liter V8 550 horsepower.

So this was an absolute rocket ship. I actually drove it almost exactly two years ago. It was kind of one of those winter drives. Now which version of this F-Pace have you driven?

JAMES RISWICK: So before this, the only time I had driven the F-Pace was at the first drive launch in Montenegro in 2016.

GREG MIGLIORE: OK. I think Jeremy Kwasniewski was on that one.

JAMES RISWICK: He did. And it was a long-- that's a long time ago, right?

GREG MIGLIORE: Really was.

JAMES RISWICK: Also it was one of the best press trips I've ever been on. It was really interesting. When are you going to go to Montenegro? It was really cool. But it's not exactly experiencing the car, like, in anything resembling a normal environment. And I never drove it again, which is kind of unfortunate.

GREG MIGLIORE: Eight years later, it comes back to your fleet.

JAMES RISWICK: And despite being eight years old, this car has held up very well. Very well. They redid the interior at some point, both to make it nicer, which it did need. The fanciest versions of the F-Pace originally were covered in leather or pleather and looked very nice. The bottom ones were not. The new one has the latest Pivi Pro touchscreen infotainment system, same thing that's in that Defender. And it's perfectly fine.

It works and that's all you can hope for. The interior quality is excellent. And I tell you, it is so enjoyable to drive. I don't think we talk about this enough. The Porsche Macan is very called out for being exceptional to drive, period, not just for an SUV. This is in that same league, at least the P400 version that I was driving with the big 395 horsepower engine in it.

It is genuinely enjoyable to drive. Excellent steering. And really, I think it needs to be in the conversation more with the Macon. It certainly is similarly priced, but it's bigger. So the Macon's major downside is it's small. Well, this isn't. This is bigger. It's an appropriate bigger. It still looks great.

They tweaked the design slightly over the years for the better. And I really enjoyed this car. Awesome seats. It has these, like, razor thin sports seats that I don't know for sure, but sure seems like they came out of an F type, at least they look like them. Really firm sports seats.

And I think because they're thinner, they probably free up back seat space too. But I kind of got it, just like, OK, let's see how this thing held up. And it's really held up well. I think it deserves more attention than it gets, even eight years later. It's really good. Pleasant surprise, and it is one that in terms of SUVs, I would happily drive this one every day. Yeah, really nice, pleasant surprise. And yeah, it's a good one.

GREG MIGLIORE: Honestly, I've always had kind of a soft spot for the F-Pace. We had a deep blue one that was almost purple probably back in, I think, that was 17, 18. It was a long-termer. It was quite good. We didn't really have any major issues with it, as I think back. I took it to all sorts of things. The family rolled around in it. The dog was in it all the time. She was a puppy back then.

And other than the fact that you've got to jump into narrow seats, which is not ideal for a golden retriever, It is reasonably comfortable. I think it looks good too. I think they-- I think this was part of Ian Callum, when he was still running things, that was part of his design studio back then. And it's always had a good character.

I think comparing it to Porsche is a good one because it has a unique, again, character spirit that frankly, don't always get when I drive a German crossover in this segment. And I'm not just saying that because I drove the SVR one. I've always thought this about the F-Pace. Interior is pretty good. Again, it's been two years. So I'd be curious to see what they've done to it, you know, some of the upgrades you mentioned.

The infotainment always was a work in progress. So you get Pivi Pro in there. Perhaps that gets things a little more tolerable. But I mean, it's a muscle SUV in many ways too, whether-- it just has that like spirit of Jaguar, which is a total cliche. But not every brand can make an SUV and make it feel like some of their other things that maybe you might rather drive, if given your druthers. And I think they did that with the F-PACE.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, I'd be curious to drive-- I now want to drive the 4 cylinder version, see what it's like with 246 and 269 pound feet of torque. The other thing about the F-PACE is it's a different size. So it's not really-- it's bigger than the compact SUVs, the X3's, and all that. But it's not as big as an X5. It's closest comparison is a Lexus RX.

I actually had an RX before it. And not surprisingly, I like the Jaguar more. But in terms of the size, it's kind of closest comparison, which sometimes that makes it hard to compare to things, but also it puts it in a unique position that might be appealing to more people.

GREG MIGLIORE: Oh, yeah, myself included. I think many car buyers shop in ways that, as auto journalists, we don't always think of. We try to-- well, this fits in this segment. Here's the C-class here's the E-class.

I think car buyers oftentimes, are like, well, I like this as a crossover. Maybe the sedan might fit what I'm looking at. Naturally, I want to consider a Wrangler because, you know, everybody thinks they want to drive a Jeep Wrangler.

So sometimes these tweener segments I think can be very spot on. Cool. The F-PACE. That's definitely a Back to the Future one there. All right. Let's talk Hyundai Kona. One more from fleet de Riswick, Kona.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, the inline. The inline, which is the little turbo engine in it. It has the racier styling, which is pretty racy. It looks pretty cool. And has this weird split spoiler in the back. And it's not the full on N version, not that they have that-- not that that's back yet.

But this looks pretty wild. It is the same mechanical-- it's the same platform as the Kia Niro, which I happen to own. And you can really tell when they're sitting next to each other, they're exactly the same size. The cargo area, virtually identical. Back seat space, the same.

Because the Kona is newer, it has the newer version of the Hyundai Kia infotainment system. It looks nicer. I think it's worse to use, specifically, the radio. They've added a bunch of complications that have made it annoying, whereas, they kind of nailed it before.

Anyway, there's some little things that are-- I think is worse. But the rest of the interior is neat. They moved the-- it's the same shifter as the Ioniq 5 and 6. So it's the little doohickey underneath, attached to the wheel. So that frees up the whole center console for storage.

That's very clever. Yeah, back seat. The new Kona is much bigger than the old one. So the old one was like, the quintessential subcompact one. But then everything got a lot bigger, to the point we started having to come up with a new term for these things. We call them mid compacts. But now everything, including the Kona, has caught up to the mid compact. So they're subcompacts again.

But that means that it's actually kind of family friendly. This back seat is genuinely big, kind of like the Niro. Trunk, one of the bigger in the segment. Really, only the VW Taos and the Bronco Sport are bigger the-- the Seltos is just a little bit bigger. So enjoyable little car to drive.

Fuel economy wasn't that great. I was getting, like, 25 out of it, which it's a little subcompact SUV, probably should be getting closer to 30. I think the turbo's probably not helping it. You want to use it and that's going to end up with some bad fuel economy. But just an enjoyable little runabout. I found that size is really good.

I think it's smart. It's one reason we like our Niro. Because it's smaller. We live in-- we live in the burbs, but the parking spots are still small, easier to maneuver. And just enough interior space. So similar thing with the Kona.

GREG MIGLIORE: Looks like you were able to wedge four pretty large bags in there, suitcases--


GREG MIGLIORE: In the back. How many?



JAMES RISWICK: Two check-ins, three carry-ons, one duffel bag.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's pretty remarkable for what's-- not an extremely large vehicle. So check out Jim's luggage tests, not just for the Kona, but for all of the things that come through. What fits, what doesn't, who's to say? All right. So that's the Kona. Let's move on over to the WTX. Joined the fleet in January. It went to road test editor, Zac Palmer.

After a few weeks, he traded over to me. And this is my-- actually, this is, I believe, my final full week in it. So I just gassed it up. So whoever gets it next, although I don't know what I'm going to do this weekend. Maybe I'll need to fuel it up again.

But I've enjoyed my almost a month in it. It's interesting when you drive, especially a long-termer. Sometimes those posts can write themselves.

Because in our long-term blog, if you will, you can write whatever you want. Whether it's what you did with it. Whether you go on some epic road trip or do a luggage test, or whatnot. Or maybe something-- misfortune also lends your way, which check out our Toyota Sienna if you want to look at some misfortune that's befallen that vehicle.

But I've liked it. It's bright orange. It's got the six speed manual. It's got that boxer 4 turbo. It's pretty powerful. It's everything I've always hoped and wanted the WRX to be.

We've talked about it a bit, the styling. It's gotten a little clunkier. The wheel well's stick out.

There's a lot of plastic going on on the sides and the back. Zac and I generally like that, although I don't think I like it quite as enthusiastic as he does. But with that big hood scoop, you got the LED lights. It's a fun looking car.

You pull up and people are looking at you like, who is this dude? You just don't see a lot of WRXs on the road, especially in Michigan, but really, anywhere. I mean, it's a lot to handle. I keep coming back to the notion that I'm going to be really bored, especially because my next vehicle coming in is, I think, I'm the closer for the Sienna. It's heading out. So I will be likely the final editor in the Intuit.

And that's the opposite of driving a WRX. But it's a lot of fun. And there's a CD player. I've gotten reacquainted with The Wallflowers, Counting Crows, all my old CDs.

JAMES RISWICK: I believe that was my demand. I think I demanded that, even though I will never see the car, let alone drive it. But yeah, I insisted that you get the aftermarket CD player. Because if you're going to offer it, we should ask for that.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think so. I completely agree. It's frankly--

JAMES RISWICK: In fact, I'm going to write a note right now to tell Zac that he needs-- somebody needs to do that post immediately.

GREG MIGLIORE: The CD player one?

JAMES RISWICK: Yes. Yes. We got it for a reason.


JAMES RISWICK: It needs to be a post by itself.

GREG MIGLIORE: That is-- I think that's a good idea. I think-- honestly, it's been in my backlog of things I may do. I've been kind of reticent to sign on for that with Zac because hey, there's a lot of different things on my plate. But I also feel like I'm uniquely qualified to do it because I actually have a case logic CD sleeve.

I remember when CDs were how you listen to music in your car. So we'll see. I think most of the staff is Gen X to Gen Y. But you get into Gen Y and there weren't CD players in cars.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, it's been pretty recent that they haven't been in. My last two cars had them. Our 2013 X5 and All Road both had CD players.

GREG MIGLIORE: Oh, that's a very-- that's a tribute to the X5 for having that.

JAMES RISWICK: And then the All Road, it made a difference because it had the Harmon Kardon-- or no, Bang & Olufsen sound system, which was exceptional. And the sound quality difference between your phone and CDs was definitely noticeable. And it made a big difference. That sound system was great.

So yeah, it is a little sad. If you want sound quality, it's still the way to go. I would-- one thing about the older cars is you can still get a CD player.

GREG MIGLIORE: Well, it's a different vibe to versus Spotify or satellite radio or talk radio. Because you just-- ideally, you put a CD in and you-- I like to listen to it all the way through. And when you're working a manual transmission, perhaps you have a nice hot cup of coffee. It's very cathartic way to approach driving. You're very-- that's what you're doing.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, that said, I still have transferred most of my favorites in high def to my phone and have purchased many albums on iTunes over the years. I still buy music. I don't actually have a Spotify account.


JAMES RISWICK: I listen to my own stuff or Sirius, both in car Sirius and then through the app. There's a lot of extra channels on the Sirius app. It's really good. I think people should give it more of a chance.

I kind of like the-- it's more curated by actual human beings, as opposed to some algorithm that just puts you into your own little silo, listening to your own stuff. So I'm a fan of it. I like both the app and listen to it at all-- like, just around the house, we have it on the various channels, both the actual channels that are in your car and then tons of bonus channels. So pretty cool.

GREG MIGLIORE: That was one of I think the mind blowing things when I first got into press cars. And frankly, Sirius and XM were still in their early days. I was like, this is fantastic. You get-- back then, Sirius and XM hadn't quite merged. They then merged. So Ford's had one, and Chevy's had something else. And Honda-- it was definitely a different thing. I remember writing that story about the merger, the Sirius-XM merger.

JAMES RISWICK: Well, I always liked XM better. I liked the channels a little bit better. And they carried baseball. That was the big thing. Because now I was listening to, in Los Angeles, Blue Jays games happening throughout the country and in Canada, which blew my mind. That was so cool. And that was such a big deal. Because of that, I actually had a portable Sirius player that I would carry that I would plug in using an using an aux jack into press cars that didn't have XM, or my own Z3.

GREG MIGLIORE: I tell you what, listening to sports on satellite radio is definitely one of the-- that's one of the joys of it, if you will. During baseball season, in particular, but you can even get spring training games on there, which is cool.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. The MLB app--

GREG MIGLIORE: Also will do that.

JAMES RISWICK: Made it that-- made it defunct. But you know. Anyway.

GREG MIGLIORE: Pitchers and catchers report in about two weeks, if that. So baseball season is coming. All right. So that is our long-term WRX. Let's move on to a little bit of news here. Frankly, I think the coolest bit of eye candy on sight this week was the 2025 RS6 GT, Byron wrote the headline, Ultra Limited, which is true. Just 85 are coming to the United States.

It is intense. It kind of is the spiritual successor to the GTO concept that was, yes, an Audi, not a Pontiac, not a Ferrari, from a little while ago. And it's pretty powerful. We're talking 630 horsepower, 621 stateside. We lose 9 as you make the voyage across the Atlantic. And it just-- it looks like some of those great 1980s rally cars.

It's got the right color scheme. It's low to the ground. It's everything you want in the wagon, the sport wagon, a speed wagon, and you will not likely get it. Just 85 of these things are coming here. But reminds me of transformers a little bit that I used to have back in the day.

JAMES RISWICK: I think it kind of looks like a running shoe. Multicolored Asics running shoe.


JAMES RISWICK: I don't really like it.


JAMES RISWICK: It's kind of like the appeal of wagons as kind of the sleeper notion of them. Like, the RS6 is a really cool looking car. But it looks neat and black or a dark red. But when you're just-- it's all flamboyant and graphics on the side. I don't-- I don't know. It looks like a safety car, which maybe people would like. Not my wagon cup of tea.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's like many of those throwback uniforms that you'll see different sporting teams wear. And it's like, you may love it, you may hate it, but they're definitely doing something different here. And there's definitely some beauty in the eye of the beholder. I will reference, this is out of nowhere, but it's the first thing that came to mind, the Green Bay Packers throwback jerseys. Take a look at those things. And that may be comparable to these.

But let's talk about wagons. You have compiled a list of, what is it, the most influential, your favorite,

JAMES RISWICK: Coolest wagons of the 21st century.

GREG MIGLIORE: OK. It's not like those President's Day lists where there's 15 different studies, then you rank them. And it changes year to year. And Douglas Brinkley weighs in. This is Riswick's list of wagons. OK.


GREG MIGLIORE: There's been some good ones.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. So again, this would be those sold in the United States. This is not global. Because obviously, the V10 powered M5 wagon, and like there was a C63 wagon, the Golf R wagon, Focus ST wagon.

A lot of the-- like, various Audi RS. Talk about the RS 6 Avant. There have been previous ones, we just never got them. So there's a lot that haven't been sold here. They're not the topic of this. These would be those that are sold in the United States, and again, of the 21st century.

There's a handful of them in the 90s. But mostly we were still waiting for the station wagons to become extinct, your country Squires, Vista Cruisers, all those things that to this day, make the wagon, like, this uncool thing. But for the most part, wagons in this century, have been cool. Even things like a Buick Regal Tour X.

GREG MIGLIORE: Not a bad wagon. I saw it revealed in Warren. It was cool.

JAMES RISWICK: Is it cool? I don't know. But is it cooler than comparable SUV? Yeah.


JAMES RISWICK: But admittedly, most of the things on my list would be the high power-- higher powered performance versions, you know every Mercedes E63 AMG, for instance, because that's been the most-- I put that number one. My list is not really an order with the exception of the E63. Because it's been there for the entire time.

It's had multiple generations. It's had staying power. Even though it was for most of its time at least, just custom order only. They didn't just have them at the dealer. You had to go in and say, I want one of these please and here's some money for it. So it's kind of like the quintessential high powered wagons, the E63. And it has a third row seat.

So I think if we're doing know coolest three row vehicles, it's definitely high up. That might be on the top of the list too.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right. You want to run through your list real quick, maybe?


GREG MIGLIORE: Give everybody what's on there.

JAMES RISWICK: So the turn of the century E39 BMW 5 Series. You couldn't get the V8 with a manual. That was kind of sad. But it's still an E39. It's one of the-- it's like the quintessential sports sedan.

So isn't it ergo, the quintessential sport wagon? Of course, the CTS-V wagon, that thing was nuts. The fact that Cadillac made the CTS-V at all, really, given that it's the brand of vast land yachts, like, elegant American classic luxury, yada, yada, here's something to beat an M5. That's kind of nutty.

And then, hell, let's just make a wagon too. That's like-- the thing was-- as much as we loved it as automotive enthusiasts, even we would went, really, you're doing this? That's interesting. That seems crazy. And it was crazy. So yay for that existing.

There's a lot of things on here. Dodge Magnum, of course. Today's Charger and Challenger are going away finally, after all-- like, basically existing for most of the century. And yet in the beginning, there was another member-- and the Chrysler 300. There was another member. That was the wagon-- that was the magnum. And that was the rear wheel drive, big powered wagon from Dodge. And it went away.

It never got the major refresh that the Charger and the Challenger and the 300 got. It just died, which is really sad. Because imagine today, we would have the Magnum SRT 392 scat pack, widebody Daytona Ultimate Edition, yada, yada, yada. All that other crap that they applied to the Charger and the Challenger to keep it going over the years could have been on the Magnum and we could have lusted after that. But we were never given a chance. So that seems like a sliding doors moment. That's kind of sad.

Or hell, maybe they would have made some t-rex version and done some gnarly magnum off roader t-rex. That would have been cool too. So it could have been better. Did you ever drive a Magnum? I mean, you have a Charger.

GREG MIGLIORE: I mean, basically, I never actually drove a Magnum, per se. I have driven its LX brethren though, let's put it that way. I always liked the Magnum a lot. I think there was a lot of things to-- it was just so meat and potatoes. It was the muscle car before we got the actual muscle cars. So You got to give-- what was it back then-- Daimler-Chrysler credit for doing it.

It was built in Brampton, Ontario, if I recall.


GREG MIGLIORE: You know, frankly, it would fit in pretty well right now with everything crossovery. That would be a wagon that might have an audience. I mean, wouldn't that be a hell of a thing? So the Charger Daytona is expected to be revealed March 5th as we reported. And it looks like it's going to be two doors. We don't know what they're doing with the Challenger. I mean, wouldn't that be just the greatest thing ever to see the magnum come back from the dead.

JAMES RISWICK: Yes. That would be-- cool. Why not? Do it. They could raise it inherently, whatever, that's fine. That would be fine. So otherwise, speaking of Subaru, did put the WRX wagon on here, of which there was only one.


JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, and you know it's funny, because when that came out had the buggy one right and I remember thinking, oh, that is ugly. And a lot of people thought Oh that's ugly and they redesigned it twice to like first like this utterly milquetoast forgettable one, which I guess, wasn't ugly, but it was kind of blah. And then it put the weird the weird nose, kind of B4 or Tribeca.

GREG MIGLIORE: Tribeca nose, yeah.

JAMES RISWICK: B9 Tribeca. But looking back, the buggy one isn't as objectionable anymore. And it's what belongs on the car. I don't know what you think. I think--

GREG MIGLIORE: The bug-eyed one was more of that time. Whereas, shoehorning that kind of vent whatever thing they were going for on, it never seemed like a real fit. And they also overreacted to some of the negative emotions stirred up by that, you know, the bug-eyed one. And then they went super conservative. And frankly, they did something which wasn't very Subaru, which was stick with their design. Tehy were kind of swaying with public opinion there for a while.

JAMES RISWICK: But I mean, that wagon, when I think of the first WRX, I think of the wagon. Because it was cool. And even-- that's like a really nice looking wagon design. But that was it. It went hatchback thereafter, which seems which always seemed weird to me, given that they had the Outback.

So they had the wagon thing going for them. They could sell wagons and then they abandoned the wagon in favor of a hatchback, which just didn't work as well-- I guess the Crosstrek eventually became of it. But the early Outback sport was not what the Crosstrek is. It's totally different.

But yeah, it's kind of sad that was the first and only WRX wagon. And I think it's kind of-- WRX was never the same after that. I don't think it was ever as appealing, including the one you have.

GREG MIGLIORE: Well, that's a hot take. I feel like in some ways, you could write that without having driven the car.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. I mean, that said, I didn't really enjoy driving it. Well, there you go. OK. It wasn't really-- I don't think I fit in it very well.

GREG MIGLIORE: So I mean, like I said, we're pretty open minded with the long-term blog. We could lower the bar so much that you don't even have to drive the long-term car. You can weigh in on something from 20 years ago.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. So this was something Jeremy and I-- because Jeremy was when I was putting together, he raised the point that the WRX wagon spawned the Saab 92X.


JAMES RISWICK: Do you remember that?

GREG MIGLIORE: You would win some bar bets on that one. I do not.

JAMES RISWICK: Oh, OK. So that was one of the lowest points-- so that was when GM had to like-- was trying to rescue Saab. I don't know what they were doing. But they like that was when they created the 97X out of a Chevy Trailblazer. That horror show. And then they got Subaru to make a Saab version of the car. And they called it the 92X.

Admittedly, and it was the wagon only, and it did look better than all of the other WRXs that we just talked about. But it was also really sad for Saab. This is a car company that very proudly did its own thing. And here, it was a very sad, bizarre badge engineering thing. And when you have two of the quirkiest car makers in Subaru and Saab, there's no way you can make one be like the other. It's just not going to work.

So-- it was just kind of-- I don't know. I think it's quirky. It's something that you could bring to Radwood someday when they expand it to the 2000s. But Jim Halpert on The Office owned one.

GREG MIGLIORE: That is some good trivia. I'm going to definitely shop that around. I did not know that. I knew he did have a Saab, but I didn't know that's the one he owned.

JAMES RISWICK: He had a Saab 92X. And when the kids come along, he gets an Outback.

GREG MIGLIORE: That, I knew. That, I knew.

JAMES RISWICK: So you know, he was like us. He was a Subaru guy, but not. It's interesting.

The car psychology of Office characters could-- I could probably tell you what a lot of those characters drove. Because you always saw the parking lot, right? And so they were consistent with the cars that were in the parking lot. And when you're a car person, you notice those things.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's true. That's true. The Chrysler Pacifica convertible-- not Pacifica, what am I remembering, that Steve Carell drove?

JAMES RISWICK: Oh, the PT Cruiser. That replaced his Sebring. Because that was like-- it was it was a kind of humiliating downgrade.

GREG MIGLIORE: Oh, yes. Yes. And of course, Dwight's Pontiac, was that a Trans Am or a Firebird?


GREG MIGLIORE: Trans Am. OK. There we go. Some pretty good Office trivia there.

JAMES RISWICK: Andy had the Xterra.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's right. I liked that.

JAMES RISWICK: Prius. He had a Prius. Yeah, Pam had the two door Toyota Yaris.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's true. That's true.

JAMES RISWICK: The Ford Aerostar of Meredith.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's true.

JAMES RISWICK: I think Stanley had a Chrysler 300.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think so. That sounds right. We did have-- oh, I'm blanking on this one now, It was a good one too. It'll come to me. When I'm watching this on the-- binge watching this on Peacock or something, this is going to bug me. There was a good one that came up too. I digress. Cars of The office.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, I think I'll just end with there's lots of cool wagons on here, but my final one would be the Volkswagen Passat W8. Specifically with the manual. Maybe this isn't cool at all, but it is so bizarre that they did that.

Putting a W8, this newfangled W8 engine in a Passat. And then doing it in the wagon. And then offering it with a manual and not really making it that performance-oriented. It's one of the strangest, what were they smoking, like seriously, cars of all time. And yeah. Always deserves a mention whenever possible.

GREG MIGLIORE: That was actually I thought, a pretty handsome looking, for its time, wagon. I thought that was kind of cool. The WA part was definitely a head scratcher. But it's a Kia. You get one for about $11,000 on Hagerty, well, you could. It looks like it's sold. Yeah, man.


I'm sure-- I'm sure it's just a bulletproof in terms of reliability.

GREG MIGLIORE: 270 horsepower. That's not bad for 2005, 3, somewhere in there. And I would say to Riff on your list, CTS wagon. Of course. I thought that was a spectacular design for the time period. The tail lights were just awesome. It really was almost like a throwback.

And I actually don't know if this is on your list. I've been trying to access your story through a CMS. And it won't let me. Jaguar--

JAMES RISWICK: No, that's because I'm in it.

GREG MIGLIORE: Well, it's funny, it's supposed to let you preview it. And it's not doing that. So you know, bit of a WordPress fail there. But I like the Jaguar XF Sportbrake. I think that is a very handsome vehicle. You could get one for about $30,000, give or take-- give or take the miles. I can't really say if we were spending money, I would recommend that is a good investment. But it's a very good looking car.

JAMES RISWICK: It was a good looking car. I didn't like it that much, though.


JAMES RISWICK: The interior was not nice. It was not nice. And it wasn't as distinctive. The original XF interior was really cool. Like, the start button pulsed like the beating heart of a cat. And then you pressed it and then the shift, the rotary shifter rose into your hand as opposed to just existing in this expanse of plastic.

And it was distinctive it. Was so totally different than both other Jaguars and everything else in the segment. And the second XF just became-- they really dialed back the distinctiveness.

I didn't think it was as good to drive either. So I think the wagon, although I'm happy it exists and it looks pretty good as a wagon, the base XF wasn't as good. So I think I didn't include it for that purpose.

GREG MIGLIORE: I will throw the Volvo V90 on there as well. I thought that was a very handsome vehicle.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. that's one thing. The V90 and the Cross Country, I put the V60 Polestar engineered.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's a thinking man's choice, sure.

JAMES RISWICK: On it. Because that one is like the plug-in hybrid. The only way to get the-- so the plug-in hybrid Volvo powertrains on like every 60 or 80 series thing, except for the wagons. And it's really unfortunate, maybe just for people who like wagons. But they exist, right? And why wouldn't we want the plug-in hybrid. But the only way to get it is this high powered Polestar engineered $80,000 thing, which is cool.


JAMES RISWICK: But its availability kind of sucks. That's the only way to get the plug-in hybrid. But it is still pretty cool. It's one of the cars that is currently sold that is on the list, but obviously, in all those. I love the cross country Volvos. Whether they're cool, I don't know.


The good.

GREG MIGLIORE: The V90, I believe, was another-- after they launched it with the rest of the 90 platform, it became special order. And they made it cross country only. And I actually kind of like the cross country version as well just because it was kind of the best of both worlds.

But it did seem like they kind of [? skeezed ?] up a pretty good design with those plastic wheel arches. It's like, you got this beautiful Scandinavian design. And then you're going to do that.

JAMES RISWICK: I like it higher.


JAMES RISWICK: I think the V60 and V90 look better when they're a little elevated.


JAMES RISWICK: I kind of dig the raised wagon look. I'm kind of partial to it.

GREG MIGLIORE: Well, we do have an Auto Show that went on this week. We're coming to you. This podcast drops on Friday. The Chicago Auto Show is just wrapping up. Not too many crazy reveals. We're expecting the Kia Carnival and the updated K5 and some Nissan news. News editor, Joel Stockstill, is there. So obviously, check out his Twitter feed and whatnot if you're listening to this podcast over the weekend.

Obviously, we don't know if there's any surprises because we're talking about something that's happened in the past from the future, as we sometimes do on the podcast. I feel like I saw you at a Chicago Auto Show once. I ran into you at the Ford stand or something.

I think we both generally like auto shows, at least what they used to be. I mean, what do you think about auto shows? It seems like the model is totally changed. And a show like Chicago, which actually put up a couple of credible exhibitions, even in light of the pandemic, I mean, this year, it seems quite quiet. So I don't know, man. What do you think this is going to hold for the future?

JAMES RISWICK: The Chicago Auto Show has always been quiet, at least in my time, which is now substantial. And not very important. To the point that I went, when I was like-- I was the junior staff member and the other junior staff member would go. And we went. And honestly, it was my favorite Auto Show.


JAMES RISWICK: Because for two reasons. One, because nothing was going on, you still had all the PR people there. So unlike every other Auto Show you go to, where the brand representatives are running around and coordinating interviews and doing this and doing that and talking to the executive of whatever, they're there and you have the ability to like chat with them, which is good for reporting purposes and for you just social chatting with people purposes.

So as an-- it was like this really great industry event. And when I was coming up, it was really great to-- a lot of the people I'd met at those auto shows are still my contemporaries today. I mean, this was before I think I saw you last there. But it was a really good experience.

Even to this day, I think the junior staff members are the ones that we-- car companies send. We don't really that. We've had a lot of our staff-- we don't have 25-year-old Riswick on staff. The other thing is Chicago's huge. In terms of like the amount of cars that are on the floor. So it was really useful to go there because you could actually, as a journalist, or as a car shopper, check out four different types of Grand Caravan, not just one.

And then there was commercial vehicles, big cherry picker trucks and ambulances. And it was like really cool to see for people who were attending or just to gather-- hey, I haven't sat in the back of X. Let's see that. Here's my opportunity to do that.

And I have time because there's not a thing else really going on. So I always enjoyed Chicago. But yeah, they're going away. Clearly, brands don't see a lot of value in them.

A lot of brands don't see value in them from a-- even from a consumer perspective anymore, specifically, the luxury car makers. They don't see any value. They would rather just, I guess, bring you into their dealership, which I think is a loss for consumers because now, you have to spend so much more time going between dealers. You can't just walk around and get a quick taste for them. And perhaps, that's exactly why luxury brands don't want you to do that.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. I mean, I agree. I mean, frankly, covering the 2009 or 8 Chicago Auto Show when I was in my 20s, that was definitely a junior web reporter. I think they called me senior web reporter, but I was the youngest guy on staff at Autoweek by about two decades.

And that was the show I was covering. And I mean, point I'm trying to make, Chicago, from a press perspective, this may be it. It's like, maybe they could do some interviews, hold some light attendance. But I mean, they also don't really have to because it's always been a big consumer show.

In Chicago, you don't have to have Porsche there or all the luxury makers. They can still make some hay with being a big winter thing to do in Chicago. I think to a lesser extent, you'll see that in some other cities as well. I am surprised that automakers don't try to use these almost as like one-offs. Ford showed the Mustang in Detroit a couple of years ago. You can still get a decent audience. And maybe an auto show is a decent place to show something.

I don't know what that might be. Maybe it's a special edition model. Just something to generate buzz. But clearly, the media model element of it is changed.

But Chicago, it was always quiet, but it was always sneaky good, I thought. Looking back at some of the-- we have a list up on the site about some of the more significant reveals over there. Chicago always played second fiddle to Detroit, in particular, because it was three weeks later. So there just was-- the major reveals were not there. But I went back and looked and I remember seeing the Taurus show.

There was I think a 392 Charger there. Every work truck would get revealed in Chicago, not the other shows. Ford usually did something because they had the factory. And then my personal favorite Easter egg is I discovered the Transformers movie prop that was used as sideswipe was a Corvette Stingray, which showed in 2009. And people were like, what the hell is this? Did you just show the new Corvette?

And they're like, well, actually, it's a plastic prototype that doesn't even run. It's still pretty big news. So in the past, Chicago did have some sort of press muscle. I don't know. Maybe we'll be so wrong and something will be blown up, but I don't know.

JAMES RISWICK: Chicago was fun. It was useful. I wouldn't call it important.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. It was good for the-- the pizza and the open bar. And those were the highlights.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, it's unfortunate. Because I mean, auto shows killed themselves. They killed themselves by making it so insanely expensive for manufacturers to participate in them. And so when-- so when the benefit of them was waning, that cost really became ridiculous. And so they have no problem backing out, none, especially when so much of their purpose-- so peeling back a little behind the scenes here, when a car is introduced at the auto show, we will receive information and usually photos a couple of days beforehand that we agree not to publish until a certain time when the thing is revealed at the auto show, or at an event usually the night before that auto show.

At that event, the car company has you for a far longer than the 20 minutes. They can tell a more complete story, provide more information, provide more of a quote, "brand experience" than you can achieve shoehorned onto a stage with music from Hyundai playing over there. And the coffee bar from Volvo over there. And you control the experience more. And it's cheaper than being in the auto show.

So obviously, it makes sense. And you invite who you want to invite. They still invite a lot of people. But really, the only people they have at their press conference are people that they didn't invite the night before.

And frankly, they're not as important media. So how does that make sense? So it makes sense why they're dying. It's just unfortunate that they're dying. Because even though all those events are happening the night before, everyone's there at the same time.

So if it was ever going to rebound, we need something like Pebble Beach, where you have other things happening. And then the card brands are kind of on their own little islands, or the press is in a place at a similar time. But even, that I don't know how--

GREG MIGLIORE: Pebble Beach has shown some shocking staying power the last few years. If you had to look at the most important reveals, Pebble Beach has had as many as any. It's like, Pebble Beach, sort of CES, kind of Detroit, depending on how much you weigh the F-150 and Mustang. One or two years LA. But it's just like-- the hierarchy is totally gone. But to your point, Pebble Beach has been actually-- though it's diminished, it's still been a pretty, I think, good model for how automakers can try to get their message out.

Because you don't have to pay for floor space at McCormick or Javits. You're not paying those huge things. Now Pebble Beach ain't cheap, let's put it that way. But you can invite who you want to your golf course, get your thing out there, put the VP of design and the chief engineer, and away you go. And you probably get as much bang for your buck as you do with a press conference and then a two week run at a large convention center in the downtown Area

JAMES RISWICK: And having just been to CES, I mean, yeah, the car companies get really-- they'll just show like the real techs. They'll lean into their more tech-oriented stuff. But really, I mean, there's-- like, Samsung is showing stoves and vacuum cleaners. Name a car is more of a technology device than your stove, even though it has generative AI now and blah, blah, blah, blah, OK. But really, a car is just as-- any car now is just as valid as a technology thing.

And with CES, you don't just have you and me there. There's not just automotive media. There's everybody from everywhere, all in Vegas, which has the house-- the car-- the capacity to expand itself should the car world be more there. The Detroit Auto Show definitely doesn't want that to happen because it's like a week later now.

But frankly, I know some in the automotive media aren't too keen on CES because it is kind of crazy in terms of the scope. But I think as a way to still have an Auto Show, I think it makes more sense for the car companies and for us too. Because you can-- the wider auto show-- you can walk around.

You can see, oh yeah, those are those buttons from the Nissan Ariya. That's the supplier who does that. Cool. There is some value to that. So I kind of-- I could see that becoming more of a thing increasingly.

GREG MIGLIORE: I mean, hey, the Mustang, the original Mustang debuted at the-- was it the 1964 World's Fair. So I mean, you don't have to do it with a press conference. You can do it a lot of different ways. And I think that's all the time we have. Thanks for hanging out, James. Any final thoughts? Is it dry February for you? I've been asking people their drinking recommendations. I did, they call it damp January where you try to cut back a little bit. But February has definitely involved a variety of beverages. So

JAMES RISWICK: Definitely not here. And the weather isn't doing much to--

GREG MIGLIORE: There you go. There you go.


GREG MIGLIORE: All right. Well, again, that's five stars on Apple Podcast, Spotify, wherever you get the show. Send us your Spend My Moneys, Be safe out there and we'll see you next week.