Honda Civic Type R vs. Toyota GR Corolla | Autoblog Podcast #778

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor James Riswick. They discuss our recent comparison test of the the Honda Civic Type R and Toyota GR Corolla before getting into reviews of the new Toyota Prius and Prius Prime, Lucid Air Touring, Chevy Colorado and Porsche GT3 RS. They also talk about the restructuring of Jaguar Land Rover before taking to Reddit, where someone is seeking advice on buying a 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid XLE or Acura Integra A-Spec.

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Video Transcript



GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to "The Autoblog Podcast." I'm Greg Migliore. We have a great show for you today. We're talking about the Civic Type R versus the Corolla, a battle of some pretty hot hatches. Shift gears a little bit, we'll talk about the Prius and Prius Prime, Chevy Colorado, Porsche 911 GT3 RS, and some loose and fun. We'll talk about the demise, sort of, of the Land Rover name, and we'll spend some money. So with that, let's bring in senior editor for all things West Coast. He hasn't been on the show in a minute because he's been driving literally everything up and down the West Coast. Welcome James Riswick.

JAMES RISWICK: Thank you. It's good to be back.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's been a while.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, it has been. It took me forever just to find my microphone. I had no idea where it was. It's been so long since I've been on the podcast, so good to be back.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right. All right. Well, you've been driving a lot of interesting things. You did sort of a self-comparison test. Mark Takahashi, one of our contributors, helped you out a little bit because you need multiple people to drive cars. It gets a little hard when there's two cars and one human being and you want to get pictures and drive impressions. It gets complicated.


GREG MIGLIORE: So you had a pretty good comparison test. You have a verdict. Which, if you've read Autoblog in the last month, you know what it is. But why don't you talk maybe about how this test went and initial impressions of each car.

JAMES RISWICK: Sure. So I went on the first drives for both of these cars. The GR Corolla was only on the track, and then the Type R was also on the track. We drove it a bit on the roads, but it was cold and rainy. So I only kind of drove the Civic Type R at full whack, and then the GR I only drove at full whack.

So there was a lot of question marks that arose in terms of what the GR would be like on real roads, and then, also, like how obviously the big bogey against it would be the new Civic Type R. And so we had them out in Malibu, drove them all on the pretty, winding mountain roads. And it was stunning how different the two are. And specifically, the GR feels smaller. And it's because it is smaller, but it's also just because it's livelier.

All of the controls, from the steering to the way it-- it does have that all-wheel drive system that can proportion a little more power to the back. Or it can proportion power to the back, period, versus the Type R. And in general, yeah, it just feels like a more fun, lively car, and I don't think we were expecting them to be just that different in feel.

The Type R almost feels Germanic in how just incredibly precise and poised it is. It even just looks more grown up in the best possible way now. And driving around the mountains, we were having more fun in the GR Corolla than in the Type R. You know-- and when you're out in the mountains and you're driving, it's really hard for you to tell, really, would I be quicker in the other car? It's just it's hard for you to tell, right? That's why stopwatches and racetracks exist.

And if you see everybody else's comparisons or drives that include track elements, the Type R is winning. Like, quite handedly, it's faster than the GR Corolla. But out in the real world it's a little harder to tell, especially when a car is-- there are certain cars, especially Germanic ones, where you are driving really fast, and it seems easy because the car is so wildly capable. It's kind of like the GTI Golf R thing for so long. It's so wildly capable it doesn't feel like you're going that fast. But oh yeah, you really are. That's what the Type R's thing is.

But the other thing with the Type R is, it comes down to the Civic being a better car than a Corolla. That goes from interior quality to interior space, specifically. It is a bigger, more-- and not like bigger like boat big. It's just a more practical vehicle for the day-to-day drive. It has a much larger, more functional trunk. And that's not just like, oh, I need to put a whole bunch of baby gear in the back. The Corolla's trunk is barely big enough-- barely tall enough to fit, like, full-sized paper grocery bags before the cargo cover crunches them.

So it's just a little more-- it is a little more comfortable because it does have the adaptive dampers. The GR-- actually, I was surprised at how fine it was in terms of ride quality in driving it a lot, as I did. That was the big question at the first drive, was we just didn't know how well it was going to ride. We kind of wondered if Toyota was hiding it from us by not letting us drive on the street, but it was actually totally fine.

So yeah, inevitably when we added it all up-- and even though we weighted it for fun to drive, driving enthusiast categories-- the GR just barely won those fun to drive categories. But everything else, the Type R kind of trounced it. And as a result, the victory goes to the Type R largely on the strength of its day-to-day drivability. And again, you look at these-- we could not drive it on a track, but those who have are showing the Type R is quicker, so I think the verdict is pretty strong there.

At the same time, though, they're both awesome, and both Mark and I kind of-- Mark decided he would pick the GR Corolla because he used to own-- he owns motorcycles and used to own a Lotus Elise, and he doesn't really care about the day-to-day practicality, he just wanted the fun car. Well, that's the GR Corolla.

And if I were just wanting a weekend fun car, you could totally get the GR Corolla because it is uniquely amusing to drive. Whereas the Type R is like, we own this and I can drive this every day. It doesn't matter. I could take the kids to school in this. It would be fine. Or I could own it for 10 years and I could go through a variety of life changes with this car-- it would be better for longer. So that was the verdict there.

GREG MIGLIORE: I would issue a concurring opinion that I would go with the Type R as well. When I remember when you filed the story, you were like, hey, take a look. Make sure we're not alienating half the readers, that type of thing. And I always like going over comparison tests in particular, just to see where people landed and what they liked and didn't like. And I agree with you. I mean, I think Type R is the winner. And I think the Civic is just the better car. I don't really think there's any-- when those are the bones you're working with, it's really not-- the Corolla maybe has two strikes against it already.

JAMES RISWICK: Mm-hmm. I mean, the other thing is, the all-wheel drive system on that car-- it's interesting because the Type R feels like the ultimate Civic. So it's like this ladder from a Civic Sport Touring, which is the hatchback with a manual transmission, the sport-tuned suspension, is great. It is so good. And it's better equipped than an SI that I would probably get the Sport Touring over the SI. It's just a little more, and it's just more tasteful, and I'd be fine paying less for that.

But you do have the step up from Sport Touring to SI to Type R. There is a progression here. The GR Corolla feels like what it is, which is a skunkworks thing that they took a Corolla and then Frankensteined it into this incredible machine. It does not-- it's a totally-- the regular Corolla hatchback is actually a surprisingly fine car. It's just this is just way, way beyond it. It is a totally different creature. So they're very different in that. And because of that, it kind of feels a little more special. Like, which one will be worth more in 15 to 20 years? I don't think there's any question it'll be the Toyota. But-- yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: The Corolla kind of brings the interesting party trick, if you will, that's the three-cylinder to the table.


GREG MIGLIORE: What did you think of that against the more traditional setup of the Civic?

JAMES RISWICK: Oh, it's so characterful. I mean, you have this growl, and then-- yeah, it is more powerful. It is more characterful. And you also have to-- the Type R has a really impressive mid-range in that engine where we were in the mountains and I could maintain pace just in a higher gear and in the 4,000 to 5,000 RPM range, whereas the GR I was in the upper rev ranges a lot more. That said, though, the Type R, it just really-- the amount of power it still has up high despite being turbocharged.

I mean, it's not screaming 9,000 like VTEC glory years, but it's still like a more broader power band. And again, they both have manual transmissions. They're both-- the Civic Type R is a little meatier in terms of its engagement point than the other Civics, which is good. But then, the Corolla's is really good. That has a more mechanical feel to it even though a little longer throws and the shifter is further away. Because the Civic's is very high, and it has that bring a glove shifter that will either be frigid or will sear the shift pattern into your palm.

So yeah, there's so much to like. And yeah, the Corolla has that all-wheel drive system, which is so cool. That's the story of the car. You put it on the track and you put it on that 50/50 setting, and that is quicker. The 30/70 introduces a little bit of looseness to it, which is really fun out in the mountains, and I certainly used it out there. It's not like I'm going to put it into ditch looseness or I'm going to be drifting a lot use.

It's just a nice little-- it kind of makes it feel that characterful, liveliness element to it. But if you want to go quicker, you put it in 50/50. And really, if they had this system in this Type R, it would be a all-star, hall of fame car forever. They've done wonders with front wheel drive, but if it had all-wheel drive, good grief. If they put this SH-AWD-- if the Integra Type S, if they could put SH-AW-- SH-AWD in it, holy cow. But they're not. So let's just leave that there.

GREG MIGLIORE: There you go. So you know what the GR Corolla strikes me as, is a modern day Mitsubishi Evo. Would you say-- would you agree with that? True or false, where did you land on that?

JAMES RISWICK: I don't know. Honestly, it's been so long since I drove the Evo.

GREG MIGLIORE: Still not burned into your head? You don't remember the rattling experience that it is?

JAMES RISWICK: Oh. Yeah. I think it's livelier than that car, but I honestly don't remember. I didn't drive them. That would-- yeah, let's just leave it there. I don't have enough memory--


JAMES RISWICK: --of it. I like it better than the-- I did drive the STI more back then, and I did not like that car.


JAMES RISWICK: It was the last hatchback STI. I don't think I've driven an STI since then, so it was a long time ago.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's been a minute. OK. I feel like I'm old enough that I don't-- the STI doesn't really do it for me anymore. I don't know. It's just-- it's a little harsher of an experience than I want in a car that is ostensibly supposed to be fun.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. I have not driven the current WRX. However, I will be driving it. I have scheduled it for June when I will be driving it to the Integra Type S launch.

GREG MIGLIORE: Well, sounds like a pretty good trip. All right.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. So we can see how those two-- they're not necessarily fully competitors, but it will be illuminating to see how they line up together.

GREG MIGLIORE: Maybe-- I don't know. People would read that, I think. I don't know, you know?

JAMES RISWICK: Oh, we'll see.



GREG MIGLIORE: Talking Toyota Prius, Prius Prime. I mean, the headline here is how handsome this car is.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. Well, the GR Corolla-- platform-mates. The Prius and the GR Corolla, they're mechanically related.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's kind of wild when you just think about that.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, but so is the Toyota Sienna. So-- [LAUGHS]

GREG MIGLIORE: Well, yeah. That's true.

JAMES RISWICK: That's like the TNG [BLOWS RASPBERRY] the D platform version, but they're all kind of related anyway. So yeah, the Prius. Well, not only is it related, it's the same platform as before. So they fiddled with this and that, but effectively, under the skin, it's the same thing. Which is shocking because the old skin was revolting-- one of the ugliest cars of all time both in terms of detailing and just proportions. It looked just awful.

New one-- and it's not just in comparison to the old one. It's genuinely cool. I've since had the Prius here, just at home, and I always enjoyed looking at it. It just-- you know, people look my way, look at the back and Prius is written in big letters on the back now. And wait, that's a Prius? It makes a big difference, and it speaks to them recognizing that the Prius as a brand was faltering because anybody really strongly into environmentally conscious cars had abandoned it in favor of fully electric cars.

Now there's still an argument to be made for the Prius and having sky-high fuel economy, especially in terms of cost and also infrastructure. If you live in a condo or an apartment, good luck charging. So you might as well get 52 miles per gallon. But do you want the car that makes you want to barf when you look at it and just depresses you every time you drive it? No. Ergo, I'm not interested in a Prius.

So what did they do? They made it look wow, and then the driving experience-- you know, brace yourself, this is not-- it is not the GR Corolla, right? But it's no longer terrible. Toyota-- often, isn't standard operating procedure to have the last generation on hand for you to check out? But they did on this launch really drive home the fact of how bad the old one was and the new one is so much better. That goes from-- in particular, just steering effort and precision was just ridiculous before, and now is kind of normal.

There's even a sport mode that I drove in. And it's for me, but everyone else would be fine with the comfort mode. Far more poised to the suspension. The hybrid powertrain. Now this is a big development not just for the Prius, but for all of the Toyota hybrids moving forward, is that the electric motor stays on a little longer, and then the engagement when the engine kicks in is smoother and quieter.

So before you'd get on the throttle and very quickly that engine would come on, and you'd notice. It's still kind of drone-y because it has that electronic CVT on it, but it's now smoother and the electric power being greater early on is that much more appreciated. And this is something you will notice and will be rolling out as time goes on. The Corolla Cross hybrid, which is the first Toyota hybrid after Prius, that has the same thing. It's a little louder for reasons that we don't need to get into. But nevertheless.

So they've improved. The hybrid powertrain, its fuel economy is basically the same. So it didn't really make huge gains in fuel economy. But it is so much more powerful now, to the point that-- like, 0 to 60 times in Priuses, right, like, who cares? It's like three seconds quicker. It goes from like 9.8 seconds to 7.2. Something like that. Which is like a gigantic gap. Sorry, it's a gigantic improvement that everybody will notice. When you're accelerating onto the highway, you'll be able to get up there quicker and it won't make as much noise.

And then you have the Prius Prime. So that's the plug-in hybrid. That has 100 more horsepower than before. 100. Its 0 to 60 time went from 10.2 to 6.6. Holy cow, that's enormous by any scale. And 6.6 is legitimately quick. Now, it's still-- to do that, you can have a full battery for the electric range, but you whack the throttle to do that. The engine will kick in. It's still pretty loud because it's a small naturally aspirated engine and it has that droning CVT of Toyotas. But nevertheless, you're going to get there quickly, and it makes a big difference.

The other thing is its all-electric range has basically doubled from the 20 range into the 40 range depending on trim level. It's like 39 or 44. So you're going to be driving on electricity more. So that means it's that much more efficient because the more electric range you have-- specifically for plug-in hybrids it's a big deal because 22 versus 44 is a lot different than a full EV that's, like, 250 versus 270, right?

That 20 miles doesn't make that much-- but in a plug-in hybrid it does because if you're only driving 35-- let's say you drive 35 miles in a day. Well, in the old one you would have been burning gas. The new one you were not burning gas, ergo your fuel economy is, like, infinite because rarely is that engine coming on unless you, as I was saying before, give it full whack.

So from a driving perspective, new Prius, so much better than before. And obviously it looks a lot better. So there's nothing not to like in terms of its improvement. And the other thing is, it doesn't really have many competitors anymore. There's the Accord Hybrid, there's-- within its house, the Toyota Camry Hybrid. But those are bigger, quite different vehicles. And then there's the Kia Niro, which is probably the closest thing.

But that is also a more practical, SUV-like vehicle. I've tested it now. I've done my luggage test. It holds a lot more stuff and has a bigger back seat than the Prius. It's also a lot slower too. So it's an interesting position. Well, I'm really curious to see how it does because it is a far more appealing car, but have people just moved on to either crossovers in general or just full EV or bust? We'll see.

GREG MIGLIORE: To me, that's perhaps the most-- the biggest question right now about the modern day Prius is with everything going so electric in general, it's like this car no longer captures the zeitgeist, if you will, of how it did maybe 15, 20 years ago when Prius and hybrid were synonymous with driving a green car. So it'll be interesting. But to your point, it's still a car in a hatchback. I mean, nobody wants that anymore.

So I think that could be the bigger challenge facing it versus, you know, is there still a market for hybrids. Which is also a big question. I think it's going to be really interesting because Prius is such a calling card for Toyota. It's like, how do they make it even more relevant when you could argue that its time, in some ways, has passed? I'm not sure I would argue that. I've had a lot of conversations with people-- so I have a sidewalk by my house that goes straight into the woods, and it's rare that I have a car that somebody just walks by and has zero questions about.

And I get a lot of questions these days about electrics. And there's always some people that are like, no, no, electrics are wrong. And they're happy to tell you why. But there are a lot of people who are very into electrics, but they just like their car. And they're like, well, I don't know. I mean, my car is only four years old. I don't think I'm ready to go get a full electric.

Or, you know, I kind of like the idea of a hybrid, I'm sort of hedging my bets. It doesn't even have to be a political thing. It's just like people who might want to go electric at some point are still a little nervous about the infrastructure, and that's where maybe you do see people come back to things like their old friend the Prius. So I don't know. We'll see.

JAMES RISWICK: Mm-hmm. Yeah, it'll be-- and it's interesting because that is a very-- Toyota's going about it a very pragmatic way. They're like, well, most people like-- we're not fully on board with this EV thing for myriad reasons. But they're not fully on board because they do make the point, like, well, if the goal is to cut CO2, you're doing it greatly by going with a hybrid because even a Highlander Hybrid, the difference in fuel economy between the hybrid and the [INAUDIBLE] is gigantic.

So if you buy a hybrid instead of trying to shell out however much money for some future, you're still saving a lot of gas and not putting as much CO2. So that's a victory, right? That is a true thing. It's pragmatic. It's very sensible. So it's a sensible argument. But I think a lot of people will still be like, no, all or nothing.

We're going to go EV. We don't want to hear that. We don't need to be the sensible one. And then at the same time, the Prius is a more emotional choice now. So while embracing the sensible argument, they are also making you want it for more emotional reasons. So it's an interesting thing they're doing.

GREG MIGLIORE: Definitely. Yeah, it's funny you bring up like the Highlander. I had that conversation with two Highlander Hybrid owners recently who were totally open to electric cars, but this was easier. I could get one. I have this relatively long range. I don't have to think about filling it up electrically, if you will. So that's interesting, you know?

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, and their choice of large crossover electric are rather small.

GREG MIGLIORE: Indeed. Indeed. So let's go full electric here on the podcast, and we'll shift over to Lucid. You and I are among the only people on staff who have driven Lucids. For me it's been a minute, but you've fairly recently driven one. This is just, to me, a very interesting car company. Their story is-- it's got a lot going on.

They've really played up the whole mid-century modern design, and then their numbers are just insane. I kind of wonder what kind of staying power are they going to have. But I was definitely impressed with the car I drove. This was not this fall, but last fall. But seemed pretty well screwed together. Aesthetically, it was great. It was quick. What did you think?

JAMES RISWICK: You know-- yeah, we could have devoted this entire podcast to the Lucid Air, honestly, because I have now not only-- I had the Touring for-- I can go into the differences. But the Touring is basically the mid-grade model. So I drove that for maybe five days, and I brought it home and I drove it more as a car. And then I went on the first drive launch, which uniquely-- usually on a first drive we go to some hotel somewhere and we have product presentations. And an engineer, maybe a designer will be there. But only just maybe.

For Lucid, I went to their headquarters in San Francisco, and I stood in their design studio, which is also shared with their engineering team. So I'm just in Lucid central and get this-- with the point being that I got to see a lot of the components that went into the car, and even could compare it to what-- the drive unit in the Lucid compared to what the drive unit is in, like, IONIQ 5 and EV6. The Ioniq 5 EV6 that Hyundai won, which is an impressive-- we're all fans of that car.

That thing looks like a small 1.4 liter internal combustion engine in size. But Lucid's tiny. Its motor looks like the size-- it looks like a toaster in comparison. And because of that, it's just a wildly impressive piece of engineering because although it's very small, it packs an immense amount of power and it's efficient. So if you look at the numbers at least, the Lucid Air produces 800 to 1,000 horsepower and is efficient as a Kia Niro EV.

It blows your mind what they were able to engineer out of this car. And that's why I mean I could go on about this car, because there's so many really fascinating engineering details that went into this. Like, they just went to create, like, a crown jewel. Like, let's fully embrace this from an engineering perspective. And then from a design perspective, much like a lot of EV makers, they were able to fully embrace the electric architecture. So they could play with proportions.

That smaller, tiny motor allows for a giant front trunk as well as the big, weirdly-shaped regular trunk. And that's why some electric cars do not have front trunks because their motor-- their stuff, right? Electric cars still have stuff, including a drive motor and motor control unit. And if it's bigger, like in a Hyundai or Kia, you have less space up front. So it all comes down to packaging. That's part of its engineering whiz-bangery.

Its batteries are really advanced, the way they can package them. And then, yeah, from a design perspective, this most recent event we were talking to the head designer, who was at Audi in their recent glory years. So let's say like 2008, when the Audi A5, S5 came out. And that A4, those really-- they couldn't really move on from them, that generation, as well as when Mazda got sexy. Like, those thereafter. And he was talking about as, like, building a brand from scratch-- how do we invent a brand from scratch when we don't have any history?

Because all these brands are building from somewhere else. And he recognized that most brands take something from where they are from. They even had this moodboard of, like, what is German things, and very precise instruments and, you know, German stuff. And then British cars, old dens with wingback chairs and British racing green. And then, you know, the Italians-- passion and Gucci things. And OK, we get that, right?

So what are we going to do? We're going to do California because we are California, and so we are going to create our own moodboard about what it means to be in California. And that means high-tech, Silicon Valley. As you pointed out, it means mid-century modern architecture. It means, to some extent, the color palette of the car. So trying to embrace that, which I think is very interesting from a design perspective and also creating a brand perspective. And it was almost like-- I kind of wish I could have recorded everything he said because it would have made a great podcast by itself.

But there's just a lot about this car that's fascinating. And it's one of those where if you don't mind someone coming up and asking, hey, what is that? And you enjoy talking about it because, hey, look what I have, and this is why it's really cool. It's not just like, hey, look at this fancy thing I own, but you actually like talking about why it's special. It's such a cool car to really do a deep dive on. It's just interesting.

Now that said, the week I came out with my review on the car, they had some big recall. And engineering a car and designing a car is a lot different than manufacturing one. And we definitely saw that with Tesla. We continue to see that with Tesla. So there are going to be teething things that you should expect. I did have some hiccups when I had the car. The automatic windshield wipers did not work very well. Could not get them to go fast enough.

Going through a tunnel completely just freaked the car out. The infotainment system-- so there's a lot of screens in it. But thankfully there is a bit of a firewall so that if the infotainment system crashes, you can still move the steering wheel, the mirrors and things. So that's smart. That's good. But there was a few hiccups. But there's hiccups in Teslas and people love them. There's hiccups in old Jaguars and people still love them. And there's hiccups in a lot of-- sometimes the cars you love the most are the ones that flaws are OK.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's true. That's true. I mean, hey, the E-Type was a nightmare and people still recall the quirks and challenges of it fondly. So, you know, we'll see. I was going over my notes of the Lucid, and the guy who drove the car before me-- I don't know if you know him or not-- it was comedian Jon Lovitz. I was--


GREG MIGLIORE: Super random. He was doing some show in Metro Detroit, and apparently he was staying at this-- it was kind of a swanky hotel, and that's where Lucid did the drive. And I was waiting to get in the car. And I'm talking to the PR guy. I'm like, dude, I'm here. It's like 2:00, I got to go. And this guy is in the car, and he's like, I think that's Jon Lovitz.

And then he left, and he had shades on. But I was looking at his Twitter feed. I'm like, well, he was there, and that sure looks like him. So I'm like 90%-- 95% sure it was him. So that was kind of random. And it was funny, this was COVID-- like, height of COVID. So they kept sanitizing the cars after everybody was getting in and out of it. And I'm like, can I just drive the car, guys?

Like, any other random comedians going to cut me off on my way to driving this thing? I only get half an hour with it. But it was really interesting to drive. And I think they're in an interesting spot too. It's expensive, so theoretically they're not going to have to worry about trying to take a loss on every vehicle. When you look at, like, the Lordstown Motors, and they were trying to come in at 62, 64, 65. Which at the time they said that, that was 10 grand more than the Lightning Pro. Which, Ford has since raised that about 15 times. I exaggerate.

But the market seems to have come back, and we'll see how Lordstown shakes out. But they're one of the many. Lordstown, Lucid, Rivian, the new Fisker-- it seems like there's all these boutique automakers. Some of them have gone public via SPAC-- which, year, a year and a half on, isn't necessarily looking like the greatest move for some of them. You have Bollinger mixed in there, which has just pivoted to work trucks basically.

And, you know, you wonder who's going emerge from this pack and still be here in 5 years, 10 years. Who's going to get picked up by another automaker? You could see some of these guys merging with each other. That may or may not make sense. We'll see.

JAMES RISWICK: Well, I will say for Lucid-- I mean, someone at Lucid told me that they have been approached by OEMs, traditional OEMs, for some of their engineering advancements, which would be a big thing. Because that's really why-- they do have, from their batteries and that motor unit is game-changing stuff. That is unique. That is special. The other thing-- if you have faith that you make a quality product, it'll do at least-- they have a fighting chance because the product is so good.

So coming out when it did, they have the supply issue. When you come out of the gates and there's immediately a giant ditch in front of you in the form of the supply issue, that's going to hurt. And it definitely hurt Rivian, and I'm sure it's hurting Lucid. Lucid just had to lay off some people at their production facility in Arizona. Which is another thing-- it is designed and engineered in the United States, and it is built in the United States. So it's an American car. How about that?

GREG MIGLIORE: There you go.

JAMES RISWICK: So that's-- so is Rivian. So is Tesla. Unless it's built in China, and then it's not an American car anymore. But still, it depends on which one you get.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's true. I mean, that's the way for literally almost every large, major automaker-- like General Motors, like the Chevy Colorado. That, I believe, is built entirely in Missouri. Wentzville, Missouri, if I recall. So you drove the-- this is the new version of it? Our readers for some reason can't get enough of the Chevy Colorado. We were talking about this earlier.

I don't know if it's a love-hate thing or just a lot of people like it. Chevy's good for search, I don't know. But I've always had kind of a-- I've always kind of liked it, you know? It's like, the interior, eh. Outside has some emotion. They really steer into the off-road truck kind of vibe. I think it's always been a very likeable truck, you know? So what's this new one like?

JAMES RISWICK: So basically, they've Tacoma'd it. They recognized that-- the Tacoma is kind of ancient and objectively is not very good, and yet people just buy it in spades. Largely because of the way it looks, I would argue, because of the-- well, OK. One, reputation. That's huge. Customer loyalty. Reliability.

Now that is something-- the Chevy Colorado will not have the same multigenerational, decades long thing on their belt. It has to cede that. But in terms of, like-- you know, Tacoma has a vibe about it. You look at it, it has the off-road oriented ones. You see them with racks. And it is like an all-purpose, legit outdoor adventure vehicle. And that's a big reason why people buy them.

So Chevrolet has-- OK, we can do that at least. So that's what they've tried to do, is to lean in into that. There are multiple off-road versions. So there is the base version, but then there's the work truck and the LT. But then there's the Trail Boss, and then the-- oh dear, what am I thinking of? The R-- Z71. Z71? Crap. Where's my-- [LAUGHS] Z71. Thank you.




JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, there's Zs in my brain, OK? I don't know. Again, I went on a lot of first drives. This is digging up the ditch here. OK, so it has the Trail Boss, it has the Z71, and then it has the ZR2, the actual, like-- and then there's the [INAUDIBLE]. There's something more coming. So they are leaning into this with multiple off-roading versions of this truck, which really shows that they're really aiming for that outdoor adventure kind of vibe with this truck.

We took it off-road. Of course I didn't take something else off-road at the same time, so all I can say is we came back and the truck survived. But it would have been more capable than we found. It has the 2.7 liter four-cylinder that is standard now on the Chevy Silverado. There are multiple power outputs for it, so it is only available with 2.7 liter inline 4's. However, the work truck and LT trim levels have 237 horsepower, 259 pound-feet of torque.

And then there's the 2.7, quote, "Turbo Plus" that has 310 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. That's big news, and it makes a huge difference. And here's the fun little tidbit. So they put the four-cylinder turbo in the Silverado, and that raised a lot of eyebrows. I'm like, oh wow, they did this four-cylinder in a full-sized truck. That sure is weird. Well, the secret is that engine was actually designed for the Colorado.

So vehicles take a long time to be in development. So they were always-- so they had intended this new 2.7 high output four-cylinder engine to be intended for the Colorado. And it was effectively done before the truck it was destined for, but the Sil-- that could go into the new Silverado. So it was added to the Silverado very late in its development, but eventually did find its way, even more improved, into the eventual Colorado. So that's a bit of trivia for you. And it's a fine engine.

And the Colorado, it's a good truck. I think it's definitely better than the Tacoma. I'd be curious-- I think it's overall stronger than the Ranger. It does have more power. The interior is a big deal because that Ranger is working from a very old decade-on forward interior aesthetic that doesn't really do it any favors. And I don't think it looks as cool as the Colorado on the outside because it too is-- it's aged. Its frame and its underpinnings are far newer than the cab and body and interior on top, whereas the Colorado is a more fully realized new thing. So, yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's interesting.

JAMES RISWICK: It's very strong all together.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right. Well, this is one that I am very intrigued to drive. I think it's going to be a good year for cars, if you will, just looking ahead. I haven't been in the Prius yet. Colorado is definitely on the list of things I'm very intrigued to get into. Midsize trucks is something that always-- it's just a segment, in some ways, I can't believe I'm saying, has been so revitalized. I mean, 10 years ago, nobody. The only two in it were the Tacoma, and then GM had some very old offerings that were on their way out. Then GM gets back into it.

Ford brings the Ranger over here. Gladiator becomes a thing. It's like, let's party. Honda Ridgeline comes out. It seems like if this is the truck for you-- and really, this is the truck for you for most people. They can do so much. And they're garage-able. A little bit better on gas in a lot of situations. Unless you're truly using your truck for your job, there's a good chance the midsize truck will take care of whatever you need to do just fine.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. Let me clarify things that I was mixed up on earlier. So there are three off-road trim levels. There's the Trail Boss and then the Z71. More or less, they are the same thing mechanically. However, the Z71 has more equipment. So it's the more luxurious one, whereas the Trail Boss is based more in terms of equipment and interior materials on the work truck.

Whereas the Z71 is more akin to the LT-- a well-optioned LT. And then there's the ZR2. I did not get to drive that. Those will be in the future. That is the one with the fancy multimatic spool valve shocks. It's the desert running one-- the one that you can jump the gorge in. So that's coming. That does have the high output engine, which actually goes up to 430 pound-feet of torque. So there's actually three different output versions of that 2.7 liter turbo four. So, yeah. It's the difference in torque. The upper ones both have 310, but it's a difference in 390 versus 430.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's a bit of a difference.


GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. There you go.

JAMES RISWICK: Those are the facts.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right. You know what we need for the podcast, is we need graphics. We can put the graphics up there. Oh, wait. It's an audio product. We can't do that. But thinking aloud, this has a little bit of a SportsCenter feel almost. High output engines, that's got to be the 911 GT3 RS that you were puttering around in. I imagine probably not. I think everybody loves a good, fast, high-powered Porsche. This one, I imagine, wasn't cheap. And what did you do with it?

JAMES RISWICK: Well, I exclusively drove it at The Thermal Club just outside of Palm Springs, which is basically-- The Thermal Club is like a country club, but instead of a golf course, it's a racetrack. So we got to drive it on there. It's a pretty tight, technical track, so you can't go as fast like on straightaways, which does create a different experience. But it really did emphasize the insane amount of aerodynamic effort that went into this car.

I mean, you look at it, there are wings, and scoops, and vents all over the place. But unlike the aftermarket parts catalog where you put a bunch of wings and scoops and vents all over the place that do nothing or actually work against you, no, this is legit. Just crazy stuff they're doing with this car. Let's make sure I get this right.

So the new car, if I had managed to go-- yeah. So at 124 miles per hour-- perfectly reasonable on a track speed. This new one produces twice as much downforce as the old one. Twice as much. 895 pounds of downforce. Had we managed to go 177 miles per hour, it would have been producing 1003 more pounds of downforce than the old GT3, which also had a great big wing and plenty of aerodynamic elements to it.

They moved the bar so insanely high on this car. It's just mind-boggling. Again, just like the Lucid, this is a car that you get and you happily describe all the crazy stuff that they did to it. But the end result is a car, like, you got to be ready for it because it's an intense experience. The amount of G-force that this car is capable of-- all of a sudden they have the Porsche sports seats, carbon fiber, fixed rake sport seats. Fixed rake meaning you cannot recline these.

They adjust for height and they slide manually. And never once have I thought that they lacked lateral support. Did they get a little bit old after hour 4 driving them? Yes. Could you be comfortable if you landed on the side bolster wrong when you're getting into it? Yes. But were they insufficiently supported? No. But this car has so much G-force and is capable of such speeds around corners that all of a sudden I felt, you know, I wish I had a 5-point harness here. It's an astonishing car, what it's able to do on a track.

Just look at the car compared to the old one, compared to a regular GT3. It makes the regular GT3 look like-- I don't know, like a 911 from-- it just blends into the background. You barely notice it. You can really tell the difference between them. That said, it really is like something you take to a track because the speeds and capabilities it has-- like, I live on the doorstep of some pretty spectacular mountain roads here in Southern California, and I wouldn't be able to just scratch-- I couldn't even just whiff the surface, let alone scratch it in this car. It's just absurd.

And with all the wings and the scoops and the cutaways and everything, if you pulled up to dinner driving that, I think people would go, what's this guy trying to prove? You know? It kind of has a look about it. So it's more like something you show up in the right crowd, who knows what it is, because although everything on it is incredibly purposeful, it could be construed as the exact opposite. But on the upside, if you can afford one of these, you can definitely afford something else that is less "get a load of this guy" kind of thing. So yeah, GT3 RS, holy cow. What a vehicle.

GREG MIGLIORE: There's a lot to unpack when you just look at the pictures of this thing. I'm just curious-- it's kind of a cliche to say, what color? But what color did you have? Just pretty wild configurations here.

JAMES RISWICK: Well, there were four cars there, and we were rotating through them all. So if you look at our first drive, I would have driven multiple. I drove a yellow one, and I think one had-- I think there was some difference in them, but I've sadly now forgotten. It's not just aerodynamics, but it's weight. So elements they had-- even just the wing, right? The wing's there, and it's a two piece wing, and there's an active element that goes up and down so when you brake it does lift up which was like, holy cow.

And the Bugatti Veyron did that. Well, this does that too. That adds weight. So they were in fact adding some weight, so they had to trim it back. That means that everything on the car is carbon fiber. And then if you look on the side of the car-- so right behind the front wheel, it looks like the body has been cut away. Which, it has been cut away. It's an aerodynamic element.

But because they did that, they also had to cut away part of the door. And the shape that was required for the door could not be done in aluminum, ergo, it needed to be carbon fiber. And therefore it could not have the door handles of the current generation 911, which are cut into the door. It couldn't have that. So the GT3 RS is the only one that has the last generation 911 stick-on door handles. So it is special to that degree.

But they're cutting away the body. So a key difference is the GT3 body is the body of the 911. The GT3 RS is the body of the Turbo. And then it has the air intakes at the back, right forward of the wheels. They do not feed air to the engine like they do in the Turbo. They're an extra used repurpose for an extra aerodynamic element. So even though they share this-- and then they had to cut.

And then they take that Turbo body and then cut it away and add-- all the body panels are carbon fiber, except for, let's say, the C pillars and the body bits that look like a 911 at the back. But everything up front-- it doesn't have a front trunk because it's filled with an extra radiator. There's gigantic radiators up there. It is not just the super 911, it is-- speaking of the skunkworks thing of the GR Corolla, it's kind of like the same thing to the utmost, n-th degree.

GREG MIGLIORE: It sounds like a toy. Like a very fast toy that you get to use at places like Thermal and you know that's about it. All right. So we have one news hit today. We're going to talk about the "demise," quote unquote, of Land Rover. Basically what they're doing is something somewhat similar to what Stellantis, ergo or formerly known as Chrysler did with the Ram brand way back in the day.

They're going to break things down to use, basically, what were previously known as models, they will be the brands. And the name of the entity is going to be JLR. You get Jaguar, you get Defender, you get Discovery, and you get Range Rover. And maybe I left something out. But that's the long and short of it. We were talking about this basically before we hit record. And you kind of made the point, hey, this is what everybody who owns a Land Rover already does.

You take the Defender, you don't necessarily take the Land Rover. Land Rover Range Rover has been awkward for as long as any of us have been writing about vehicles, and probably since the dawn of time. So it makes some sense doing this. I personally have always thought Land Rover held a, like-- there was an aura about it, so I don't necessarily think it's 100% win-win here. But I guess we'll see. I mean, it does come down to you're driving the Defender, you're driving the Defender. So I guess we'll see how this shakes out.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. To me, it's the Discovery that is the weird one. Because if I had a Discovery, I don't think I would be saying-- I guess you could say I'm taking the Disco, right? But to me, the Discovery of today seems odd. It seems like in this weird, like-- it almost seems like a sub family, like sub Range Rover vehicle. It's in a weird spot. But either way, it'll be weird how this manifests itself because on the one hand, it's like, yeah, it's the way you talk about your car. It's the way you advertise it.

It's the way you market it. Like, that comes down. That's one thing where you can just say, Range Rover. As I brought up to you earlier, it's like it's Corvette, right? No one says, what do you own? I own a Chevrolet Corvette. No one says that. They say it's a Corvette. And if it was advertised, they wouldn't say-- they'd just say Corvette. And there's plenty of other examples of this throughout the automotive industry. But it's more the semantic, like, we need to put everything into a clean, siloed category, where, like-- it's the same thing that led to Land Rover Range Rover in the first place.

Well, whether you're looking at it on finding fuel economy on or you're trying to find one near you on, you need to select the make, and you need to select the model, and you need to do that. If it's just known as Share, effectively, what's the make? What's the model? What are you going to do? At least with Ram, Ram went from Dodge Ram, and then there was basically 1500, 2500 There was almost like trim levels.

Then they just, well, we're not going to be Dodge anymore. The brand is Ram. So we're moving Ram to be a Dodge, and then the make-- or, sorry, the model is 1500 That was clean. But my question is, it's going to be the Discovery what? Like, we know there's a Discovery Sport. What's the Discovery blank? Defender's clean. It has the Ram thing. It has Defender 90. Defender 110. Defender 130. Easy. What's Discovery? Range Rover-- what's the regular Range Rover now?

GREG MIGLIORE: Good question.

JAMES RISWICK: Right? Like, we have this problem all the time. Like, if I'm writing a review about a Range Rover-- and it's like, well, this feature is also found in the Range Rover Sport versus X in the Range Rover period. Original. OG Range Rover. Original Range Rover. But that's another thing, right? This is the problem.

It's like this weird thing of semantics that's possibly only a problem for people who write about them and are forming databases to make them fit into their own little silos, and isn't. If I'm working in marketing and advertising for Land Rover and I think this is the smart thing to go to build our brands, I don't care. That's for Autoblog and the EPA to worry about on their website. Who cares?

GREG MIGLIORE: I'm a little surprised as I read a little more into this how-- they apparently are going to come up with separate showrooms. Now, I don't know what that means. Does that mean, like, down the hall is the Defender, and then you got the Discovery over here, and then the Range Rover, and then maybe a Jaguar in a different showroom, or are they talking about different dealerships?

Because I don't know where they're going to get the money to start funding dealerships. As General Motors, Ford, and to a lesser extent Toyota and Nissan will tell you, more dealers with more overhead and floor plan cost is not the way you're going to put yourself into a good place with more marketing spending. So that was kind of a weird caveat I have discovered. We'll see.

JAMES RISWICK: Well, discovered. I think the big thing is-- I'm interested in Discovery. Because now-- what was the Discovery before? It was a big, boxy family-friendly thing you could take off-road. OK, cool. What's the Defender 130? It's a big, boxy family-friendly thing you could take off-road--


JAMES RISWICK: --that is cooler than the old Discovery. What's the Discovery today? Well, they made it look like a Range Rover, but didn't put the full Range Rover interior. And it is definitely not boxy, and it doesn't look like the off-road-- people want the off-road vibe. I live in an area where there are so many Raptors and TRXes and Broncos and G Wagons and things that definitely are intended for that vibe-- that will never go off-road, by the way. But still, they're intended for that vibe. That is not the Discovery's vibe.

It used to be it, but not anymore. Look at the used values of old-- sorry, I'm saying Discovery, I mean LR4 in terms of the old one, right? But look at used car values for LR4s and then look for used car values of Discovery, and the gap is closer than you would expect given the years that you're looking at. So the market would say that people want Discoveries to be more like they used to be.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I think I-- one, I would agree with that. And two, I think that's probably what other people think too. I mean--

JAMES RISWICK: So then what is Discovery? You got Range Rover. That's a thing. Very easy to know what that is. What's Defender? We can see that. What's Discovery? And I think that-- I wouldn't be surprised if what we're going to get in the future is something totally new. I wouldn't be surprised. To more differentiate it. Because if it's going to exist by itself, it has to be clearly different from Defender. But it also can't just look like budget Range Rover. So yeah, it'll be interesting to see what happens there.

GREG MIGLIORE: Somewhat by necessity Land Rover expanded its lineup, but also watered it down. You get things like the Velar, which I personally have liked, but that's a bit controversial. The Evoque got in there for a minute, and that was a very interesting take on Land Rover. So it does seem like some of the very core products, like the Discovery, have lost their way as they've tried to find a way to feed all these different models. But I think what you just said sounds like a pretty good column, actually. What is the Discovery? Pour yourself a McCallum's scotch and start writing. I don't know. I'd read that. Should we spend some money?

JAMES RISWICK: Sure. This is a weird one.

GREG MIGLIORE: If you are looking to get in on Spend Your Money, that's Every now and then we'll dip over into the r/Cars space because you get some different questions. That also means we're kind of out of questions. So if you've got one, Spend My Money or a mailbag thing, please. That's But this is interesting.

From the r/Cars thread on Reddit, a user writes, "I'm looking to buy a 2023 Corolla Hybrid XLE versus the '23 Acura Integra A-Spec. Corolla is the hybrid, of course. But the Acura feels more luxurious with a red interior and overall luxurious feel. Looking for advice on which one I should buy. I could get either for apparently the same price." So to me, you're looking at different parts of the market here, but I will cross pass this over to you. What do you think?

JAMES RISWICK: It's weird. It's kind of hard to pick one or the other because on the one hand-- OK, simply put, an Acura Integra is a better car than a Toyota Corolla. It just is. So it doesn't matter whether you're talking about a hybrid or the A-Spec, an Acura Integra is a better car than a Toyota Corolla. And it is more luxurious inside. You can indeed get a red interior. I personally don't like that the front seats are red, suede-like fabric and the back seats are very vinyl. But either way.

The Integra is a hatchback, so that speaks to its practicality. I would suggest, though, as we led off the-- well, we didn't lead off the show. But we were talking about the new Prius. Well, the Prius looks a lot better than the Corolla. It has a more up to date interior and it has a better, more powerful hybrid powertrain. So I would pause and consider that instead.

I think those two-- it has a nicer interior too, in terms of materials quality. So I would consider that one instead of a Corolla hybrid. And I would also say the Acura Integra A-Spec's a lovely car, but I also brought this up earlier, there is the Honda Civic Sport Touring, which is a hatchback just like the Integra. I think the interior-- it doesn't have quite as many features. Like, it doesn't have like memory seats, for instance. But it still has leather, and they're power-operated, and the interior is beautiful, and it's a hatchback.

It's more-- it doesn't have quite as much power, but it gets better fuel economy and it runs on regular gas, so it's going to be cheaper to fill. So I suppose, ultimately, my answer is neither. You should instead look at a Prius and a Civic Sport Touring because that's one of my favorite cars. I really like that. I would buy that instead of an Integra, personally. I would save money and get one of those. You can't get it with a red interior though. That is-- you cannot do that. That is one thing I will concede.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think I would go with the Mazda 3 if you're looking for something that's fun to drive, somewhat fuel efficient. I mean, I like that car.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. But if you're hell bent on this or that, I guess I would pick the Integra.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. I mean, like I said, I would do that too. I'm curious about the prices here. Just looking at the website, the Integra starts at 31 and the Corolla hybrid's, like, 24. So I'm curious how that delta is bridged, if you will. Maybe-- I don't know. The user or the writer must be spec'ing them out in certain ways, which is entirely possible. Maybe some dealer markups, I don't know.

JAMES RISWICK: Dealer markup of hybrids, maybe.


JAMES RISWICK: In which case, like, look at that Civic. Seriously. Its fuel economy is exceptional, and you could be saving some pretty good money on that because it gets very good fuel economy and regular gas. And it'll be better to drive than the Corolla, that's for sure. We've already talked about-- we've already talked about Civic versus Corolla, and a lot of those same points will carry over.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, it's interesting that the writer's going from Corolla not to Civic, but straight up to Integra, you know? It's skipping something in between. And that's fine.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. But people-- that's the thing--

GREG MIGLIORE: People do that.

JAMES RISWICK: People consider different things pros and cons. It's not just like, I want a mid-size family sedan. Well, they could also want factors of what they end up looking at, you know? It's not just we're going to look at these very strict silos of vehicle segments. No, you're looking at attributes, and attributes could be just weighing the pros and cons of, like, well, it would be nice if we had something that could have a functional roof rack. But then we want really good fuel economy.

But oh, well, we need something for the dog. Like, there can just be any number of things that you're just like, OK, we'll sacrifice the roof rack, but we'll get this. And then you end up with, like, weird mix matches of things. And then personal preference comes in. Like, oh, well, I sure like the way that looks. To hell with all the practical.


JAMES RISWICK: So that's why it's always usually hard, and that's why price is kind of the ultimate thing.


JAMES RISWICK: Because if you can't afford it, then game over.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right. Game over and podcast over. If you enjoy the show, please leave us five stars on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you get the show. If you enjoy the show, again, please send us your Spend My Money as well. Whether you like it or not, we'd love to spend your money. Be safe up there, and we will see you next week.