L.A. Auto Show: Genesis X Convertible, Toyota Prius and more | Autoblog Podcast #756

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder. The Los Angeles Auto Show wrapped up this week, and we talk about some of the highlights from the show, and the events surrounding it, like the new Toyota Prius, Genesis X Convertible concept, new Lucid Air trims and the Lucid Gravity SUV. John talks about traveling to Sweden for the reveal of the Volvo EX90. They also talk about the cars they've been driving, including the Nissan Leaf, Nissan Kicks, Mercedes EQB and Jeep Wagoneer. They also shoot the breeze about late fall beer, courtesy of an email from a listener.

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

Video Transcript




GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to the "Autoblog Podcast." I'm Greg Migliore. We have an awesome show for you today. We're starting to get into the LA Auto Show, another fairly interesting, fairly big auto show this year as we start to wind down the year. With that, I will bring in Senior Editor for all things green-- we have a few green things to talk about-- John Snyder.

JOHN SNYDER: Hey. How's it going?

GREG MIGLIORE: Not too bad, not too bad. Coming to you from my breakfast nook this morning. It's a little too cold to be in studio A, which is the sun room, so-- so it goes. It's that time it's November.


GREG MIGLIORE: We had a bit of snow this morning. So that's-- it's crazy. Like, just last week, I cut the grass in shorts. And I can still see the lines in the grass. It's just-- it has snow on 'em.

JOHN SNYDER: [LAUGHS] Yeah, I'm looking forward-- I always enjoy driving in snow-- I mean, apart from the other drivers.


JOHN SNYDER: But I'm looking forward to getting some time in the snow this winter.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I'm with you. I like it when I'm lucky not to have, really, a commute right now. It's just more like local stuff, like preschool drop-off, things like that. It can be fun when you just have to go out, like, once or twice, relatively short. It's a little dicey. Well, OK, whatever press car you're driving at that moment, it might be a little interesting.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, it's an adventure.

GREG MIGLIORE: Indeed, indeed. All right, so we'll get into some of our early LA stuff. Next week, we'll have probably a better breakdown. Because we are recording this sort of on the eve of the LA Auto Show.

But some things are out already-- the new Prius, a drop-dead gorgeous Genesis convertible, some news out of Lucid. And John went to Sweden last week. We'll talk about the Volvo EX90.

We've been driving a variety of things. He's been in the Jeep Wagoneer and the Mercedes EQB 300 and the Nissan Kicks. We'll talk about that just a little bit. And I've spent some time in the Nissan Leaf, which I actually think kind of dovetails nicely with the Prius and just the future of, you know, where hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric cars in general have come and gone.

So with that, we'll kick things off with the Prius. I know for some people who are maybe really enthusiast listeners, you're going to be like, oh, gosh, a podcast with the Prius? No, it's actually-- first of all, check out the story on our site. It's pretty good-looking car, it really is.

JOHN SNYDER: It's surprisingly good-looking. I mean, the other one set such a low bar in terms of aesthetics and exterior design that it was hard not to be shocked by how much better this one is. But I think even without comparison-- comparing it to the previous Prius, it looks pretty good.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, no, it's-- I'm surprised. Last night, we're sitting here on Wednesday morning. They had, like, a global reveal. And we saw some of the images out of Japan. They did a big presser in Toyota City. It was pretty cool, you know?

So we'll get more US stuff later in the week, if you will. But we do have-- we have some of that information right now, actually.

JOHN SNYDER: And by the time you're listening to this, it'll be--

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, that's a good point.

JOHN SNYDER: --available.

GREG MIGLIORE: What do you think of what we know of it so far? Do you think it's-- does this move the ball forward for the Prius?

JOHN SNYDER: A little bit. I mean, for people who still aren't ready to make the plunge into electric, and who have been driving a Prius for the past however long, having a new version of that that they can get into is good. People who live in rural communities, maybe don't have very many plugs between them and, like, the nearest cities or things like that, an actual-- a regular hybrid is probably still the way to go for them.

Still, I hope we see more actual electric vehicles from Toyota soon. Because gosh, they need it. It's starting to feel like they're really falling behind. I know they have a lot of EVs planned. But man, they need to start really rolling 'em out.

I do like that we get some more range from the Prime, the plug-in hybrid. And the standard hybrid Prius will get up to 57 MPG combined, which is really good. So yeah, for people who might not be ready, or it might not be really practical or feasible for them to move into an EV, and they like the Prius, I mean, there's tons of Prius owners. And they're happy with their cars. And now, they've got something that will probably make them a little more comfortable and a little less slow on the road.


JOHN SNYDER: This one's got a 2.0-liter four-cylinder. And it will do 0 to 60 in 7.2 seconds--


JOHN SNYDER: --for the front drive version. And the all-wheel drive one will do it in seven flat. So--


JOHN SNYDER: --not fast, but not really as slow anymore, you know? And depending on some other changes to it, we'll see how-- if it makes the drive any better, any more entertaining. I imagine just a few refinements to the chassis could have achieved that, so could be good.

GREG MIGLIORE: So I'll give you a-- 0 to 60 times don't really mean anything in everyday driving. But according to the internet, the 2022 GR86 with the six-speed manual, 0 to 60 in 6.1 seconds. And the 2020 model, it was actually seven seconds.

This is not according to any real testing, like, from us or "Car and Driver." It looks like this is what-- looks like a car dealer is quoting. But hey, I mean, that's ballpark. So I mean, you're talking about vastly different cars.

But to your point, the Prius isn't, like, so sloth-like slow as it was before. Looks pretty good. You're going to get 50% more range with the Prius Prime, which according to Joel Stocksdale, our news editor who is covering Toyota at the LA Auto Show, gives you about 37 miles of range, which is-- at that point, you're getting a pretty respectable plug-in hybrid vehicle. You really-- depending on how you drive and where you drive, plug it in at work, come home, you may not use much gas over the course of the week. So that's, I think, very appealing.

And they also have the traditional set it and forget it hybrid. You know, if you want a microwave that's efficient, that's what this is. It reminds me a little bit-- this is an interesting comparison here-- of when General Motors was rolling out big SUVs in the early 2000s, early, mid-2000s, like '05, '06, et cetera. And people are like, uh, you know-- like, the economy is getting a little shaky at that point-- what were we to see it coming-- and fuel prices and all that.

But you know, they just kept making them. Because they knew there was an audience, there was a use case. And they kept doing them.

And to me, that's almost what the Prius is. It's iconic. It's going to go down in the Hall of Fame of, you know, singularly important vehicles that changed the way we consume car-- buying a new car, if you will.

JOHN SNYDER: Absolutely, yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: But I don't know, this, to me, makes it more of an appliance than any sort of real tastemaker for 2023, going forward.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, I agree. But still, I mean, hopefully-- I think some people were just-- most people who wanted a Prius wanted it for the efficiency anyway. I think there are some people whose taste would just not let them-- allow them to drive something that looked like that.


JOHN SNYDER: But that was probably not a lot of people. But this could get more of those drivers in the actual seat. It looks better going down the road, especially that rear profile looks much better. The lighting across the back, the lines, it just looks much cleaner. And you know, it's still sleek-looking without being weird.

GREG MIGLIORE: Mm-hmm. Yeah, no, I agree. Honestly, when I first looked at this, it reminded me, like, sketches you would see from Hyundai or Dodge for some of their small compacts, that they were going for more of a sleeker design.


GREG MIGLIORE: You know, I think that's a good thing. So that's the Prius. I mean, it lives on. It's going to live on for quite some time.

To me, it's kind of like the strategy, if you will, of where hybrids and plug-in hybrids fit. Some people are going to go all-electric. They're going to go right there straight from their six-cylinder or four-cylinder.

Some people have been able to do this for 25 years. It's like the 25th anniversary of the Prius, right? So as people perhaps shift to greener rides in some ways, if they want to, you may be able to go back to the Prius or embrace the Prius, which is something maybe you wouldn't have done. Whereas there's also just the full electrified range of vehicles out there for you.

Like, it gets to the point too, where do you want to spend your money on a Prius? Or do you want to spend your money on, say, an electric Chevy Blazer or a Tesla?

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, yeah, I mean, I feel like Toyota might be missing out on something by not having that really efficient entry level EV, the Prius version of an EV.


JOHN SNYDER: You know, they could just take more of the market there. I mean, right now, you've got the Bolt and the Leaf and the Niro and things like that. But I think Toyota could really cash in on current customers who want to go electric, who just like their Prius, ready to go electric, want something like that.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I think, too, like, Toyota has admittedly been a little slower to embrace full electrification. But they could also play it a different way, too. You know, it's not too late.

They can basically say, hey, we have the Prius. Here's your hybrid. We have your plug-in hybrid. Here's our electrics.

Because the Prius is also an asset. Nobody else has it. So if you're looking for a gateway for your electric vehicles, they have something that other brands don't.

Chevy had the Volt for a long time. But they were never able to really make that as, like, just entrenched as the Prius was. And now they have the-- I said the Volt-- now they have the Bolt, which man, they should have changed those names, I feel like.

But that's actually-- that'll take me to the Leaf here, which we'll get to in a second. But I mean, you also have these sort of commodity but also legacy electric vehicles. And then the next wave is going to be things like the Lightning--


GREG MIGLIORE: --the Blazer, et cetera, which are truly, like, existing vehicles. No compromises in their footprints, as opposed to these sort of smaller, science experiment electric cars or hybrids, which is like the heritage of the Prius.

So yeah, let's shift gears over to the Genesis. This thing is shockingly good-looking. I mean, maybe not shockingly in that Genesis can't do good design, they absolutely can. It's more like, wow, it's shocking when you look at this.

They did a press event last night. Road Test Editor Zac Palmer was out there. It looks like he was on some sort of beach, maybe in Malibu, watching the sunset as the snow flew here. Some pretty amazing shots here of this thing.

And go for it, Genesis. This is how you get your brand elevated. You know, Cadillac's trying to do the same thing with the Celestiq. This is another statement. Love it.

JOHN SNYDER: 100% agree. And Genesis, I feel like their concept cars that they come out with are all gorgeous. And you see those designs sort of make their way into their production vehicles. And their production vehicles are also really attractive, in my opinion. So I think they could run with what they have here, and people would really like it.

Infinity seems to do the same thing. They make these really beautiful concept cars. But then they don't translate that into production vehicles. And it seems like Genesis is sort of stealing any thunder that Infinity may have generated in years past with their electric vehicles by making these.

And I really hope that Genesis follows through on these. And just take this, what we see here, and making a production vehicle would be awesome. Would be so sweet. [LAUGHS]

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I agree. Genesis, I think, is a bit like Cadillac in the sense that for a while, they're like, look at all these awesome cars-- concept cars. We could build them. We'll show them at Pebble Beach, yada yada yada. And then they never did it.

Whereas Infinity, they did the same thing, too. Like, look at all these concept cars. And aside from sort of using some of those really amazing Shiro Nakamura designs throughout their lineup-- Infinity had some really good-looking cars, I think, for the better part of, well, this century, frankly. Some of it looks dated at this point.

But Cadillac, you know, they rolled out the Lyriq and the Celestiq, which really are finally embodying some of those amazing designs we saw about 10 years ago. So this is a great looking concept for Genesis.

JOHN SNYDER: It really is. And gosh, I mean, they have to do something with this. These designs are just so good. All the X designs are just incredible. They really need to give us at least just one vehicle based on these for production, and I'll be happy.

GREG MIGLIORE: I've driven a lot of Genesis vehicles in recent years, been impressed with almost all of them, frankly, to varying degrees.


GREG MIGLIORE: I think they could add a large convertible or coupe to their lineup. Why not? Now's the time. Don't wait till, like, maybe you sort of hit this plateau where you are what you are, and you can't really take more risks. I think we saw that a little bit with the domestics.

And even, you know, Acura and Infinity and Lexus, they went into kind of the doldrums there for a while, as far as making really cool things. And then, hey, boom, the NSX is back. Lexus is doing things with the RC lineup and some other things, the LFA.

But go for it, Genesis. Like, you're a competitor, you know? And their design, I think, is just outstanding and aggressive, how much they just go for it. So I think there's room for them.

JOHN SNYDER: A convertible like this would also help distinguish them from the rest of the Hyundai group.


JOHN SNYDER: Whereas a lot of vehicles are just based on other Hyundais and Kias, this would be something completely unique to them. And they can sort of carve out their own space in that market, which would be neat to see.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, definitely. Can't wait to see more pictures of this car. It is quite something. Let's talk about Lucid. They have an interesting-looking SUV that they're teasing, crossover. But also we're getting some lower levels of the Air Pure-- what a name-- and the Touring, which-- pretty nice-looking cars.

I've driven the Lucid sedan. But I've driven the more expensive ones, let's put it that way. This is more of a play at a mainstream-ish, just an expensive electric sedan. So yeah, more news out of LA.

JOHN SNYDER: Starting at-- now, the Air starts at $89,000 with the Pure.


JOHN SNYDER: So it's getting a little bit more realistic for some people. If I recall correctly, Lucid had originally stated that it intended to go lower. That was pre-inflation. But yeah, I'm happy to see more affordable versions of the Air sedan.

It's such a good-looking car. I saw one at the airport the other day. It was part of the press fleet. It was parked right next to my Nissan Kicks that I picked up. And oh, man, stunning vehicle to see it in person.

Actually, on the road-- I'd seen it at car shows and stuff. But to see it in natural light, and surrounded by normal vehicles, it was really something to see. But yeah, the Pure at 88.9, and then the Touring at 108.9, still offering tons of range, tons of style, tons of performance. Yeah, I-- these are great-looking cars.

And I haven't driven an Air yet. But I'd really like to.


JOHN SNYDER: I mean, from what I've heard from you and James, they're just pretty astounding.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, the interior is actually-- as good as it looks on the outside, it's just as good as the inside. It really is almost, like, midcentury modern-- like, if Lincoln had really followed through and kept doing the Continental and maybe made it electric. I mean, you could really--

And what I like about it is it's different than, say, some of the Mercedes, like the EQS, for example, or the EQE, where it's just more of a-- simplistic. It looks like a premium, expensive, but it does look futuristic. But it's not, like, screens everywhere. There's plenty of screens, but it's just a little more tasteful, minimalist, if you will. It's almost something you could see Polestar or Volvo trying to pull off, better than they do themselves, I think. So Lucid has definitely got that interior design looking pretty good.

JOHN SNYDER: They do. And I like the exterior design a lot. And I think the Gravity that they're showing off here is a really good example of that. I've talked to Derek Jenkins, their lead designer, a couple of times. And his head's in a good spot. And I think he's got a really good eye for catching a car and making it feel like something grander than just the vehicle that it is.

And of course, the photos that Lucid released of the Gravity sort of help that, with starry nights, and really open cabin, and things like that. But I mean, when I see-- some of the little details you look at, and like the rear spoiler, and the D-pillars, and the lighting, it really gets you excited to see it in the flesh.

GREG MIGLIORE: Definitely, definitely. And this is-- I mean, naturally, this is where they need to go. They need to have some sort of crossover for people who want that. It's a huge part of the market. And I think it's a good name, too. I really do.


GREG MIGLIORE: I think that's-- yeah, Lucid is-- and the trick is with them, it's like every startup OEM is, they've got to keep their finances on the straight and narrow, and cash flow good, having enough cash in the bank, all that good stuff. So I mean, to me, that's always the biggest challenge with some of the startups, is stability, and keeping everything-- the money where it needs to be.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, for sure. And I think that's-- the folks at Lucid have kept their heads on their shoulders pretty well--


JOHN SNYDER: --throughout the whole thing, despite some early troubles with financing and manufacturing, and getting that all underway. But they're-- they take it step by step. And they don't get out ahead of themselves, out of their skis. And yeah, the Air is real.


JOHN SNYDER: And it's great. And yeah, the Gravity is supposed to be coming in 2024, which is plenty of time still. And they've been working on this for a good long while. So I don't see any reason why they couldn't achieve that.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I think it's-- Lucid is a brand to watch, just to put it simply. I think they're playing a little more expensive proposition than say, Fisker is. Fisker has got some great-looking vehicles, too. And I think we'll probably get some more news out of them this week, too.


GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, that's Lucid, feeling Lucid. Let's talk about a legacy automaker, Volvo. We talked about the EX90 a little bit last week on the show. But you actually saw it in person. How was it, and how was Sweden?

JOHN SNYDER: Sweden was great. It was sort of a whirlwind trip. I was there, then saw the car, basically talked to some folks there, and then was back. But I was surprised at how much like the XC90 that the EX90 looks. It's more similar than I expected.

But when you start looking at it more closely, there's a lot of really neat design details. Like, for instance, those headlights are really cool. They're those sort of-- I don't know what to call them-- pixel? They're sort of a matrix headlight. And then those are the DRLs. And then the horizontal part opens up like eyelids and reveals the bright nighttime lights behind them. It's a really cool effect.

And it's got the LiDAR, which will help with safety. And apparently, it's supposed to be really precise-- can see within centimeter accuracy at 250 meters, which is pretty incredible, and in complete darkness or glaring sun. And you see that little LiDAR on the top of the windshield, right where it meets the roof. And they actually-- seeing it in person, they integrated it really sort of aesthetically, in a aesthetically pleasing way, very gracefully.

And then inside the vehicle, you again, very Volvo, but futuristic-ish. Because there's just not a lot of buttons, which-- I mean, there's really no buttons. So we'll see how that translates to a user experience.

But from a design standpoint, it looks really nice. It looks very clean and very simple. It's just not sure how I'm going to feel about things when I start having to dig through the infotainment screen for so many of the functions, although they are going to keep many of the functions sort of static on the bottom of the screen as if they were hard buttons. But still--


JOHN SNYDER: --we'll have to see how that actually works in practice. But yeah, in terms of design, it's very Volvo, very clean, very minimalist, and really integrates the technology artfully into the vehicle.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, sounds good. What was the food like in Sweden?

JOHN SNYDER: There's lots of things with mushrooms in them. [LAUGHS]

GREG MIGLIORE: OK, all right.

JOHN SNYDER: Like, lots of wild mushrooms, which was kind of interesting. And yeah, I didn't really eat a lot because I was just-- the time difference was so weird. And sort of my [AUDIO OUT] the entire time I was there.


JOHN SNYDER: But the stuff I had was good. I had a little bit of Swedish gin, which was delicious.

GREG MIGLIORE: Interesting. OK.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah. Yeah, and tried to get a Swedish beer at the airport lounge. But the only tap that was working was Heineken, so--


JOHN SNYDER: --I didn't get to try the beer.

GREG MIGLIORE: You know, I like a good Heineken at the airport or on the plane. That's-- whatever. We're getting to that time of the year where it's the holiday five-pack, as they say, for Heineken. You get a sixer to give to somebody, and then you drink one while you're wrapping the presents. So you put a bow there-- fine.

Well, it sounds good. That sounds good. Check out John's full story. He has reported from Sweden, plus some other follow-up content that is on Autoblog as well.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, I got to talk to their sustainability boss. And he had some really interesting things to say about Volvo as a business, and the things it's doing to be sustainable, not just its cars, but in its operations, talking about recycling, materials. And if you're sort of a green geek like me, digging into those things is pretty fun.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, you went to the actual headquarters, right? That's another--

JOHN SNYDER: No, no, I wasn't at the actual headquarters.


JOHN SNYDER: They set up this sort of bubble in this square, this dome in the square in the middle of Stockholm. [LAUGHS]


JOHN SNYDER: And they had a little studio set up across the street.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I was going to say I tend to like to-- when I was doing more travel, it was always sort of like a badge of honor. You went to this headquarters, you could check off this famous factory you went to. But hey, that's still Sweden. That counts.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, it was cool.


JOHN SNYDER: It's cool.

GREG MIGLIORE: So I have been driving the Nissan Leaf. And you've been driving a whole bunch of other things. But since we've been talking green, we'll kick things off with the Leaf.

I had the SV Plus, which gives you about 212 miles of range. They basically kind of boiled down the trims this year. So the SV Plus is the one that is a little more powerful and gives you a little bit more range. So it has-- let's see, the electric motor is 214 horsepower. So it's-- it's the Leaf, as I recall.

It's a little dated on the interior. But the exterior, they've sort of spruced it up a little bit. It's a little more anonymous, doesn't necessarily look like an electric car per se. It could be gas, might not be. But if you see it, it's a Leaf.

I've driven it a little bit. Yesterday, I was out in the snow, actually, a little bit, so that was fine. Kind of modulating between the eco one-pedal driving, which gives you some pretty intense regeneration as you just lift off, and slows down, and brakes. So that's kind of interesting. I like one-pedal driving with EVs.

Let's see-- I drove it in eco mode quite a bit because it's cold. And it seems like batteries don't necessarily keep their charge, or you can burn 'em down pretty quick. So I was driving it in eco mode.

But it's a small car, so I could warm it up pretty quickly and get the seat heaters going, and then just kind of punch stuff off for a little bit until you get chilly again. I usually have a vest or gloves or something on, anyway. So that was pretty easy to keep my range right where I want it to be.

I may be doing a little bit more driving this weekend, so I'm trying to just conserve as much as possible, like, not burn too much range just running to do a pickup or Panera or something. So yeah, it's the Leaf. I drove it, and it reminded me of way back in the day when the-- the Chevy Volt was sort of the two electric vehicles. And this is the time when people still call the Volt an EV that just had a range extender, that like, four or five years later, we're like, well, it's a plug-in hybrid is what it really is. But that's fine, that's fine.

JOHN SNYDER: I like the way the Leaf drives quite a bit. It's very easy to drive.


JOHN SNYDER: But also, I really like, like you said, the one-pedal driving. They do it right. They make it very strong. You can come to a complete stop on a pretty steep downhill slope--


JOHN SNYDER: --which is great. It's always sort of weird when you dial up regen in an EV, and you expect it to-- it starts slowing you down really quickly. But then you expect it to bring you to a stop. But then once it gets down to, like, two or three miles an hour, it just keeps creeping. And sometimes, you can't even turn off the creep. I really appreciate having a really strong one-pedal driving mode that I can use 100% of the time, that I actually don't have to use the brakes.

And yeah, other than that, it's just an efficient, easy to drive vehicle, very straightforward pretty maneuverable.


JOHN SNYDER: Pretty-- fairly comfortable interior.


JOHN SNYDER: It's been a while since I've been in one, but--


JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, I still like the Leaf. Yeah, like you said, it's starting to look old. When this generation first came out, it looked a little more futuristic. It was when we were still used to seeing open grilles on everything. And this had that weird sort of textured, plastic cover on it. But they've updated it a little bit. But yeah, it's still kind of old.

And curious to see how the Leaf carries on after the Aria--


JOHN SNYDER: --becomes more widely available.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I drove the Aria as part of North American Car, Truck, and Utility Vehicle of the Year Awards just a month ago. And it feels more like a modern electric crossover, whereas the Leaf still feels like a compact electric car from 10 years ago, if you will. Like, its ethos date to that time period when this is what we thought an electric car would be.

Frankly, nothing wrong with it, to be honest, especially if you're looking at the entry-level trim, which is the Leaf S. That's $28,000, almost even. You can get that as low, according to Nissan, depending on federal tax credits, to just over 20. So that, to me, for a compact electric car with a respectable amount of range, that's still a pretty good deal, I think.

The Leaf SV, the one I tested, started at about $36,000, which yes, you could get it at $28,540. But for $36,000, I mean, I don't know. I think at that point, you really got to see if you could get your hands on an Aria.


GREG MIGLIORE: So that's the Leaf. You've been driving things that are a little more interesting, or at least a little more modern and such. But real quick, the Kicks, that's actually really not either of those. But I guess for cross-shopping small Nissans, kick around the Kicks. What do you think?

JOHN SNYDER: You know, I used to dislike the Kicks. I hadn't driven it in a couple of years. But when I got in it this time, it was sort of refreshing to have a nice, small, plucky, little, maneuverable vehicle that I could scoot [AUDIO OUT]

CVT, I'm not a huge fan of. But I feel like Nissan was one of the early companies to start to dial in its CVTs a little bit, to make them less annoying. And you know, it's not a fast car or anything.

But this one, it had heated seats, heated steering wheel. The audio sounded really good. I was really surprised by that.



But yeah, I actually enjoyed it. It was just a nice break from all these bigger vehicles that I've been driving. Everything is just growing and growing and growing. It's nice to get this little Kicks and kick it around. Yeah, maneuverable little sucker.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. It's been probably a year or two since I drove the Kicks. Entry level, economic transportation, that's about what it is. Like you, I actually-- I had driven the Tacoma and a bunch of other really expensive, awesome, opulent things. And then I was in the Volvo V60 Cross Country, and then the S60.

And I was like, this is just great. Driving these just good-sized, but not huge, comfortable, maneuverable sedans-- or in the case-- sort of like a wagon. It was just so refreshing to me to drive something kind of normal, which I know is a weird thing to say.

But it's like you can just focus on driving a normal car, versus trying to get your fingerprints to work or something, or you know, some of the other stuff, which is certainly cool. But yeah, it's nice to drive something like that. But yeah, tell me about the EQB 300, which is the opposite of the Kicks, I would imagine.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, that's what I'm driving right now. And wow, I really like this car.


JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, it really takes me back to the GLK. It feels a lot like driving the GLK. It drives like-- it's based on the GLB, which is sort of the successor to that.

But it drives more like a car than an SUV. But it's got tons of space inside. And yeah, the range is maybe not the best-- I think up to 243 miles in the EQB 300, whereas the 350 knocks that down to 227 miles of range. There's better-- longer range, faster charging, faster EVs out there in the price range.

But the whole format of the vehicle is really nice. It feels really refined. It's super quiet, really nice ride going down the road. And like I said, some other cars are quicker, but it's still plenty quick. Seven second 0 to 60 is, you know, it's fast compared to a lot of gas cars. And it feels even faster driving around town when you've got all that instant torque.

And I don't know, there are lots of competition, that is, is [AUDIO OUT]

The tech in it is really sort of straightforward and easy to use compared to the other EQ vehicles with the Hyperscreens and stuff. This doesn't have all that. It's more like the new versions of the MBUX that you're used to. Can be a little finicky sometimes, but mostly it works pretty well, and pretty straightforward.

At night, you've got the really nice ambient lighting and things like that. I really quite enjoyed driving the EQB around. Put two car seats in the back, and plenty of room for that. And yeah, it feels pretty comfortable, pretty spacious, and very smooth and quiet and refined.

GREG MIGLIORE: It looks like an electric GLK, which there's nothing about that I don't like.

JOHN SNYDER: I mean, that's what it feels like, too. And yeah, we used to own a diesel GLK.


JOHN SNYDER: And this really does feel like it holds on to those sort of core values with the efficiency and the car-like driving, but still making really good use of space.

GREG MIGLIORE: Got it, got it, sounds pretty good. And then you drove something that I highly doubt was in any way efficient-- the Jeep Wagoneer.


GREG MIGLIORE: This is definitely a rolling slice of Americana. You know, what did you do with it? It seems like you're the guy who lives kind of on the fringe of town. Like, you need a Wagoneer, right? I mean, put on your vest and your hat, and go chop some wood, bring the Retriever with you.

JOHN SNYDER: Oh, man, I wanted to like this more than I do. [LAUGHS] It's really nice-looking on the outside from certain angles. I'm still not a big fan of some of the lines in the rear.

The interior is huge. This was the L, so just huge, which was great. And the materials and the interior design are really, really nice.

But when you start going-- this was the turbo inline-six, which feels quite powerful. But the car just-- I mean, you could tell it's a truck underneath, you know? And it's squeaky. There's lots of rattles, lots of weird noises.

Even from-- if I had the accelerator depressed just a little past idle, there was this sort of hoot sound. I couldn't figure out what it was. It didn't sound like the normal hiss or whoosh of a turbocharger, so I don't know if it was that. But it was this low, like, humming hoot sound that just droned, but only in that little, narrow power band. That was so weird.

And then there's squeaking from things behind you. There's squeaking from things beneath the dash. I was just-- for as fancy and well-designed as it looks, it just didn't feel very refined at all. [LAUGHS] That kind of-- I don't know, yeah, it felt like a really nice body slapped on top of a cheap pickup. I feel kind of bad saying it because--


JOHN SNYDER: That's just-- maybe the one I got was-- I don't know. But yeah, it was just not-- I wasn't excited about it after driving it. I loved looking at it in my driveway, and digging through it, and opening things, and looking at things, and playing with the infotainment, and everything like that was all great. It's just when it came to drive it, it just all of a sudden started to feel like it wasn't all I had expected it to be.

GREG MIGLIORE: Interesting. And what motor did you have for this one again?


GREG MIGLIORE: The I6, OK. Wow, because that, to me, is the engine that-- it seems like the one people say to get, you know?

JOHN SNYDER: Oh, I know. I love inline-sixes.


JOHN SNYDER: And my Cherokee back in the day was an I6. And I loved it. Yeah, straight-sixes all day. But I don't know.

And there was really nothing wrong in the power delivery, but just in the refinement. It was just sort of loud and shaky, and made weird noises at weird RPMs. And it was just sort of strange.

GREG MIGLIORE: Boy. Sort of as an aside, Jeep is really flooding the zone as far as SUVs now, with the Grand Cherokee, and then of course, the Cherokee. But then you get, like, the Grand Cherokee L. Then you get the Wagoneer, the Grand Wagoneer. You drove the Wagoneer L. I mean, you know, it's confusing to me, I think, at this point.

JOHN SNYDER: And I've driven the-- pretty much every other Jeep. I've driven the-- the Grand Cherokee L. And that felt way more-- better screwed together.

GREG MIGLIORE: Interesting. Yeah, maybe you just got a bad one.

JOHN SNYDER: Maybe, but it just-- the Grand Cherokee Ls makes more sense to me in my mind as a Jeep. It's easier to wrap my head around it as a Jeep, too.


JOHN SNYDER: But I don't think that's what the problem with this was.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, yeah, that's interesting. Well, we'll see. I would like to actually get a Wagoneer in the next-- like, I always like vehicles like that in late November or December. You can put the Retriever in there, go get a Christmas tree.

Like, yeah I do buy into the LL Bean, idealized Americana Jeep thing.

JOHN SNYDER: Oh, for sure.

GREG MIGLIORE: But we'll see, you know?

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, and maybe if I had to take this off-road with a cord of wood in the back, I would have been more appreciative. Because I know it's capable. Jeeps are capable. And it is incredibly spacious and comfortable when you're just sitting in it, sitting still.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Sounds good, sounds good. Let's see-- I mean, I think we've run through everything today. We kind of had a pretty tight show here. What is your late November drink?

I think we're-- it's snowing out. It's late November. I feel like we've sort of moved past those crisp autumn beers. You can drink 'em, frankly, year round.

But you know, the sort of-- I like amber ale in November. But sort of the autumn ales, to me, those are very-- like, so October. At this point, you could just move right into the holiday stuff, if you want to.

So what's under your-- what's on tap in the Snyder household?

JOHN SNYDER: Well, one of our listeners suggested a couple-- couple of beers. One of them was a pumpkin beer. I have to look up what it was. But it sounded pretty good.

I'm generally-- if it says pumpkin on it, generally, I question it. But I found that with beer, usually, pumpkin, it actually tastes pretty good.

There's a place called Jolly Pumpkin that has lots of sours. But they have pumpkin sours and different things. And those are very good.

I will be probably making a trip to-- I always make a trip to Jolly Pumpkin to pick up some of their limited bottles for people for Christmas gifts and stuff. So I'll probably be picking up some for myself.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's a good idea.

JOHN SNYDER: But I also have a bottle of this schnapps called Zirbens. When I was in Austria several years back for the GLS, Mercedes GLS, they had this schnapps that they make from these-- the stone pine, the pine cones of the stone pine tree. And it smells like pine. It almost-- yeah, it almost smells like Pine-Sol a little bit.


JOHN SNYDER: But it's sort of this very sweet, deep, very Christmasy sort of flavor. It's got this sort of plum red color to it.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's good.

JOHN SNYDER: But yeah, I tried that in Austria, and then looked all over for it in the US. And I found a version of it that they were selling in the US. But they weren't selling in Michigan. So I picked some up when I was in Chicago.

And so I have a couple of small bottles of that. And every once in a while, I'll just pour myself one little tall shot glass, and just sip it. You know, when I'm decorating the Christmas tree or making Thanksgiving dinner, that's what I'll be sipping and keeping warm.

GREG MIGLIORE: Nice. It's definitely a time of year when sipping is a good sort of-- you know, the evenings are long, and kind of dark and cold. It's a lot different than the lawnmower beer vibe that we had just a few months ago. But that sounds pretty good. It sounds pretty good.


GREG MIGLIORE: I made it to Austria one time on accident. I made a wrong turn on a BMW press trip, and ended up in Austria. That was wild. It was snowing.

JOHN SNYDER: I would have stayed. I love it there.

GREG MIGLIORE: Well, it was the Geneva Motor Show. So we had to keep going and turn around, and all that good stuff. That was wild, though.

Let's see-- Jason writes, as far as good fall beers, I managed to dig them up here. Sheboygan Brewery Blood Orange Honey-- sold. That sounds good. I haven't tried it, but I do like the blood orange beers.

JOHN SNYDER: I-- I was telling Jason that I go to the-- Sheboygan's right by my cottage.


JOHN SNYDER: So sometimes we'll go to the brewery itself and pick up a growler when we have guests at our cottage. It's a great summer beer. I could see it being a good fall beer. But it's a great summer beer, too.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, that sounds good. You can get some of that in the-- like, in grocery stores in metro Detroit. That's a good one. He also mentioned an excellent Imperial Milkshake pumpkin IPA.

JOHN SNYDER: That's the one.

GREG MIGLIORE: OK, that sounds intense, man. I don't know.

JOHN SNYDER: I gotta find that. I'm going to be searching that one out.

GREG MIGLIORE: That sounds intense. I don't know, I think I'll stick with the blood orange. But Jason, you've managed to pique our interest. Jeremy [? Korozlewski ?] chimed in and give a quick reply, too. So if we only responded to the comments this well, who knows what our engagement rates would be?

But yeah, thanks for sending those in, Jason. And I've actually been sipping some gin gimlets these cold--


GREG MIGLIORE: --nights. Still have a little bit of gin from Griffin Claw left over. They're good all year round-- good summer ones. But I also think, like, a gin drinker on the holiday, whether it's a gin and tonic or a gin martini, can be pretty nice.

And I'm trying a new kind that I haven't tried before. It's called Detroit City Distillery. I have not tried it yet. But it was just out on the shelves at Meijer. And I was like, this looks pretty good. It's a little more expensive than some of the other stuff, but not outlandish. So I'm looking forward to mixing up something with that.

JOHN SNYDER: Yeah, the gin I had in-- in Sweden-- I'm not going to try and pronounce the name of it. But it was-- I had it in a cocktail with-- it had, like, apple slices in it--


JOHN SNYDER: --and a sprig of rosemary. And it just was a really nice aroma and really nice flavor to it. Definitely a good one for the season.

GREG MIGLIORE: You can do nice things with gin for the season, if you will. So all right, that's all the time we have this week. Thanks for hanging out, John. Thank you, Erik Maier, to our producer, for producing it, all of the hard work he does for the show.

If you enjoy the show, please give us five stars on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, wherever you get the show. Send us your Spend My Moneys, directions on where to go pick up new growlers for John. That's podcast@autoblog.com. We'll get back to you on those.

We don't always get to every single item in the Mailbag, but send that all along. We love to hear from everybody, too. Be safe out there, and we'll see you next week.