L.A. show, Chevy Colorado AEV Bison, Acura Integra, RDX | Autoblog Podcast #705

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. This week, they talk about driving the Chevy Colorado ZR2 AEV Bison, Audi A3 and S3, Toyota Corolla XSE hatchback and the new Acura RDX. As for news, they discuss the reveal of the new Acura Integra, and talk about what's new at the 2021 L.A. Auto Show. Finally, they help a listener pick a car from the list of their childhood favorites.

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. Joining me today is Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. What's up, man?

ZAC PALMER: Oh, just here in cold Michigan. I know that most of the news this week has been happening out in nice sunny Los Angeles. But hey, there ain't nothing wrong with Detroit either. How are you doing?

GREG MIGLIORE: I'm good. I'm good. It's a little cold, in the 40s. Just took the dog for a brisk walk, it's kind of windswept, but it still feels a little bit like fall. I like that. Sometimes you get into November and people just jump ahead to the holidays. All good, but you know, there's still some leaves out, sunny, it's cold, put on my puffer vest, and, you know, just walked the dog, and felt pretty good.

And it is a little bit warmer out in LA. We're going to talk about the LA show. James Wiswick and Joel Stocksdale were out there. Best bet is, obviously, to check out our full coverage on site. But we're going give you some of our opinions about what we saw out there. It was a pretty decent show overall.

But first, we're going to talk about what we've been driving and we've been driving some cool stuff. I just got out of a Chevy Colorado ZR2 AEV Bison. This is the one, of course, the AEV tunes. There's some really cool stuff on here. We'll get into it. You did the first drive of the Audi A3 and S3 in Colorado. I drove the Corolla XSE Hatchback-- pretty fun. I really enjoyed that.

And then you actually spent some time, I believe it was also out in California, driving the Acura RDX and you saw the reveal of the Integra. So we'll get into all of that. And we will spend your money. So busy show, should probably start knocking stuff out. Any guesses as to how much this Bison costs?

ZAC PALMER: Oh, man. I'm going to put my first guess right around $55,000 after AEB is done with it. Am I close?

GREG MIGLIORE: You are dead on, man.



ZAC PALMER: I didn't even cheat either. And I probably have the Monroney.

GREG MIGLIORE: I was going to say, that's kind of shady. Did you pull this up on one of the fleet files or something? But no, you were dead on.


GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, what I would say is this-- super cool. It looks super cool. It drives cool. It has the 2.8-liter Duramax diesel. It sounds like a monster truck. My kid calls it a monster truck. I can see eye to eye with any other guy in a truck in a parking lot when I'm in this thing.

$55-- I don't know, you don't necessarily need that. But what you do get from AEV-- I will tell you right here, I have the Monroney-- the ZR2 Bison from AEV gives you, let's see, hot-stamped boron steel skid plates. So you're going to, like, go over some jagged stuff, you've got some reinforcement there.

17-inch dark graphite aluminum wheels. You can get cool wheels from Chevy on your truck. You don't need to spend the money for that. Front and rear bumpers, wheel flares, which are seriously like cartoonish-- they really stick out on this thing like a Transformer-- embroidered headrests, and of course, this one does have the diesel. And an exhaust brake too actually-- $75 exhaust brake.

So you know, if you want the look, you want to let American Expedition Vehicles do this stuff, you know, it's definitely a cool vehicle. The ZR2 is not cheap. So really all you're paying for from like AEV is just some of the looks, and things like that, and the offroad gear, which is only about a $5,700 add-on. You know, the rest of this is Chevy.

It's the AEV stuff and then the-- excuse me, the $3,700 diesel is what gets this to $55. Without it, you're looking more at, like, basically, like, a base in the mid-$40s range, if you will, like the base ZR2. Which to me, that's the sweet spot. That's how I would go.

But this thing does look cool as hell, man. I know you've driven the ZR2. I think it's a great truck. I think you get a lot of bang for your buck in this segment. You know, honestly, for me, this reminded me just how much I actually really like the Colorado. It's a really strong player in the segment.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, no, there is nothing wrong with just the base ZR2. That is one hell of a truck all on its own. You get a big lift, you get the awesome multimatic suspension, which really makes the truck. It both jumps, lands softly off-road, rides super smoothly off-road, and rides super smoothly on-road. It handles respectably well as well.

And all of those AEV things are really cool, but they're definitely for somebody who's an off-roading enthusiast that maybe you don't want to go to some parts bin and just buy a part here, buy part there, buy a part there. You can just get this package that lays out your super high clearance bumpers, and better skid plates, and it all is wrapped together very nicely and easily from the factory, which is certainly appealing, to me at least, especially on this truck.

Greg, you had mentioned there that I have driven this before. Yes, I have off-road. And I think that I've had more fun in this truck off-road than pretty much any other vehicle that I have driven off-road. The way that it handles different terrains is super, super impressive. It's almost like a sort of magic carpet ride over, like, a lot of huge bumps and bounces that the suspension is capable of handling.

You know, there's this. And in the mid-size truck segment, there really isn't anything else that has this kind of a high tech suspension on it. Obviously, you have stuff like the Tacoma TRD Pro, which is also fantastic off-road, and Nissan's Frontier Pro4X, which is also super respectable off-road. But for me, there is nothing better or as comparable as the ZR2 off-road in this segment. You'd have to step up to something like a Raptor to get a similar suspension technology and capability for sort of desert running off-road type stuff.

GREG MIGLIORE: The multimatic DSSV, and I'm going to use the abbreviation here, like, the suspension-- really cool. I mean, they're yellow on this thing. So, like, you know they're there. You see them.

I think we actually tested it for our tech of the year a few years ago, actually, on the Colorado. And that was just a cool thing to test, for one thing. But you get a lot of capability. And this is, I think, in some ways, the perfect truck for some people, you know, because it fits in a lot of small spaces. It handles well.

The multimatic, like, upgrades actually make it handle quite well on-road. It's a little bouncier and jouncier, but, you know, it's a little bit beefier than, say, like, the Ford FX4 suspension, I think. This is a little bit more capable depending on what you want to do. Like, this is really for serious off-roaders, whereas FX4, in my mind, is a little bit more like, hey, let's go to the campsite, that sort of thing.

You could do some work with the Chevy, with the ZR2. So yeah, one thing that I almost forgot, because this isn't this maybe widely talked about as it was a few years ago, the 2.80liter Duramax diesel, an inline 4. You're looking at 181 horsepower, 369 pound feet of torque. It's a really interesting engine.

You know, as we're looking at EVs and just all sorts of different types of displacements going down, some of them going up, a little bit of a-- I don't know, I enjoy driving it. I think it's something-- I drove-- Jesus, a few years back I drove a Canyon prototype with the Duramax diesel in it right when they were launching this. And it's just-- again, this is a very niche engine, if you will.

But I mean, I think one thing I'll say is it's rated at 18 city and 22 highway. You know, that seems low, I guess, if you will. But you know, if you want diesel, you get some grunt with this thing. So. It's still out there.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. The diesel proposition is a cool one for off-road. And I really, really loved it in the Wrangler. And I love having that low-down grunt when you're off-roading, trying to rock climb and so on. So you know, them continuing to offer it in the Colorado is super cool.

I know the ZR2 that I drove was just the normal 3.6-liter gasoline V6. And that one was all fine and dandy too. But I think that you probably end up liking the diesel a little bit more if you're somebody who's into weird stuff like that. If you're buying a ZR2, you're probably a little bit into that weird off-roady stuff already.

So this is just a neat, weird proposition that still exists. And it's super cool that it does to me, even if it doesn't get the greatest fuel economy. It's still a neat offering.

GREG MIGLIORE: You got to want the driving dynamic from this kind of a diesel. Because, again, the fuel economy-- usually, like, diesels in the city, whatever. But usually they're pretty good on the highway. And the Colorado is not a huge truck. So I guess I was expecting a little bit of a better figure than what I'm seeing here.

And that's fine. You know, you can buy engines just for how you want your vehicle to handle and drive. And I think that's what you do here. And it's only $3,700. So I'd probably go with the 36 because I think that's a great engine. GM's been using that in everything for forever. But, hey, it's a fun vehicle.

So that's the Bison. When we get some social assets over to you here in a little bit, you'll have to check it out. I've got a few. I was at Starbucks, but then there was just this construction site behind it. So I need to look at these pictures, because I've got the Bison with these, like, gravel piles and got a TikTok-- all that good stuff.

But let's shift gears over to the Audi A3 and S3. I drove one briefly, but you went to the first drive out in Colorado. Give me some initial impressions of this pretty critical sports sedan for them, for Audi.

ZAC PALMER: I did. Yeah, I drove it through some canyons in and around Denver and Boulder, Colorado. Quick note, man, those are some great roads. Video producer Chris McGraw was definitely having a great time out there. That was the first time that I'd really had a good chance to be out there. And the Audi A3 S3 were pretty fun up and down those canyon roads.

The S3 particularly fun, the A3 you can definitely tell is a sedan for somebody who wants something nicer than, say, like, a Civic. You want the luxury interior, want a luxury look, get nice, big Audi wheels, super great-looking LEDs. It's very sort of like a pug, like a dog rearing up at you.

The design is super neat in that way. But the driving experience, if you really, really want something that is a lot of fun to drive, I think you really got to go with the S3. Obviously, that comes with a big price increase. It's right around $8,000 to $10,000 more than an A3. But what you're ultimately getting with that S3 is an Audi-ized, sedan-ized version of the Volkswagen Golf R, which I drove earlier this year.

So that sort of spoiled the driving experience of the S3 already for me. But that car was brilliant to drive, and the S3 is also fairly brilliant to drive. The one disappointment that I had with the S3 out there, though, is that Audi doesn't give it the torque vectoring rear differential that the Golf R has, which is a big omission, honestly, because that torque vectoring rear diff was one of the things that made the new Golf R so much fun to drive.

And without it, it's a much more standard stroke all-wheel drive system. It doesn't actually yank you around corners or push you through and out like a real torque vectoring system would. That caveat aside, though, man, that 2-liter 4-cylinder engine is a serious firecracker, sounds the business.

And the DCT transmission that they pair with it too is lovely. I found myself just tapping up and down and up and down the gears as I went up and down the mountains out there. It's a serious enthusiast car. And there's the RS3 that's coming, and it's going to have that lovely 5-cylinder engine that I know I love, and I'm sure you probably love it too, Greg.

But if you don't have $50, $60,000, which is at least what that RS3 is going to be, this S3 is an absolutely fantastic car and a really neat alternative if you don't like the hatchback look of the Golf R or you don't like the complex interior tech that they throw in in the Golf R. The Audi is more luxurious, but also more back to basics in terms of its controls and user-friendliness.

So overall, I really, really liked both of them. I'm interested in what you had to say about the A3, Greg.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I would say this-- it lived precisely up to my expectations, which is a good thing. I like the A3. The S3 I drove-- I drove them a few years back in Monaco on the Grand Prix circuit there. This was for the last generation of the car. And when you have an experience like that, it tends to resonate with you, right?

Like, you tend to really-- like, that's not just a work trip. You know, you really-- it sticks with you. And obviously, the car sticks with you. So I think the way they're positioning it then and now is that this is sort of like a somewhat affordable, thinking person's sports sedan.

I think they dialed in on the things that they've always done well, which is it handles well, the steering is good, it's a little understated. The S3 does punch things up a little bit, just styling and, obviously, mechanically. So yeah, I mean, like, I would say it was, like, dead on.

I would say it didn't exceed my expectations. You know, there was nothing in there that made me go, whoa, Audi is bringing something new to the fight. Or this is, wow, this takes a leap forward ahead of the rest of the field. So that's where I think, you know, when you launch a product like this, a new version of it, sometimes it's good to have that, like, aggressive thing that puts you ahead. This is just perfectly staying the course.

And that's fine. That's fine. That's probably what most things do in cars, in life, and whatever. But it didn't blow me away. It was exactly like every A3 or S3 I've ever driven. So I don't know. That's not faint praise. And I'm not even, you know, damning it with faint praise. It just it exactly hit what I thought it was. You know, there was nothing that blew me away.


GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I don't know. I mean, where do you put it in the field?

ZAC PALMER: Man, in the field of the--


ZAC PALMER: Yeah. There's plenty. I mean, you get the CLA, you got the two-series Gran Coupe-- that BMW is probably, unfortunately, last amongst those. But I think for me, I'm probably going to have this perhaps sitting second behind the CLA and the A-class-- I sort of group both the CLA and the A-class together because they're so similar. But right there, right behind the Mercedes, I think, and then the BMW probably a distant third behind it.

GREG MIGLIORE: Why do you put the BMW third, I'm just curious?

ZAC PALMER: I really dislike the way that that BMW looks. Like, really, really don't like it. And so I drove the M235i Gran Coupe last year. And it wasn't fun to drive. You know, it's this four-door sedan from BMW, super small, should be super fun to drive, but it just isn't. It's fairly lifeless.

It's some of the worst of the very lifeless steering that BMW has. You can tell that it's very much based on, like, the X1, X2. It sort of drives a lot like a mini Clubman more so than it does a BMW, which was just fairly disappointing. So maybe part of that is expectations are too high. But I think that my expectations should be fairly high if BMW is going to make something that is sort of an equivalent to, say, like, a hot hatch, like a BMW hot hatch.

And it just-- it didn't. I'd rather drive this S3 than I would that thing. I'd rather drive the Mercedes AMG CLA 35 than I would the BMW. So you know, I should also mention the Cadillac CT4, because that's also in and amongst this group. That thing's rear-wheel drive and has a lot of horsepower, especially if you get the V with its 2.7-liter 4-cylinder. Haven't driven that one yet, but I imagine that that would land very high amongst my rankings had I driven it.

GREG MIGLIORE: So I drove the CT5, and I drove it in blackwing trim. So obviously, you're, like, the biggest, most powerful engine. And it is a segment off, to be fair. But I really feel like I would put the CT4 at the top of this class based on what this class is. You know, because, to me-- and the class does different things. It used to be a little more like a traditional A3.

Like at one point, we even maybe paired off the three-series into there. Now the three-series is bigger. Like, this is not a true-- like, like the size has changed, let's put it that way. And this is definitely more of an entry level, almost like a hot hatch, like you said, segment, where Audi is almost competing with, like, Volkswagen, which is a sibling thing. That's kind of weird in some ways.

And then you drop the Cadillac in there, which, to me is, again, a very traditional offering. To me, it seems like that's also what BMW-- like, there's the signpost for what BMW needs to do in this segment. Because the Cadillac is what BMW used to be. Like, the one-series, the one-series M Coupe, that was a brilliant car in this segment.

The BMW two-series Gran Coupe I feel like is, just the name tells you all of the issues that I think you might have with it. Like, a car in this segment shouldn't be called a Gran Coupe. So in some ways, I would agree with you. Almost by default, I think the Audi does rise to the top. And again, I feel like I keep damning it with faint praise, but it's an interesting segment.

And I haven't driven either of the Mercedes recently. So again, that's an area where I'll admit I have a bit of a blind spot. I don't know. If I had to pick one, though, I'd probably go Cadillac just in this little group right here. Is the Cadillac bigger? Off the top of my head, I don't know. It feels like it's a bigger car, but maybe I'm wrong.

ZAC PALMER: The CT4 really isn't much bigger than these cars. It might be like an inch or two longer than, like, the A3 and, like, a CLA, but they definitely compete head to head against each other, especially considering the price. They're, like, dead on price.

So yeah, man, I really wish that I could also say the CT4. I probably can just based on driving cars on that platform previously. But, man, I'm going to have to keep with that AMG. Because that, to me, has been, like, the most fun car that I've driven amongst here. And it's also the most hardcore of them easily-- the stiffest suspension, the loudest exhaust. It's just a very, very high strung and very much more like a sports car than a luxury sports sedan.

GREG MIGLIORE: Oh. All right. Well, let's shift things over. I spent some time in the Toyota Corolla XSE hatch. A lot of fun, man. This was about $25,000, $26,000. Beautiful car, actually. Really has the hatch look and appearance. It reminded me of some of the, like, early-2010s Mazdas, specifically the 3, probably. It even as a little bit of the silhouette of the Speed 3 from that generation, if you will.

This is the manual transmission, which I wasn't expecting. When I got in the car, I was like, oh hell yeah. This is great, you know? And so it's a lot of fun to drive. It's great value, like I said, for $25 grand, $26 grand. You know, good fuel economy. 4-cylinder is like 168, 151 pound feet of torque. So again, it's like small car, but you can kind of really push it and wring things out.

Read some of the specs here, you do get, like, LED fog lamps, the infotainment is fine. It's like a 7-inch thing. You know, they did some things like chrome colored, so faux chrome around the grille. That sort of thing. Like, it didn't feel like a penalty box at all, you know? And I think that was good. I threw my kid's car seat in there. He had a great time.

People thought it was cool, you know? So I mean, it's interesting, because this isn't really where the market is going. But for me, I guess what I really loved about it was the manual transmission. Really, you could wring things out with it. It actually took me back to my early days in the industry when I was sort of starting out and a lot of, like, the old guys would be driving the enormous Escalades and things at this time of the year, and the young guys get the hatchback the stick shift on, like, summer tires or something as it gets cold out.

And like, that's what-- it was first week in November here, I'm ringing around Michigan in this little Toyota Corolla Hatchback. And I'm like, OK, reminds me-- because we used to have a long-term Mazda Speed 3 at "Auto Week" and kind of takes me back to those days. And that car was way more powerful, way more raw.

I like the simplicity and the pure nature of this. So you know, there's not that many things out there like this. You know, the Mazda 3, which I know is in your life, if you will--

ZAC PALMER: Is, indeed.

GREG MIGLIORE: You know, Volkswagen, the GTI is-- like, I mean, that's the Golf if you want. You know, they don't offer any other Golfs-- the Golf R, I suppose. But that's a different thing. Good value.

ZAC PALMER: All those things-- you know, super great things about the Corolla Hatchback. They always turn my head whenever I see them go by. But the biggest problem with me for that car is just the fact that the Civic Hatchback exists. And the Civic hatchback is really, really, really good.

It's more powerful. It's more spacious. It has better tech for the most part. And it also offers a manual transmission, of course. And those are all really, really great things.

What the Toyota has going for it for me is style. I think that it's definitely a more attractive hatchback than the Civic is. But at the same time, that comes at the cost of utility. So you know, it's a tough ballgame between those two. Is it still awesome that Toyota is over here selling a Corolla Hatchback with a manual transmission and right around 170 horsepower? Yeah.

I mean, maybe that extra 20ish horsepower from the Civic doesn't really matter because it's so fun to wring out this sweet, naturally aspirated engine from Toyota. So it has some really cool things going for it that enthusiasts can like. Sounds like you liked it too.

GREG MIGLIORE: Indeed. Indeed. I'm glad there's cars like this out there, let me put it that way.


GREG MIGLIORE: Not for everybody, but efficient, fun thing to drive, good value. Average new car price is, like, what $41 to $44, I've even heard-- $44,000. You could get a car like this for $26. Hey, you know, driving is fun. This was a fun car to drive. How was the Acura RDX on the other end of the spectrum?

ZAC PALMER: Acura RDX. Yes, so transitioning from fun, maybe personal-ish hatchback to a bit of a compact-ish luxury family. At least you could have a small family in this RDX. So I was out in Los Angeles and I was doing the first drive for this sort of a mid-cycle refresh for the RDX.

If you look at it, you don't really see a whole lot that is jumping out at you like, oh, they redesigned this, they redid that. No, it really looks a whole lot like the RDX pre-refresh-- there's a new grille, new lights, new wheels, very minor stuff. You know, some of the big ticket items, I think, though, they added, like, a ton of sound deadening to it, which actually sort of hits the nail on the head for some of the things that I've complained about with actors in the past.

Their 2-liter turbocharged engines are fairly growly, noisy-ish things, especially if you go and compare them to something like the 2-liter in a Mercedes or BMW. Those cars are very, very quiet. You can tell that there's a ton of sound deadening in that. The Acura hasn't always been that way.

However, for 2022, Acura says it's 20% to 30% quieter-- basically just depends which trim it gets. And in my first drive, I noticed that. It was obviously quieter than the previous RDX. So that's super cool in that Acura is reaching more towards luxury in that way. Other really neat things-- just a bunch of added tech.

A lot of the stuff that debuted in our long- term TLX and the MDX get added to this. So that's all fine and dandy. You're not leaving the RDX behind since a lot of people do buy this thing. And lastly, maybe one of the bigger notes here is that Acura is finally letting you equip A-Spec cars with the advance package.

And that's neat, because A-Spec has always been the coolest looking Acura in the lineup, whether you go RDX, MDX, TLX. But up until now, you have not been able to equip their advanced package on it, which means you couldn't get the adaptive suspension with the coolest looking car, which is just weird to me, and probably to enthusiasts as well, that the sportiest looking car can't have the sporty suspension.

But that changes with the RDX now, and now you can have exactly that. So big fix there. I'm not really sure why it wasn't that way before, but it's a good thing that Acura did that. So overall, I think the updates make it better. It's a slightly more attractive offering, so to say. But it's not a revolutionary play by any means. It's still the same RDX that we liked well before, and I still like a good bit now. So 2022 RDX in a nutshell.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good. I have not driven it, obviously. I think it's one of those vehicles that Acura gives you like a style play, if you will, in the segment. I think it's kind of love it or hate it looks-- like, they still have remnants of that, like, beak styling in the front. But you know, I like many of their vehicles.

I'm glad to hear that you can actually get a little bit more performance out of some of these things, line up with the looks than the actual sort of in-vehicle experience. That's good. You know, I've been asking this a little bit, but where does this go in the segment now?

ZAC PALMER: That is another tough question. Because this one, you know, for the most part, it's a value play. So load it up, really doesn't matter which way you slice, it's going to be cheaper than, say, like, a BMW X3 or a Mercedes GL C-class, Audi Q5. It's going to be slightly more affordable.

Now, those cars, they have nicer interiors than this one does-- just more leather, more wood trim, et cetera, et cetera-- better tech, more screens, all of that stuff. Now, that said, you're not really losing anything in the driving experience, I don't think. You get pretty stout 2-liter turbo with this guy that measures up very nicely to pretty much all the other ones.

And it handles just as well as those too with SH all-wheel drive. So for a lot of people, I would suggest buying this over, say, a BMW X3 if you're not somebody who's dead set on I want the BMW, I want the German luxury. I'd recommend this over, like, a Lexus NX, probably over, like, an Infinity QX50. I would have this over many of the similarly-priced crossover competitors.

And probably if you care about driving experience, this is better than a Lincoln Corsair. If you don't really care about driving experience and you just want something luxury and comfortable that is super nice to look at, maybe I'd take a Lincoln Corsair over this one. But I think it measures up really nicely to that sort of mid luxury segment.

And it's definitely the pick in that segment if you care about something that's fun and interesting to drive with your crossover. I do wish it had a type-S. There really should be a type-S version, but that's not coming yet.

GREG MIGLIORE: That would be logical, because there's some space to put that V6 under there-- 355 horsepower sounds pretty good to me.

ZAC PALMER: Sounds splendid.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. All right, so let's talk about the Integra. This is a car that you don't have to talk about, like, how it feels or seems sporty. It is sporty. And it's the return of the Integra. I think it's really important for Acura to bring this name back. I think it's important for them to play in the segment. I was impressed with the car. But you were there in person.

And you're an Acura guy just as far as, like, outside of work. You know, you own an Integra. What do you think?

ZAC PALMER: Indeed. Yeah. This was-- man, this was probably, like, my dream reveal to go to honestly, if I'm going to get a little personal here about it. There is probably no more exciting car that I would have loved to see the wraps taken off of than Acura bringing back the Integra. Because like you said, I'm an owner of one. I have a 2001 Acura Integra GSR, which I love and cherish.

So seeing them bring the nameplate back is a pretty big deal for me. And it seems the internet thinks it's a pretty big deal too, because just looking over the comment count for our stories here, they're in the triple-digits, which is pretty high. And I know that there's been a lot of commentary online-- people like it, people don't like it, people disappointed.

I'm on the fence of I like this thing. I like this thing a lot. In a way, it goes back to the Integra's roots, in a way, it doesn't. And you know, in the way that it doesn't, of course, is, well, it's a big old four-door hatchback. And I know a lot of people were looking for a two-door coupe, because that's what everybody has in their minds about what an Integra should be.

However, Acura did make four-door versions of this car. Mine is a two-door, but the four-doors have always existed up until the RSX generation at the end. So in that way, I really like it. And this thing is going to drive really, really well. So we don't have any huge confirmation that this is basically the Civic SI powertrain.

But if you look at what Acura said, it's the 1.5-liter turbo, it has an LSD, It's going to have a six-speed manual. For all intents and purposes, this is looking like it's going to have this Civic SI powertrain just yanked out and thrown in this. Which if you remember much of Acura Integra history, that is nothing new.

The Integra has always been Civic-based. It's always shared a lot with the Civic. You look at the later Civic SIs, basically had the same engine, same transmissions-- a whole lot of sharing between those cars. So that tells me right now, you know, four-door hatchback, Civic SI, powertrain-- this thing is going to be, really, really fun.

There are some important differences to note, though. This car is not super small. This is a slightly longer Civic. I was chatting with one of the product planners there and he notes it's actually a couple inches longer than the sedan. And the sedan is already about five inches longer than the Civic Hatchback. So this car isn't going to be much shorter than, say, the new Acura TLX.

So not a super small car, also not a super large car. And you know, this thing has a lot of potential. This is just the beginning. I'm sure that we'll get a type-S down the road that is probably going to share a lot of parts with the Civic type-R that eventually comes our way. So if this level of performance is not satisfactory enough, I imagine that the type-S that is likely to come will more than satisfy any sort of performance wants and desires. Just a side note, love the yellow paint.

GREG MIGLIORE: There you go. Yeah, me too. That really does-- I mean, it's funny how, like, little things like wheels and paint can just set off what you think the idea of a car should be. That can really work. So one thing I'm curious about-- did they say why they brought back the Integra.

ZAC PALMER: Other than just pure nostalgia, not exactly. You know, I chatted with them about, like, hey, like, when did you decide you were going to do a new Integra? And their product planner told me, basically, they laid out everything that the car was going to be-- going to have this engine, this transmission, it was going to have a hatchback, it was going to be all these things. And they're like, oh, we built an Integra.

That's what this is. This is a fun to drive car, it's affordable, it hits all of these sort of measurements as to what the Integra was before. So then they decided, well, shoot, we built an Integra. Let's bring the name back and call this an Integra instead of what the small Acura has been for a few years now, which is the Acura ILX.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Much better name than the ILX.

ZAC PALMER: Much stronger.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yes. I spent a lot of time in the ILX when it launched, and then basically didn't change for a few years-- another long-term car I think we had at "Auto Week" back in the day. It had a manual, which made it kind of tolerable, but it was a very unremarkable car, you know, especially that first version of it. Well, cool, so that's the Acura Integra.

Let's move on to the LA Auto Show, some good stuff coming out of there. Best bet here is to check out our coverage online, tons of stuff. James and Joel, like I said, are there. But just kind of like bench racing this, I think the Porsches stood out to you there, Zac.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, there were a lot of good stuff at the show this year. But both of Porsches big reveals stood out the most to me-- the Cayman GT4 RS nuts, and then the Taycan GTS Sport Turismo is one of the best-looking cars I feel like I've seen in a long time. I already loved the way the Taycan looked, I love the way the Taycan Cross Turismo looked.

And getting rid of the cladding, lowering it a bit, dressing it up in GTS trim style, I don't think that you could have created a better looking Porsche wagon, in my eyes. The thing is drop dead gorgeous-- 590 horsepower. It's going to be so good. I know that those guys that were there and saw it would probably give it even more effusive praise with the looks than I am. But, jeez, this thing looks so good in red.

GREG MIGLIORE: Porsche does a good job at auto shows of really making the cars pop.

ZAC PALMER: Oh yeah. And then, you know, to get even deeper into the enthusiast space, you know, we have the Cayman GT4 RS, which Porsche finally giving us what the people want, throwing the 911 GT3 engine into a Cayman. Which, man, how many years have we been asking for that? How many years has Porsche been like, no, no, no, the 911 is king. The 911 is king.

And boom, here it is. GT4 RS with the 4-liter flat six, a lovely 493 horsepower, naturally aspirated, 9,000 RPM. This car is probably going to go down as one of the best Porsches ever, honestly.

GREG MIGLIORE: That thing is going to rip. It is just going to be such a raw car. But I mean, that is-- I mean, I'm a big fan of the Cayman. Just to have that engine in it, holy crap, man. That's going to be awesome.

ZAC PALMER: It's going to be absolutely nuts. You know, the price here, what are we looking at? About $143,000 to start. That's a lot of money. It's $40,000 more than a regular GT4. But I don't think that Porsches going to have any trouble selling a single one of them.


ZAC PALMER: Going to go like crazy. And I'm afraid to see what they go for after they're sold here, because people are going to be clamoring for these. There's no doubt about it.

GREG MIGLIORE: Oh yeah. If you're a Porsche enthusiast, I mean, this is, in some ways, really your car. And especially if you're someone who is, like, really into tracking things-- I mean, I would love to see what this thing could do in the hands of the right person on a track against, like, well, really anything. But I mean, it's almost a dangerous play. You know, they've always said the 911 is king, well, OK, let's get somebody behind the wheel with this thing and away we go, right?

ZAC PALMER: It's going to be really good. Now, that said, now that you did mention track time, it is slower than a GT3 around the Nurburgring. So there's one thing. The 911 superiority continues.

GREG MIGLIORE: Fair enough. But I mean, I don't know-- that's an interesting metric. But yeah, a good point. You know, and, obviously, I can see why the 911 would win in a circumstance like that. But you know, I don't know, let's go up to Lime Rock or something and see who--

ZAC PALMER: Very good point.


ZAC PALMER: Yeah. Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: Cool. All right, so that's the Porsches at the LA Auto Show. I've got a couple of things that stood out to me. I like the Toyota BZ4X-- wow, what a name-- and the much easier to say Subaru Soltara. I think they're essentially the same vehicle, kind of an EV, electric SUV, like, just play, if you will. Jointly developed.

And I think we knew they were coming, but I was, like, a little bit surprised, actually, when I saw the pictures and got a look at some of the specs-- like hey, this is really cool. And this is, like, an accessible vehicle for a lot of people. So I think that's definitely a winner, if you will-- really excited about that. 220 miles of arrange according to the EPA, so that's not nothing. And it's going to be a reasonable price.

ZAC PALMER: They feel like very normal EVs. I don't see much that is super gimmicky on them. They're electric cars sort of like the ID4 that are fairly normal and, you know, you don't have to be some, like, bleeding edge tech person like a Tesla buyer, many times, to really get behind. It's sort of like, I don't know, like, a RAV4 but electric, which makes a lot of sense. I think that's what a lot of people have been waiting for with EVs.

GREG MIGLIORE: Speaking of EVs, I also like the Fisker Ocean-- kind of a funny name for a car, but a good one, I think. This one is-- you can actually get a base one for about $37,500. It's pretty good. According to John Schneider here, our Green Editor, that's the entry level with sport trim, 275 horsepower, 250 miles of range. And I'm just reading from his report. You should check it out because he has the video in there too of the reveal.

Good-looking crossover. You know, I think Henrik Fisker knows how to design things, obviously. And he made a small crossover look pretty good. So that was another one I think just-- I'm going to go with things I think you should look at-- small, electric crossovers looks pretty good. I'm dating myself here, but I actually went to the reveal of the Fisker Atlantic in New York a few years back-- different company, in fact, I believe, a different Fisker.


GREG MIGLIORE: The Atlantic or the Atlantique, I don't know. He does a good job of getting pretty simple kind of almost, like, retro names-- like the Ocean seems like something like Lincoln, or Ford, or Buick would have named their cars back in the '50s, that sort of vibe-- the Atlantic. You know, they sound like cruise ships or ocean liners. But obviously, different world. But cool. So check out our full coverage.

ZAC PALMER: That Fisker Atlantic still sort of exists. I mean, it's sort of the Karma Rivero now. So same thing. It's slightly old, but you know, it's also still new.

GREG MIGLIORE: Indeed. It lives on. Lives on. Yeah, I had totally forgotten about that connection. That's right.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, Fisker, Karma. Maybe drop an LSV8 in it at some point in the middle there.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, right, Bob Lutz gets his hand on it.

ZAC PALMER: Exactly. Exactly.

GREG MIGLIORE: Man, that car has had a lot of different owners, and applications, and all sorts of things.

ZAC PALMER: No kidding. At this rate, the Ocean will have eight names by the time it's retired. But let's hope not.

GREG MIGLIORE: This is hilarious. I'm really dating myself on this. I'm looking up the Fisker Atlantic, because I was trying to remember, like, what was what. And the top reference in Wikipedia is a story I wrote for "Auto Week" September 3, 2012.

ZAC PALMER: That's awesome that you're the top reference in Wikipedia.

GREG MIGLIORE: Top reference in the Wikipedia story. Anyways, let's go back to the present and spend some money. This comes from LaMont. Aloha, folks, I'll keep it short and sweet. Now that I'm in my early-30s, I'm looking to cash in on some of my nostalgia and purchase one of my poster cars from my childhood and teen years. Sounds good, man.

All the requirements are that it needs to be from the 2000s, not a two-seater-- I already have one in the garage-- and he prefers a manual. OK. It's got to be on the sporty and fast side, must be under $20 grand to purchase. Here are his candidates in order. An '04 to '07 Volvo V70R in flash green metallic and/or with the Atacama interior, manual only.

Same thing only this is the Volvo S60R. BMW E39 M5 five but can only afford high mileage. Bad idea, are these expensive to maintain? Probably.


GREG MIGLIORE: '99 to '03 Saab 93 Vigan. These are getting hard to find. I was just Googling these. We were discussing these off camera-- yeah, man, they are hard to find. Or you go with an '05 to '05 Acura TL type-S manual only. Some interesting stuff. You're really going back into turn of the century, you know, sport vehicles, if you will, sports cars, sport, you know, things.

You're definitely going down kind of like the lesser known path, the less traveled path here-- you know, no GTIs or things like that. Little bit perplexing. So I guess with that, I'll toss it over to you there, Zac.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, I'm not going to lie, I struggled with this one more than I normally do with these. I saw your list there. I've actually driven a Volvo S60R before. It was a manual. It was slightly worse for wear. So you might struggle to find one that is actually nice and that has held up.

But if you do find one, it's definitely more grand tourer than sports car-- you know, very unlike the Saab 93 Vigan that you list there or, like, a TL type-S. But I'm going to go off script for my pick. I saw your BMW M5, and I will raise, or maybe lower, you a BMW M3. I'd go with the E46.

Now, it's definitely cheaper than an M5. Obviously, those M5s that you can afford around $20 grand are very high mileage. And yes, your question of, are they expensive to maintain is, yes. Yes, they absolutely are expensive to maintain. And the same would go for an E46 M3.

However, you're starting off at a lower price. And at that point, though, you're honestly bumping right into your $20,000 purchase maximum. So that would be my aspirational pick. Go find an E46 M3. If you're OK with a convertible, that would be the cheaper one-- although you say that you don't want a two-seater, and for all intents and purposes, an M3 convertible is sort of a two-seater.

So maybe go find a sedan and find a manual there. And then if that's too expensive, which in our market these days might be, honestly, at this point, wait a few days and the price goes up $3 grand-- then the TL type-S would be my safe choice. That is for sure going to come in under your dollar amount, still be a lot of fun-- not as fun as the M3, but certainly more reliable and cheaper to maintain overall. So aspirational pick, cheaper, safer pick right there. Greg.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, that's pretty well thought out. I'm going to go basically in order of want. He says an '04 to '07 Volvo V70R, again, in flash green metallic. I would probably look pretty hard at that. I think that is a very unique option on this list. Let's put it that way.

You're going to get some attention. I think you're going to get some functionality with that too. I think that's kind of neat. Nothing wrong with driving a Volvo station wagon from the turn of the century. I think that's kind of a neat thing. So I'd look at that.

There's actually kind of a cool "Motor Trend" review from a road test from 2004, you can find that pretty easily by Googling. And it really lays out just from that time how this wagon really-- like, what it could do well, and why you would like it then, and why it might still hold up now. It's definitely that period of, like, Volvo design before, I think, they became these gorgeous luxury pieces.

So it sounds like you like this era of Volvos. That's great. You're going to like this too. But for me, I kind of liked what came before it and then what came after it, if you will. Like, I like how Volvos are now. And in the '90s, I could kind of get on board with them to a little bit when they were a little boxier. This isn't my flavor of brandy, but I can see why it might be yours. That's cool.

So that would be my pick. I would just say, like, this is a little bit different, but different is good. I would take a swing at this, see what you can find. And I think just the adventure of finding this relatively rare vehicle could be fun in and of itself. So that's how I would land.

And of course, an older BMW three-series or M3, you know, again, expensive, not a bad fallback choice. The '08 TL Type-S, interesting. I think I actually drove that car-- again, interesting. Good transmission, good manual transmission. So other stuff to just have on your list. But yeah, man, I would go with the Volvo. I think that sounds interesting.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, it's not a bad choice. The guy that lived below me in my house, it was a two-story house in college, actually had a B70R-- was one of those years. I can't remember which one. But he had that. And I always parked my Integra next to him, because I knew that he would never door ding me, because I knew this guy knows and he cares.

It's a sweet-looking car-- really is. And I know that he really liked his too. So never a bad choice, I feel, to go with the Volvo station wagon.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good. Well, we can leave it there. Send us your "Spend My Moneys" at podcast@autoblog.com. If you enjoy the podcast, please leave us a five-star rating on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you get your podcasts. Have a great weekend. And we will see you next week.