L.A. Show Favorites and driving a custom Land Rover Defender | Autoblog Podcast #757
In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by News Editor Joel Stocksdale. We recap the Los Angeles Auto Show and discuss what it was like and what our favorite reveals were. We also discuss a few of the cars we've been driving including a restomod Land Rover Defender from Osprey Custom Cars and our long-term Kia EV6 GT-Line. Plus, we discuss the GMT400 Chevy and GMC trucks starting to rise in value.
Send us your questions for the Mailbag and Spend My Money at: Podcast@Autoblog.com.
GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to the "Autoblog" podcast. I'm Greg Migliore. We have an awesome show for you. We're going to talk about everything that transpired at the LA Auto Show. With that, I'll bring in news editor, Joel Stocksdale. How are you?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Doing all right.
GREG MIGLIORE: Freshly back from LA, where you saw lots of things. We touched out a few of them last week in the podcast, things like the Genesis X and the Prius. But there's a lot more. The 911 off-road rally themed Porsche, I think it looks pretty awesome. It also won our best in show. That is the editors' pick that gets the most points as voted on by our editors.
We have the full rundown of that. If you're listening to this, probably getting ready for your Thanksgiving dinner perhaps. We're going to try to get this dropped into your feed a little bit earlier this week.
The editors' picks did drop on Monday. So we'll talk about it here, but you can also scroll back through the site and find them. And lots of good stuff there. Full coverage of LA. We've got our mega gallery up too. So yeah.
Quickly, we'll talk about the Osprey Defender. Joel drove that. That is a different breed. It's definitely a defender that's different than probably most that the general public at least has experienced in recent years. And we have an update on our long-term EV6. We have some time, we'll get to, believe it or not, the GMT400 line of pickup trucks.
With that, you were in LA. You've been to a lot of auto shows over the years. And you know, what was just the general mood like? What did it feel like? Did it feel like a real auto show?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Well, compared to Detroit, absolutely. But that's kind of a low bar.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: It was probably fairly similar to last year, which-- so like, it definitely felt very kind of typical LA auto show just on kind of a smaller scale. Kind of some of the trends that we've seen at other shows, just fewer automakers with like official manufacturer-backed booths and representation. Like Mazda didn't have its own booth. It was the Mazda representation was there from the Galpin dealer group out in Los Angeles, which is probably one of the biggest dealer groups in the country.
But besides that, I mean, it was still-- it felt fairly auto showey. Quite a good number of major debuts over at this show, significantly more than like Detroit. Where because at Detroit, there were a whole bunch of reveals done like beforehand. But this time, for LA, there-- it was like people were back at the show doing their reveals. So that was kind of refreshing and fun.
GREG MIGLIORE: So I'm curious what the vibe was, as far as like was it busy? Was it like too busy? You know, how-- when you walked around the floor and you've got like some automaker like displays and things and reveals, but you've also got a lot of dealer group things which until two years ago that was almost unthinkable at a major auto show. What was just the vibe? What were people saying?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: I mean, there was definitely busyness around the reveals. When I was over at the Hyundai press conference kind of at the start of the day, the crowd that gathered for that was quite large. Which was a little bit surprising considering that the IONIQ 6, which was making its North American debut here, had already been revealed beforehand. And there have even been some first drives for it.
Granted, this was also the first time that we'd gotten to see the N Vision 74 concept, the hydrogen fuel cell retro concept, based on the Hyundai Pony Coupe. And there was an interesting story told about its connections to the De Lorean and also the fact that Hyundai had come fairly close to producing the Hyundai Pony Coupe back in the '70s. But it had been scrapped after a couple of years of development.
So yeah, it was interesting. Because it definitely felt like a full auto show in a number of ways, but it's still just-- it's still small scale compared to like pre-pandemic.
GREG MIGLIORE: Fair enough. So that's the vibe. But there were a fair amount of things to talk about. We were able to do our editors' picks. And the top one, of course, is best in show. So it was pretty-- you know, I think there was enough there. Let's put it that way.
I'll do a quick rundown and then we can kind of break these down. We vote based on points. You can award up to 10 points to any one single vehicle, and you have 25 total points to award among the five vehicles you so choose. So strategically, if you have a favorite, you want to probably give that one as many points as you can but distribute your points judiciously to try to get some of your others on the board. At least, that's my approach.
Other people, you know, do different things. They spread things out, or maybe they don't even have a position they want to take so they just kind of divide them up equally as more of like a protest vote. But this year, a lot of support, perhaps not surprisingly given Word Enthusiast website for the 911 Dakar. This one, you know, and I put this in my comments.
You know, I always go back to what's the car I would just want to drive home from the show. And to me, that is the epitome of best in show. So it's always a very simple decision for that. And there was some pretty strong, I think, competition here. You know, there was a lot of things. Like you could argue the Prius is more significant. The IONIQ 6 is certainly a design statement and it's electric.
But for me just, this cut through the clutter. And I, you know, again, I wrote this, I got to give Porsche a lot of credit. If they did this a couple of years ago this is like a side story in Frankfurt or Geneva, maybe New York. You know, it's like the car they reveal at like VW group night the night before the show. Or they do it like an off-site at like a bar or something. This, they made up their spotlight thing. And it was a big deal. And it was cool.
And enthusiasts like us love it. We love the history behind it. And we love what it can do. And they're actually going to build it. They're going to make, I think, what, 2,500 of these things? So there is some practical ramifications here. That's a great thing.
And also, if you're just going to the LA Auto Show or reading about it in the last week, you're like, what the hell is that? That's like an all-wheel drive Porsche that's lifted with like wheel arches. They're bringing in a whole new audience to the Porsche brand, which I think is a great thing.
Maybe I'm being a little dramatic here. But it's really a nice play to like the show-goer who's just like, whoa, that's a cool Porsche, but also the enthusiast base.
So to me that's-- this is the way you approach an auto show right now. And that's obviously why I voted for it. But thoughts on that, Joel?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, so the 911 Dakar, it's-- so the last few years, something that's been very popular are-- has been people taking cars, lifting them, giving them bigger tires, making them look kind of like old Africa Safari rally cars. And to tell you the truth, I have gotten a little bit weary of that when it comes to the custom route.
But part of that is just because a lot of people that when they're kind of building these sort of Safari Dakar style rally sports cars is that for the most part, they do kind of like a cheap lift and throw on some chunky tires, throw on some lights and stuff, kind of call it a day.
It's not exactly actually built for any kind of real off-road or rally purpose. And so, I often kind of feel like really people are kind of making their cars worse by giving them heavier tires and kind of poor suspension upgrades.
However, this is a very different thing. Because this has all been developed in-house by Porsche so that it will still be-- it will still drive like a Porsche, but now it can do it in the dirt and on gravel and things. And so, I think it's fairly-- I think it's pretty neat.
And as I and a number of other people noted, in a lot of places this will actually probably be one of the more comfortable and nicer to drive 911's. I know the driving around in Detroit, having a little bit more sidewall and a little bit more suspension travel would probably make this [LAUGHS] significantly more comfortable than a regular 911 while also still driving like a 911.
I'm a little split about the 2,500 unit cap. I mean, I'm glad that it's not less than that. But at the same time, it's like, I feel like Porsche may be underestimating the demand and interest in a car like this. I mean, like I mentioned, in the aftermarket world and with like older cars, building stuff like this has gotten really popular.
I think quite a few people would be interested in having kind of this chunky sort of almost rally kind of 911. So I kind of wish that they would up the production capacity and make it a little bit more available because I think they could actually sell them.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: And also, I worry about it being limited production and then becoming this highly sought-after collector 911 as opposed to a 911 that's actually going to be like driven and enjoyed. Because like with the 911 R that came out a number-- a few years back, it was basically a 911 GT3-- well, the GT3 Touring came out later and was very much what the 911 R was.
And it was almost-- it was brought out kind of as a response to the fact that people were buying 911 R's and basically just squirreling them away, not driving them, and then like speculating on the value of it. And so, the value just ballooned to ridiculous amounts. And so, it just became kind of a collector investor kind of thing.
And Porsche does that to an extent. But that's not their-- I mean, they're a more volume sports car maker than, say, like Ferrari or Lamborghini. And they pride themselves on their cars being very drivable. I mean, not that like those other makers don't. But I would hate for this to end up as one of those 911's that just gets hidden away in garages and is never driven and enjoyed.
GREG MIGLIORE: I fear that will be the case, though. With just 2,500 globally and a starting sticker price of like 22,450 including destination? I mean, how else could it be anything but? You know, when you're talking about a car that is that rare and that expensive, you kind of have to be a maniac to drive it regularly, no matter the fact that it's probably going to be one of the easier Porsche 911's to handle in somewhat daily driving.
Maybe they find a way to make more of a not entry but lower-priced option that's at least below $200,000. You know, something that is in the realm of like the higher-end higher-performance 911's that you're not afraid to use, that in fact should use on the track and at high pressure situations. Maybe they can find a way to do that. I don't know. I mean, it's awesome.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: I mean, here's the thing. The thing is, though, is that $200,000 is not unusual for a high-end 911. As pointed out in our editor James Riswick's article about it, there are 911's that costs more than the Dakar. The GT3 RS, the Turbo S Cabriolet, both of those cost more. Like $220,000 is kind of normal for higher spec 911's.
So again, it's like I'd like to see Porsche just go ahead and expand their production cap on this.
GREG MIGLIORE: That is also, I think, even more than the price. Because, you know, fair point. You know, if Porsches are expensive, like exotics are expensive. You know, SUVs, you think of like an F-type SVR or something, or a really high-end Cayenne, you know, they're expensive. Aston Martin DBX, it's certainly not limited to sports cars. But it's just making so few of these, it's going to be tough to, in my mind, see the momentum more of a mainstream application.
But also, to my earlier point, by doing this at the LA Auto Show and making this their big reveal they're making it a bigger discussion point. And I think that's a great thing. It's like, what do you do next? You know, you've got people's attention.
Like do you think people in LA, or New York, or Detroit go to an auto show and are like, oh, hey, yeah, we're really read in on the history of Porsche's rallying activities? No. But they're looking at that car and they're like, that thing looks awesome. What is that? How could I get that?
So I think they should try to capitalize on it in some way, even if this-- like it's almost like a bait and switch. Like hey, we did this 911. But your Cayenne could get some kind of maybe rally inspired goodies or something. I don't know. But it's pretty cool.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: The other things is that there's clearly, like besides just noting the aftermarket, there's definitely a demand out there for this kind of vehicle, because Lamborghini has one coming right up in the next couple of weeks, the Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: We've seen pictures of it. And we've seen it driving. We don't know the whole specs on it yet. But it's got-- it's lifted. It's got chunky tires. It's got big fender flares. It's got extra driving lights on the nose, like it's this but with that extra Lamborghini craziness. So clearly there is a market there. I think it would be kind of silly for Porsche to not just go ahead and make the most of this.
GREG MIGLIORE: Agreed. Agreed. Let's talk about a few others. The rundown of the voting, I'll just tell everybody, why not. This had 64 points, far and away the most. Number two is the Prius. Number three was the Genesis X. That's 45 for the Toyota, 42 for the Genesis X.
And then there was a bit of a drop-off to the IONIQ 6 which brought things up. And then we had the Fiat 500e, a little bit of a sleeper pick. I think. [LAUGHS] One voter gave it a fair amount of votes, which allowed it to creep up into the top five, and that's great. It made nine, which elevated it above a couple of other things.
A voting sort of trend that I think is kind of interesting is the Subaru Impreza got votes from literally almost everybody. Everybody but two or three people left it off their ballots. But it had seven points and was not allowed to creep in to that top five.
You know, if this were like an electoral college, you know, the Fiat 500e got like New York or you know Texas style voting blocs, if you will, and then the others, you know, that pushed it ahead. But that's inside baseball.
Let's talk about the next couple of runners up. I think it was a very fair choice, if you will, for like the Prius to be second. I mean, it's just-- it was clearly obviously the most important car of the show. I mean, when you look at like if we had a most significant award, it would be the Prius. It's the new Prius. And it's pretty good-looking.
So I think, you know, we went over the specs of the car last week on the show and of course, on the site. Hugely important vehicle. I think it was a good richly deserved number two. I think maybe with a different group of voters it would have been number one. But that's fine. We're Autoblog. It is what it is. Yeah. I mean, I don't know. You gave it some points. What do you think, Joel?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: I think it's super neat. And if I had been in charge of the top picks, I may-- I think I would have put it ahead of the Dakar, mainly because this is a much more significant vehicle being that it's way more affordable. This is something that like normal people are going to be able to buy.
We don't know the exact pricing, but I mean, we can infer that it will probably be priced similar to the current one. And the current one, every version of it starts under $30,000. It may creep up a little bit as is the style of the time. [LAUGHS] But the fact that this is something that normal people are going to be able to have access to.
The fact that it looks really-- it looks really striking. The wedge shape is crazy on it. I like the big fat fenders. It's really clean. And the fact that it is a normal car. And the specs are just so much better. It's now got around 200 horsepower, give or take, depending on which version you get.
And the Prime has more range. It should get around 37 miles of range, which is a lot of electric range and will cover things for most people most of the time. And I'm looking forward to when we can go fully electric. But I do feel like good plug-in hybrids are important for kind of getting people to at least substantially zero-emission driving sooner than later.
So it's a neat car that's also important and is also something that normal people can get a hold of. And all of that is why I ranked it so highly.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Looking at the numbers here, you gave it-- I see you gave it 10 points. You did give the Dakar 911 eight points. So clearly you like the Porsche in that ballpark. But I actually voted fairly similarly. I gave the 911 10 and then the Prius seven. So not that far apart either. I did end up using slightly different criteria, if you will.
And that's kind of how my totals reflected it. That's kind of how it looks like everybody else's did. But you know, the Prius is hugely important. And the redesign is, to me they crushed it. It's a very interesting looking attractive looking hybrid. It's a legitimate now plug-in hybrid with all that extended range. So it's really a force.
There was a headline in"Automotive News" today that I didn't get a chance to fully go through. But it's like, it makes the argument that this now is the argument against going full electric, for people who want to make that argument. Whether that's good or bad, that's, you know, for you to decide.
But if you want a really good hybrid or a really good plug-in hybrid, you now have the Prius for another 10 years, you know? I mean, at least as long as this generation goes on. So it's, yeah, that was an interesting way of looking at it, if you will. So that's the Prius.
A couple of others here I think we got to get into, obviously. The Genesis X, drop-dead gorgeous. You know, this is like the third in the trilogy, if you will, of Genesis concepts. The lighting is just amazing. Zac Palmer was at the reveal, our road test guy. He had some great shots from just-- they did it kind of like at the golden hour, it looks like.
You know, honestly, this is, to me, this is like the quintessential third place thing in your editors' picks. It's just something that rolls up. It wins on style. So I think that's actually how I voted it too. But I think it looks really good. And I think it's, you know, another good, you know, attention-getting device for Genesis.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. It's an amazing-looking car. And I would have ranked it higher, but I'm still waiting for Genesis to go ahead and green-light this line of cars. Like we've seen a regular Coupe. We've seen kind of a shooting brake wagoney Coupe. And now I've seen a convertible over the course of a couple of years. They all look excellent.
I think when the first one came out, or even the second one, I wrote an opinion that said, Genesis, build it. They still haven't done-- they still haven't greenlit it. It's like, guys, come on. This thing is gorgeous.
Hyundai Motor Group clearly has the resources and the, I guess, gumption to put things into production that aren't necessarily going to be like giant sellers but are very cool kind of image-building cars. That's Genesis X. Just do it.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Stop Messing. Around with the concepts. Just do it. Everybody likes it. We've liked all three versions of it. Just produce it. And when that production one comes out, I'll probably rank it best in show, personally. So that's-- [LAUGHS] I'll just leave it there. It's gorgeous. Build it.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. I couldn't say it better myself. Let's leave it there. Hyundai IONIQ 6, this is one that I wasn't even sure if this was going to get votes from people or even like broader attention just of the, like the automotive media. Stuff like this does tend to get like mainstream pickup.
Because generally like daily newspapers et cetera don't always pick up on the nuance that something isn't like a global reveal, it's just the first time they've seen it, or it showed up at like their auto show. And that's fine.
That's literally another element for making the case for keeping auto shows relevant, you know. The Southern California audience had never see the IONIQ 6 in person. Most US audiences haven't, to be fair.
So this is another style-maker from Hyundai Motor Co, not surprised. I'm, you know, I'm of a few different minds on this one. You know, it's dramatic styling. I didn't like it at first, but it's grown on me. I gave it some points. But you know, it's getting into a very, you know, competitive segment.
You know, it looks like you gave it some points too obviously. We're kind of in the same ballpark on that. But you know, I think you liked it a little bit less than I did. But actually, as I look at it, but we were very close, let's put it that way. But I mean, another style play.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. So I would have given this more points if it had been like a global reveal.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: And the thing is, pre-pandemic we didn't really do anything on like North American reveals.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Because usually there were enough global reveals to kind of fill things out. Still, this was a pretty significant one, because we did finally get like specs for the North American one. And as expected, powertrains are basically identical to IONIQ 5 because this is basically the sedan version of the IONIQ 5.
It does have substantially better range. It can get over 300 miles of range. And a big part of that is because of the shape. It's really, really aerodynamic. It's a 0.22 coefficient of drag. And the thing is, it is a really cool looking car.
And it looks much, much better in person than it does in photos. I think in photos, photos tend to exaggerate how droopy the front and rear ends are. And it doesn't look that way in person. It looks a little bit more-- it looks more elegant in person. And you can really appreciate more of the neat details in person, the little pixel details of some of the sculpting in the lines.
It's got a really neat third brake light. I love the translucent antenna on top. Yeah. It's very, very neat in person. And it has the fantastic power train that is in the IONIQ 5, and the KIA EV6, and all those other E-GMP cars. So I think it's definitely deserving of mention.
But I did rank the next car on the list higher. [LAUGHS] But not everybody did that.
GREG MIGLIORE: Well, to be fair, you-- the next car on the list is, of course, the Fiat E, which rounds out our top five. It's interesting because this got a lot of-- well, it got a lot of support from two people. And that allowed it to creep into the top five. I thought about voting for this.
This is actually one of the things too where, to your point-- and not to get too inside baseball-- a couple of years ago, I wouldn't have voted for this because it wasn't an actual global reveal. That was the criteria we used.
But now, even global reveals are getting like weird. You know, it's like it's a live stream. OK, well, is that really a reveal? Yeah, I guess it is. But then the thing shows up at the show, so we can't vote on it.
Well, that's kind of weird. And maybe not even-- doesn't make sense. But that's also more like our own rules. We shouldn't get caught up on them. It was there, so it was a good thing to vote on.
But to your point, this is one that maybe might have gotten a little more support under different circumstances. And it's-- I'm honestly surprised they're doing this. But there may be-- Fiat may be able to thread the needle here.
This is, of course, our fifth place editors' pick. That is the Fiat 500e. I kind of thought the 500e was almost dead, or the 500 was almost dead, because it doesn't seem like there's a huge market for it. But clearly, Fiat has other ideas.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. So I mean, I picked it because, again, while this was not exactly a global reveal, this was confirming that 500e is actually coming to the US, a model that--
GREG MIGLIORE: It's a big deal, man. You're right.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: --that a lot of us had thought was not ever going to come to America. And I'm excited for it. Because, hopefully, it will be priced fairly low and deliver a decent range and be kind of a cool alternative to like an entry-level Nissan Leaf or Mini Cooper SE.
And I mean, it's a great-looking car. We actually got up close and personal with it at the New York show where it just kind of appeared with no fanfare, no information, it just was there. [LAUGHS] And we were all very confused by it. But it may have just been kind of a move to sort of start gauging public opinion.
We did have a roundtable interview with Fiat's brand manager. And he told us a lot of really interesting stuff about Fiat. Like indeed, it-- there's not a big market for it. [LAUGHS] And they're trying to use that to their advantage in the way that the Fiat 500e will be the first electric car that any Stellantis brand sells in the US, which is a pretty interesting way to go.
And basically, they're going to use Fiat as kind of a test bed for like, OK, we're going to start with kind of a small brand, small car, small sales, and dip our toe kind of in the EV market, see what it takes to take care of our buyers for maintenance problems, FAQs, all that kind of stuff, maybe different ways of trying out buying and stuff. They'll see what works. They'll see what doesn't work.
Regardless, they're not going to sell a huge number. And so, like if it's a success, it's nice. It's not a big deal. If it's a failure, unfortunate, but also not a huge deal. It's not like something that they were counting on selling like 500,000 units a year in the US and they completely botch it and now are only selling like 100,000.
Like the guy was saying that he actually wanted to start selling 500e here sooner. However, it's been such a huge success over like in Europe that they haven't been able to afford to allocate any for the US.
And also, the thing is the US market is such a small drop in the bucket for the Fiat brand in general that like it's not a big priority. And so, they can't really justify it selling those cars. But also, like they don't have to necessarily worry about not selling a lot here because they're selling a lot elsewhere. So that kind of helps offset small sales in the US.
So basically, it's a test brand for them. It'll be interesting to see how it goes. I hope it goes well, because I do think the car is neat. And I-- and also, it kind of sounds like the performance Abarth version that will be shown in a couple of weeks will be kind of dependent on whether or not the Fiat 500e sells well in the US. So and since I would really like to see the Abarth here in the US, I'm hoping that it goes well.
But yeah, it should be interesting. And also, Fiat is only going to sell 500e basically once. Because 500x is going to be on its way out. Once that generation is done, they're discontinuing it for the US. And then it'll just be 500e.
GREG MIGLIORE: Well, that is-- that's an interesting approach. But I also think Fiat has never really had much of a beachhead in the United States. So if you're going to do it, you might as well try to like, you know, go to daylight, shoot the gap. Like a small city electric car, could be a market for that. Especially if they price it right and it offers enough usable range.
You know, we've both driven the 500. And it is-- like it's more of a car than say like a smart car or something. Like it is more substantial than some of the other truly small like things out there that you would just prefer not to drive. So you know, it's kind of fun. It's quirky. It's got that like Italian version of like a Mini almost.
Like I could definitely see people in like New York, Montreal, Chicago, Boston, Detroit if you maybe live downtown, like this is your car. You charge it. I mean, it could even be part of like, you know, they haven't said this, but it could be part of like a car sharing type of thing where like it's like a fleet of them or something.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Well, they actually did mention that.
GREG MIGLIORE: Oh.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: The brand manager was saying that he-- the way he put it was, he sees this as a car for people with large driveways where they have various other cars, or possibly people without driveways--
GREG MIGLIORE: Ah, OK.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: --where they're just--
GREG MIGLIORE: All right.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: --like using it as part of a car share program or some other kind of alternative ways of owning it, maybe subscription service or something.
GREG MIGLIORE: It's interesting. Because when you do look at electric and small car, and maybe you live in an area where you don't need a large vehicle for your daily use anyway, that's when subscriptions do start to make more sense than the way they were initially sold, which, you know, theoretically makes sense, but in practical matters never made any sense.
So you start to see how some of these things could sort of come together if they were to approach it that way, especially with a vehicle like this. And I'm also like a-- I'm somebody who likes more brands, more cars, all shapes and sizes. Like I know there's definitely people who say, they don't need to do this. Or why are they doing this? Or this doesn't fit.
Very seldom do I say that. Like even if it's like a totally like, you know, bonkers idea, I'm like, all right. Cool. It's another thing for us to test, to talk about, to write about, for people to have a choice to maybe try. You know, this one on paper is, it-- theoretically, I see what they're going for.
I don't know if it'll work the way they think it can because it's just, time and again we've seen small cars and small electric cars not find a niche of the United States. But I could be wrong. And I frankly hope I am. And I'm glad they're doing it is I guess the way the finest of points I could put on to this. So and I would love to drive a Fiat 500 again. They're fun.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: And something else that you mentioned was that of all the models that Fiat has tried here in the US, the regular 500 line was the most successful.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. I believe it.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: And he was pointing out that like what worked for Fiat with the 500 was that it was very much a similar buyer to like the Mini Cooper.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: With like the advantage of the 500 being that it was more affordable and offered like basically the same amount of style. And with the Abarth, similar performance. And that buyer was looking for that particular car. People that were looking for things-- they weren't looking for something that was more mainstream or more practical, which covers the 500x and the 500l.
And the people that were looking for more kind of mainstream or practical were not looking for Fiat. And so, they're really leaning into that little niche that they had. He didn't say anything about Fiat 124. And I think that's probably just because sports cars can be a hard sell to begin with. And I really did like the 124.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, me too.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: I thought it looked neat. I liked the Abarth turbo engine. But I think for probably a lot of people they were like, well, it's a Miata but with a Fiat engine. And I could have a Miata with a Mazda engine that I might feel a little bit more confident in long-term. [LAUGHS]
Plus a lot of people that are looking at lower power sports cars like to have that responsive naturally aspirated engine as opposed to a turbo engine. So I think the 124 was probably a bit of a hard sell also. But yeah, so they're leaning in on that niche. And I think it could work similar to how Mini started out.
Where like if you can really establish your niche and not kind of like let it languish. Because I think one of the problems with the old 500 was that they let it get really old. And it ended up getting really uncompetitive against the Mini, which kept getting modernized and updated. So anyway, it'll be very interesting to see how it goes.
GREG MIGLIORE: Agreed. I actually think the 500, it could have been more of like even a cultural phenomenon that it was. So I think there was always room for something like that to maybe catch on and could, in fact, take place with the electric. You know, who knows, they get like a Super Bowl commercial, you never know.
I agree with you somewhat with the sports car too. I thought the 124 was a lot better than people gave it credit for. And I thought it looked great. And I liked the proportions of it, in some ways a little bit more than the Miata. And I know that's blasphemy. But it definitely had a presence, which I thought was cool.
It was a smart move for Fiat too. I don't know if it was a smart move for Mazda. I guess at the end of the day, it didn't really matter. But you know, it was a nice-looking car that was, you know, they were able to develop and get all that great Mazda engineering. And you know, you saw it with Toyota and BMW, and you know, Toyota and Subaru.
So I mean, if you're going to do a sports car, that's kind of the way you do it right now. So I-- my point being is, if they made an electric 124, I don't know. Who knows. Maybe that's another gap you start to shoot. There's not that many electric coupes and sports cars out there right now. Hey, Fiat could step into that void.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: I actually kind of think that probably the move that would make more sense would be to go with what Fiat Alfa Romeo had initially planned. And that was to use that 124 Miata platform for an Alfa Romeo-branded car. Because I think you could make it work better with a higher price point, maybe more fancy materials, maybe even a much higher power engine.
You could put the-- I mean, assuming that it fits, you could put the four-cylinder from the Julia in the front of like the Miata platform. And you would have a heck of a little sports car. Because you'd be running like, I think that Julia engine is what, like 280 horsepower?
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: So that's another 80 horsepower over the Miata. And that would help distinguish it much more and help justify that extra cost. And you give it some Alpha styling, you've got a really nice alternative to like a BMW Z4.
GREG MIGLIORE: It's kind of a forgotten chapter of that arrangement. You know, you're right, that the 124 was actually supposed to be an Alpha. So yeah, that's-- yeah. It's always interesting when you look at like the Buick Riviera, it was actually supposed to have been a Cadillac. Some of those what if stories, but--
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Well, and like now, you wouldn't have the Alfa Romeo 4C kind of getting in the way of having another Alpha sports car.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: One that has origins outside of Alpha.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Well, truthfully, I think Alpha needs a sports car way more than Fiat needs a sports car in the United States. So I mean, we've heard some rumblings. But I mean, what you just described is exactly what they should do, you know. So wow. We really-- we went from editor's picks to Alpha sports car. That's quite the news section.
Let's transition. We'll knock through a couple of drives. The Osprey Defender. That is pretty wild, man. This is like an old-school Defender, basically. You got to drive it. Custom car, essentially. But to the uninitiated, what is this, first of all?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. So Osprey custom cars is a kind of restomod builder down in North Carolina. And they do frame-off restorations and customizations of Land Rover Defenders.
The one that I drove was an early '90s US spec Defender that has been rebuilt from the ground up. It's had a Chevy LS3 V8 swapped into it with custom exhaust and painted in this very nice kind of pale gloss green with a black hard top. Really nice brown leather interior.
It's got a six-speed automatic transmission. It's got a Land Rover full-time four-wheel drive transfer case. It's quite a piece of work. I was really impressed. It was really, really well built.
One of the things that I was really amazed by was there were basically no squeaks, or rattles, or creaks, or anything. And I mean, granted, the thing is like torn down to bare metal and rebuilt. So presumably, it's going to be built nicer than, say, like an original Defender that has gone its entire life without any kind of refresh.
But I was still really impressed, because, I mean, at its core, it's still a 30-year-old British truck based on even older bits. So that was one thing just right off the bat I was super impressed with. And it was actually, as far as road and wind noise, it was really actually fairly quiet, again, for a 30-year-old frankly anything at this point.
The interior was really nice. And I felt like it hit a nice balance of being upgraded to justify its six-figure price tag, but also without-- it still feels kind of '90s Land Rovery.
Like it still has basically all of its original switchgear and stuff. It still has large portions of like its original dash and things. And so, and like the seats are still like original placement and whatnot. They've been refreshed. They've been reupholstered.
But having a lot of the original truck, I think, is good and important. Because you're buying this because you like that truck. And so, you still want it to feel like that truck. You just want it to feel like a nicer version of it. And I think it does that.
And what I also appreciate is that it seems very usable as a truck kind of thing. It had like nice rugged rubber floor mats. The leather feels like thick and tough and like it could actually take some wear and abuse without looking kind of tattered and stuff. So all that I was really impressed with.
The V8 was a lot of fun. It gives it really healthy power. I wouldn't call it-- I wouldn't quite call it fast, because it's still kind of a heavy not particularly aerodynamic vehicle. But it sounds good. And it does get up and go and keeps up with modern traffic no problem.
And I think that's probably fine because you a know, it was a big boxy truck with solid front and rear axles isn't going to handle the greatest. It did handle better than expected. This particular one had suspension tuned to be a little bit firmer and for more road use.
But it was still actually quite comfortable. Like it was-- I do think it was a good suspension tune for something that's going to be driven mostly on the street. But you can still take it off-road if you need to.
Still a decent bit of body roll and not a lot of grip. So if like, you know, you've got-- you have to drive it like an old truck because it still is an old truck. But it is, again, a much better version of that old truck.
I really only had a couple of gripes with it. Transmission tuning on this one was kind of wonky. I did check with the builder and it has been tuned this way according to the person that is apparently buying it, how they want it. So like the good news is that you could probably have it tuned differently if you were going to have them build one for you or were buying one that they had recently restored.
And also, the exhaust sounds good-- extremely loud. [LAUGHS] And so, it's actually a little bit hard to tell that it's fairly quiet with like road and wind noise because you just hear exhaust all the time.
Again, though, that's not something that-- that's something that would be pretty easy to address. Like if you were going to have them build one for you, you just ask for like more mufflers. I'm actually not even entirely sure how much muffler there really was on this truck. [LAUGHS]
But yeah. Overall, I really enjoyed it. Other things to note, I mean, and this is more a Land Rover Defender thing. [LAUGHS]
The driving position is weird. It makes my suburban feel like I'm sitting in a sports car. You're sitting so high up. And you're sitting way up against the door. And the pedals are like between your legs. So it's a little-- it takes a little bit of working to kind of figure out how to get into a comfortable driving position.
But yeah. For the most part, I was really impressed with it. It's built great. It looks great. I got so many thumbs up, and head-turns, and compliments when I was driving this thing around. Lots of people asked me, what is that? Like everywhere I went, like people were really into this.
So if you're looking for like a unique truck, and one that's like put together really well. I think Osprey is a good place to go to. If you want like a highly upgraded and very customized Defender, I think they're a solid choice.
GREG MIGLIORE: It's interesting, because they offer you the opportunity to get an actual old-school Defender in a way that Land Rover itself does not. You know, when you look at the differences between what the Defender has legitimately become and its space is sort of a modern flagship SUV. But if you want like, you know, the real McCoy, the original, Osprey you could set you up for it.
And you know, looking at the pictures of this thing, I'm pretty jealous. Just, you know, you must have been a rock star rolling around town in that thing.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. It was-- I'm having a hard time remembering the last time I quite got this much attention in a car.
GREG MIGLIORE: Wow. OK. All right. Well, how about the EV6? were people stopping you in traffic wanting to know what that was?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: That didn't happen.
GREG MIGLIORE: OK.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: However, when I came back from LA, I-- we and actually basically every auto journalist in Detroit [LAUGHS] parks at a--
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: --parking lot called Quick Park. Because that's where a lot of the fleet companies also park their vehicles. And so, people can get their press cars there and do their car changes and things. But I was parked there with the EV6. And the shuttle driver from the airport over there, I was the last one on the shuttle.
And when we got to my car and I got out, she saw it. And she was like, oh, wow. That's so cool. She got-- [LAUGHS] she got out of the shuttle and did like a walk-around like checking out all the lines and stuff on it and was like, this is super, super cool. She wasn't super into the idea of buying an EV yet. But she thought it looked amazing. She was really into it.
GREG MIGLIORE: I got to give KIA all the credit in the world. They're doing their job. They're getting it attention-- the designers, anyway, are really doing their job. You get people in. Maybe they're not sure about the EV side of it.
Maybe you convert like half those people. They're like, ah, I don't know. But well, I really like this car. And I was maybe thinking of going electric anyway. And oh, hey, I could get like, you know, some incentives or something. And that's how you start to convert people, you know?
So I do think that EV6 is an outstanding car as far as its looks. It's fun to drive. I've driven-- I have not driven the GT yet. You're actually going to drive that, I think, in Las Vegas in a few weeks here, which is going to be outrageous.
And I've driven like three or four EV6's. I have not driven our long-termer, ironically enough. It just hasn't made its way through the fleet yet. But you know, long-term, what's life with it like, aside from, you know, what are you doing with it, you know?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Oh, just kind of mostly like running errands around town and occasionally have driven slightly longer trips. After I picked it up at the airport, I had made sure to get a full-- like a full 100% charge in it before I took it over to the airport because I was going to drive down to Toledo to pick up my dog from my parents.
And cut it a little bit close roundtrip. Roundtrip it's about 140 miles from the airport, down to where we meet in Toledo, back to my house. And when I got in the car it was reading about 180, 190 miles. But that was based on the previous kind of average efficiency, which had been around three miles per kilowatt hour.
It was a really windy day. [LAUGHS] I was mostly cruising at highway speed. And I had the heat on. And so, my efficiency dropped down to about 2.4 miles per kilowatt hour on this drive. And so, I ended up getting home with about 10 miles of range remaining.
And like, I don't really-- I don't really blame the car at all. Like it was-- well, and it was cold too. So I mean, I think it did decently well. But yeah, cold weather-- just cold weather, highway speeds, and having to like run heat, all of that contributes to just dropping the efficiency by a decent amount.
Because normally, I've been able to get around like kind of three miles per kilowatt hour. So I think with the colder temperatures and running heat it's probably going to be less efficient this winter.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. That's, I mean, somewhat tangentially, I have the Nissan Leaf. And it was cold as hell the last week. So I was very aware of like, OK, yeah, this is what it says it is. But you drive a little bit, you run the heat, boom, that range drops real quick.
Although the Leaf was pretty-- I didn't even have to charge it. You know, it came fully topped off. And I didn't go that far. But I did drive it, and it stayed well above 100 miles. So you know, I think as long as you're aware of your infrastructure and/or you have a charger, you're in good shape, you know? It's not been a big deal for me, especially in this area.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. And that does bring me to one thing that has been a little bit frustrating. But I've been relying a bit on the fast chargers kind of around metro Detroit in part because we were not supplied a charger with this car, and I have not installed a level two charger at my house yet.
And [LAUGHS] it's just frustrating the little things that go wrong with these charging stations. Sometimes the extra-fast 350 kilowatt charger that the KIA is one of the few cars that can take advantage of them, sometimes those aren't working. Or sometimes other ones aren't working. Sometimes the app isn't working. Sometimes the credit card reader is not working.
And oftentimes it can be a combination of a couple of those or all of them. And it's [LAUGHS] just really annoying that these charging companies can't seem to make these more consistently reliable.
The credit card reader thing in particular really bugs me because it's like, credit card reading technology is one of those technologies that I think we have pretty darn well nailed. [LAUGHS] I mean, that almost-- that very rarely goes wrong at gas pumps across America. I'm like, why can't you get that to work consistently on your EV chargers?
Now, the other thing is, though, if I actually did own our EV6, I absolutely would have a level two charger installed at home. And I would be using it all the time. And I would never even think about these other chargers locally. Like it would only be a thing on road trips that I would be worrying about that kind of thing because I'd be able to charge up at home.
I even did get a 120 volt like household socket charger just because like I'm not ready to invest in a full level two charger yet because I don't actually own an EV yet. But we get enough of them as press cars that I'd still like to have something where I can top it up without having to go to a charger and pay for it.
And that's come in handy occasionally. Like if I'm not going to drive the EV6 for a while, because I can just leave it plugged in for a couple of days and it will eventually be topped up.
In fact, I kind of think that if I was only making like, I don't know, 10 to 30 mile drives each day, I might even get away with using that most of the week and then just like leaving it charging longer over the weekend on this 120 thing.
So chargers are annoying. But if you're going to buy one of these, and especially at the price of these cars, like an EV6 GT line is in the $50,000 range, you can probably afford to have a level two charger installed at your house. And you totally should, because it will make your life so much easier.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. If you look at the incentives available, you know, perhaps even through your utility company, [LAUGHS] any number of ways, you could make a level two charger make a lot of financial sense.
You know, if, you know, whether you're testing a lot of cars like we are, or just simply, you know, you own one, I think it makes, you know, the ease of convenience to me far out-- is far worth it as opposed to like any startup costs you might have.
You know, I think there was an interesting discussion thread on Twitter a few weeks back about how it's not really fair to test vehicles if you don't have a charger, a level two charger. I wouldn't go that far quite honestly. But I can see the logic.
Whereby you can't like reasonably-- you can't criticize the electric vehicle if you're not willing to live the life the way you should. Which in my mind means either get a charger, or don't, but also be willing to go use the charging infrastructure as it's available to you and report fairly on that.
You know, the analogy in that thread was like, don't complain about, you know, the problems with the Chevy Suburban, then go test it in downtown New York. You know, like what are you doing? That's not how it's supposed to be used. And that's not how people would purchase it and then go into that experience. So.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: And it's one of the things where like, you should have the understanding that if you are going to own one of these, you probably have a-- you're probably going to go ahead and invest in a home charger. And it works really great in that kind of situation.
And it wouldn't be fair to fully criticize them because of like charging infrastructure things. Charging infrastructure, though, is an issue. And--
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: --there needs to be better alternatives for people that live in apartments or live in dense cities and things where charging as is an issue. So it's one of those things where it's like, both things are true. Electric cars make a lot of sense for homeowners that can have a charger installed and are a great solution there.
Not so much for other situations like apartments, and like even like road-tripping. It's still a pain to not necessarily be able to rely on these chargers and not having a lot of alternatives nearby.
Because that was actually something that I was talking with the guy that's in charge of sales and marketing for EVs at Nissan. That like one problem was just the fact that like if there's something wrong with the charger, there just aren't a whole lot of other chargers nearby that you can go to.
Say the gas station at the corner is having an issue, like for whatever reason, like their pumps aren't working. There's usually one like one more block down that you can go to. Whereas with like an EV charger, you may need to go another like five to 10 miles, and that might be too far. [LAUGHS]
So it like, that's just the thing that you have to keep in mind, is that EVs at the moment are not great for all, but it can be great for some. And that's good. And it needs to improve in other areas, because it does need to. Yeah. So it's one of the-- [LAUGHS] it's a nuanced thing. And you can't just make a blanket statement across the board. [LAUGHS]
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. We could talk-- make a whole show out of this. But we've-- I mentioned Suburban. We're just going to do a hard fade-over and talk a little bit about the GMT 400.
If you're curious, there was a very interesting article in "Hagerty Media," maybe flew into some of your inboxes over the weekend. I just thought it was cool. And Joel owns an older-- you own a suburban, right?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yup. I've got a GMC Suburban 1500.
GREG MIGLIORE: GMC Suburban 1500. And what year is it?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: It's a '97. [LAUGHS]
GREG MIGLIORE: Exactly. So it fits right into this range. And the thesis of the article-- and it's something I've been noticing. We've had Slack conversations about this a lot. Like these are somewhat surprisingly becoming collector's items. Like the prices are going up. The desirability is going up.
Some of it is, is there is people who are like directly my age remember these like geriatric millennials or Gen X, like you grew up on these. And then there's other people who are like coming to them and finding them like as cool used cars and sort of stumbling into the fact that they're a little
Coveted. And then there's other people that are just kind of like, oh, hey, that's a boxy SUV or truck from 25 years ago. I like that. And it costs this much? OK.
So I mean, maybe one is just like, on the site we do these things called like Read This. It's a cool article. Check it out from our friends over there at "Hagerty." But also, I mean, it fits right in with the fact that I happen to read this this morning. And I knew you would be on the podcast. I mean, what attracted you to this type of truck?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Well, so a couple of things I do want to mention right off the bat. I'm not the only one on staff with one.
GREG MIGLIORE: That's right.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Jeremy Korzeniowski has a Suburban 2500, so his is the heavy-duty model with the bigger 454 engine. Mine's got the 350. Also, I swear we're not trying to pump up the values of our personal cars. [LAUGHS]
Because I bought this truck last year and not really looking for-- definitely not looking for an investment. [LAUGHS] I was just looking for some kind of truck that could handle big bulky things and I could drive in the winter to keep my Beetle and my Miata out of the snow and salt.
And up to this point, I had never owned anything with four-wheel drive, anything with a V8, or American. And I was looking for something affordable. [LAUGHS] And this pretty much ticked off all of the boxes.
And I got a fairly clean example. The body doesn't have any of that kind of like bubbly cancery kind of rust. The underside just has a bit of surface rust.
And I've been taking it to crown rust prevention place to have it sprayed each winter with kind of rust prevention oil to try and keep it as clean as possible. It's not a perfect example by any means. It just happens to be fairly clean. Like it's got a little bit of a wrinkle in the hood.
The power seats and power mirrors aren't really working quite right. The air conditioning doesn't work. ABS isn't working on it. But it's a solid truck, runs pretty smooth. Oil pressure is a little low on it. But from the looks of it, it's just a tired old small block. It's got like-- it's got more than 170,000 miles on it.
But I've really been enjoying it. [LAUGHS] It's kind of a goofy old thing. It's very much a time capsule. Even more so than like my '99 Miata, which is only two years newer. But something about the Miata feels a bit more timeless, whereas this feels much more of a particular era.
It smells like a '90s GM product. If you've owned a '90s GM product, you know what I'm talking about. And like I know what I'm talking about, because [LAUGHS] I remember in college, a friend of mine had a Buick Roadmaster wagon.
And first time I ever rodeo in it, I was like, I recognize the smell, because my grandparents had a couple of Buick Park Avenues and also a GMT 400 Silverado pickup. All of those vehicles, and my Suburban, all have that same smell. It's something about the plastics or something in there that just have a distinct odor.
And this is actually [LAUGHS] kind of like a weird thing, that like if you've been in enough cars you start to notice that every car has a distinct odor. You'll hear a lot of Volkswagen people talk about mid 2000s Volkswagens having sort of like a waxy crayon kind of smell. And even like brand new press cars, they have unique odors. [LAUGHS] You can kind of tell the difference of manufacturer by them.
I very much digress here. But overall, like it's just kind of a fun truck to go bounce around in. I've made really huge use of how practical it is. I've gotten a whole bunch of yard furniture. I've taken stuff to the dump with it.
And it's, with a four-wheel drive and some kind of snow-rated all-terrain tires, it's done great in the snow. I've really been enjoying it. I've added a front brush guard and some fog lights to it this summer. It's just been fun.
And like, I ended up going with this as opposed to an actual pickup truck because when I was shopping for cars last year, pickup trucks were crazy expensive. This, I got this for probably like a 1/2 to 2/3 the cost of like a similar Silverado.
For whatever reason like the Tahoes and Suburbans just were not as coveted and as valuable. That may be changing. And I don't entirely know how I feel about that. Because while it would be nice for it to have a little bit more value, I know what it's like to be on the other end of like, well, I don't necessarily want to-- I don't necessarily want something to be so expensive that it becomes inaccessible.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. It's a really interesting part of the market right now. I think these are just old enough to be like part of the past, but like the not-so-distant past. And they also, to your point, Joel, these are time capsules.
Originally, they came out like '88. So think of how different the world was in '88 as opposed to when-- like the heavy duty versions of these things lasted until 2002. So very much a different time period.
For some people it's nostalgia. For some people they just want a usable truck like you. But either way, it's all kind of coming together in a way that I think makes, you know, kind of an unlikely sort of semi-collectible. I'll be interested to see where this goes.
So that's all the time we have this week. If you enjoy the show, please give us five stars on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you get your podcasts.
Send us your Spend My Money. That's firstname.lastname@example.org. Be safe out there. Have a great holiday. Happy Thanksgiving. And we'll see you next week.