NACTOY winners, and driving the Genesis GV60, Polestar 2, Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 | Autoblog Podcast #813

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor, Electric, John Beltz Snyder. This week, we discuss the North American Car, Truck and Utility of the year winners: The Toyota Prius, Kia EV6 and Ford Super Duty (and Greg explains his votes). In other news, we talk about GM offering $7,500 incentives for EVs that lost their tax credits, another possible calendar change for the Detroit Auto Show and Stellantis potentially scaling back its auto show presence. Greg spent his winter break with the Genesis GV60 and Polestar 2, while John has been driving the Toyota Prius Prime and Mercedes-AMG GLS 63. Finally, they take to Reddit for this week's Spend My Money question, and pick a sedan under $6,000.

Send us your questions for the Mailbag and Spend My Money at:

Video Transcript




GREG MILGLIORE: Welcome back to the "Autoblog Podcast." I'm Greg Migliore. We've got a great show for you this week. Happy New Year. This is our first episode of 2024. That's kind of fun to say. We're going to break down the car, truck, and SUV of the Year winners, talk about some news about EV credits that General Motors is doing to offset the federal tax credit, if you will, go away on some of the vehicles.

We've been driving some EVs, the Toyota Prius Prime and the Mercedes AMG GLS. We will spend your money. It's a good one. With that, let's bring in Senior Editor for all things electric, John Snyder. Happy New Year.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Happy New Year to you too. It's an exciting time of year, especially here, in Ann Arbor.

GREG MILGLIORE: That's right. You're repping your Michigan Wolverines, wearing a Big Ten champ shirt. By the time some of you guys are listening to this, maybe you'll know the outcome of Monday's game. We'll see.



Hopefully, my heart can hold out.

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah, it's a big one. I watched the Rose Bowl last week. And it was pretty exciting--


GREG MILGLIORE: I must say, as a Michigan State Spartan, it was still pretty exciting to watch.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, Yeah, I definitely had a blood-pressure spike, especially as we went into overtime, so--

GREG MILGLIORE: That was pretty wild. That was pretty wild. But the one play that really stood out was when that kick returner dropped the ball at the 1-yard line. Holy cow, man, that was like--

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: That was-- yeah, that was bad. I was actually at the game, the famous game where we lost to the Spartans in the last second due to a bad-- I think it was a bad snap or a fumble and--

GREG MILGLIORE: Trouble with the snap?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. It was-- traumatic.

GREG MILGLIORE: I can see why. I was-- funny story about that real quick. We'll throw this totally off the rails. We were watching that, streaming. And that game was nine years ago at this point. And streaming wasn't as good as it is now. So it was on delay.

So everybody's watching the game. And then all of a sudden, everybody's phones blew up. And we're like, what happened? Because there was no chance that State was going to win that game. There was no time left. And Michigan was punting just to basically end the game, run out the clock. And they're like, wait, what happened? And then it happened. And we're like, oh, my gosh, this is crazy. So, yeah.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: This almost felt like it was going to be a replay of that. But thankfully, luck was in our favor.

GREG MILGLIORE: There you go. There you go-- not so much for the Detroit Lions this weekend or last weekend, if anybody saw that game, listeners out there. I'm not quite sure what the ref was thinking out of that play. Trouble with the reporting, I guess, the check-in guy.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: That was-- yeah, that was rough. I was watching all the aftermath of that, pretty-- pretty wild. We've got the billboards up in Detroit.

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah, that's right, that's right. The signs say "Decker Report." And I'm supposed to go to the game on Sunday. So I'm pretty excited. It's not too much to play for. But it's a Lions game. I'm going to take Andy. And we'll have some fun.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, it'll be fun.

GREG MILGLIORE: Maybe-- it's a good reason to spend some money. He already has plenty of Michigan gear. So maybe he needs to get a Lion's shirt or something too. So--

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, definitely. This is the year for it.

GREG MILGLIORE: I suppose we should probably talk some cars, right?


GREG MILGLIORE: Sports and cars-- I think we're taking a few of the boxes here or there. Well, maybe we should talk some beers at the end too. All right, so let's talk about Car of the Year awards. This is-- it's called NACTOY, which is the acronym that-- a lot of people in the industry follow these pretty closely. There's other awards like MotorTrend, the Autoblog Tech of the Year, a lot of different awards out there.

But these really-- they almost stand apart because it's a jury of 50 different writers and editors across North America. So you get like countries, a pretty good encapsulation of the market, in a lot of different perspectives, as opposed to, say, any one specific publication, like some of the car magazines do.

So that's a little overview. I happen to be a juror. So I always like to talk about my ballot. And I think it's also, to go back to sports, it's actually useful we talk football. I'm a pretty big college football fan. And if you look at like the polling-- I forget what they call it for the playoff. There's people-- they determine who gets in the playoff and who doesn't.

So I look at this a little bit too. It's like the Oscars. It is subjective in some ways. So it's fun that it creates debate. And I think that's good for the industry and also the awards. So in case you haven't seen it, the winners this year-- and these are on the site-- Joel Stocksdale, our news editor, wrote this up.

Car of the Year was the Toyota Prius slash Prius Prime. Truck of the Year was the Ford Super Duty. And the Utility Vehicle of the Year was the EV9. So I think there were maybe-- at least one surprise in there. Two of the categories were pretty close. So there's that. A very good field across the board, though. I'll say that. I don't know. Any thoughts as somebody who's just looking at it? What do you think?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Well, I haven't driven the EV9 yet. I've spent some time with it. That one seems-- that one seems to make sense to me. I'm actually going to drive it in a couple of weeks here. But yeah, it's just a great vehicle. If it drives as well as any of the other Hyundai-Kia EVs-- and then it's just loaded with amazing content too. That what makes sense.

Prius-- we'll get to this later. But I just spent some time in the new Prius. And-- yeah-- really improved. That one doesn't surprise me either. The Super Duty surprised me a little bit, just because of what it was up against. The Silverado EV is a pretty impressive truck.

And so is the Colorado. So it was-- yeah-- a little interesting to see a Super Duty win over more conventional-sized pickups. But you can't-- it's a good truck. The F-Series is the best-selling vehicle in the US, so--

GREG MILGLIORE: It's 78, I think, right, 77, 78, 79, somewhere in there?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, so-- I don't know. If we're voting with the consumer dollars, it makes sense. But yeah, nothing too surprising there.

GREG MILGLIORE: I think that was the surprise to me. I guess, do you want to hear how I voted? Maybe that--


JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yes, absolutely.

GREG MILGLIORE: --interesting. So I went with-- the easiest one for me, by far, was, in the utility segment, that was the EV9. The voting system-- without giving away too much-- is somewhat similar to how we vote for auto shows. You get so many points. You can only give-- you have to spread them out a little bit. But obviously, strategically, you would give the most points to the vehicle you want to win. That's just how it works, sort of like the Cy Young voting in baseball or MVP.

But anyways, I gave most of my points in the Ute category, EV9-- I drove that thing. It was about a month ago. I got out of the vehicle, went inside, and just literally told my wife-- I was like, this is the Utility Vehicle of the Year. This thing is awesome. To me, it was so good. It was a very good three-row SUV. It's a good electric vehicle. And it does a lot of things, like the design and the technology, very well too.

I think it ticks all the boxes. I think there's vehicles that we rate very highly or-- even in the context of for awards, where it's like there's some compromises or you're like, well, it gets more points because of how it looks or it gets-- maybe you want to give it more points because it's an EV-- or maybe you don't. But to me, this was just such a grand slam. It had 320 points, which was the most points of, obviously, anything in the category.

But it was significantly ahead of the other two. And it was also the most points, by far, of any of the other vehicles. So it outperformed the other two, like the Super Duty and the Prius, relative to their competitors. So to me, total slam dunk. I can't wait to spend more time in it. I really liked it. I think you're going to probably like it. But I don't want to jaundice you as you head into it.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: No, I can't imagine not liking it. But every Hyundai-Kia EV I've driven so far has been rock solid, just fantastic to drive. And like I said, I've spent some time with it stationary, playing with a lot of its features. And it's just got a lot going for it. It's-- interesting design, lots of unique materials, lots of recycled and eco materials, which is really cool. Super comfortable.

The seating layout is really good. And you can get those know reclining seats for the second row as well-- clever storage. There's that little bin that pulls out, like a drawer, for the second row, out of the rear of the center console. Just lots of really clever stuff.

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah, that's a good way to put it, very clever.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. So-- I can't imagine disliking it unless-- unless it just-- the three-row format just doesn't translate driving down the road as an EV. But I can't imagine that. I imagine it's perfectly fine.

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah, the Hyundai Kona EV and the Genesis Electrified, the GV70, are perfectly nice vehicles, I think. But EV9 just-- not only was it very good, to me, it advanced electric vehicles and three-row vehicles. So I believe it's the first mainstream electrified three row. So that's--

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, we've got--

GREG MILGLIORE: --that's very significant.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, we've got the Rivian R1S. We've got the Mercedes EQE--

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah, that's right.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: --the GLS EQE, and then the Tesla Model X. That's basically it.

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah. And none of them is accessible to get. It's just like a Kia. It's a 50-state vehicle. So--


GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah. Cool. All right, so I'll run through the other two somewhat quick here. Super Duty, for me, was the surprise for the truck. Candidly, I voted for the Silverado EV, if you will. I gave it most of my points. I thought-- the Lightning won easily the year before. I just, frankly, used that same lens to say, hey, it's an electric full-size pickup truck that looks kind of cool, has a little bit of different design. That's just where I landed.

And Silverado actually finished third-- a little bit surprised there. But it was very close. The Super Duty won. But again, it was close with the Colorado and the Silverado. So yeah, little bit of a surprise there. But it's a fourth-straight win for Ford.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Silverado was great to drive too. I drove that, the work truck. Really, really great to drive and just tons of range. It definitely feels heavy.



JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: But it makes up for it, definitely, what, 400 miles of range, can still tow 10,000 pounds, comfortable to drive, not a lot of-- it feels very normal, not a lot of weird tech inside. It feels very familiar inside and yeah, just drives really well. Yeah. I could have seen myself voting for that, for sure.

GREG MILGLIORE: And then in the car category, this was actually, to me, the hardest one. I voted for-- let's see, I voted for the IONIQ 6. I guess I ended up going electrics across the board. That wasn't totally intentional. But-- and then the Prius Prime-- this is actually one where I gave the Prius some pretty good points too because I thought both were very worthy. I think the Prime gives you 30 miles of range-- ish, somewhere in there. And then the Prius itself is pretty good. It's a good value. So I was pretty torn.

And the Accord was the third one, very good car too. I just-- I thought it was more like a good Accord, whereas each of these vehicles that finished in the top two did something different, that really advanced what the car means, advanced what, frankly, the segment means. So I really like the IONIQ 6. I drove it-- this is about two months ago at this point, and a beautiful car, interesting interior, really liked it-- also really liked the Prius.

I actually drove them almost back to back, as I think about it. But yeah, no, like I said, no quibble with any of these. But this one was definitely a category I was kind of torn on. I almost wonder if-- we'll get to this in a minute-- because I had some infrastructure challenges with my electric cars over the holiday break.

I wonder if that might have colored my thinking. And maybe I might have given a few more points to the Prius just because hybrids are very, very useful right now. But either way, I stand by my vote. I thought the IONIQ 6 is a beautiful, very interesting EV. But I also think the Prius is a very worthy winner, very deserving, so--

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. Yeah, I would have split my votes among those two fairly equally, probably. The Prius just makes more sense for more people, I think. But I was on the first drive for the IONIQ 6. And I was thoroughly impressed with it. You can get up to, what, 361 miles of range in a car that feels really good to drive.

I loved the IONIQ 5. And then getting into the IONIQ 6, it's-- the suspension's a little more sporty. It just-- it feels good. And even the base trim feels like you're not missing out on much. It's still a good amount of content in there, comfortable, really nice design. It was some cheaper materials.

But they're done in such a way, with the textures and just the overall design, that it doesn't feel cheap, even in the base trim. So yeah, I really like that. That has made some of our-- here's-- spend some money on whatever lists. And that's made a couple of my picks for those lists that we've done.

But the Prius is just so solid and you know so accessible and approachable too. And we'll get more into that later. But yeah, that would have been-- that would have been a tough call between those two. I haven't I haven't driven the new Accord yet. So I don't-- I don't know how I would have voted with that. But the Prius and IONIQ 6 are both worthy, for sure.

GREG MILGLIORE: All right, so check out the story. Again, it's on our site. And obviously, if you go over to the NACTOY website, there's voting totals and some other juror comments, things like that. Yeah. So let's move on to some other news hits. We'll move through these kind of quickly. GM said, this week, it's offering incentives of $7,500 on vehicles that no longer get the government tax credit.

So that's a big thing as far as-- car companies would almost bake that into their marketing, like hey, here's the price, and then you also get $7,500 on your taxes from Uncle Sam. And some of those credits expired because it's somewhat of a complicated setup.


GREG MILGLIORE: It's not super easy to understand. But either way, Ford-- Ford-- General Motors is essentially putting it back on the hood, which I think is actually a strategic move for them, to keep people interested in their EVs. And also, while they have a wide portfolio of electric vehicles, the Hummer, the Blazer, the Equinox, the Lyriq, they're not making all that many of them.

So I feel like if they didn't do this, that's where you might get some domestic-leaning buyers who just say, oh, wait, that's the price? No, I'm not going to do that. I'll take the regular Equinox. So I think this could be a pretty savvy play.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. And it's a temporary move too because it's just a couple components that they need to source domestically. And then once they do that, they'll be eligible for the full incentive from the government.

So yeah, I think it's just-- and especially as the Blazer comes out with its problems, you definitely want to not turn people off to it immediately. You want people to understand that this is the price. This is the price that it's going to be, overall, once you get the tax credit.

So I think it makes sense to eat that cost for a little bit, until they make it fully eligible. Man. That Blazer, though, I feel really bad about it because James came back from the first drive, just raving about it. It sounds like such a wonderful vehicle. I edited his story and it sounds super compelling. I can't wait to drive it.

GREG MILGLIORE: Oh, me too. It looks great. It's-- I agree. I really-- I'm excited.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: But yeah, the problems they're having with the-- [LAUGHS] leading to the stop sale, software issues that basically killed the car. Not a good first foot forward for this vehicle. But the Lyriq, I've driven-- that car is excellent too, especially as a luxury value, such a great luxury value. And to be able to get $7,500 off on it is pretty impressive. I've been seeing more of those around town. And I get excited to see them because it's a good car.

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah, I agree. I've seen a few Blazers. But the Lyriqs are starting to really show up. There's a guy who goes to my kids' soccer practice session. And I'm like, where'd you get that Lyriq. I need to corner them to find what's going on there. Not that it's uncommon-- a Cadillac in Metro Detroit? Come on. But still, I digress.


GREG MILGLIORE: So that's what's going on there. Let's talk briefly. This piqued my interest because this is auto-show season. It used to be Detroit Auto Show North American International Auto Show right this weekend or next weekend. I'm sure if many of you are listening to this, even though this is insidery, you're probably pretty familiar with coming to Autoblog and you other sites for all the news right now.

There was a column in the Detroit Free Press about a week ago, saying that the CEOs of the Detroit Three-- or just some executives-- there were rumblings that it might shift back to January because originally, it moved from its longtime perch in January to the fall. It actually was going to be in June for a minute. But they never actually had that show because of COVID. And then they did do it in September for the last two years.

So I'm going to put it this way. I think they should move back to January. And the way I would make the decision is, I would say, what's the best from a consumer standpoint and what's best for the show? I would try my hardest to get some sort of press portion, some activations, and do it that way.

But I wouldn't try to base that on that, I think, at least not totally, because I think the future of auto shows is going to continue to probably diminish from a media perspective. I hope I'm wrong. We're in the media. But I think just consumer-facing shows are going to be the ones that have that sort of endurance and longevity.

I also think, from a practical standpoint in Michigan, in January, there's not a lot to do besides go ice skating and go skiing. In September, there's everything to do. So-- what do you think?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Well, we had the summer auto show this last year. And it was quiet. It was pretty-- ho-hum, that-- when they were switching to the summer, they touted, there will be all these outdoor events.

And it just didn't really pan out the way I thought it would. And most of the stuff was still going on indoors. They had ride-alongs indoors. They had off-road tracks indoors. They had the EV drives indoors.

And if you're just going to do that, yeah, it doesn't really matter what season it's in. I think like you said, it matters on what other people are doing, the consumers. And yeah, during the summer, there's lots of stuff going on.

In January-- yeah, not a whole lot. Just-- the only problem with the show in January is it was sometimes difficult to get due to the weather. But if the show is going on for a whole week, you can definitely find a time to get down there.

I don't know. I'd like to see it stay in the summer and have them do more with it, take advantage of being able to do more outdoor things. But-- I don't know. It seems like the automakers are just spending less on auto shows. And they're shrinking, at which point, yeah, doesn't matter.

Yeah, might as well do it in January. Lots of the [INAUDIBLE]-- the new-model year cars are coming out then. And there was a good amount of reveals though, for different vehicles in the summer, not necessarily at Detroit, but in the summer.

So I don't know how it would time up with the reveal schedule versus launch schedule of vehicles. But yeah, I wouldn't mind it being in January at all, unless they're planning on doing more with the summer one.

GREG MILGLIORE: Tricky part two is CES, which has become-- if we look at the preview for this week, which next week, we'll talk all about CES. Right now, we're-- we're recording this on a Friday morning, which is a little late for us. Usually we do it earlier in the week. But with the holidays, still a shorter week, we pushed it to Friday. So you get all the latest stuff, but you still not quite CES.

But again, CES has news out of Honda, Mercedes. There's already-- CES, which has even pared down itself, looks like a bigger "auto show," quote, unquote, than a lot of auto shows we've seen.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. It used to be more of a tech show. And now cars are tech. And it's become more and more of a car show. And yeah, there's going to be a lot of stuff there. Honda's showing its future EV portfolio. So yeah, that could take the wind out of the Detroit Auto Show sales, if it were in January. But again, that's going to be more focused on the American manufacturers anyway. So--

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah. Cool. So Stellantis did sound like they may be backing out. But then we heard maybe they're not totally, case by case. But just real briefly, that news, this week. I think that would be a blow to a lot of auto shows because of the huge tracks they roll out, those indoor and sometimes outdoor off-road tracks. Frankly, even if they don't do a press conference, you kind of want Jeep to have Mountain Jeep in your convention center. They do a good one in Chicago. So I don't know. We'll see.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, Stellantis has always made a big splash at auto shows. So it would be weird to not have them doing something. But yeah, I thought just the opportunity, especially for consumers, to get to ride in these vehicles and see their capabilities is important, especially for Stellantis. So--

GREG MILGLIORE: All right, let's talk some cars. I drove the GV60, which we talked about last week, or really three weeks ago at this point, on the podcast, and the Polestar 2. So it was a completely electric holiday break for me. I took some time off, had some good times with the family, did a lot of driving. And both vehicles performed pretty well.

I already talked about the GV60. To be pretty simple, I liked it. I drove one that was pretty nice. It was the performance version. But the tricky-- I guess, the new part here-- again, I like the interior. I like the exterior. It's not cheap. I think I would go with the EV6 or the IONIQ 5, or maybe even the IONIQ 6, before this car. But I still like the little crossover thing.

But I had to charge it. I went out to-- we were taking the family out to Ann Arbor, to go to the Natural History Museum. And it was a lot of fun.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: (WHISPERING) That's a good museum.

GREG MILGLIORE: It is. It's a really good museum. Check it out. I needed to charge up this car because the night before, we had gone to see some lights, also on the other side of town. And I didn't get quite enough range out of it. And that was my frustration because I went to this level-- it was a quick charger-- level-3 charge point. And I still only got 50% of the power that I was looking for.

I think it was cold. I think-- I did precondition the battery, which you could do, which is nice. And I also have had some challenges with this charge-point station. It's never given me 100%-- most of the time. I think maybe once or twice, it has. So that was frustrating. We ended up not taking the vehicle because I was like, I don't want to take this out there and then have to refill, if you will, recharge. I wanted to know that I had enough to get there and get back, even though there's chargers basically all over Ann Arbor.

When I pulled out my phone and was looking, I'm like, well, OK, that one's two miles away. We're going to have lunch at Zingerman's. OK, so we're going over here-- this is a real pain. And I was embracing the car, embracing-- I even like charging cars. I think it's fun-- get a cup of coffee, have some phone time, listen to the radio. It's not bad. Maybe hang out with your kid. A lot of good benefits to charging your vehicle if it's local and accessible. But yeah, man, it was a pain. I was a little surprised.

And I will say this. It would have worked had I had an extra 15 minutes. I made some choices that morning. I decided to take the dog for a long walk in the woods. I got up half an hour later. These are things that speak to my lackadaisical approach to the early days of vacation. But it's also like, hey, if you're going to be an EV owner and you don't have an L2 charger in your garage, OK, the dog doesn't get a walk that day. It's just an interesting-- I don't know-- approach, I thought, interesting way to live with it.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, when we had the EV6 long-termer, yeah, charging in the winter was interesting.


GREG MILGLIORE: That's one way to put it.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: It was so hit or miss. Sometimes you'd go to a charger and yeah, it would charge-- pretty quick. And then sometimes it was just dragging until the very end. The battery-conditioning feature does help a little bit, but also uses more energy while you're on your way to your charger. But yeah, it does. It does make it charge a bit quicker. But I didn't really notice that big of a difference from it.

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah, me neither. It-- interesting-- go ahead.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Just charging in the winter, you just don't know what you're going to get.

GREG MILGLIORE: Well, that's a great segue. Then I went to another level-2 charger. I was just coming down. I had done a pickup at Target. I got some snacks, some beer. It was a really quick thing. It was Christmas Eve, actually. And I was just wrapping things up before some family stuff. Pulled into a L2 charger in Automation Alley. I was like, OK, I know I'm not going to get much out of this. But whatever, let's just-- maybe get 10 miles, take a minute to collect your thoughts before everything else, the holiday madness of stuff.

And I did get-- I want to say I got 10, 15 miles out of it. Wasn't bad. But the vehicle wouldn't unplug. And it drove me crazy. It was one of those things where-- I don't exactly know what happened. I got to pull up my notes here on my phone, try to refresh my memory a little bit.

But it was just like-- the vehicle would not unplug. I did everything I could. I tapped the credit card again. That was the other wrinkle, is with ChargePoint, you need to use the app for things to work really well. I did the card tap. Didn't work. Locked and unlocked the car. Didn't work.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: I've had that happen.

GREG MILGLIORE: It was so frustrating. And it's Christmas Eve. I got to get out of here. And then this dude appears out of nowhere. And it's literally like one foggy Christmas Eve. This guy rolls up in a first-gen Chevy Volt. I'm just like, what are you doing here? Why are you charging that thing here? What are you doing? And he was actually a General Motors engineer who just-- I think he worked on EVs. And he just wanted to see if his car would still charge. He's like, it's really old. I don't even know if it'll take a charge anymore. So I just-- was coming out today to do it.

So he and I wrestled with this Genesis, trying to unplug it. Neither one of us could get it to you resolve, if you will. He also owned a Rivian, by the way.


GREG MILGLIORE: So literally, at this point, I had called my wife to come pick me up. And finally, I just locked it on locked it and the thing disengaged. And it was just like, as fluky as the problem happened, the problem resolved itself.

The other thing I was going to do was set the charging to 50% and then hope it released once it hit 50%, come back and get the thing in a couple hours. It was just a real pain. There's even a couple of manual-release buttons on the Genesis-- and on the EV6 as well. I probably would assume it's on the Hyundai version. Didn't do anything. I don't know, man. It was stressful. Have you ever had anything happen, to you, like this?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Oh, yeah. It's been a while. But yeah, there's definitely been times where it's like, why isn't this thing unplugging? You go into Menus and try and figure it out. Yeah. I remember it happened to me at a-- I think at an Electrify America charger once. I think that was-- I think that was in the EV6. But yeah, it just wouldn't-- wouldn't unplug.


GREG MILGLIORE: It's tricky because if you think of like the infrastructure, there's so many variables. And this is dissuaded me from taking some EVs, as much as I embrace and enjoy the technology. But OK, so will the charger be open? Will it be working? Once it works, how fast is the charger going to be?

And then in some rare but not impossible, as we both laid out, will the plug work? Will it not go in? Can you retract it? What's going to happen? There's a lot of variables to EVs. And it just-- it speaks to where the infrastructure is.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. And they're still fairly new. And they're still working out the wrinkles as they try and figure out what feature sets are the best to put in it. And sometimes they're putting in things and testing them out. And maybe they should just keep it simple, stupid. You know?

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah, yeah, I agree. All right, well, I drove the Polestar 2. I'll touch on this real quick. Really liked it. Didn't have to charge it. I didn't drive as much. This is the second part of my holiday break. So it just gives you plenty of range. Just-- there was no reason to actually charge it. Probably should have at the end because it was down to about 20%. I probably should have charged it a little more.

But it's a sporty little sedan. I think it's definitely a consideration for if you're cross-shopping Tesla and you're looking for a smaller sedan. I had the single motor so it was kind of sporty. The inside has a lot of repurposed materials. It's Android everywhere. The driver IP is actually quite good, one of the best I think I've ever driven. Then the right side is basically an Android tablet, which is how you run everything else. Didn't like that so much.

It just-- it didn't work. It reminded me of the worst of-- it did work. But it was a pain. It was the worst in Android and Volvo tech, is how I would sum that up. I had challenges keeping the car from fogging up, and the radio working. That was issues. But overall, I liked. It was fun to drive. It looks good.

I think if you are looking for an EV and you're looking for a car, they're actually a pretty good value, pretty good price, even on a used one. So I really liked it. I would say Rivian and Polestar, as well as companies like Mercedes, Ford, and Volkswagen, are your choices if you're cross shopping, say, a Tesla.

And I think you've got Rivian and Polestar if you're thinking different, and then, of course, the mainstream brands I just listed. In the case of Polestar, it's owned by Volvo. So if you want something different but you're still like, I don't know if I want to buy a Rivian or a Lucid or something like that, well, hey, this is the best of both worlds.

The one other downgrade I would give it is I was going to a holiday party, and I enrolled in behind a Tesla Model Y. And I know the guy who owned it because we're going to the same party. And he didn't even look at the car, didn't even notice it. And I was thinking, this is interesting. I would think an EV owner, especially a Tesla owner, would at least, oh, hey, you have an EV too. What's-- and he knows what I do-- but would at least be like, what do you think, should this be on my list. Didn't even notice it.

So I think in that sense, even though I like the design, it's a little too subtle in some ways, maybe. Maybe they need to make it a little bit flashier. I don't know. But just in a very small focus group, the car was definitely a Q ship. So--

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, it is subtle and seemingly by design. They have a very subtle badge. They don't put the word Polestar on there anywhere. And yeah, the badge is body colored, things like that. But I think-- I love the way it looks. I like that fly under the radar. But I feel like-- when I was driving them, I had people asking me, when I pull up, what is that?

But yeah, it's a really fun car to drive, just so well balanced. It does definitely feel very Volvo-ish, which I don't mind at all. There's some things-- I wish it had a little bit of its own identity a little bit more. But yeah, overall, I very much like the Polestar 2.

Yeah, it's been a while since I've driven one. But man, it makes me really look forward to-- the Polestar 3, when that comes out, that's going to be-- that's going to be probably a way better seller too.

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah, it's a broader segment. And that's where I think if you're Tesla, you might start to be a little nervous because this is-- both these vehicles, really, but especially the 3, coming right at the heart of what Tesla is doing. So tell me what you've been driving. I've now been talking a lot. Tell me about the Prius Prime.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, so I drove that. I was in Arizona over the holidays and was driving the new Prius Prime. It was my first time in the updated Prius. And wow, what an improvement.


It's just-- it's more conventional to drive now. You've got a better placement of controls and things like that. The display in front of you is just a lot easier to use. And it looks a lot better. It looks a lot better.

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah, it really does.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: And it drives great. It feels more refined. And yeah, I really quite enjoyed it. The Prime has 220 horsepower, does 0 to 60 in 6 and 1/2 seconds, about, so yeah, definitely doesn't feel slow.

I've always dreaded getting in old Priuses and just how pokey they were. But yeah, this Prius Prime was pretty quick-- and a little on the small side for a family of four with a car seat and a stroller and packing a week's worth of luggage.

We did have to do some Tetris stuff to get the hatch to close. But once we dropped our luggage off at home, it was great, really, really smooth driving, quiet except for the road noise. If you-- part of Interstate 10 had lots of texture to the road, let's say. And all that noise just came in through the tires. But other than that, very quiet, very comfortable.

Some of the sounds, like the turn signal and things like that, sound a little more engineered. And they help give it that refined feel. Interesting things like a little pocket for your phone, with a charger in it, like a little slot that you put it in sideways-- which did not play very well with phone cases.

But take the phone case off and it's actually a nice, compact, secure way to keep your phone out of the way as opposed to the Toyota Sienna, where put your phone on the wireless charger and it slides across your dash every time you make a turn.

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah, that's a really good point. I could visually think of both of those Toyota experiences. My phone would go always flying out of the Sienna.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. And yeah, just really economical, even once you've depleted the 40 miles of range-- of electric range, doing a lot of highway driving, 75 mile per hour speed limit, still getting over 40 miles per gallon easily. So that was nice.

But yeah, it just looks so much better. That was a big problem for me with the old Prius. I just thought it was so ugly, inside and out.



JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: And this one is not. And there's some really interesting details too. The Prius Prime badge, there's a little circle on the back that's this interesting, iridescent hodgepodge of colors. It's really, really cool. And you open up the hatch and then on the inside, on the side, it says "hybrid reborn." And there's just little details like that throughout the car that are neat too.

But yeah, I definitely see why this one could win Car of the Year.

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah, it's definitely the set it and forget it version. You don't have to worry about charging, even though you can if you'd like. I think if I owned a Prime, I would probably pop for a level 2 just to try to take full advantage of it. And most of the utility companies offer-- some do-- some pretty good incentives. If you want to go ahead and you get a level-2 charger, you can offset that.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, for sure, although with just 40-- 40 miles-- 39 or 44 miles, depending on the trim, m that fills up pretty quickly on a level 1 too, so you definitely don't feel beholden to get a level 2 charger. If you get one, you'll still take pretty good advantage.

I think on a regular 110 outlet, it takes 11 hours to fully recharge. But--

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah, that's not bad.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: --if you just plug it in when you're home, like if you're only going-- if you're going less than 40 miles a day, you're not going to even have to fully recharge it every time you plug it in.

GREG MILGLIORE: That's true. Yeah. For a lot of people, you set it and forget it and you're good to go overnight. Yeah, no, I agree with you as far as just how usable it is. For your main family car, it's probably not going to work. But if you have one large vehicle and then this is your commuter car, as we used to call them, it's above-- well above that because you can, on a weekend-- we did this-- put stuff in that-- the hatch is pretty big.

You get a lot of stuff in there. The back seat's a little tight, even with one car seat. Two, that'd be tight. But it's still doable. And if you got a good deal and it's maybe, what, one person that's driving during the week and then you go to the EV9 or the Chevy Suburban or the Toyota Sienna on the weekend, you're-- I think, in some ways, that's smart buying because I don't think you really need two, three-row SUVs, no matter how many kids you have or dogs and stuff. But-- Cool. All right. So also tell me about the GLS63. This is the AMG version.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, quite-- quite different.

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah. We need to talk about something with a huge engine and a lot of stuff on it.


GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah, what's not to like, right?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: It's-- you're not getting great fuel economy with this, 14 city, 18 highway. But gosh, it's big. It's very luxurious. And it's very comfortable. And it's darn quick too. You get the bi-turbocharged 4 liter V8 with the mild hybrid, it's really, really fun to drive, it makes nice sounds. It's not too loud inside the cabin.

Obviously, Mercedes does a good job of-- all the German luxury brands, sometimes they do too good of a job of keeping the sound out of the cabin. But the sound you do get, you put it in sport-plus mode and you get some nice little pops and crackles from the exhaust. You get massaging seats.

You can get heated armrests. This one had heated armrests in the first and second rows, decent amount of cargo volume, even with the third row up. I think it said 17 cubes behind the third row, which, in this, with the tall, pretty straight up, and you don't have a super-raked tailgate window closing in on the headroom of your luggage area, that you can fit a lot of stuff back there.

Yeah, and you can get the manufacture colors. This was a flat gray, that looked pretty neat. And it had the night package, so glossy black front splitter accents and window surrounds, black exhaust tips. So it looked really cool too. But yeah, it's just-- you get the dual displays that you can control by touch or by voice or by using the touch pad as well.

So yeah, and the I like the MBUX system. And then in this, you've got all sorts of different things you can control. There's almost too many controls on the steering wheel, especially--

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah, I agree with that.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: You've got the little dials that-- one controls the drive mode. The other controls different things. You toggle through the different things that will control suspension, exhaust, vehicle ride height, the traction control, all through this one little dial with two little toggles on it.

And then you've got the touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel. There's a lot going on that steering wheel. But actually going through the menus and using the voice control, it works really well. And going through the menus, they have track timers and things like that, lap timers. So yeah, very good blending of luxury and sportiness.

GREG MILGLIORE: How were your lap times?


JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: I didn't take it to a track. But I imagine they'd be pretty good. Yeah, because it actually handles pretty well in the corners too. It feels really stable. Yeah, you can hustle it along and it'll keep up with you.

GREG MILGLIORE: That's interesting. I've driven Land Rover and Jaguar SUVs on tracks. And it's not something I would do normally. But they have their benefits. I don't know if I owned a vehicle that cost that much, that I'd be like, I think I'll take it to Monticello. But that was the circumstance I was in. So I was like, hey, let's do it. And I haven't driven the GLS, but large, expensive, fast SUVs can be pretty good on the track.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, definitely. It's definitely meant to be maybe not used on a track-- they have the track app. But it's definitely meant to be driven with gusto and meant to perform, not just in speed, but also pretty decent handling for something, so big and heavy.

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah, all right, should we spend some money then, I guess?


GREG MILGLIORE: This one comes from Reddit's r/cars, If you'd like to get into the mailbag or spend my money, of course, that's We would love to spend your money.

So this, the writer, comes to us from South Arizona, where you were recently. Price range is $1,000 to $6,000, looking to buy, looking for something used, it's a sedan. Must haves are reliability and longevity. Desired transmission is automatic. And it will be used as a daily driver. The writer has already considered a Dodge Charger. Don't need a warranty.

And this is not the first vehicle. They can do minor work on a car. So basically looking for something to be a daily driver. Want to use this to keep mileage and maintenance off my truck and have a second car in case one needs to go to the mechanic. Always had a fondness for Crown Victorias and looking for something that would basically just be a good daily, as they lay out, relatively cheap.

So my options are-- I riffed on the Charger. I have a couple here. I assume this isn't going to be a car they're going to keep forever. I do read the longevity line. But I'm just choosing not to acknowledge that. So I'm going to go with-- I have two. I have a Mercury Marauder, which I just-- Jeremy Korzeniewski, our senior consumer editor, and I were just talking about that in the Slack conversation this week. And I haven't been able to get that car out of my head. I just think that 20-something year old muscle, it's unique.

The writer mentioned the Crown Victoria. Why don't you take one with you that Cobra SVT V8 from 20 years ago with the chrome exhausts? Hell, yeah, that's what I would do.

Now price wise, it's going to be tough. You can get-- I found one online that was under the $6,000 ceiling. And it had 200 and-- how many miles? 220,000 miles. So I don't know, not-- this isn't super logical. I'll give you that. You can-- if you go a little bit up, you can get one like 7,000, 8,000, with a few fewer miles. And that's a little more reasonable.

Staying in this vein, I also like the '06 Impala SS, small-block V8. Again, similar prices. But you can find a few of them more under the $4,000 to $5,000 range. All that being said, if you want a reliable sedan with longevity, find a 15-year-old Honda Civic. You're going to get fewer miles. You're going to be in that price range. And that's a much smarter play than anything I just laid out here. So what do you think, John?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Gosh, I love the idea of a Crown Vic.


GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah, I do too. I really do.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Just-- they're just such characterful cars just because of their use case, police cars, taxis. Yeah, they can take a beating and keep going. You can get a Taurus in that price range if you still want to stick with Ford or even-- I saw a couple of Lincoln MKZs. But like you said, with reliability, something like, yeah, a Honda-- I would love to find an Acura TL in that price range. I've seen--

GREG MILGLIORE: That's a good move, yeah.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: --a couple, not a lot. But if you can find one, that is a great car. The TL is super, super fun. I think it's got a lot of character. I like the design. If you can find one with a manual transmission-- if you can find-- you're not going to find a super handling all-wheel drive with a manual transmission for that price point. But if you could, that would be the dream. But any TL will service you well.

GREG MILGLIORE: I remember that car in the press fleet. With the manual, it was great too. It was really--

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Oh, it was so good.

GREG MILGLIORE: I liked it. It was a good-- good evidence of early-- well, I guess it was late 2000s-- styling that probably doesn't hold up all that well. It very much looks like 2008, 2009, 2010. But I still thought it looked good for the time. So--

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: I still think it looks good.

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah. You can also get a Mercury Grand Marquis-- this is a more logical thing-- in great condition with only 150,000 miles on it for $3,900 in Belleville, New Jersey. So I guess that's-- if you still want to do Crown Vic, it might be a little more logical than some of the other suggestions I raised.

My brother had an '06 Impala SS, small-block V8. That was a fun car to drive. So that's why sometimes when I think of these sedans, that's where-- I tend to go down that path.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, I saw a lot of Impalas in that price range.

GREG MILGLIORE: Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's a little more reasonable, I guess, if you will. Maybe more of them survived than-- because there's a little bit of a newer generation of things than the others. But yeah, so we had a good, long show this week. We're coming up right on the hour mark. We can close things out with any winter drink recommendations as you maybe settle in by the fire for January and February, where you come in from, I don't know, an energetic run or skiing, what would you have to warm up?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Well, just being in Arizona, there's Superstition Meadery. It has some really good meads. But mead in general. It's a little bit different than your usual beer, maybe not the rich, full-bodied thing, but a little bit on the sweeter side.

And sometimes some of them are pretty high alcohol content. So it'll warm you up. It feels a little spicy going down. But yeah, I've been enjoying some mead lately.



GREG MILGLIORE: Interesting.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: There's some there's some great meaderies--


JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: --in Michigan too. But yeah, the one I've had the most recently is Superstition Meadery from Arizona.

GREG MILGLIORE: Sounds good. I'll have to check that out. I've been actually drying out a little bit after-- whatever the opposite of dry January is, that's what I did in December. It was like every night was beer with a hockey game, cocktail with the family, red-wine bottles. I don't know. This is the time of year I like to also go heavier.

[INAUDIBLE] Guinness is good, especially if you shovel snow, which we haven't really had any. I've been enjoying drinking-- I think I mentioned this on the last show of the year-- Labatt Blue and Labatt Blue Light, good hockey beer. I like-- the Red Wings, right now, either score 5 goals or give up 5 goals or both. So it's insane watching them. You might want to do it with a beer. That's where I've been landing. It's just both ends of the spectrum.

And then I've actually-- this is going to sound totally random-- the fizzy water from Target, just the Good and Gather brand, is really good. And it's just like-- it's like a La Croix. It's not alcoholic. But just sometimes, early in this month, when I've been trying to make some less boozy decisions, and I'm reading or watching sports, that's been the go to. And those are surprisingly good. I can't believe I'm recommending these on a segment. But they taste--

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: I'll have to try those.

GREG MILGLIORE: They're pretty good. I went with the watermelon-lime and it was-- or lemon-- I don't know. It was good.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: I'm a big fan of soda water. I've got a SodaStream. And occasionally, I'll add my own flavors. Usually, I'll add just a little bit of juice to it, a little bit-- splash of orange juice or a few drops of lime juice in there. But I'm always excited to try new types of branded soda water. So I'll have to check that out next time at target.

GREG MILGLIORE: I like a gin and tonic as much as the next guy. But sometimes just some seltzer water and some lemon or lime, bit of ice, it's just a good way to calm yourself, if you will, on a summer or winter evening. So--


All right, that's all the time we have this week. Send us your Spend my Moneys, If you like the show, please give us good reviews on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you get this show. Be safe out there. And we'll see you next week.