New York Auto Show Special with the Ram REV, Kia EV9 and more | Autoblog Podcast #775

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. They start off with what it was like to be at the New York Auto Show, then provide analysis on all the big reveals. The big reveals touched on include the 2025 Ram REV, 2024 Kia EV9, Genesis GV80 Coupe Concept, 2024 Hyundai Kona variants, 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness and 2024 Jeep Wrangler. They also touch briefly on some non-NY news with a refresh of the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class. Lastly, the two discuss the cars they've been driving, including the 2023 Mercedes-AMG EQE and our long-term Toyota Sienna minivan.

Video Transcript


GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to "The Autoblog Podcast." I'm Greg Migliore. We have a great show for you this week. We spent the week at the New York Auto Show. Lots of big reveals there, from finally seeing the RAM Electric Truck in the flesh, in the sheet metal. That was pretty cool.


There were updates to the 2024 Jeep Wrangler-- which, hey, that's always interesting-- Kia EV9, Genesis GV80 coupe concept, and plenty of other things. It was a pretty-- it was a busy show for about half of the day, let's put it that way. It was a good show by the standards that are, sort of, new auto shows, if you will. Road Test editor Zac Palmer joined me there and he joins me now. How are you doing?

ZAC PALMER: I'm great. And yeah, that's kind of the perfect way to put it. For an Auto Show in 2023, it felt kind of jam-packed versus a lot of others that we've had here as of late. There was a lot of new stuff there, a lot of stuff we've never seen before and actual reveals. So that was neat to see.

GREG MIGLIORE: So we're recording this on Friday morning. That's a bit later than we normally do this. So by the time this drops, some of you guys will be listening to it on Friday afternoon, which is great. You know, enjoy obviously for the holiday weekend, too. If you have a minute while you're running errands, hopefully, this podcast gets into your feeds. You know, if you need to see more Saturday morning, you're going over what was going on in the car world, you know, with your coffee on your phone, head to the site.

We have galleries. We have a roundup. The editor's picks are going to go up today. As we're recording this, we don't actually know them. Perhaps I'll get that later in the day, which is kind of cool-- or later in the show.

So all that stuff's going to go up. News editor Joel Stocksdale was also there, and check out some of the great videos put together by producer [INAUDIBLE], who also was on the ground with us. And it was great to see everybody. It really was a good show.

Yeah, so let's get into some of these things. Kick off with the RAM. I mean, people like trucks-- or so I'm told, right? The RAM Rev 1500, you know, the numbers are pretty eye-popping-- just the range, the power, and how quick it'll charge. The only area that some people thought they under-delivered was the design. Not so much that it looks bad-- I think it looks pretty good-- but just that concept car that they showed a couple of months ago was so over the top that I think people thought that might really be the direction they'd go, but not really. And you talk to Ralph Giles, who's the head of design for Stellantis. And he explained what they were going for here.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, yeah, he really explained why that concept was so futuristic-looking versus the production truck is, is what it is today. That concept, at least to Stellantis, is going to predict trucks years into the future, not necessarily the truck that we have today. So maybe the next-gen, the next-gen Electric RAM, will have a design similar to that, with crazy stuff like the three rows, the wild mid-gate, and just all of these interesting and innovative features that the current one doesn't have because it's essentially-- I mean, if you didn't know all of the really cool stuff going on underneath it, it looks a lot like a RAM 1500 gasoline truck does today.

But like you were saying, there's a lot of really cool specs in here. I mean, just going over some of the big ones, this thing has the biggest battery pack that I've seen in any electric vehicle yet. I think it's even bigger than the Hummers.


ZAC PALMER: I think most people have estimated the Hummers to be just over 200 kilowatt-hours. RAM has already said the big one with 500 miles of range is going to have a 229 kilowatt-hour battery pack, which is just wild to think about. I mean, big vehicles like a BMW iX, or like a Mercedes EQS SUV, these are big, luxury, three-row SUVs. Those only have a 100 kilowatt-hour pack. This thing is double that and more.

So try to wrap your head around that. There's a lot of batteries in this thing. But that was one of the priorities for RAM. They wanted range. They didn't want any compromises. So here we are with a giant truck with, hopefully, no compromises in that respect.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's interesting. I was at the press conference, which was really, by like New York standards, even past and present, they had their global CEO Carlos Tavares there-- which, frankly, at New York shows, you don't always see the CEO there. You see like the North American Chief or the boss of the brand. You don't necessarily see, like, the big guy, like Tavares is.

Which, so I thought really, they-- like really, between Stellantis, and then Hyundai Motor Co., because they had like three brands, they carried the show, basically. But going back to RAM a little bit, I thought they were almost defensive a little bit. Like they were like, revolutions take time. Revolutions are worth waiting for. Which is almost like they're-- I don't think it was tongue-in-cheek, but it was like defensive. Like, no, yeah, Ford and Chevy did it, but whatever. We're coming along too, and where's Tesla?

Like there was some subtext there that it seemed like they said, but then they didn't say some things. And I mean, my kind of thought on that is, if this comes out, and they could produce them, you know, without any like major issues-- which there's no reason not to at this point, right-- like there's no quality issues with the RAM. You know, it's a strong truck. They're going to be right in there with it. And it's going to be a very compelling product.

And at the end, nobody's going to remember that they were, maybe, a year after Ford and Chevy. And really, Chevy is not quite there yet either. So I think it's going to be really an interesting three-horse race.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, yeah, the way that I heard it described from [INAUDIBLE] and from other folks at Stellantis, the general gist of it is like, hey, we might not be first to the party, we might not be second, we might actually be last to the party, but we're gonna beat everyone once we do arrive.


ZAC PALMER: We're gonna have the most range, the best acceleration, the best towing. I mean, [INAUDIBLE] was even like, you know, we made sure that we had the biggest frunk. We have a bigger frunk than the Lightning, a bigger frunk than the Silverado. It's bigger. [LAUGHS]

So that's the general theme of this thing. And also, like you said, you know, they may be a little late, but they're really not that late. I mean, like the Silverado EV is a '24 model year thing. That's probably going to be produced in very low numbers. Sierra EV, similar story.

The Lightning is the one that really has just taken everything by storm and beaten everybody out there. But theoretically, if RAM delivers what they're saying they're going to deliver here, it will beat the Lightning in a lot of ways.


ZAC PALMER: And it's not like we prefer the F-150 over the RAM in a lot of other ways to start with. Honestly, we like the RAM 1500 more than any other truck. And here it is, an electric version. So I'm definitely psyched to see it come out.

GREG MIGLIORE: Same. I think, you know, what we do look at, like a few years ago when we were doing our Editor's Picks and our rankings for the Detroit 3 trucks-- and they're the only ones that get Editor's Picks from us. We don't give those out to any of the other competitors because, frankly, none of them are nearly as good. The RAM usually is our top-rated truck. It's usually at like a 9 or something because of the interior, because of the ride and comfort, because of the wide range of powertrain options you can get from it. And design is subjective, but most of our editors like the design. So you know, you just transplant some electric gear in there, and what's not to like?

So I'm very excited to drive it. You know, I think it strikes me as something that-- you know, the other thing is you come maybe six months, a little bit later, maybe you scoop up a bunch of Car of the Year Awards or something because, you know, the Lightning already won, you know? I mean, somebody's got to win in 2024, right? You know, I mean, so you can start to stack up some things that way. Not that a company would ever tweak their production cycles that way, but you know, sometimes being late-- and you're talking to somebody who's late for literally everything in his life-- so it's not the worst, not the worst thing, yeah.

ZAC PALMER: So long as you come in and beat everybody-- which is what RAM is really insisting they are going to do-- I think that this thing is going to sell like hotcakes.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I agree. It also-- it's all the RAM buyers and all the RAM EV buyers, Stellantis EV buyers, are going to look at this. And then you wonder what kind of new customers they can bring in, you know? That'll be interesting to see as well.

Because the Lightning looks like they're bringing in new electric buyers to the truck segment. I would think Chevy will do that. Tesla, of course, is gonna do that with the Cybertruck whenever that gets here. So we'll see.

ZAC PALMER: Yes indeed, yes indeed. Electric trucks, it's getting to be a busy market out there.

GREG MIGLIORE: I thought-- shifting gears, I thought the other really big headliner-- there were a couple-- but the EV9, the Kia three-row SUV, I thought that was just a stunning design display. I walked by it like four or five times. It was at the back of the hall. I made it like my business to keep going back and looking at it.

I tweeted this out, and I think this kind of sums up my thoughts pretty well-- I'd like to hear what you think-- is this could do for Kia like what the Telluride did for Kia. The only difference is this is also electric, and it's a three-row SUV, whereas the Telluride just was like a best-in-class three-row crossover that they had never done before. The company had never done something that ambitious, at that size and that nicely equipped.

You know, they've had some larger ish crossovers in the past, but the Telluride really put them in a different segment and perhaps appealed to a different set of consumers. I think the EV9 could do the same thing. And again, it's a crossover and it's electric, so I think they're gonna really crush it with this thing.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, there are like two really big angles from this car. I think Kia is really gonna be winning. Is, one, is they are pretty much the first non-luxury three-row electric SUV. There's none other out there. I mean, you have the Rivian R1s. And I should actually put an asterisk on that because full-size--


ZAC PALMER: Because the EQB and the Model Y both offer three rows, but the third row is essentially useless in those cars. Like very, very small people can fit in there, but not much else. But like a full-size thing, you can chuck seven people in and everybody be comfortable. There's the EQS SUV and the Rivian R1s. And those are both so expensive.

This thing, on the other hand, it's a Kia. It's gonna be priced more like a Kia. We don't know the pricing yet. But reading between the lines. I think the number is probably gonna start with 5 somewhere, which puts it firmly in the more expensive side of the Telluride category, which is about where it belongs because it's like the same exact size as a Telluride. It's just a couple inches longer, same width, same height, all of the dimensions on the inside are the same as the Telluride.

So if you're like you have a Telluride now, and that works super well for your lifestyle, and you're like, hmm, I might go EV, this seems like the most natural possible fit. Another big thing with the EV9, though, is that this is the biggest push into premium-- not necessarily luxury, but definitely premium, that I've seen Kia take so far. The interior in this thing is really, really something to behold and is a lot nicer than any other Kia product I've ever seen.

They make a big deal about all of the vegan materials that they use throughout it, but I really just think that it's the general design, the layout, the level of features and luxury that you get with this thing. I mean, there are just some really, really neat features such as the full lay-back seats. People in both the front and second row can fully recline and just sleep while you're charging.

The driver assistant stuff, Kia threw a lighter on this. It should be one of the best lane-centering adaptive cruise control systems out there when it does come out with all these great new sensors. This thing just has a lot going for it, and like you said off the top, the design is just absolutely killing it.

It's a really, really cool-looking three-row SUV. It's boxy. It's got sharp angles. It's got interesting creases everywhere, and it looks good.

It's not just like confusing and modern and weird-looking to be weird. It's actually a cohesive design that really, really appeals to me. And I guarantee it's gonna appeal to a lot of people as well that are looking to buy something like this.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I mean, you know, when you say it's going to be in the 50s, you know, that's really appealing. You know, I think that's an area that a lot of people who are in the market for this type of vehicle, that's going to make them consider this, because why wouldn't you? You know, you can spend well into the 40s on a Telluride, maybe spend a little bit more and go all-electric.

DC fast charging is there. The cargo space is comparable to a Telluride. And again, the design is stunning to me. It looks like something out of like the Volvo Polestar kind of workshop.

So I think it's gonna be interesting. You know, and Kia has done a good job of like-- you know, I'd say 10 years ago, they did a really good job of scaling up their engine architectures, making better power trains, V6es, V8s, Turbo 4s-- and I'm speaking of Hyundai Motor Group at this point. And now, you're seeing them as they move into like electrification, they're really investing heavily. And these products, I think, are going to be compelling, and it should be interesting.

I mean, again, I thought this was definitely a winner as I kept skulking around the Kia stand. And there were a lot of people there, too. Like you probably notice this at the show-- like some brands would do their reveals, and then that was it. Other brands did the reveals, and then there were just people hanging out the rest of the day.

And Kia was one of those stands where it was just doing videos, just people sitting in their seats hanging out, looking at the cars, talking to the executives. Like they really do a crowd.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, it's a big deal car. I think that a lot of people realize it is. And one thing that I didn't even mentioned before is that like all of the electric platform stuff underneath it, it's all top shelf. It's the E-GMP platform with the 800-volt architecture, super fast charging, great range, lots of power. This thing really doesn't have any weak points, I don't think, which is one of the reasons why, you know, everybody's around. It's like, wow, this thing looks like a winner.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's interesting, too, because I think Kia, they were another brand that wasn't first to the party in whatever segment-- in this case, the electric-- but they have a really good naming scheme. EV6, EV9, you know, like electric vehicle and then a number. The bigger it is in ascending order-- it makes total sense. You know, like we have a Mercedes we're gonna talk about in a minute, and that's-- their lineup's already getting confusing to me. So yeah, that's kind of a side note, but it's pretty good for them.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, they have unlimited here. They can go EV7, EV5, Whatever. There actually already is an EV5, but it's for Korea.

So yeah, it's smart. And I think the people understand it because they're really getting their cars out there. And I've seen a lot of EV6es just around here in Michigan, anecdotally speaking.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, oh, definitely. It is that long-term, where we still have-- I enjoyed every minute of having that car here in my driveway. So all right, well, let's shift gears over to another Hyundai Motor Co. brand. This is the Genesis GV80. This is a coupe-styled crossover.

It was a "concept," air quotes, for like a minute. And they've already said they're going to build it. You were actually on the Genesis trip. You were there for a few days. What did you think of it?

ZAC PALMER: So I wasn't actually on that, that trip. That was Joel that was on that trip [INAUDIBLE].

GREG MIGLIORE: Oh, right, right, right.

ZAC PALMER: I was on the Kia trip. But I went and checked out the Genesis real closely, and it was actually-- if I'm going to be honest, it might have been my car of this show.


ZAC PALMER: Like when I walked up to it, it was just one of those moments. It was like, wow, this is really, really cool.


ZAC PALMER: And I honestly-- I don't normally get excited about something like a crossover coupe, like an SUV coupe. But this, this to me is like the best-looking of all of them right now. And--


ZAC PALMER: --it's like this is how I think it should be executed.


ZAC PALMER: And you know, I don't know. I don't think I'm that biased from the orange paint, but man, I sure did love the orange, too. But just the way that they integrated the coupe roofline and body style to it, to the GV80, which is already a really good-looking car, I thought that was great. The few changes that they made to the front to make it sportier, I think that was great.

The interior of the concept was just like ridiculous. It has these four bucket seats, suede leather, orange accents. The backs of the seats are painted in orange. It is a really, really cool concept car.

If you're in New York, like, you absolutely have to go see it because I can almost guarantee that you're just gonna walk up to it and say, wow, this thing looks good. This thing looks really, really good.

So and they're gonna build it. They literally confirmed on that trip to Joel that they are going to build this thing. We're going to have a GV80 coupe, which just makes all the sense in the world. We already got a BMW X6 GLE coupe. All the Germans offer something similar to it. And I think that Genesis can come in there and look better than all of them, frankly. So I'm excited.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I agree. I mean, it's to me-- this is, in some ways, like what the X4, the X6, some of the Mercedes and Audis, this is the design in the silhouette, in the stance that it feels like they never quite got right. And I like the X6 a little bit. Like I like that a little more than some people do. But just this is a very sporty-looking crossover.

It looks like kind of like a hot hatch that's larger and just slightly elevated a little bit more-- which is the whole idea of making these appealing to consumers who maybe are willing to trade a little bit of space for a little bit more spot, a little bit more style. So Joel kind of posits that he thinks the 3.5-liter V6 might be standard, just to kind of differentiate it from like some of the other Genesis crossovers, which could be cool. We'll see about that.

The concept had interesting seats, let's put it that way. Kind of I think they were [INAUDIBLE], but they were, I mean, really like race car seats, and they look great. You know, this is the second straight year that Genesis has revealed a really interesting concept at the New York Auto Show. They did the Genesis X last year, I believe.

And that's-- they're doing a good job, I think. They've sort of, I think, in a way, taken up the mantle from Infiniti as far as being like the import brand that just hangs its hat on design. And I think that's good. You know, I think that's frankly a missed opportunity, that Infiniti is starting to fade a little bit. And then, Genesis is right there.

And they're always going to win on value, too, unless they decide to really like rearrange their price structure. So it's-- they're compelling products. If you could get people to get into them and give them a shot, you know, it's they look great. They drive great. They're racking up all kinds of awards-- yeah.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, Genesis has really been killing it with their concepts as of late. Like the last three or four Auto Shows now, they've released a new one. They've had all their Genesis X concepts-- their coupe, their shooting brake, their convertible, and now this. They're definitely on a roll as far as concepts go.

This one's going to be built. And we're still TBD on those Genesis X concepts, which are probably the most stunning that they've made. But it's obvious that their designers are on a roll, and they know what they're doing. Just got to see these things come to production. now.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right. So those-- I would say those are like the big three, if you will. And then, the Kona was significant. It was more like, I would say, tweaks and refreshes. It's not like a full-on new generation.

But you know, they did some different-- you know, to me, the way I would sum it up is it's all grown up now. It's a little more refined as far as like the appearance. It looks a little Tesla-esque, if you will. I don't know if I want to go there. But it looks different than the outgoing Kona, which is a little more-- you know, it looks like a small crossover with some attitude.

This, this looks a little more futuristic. It almost looks like it's electric, even though like one version of the Kona is electric, and then there's like hybrid gas. It's sort of like the transitional car, to be honest. Like wherever you're at in the electric revolution, including not being part of it, Hyundai can help you with the Kona.

So it's interesting. And then, there was an Ioniq 6, Ioniq 5, that was Disney-themed. So Hyundai had a pretty good press conference too, I thought.

ZAC PALMER: They did, Yeah, no, the Kona was an interesting one. It wasn't like the full global reveal. We've already seen this thing before. This was the North American reveal of it here in New York.

And it's not a new platform, sort of like you were getting at there. It's the same platform, but Hyundai stretched it a good bit, which is probably the biggest news about this thing. Sure, there's the new design, the new interior, but the powertrain specs are almost completely carryover. There's almost no change there at all.

The big thing is that it's just so much bigger than before. The Kona was definitely like on the smaller side of subcompact crossovers previously. The back seat was cramped, the trunk was a little tiny. Hyundai expanded it a good bit now.

I hopped into the backseat of an N-line model and was just blown away by how much space there was back there now. I had set the front seat where it was comfortable for me, and I was nowhere close to even touching the back of that front seat, whereas in the previous Kona, I was like knees brushed against, head cramped-- just all around felt like a very small vehicle.

Now, this thing honestly feels more like a previous generation like Tucson, or just something an entire class above what it was before. So if you're thinking like, oh, a Kona is too small of a car for me, maybe this next generation might not be that too small of a car for you just because it's so much bigger now.

And Hyundai can do that because they still have the venue. Like there's the really, really small crossover that they offer if that's what you want. But the Kona is definitely not the little Mini Me that it was before.

GREG MIGLIORE: This reminds me a little bit of like what Honda did with the HR-V. You know, they took what was kind of a compact crossover, the bottom of the line, and then stretched it out a little bit sleek-- sleekened up the style, and you get something a bit different. So yeah, no, that's the Kona.

And there's still two gas-powered engines, too. I think it's interesting when you look at all the different ways automakers are approaching segments with how they're trying to fine-tune their powertrain lineups. You almost might think, in this segment, it's easier just to go with one.

But you got two choices here. If you only want to use gas, you can do that. So it's almost interesting to say that, you know, because you're so used to, like, well, hybrid-only. Or you know, they're going to-- this is it, then they're going to go all-electric. So--

ZAC PALMER: I was actually asking their product planner about that. Like all right, you're Hyundai. You guys have like a hybrid of every model. Like, there's so many hybrids. Why is there no hybrid Kona? They're like, well, we just really want to push people into the electric if they want something green. And then, the gasoline ones are more like a budget-conscious choice.

GREG MIGLIORE: That makes perfect sense, too.

ZAC PALMER: So you know, I mean, is there an argument for a hybrid? I think there is. Just I mean, literally, they have the narrow with that hybrid powertrain. Like they could probably be like, hey, Kia, can we use this in our Kona? Very similar-sized car and all.

But no, that's not the direction that they wanted to go with for the Kona. It's electric or gas. And the one gas engine, I think, is like slightly entertaining, too. It's--


ZAC PALMER: You get the one. The 1.6 turbo with the eight-speed automatic, it's not entirely boring. There's a little something there for you.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, so let's move over to something that I think is just kind of a lot of fun. This is another thing we've-- another press conference that felt like a real Auto Show. Subaru, the wilderness variant of the Crosstrek. They had a legitimate press conference, if you will. They had the puppies that they-- Subaru is always a big supporter of pet adoptions, so they had the puppies that you could go and pet and adopt, I guess, if you wanted. They were very cute.

They also had their sort of national parks-themed stand. You know, it was-- again, talk about the car, but again, Subaru showed up. You know, I was looking at the Audi display, which, you know, Audi is based out of, I believe, Virginia. You know, it's not that far from New York. It looked like a dealer display with the house lights. It looked kind of sad. And then--

ZAC PALMER: It absolutely was a dealer display.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. [LAUGHS] So but then, you got Volkswagen that showed up like it's this is kind of a Detroit 2010. You know, it was a legit display. And again, wilderness Crosstrek, no surprise there. But kind of fun off-roader because the Crosstrek, I think, is the right sized vehicle. You can go through trails and stuff because it's not particularly big.

And they gave it the wilderness treatment, which is a little bit more capable. And Subaru says that apparently, plastic cladding is coming back. They're making it so. I saw a tweet where somebody said, remember when General Motors and Honda used to get like ruthlessly made fun of for doing this to their vehicles?

But I don't know. Times change, tastes change. I think the Crosstrek looks pretty good. And those tires look like they could just claw through like a bog. So yeah, you know, I think it's what we expected. There's nothing really groundbreaking here.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, I think the wilderness package being applied to the Crosstrek is honestly one of the most natural fits for that package. I think that a lot of enthusiasts have really taken to the Crosstrek as this little adventure vehicle. I see a lot of them modified online, honestly, with bigger tires, small lift, something like that. So Subaru doing that from the factory makes a whole lot of sense to me.

And the package, package is a good one. I think that they paired it with the 2-5, the bigger engine, which is definitely what it should be paired with. The look is a little plasticky for me. There's almost just as much plastic as there is paint on the car. To each their own.

But it certainly stands out in whatever parking lots or driveway you want to park it in. There's so many gold and yellow accents everywhere.


ZAC PALMER: The blue paint really, really pops. Subaru did not phone it in on the exterior look or the capability of this wilderness car at all. It's a legit, you know, little mini off-roader, and it's pretty cool. And one little tidbit that I thought was really interesting is that this thing has better towing than the other Crosstrek.

And it's got a 3,500-pound towing capacity, which to me is just like, wow. For that small of a crossover, like I expect something more like 1,000, 2,000 pounds. But no, 3,500, and you can tow a tiny little camper, maybe, on your way up, and unhitch, and go off-roading. So sweet little package.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, now moving over to the Jeep Wrangler, which I know people are going to get excited about. Subtle changes, but significant. I would almost put this in the same kind of boat as, like, the Hyundai Kona where it's like, it's not mind-blowing changes, but they're important. To me, they're in direct response to the Bronco.

Competition is good, and Ford is-- or Jeep is responding to Ford by making the Wrangler better. I mean, you know, for years, when Wrangler had the segment to itself, they could just be like, here's the new generation. We'll see you in eight or nine years for the next one, you know? Now it's like, OK, you've got to do a legit mid-cycle refresh here if you want to stay competitive. And they did that, you know?

It was, again, it was another legitimate press conference. They showed up. And again, it felt like a real reveal, even though, again, it's a mid-cycle refresh. So that's good.

A couple of the headliner things, like literally from the headlines. It's the 4 by E, there is a cheaper version of it, which I think is good. The 4 by E is not inexpensive, let's put it that way. Yeah, and the EcoDiesel-- that's the six-cylinder-- is gone, which I don't really know what the take rate was on that.

I personally liked it. I remember I had a very memorable Thanksgiving in it in 2019, driving all around. But maybe that's just there isn't-- that's not where people are going right now. So some slight design changes, interior stuff. But you know, if you're looking to get into a Jeep in 2024, it's a little bit better for you.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, no, there are some small things. Like you said, I think it's all because of the Bronco. Jeep is over here improving, trying to outmatch them.

One highlight for me in this thing is the new Uconnect infotainment system. It's got this really nice big widescreen display now, which is a huge upgrade over the previous Uconnect system. It looks really classy on the dash. I think they integrated it nicely. So huge, huge tech upgrade.

And then, one other small thing. They added power seats. The Wrangler didn't have power seats before.

GREG MIGLIORE: I don't think I knew that. That's interesting.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, it's like just this weird little thing that, all right, the Jeep Wrangler, you could go buy like a $75,000 Wrangler and it still had manual seats. But now you can option these 12-way power seats in a Wrangler. Bronco offered it, now the Wrangler does too.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's interesting. I did not realize that you couldn't get that. That's really interesting.


GREG MIGLIORE: I like that because when you drive a Bronco, you know, depending on the-- or drive a Wrangler, depending on the circumstances, sometimes you've got to move around, adjust, and it can be a bit old school, I guess is one way to put it, to move the seats around. So yeah, I think that's a good move.

Because one of the Jeep executives said something that surprised me. They said New York was one of their top markets for the Wrangler-- which I was surprised. I kind of wanted to follow up on that. I was like, you mean New York State, like New York City? Is it just because there's so many people?

And it's certainly like probably like around here, where people buy a Wrangler Rubicon to go off-road once a year when they maybe go to the cottage or something. You just want the look of the Wrangler, and it's like the best, if you will, so you pay more for it. Maybe it's that kind of a situation. But yeah, that's true. I think that was a very strategic reveal. Reveal the Wrangler, the new version of the Wrangler in New York, get a lot of eyeballs for it.

ZAC PALMER: Based on the drive to LaGuardia and back, having a Jeep Wrangler might not have actually been a bad idea. There were some-- that was brutal, honestly, in some cases. [LAUGHS]

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, no, I hear you.

ZAC PALMER: So maybe that's why it's so big. Everybody's like, I need a Jeep. I need to traverse these terrible roads.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, that's fair. I had like an hour and a half commute getting back to the airport. I was pretty nervous. I had to cancel my Uber driver because he was late. And then, so I went with Lyft. And he was like, yeah, I can-- I'll be there in like two minutes. I'm like, great, this is awesome.

He was really psyched about the EV9. His neighbor had an EV6. We had a really cool conversation. It's always fun when you get in like a ride share and they're car people. So that was cool.

But yeah, man, the ride to LaGuardia was insane. Like getting back, I would have liked a Bronco, or a Raptor, or a Wrangler. Speaking of the commute to LaGuardia, I think I told you this on Tuesday, I landed exactly as the Trump motorcade rolled into LaGuardia.

And I was a little nervous because I'm like, well, how's this going to work out? Is the going to be security? Is there going to be traffic, protests? What's going to happen here?

I was literally watching it on the plane, flipping between like CNN, CBS, and it kind of dawned on me, you know, it was I think it was all in the back of our minds. Like, hey, that hearing was happening when we're all going to be in New York. You know, how will that impact the show?

And it didn't at all. So that was good. But I couldn't help but wonder. I'm like, whoa, he's going to the same place I am. How am I going to get to my hotel? You know, are they going to like lock down things?

But no troubles whatsoever. So that worked out pretty good. I wrote a little piece in our Live Blog. You should check out the Live Blog, by the way, if you're listening. You could kind of do a replay, just kind of like minute-by-minute of what we were doing. It was like my almost-brush with sort of the news of the day. So but yeah, traffic was terrible in New York this week-- I'll put it that way.

ZAC PALMER: I have to concur.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, so let's do-- let's talk about the new GLS. That was revealed-- this should have been revealed at New York, let me put it that way.

ZAC PALMER: No kidding. [LAUGHS]

GREG MIGLIORE: Mercedes used to do big pressers. They don't. I remember one year, they did one with Jon Hamm, Don Draper, who is their spokesman. And he was like in character for it. It was pretty cool. But yeah, not this year.

But they just kicked out the press release, and it's a fairly significant upgrade. It's sort of along the Kona and Wrangler upgrades for the new model year.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. Yeah, I know. I mean, just like you said, this should have been in New York. I can't think of a better place to reveal like a flashy new full-size Mercedes that's like crazy expensive. They even revealed the Maybach and the AMG versions at the same time, which definitely seems right up New York's alley.

But slight little appearance changes, both outside and inside. They gave it the latest MBUX stuff. The new Maybach gets these really cool side intakes in the front. I guess cool and/or tacky, depending on your style preferences, but the little side air intakes have the Maybach logo like repeated over and over and over. [INAUDIBLE] really small. It's like oh, OK, yes, it's a Maybach. It's definitely a Maybach.

So I just thought that was a funny little new touch on it. But no, it's good that they're doing this. I know, I recently drove the refreshed X7. That thing was really, really good. So Mercedes has got to keep it current.

The one thing that I was-- I don't know. I guess I shouldn't have expected it with the mid-cycle refresh, but it's still the old screen setup. Still their horizontal stuff that they've been rocking for a long time. It's not like the new S-class or C-class or, frankly, any other new stuff that has like the giant portrait tablet on the front.

This is still old school Mercedes. It still has a little touchpad down there and everything to control it by. So maybe if you like that stuff, if you like the older school Mercedes setup, this could appeal to you if you don't like that giant whole tablet as center console look. And it'll be like this for a little while yet. Since this is just refreshed, it'll stay the same. So yeah, new GLS definitely should have been in New York. Still looks like a promising refresh, though.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, that would have-- you know, that's in some ways, I think, that's where like auto shows from a press perspective, they need to maybe almost-- and New York's pretty aggressive about kicking out press releases about every car revealed anywhere near the Auto Show and almost like claiming credit-- which I think as journalists, sometimes that feels obnoxious, but I think it's also probably a good move. You know, in some ways-- I saw this with Detroit, too, where it seemed like there were vehicles around the show that they could have been a little more aggressive about trying to get that automaker in to make it part of the show.

Maybe that's not a priority. I don't know, you know? But you know, you saw that a lot with like with Chevy. There was a bunch of stuff that was dumped out in August where, like, what? Why was this not at Detroit three weeks later?

And Mercedes is, you know, that's New Jersey, you know, their corporate headquarters. Would have made a lot of sense for like really the only major car show in the Northeast. But you know, I don't know.

I agree with you, though, vehicle looks good. I think the infotainment touchscreen, like the setup, that could be strategic. It's we'll see how consumers like that.

Mercedes buyers, some of them are a little bit older. So they don't-- I don't think everybody loves screens for all forever, you know? I mean, they're so overwhelming. And it looks good, too, you know?

They kind of gave the grill a little bit of a kind of a nip and tuck, and it's-- you know, that almost seems to be the theme with design in the last couple of years. It's like taper the nose, tone down the grille, and like you just-- across segments, you're seeing that. Whether it's like the Ioniq, the Kona, for example, Mercedes now, I mean, unless you're BMW, you know? It seems like grilles are maybe becoming less of your design identity.

So all right, so let's stay with Mercedes and do a couple of quick reviews here. You drove the EQE. Sedan or crossover, I guess I should clarify that. Which one did you drive?

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, this was the sedan, and specifically it was the AMG version.


ZAC PALMER: So yeah, a lot of power. You get in the-- so long as you put it in the Sport+ mode, you get 677 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good.

ZAC PALMER: So that is more than like the E63, E63S, pretty much more power than all of those gasoline-powered AMG vehicles. But it's in that EQE sort of like bubble cloud car shape form. So it doesn't really look like it's a really hot performance car from the outside.

Like there are a few performance touches here and there. It's got like an AMG-ish grille, tiny little spoiler, AMG wheels. But if you want to like run under the radar and still go 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds, like, this is a really good vehicle to do so with.

As for how it drives, I don't think that it's-- you know, it's a great car. I don't know that it's a great AMG.


ZAC PALMER: Like what we're used to in like AMGs are these like really rowdy, you know, very traditional gasoline-powered V8s, great inline sixes, and I just feel like that's so instrumental to like what makes an AMG an AMG. This thing, it tries to sort of warp and change that by saying, OK, we're going to design this crazy soundtrack for the interior.

The regular EQE, EQS, and those models, they also have like an interesting spacey sort of soundtracks that play over. But this one is like legitimately loud-- loud to the point where like you're sitting in there, and your passengers are like, whoa, what's going on? The interior is so, so loud now that you have it in Sport+.

And yeah, so there's like a serious effort there made by AMG to like bring some amount of character and some difference between like the non-AMG EQEs and whatnot. I just don't really think that it works that well. Like as an enthusiast, I would almost just prefer a more natural sound.

The strange like spaceship noises are just a little too weird for me. Maybe they'll appeal to other people, but it just-- it wasn't really doing it for me in that way. That said, handling, acceleration, all of that, like really, really good.

This thing rides on an air suspension. It's like super comfortable-- way more comfortable than any AMG I've driven in recent memory. And you throw it into Sport+ mode, and everything stiffens up. It's got rear-wheel steering, super, super fast change of direction, a lot of grip. It's heavy, you feel the weight, but it handles quite well.

And the acceleration, it really-- you know, there are some EVs where like you get on it for like a longer session when you're on like a great group of roads and whatnot, you start to feel that power fade. No such thing in this car. It kept delivering the full horsepower that it felt like it was rated for.

It's pretty relentless, honestly. It is fast, fast, and fast some more. My only real big complaint with like the actual driving dynamics, as far as like the AMG-ness of it, are the brakes. And this sort of applies to like all of the EQ stuff. The transition between region and the actual mechanical brakes is not good, like when you're just daily driving.

When you're driving it hard, like getting on the brakes, it is just sort of disconcerting, honestly. Because Mercedes does the thing where it kind of like brings the pedal down halfway with you. It's like, you're actually pressing the brake, and then you need to find it. And then there's a strange friction point where it's like, oh, man, I didn't want that much brake. Oh, now I want more brake.

And it's just it's not a natural progression at all. There needs to be some fine-tuning in there because it's a little jarring. And even after driving it like for a whole week and trying to get accustomed to it, like I could not get used to it. It was not natural in any which way.

But yeah, that's sort of the AMG EQE in a nutshell. It's definitely a great car. It'd be like a fantastic daily driver. I'm just not sure that it's-- like you want to go out and sell that E63s sedan that you have right now and go and buy this because I think performance-wise, you're going to be deeply disappointed by the sound. And there's also the looks factor.

If you like that look, sure, but it has not grown on me, the EQ sort of streamliner shape. It just doesn't really look like an AMG. One thing that I actually tweeted was like it needs to have some beefier fenders. I think some nice AMG beefy fenders with some good wheels and tires to fill it out, that might bring it and give it the character that I'm really looking for. But as it stands now, it's just missing a few things to me to be that standout AMG car.

GREG MIGLIORE: You know, it's interesting. You know, you kind of have me thinking here. Like as electrification becomes dominant in many parts of the car business, you know, what does that mean for a brand like AMG which is like rip-snorting V8s or larger, V12s, you know? So it's interesting. Like you look at, say, like Dodge has been almost belligerent about maintaining like their muscle thing with electric, whereas Mercedes AMG is like voluntarily kind of-- oh, jeez, I don't know if I should say this-- sanitized their cars.

Like the AMG is just another version of the EQE, if you will, which is how it always has been with the E Class. But I mean, like I agree with you. When you look at the design, I'm like, man. And I haven't driven this, but it doesn't look like an AMG. It doesn't look and feel apart, despite the fact the numbers are there in evidence.

I mean, it's faster. You know, I mean, it's electric. You get all that torque naturally, so it's obviously quick as hell.

But it definitely changes one of the things that, for me, is the very essence of AMG. I mean, our old road test editor Reese Counts, he used to own-- I think he still does own like, what, a C43?

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, I chatted with him at an Auto Show [INAUDIBLE]. He's still got it.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I mean, and that's an AMG, you know? And I don't know, man. This AMG, because there's all that history, you know, it's kind of like-- and the cars have such a visceral feel. Like to me, they're like German muscle cars, which is awesome, you know?

So then, you kind of do this. And it's like, you know, I don't know. I think the road to electrification could be different for everybody. And maybe for AMG, it kind of needs to be.

ZAC PALMER: Honestly, I think that this is-- I mean, so they've had the EQS AMG, and now they've had this. I think that they're honestly trying to find a way.

They're doing some experimentation, the sounds thing. You'll really have to experience it to form a full opinion on that because it is really something. It's a bigger effort than I've seen anybody try to take. Like I4 M50, the Model S Plaid, the Hummer, whatever-- like this is a very dramatic entrance into, like, hey, AMG Electric? It's going to be like really weird in here.


ZAC PALMER: So yeah, you know, and I honestly think that the strategy will evolve and change as they get more feedback from people. And I don't know, what is AMG electric in the future? I hope that it evolves to some form that is definitely slightly different from this. So--

GREG MIGLIORE: I agree with you. It could be a good column. It's a good podcast.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, so let's talk about my time in the Toyota Sienna minivan. We've-- I think it's fully broken in now. I took it from Metro Detroit to Gulf Shores. That's like a region right in the border between Alabama and Florida, right off the Gulf of Mexico. It was a lovely spring break vacation with the family.

I spent most of my time at the beach-- beach bars, things like that. It was great. You know, the kids had fun. It was just a great vacation, and the Sienna got me there.

You know, first of all, just from like a cargo capacity perspective, we didn't-- I mean, we filled out maybe a third of it. I mean, you can take so much stuff in a minivan. And this is three people, you know, including one five-year-old, you know, and all the stuff that you need to bring with a kid like that.

And it just-- it was great, you know? You can put everything in there. Maybe this summer, it'll loop back. And like if we go camping or something, that's when you have even more gear to bring.

Like you don't have that much stuff to bring to like a VRBO, AirBNB-type situation besides yourself and your beach gear. But more than up for the task there. I think the story is, I guess, the fuel efficiency. I logged almost exactly 2,000 miles on this thing, always just getting in like the low-ish 30s.

My best stint was 33 flat. I had a 32.7 miles per gallon, the other 32. The only one that was actually kind of a little bit of an outlier is right when I filled it up before I left, I notched 27.1 miles per gallon, which is a little on the low side.

But that was like a lot of errands and around-town driving and sitting in parking lots in Michigan. So I think that kind of explains that. But great highway vehicle, comfortable, again, very fuel-efficient. You know, I hardly had to fill up.

You know, it ended up being-- let's see, how many fill-ups? It ended up being 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6-- yeah. And I'm going to fill it up again before it goes to wherever it's going to next, I think, in short order. So that'll be like sort of nominally seventh, but I've done a lot of local driving too.

The drive to Gulf Shores is like almost a little over 1,000. Just door-to-door, I could fill it up, drive it, fill it up at like 500, then almost quite get there. So I mean, to me, that's remarkable for like just fuel economy.

In practice, you've got to-- you don't want to drive it to zero and be in the middle of nowhere in like-- you know, Ohio and Alabama are the two states-- or Georgia, depending on which way you go-- where like once you hit the middle of nowhere, you're in the middle of nowhere, and you don't want to like not know where your next gas station is-- although the infotainment was very good at telling me. So in practice, you can't just fill up once. But at least by the numbers, you know, you can get there. And that, to me, is really, really an impressive feat for this vehicle.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, honestly, I mean, I don't-- I can't think of a better road trip vehicle than something like a Toyota Sienna. The fuel economy that you got, good luck getting that in any three-row SUV.


ZAC PALMER: It's just straight up not going to happen. And it's even-- that's even better fuel economy than we got in our Pacifica Hybrid once the battery ran out.


ZAC PALMER: You could drive that thing around under gasoline power and you'd get in like the high 20s, but nothing close to what you were. Like, it looked like you were in the low 30s for the most part.

GREG MIGLIORE: Very consistent, yeah. Just kept knocking them down.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, which is remarkable for the amount of utility that you get with that. So yeah, it sounds like the road trip went off without a hitch, honestly. So let's just keep racking them up because this seems like an elite road trip vehicle.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, yeah. You know, it's a hybrid, obviously, but it's a traditional hybrid. Anecdotally, two people in the last couple of weeks have asked me like, well, how do you plug it in? I think the idea of electrification has become so just in the forefront of so many people's minds that they've forgotten how, like, hybrids work.

And it was interesting for me because I struggled to explain it. I was like, well, actually, well this is how it works. I was giving this almost like academic overview, like of trying to explain it. And then finally I was just like, it's like a Prius. And then people are like, oh, OK. But to me, it's just interesting how the conversation for electrics have-- people have forgotten about hybrids in some ways.

And this is a perfect application for just this huge transport ship where you don't want to mess around plugging it in. I think the hybrid for the Pacifica, the plug-in, it's, again, I kind of like how Pacifica looks a little better . If you're going to do a lot of around town driving and you have a charger, that's probably the way to go-- especially if you like the Pacifica, which a lot of people do. It has a lot of strong points. But if you're looking more for like just straight fuel economy and you know you're going to put a lot of miles on it, I mean, it's tough to beat this thing.

ZAC PALMER: I completely agree. This is-- it's a road trip killer. You know, the Pacifica, definitely the around town guy, just because 30 miles of electric range. But for your use case here, the Sienna was definitely the way to go.

GREG MIGLIORE: Only downsides is it gets-- and Joel Stocksdale noted this, too, a little bit when he was driving it-- it gets a little loud on the highway. It's the drone of the engine. But like, I don't know if it's not particularly well-insulated. It gets a little loud. Like not bad, but not great.

You know, it's not, obviously-- it's a Toyota. It's not a Lexus.


GREG MIGLIORE: But so there was a little bit of a drone, and I got stuck. It was like literally the whole world, apparently, decided to drive to Florida or go south this week, so traffic was brutal. So you know, it was comfortable, but it was also like, this is kind of loud. But--

ZAC PALMER: It's kind of loud, doesn't necessarily feel like-- it's like a $50,000-plus minivan, which is not cheap at all.


ZAC PALMER: So maybe it doesn't necessarily feel like $50,000 after a thousand miles in. It's a little, little too loud for that.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I mean, then again, I heard the average price point might be 50, if it's not already. It was like 48. I think I read somewhere even 60 might be common.

ZAC PALMER: That's true.

GREG MIGLIORE: And a lot of is driven by trucks and SUVs, but still.

ZAC PALMER: Maybe we've got to reset expectations.

GREG MIGLIORE: On multiple levels, yeah. All right, breaking news. You want to hear who the winners are for the Editor's Picks?

ZAC PALMER: Ooh, let's hear it.

GREG MIGLIORE: It just came in.


GREG MIGLIORE: All right, so we'll wrap up the show with this. Let's see. Let me just double-check that everything adds up right here. It is, the winner is-- do you want to take a guess what the winner is?

ZAC PALMER: I'm gonna go ahead and guess it's the RAM Rev. If it's not the RAM Rev, it's gotta be the EV9.

GREG MIGLIORE: First and second, you got it. RAM number one, EV9 number two. It was very close, but those were far and away the top two.

And the RAM-- they both got very healthy point totals, let's put it that way. You know, the RAM, almost everybody gave it like a very hefty figure. The EV9 actually was a little more consistent, if you will. People gave it a lot of-- you know, was also very heavily weighted, let's put it that way. There were a couple of-- there was like one outlier that I think you know who this voter is. Didn't give the RAM Rev a lot of points, which made it a little more closer.


GREG MIGLIORE: So there was one voter there. And then, just looking at some of the trends here, it looks like, you know, randomly, somebody gave the Ioniq 5 Disney a lot of points-- which is great.


GREG MIGLIORE: Hey, that's fine, you know? 100th anniversary of Disney, why not? So some of those things sort of maybe skewed things a little bit. Yeah, so those were 1 and 2. And then, 3, we have a tie for third between the Kona and the Genesis GV80-- which, I'm a little surprised on that, to be honest.

I would have kind of thought-- and I think you would probably agree, looking at your vote totals-- but that also probably skewed things. That's usually how our voting works, for everybody listening at home, is like certain people really dial in or vote strategically. You know, because you can give up to 10 points in any one segment, and usually, that's what I do. I pick a winner and give it 10 points, then work my votes from there.

And you know, the GV80 had, obviously, a strong following. Tied it with a Kona. I think, just kind of extrapolating there, you've kind of got the sizzle on the steak.

The Kona is, this is gonna happen. This is all very realistic. The GV80 is also gonna happen, but it was technically a concept. So maybe people kind of like split their votes there, and like some people went with like the refresh that's going to happen right away, versus the splashy crossover coupe concept that, you know, has more limited applications as far as the consumer segment.

And then, fifth place was the Wrangler, which no surprise there. Actually, I kind of thought the Crosstrek Wilderness might get a few more votes, but it was kind of right in there with the Ioniq 5 Disney. [LAUGHS]

ZAC PALMER: [LAUGHS] Man, that's crazy.


ZAC PALMER: I definitely think that the Wilderness deserves a few more attaboys than the Ioniq 5 Disney. [LAUGHS]

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, well, the Crosstrek consistently got votes, whereas the Disney had one really big supporter, let's put it that way. [LAUGHS] That' fine. So any thoughts on this?

ZAC PALMER: Man, it feels about right. I know that I didn't vote for the Rev as my winner of show, but it definitely deserves the votes that it got. And so does the EV9.


ZAC PALMER: Those are far and away the two most important cars of the show.


ZAC PALMER: And. it sounds like we've reflected that.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, yeah, definitely. So now, hey, if you're listening at home, now you know. We'll have that full rundown. It will be up, probably, by the time you're downloading this on your iPhones, Pixels, whatever you listen to. And you can kind of chew on that over the weekend.

So good to see you this morning, Zach. Good to see you in New York. I think we can leave it there. If you enjoyed the "Audioblog Podcast," that's five stars on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you get the show. Please send us your Spend My Moneys at Be safe out there, and we'll see you next week.