2021 Ford Bronco is here, and a Stellantis is born | Autoblog Podcast #636

In this week's Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by West Coast Editor James Riswick and Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. They kick things off by diving headfirst into the Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport before moving to what they've been driving: 2020 BMW X3 xDrive 30e, 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid and a 2020 Ford Expedition. Then, the three tackle Stellantis, Chrysler's new corporate name. Finally, James and Zac reminisce and discuss their time in a couple classic Honda coupes.

Video Transcript

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GREG MIGLIORE: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Autoblog Podcast. I'm Greg Migliore. Joining me from his semi-quarantined locale out in Michigan is road test editor, Zac Palmer. What's going on, man?

ZAC PALMER: Hey, there. Nothing much. There wasn't much car news this week, right?

GREG MIGLIORE: It was pretty quiet.

ZAC PALMER: Nothing crazy going on. Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I wonder ford's every to bring back, like, an off road SUV kind of thing. That might be cool. I wish they'd do that.

ZAC PALMER: We'll see.

GREG MIGLIORE: We'll see. Anyways, we are going to get into that. A ton of Bronco news. And the man who wrote two of those stories from his BMW Z3 is West Coast editor, James Riswick, joining us now. What's up, dude?

JAMES RISWICK: You know, I'm always in quarantine from you guys. Couldn't be further away, really.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's true. Yeah, you're, like, 3,000 miles away working remotely. I mean--

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, I'm dangerous. You can't be around me.

GREG MIGLIORE: There you go. There you go. So all right, obviously, we're going to talk about the Bronco. But it has been a couple of days since the reveal, so we've had a chance to sort of pass through more information, kind of figure out what some of the stuff means, what we like, what we don't like, and put it into at least a little bit of a better context. So if you're listening to this while you're walking the dog through woods this weekend, maybe it's a little more you know broken down and nuanced than, you know, in the heat of the moment on Monday night.

So we'll talk, Bronco, of course we'll talk about what we've been driving. The BMW X3 plug-in has spent some time with Zac. I've been in the Hyundai Ioniq. And James has been in the Ford Expedition. So a little bit more Ford news there. Trivia note-- I believe, according to, I think, Wikipedia, the Expedition replaced the Bronco in the Ford lineup in the '90s, which is not really a one to one trade when you think of it as far as what each vehicle sort of was. But that's something I came across this week, which I found to be interesting.

We'll talk about what the hell Stellantis is-- or is it Stell-antis? I guess depends on what part of the Midwest or the Northeast or Canada you're from. I don't know-- how do you guys say Stell-ahntis?

ZAC PALMER: I've been saying Stell-antis.

GREG MIGLIORE: Stell-antis?


ZAC PALMER: I haven't actually had it defined for me yet, though. That's a good question for FCA PSA.

JAMES RISWICK: I mean, I'm southern Ontario and Canadian, so that's a hard Stell-antis for me. I didn't-- it didn't even think that it would be anything other than. But as Americans could go Stell-ahntis. I don't--

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, but I'll say this. Three people who are from roughly the same, like, probably 200 mile geographic area, it would be Stell-antis on this podcast, I think, when you're talking Michigan and Ontario. So anyways, like Zac points out, that's what the hell Chrysler is. And I just-- literally, I was off yesterday and I came back, and I'm like, are you kidding me? This is what FCA PSA is called? It sounds like a submarine from like-- some like, you know, crazy novel or something. But, yeah, that's what they're going to roll with. We'll get into that.

And then we'll close things out with a couple of cool Hondas. James and Zac have in the-- some old ones. Honda Civic SI And 100 Honda Prelude, which is going to be kind of cool. They both had some time served in the retro fleet. They're both '99s, if I'm remembering right. So yeah, what a funny coincidence-- '99. We'll go back on to eve of-- the eve of y2k.

All right, so let's get into this. The Bronco-- yeah, like Zac drolly kind of put there, it's a thing, in case you missed. It's literally the most trafficked, the most attention-getting reveal of the year. I think this has eclipsed the mid-engine Corvette as far as just raw, like, interest. I think the Corvette was huge, especially for our audience, but then after a couple of days, I think there wasn't this broad moment.

I feel like with the Bronco, it's a little bit of a cultural moment. I don't want to go too far here, but I think the way Ford reached out across, like, you know, over the air television with those short like, films-- let's call them what they are, like, three minute commercials. But still, that was the aggressive way to do it. It's out there. You know, the Bronco is a vehicle that like the Wrangler, I think people buy them whether they need them or not. So for some people, it's a cool SUV. For some people, it's just this, you know, return of this iconic off roader.

The design play going back to a cool riff on the '60s model is cool. Smart, I think, too. Even though I actually like the boxy Broncos from later years. So, I mean, that's kind of, like, my real quick initial impressions. Let's just throw it around the horn. Just real quick, what did you think? Let's start with you there, James.

JAMES RISWICK: Well, I kind of-- well, one, I would agree with you. It is kind of a broader not quite cultural-- but it is a broader outside the automotive realm reveal. Because like, yeah, Corvette, car people get excited. And although non-car people will go hey that's a Corvette, that's cool. They're not probably not going to buy one. This, I mean, the Jeep Wrangler is an enthusiast vehicle. We get excited about it, but lots of people who would not be considered car or truck enthusiasts buy Wranglers they know what they are they. Think they're cool. And this is the same kind of thing.

Plus, there's the Broncos Sport, which opens it up to, I would say, both a different audience. Not just, like, people, oh, well, I can't afford a Bronco, therefore, I'm going to get the Bronco Sport. No, it actually is for different people. So I think it really is important for an audience beyond the car folks.

The other thing is I came about this in the reverse way. So I looked at all the specs and all the features, and sat in on the press presentation last week, but they hadn't revealed the photos. So I kind of had a couple of glimpses here and there. Some leaked stuff and stuff and the, like, half images in the press presentation, but I hadn't seen the car. So it was really only going by what it could do and all the different trim levels. And just by doing that, in flying blind, so to speak, it was really impressive.

I was genuinely impressed. You know, we get a lot of-- our job is to cover cars when they come out and to tell you everything we know about them. And quite often, it comes and goes, and you're like, OK, this is what it was. And you're kind of neutral about it. This though, I think we're genuinely-- genuinely excited about this as people who love cars. It's cool, both from the way it looks and what it can do, but also, there's a lot of character in this thing.

And there is a lot of effort that clearly went in both in terms of the engineering into this, as well as the amount of thought that the designers put into not just, like, the style, the way it looks, but design in terms of the way it works for people. And they kind of threw the book away. They did different things to come up with unique features and to say, you know, allow for the doors to not only just come off, but to also be stored in the car. That's a pretty significant design lift there. And they came up with new ways to do it.

And there's clearly-- the amount of effort they put into this shows that it wasn't just, OK, let's just take a Ranger and put on a boxy body on it, and have the roof come off, and it'll just be kind of OK, we just need a Wrangler. Let's just push this out. No, no-- they did so much more than that. And to that, I'm very impressed. And I think it speaks to why people are responding as well, so strongly to it, including the people like us, who cover these things.

GREG MIGLIORE: You know, on a deeper level, I think this kind of hits with-- I mean, you know, growing up, I think people used to say things like, why don't they make cars like this anymore? And this was always like a nebulous idea, whether it was, like, a cool car from the '80s or the '70s or even farther back. And this to me is-- is like this. It's a cool vehicle that takes a design that while you might say it's retro, I think it's actually timeless is what it is. This is the kind of look that you want your SUV to look like.

And what's, I think, exciting about it, too, is this changes things-- like for the icons, for the Bollingers, for the-- I'm naming all sorts of different sort of small start up niche, you know, firms-- you can't just say, hey, I'm going to make something look cool because you know the regular OEMs do that, and this is what I'm going to hang my hat on. Well, now this is a legit thing from Ford that's you buy at a lot or maybe online, depending on how things go, that has a warranty. You don't have to go to Icon or like somebody else like that to get something that really is that, like, emotional design and performance that you want to drive on a daily basis.

This to me is like-- and, you know, you talk about cars from yesteryear. We drive an old car, there's still an old car-- they never live up in some ways to like what you could do today, even in just like a modern Honda Civic or Toyota Camry, which have more power than, you know, some muscle cars did when you do like real world conversions. So to me, this is, like, better than it ever was as far as the Bronco. So that's exciting, I think.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, no, I mean, I will echo many of your guys' thoughts. It's hard to see this any other way than just, you know, a smashing success as far as you know what Ford has done to bring the Bronco name back. I think, you know, one of the cooler things that they've done-- and this is just an advantage, you know, being the second car like this on the market-- you know, it's obviously aimed directly at the Wrangler-- they have the advantage of seeing the Wrangler, and then going at-- seeing those pain points that a lot of Wrangler buyers may have talked about, mentioned. And they've engineered some of that stuff into the Bronco.

You know, one of the things that people complain about a lot with the Wrangler is how terrible it rides on the road. The Bronco has an independent front suspension. You know, there's a good chance that it rides a lot better than the Wrangler does in most on road situations, which to be completely frank, that's probably where most of these things are going to be spending their time.

On top of that, you have more power. In the Wrangler, you can get the 36 V6, the 2 liter turbo, or the Eco diesel now. Well, in the Bronco, you can get a 2.7 twin turbo V6, over 300 horsepower, 400 pound feet of torque. That pretty much-- I mean, we're obviously going to have to wait for the actual curb weight for the Bronco, but I mean, just from a desert running off road speed perspective, this thing is going to blow the Wrangler out of the water. And obviously, you know, with turbocharged engines, you have that amount of tuning ability after the fact. You know, Ford Performance is going to get in there.

And another thing that I think is huge-- Jeeps halfway fixed the problem. When they had that sky view top, they just introduced with a JL. But taking the roof off those things-- that's not always that easy, you know? If you want-- if you have the hard top, you need two people. There's no other way to do it. If you want to take the soft top down, I mean, I actually put the soft top on a long term Wrangler at a previous publication I was at-- that was, like, a four hour procedure just to put the soft top on-- onto that Jeep.

But now, you know, the hard top with the modular roof option. Like James said, you can take the doors off, store them in there. You can't store the doors in the cargo space of a Wrangler. The mirrors stay on, so you can roll with the doors off and the mirrors on, which is pretty cool. And, I mean, I guess it would be remiss without saying it, but hey, there's a manual transmission, and that is something that enthusiasts love. That's something that everybody would complain about if they didn't do. And it's here and it's awesome.

GREG MIGLIORE: What I think is cool about that is-- that's one of the things that I think in a way got lost in the shuffle. It's like, oh yeah, of course, it has a manual. And generally, I like Ford manuals better than I like FCA manuals, which I guess actually, you know, vary widely across what vehicle. And frankly, FCA doesn't have that many vehicles with manuals and the anymore. I've always found Wrangler manual equipped vehicles to be kind of a little tricky to drive, frankly. You know, that's fine, it is what it is. But it's not my favorite experience, let me put it that way. And I love driving stick shifts. So, I mean, you know, we'll see.

I think, you know, a couple of things two is like as positive is we've been about the Bronco because it looks awesome-- you know, it is such a jaw-dropping event, I mean, I will say this-- there could be issues coming up. You know, like Zac, you and I were talking earlier today about all the issues Ford had at the Chicago factory that builds Lincolns and some Ford SUVs-- I don't know of any issues where they're going to build the Bronco in Wayne, Michigan, but it's also, like, who knows-- we're in the middle of a pandemic. You never know what could throw-- literally throw a wrench or something into production plans. Or, you know, sometimes launches don't go as planned as far as quality or production things like that.

So to me, that's where they really need to sort of like stick the landing of the launch and get this one right, because people are going to line up and they're going to want this. And the thing they don't want is like a Tesla situation, where you have people clamoring for the vehicle, and they're not delivering it.

Now I would definitely put forward much more in the reliable categories opposed to say, Tesla delivering cars, of course. But, I mean, just to like, really try and put this in context-- you know, even Corvette had some issues, I think, primarily coronavirus-related. But, you know, I'm sure if they could have launched a car, they would prefer to more, like, you know, easier, fewer headwinds than a pandemic. So.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. And I think a lot of people are going to want these. You know, just taking the survey on Twitter, just saying that the massive response online. On top of that, just people in my personal life, you know? I just-- messages all over the place. Like, hey, when are you going to get the Bronco? Hey, when is the Bronco coming? I had a random radio station out of Washington DC email me the other day wanted to talk about the Bronco.

Like, I have never seen this kind of response from the public. People I know-- people that, you know, honestly don't really care that much about cars otherwise, and they're, like, hey, man, I know that you-- you do all this kind of stuff. Well, let me know about the Bronco, because I want to ride in one and I might want to buy one, too.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's a legit--

ZAC PALMER: the Excitement is high.

GREG MIGLIORE: No, that's well put, and it's a legit lifestyle thing, too. Where, like, all these brands want to be, like, lifestyle brands, if you will. Well, the Bronco is something you could go anywhere, do anything. Same with Jeep. And I think so many brands try to achieve that with their launches and with their messaging. With Bronco, that's actually true. And you add in the fact that it's a cool vehicle-- there you go.

OK, so let's talk about the trim. Zac, you did a nice piece that kind of walked-- just walked through all the different ways you could get one. Your line is pretty great-- the party starts at 29,995, which is a basic Bronco, which I actually love the look of the basic Bronco. Those dog dish headlights and just, you know, really, basic, you know, nothing else going on. I would prefer to get the upgraded headlights and just some other things, but for me, I was looking at the lineups, less is more, you know? I would probably take a more basic trim and then try and add as much a la carte on as I could, which is tough to do sometimes.

We haven't seen a full configurator for the Bronco yet. There is one for the Bronco Sport, which we are going to talk about in a second here. But yeah, I actually often found when I was trying to find my favorite Wrangler, it was tough for me to get exactly what I wanted, because they always want to, like, upsell me into a trim of stuff I didn't need. So, I mean, for your life, what model, what trim would you guys go with?

ZAC PALMER: It is an extremely tough question that I still honestly don't know the answer to. Like you said, there are a lot of trims. There are six trims to start with, and then there's a first edition to make it a seventh trim for the first year. Honestly, one of the more attractive packages to me is the Big Bend, just because it's still, you know, in the realm of being cheap. With a two door, it's still under $35,000.

You get a few niceties here and there, and on top of that, you can do the Sasquatch package, which actually is a weird pain point right now, because you can't get the manual and the Sasquatch package. So I would really, really be debating whether I go for that Sasquatch package with the big wheels and the special final drive ratio, Bilstein shocks, higher clearance suspension, and cool fender flares.

But honestly, yeah, I mean, I think that I would take the manual over that and probably just go with some aftermarket parts, eventually if I wanted to do anything crazy. Honestly, for my lifestyle, I'm not a huge off roader. If I had an off roader, I would probably be out there hitting the trails, because well, the Bronco looks like it's going to be extremely capable. But yeah, it would be Big Bend for me with the 7 speed manual.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds pretty good. You have any thoughts on this, James?

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, so just looping through all of them right now, the Sasquatch package is a good point, because you can-- it pretty much ads all of the top of the line bad Badlands stuff to any of the trim levels minus the de-connecting-- the disconnecting stabilizer bar. That's really the only thing. So you can-- you don't have to spend $46,000 to get the fully capable off road ready Bronco. And they're all off road ready, but the especially ones.

Yeah, and I kind of agree with you-- the Big Bend kind of looks like the right blend there. May be Black Diamond, because that adds a couple of extra cool styling things-- the heavy duty steel bumpers, the rock rails, the bash plate. Like, if you want, like, the Bronco to look kind of badass, that's kind of a good way to do it without going fully Badlands.

On the other hand, though, the interior of the Outer Banks looks really, really cool with that natural look leather in it. It looks like a baseball glove. It literally looks like the baseball glove I'm looking at in my garage right now. It's just really-- it's really special inside. And, you know, the Wrangler was rightly praised for how nice of an interior it has, both in terms of materials and just the quality-- I'm sorry, the materials quality as well as the characterful design. And this also delivers on that. Of course, but this is one of those things that we need to look at in person, because it's easy to take a really nice pretty picture and make hard plastic look good. So that's one thing we'll have to wait to see it in person.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think I may follow maybe as an Outer Banks person myself. I think for me I really do like the way the-- like, in real life, in person, I feel like you kind of might need to step up to that, whereas the basic trim might look a little tired compared to how some people are going to spec them out. You know, you often see this with like cars that are really-- like, you know, they're so exciting, people really want them. And you tend to see people maybe buy, like, the lesser-equipped ones, like the SE model, if you will, just so they can say they own xyz car. But then you're like, oh, well, a base level say, something, something, and then you look at like a mid or an upper level, and it's, like, oh jeez, that's how the car is really supposed to look. I don't think that'll totally be the case here. I think a basic Bronco is still going to look pretty good.

JAMES RISWICK: Well, I guess to that point-- sorry, to that point, it's not just like that the ladder of equipment. So there's also visual differences here. So, like, outer Outer Banks has more body-colored door handles, mirrors and fender flares, whereas Black Diamond has the black fender flares. It has those really awesome steel-- black steel wheels, which really look good in photos.

But if the Toyota FJ Cruiser is any indication, no one will get them. Everyone will get the alloy wheels, because black steel wheels look really awesome on the FJ Cruiser and nobody really-- you know, I know I have never seen them outside of a press photo from 2007. So.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, it's like with the Jeep Gladiator too-- you can get those really basic steelies, but you almost never see them. And frankly-- I mean, they can go either way. It's like this thing that I think I'd want-- like, it's almost like that military look. But then you see them on the road and you're, like, oh, is that guy running on like his flat-- donut tire or something? Like, what's going on there?

JAMES RISWICK: By the way, speaking of donut tires, make a point, everyone, to look at the tires on the Bronco Wild Track, because I just looked at them. They are hilariously huge. They look-- they are balloony. The Wild Track is that kind of the high speed desert runner one and the tires are epic on it. That's not going to be loud inside at all, no.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, that's like, straight out of like Las Vegas-- like the SEMA show or something.


ZAC PALMER: Those have got to be the big 35 inchers.

JAMES RISWICK: It's the Wild Track-- yeah, I don't know if those are the same ones that are on the Badlands. But they're pretty epic. Make sure to check out the Wild Track. That's the big motor one. Well, you can get the big motor on other ones, but--


GREG MIGLIORE: You know, for me, it's, like, the wheels in the headlights really are what-- two of the real signature features here. So I'll be excited to spec one of these things out once they finally get that out. Maybe time you're listening to this, they'll have this up. Usually, car companies get it out pretty quick. And I thought briefly, there was even some chatter Twitter that it was up, but then it was, like, crashing or something. So maybe by the time you listen to this, you'll be able to do it.

Do you want to tell everybody what the heck a Sasquatch package is, though, I think? I feel like the world needs to know that. Maybe just dive into that real quick there, Zac.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, so the Sasquatch package-- one of the best ways to describe it is almost like a Rubicon lite package, if you're familiar with the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. It's not, you, know as intense of that, but you get 17 inch beadlock-capable wheels, 35 inch mud terrain tires, electronic locking front and rear axles, the 4.7 to 1 final drive ratio, the Bilstein position sensitive shocks, a high clearance suspension, and the high clearance fender flares that allow you to have those 35 inch giant tires underneath there.

So it's-- I don't believe that there's a price on the package yet, but it will be, I imagine, one of the more common items that people tack on, because, well, it makes the Bronco look extremely badass with those tires. And, you know, it obviously gives you a lot of the Badlands equipment, like James mentioned. So you can chuck that on the base Bronco, and all of a sudden, you have a very cheap basic Bronco with all of the road capability that you can probably use on any kind of a trail, which is really awesome, because you can not get that much capability with the super, super cheap levels of a Wrangler. There's no equivalent package that, you know, really chucks on all of that intense off roading gear like Ford's [? giving ?] there.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's a really smart play by Ford. I feel like they kind of looked-- like, they've had so much time to study their opponent, that they were able to find weaknesses, cracks, and, like, how Jeep does things. Things that Jeep has probably never really had to look at because they haven't had any competition and now they do.

So let's talk about the Bronco Sport, which is something we were kind of-- I think you said this, maybe even Monday night-- like, wow, hey, this thing is really cool, too. In addition to the fact, you know, that the Bronco has of course, returned. The Bronco Sport is more of like a Jeep compass type fighter. It's definitely in more of a-- daily driver is probably the wrong word-- but more of like a crossover that you would get. Definitely use as it's intended for everyday use, but still has plenty of capability.

It's got a lot of the looks. It offers a number of intriguing, you know, different options and packages. You can spec one of these out, as we're recording this on a rainy Thursday afternoon. And again, this kind of did get lost in the shuffle. We're saying, gosh, I hope it doesn't get lost, and then, you know, we spent half an hour here talking about the Bronco, and we'll just tack this on. But this is really cool, I think. I'm interested to hear what you guys think.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, so the Bronco Sport-- you're absolutely right. There was even less information shared about this and Ford's own presentation. But here's the thing with Bronco Sport. It would be easy to kind of dismiss this as just the light crossover thing that kind of looks like a Bronco, but is really just an Escape. It's like, you can easily look at it cynically, and I think a lot of people were doing that when one spy photos were coming out.

And it would also would have been very easy just for them to develop it as such, just to make it like a boxier Ford Escape that kind of looked like a Bronco, and sure make it-- raise it a bit. But no, actually, one thing I'm really impressed with is the amount of kind of the design-- that advanced, interesting, new-fangled design process they went about for the regular Bronco they did on Bronco Sport, as well. But they identified a different type of buyer.

So a Wrangler is bought-- you know, there's the hardcore off roaders and, like, people who are going to use it. But the thing is just because you don't go-- don't do like, hardcore off roading with your SUV doesn't mean you don't actually use it outdoors. You're not going to go to the Rubicon trail, but you're actually going to go to a camp site. You're going to spend time outdoors.

And to that point, Ford kind of aimed at those people, of which I know, like, all of my friends here in Portland go places on weekend. They actually get their cars dirty. And almost all of them own Subarus. You'll look around my neighborhood and everybody has different racks on their roof. I have neighbors who have a Wrangler, and they have a different rack on their roof every weekend. You know, kayaks some weekend, they have the roof carrier others, bike racks, stand up paddle-- like, all this stuff. The REI crowd. This is who the Ford Bronco Sport-- this is who they were aiming for. They're not just aiming for, but actually working with people who-- who live this lifestyle, this kind of Instagram-friendly lifestyle, but it's real.

And so they came up with, you know, just kind of-- just kind of simple solutions, but there's very thoughtful-- such as putting, like, Molly straps on the back of the seats starting with the Big Bend trim. So you can just attach whatever you want, kind of like you-- that are on Army backpacks. There's a zippered thing on the back of the-- on the front seats, as well. The liftgate has large bars along its edge, both to make it very easy to pull down, but it's designed to double as a hanging rack for a towel, for some shorts or whatever. There's also two very bright LED floodlights in the tailgate that can bathe up to 129 square feet around the back of your car, which my neighbors did point out to me they would actually find very useful.

Then there's-- that's just standard stuff. Then there's accessories. There's a cargo management system that has kind of a table that can provide a tiered loading floor that the Nissan Rogue has and the Honda CRV used to have. But then it can also extend out somewhat and create a workstation behind your workstation-- kind of like a camp table, something like that.

The roof racks-- they are serious, chunky, serious things just like you would get on a Subaru they are rated to be able to carry one of those rooftop tents that you see in the photos and people actually do have. If you notice, there's like this, quote, "safari" roofline, indicative of an old Land Rover discovery. And, you know, it kind of looks cool. It adds extra cargo capacity, because boxes are better in that regard.

But it was also that high to specifically be able to mount to 27 and 1/2 inch mountain bikes inside. Because apparently, they were doing market research and they found that when people have their very expensive mountain bikes, there is a security concern about putting them-- just mounting them to a hitch-mounted bike rack. And also, you know, mounting a mountain bike to the top of an SUV, especially a taller one like this is a pain in the ass-- like, lifting it up there. But being able to secure it inside could make a difference for folks, and it's a rack designed by Yakima. And in fact, a lot of these accessories were made in conjunction with Yakima and Thule. And there's over a hundred of them.

And so it was designed with the idea that for people who have all this outdoorsy gear, in this and vehicle that they buy, would be well-integrated to be kind of the ultimate piece of that gear, and to integrate with all the gear that they have. And, I mean, a lot of this kind of sounds like marketing mumbo jumbo, but looking at what they actually created for the thing it sure looks like they legitimately tried to deliver for those people. Again, of course, we haven't used this thing, so maybe it doesn't all work that well-- we still have to include that caveat.

But in terms of the actual interior functionality of it, which, you know, it really does deliver. And then there's actually the mechanical bits-- that it has very impressive ground clearance that exceeds the Jeep Cherokee, Trailhawk and compass Trailhawk, and those Subarus, admittedly, by a tenth of an inch, and only on the Badlands. But even the base ones, they're 7 and 1/2 inches off the ground. That's pretty good.

There's good approach, departure angles, yada yada. It has a torque vectoring rear diff. The Badlands' all wheel drive system. The base one we didn't really know much about what the standard all wheel drive system is. They're calling it four by four, but dude, everything looks like it's just an all wheel drive system, which is totally fine. This is a crossover. And the powertrains look impressive, too. The base engine is a turbo triple. 181 horsepower, 190 pounds feet of torque, which, given its size, should be more than capable.

And then the Badlands has the big motor, 245 horsepower, 275 pound of torque. The fact that it's only available in the Badlands, I think, is a little disappointing. Having it as an option throughout the lineup, I think, would have been a good idea. So. Guys, what do you think? I've now rambled on for long enough.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, so, I mean, this one to me-- you know, you're walking into the Ford dealership and you're, like, OK, there's the Escape or there's this Bronco Sport that I could buy. And, I mean, to me, I'm going to take the Broncos sport, I think, every single time. It looks about 20 times better than the new Escape does. I mean, they're based off the same chassis. Obviously, the Bronco Sport is strengthened in some ways that I'm not sure of yet to handle, you know, actual off roading.

But just the design of the Bronco Sport, it really has me won over the Escape pretty much every single day. And it's really not much more expensive. Like, if you know put all of the luxury options and the two liter turbo on an Escape, you're looking at 40,000 plus. I know that we had one in the office not too long ago that was exactly that, and the Bronco Sport is priced right there. I believe the First Edition, which is the Badlands plus all of the luxury equipment, comes in just under $40,000.

So it seems about priced right there to OK, so if you want like a car-like experience, go for the Escape. If you want something that, you know, probably is going to look better to a huge amount of the crossover crowd that goes out and wants something rugged looking, then there's that Bronco Sport now, too. So it feels like a very smart move from Ford to introduce that and play off that platform. And then give it a look that people are actually drawn to.

You know, it's based off of the big two door and four door Bronco. You look at that grill and you're like, yeah, OK, you absolutely know where that came from. And now you can have a bit of that flavor with comfort, a little bit more luxury. And yeah, it just seems like a smart move that, you know, maybe introducing it at the same time as the Bronco-- it obviously gets overshadowed. We think it's pretty cool. But obviously, all of the attention is on that big Bronco right now.

JAMES RISWICK: The interesting point there-- I absolutely agree with you relative to Escape, because if it outsells Escape by 5 to 1, I will not be surprised. Because I think the current Escape is a little underwhelming, frankly. So a couple of points, the differences between the two-- the dimensions actually are quite different. The Bronco Sport is narrower. Its wheelbase is, like, an inch and a half shorter and the overall length is eight inches shorter, which in car terms is quite significant to the point that the Bronco Sport is actually considered a subcompact SUV. Kind of like in the Subaru Crosstrek size category, something like that.

Now we don't have interior dimensions, so we don't know how that translates into its actual interior space. So maybe that will knock some people out of the running, just because it just doesn't have enough, say, family-friendly rear-facing car seat space inside and an Escape would be better for them. Same thing with cargo capacity, because even if the number is bigger for the Bronco Sport, a lot of that could be the result of the fact that it's a great big box and a lot of its extra spaces up high, which is great for a television, but not so great for just, like, your luggage going away for the weekend. So that is one interesting bit about the comparisons between the two.

But in the end-- like, if this kills the Escape, I wouldn't be shocked. Like, how much more of an-- I like the idea of like the car-based crossover one and the off roady one-- like, that in theory makes sense. But I think the Bronco Sport is so much more successful at its goal than the red than the Escape is that for that reason, it'll just completely overshadow Escape.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I think it's going to be tricky here to have two vehicles that are just so close to one another. I think it's also a situation where, you know, you may get people who like are really going to, like, think of what they need, and that's where they might land on the Escape-- because of the size difference. If you're buying purely on emotion, to echo what you guys said, I don't see how you don't get the Bronco Sport.

This to me is like the small compact Land Rover that Land Rover should have been trying to build. That's how good I think it looks. You know, they do capture the essence of the big Bronco in a smaller package, to use that sort of cliche, and it looks really cool. And all the things that they put onto it or offer to it-- again, we'll have to see if they work. But, I mean, this is where if you're Subaru, if you're Jeep, you start to get a little nervous because you're like, oh wow.

You know, I could definitely see buyers, you know, perhaps in Denver, in Portland, in Maine, who may not lean forward-- although random subnote, Maine is actually surprisingly Ford country, along with Subaru. But I could see them saying, well, we're not going to get this big Bronco thing. That's not who we are. That's not what we want. We're cross shopping our Subarus and they come across a Bronco Sport, and they're, like, well, wait a minute, what's that? That's cool. Wait, it could do all these things? Oh, all right.

I mean, so it could make-- it definitely could make, I think, a big contribution. I do sort of feel like as the dust settles, people might sort of come home to Escape a little bit, just because, you know, people do buy these crossovers, because they need to do stuff. Now I think if you're just random sort of commuter crossover buyer who needs to go to the grocery store, you might land on that versus the style playing the Bronco, especially if you're not doing all of the outdoorsy things.

But I don't know-- I mean, pure emotion, yeah, Bronco Sport looks great. You know, another-- not to be too negative here-- but when I look at the prices, obviously, the Bronco adds up quickly, and you're really not even going to get out of the gates below 45 grand on the Bronco, despite the fact you can get one under 30. Like, literally adding all kinds of any option, it starts to add up quickly.

The Bronco is much more affordable, for sure. But they do start about the same place. In right in that, like, 29 to 42 sweet spot, where I do think you're going to have a lot of people who are interested in getting a Bronco in some form. You know, it's going to be tough, I think. I think it does have the same name, which is a good thing.

But to go back to even the original part of this discussion, we've talked for half the show about the big Bronco, and we're tacking on this other car that we're like exclaiming how cool it is, but it's also it can't help but be overshadowed, you know? We called it the baby Bronco, like, two years ago when we first sort of got into what it might be. So I would just say I think this is going to be another success for them.

I think it's going to do well. I personally am really intrigued by it. I think it's a brilliant play to actually take the fight to like Subaru and Jeep with a vehicle like this. You know, again, the Jeep Compass, the Jeep Cherokee-- that's another market the Jeep has really had a good handle on it. They don't necessarily own it sales-wise, but they're always in the consideration for people who are looking for vehicles that size, and then have that outdoorsy bent. So I think it's great for Ford to get in the conversation. We'll see. I mean, I do have concerns that this vehicle will get lost in the shuffle a little bit.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, and I think that's-- the other thing is, to the Escape-Bronco Sport thing-- the other comparison is not just between those two. So the Escape, sure, you could go, OK, I don't really need the off roady thing, I'm not really doing outdoorsy things, so I'm going to go towards the Escape. But with an Escape, you could also get a Honda CRV instead or a Toyota Rav4 or any of these other competitors that are superior put to it.

Bronco Sport, though, does not have that same sort of obvious apples to apples competitive set. It's doing things that others are not-- even if it is an answer to a Compass, for example, I would be shocked if it doesn't do a better job than a compass.

And, you know, like, Subaru is catering-- this is what the REO crowd is buying currently, but Subaru doesn't do all that extra, like, mile stuff. It is just inherently useful. But it doesn't, like, have these little clever bits that might make-- that might go that little extra mile. They don't look like anything but the Bronco sport does. So that's one that's one thing I'd kind of tack on there in terms of the competition between the two.

ZAC PALMER: I know that Ford-- I mean, they've said there's going to be at least 100 aftermarket, like, factory-backed accessories that is going to be on the Bronco Sport. I'd have to look up the numbers on Subaru, but, you know, you can almost put it in the books that they're going to have more options for those kind of people that you're talking about there, James-- the REI crowd. And, I mean, same thing with the big Bronco. I think they said over 200 available at launch. So you can kick these things out-- I mean, if you cannot find the item that you're looking for, you can almost guarantee that the aftermarket will make it or Ford will have somebody make it soon.

GREG MIGLIORE: And to contradict myself a little bit, I think because this is a little bit segment busting, it could be-- you know, it's sort of this-- gosh, I'm speaking in cliches today-- it's sort of like an X factor it's like, you know, somebody who can play three or four different positions. It can fit in a bunch of different ways. But that could be a real asset, because they can be like, OK, you want the Bronco, here's the Bronco. You want the Escape, here it is. You want one of these other SUVs we make, here we go.

But here's this other thing-- it's this size, it could do all these things, it's priced this way-- you tell us. Does this meet your needs? So I can see that actually-- you know, that's where it could perhaps really be an asset in some ways. Is instead of Ford defining it, you go to the consumer and you say, what do you want it to be? And it could be that. And I think that's a great thing.

So that's a lot of Bronco talk. Let's move along. Hey, also, we are going to have even more Bronco coverage, so check out on Autoblog, keep coming back to us. Just because the car, the vehicle has been revealed, it doesn't stop there. James just wrote something that went out about-- we obsessively covered the Bronco. So you could check that out. If this is Saturday, this is Sunday, you want to go back and read a little bit more about what trim-- what might hit your lifestyle, how you would buy one, how you actually can buy one-- just go on back to the website. We'll have all the stuff there. It's good to be there-- it's got to be there forever. But, you know, if you're listening to this, you're like, man, the dog is tired of its walk, we're going home, I need to read up on this, please do.

So let's talk about what we've been driving. Not the Bronco yet, but Zac, you were in a BMW X3 plug-in. Take me through that.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. So really switching gears here from the off-road oriented SUV to a plug-in hybrid crossover with actually, a little bit of performance intentions on top of being pretty efficient. So yeah, this was the X3 xDrive30e. So you have the 30i and it's just the gas engine, but the 30e is the plug-in hybrid. So this is new for the US this year. We haven't had an X3 with a plug yet.

So you get a 2 liter turbo charged four cylinder and an electric motor. So that gas engine is fairly low power compared to the 2 liter turbo you'd get in the 30i. This one just has 180 horsepower from that gas engine alone. But combined with the electric motor, you're up to 288 horsepower and 310 pound feet of torque. So it's not slow. It's actually, according to BMW, a tenth of a second quicker to 60 than the base 30i. And you really do feel that when you put your foot down, because you get that electric surge right off the line from all that torque from the electric motor. So that's pretty great when you're obviously not trying to drive efficiently.

When you are trying to take advantage of that battery pack in there, it's rated for 18 miles of range, according to the EPA. I actually did a bit of a range test myself. And I drove it around between-- it ranged from speed almost between 25 and 60 miles an hour. And I managed to get 20.9 miles before the gas engine kicked back on. And so that's just over the EPA range. Nothing crazy, but it is good to see that, you know, that real world range is there when you're driving around.

When you do eventually run out of battery power, it's rated at 24 MPG, which is actually slightly less than a normal X3 with just that the base 2 liter turbo, which is at 26 MPG. So you're definitely doing the best with efficiency when you keep that battery charged. But, you know, If you do have that battery charged, and you want to go have some fun too, which is something that not all plug-in hybrids are capable of doing these days, BMW has definitely made sure that you can still do that.

Mine had all of the you know MSport dynamic handling packages on it, which actually made this thing a lot more fun than I expected it was going to be. So you get the BMW mode control with Sport, Sport Plus, Comfort, adaptive modes. You get MSport brakes. There's variable sports steering that I had on this one. Plus 20 inch wheels with summer tires. This thing had a stupid amount of grip. It actually 275 section with rears. I was actually out driving with a friend of mine, he had a Stelvio Quadrifoglio. that thing has 285 section width rear tires on it. So BMW is not messing around with the amount of rubber that they put on this thing.

And it handles really, really well for a big crossover. The one disconcerting thing if you are driving fast-- the brake pedal tuning-- not a huge fan of that. There are a lot of hybrids and plug-in hybrids that do it much better. This one is a fairly mushy brake that you get without much feel, unfortunately. I was sort of surprised by that in that, you know, the car handles so well, it actually goes semi quickly. But yeah, the brakes were not super inspired for confidence.

And one thing that you do get with that dynamic handling package-- there was the adaptive M suspension, which makes a huge difference when you swap between Comfort and Sport, I found. In a lot of X3s that I've driven-- I have never driven an X3 with that adaptive suspension on it. And I've always found the tuning to be a bit harsh compared to other crossovers in that segment like a GLC or the Audi or an Acura RDX. The BMW always tends to, you know, stay on the performance handling side of things.

But when I threw it Comfort, I was actually pretty surprised by how well it was able to soak up the speed bumps, you know, the potholes. It was-- it was very, very comfortable. And then you chuck it into Sport and the thing handles. So, I mean, at the end of the day, you're looking at about a $6,500ish price increase for that plug-in hybrid over just the base 30i. But you're also getting a $5,800 tax credit if you buy the plug-in hybrid, which almost completely negates that extra know price that you pay for the hybrid.

And it's hard to say no to that, when the performance, other than the breaks, I think, is there for all intents and purposes, you know? It drives like a regular BMW crossover, even when you're on full electric mode. I mean, it has some-- a decent amount of giddy up when you throw it in max E and put your foot down.

So yeah, you can drive 18 miles. You know, if this is the kind of car that would work for somebody who has a shorter commute, you wouldn't have to, you know, put gas in it very often throughout the week. And you can get all the luxury items on top of it, too. BMW is not holding anything back there. The full executive-- their full driver assistance system, all the great iDrive features-- you're not missing anything, so. Yeah, great little plug-in hybrid crossover.

GREG MIGLIORE: One thing I like about the vehicle you mentioned is the 18 miles of range. I think that really makes it attractive to somebody who might be thinking, how can I add this green vehicle to my lifestyle? Not sure what I want. It's still a BMW small crossover, so there's that, obviously, familiarity.

But I mean, I don't-- I live fewer than 18 miles from the office. I could-- that would fit great for my lifestyle. So I like that application. I think BMW-- I mean, they could be more aggressive with some of their electrification efforts. But I'm certainly not going to criticize them when they do it, if you will. I think that's-- that's an interesting use.

Any other thoughts on this? We'll keep our drives a little tighter this week, since we've done, I'd say, a small homily on the Bronco. But any other any other thoughts on the BMW?

ZAC PALMER: I mean, I think that you should absolutely consider it. You know, look at-- if you're going to get that $5,800 tax credit, it makes a lot of sense to go the plug-in hybrid route. Obviously, that's not a super popular thing to do these days, but it's absolutely worth considering without the massive price bump that you get. You know, it's sort of lessened because of that tax credit.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, well put. So speaking of hybrids, I was in the 2020 Hyundai Ioniq. I really liked. It's a Prius fighter. Mine was in a kind of a crimson shade of orange-- or red, excuse me. Officially called Scarlet Red Pearl. Really nice car. The neighbors noticed it. One of my neighbors actually walked by and his dog kind of stopped and took it in, and he called it the Ionique. And I thought, wow, that sounds like a 1920s French cruise ship or something, and rolls off the tongue a little bit better than Ioniq.

But I think it's solid. I enjoyed my week in it. I think it's a really good hybrid. And I think there's something to be said for that. 55 MPG, 55 city, 54 highway. So exactly, you know, almost even. And it's just like, if you're looking for a really good hybrid, Hyundai's got some. Hyundai is-- you know, I think they really are aggressively going after, you know, green customers.

And I think it's tricky because, I had a Prius like two weeks before this, and I liked this better in almost every way than I like the Prius. It was better. It looks cooler. The ratings are impressive. The interior was nicer. So I mean, to me, it's like, wow.

You know, the tricky part, though, is if you don't know what this car is, you think it's just maybe a really nice Hyundai. Whereas a Prius remains a Prius. It's like for some people, you know, it's like, I don't know, a watch or a sneaker or something. You know, maybe you could get a better watch versus a Rolex or something, or like, the Nike swoosh, but you still want that name brand. I think there's certain people that always will need to drive the Prius, which I think has become a bit of a cartoonish version of itself to go that far.

Like, they've got some of those styling cues from that hydrogen vehicle that they rolled out three or four years ago-- the name is escaping me. It reminds me a little bit of yes-- it's like it almost has fins. Like, I don't even think that car looks all that good anymore, whereas then the Ioniq arrives in my driveway and I'm like, yeah.

I mean, to tell you how much I like this car, Zac was actually saying something like, hey, I can get you like a midweek swap if you want just to change up your rotation. And I was, like, no, man. I really want to drive the Hyundai Ioniq. I'm like-- I'm into this thing, you know? And all I did was just errands and stuff, but that's-- it's the kind of daily driving hybrid that I think really is a solid vehicle for a lot of people. And mine only cost 32 grand.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, you're absolutely right. It really is just like a great little errand car. If you get in-- and here's the thing-- the two elements to that. So yeah, it gets the fuel economy of the Prius, so that that's cool. But two elements here. One, you get in, and it's normal. It is a pretty normal interior. It's not all weird and bizarre. The interior doesn't look like a toilet like it did in the white porcelain-looking thing in the Prius.

GREG MIGLIORE: Just to be clear-- you actually called the Prius interior a toilet?

JAMES RISWICK: It looks-- the center console looks like a toilet.


JAMES RISWICK: It looked like a white porcelain toilet. There's a reason they no longer offer that--

GREG MIGLIORE: I disagree. I just want to be clear.

JAMES RISWICK: There's a reason. Anyway.


JAMES RISWICK: So it's just normal, you know where everything is. You get in-- like, my parents rented going on vacation in Scotland, and they got in, and knew how everything worked. I think that's pretty impressive. And then the other thing is-- it's surprisingly sporty. Like, especially compared to a Prius, which they've improved over the years, but dude, low bar. Like, it actually has, like, responsive steering, and the chassis responds, and the low weight associated with putting the battery where it is.

And when you're just driving those errands around town, like, you don't need something that's like fully caffeinated, but something that at least acknowledges that we would care that you notice how this drives is actually appreciated. And that's what this car does but the Prius doesn't. So I fully concur. I have always enjoyed that car whenever I've got it. And I think it deserves more attention than it gets.

GREG MIGLIORE: One final thought on the Ioniq-- and this is-- you know, this is laudable. Hyundai offers this in a plug-in, full electric, and just regular, if you will, hybrid. And they're all relatively affordable, I think, which is very impressive.

JAMES RISWICK: They're all good, too. They're all good, too.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, you can-- the range of, like, the full electric is 170 on pure, obviously, electricity. I think I would probably fall on the plug-in hybrid just to get that tax credit is $4,500. So it's, like-- I don't know, man-- I think this is one of those untold stories where it's like, yeah, you can get some pretty cool green cars in a segment-- maybe cool isn't the right word, but things that do what they want.

Like, I hate to bust out the appliance analogy, but this is like something that works exactly how the like quote, unquote, "segment" is designed to work. It's a really good hybrid. Or it's a really good plug-in or really good full electric. And I guarantee you most people aren't like, man, I think I want a hybrid. Ooh, let's get a Prius. Oh wait, Hyundai offers direct competitor? Nobody knows that. So I think that's something that if you're cross shopping Priuses, "Priui," check out an Ioniq, if you will.

JAMES RISWICK: One thing I would say to this is, you know the kind of buyer this is? It's like-- like, if we needed to go to-- we're driving to work everyday. We have-- we have to go nine miles, it's, like, a totally mind-sucking commute, whatever-- get an Ioniq. It's like, you get in, it's responsive enough to drive, it's really affordable, you get in, you know where everything works.

And then, you know, save a bunch of money on that, and then buy something fun for the weekend. Something old and fun. And if it sucks a lot of gas, it doesn't matter that much, because you're not driving it that much, and you've saved all this gas during the week driving your plug-in Ioniq. So, like, for folks like that, which, I think if I drove to work every day, as opposed to sitting in my office talking of writing about cars, I think it would make-- I think this is the type of car that totally makes sense for that two car maintaining your automotive enthusiasm while still not sucking gas and being a total burden on the environment on a day to day basis. So.

GREG MIGLIORE: So speaking of that, what would you do with a Ford Expedition?

JAMES RISWICK: Well, yeah, speaking of which. 19.2 miles per gallon on my road trip, which is exactly the EPA number.


ZAC PALMER: So the Expedition, Ford Expedition. In many ways, it's wildly impressive in terms of the space that it provides. This isn't just some big honkin heavy SUV that you buy because it looks like a big honkin heavy SUV-- cough, Chevrolet's Tahoe-- because inside this thing-- I am 6'3", and I legitimately very comfortably sit in the third row of this vehicle in a seat it reclines. I'm not, like, sitting on the floor. It's a chair.

The second row is way nicer, is way more comfortable kind of for the same reasons, than all of the three row crossovers in the world. Like, there is a legitimate, like, comfort and space benefit to buying such a Ford Expedition, both in terms of crossovers as well as all of those-- the current selection of the full size SUVs-- with a asterisk being I haven't been in a new Tahoe.

In terms of, like, the cargo space, there's actually a fair amount of cargo space behind that third row seat. And with the Expedition Max available, it expands it even more. The third row remains the same in that vehicle, unlike in the Tahoe Suburban. The router just adds a whole bunch of useless--


--useless-- useful cargo space behind that. The other thing about this is it has a ton of power. 375 horsepower, 470 pound feet of torque from the 3.5 liter turbo V6. Yes, it weighs as much as the Lusitania. However, that's more than enough to still make it feel a lot quicker than all of those three row crossovers. It's kind of shocking.

The other thing is it's very smooth, it's very quiet, so it's not that really rough loud big rigs sounding V8 engine. Really, when it's just kind of purring along on the highway, you don't hear it at all. You actually hear the whoosh of the turbo charger coming in under throttle, which is pretty cool. And it's actually available with the 400 horsepower version in the Platinum. I can't imagine-- like, that is totally unnecessary. So kudos to them for putting it in.

And really, when you look at it-- like, 19 miles per gallon is actually, like, pretty good given the fact that an Armada with way less power gets only 15 or a Sequoia with 14. And when you're talking about, like, low MPG numbers, that is a colossal difference in terms of the amount of fuel you're using. At the same time, though, it is enormous. Like, I was able to load our weekend away with the dogs with all of our food and supplies because we weren't going to go out for obvious reasons. I could have put that into, like, a Palisade or a Ford Flex, for instance. And the same thing with the interior space. Like, you don't really need all that much.

And, you know, they've done a masterful job of making the suspension comfortable for a full-sized truck-based SUV. But you still get that constant vibration over bumps. And slower speeds, you do have pretty significant impacts felt. So you really need to have this much space to really justify it, because, there's still reasons to think twice, because it's still, relative, compared to a third rail crossover, way more and way thirstier than you need.

GREG MIGLIORE: One thing I'm curious is Expedition or Navigator for you?

JAMES RISWICK: Mm, well, it's the price thing. Because, yeah, I think, I would-- you know, price no issue, I would rather have the swank mid-century modern awesomeness that's the Navigator Black Label, but that's, like, pushing 100 grand. And this one I have, the King Ranch, is like, $76,000-- which, holy crap, that is very expensive. But it's not 100 grand. No, but you can get a Navigator starting in that price range, too. And it has a nicer interior, even if you don't get the fancy blue one. So they're pretty similar in that regard. So I don't know if that answers your question. I've-- just

GREG MIGLIORE: It's kind of how I feel, too, to be perfectly honest. Like, I actually kind of like the Expedition's headlights and that, like, squared off look. I think it's kind of a cool look. Like, the Navigator I really like Navigator and the interior-- yes, it's decorated gorgeous in a mid-century modern type of way that you know only Lincoln seems to be doing really well.

But I don't know-- there's part of me that's also kind of like, eh, I don't know-- I mean, the Expedition has more of just, I don't know, a little bit of an appeal to it and the fact that like I think there's still a little bit of a you really want to drive a Lincoln, you know? Not in like a-- well, yeah, kind of in a bad way. I mean, Lincoln's got like that like, Buick sort of stigma attached to it, where you don't drive this car unless you're like-- you were born in the Taft administration or something. So--

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. You know, that's an interesting point. And actually, I love the-- I'd mentioned though the Navigator interior. I said nothing about the exterior, which I actually think has been generally overrated over the years. And the Expedition looks genuinely good. Like, I looked it up today, and it's both between this-- this was a King Ranch, so this, like, used to be like, the gaudy yeehaw model-- unless you're fully into the-- unless you're wearing cowboy boots, like, this is not for you. But I don't, and I do really like it.

I think it's actually quite tasteful. I like the interior color scheme. There's not a bunch of gaudy logos everywhere. They've kept the chrome down. Whoever is running Ford's truck design right now has an elevated taste level that previously wasn't there. Both the new-- like, the new F-150 images we've seen-- like, that, is not over the top chrome central. Like, it's tasteful, and actually, surprisingly restrained. And they're doing a really good job.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, so that's the Ford Expedition. Let's move along to something called Stell-ahntis-- Stell-antis. This is what our new segment is this week. Normally, it's more like something, something, new car, something, something, industry news, something, something Elon Musk. No, this week, Chrysler, which is actually FCA-- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles-- based in the Netherlands, for those of you who may not know that-- with an office in London-- is actually formally going to call itself Stellantis, after it completes its merger with PSA, which is in simple terms, Peugeot. Wow.

I don't even know where to begin here. I was off yesterday. I woke up this morning and I'm like, Chrysler's Stellantis? Seriously? Take it from there.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, so here's the thing-- let's talk about the reason this was done, which is a perfectly valid reason, is because FCA, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has is merging with Peugeot Group, PSA, which is French. OK, so you can't call the thing Peugeot Citroen Fiat Chrysler Jeep Dodge-- whatever else remnant of Imperial. Like, you can't do that-- that's ridiculous. So you're going to come up with a new name.

OK, well, as it's Fiat and Peugeot, it's French and Italian, and the Europeans are pretty good about coming up with names that aren't really either language, but work for either language. And so in that case, Latin, right? Common-- Latin is the common origin of both Italian and French, we're going to come up with something that evokes astronomy. So stello and boom, let's go with Stellantis. That sounds right, doesn't it? Yes, sure.

So the Italians and the French, they come up with this and they're wonderful European way. And apparently, they didn't care or even think to ask what Chrysler might want to do in America, probably concerned that they would name it Hellcat or our Revenge Seeker or Predator Drone or something really cool and awesome. So they didn't-- they didn't ask the people in the US. They just let left them to the Jeeps and the Hellcats. And in the end, we get Stellantis.

Remember-- remember to ask your doctor before using Stellantis. It's just a good idea. But otherwise, that's how Stellantis came about, everybody. So there. But don't worry-- there's not going to be a Stellantis Challenger. That's not going to be a thing.

GREG MIGLIORE: I actually-- so after-- like, I was super down on it, but also, tongue-in-cheek-- I mean, as I think about it and as I've looked at it, sure, it's fine. You know, when you look at it what the name really is, is this is, like-- the name-- is this ubiquitous be all end all for a holding company. That's what it is. Your Jeep Wrangler is still going to be called a Jeep Wrangler. Your Hellcat is still going to be a Hellcat. So in that sense, it's all right. Let's take a step back-- this is the company that was once owned by Cerberus, named after a three-headed dog from hell. So--

JAMES RISWICK: Which is pretty indicative of the company that actually owned them, so that's-- yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yes, that's very true. Wouldn't it be ironic now-- the greatest, like-- I don't know, if they named one of their cars like the Dodge Challenger Cerberus or something? Because that name fits the cars they're making now. Yeah. I don't know, I'm OK with it. I mean, to go back to our various historical references we dropped in here, does the Stellantis not sound like the Lusitania's sister ship or something like that? This is a throwback name from when they used to name things like crazy-- like, after constellations for ocean liners and, like, train lines and stuff like that. I don't know.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, it could be this or like some, like, useless acronym. I mean, FCA always sounded like-- I was never in love with that. But, I mean, Stellantis does kind of sound either like a cruise ship or something. Like, the name of the submersible in the movie "The Abyss" or just, like, an evil corporation.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yes. Definitely.

JAMES RISWICK: In a way, maybe it is. But it's-- you know, it's an international conglomerate. So, eh.

ZAC PALMER: One thing that I was-- one thing that I was thinking about last night. Like, would we be talking about this at all if it was just some like weird acronym that made no sense? It's like, oh, OK, it's FCA PSAC. All right, cool, move on. But here we are talking about Stellantis for, like, 10 minutes.


GREG MIGLIORE: So that means they've won.

JAMES RISWICK: Just you saying it is funny. Like, Stellantis.

ZAC PALMER: It's, like, who will actually-- I don't know-- so many people know what Stellantis is that would have never known what Stellantis was, like, if it was like some weird acronym at this point now. And they've made a huge new splash.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I mean, we've been talking about for 10 minutes. That means this works-- this worked. It's Stellantis.


ZAC PALMER: Honestly.

JAMES RISWICK: That makes it sound so much cooler than it is though, in a way, it's just a multinational conglomerate.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, we're talking about the company that makes minivans and, like, Citroens. I mean-- and yeah. I mean, I will say this-- Chrysler, I think they're being legit here. They're saying this six-headed monster of a company is going to be, so they say, a legit singular entity, we're going to call it something. If you keep doing the FCA PSA any other brand that wants to be on there, it's not. It's just, like, this, you know, empire of different brands. But by saying, no, we're Stellantis, OK. You're Stellantis, you know?

So, I don't know, part of me wonders how this plays in Torino, in Paris. I mean, in Auburn Hills, I don't think they care that much. Chrysler has got so many names, whatever.

JAMES RISWICK: Actually, the other one that just dawned on me is Opel. So GM's old European division is also in this stuff. This is just, like-- this is-- it's-- yeah, it's really quite something.

GREG MIGLIORE: This is, like, the most interesting company in the world when I think about it. Like, literally, every country, in Western Europe and the United States is represented here. Like, I mean, I don't know, guys, what can go wrong?

JAMES RISWICK: You're right-- you're right, because it's not just Opel, it's Voxel, which is British.


JAMES RISWICK: They're in there, too.

GREG MIGLIORE: [INAUDIBLE] agrees on everything right, guys? They get everything right. I see no problems with this model.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. I just really want a Citroen Cactus Hellcat. I think we can all just hope for that-- Citroen Cactus Trailhawk, that sounds cool.

GREG MIGLIORE: Tuned by Opel in Germany.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, you know, I want a Dodge Challenger with a Citroen 1.2 liter three cylinder that produces 98-- oh no, I don't want that. Wait, no, that's a bad. So we're going to give them more, admittedly. We're going to give them more. OK.

GREG MIGLIORE: Wow, that was like another Stellantis monologue. All right, why don't we transition to-- instead of spending some money today, we're going to go do, like, a retro drive. You guys spent some time in cars from back when Chrysler was just Daimler Chrysler simple easy back then that was 98 this is '99 Prelude and a Civic SI. Let's lead off the Prelude.

ZAC PALMER: All right, yeah, so I mean, we both had cars that had next to no miles on them for their age. Mine, I believe, had about 2,600 miles on it. 1990-- 1999 Honda Prelude Type SH. So I'm a huge Honda geek, just because I've-- I've owned an Acura Integra since I was 15 years old. So this is pretty much, you know, one of the coolest things that could ever arrive in my driveway. I'm sure that you were similarly geeked by seeing that Civic SI with about no miles on it, James.

But no, I mean, it was a trip back in time. And so you're driving this 20-year-old car that is brand new. You know, you get in, and there's no wrinkles in the leather. There's no marks on anything. Every last thing works. It sounds and runs like a top. The steering feels brand new. It was a beautiful, beautiful few days, honestly. And I was sort of conflicted in that I wanted to keep driving this thing-- like, I didn't want to stop driving, but also, like, this thing has 2,600 miles on it.

Like, I don't want to put on a bunch of miles, because Honda's over here, like, this is our historical museum piece. That's literally where it's been-- in a Honda museum. And yeah, they just broke it out and let us play around with it. Yeah, I loved it. What did you think about your '99 Civic SI, James? My girlfriend actually owns one of those, and it has just over 100,000 miles on it. So.

JAMES RISWICK: OK, so 100,000 more than this one had. So this is-- I actually come about this from a different way, because-- so I got my driver's license in 1999. And so this was kind of the same era that my first car was. And I never even considered getting a Civic SI. I never-- at the time, reading about it, I just didn't think-- I didn't know what the big deal was. I liked the Electron Blue paint, that was pretty cool. And I acknowledged that it was a more performance-oriented version, but it still only had, like, 160 horsepower. It didn't look all that different from the regular Civic.

So I kind of-- I was like, what is the big deal? So 20 years later, it ends up in my garage, and to the point of it's a museum piece is really something, because it is-- it was weird to open up my garage and there's just-- it's like stepping through a time portal, which is weird, because I'm currently sitting in that garage in a car that's a year older than this thing. And the thing that's weird is it's a Civic.

So yeah, besides the paint, you look at it, it's like, yeah, that's a Honda Civic. That's a regular car that's brand new. And it's 20 years later. Like, this is a weird cognitive thing going on. And it just never stopped. Every time I opened the garage, it was super weird.

And then the car itself, you get in, and honestly, the initial response is yeah, I was kind of right 20 years ago. You get in, you're like, this is a regular Civic. It's very slow off the line. It has 111 pound feet of torque at 7,000 RPM, which might as well just be like 12 torques. Like, it's just not-- it does not move. The steering was very slow, and it's numb on center, and the turn in is not very precise. And so initially, kind of underwhelming.

But you do need to drive it, and you get out of town, and you get on the mountain road. And you realize that, wait, I'm shifting at 6,000 PM here, and it's really loud, but there's 2,000 more RPM to go, which is nuts. And you do, and the engine just--


--just changes, because that's VTEC. It's literally changing. And the experience complete-- is totally different. The car comes alive. It suddenly feels zesty and exciting. Does it feel fast-- not really. But it's like you just suddenly get it. The shifter 5-speed manual transmission is brilliant. It is easy to heel-toe downshift, unlike the current Civic SI, which is actually quite difficult, because they put the pedals too damn far away from-- separated from each other.

Also, the throttle response on the new car-- I don't think it's just turbocharger. I think they've just totally just neutered it. It's mush, not just compared to this to the old one. But you-- you suddenly fully appreciate that double wishbone suspension that's on the car. That feels very sophisticated, esspecially for an old car like it is.

And then the upgrades that they made to the Civic SI-- it's 25% stiffer, the springs are. It has progressive rate shocks. They stiffened it in various places, and you really feel that. And when you really get the car moving, all of a sudden, you start to appreciate it more. The steering gets better, by the way, when you go faster. And it kind of speaks to the sleeper nature of that car, because you need it to-- not only did you need to know what it is to appreciate it.

Like, you have to understand what VTEC and the Electron blue Paint signified-- but to my original point of not getting it 20 years ago, you have to actually drive it. And you have to drive a hard, not just, like, a putter around the block. Like, you have to drive it to fully appreciate it. And that's what I learned with my time in the Civic SI that I wouldn't have known 20 years ago.

So it really was-- it was cool from a historic perspective. It was cool from a trip down memory lane to see this old car that just would have been, like, my buddy's Civic back in the day. And then from actually-- like an actually fun car to drive that's clearly different than anything that's made today.


JAMES RISWICK: It was a really special experience.

ZAC PALMER: The way that you described that driving experience, James, it's a lot of the same things you could say almost exactly for this Prelude Type SH. One thing that was special with this Prelude, though, because it was the Type SH, it has the active torque transfer system, which is a pretty awesome little torque vectoring system that Honda pioneered on this car. And, you know, it was pretty hot stuff back in the day. You basically were able to eliminate a lot of understeer and make a front wheel drive car not feel like a front wheel drive car through the corners.

And I had never driven any Prelude Type SH before-- you know, I was fairly blown away by how-- how much better this system made the car, especially compared to my Integra, where, you know, if I'm on a tight winding road or on a track, that front inside wheel is spinning up. And hey, that's understeer-- not great. With the Prelude Type SH, that wasn't the case. Really, really cool technology there. And yeah, you have to be up in the rev range.

I know-- I mean, when I drive my girlfriend's Civic SI, nothing happens below 4,500 RPM. Just-- I mean, you almost have to just rev it up, you know, past 3,000 RPM just even to get it moving down the road. You know, if you're cruising at, like, 80 miles per hour on the highway, you're over 4,000 RPM.

JAMES RISWICK: You're way over.

ZAC PALMER: In 5th gear, you know?

JAMES RISWICK: It's almost kind of hilarious. And it's a similar thing with a Prelude, but not as much, just because that car has a 2.2 liter four cylinder versus zero 1.6 liter. So a lot more torque with that. And also, a lower red line, too. This one only runs the 7,400 RPM. But you just having driven both cars-- like, that VTEC crossover-- you know, when you get to that point, it's a lot more audible and a lot more violent of a shove in the back in the Prelude than it is in, say, my Integra or that Civic SI. It's just a more intense experience. That's, you know, the way that Honda has adjusted that over the years through the different engines.

But no, like, that raw-- super raw feeling, you know, hydraulic power steering-- there's nothing interrupting between you and the road. And it's just-- it's a beautiful intimate throwback experience. The cars ain't fast, you know? They're not quick cars, but god, they're so fun.

JAMES RISWICK: You know, I'm actually jealous, because, like, the same year, right-- so I did want a Prelude. I thought that was super cool. And it was like, that was just too much. Like, I was very lucky, and I got a new car, you know, when I got my license. But that was-- that was out of the price range. And I also discovered I liked torque, so I had the V6 powered Jetta.

But the thing is, like, that is-- if it was my money-- and hey, let's talk about spending your money on an old Honda, since this is usually when we would be talking about that-- I would get a Prelude. I would get the Prelude of this era rather than a Civic SI. The Civic SI is harder to find, because they've all been trashed to high hell by tuners.

So if you got, like-- not even like-- this insane, literal museum piece like this-- but, you know, even I'd still get the Prelude. I think it looks more special, it looks cooler, and the interior is nicer, yadda, yadda, yadda. Performance. It still is the superior car all these years. And so ultimately, while mine was an enjoyable illuminating experience, I am nevertheless still jealous of your time.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. I mean, the Prelude is definitely more of a dedicated sports coupe than the Civic SI ever was. I mean, it has that shape, you know, with the-- it's almost a bit of a rear wheel drive car shape to a certain extent.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, you're absolutely right.

ZAC PALMER: Which is-- which is, you know, super unique for front wheel drive car. So that's extremely cool. The Prelude, whilst it's not-- you know, it's not full of luxury features or anything like that, it is nicer inside than the Civic SI. And just all around, you know, you have a longer wheelbase. It's more comfortable. And from the factory too, it was made a little bit sportier, or just because the Prelude was the, you know, super focused sporty coupe from Honda at that time-- luxury plus sport. This was the best thing you could get, so.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. And let's all admit that they don't make one today, because the Civic SI today is really good. It's really good. And I would have-- I would love to see what they could do with a 2020 Honda Prelude. I think that car would be really cool. Hopefully, it would look better than a Civic SI. They go easy on the scoops I think that could be-- I wish they would make one today. I don't think they will, but I wish they did.

ZAC PALMER: Me too. I don't know how many people would buy it. Probably not-- not a whole lot, but man, I just-- it would be awesome. You're right.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, so I think we'll leave it there. Sometimes, it's like I don't even need to be here. You guys just carried that segment.

JAMES RISWICK: You mean, you haven't been in a meeting for the last half hour? I thought--

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, right. I've actually gone through-- at this point, we're nearing the 90 minute mark of the podcast, which may be a record. I'm not sure.


GREG MIGLIORE: At least in recent years.

ZAC PALMER: Bronco marathon.


GREG MIGLIORE: [? Ford ?] Bronco! I've gone through a pint glass of water, a wine glass of Lacroix, and a Paris mug that I think actually got in Paris, Charles de Gaulle airport, of coffee.

JAMES RISWICK: So what you're saying is you need to go to the bathroom.

ZAC PALMER: You're hydrated.


GREG MIGLIORE: I'm very well-hydrated, yes. It's been quite the podcast. Any final thoughts on any subject matter, gentlemen?


GREG MIGLIORE: I'll say this. I am-- James, you probably agree with me here-- baseball's coming back. I'm pretty excited about that, because I've been so deprived, dehydrated of sports. I will say this-- F1 has been amazing to be in the, like, no real sports quarantine lockdown. Watching the F1 races on ESPN and doing the replay at like, 9:00 at night, if you missed it in the morning, which is easy to do-- tell you what, F1 has really-- really illuminated itself in my sporting lifestyle. That's what I'm going to do this weekend. It's the Hungarian Grand Prix, which is always a favorite of mine. So yeah, that's what I'm looking forward to.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, F1 has been awesome. I am so glad to have that sport back, because-- so the first race was super exciting. The second race was eh--


ZAC PALMER: Until the last lap, and Lando Norris went crazy again. Passes everybody. Oh man. No, that-- it was really good. And then you have the crazy protest with Racing Point and Renault, like, protesting the car. Lots of drama. Really happy to have sports back. You're right, Greg.

GREG MIGLIORE: How are the Jays going to be this year, James?

JAMES RISWICK: Well, it's not so much the question of how they will be, it's where they will be, because the Canadian government, although they let the team come in for two weeks to like-- to basically live and play in the SkyDome, because there's a hotel attached to it-- they can all just be there. And after two weeks, they could go out.

But the problem is they're going to leave the country, and come back in, and, like, other teams are going to come back in. And Canada's not too keen for that to happen-- quite rightly, because as a country that has say, 200 new cases a day, why would you let people come in and go from a place like Florida, that has 60,000 new cases a day? So they could be facing the Buffalo Blue Jays this year, which could be fun. I don't know. That's how they're going.

ZAC PALMER: Buffalo have a baseball thing-- that's new.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. They have Buffalo Bisons, AAA Philly-- that was the Blue Jays. That's why--

ZAC PALMER: They do, they do. You're right.

JAMES RISWICK: That's why they're there. Anyway. Cars.

GREG MIGLIORE: Very cool. Yeah, cars, baseball, Jays. I don't know. The last plan I heard was all the baseball teams were going to play, like, quote, unquote, "local." So, like, the central division was going to play the central. So you wouldn't have too many, like, oh, the coronavirus is spiking in Cincinnati, but you can-- or it's not spiking there, but those players can come up to Detroit versus going to Florida. I don't know, it's going to be crazy.

That one seems to be the one sport that's really gotten it right, I'll say that. As far as like-- all the Racing Series have actually done a pretty good job with that.

JAMES RISWICK: And they don't-- they really don't need fans of all the sports that did need fans. The NBA, they have their Disney World bubble. The NHL, they are in bubbles in Canada. They're not even playing in the United States, which makes a lot of sense. And so they're in bubbles, but the thing is, like-- like, hockey arenas are enclosed. They're smaller facilities. There's a lot of them.

The baseball field is a whole different thing. There's not a lot of places outside of Florida and Arizona, places you don't want to be generally in August, let alone this August. So that gives them a problem. And then the NFL, they don't really care about the health and safety of their players. So it doesn't really matter-- they can just go. They'll do whatever.

GREG MIGLIORE: It is interesting to see, like, the different approaches each league is taking. It's getting kind of random. Wow, when I said any final thoughts, I didn't think we'd down to the sports rabbit hole.

ZAC PALMER: Sports talk.

JAMES RISWICK: It's your fault.


GREG MIGLIORE: That's true. I did throw out the whatever you're going to be watching. So we can probably just reloop. Go to the start and just start talking about the Bronco again. We loop back to that and we'll do a marathon podcast. We start taking, like, sponsorships, pick a charity, crowdfund this thing. I think we'll leave it there.

It's been fun, guys. Enjoy the F1 races this weekend. You just listened to the very long Autoblog Podcast. We'll see you next week, everybody.