2021 Ford F-150 goes hybrid and we drive the Cadillac CT4-V | Autoblog Podcast #633

In this week's Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder and Associate Editor Byron Hurd. They start with the big news of the week: Ford unveiling the 2021 F-150, complete with a powerful hybrid powertrain. The guys have been driving some eclectic vehicles, including the Cadillac CT4-V, Toyota Prius AWD-e and a 1967 VW Samba Microbus. To finish things off, Greg springs a few trivia questions on his guests. We'll post those in the comments, and you can see if you'd have gotten those right.

Video Transcript

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GREG MIGLIORE: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the "Autoblog Podcast." Joining me today on the phone is Senior Editor for all things Green, John Snyder. What's going on, man?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Hey. How's it going?

GREG MIGLIORE: It's going well. It's going well. And Mr. F-150 for the day, Associate Editor Byron Hurd. How's it going?

BYRON HURD: It's a very truck day. I'm buried in trucks.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, sounds good. Lots of big news, obviously. If you're listening to this Thursday night, you saw the Ford F-150 was revealed. We're going to break that down for you in its entirety. There's a lot to unpack there. Some electrification news, which I think is kind of cool.

And again, like I said, there's a lot to unpack. Check out our site. We've got a lot of stories. It's going to be interesting. It's been the bestselling truck, best selling vehicle in the United States since the late 1970s. So I think one or two people are going to want to hear all about this.

But if you don't, we do talk about some other things. Byron spent some time in the Cadillac CT4-V, which is kind of neat. I drove the Toyota Prius, which was pretty OK. And John has spent some time in a 1960s Microbus, which just arrived this week, and that's pretty awesome.

And then, don't have to spend your money, but we do have a quick trivia section to close things out. We have a great show for you, But let's jump right in. Ford F-150. Byron, just real quick. Break it down. Like, 30 seconds. What do you need to know about this truck right now?

BYRON HURD: All right. So Ford is calling this all new, and it pretty much is. There's differences down to the frame length, and track widths, and everything like that. So it is a new truck. There's lots of new tech. There's a hybrid for the first time.

And the hybrid is going to have more horsepower and more torque than any other half ton in the segment. And so that means it's going to have more horsepower than the 6.2 liter Silverado, which makes 420, and it should have more torque then the EcoDiesel RAM, which makes 480 pound feet. So those are your benchmarks for what Ford is claiming they're going to do with this.

The new bed setup is pretty swank. There's some cool options, especially on the hybrid, for plugging in lots of tools. So if you work your truck on a job site and stuff like that, it's great for that. Can also be used to recharge things like electric offroad bikes or four by fours. Anything-- any kind of toys, any kind of tools that you want to juice up while you're on the go, it will have the capability to do that.

And some nice interior upgrades, including SYNC 4, and a new workspace in the center console, which actually folds down the gear selector so that you can make yourself a little table. Lots of great stuff. It looks like it's going to be a very interesting truck both from an innovation perspective and from an individual productivity perspective.

GREG MIGLIORE: Nice. What's interesting to me is they are, in fact, calling this an all new generation. And certainly, an all new generation of F-150 is a big deal, because it doesn't happen very often. Trucks today have a very long life.

And then sometimes automakers tend to kind of play around the edges a little bit. It's like they'll call it a new generation, but it isn't exactly. But this sounds legit. You know, you're talking about different dimensions, and then a lot of additional features, tech, things that make this new, better, different, and it sounds like more competitive.

BYRON HURD: So yeah, it looks--

GREG MIGLIORE: Good ahead, Byron.

BYRON HURD: I'll let John take it, actually.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Well, I was just going to say, it's really interesting just how many-- how feature rich this truck is becoming. Trucks of the big three of them making these trucks with more and more, just, stuff in them over time. And this one is heavily tilted toward a work truck. I mean, there's a lot-- the workspaces, the plugs.

I'm just curious how pricey this is going to get when you start adding those things on. But, you know, trucks can get pretty crazy when you start adding on all the different features and checking boxes. And that's-- one thing about trucks is, they're sort of becoming less and less attainable.

So I'm going to be curious to see how this all measures out with in terms of pricing. But it's just interesting to see just, you know, that full down gear selector with the little table that pops out is really, really interesting. And then some of the other, you know, work features, the plugs. And then there's some stuff going on with the tailgate too. It's really interesting what they're doing with it.

GREG MIGLIORE: So one of the reasons we have John on this podcast is we knew there would be a form of electrification for the F-150. Byron, why don't you just tell us what we know about this, and then John, you jump in and tell me your take. Is this-- what's it going to do for the F-150's green credentials? Go ahead, Byron.

BYRON HURD: So, yeah. This is a-- I mean, it's a full blown hybrid. The specs on it are still kind of hazy, but we do know it's going to be offered on at least most of the higher trims. They're now calling it-- well, they're calling it PowerBoost.

And it's an interesting choice, since the "EchoBoost" or EcoBoost depending on what part of the world you live in, moniker was already taken, and it seems like that would make the most sense for a hybrid. But it does make a lot of power, as we covered earlier.

So I guess it's an appropriate way for them to go about it. But they've got the battery pack mounted underneath the bed, it appears, from the diagram I'm looking at. And it's paired to a 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6, so the EcoBoost still exists within this formula.

So the EcoBoost made up to, I believe it's 450 horsepower in the Raptor and in some versions of the Limited. So they've got a really stout engine on which to build this whole hybrid system around. And they're taking advantage of it for the in-bed charging, because the generator, which is effectively what the option is, the generator's available on the gas engines, but it has higher output on the hybrid.

So you go from two kilowatts, I believe it is, in the basic version on the gas engines, to 2.4 in an entry level hybrid, and then up to 7.2. So 7,200 watts in available power in the optional version on the hybrid models, which is where you get the ability to basically power an entire backyard theater system out of the back of your truck if you want to.

So it's versatile. It's powerful. And it remains to be seen, really, what the cost is going to be. The version they showcase it on at the reveal was a Limited model, which is already a very expensive truck before you even start throwing any options at it.

So I imagine that Limited plus PowerBoost plus the optional upgraded generator to make everything you can come out of that hybrid system is going to be, astronomically expensive might be the words we want for it. But it still seems pretty compelling and interesting, especially since this is the first time someone's done a really fully fleshed out hybrid half ton pickup.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah, it's a trend I've seen lately, especially over at Ford. The hybrid isn't about fuel economy. It's just about power, hence calling it PowerBoost. But yet you look at the Lincoln Aviator, and the plug-in hybrid is not-- you know, it's the performance version.

This, in the F-150, the hybrid allows for that extra power as well as, you know, more of those work features. So yeah, I think it's totally fine to call it PowerBoost and not EcoBoost, because it's not really an eco play. It's a power play.

- It makes sense too for, like, just having, like, appealing to that, I'd say, like, you know, a truck buyer that's all about the capability. You know, there always was that concern. Hey, if you do drop down to a V6 or some other type of propulsion, you know, for a long time, it was anything but a V8 seemed like just blasphemy. It was totally unacceptable.

So I understand why they're trying to sort of choose their words carefully, choose their naming carefully. But I don't know. I would totally buy a green pickup truck right now. So I-- I don't know. The PowerBoost thing, I could go back and forth on that.

There's a lot going on in the naming department with Ford right now. Mach 1, Mach E, Bronco, Bronco Sport, all sorts of things. I guess Maverick is off the table, but so it goes. What else about this truck? What else should we know?

BYRON HURD: Well, just sticking with the hybrid for a second, it's, I think, encouraging that they're using a lot of components that have already been proven over the last generation or two of the F-150. This uses the 10 speed transmission with recalibration and some new hardware to make it hybrid-friendly and the 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6, which I already mentioned.

But a lot of the tech in here is actually fairly conventional. And I think there is a reason they decided to launch with this instead of a full plug-in or a full electric. Just because this kind of lets them dip their toe in the water a little bit, prove to their buyers that they're building a truck first and a hybrid second, if that makes sense.

And also just demonstrate that it's capable and reliable, and that it can get the job done, which is kind of like, their big thing, that everything is work-focused. So, but yeah, beyond that, I mean, most of the rest of the stuff with the truck, the power trains largely carry over, with the exception of the new hybrid.

We don't know whether there's going to be-- I mean, we do know there's going to be a Raptor. We just don't know what it's going to look like yet, especially since we got a teaser yesterday that the Rebel TRX from RAM is going to be formally introduced this summer. So we're getting, you know, the pickup wars are kind of going to the next level.

So we don't know what the fate of the higher output 3.5 liter EcoBoost from the last generation truck will be, whether it will go out in favor of, perhaps, a boosted V8. Because Ford's got that GT500, right? So there could be lots of interesting things to come out of this.

What we've seen this week is just kind of the foundation, and we've got a Raptor coming down the pipeline, probably. We've got an electric truck coming down the pipeline, probably. And there's no reason not to do a plug-in hybrid eventually, probably, especially because they already have that with the Lincolns. So there's a lot of potential here. This is the canvas, and we'll see what they paint.

GREG MIGLIORE: Wow, well said. OK. That's very eloquent.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: This is going to be a fun one to write the buying guides for. Eventually, it's going to be-- there's so many different configurations.

BYRON HURD: Yeah. Six engines and then so many CAD styles, and bed lengths, and you name it. It's just-- it's all over.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think what's interesting about the F-150 is how they really try to, like, I'd say meet the customer. And Ford is, you know, obviously an expert at the F-150 customer. You know, meet him or her right where they're at, you know? There's so many different flavors of it. So many different ways you can outfit it. I think it's a legit luxury vehicle, you know? In its top trims.

BYRON HURD: Oh, yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: So yeah. And this is another one I'm going to be very excited to drive. I'm always-- with vehicles like the F-150, and the Silverado, and the RAM, and just other things too, you know, maybe some traditional, like, the Tahoe or the Yukon, where, like, the recipe is sort of there, I like to sort of try, like, the new, the flashy things. So I'm super intrigued by the hybrid.

Yeah. I mean, we'll just-- you know, I can't wait to play around with some of those features. And the bed, that'll be fun. Just, it's cool. I mean, I think-- you know, we'll see. On paper and what we saw at the reveal, this looks like a very strong foot forward for Ford.

It looks like they put all their cards down. There's still some room to play, and that they're going to be able to maintain the sales volume that they've come to expect, and, frankly, depend on to stay viable as an automaker. What the biggest concern I think you would have if you're Ford going into this, is that you sort of stub your toe like Chevy did with the last generation of the Silverado.

Where RAM's sales sort of went up. There was actually a few months there were RAM, like, slipped ahead of Silverado in the sales order, which was, frankly, it happens. But it's not a common thing. And I think what a lot of people thought, especially truck enthusiasts, was that the RAM was demonstrably better than the Silverado.

When they did that update, the interior wasn't quite where it needed to be. The-- you know, there was nothing really compelling about the power trains. The exterior was polarizing. A lot of us saw it and I kind of liked it, but a lot of people didn't. It was very polarizing.

So-- and, you know, this has been three, four years. It's been a work in progress. All this is to say that it took Chevy a while to get it right. And if they had just done it the first time, they would've saved themselves a lot of heartache, headaches, all those things. To me, on paper, it kind of looks like Ford is going to get this generation of the F-150 right out of the gate. Curious what you guys think after my little mini monologue there.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Well, I think so too. I'm a little disappointed that we have to wait longer for the plug-in versions. But I see what Byron was saying about showing them that this is-- that they can do this truck right.

The whole hybrid being a power play, you know, it's introducing people to electrification in a truck and showing that it's not some rinky dink feature that's-- you know, it's not going to be a Prius. It's not going to be-- you know? It's still going to be your big, tough Ford. And sort of priming the pump for the future electric versions.

I think they could be selling themself a little short by not-- it depends on how quickly they get those out. Because then, like we saw, the Lordstown is building its truck. And I think the cyber truck buyer is going to be a completely different type of buyer.

But there are these other pickups that are coming out. GMC with the Hummer, you know? I hope Ford can get the ball rolling with the electrics quickly enough that they're not sort of left in the dust. But they are starting with this good format, this new truck where they thought of everything. So I think it's a good play.


BYRON HURD: Yeah, I agree. And on top of that too, it's-- we're reaching a point, I think, with half ton pickups where capability is still important, obviously. It's core to what trucks do and what a lot of buyers want. But they're starting to find new ways to make trucks more than just about a stout engine, and a strong transmission, and a good rear end, and the suspension you need to carry it all.

It's-- you know, we don't need half ton pickups that tow 15,000 pounds. And we're rapidly approaching that territory. But what the automakers are now starting to do, which we saw with GMC and the MultiPro Tailgate, and now with all these workspace improvements that we're getting with the new F-150, that they're trying to find ways to make the trucks more versatile, give them little, like, killer app-style features.

I'm doing that with air quotes that you guys can't see. But the idea being that, you know, OK, it's a truck. It can do the basic truck things. But it can also be your mobile office, and be comfortable, and be a family hauler, and do that. And that's kind of where everyone's branching out.

And it's interesting to see the half tons leapfrog each other, because GM went with MultiPro, and now we have this work surface and plug-in theme with the F-150. And so with RAM just having leapfrogged GM in so many ways with the last 1500, the ball is now kind of back in their court already.

It's amazing how quickly these guys are kind of obsoleting each other with these little features that don't necessarily make them better fundamental trucks, but they do make them more useful and practical in ways that, you know, 20 years ago we never would have been considered. So it's impressive to watch, and it's going to be interesting to see how buyers respond to these features and whether they get iterated on and improved on future models, or if they go by the wayside.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Ford's really on a roll right now, when you think about it, with the products they're they're coming out with. With this F-150, and then Mach E is coming out, and then the Bronco. It's kind of exciting just to see it all. And it's a lot to live up to for the other Detroit automakers.


GREG MIGLIORE: Thumbs up or thumbs down as far as the design?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Thumbs up. It's safe. You know, there's nothing objectionable about it.

BYRON HURD: Yeah, that's my instinct too. I honestly-- I think one of the things that made the RAM design so good was that they didn't try to do anything too wildly different. And I think Ford took that same approach. GM did it with their interior to their detriment. But for the exteriors, I think it made a lot more sense.

And I'm kind of in the same boat as Greg when it comes to the styling of the GM pickups. I actually genuinely like the way the GMC Sierra looks. And I'm kind of lukewarm on Silverado. It's fine. It grew on me a little bit, but it's never going to be to the point where I'm like, oh yeah, that's a great looking truck. But I actually genuinely do feel that the Sierra is an attractive pickup.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I agree with that. Totally. I think I like Chevy a little bit more than you do, just because I think in Trail Boss trim it looks pretty awesome. But yeah, this is super conservative. Like, even from the side, I would do a double take. Like, is this even new?

But they did enough up front to the grill. Like, those headlights that we've seen on some of the Ford SUVs, you can sort of see that, like, the same concept applied there. Yeah, I mean, it looks pretty good. It looks like an F-150.

I mean, that's all you have to do. I mean, essentially, since that, you know, going back probably 15 years ish, that was the last, like, really dramatic departure for, like, an F-150, where it was, like, borderline curvy if you will. Since then, they've played it really, like, really, really square, quite literally.

So yeah, that's the F-150. Check out the full story, full stories, some great videos by Alex Malburg and Amur Sayur. They cut those together. They look great. Check those out on the site. Tons of galleries, tons of pictures. We hope you enjoyed the livestream that you could watch on Autoblog.

And that's still up there. If you want to go back, if you're with this on Saturday, maybe you're out walking the dog in the park like I often do. And you hear some stuff and you're like, oh, hey, I need to get back. I've got to check that out. I've got to read more on that. So please do.

But let's move along to some of the cars we've been actually driving. This is a Byron-heavy show here. You spent some time in the Cadillac CT4-V. This was maybe three weeks ago ish. Tell me what this car is like. And another thing, I mean, frankly, I'm the editor of a car website and I mix up Cadillac's lineup. Why don't you just tell everybody out there what the heck a CT4 is and it where it fits, and then what the V actually means right now.

BYRON HURD: Sure. So CT4 is going up against the Audi A3, the BMW 228i Gran Coupe, well, the whole 2 series Gran Coupe lineup, and the Mercedes A-Class. The idea is to have this small sedan that kind of slots in where compact sedans used to be. We're calling them subcompact, even though that's probably pushing the definition a bit.

But that's the space in which it plays. And the V models now are the mid grade performance models. So the idea is that you're stepping up from the base engine to a more powerful one. You're getting some other performance upgrades and things like that.

So think Audi S3, BMW M235i, and the Mercedes AMG variants. They have a 35 and a 45, I believe, so this would be geared more toward the 35. So the idea with this is, you get a mechanical limited slip differential, you get performance dampers with the MagneRide fourth generation magnetic ride control, and some other little bits and pieces like that and get a little extra power.

It's, like, 10 or 15 horsepower more than you get on the premium luxury variant. But it's supposed to be sporty enough to feel fun for a small luxury car without being a full blown performance model. And V used to be full blown performance in many ways. Literally blown, because they were supercharged.

Like, that was the idea. It was just, like, big honkin' horsepower numbers. In incompetent chassis. I mean, GM's been making great rear wheel drive platforms for a while now. We shouldn't discount that. So the the fact that this new one is very good isn't actually all that new.

But the new range topping cars will be called Blackwing, which, of course, shares a name with a now stillborn turbocharged V8 that GM produced for the CT6-V, that was supposed to go on to be featured in other models, and it's now discontinued. But at least the name is going to live on.

And those are going to be the ones that have the biggest engines possible, the most performance possible. They're going to be the ones running around the Nurburgring and all that kind of stuff, and probably set and lap records and everything that GM loves to do. And I believe the current theory, which I don't think has actually been confirmed by GM, but the idea is that the CT4-V Blackwing model will have a six cylinder in it, which the CT4-V does not.

It has the large 2.7 leader four that's also in the GM trucks. And that's a great engine. It's torquey. It's powerful. It feels great to drive. It does the job, but I'm interested to see what they do with that twin turbo 6.

So the CT4-V, though, I came away very impressed. You get a little more car for the money than you do from the Germans. It's plenty fast. It's plenty comfortable. The magnetic ride control is wonderful, as it pretty much always is. I've never had an implementation of that that I wasn't impressed with.

It's got a great ride, anywhere from the freeway to the back roads. You dial in a little bit. It has a V Mode button right on the steering wheel if you wanted to go, like, straight to sporty. Just click that, dials everything up to 11, and you go. It's a really impressive little car.

It's one of the few GM models, and especially one of the few Cadillac models, that I have driven lately where, when I say something, like, it's a great little car, I don't have to say but, and then add some sort of caveat to the end of it. It's just a great little car.

I had a blast driving it. It was very comfortable. All the tech worked. Fit and finish was great. The interior actually genuinely impressed me, which is something, again, I haven't said about many Cadillacs lately. I was pretty much blown away by that little car. I was very impressed.

GREG MIGLIORE: I actually really enjoy how the-- just sort of this new generation of Cadillacs looks. I think it harks back a little bit to the-- almost like the '60s, right after Cadillac got out of the-- like, the really over the top, like '50s. And they create stuff that was still good looking, still stylish, but a little more toned down.

And when I look at the CT4 or the CT4-V, that's what I see. I sort of like-- you know, I mean, frankly, in general, I like '60s cars more than '50s cars. But I think, you know, I just-- I feel like that sort of understated elegance but performance is really showing up in Cadillac.

So yeah. I mean, just-- I didn't drive this car. But, you know, looking at the pictures, it looks great. Not sure how I feel about Cadillac's whole just lineup, total, like, you know, just tweak. It's I think it's a little confusing, even, the way they're recasting the V. We'll see.

I will say this, and my guess is you would concur. Cadillac and General Motors' chassis have been really good lately. They've been really dialing in Cadillacs, especially-- and like the Camaro. So, I mean, I think this is a good car for enthusiasts. I kind of wonder, you know, the A3 segment.

I don't know, man. It's a good spot for Cadillac to go to try to win. I think they probably have the product to win. The question is, are you going to get anybody out of their said A3, or are you going to get out of A-Class to get into a CT4? I don't know. I mean, maybe you will. We'll see.

I think if you-- I mean, the trick is, it's just-- it's quite literally a small segment. The cars are small. The market's small. The opportunity is small. So it's, like, you could do something amazing there. But at the end of the day--

BYRON HURD: Will anybody notice?

GREG MIGLIORE: Where's your mid-sized crossover coupe, you know? But it sounds like a good car.

BYRON HURD: Yeah. And I also-- I forgot to mention this before talking about the Blackwings. Those models will get manual transmissions. GM has already confirmed that officially. That's not just a rumor. That is going to happen. They're going to be limited production, but they will be offered with a manual. So for the enthusiasts who really have to have it all, Blackwing is coming.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. I was a little sad to see the V brand, if you will, get sort of deluded. But I think what they're doing with the Blackwing more than makes up that. That's going to be awesome.

BYRON HURD: I'm right there with you on that.

GREG MIGLIORE: Cool. I think that's enough on the Cadillac, if you will. I spent some time this week in the new Toyota Prius. It's quite nice. I found it to be a little-- and I'm curious what you think, John, too. I found it to be a little boring. I mean, yeah. It's a Prius, so, I mean, stunner.


GREG MIGLIORE: But, you know, I don't know. I think they took a risk with the design. They kind of took it away from the-- you know, the very, like, you know, I don't know, beigeish sort of look of the previous Prius and made it look a little bit more like a, you know, a little more cartoonish, even. You know, there's lot of creases.

If you look hard, the back end almost looks like it has fins, if you really want to see that, speaking of things from the '50s. You know, there's a little bit of-- you know, the hybrid stuff, I think, makes it fun to drive in a little bit of a sense. You know, because there's a little bit of that electric boost under some circumstances.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Oh, for sure. Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I don't know. It was fine. It was a Prius. I got some takeout in it. They dropped it right in the back of the hatch. So, hey, I mean, that's kind of the way we live right now. I mean, I don't know. It was the Prius.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: I feel like you guys sort of turn it into a game to make it entertaining. And they do, you know, Prius has always had sort of gamification techniques. Like, they used to have the little leaves that would grow the more efficiently you drove. But I think that's kind of how you have to approach it to have fun with it.

And it can be fun, you know, just trying to get the ultimate mileage out of it that you can. Yeah, I like the Prius. It's not the most exciting car in the world, but it's popular for a reason. I feel like it's well built. The mileage is really excellent.

And they've been making it for a long time, and then they know what their customers want, and they keep delivering on that. I would like to see a big, at least visual redesign. But probably not going to get that anytime soon, I don't think.

GREG MIGLIORE: The looks of this current Prius, I think, are a little far out.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. It's hard to look at. Yeah, I've never been a big fan of the way it looks. But, I mean, I can kind of look past that, just because it's really good at it what it does, at being an efficient, affordable hybrid.

GREG MIGLIORE: And the numbers you mentioned earlier, just to be specific here, 48 highway, 52 city, 50 combined. I mean, that's outstanding. This car costs just under 32 grand. I mean, that's, like, real world stuff that makes your life better, if you will.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. And now they have the all wheel drive version too. It's a little something for everyone. I know lots of people who just won't buy anything that doesn't have all wheel drive. It just-- I don't know. I tell them snow tires are fine, but it's a mindset and it adds confidence. Just seeing that all wheel drive badge on the back gives people more confidence in their vehicle.

And I drove this in the snow, and it was actually pretty great in the snow. It handled the snow remarkably well. Pretty deep stuff, it just sort of pushed its way right through it. And, yeah, it was pretty stable going through corners. Not a lot of slippage, not a lot of understeer. So it did what it's supposed to, and I think that's why people like it in general. It just-- it works as advertised.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. The one I tested was XLE All Wheel Drive-e Hybrid. So yeah. I mean, I would probably get the hybrid-- excuse me, the all wheel drive, justify where we all live. It's cold and snowy. And, I mean, it's, I think, an assurance. And I know you mentioned it's pretty capable there, John.

One thing I find interesting, though, is a car that's, like, small and low. Like, you know, you're going to have trouble getting through some snow if you encounter it. Like, there's not really any ground clearance. So yeah. You know, it is what it is.

But yeah. I think it's the Prius. Like, I drove it, and I was, like, I was actually really excited to drive it, because I have not driven the Prius in quite some time. And I feel like, as an automotive journalist, you've got to get into some of these, like, you know, major cars. So yeah.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: It's smooth, it's comfortable, it's quiet, it's serene. You know, if you're not looking for excitement, it's a really nice car to drive.

GREG MIGLIORE: Cool. Cool. Well, I think that's-- we'll leave the Prius there. I think we've-- it's about as much as anybody needs to know. Yeah. I mean, pizza fit back there very well, though, when I got that on Friday. Much better than I put in the back of a Land Cruiser with those touchy brakes. And--


GREG MIGLIORE: You know, Yeah. It was actually surprisingly fine, but I don't know how. But the Prius, hey, it's just a little smaller of a space. It fits pretty well. So let's move on to a far more interesting car, a 1967 VW Microbus.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. Yeah, they dropped it off in my driveway today. It's beautiful. It's the 21 window Samba. So it's long. It's got a bunch of weird little quirks to it. It's this beautiful white on orange, and it's just a wonderful, wonderful vehicle.

I drove it around a little bit. I'm going to take it out for a longer drive tonight and get some photos of it. But it's, you know, it's not fast at all. I think it's a 1.5 liter, making a whopping 54 horsepower, I believe. But it's just fun. It is-- you know, it's beautiful inside and out. Just really interesting design.

I love the windshield. It's, like, that split windshield. I think '67 was the last year that they had the split two piece windshield. But the windshield pieces prop up, and you can open them and get the air in your face. Which is good, because this thing doesn't have AC.

It has this little lip over the top of the windshield with some vents under it. Like, it's sort of a roof scoop sort of thing that pushes air into the cabin, and there's a little flange where you can direct it onto yourself or back toward the passengers in the rear. A lot of little quirks about it. It's got this big sunroof that opens up, but I'm not-- I don't think I'm going to touch that, because I don't want to break it.

But the car, you know, I was warned is not watertight. Which is fine, because we have good weather right now. But, you know, a little four speed. Got a reverse, and it's really, really tricky to find. And if it turns heads around the neighborhood, too. It's just-- it's beautiful. It's in really nice condition.

And these air-cooled VWs are just a joy. You know, My buddy Luke that I grew up with in Oregon, he has owned several Beetles, and I fell in love with those. This is my first time driving the Microbus, and it's really nice. I'd be afraid to take it on a long trip. I know a lot of things can go wrong with them, and it's exceedingly slow too.

So I don't even know if I'd want to take it on the highway here where the speed limit is 70, because I think this thing maxes out at 65. But it's a joy, even at those low speeds. It's wonderful.

GREG MIGLIORE: Very cool. I think we've had a lot of pretty interesting old school Volkswagen vehicles coming through our press fleet. This is, I think, a little bit to do with just the pandemic. Like, trips are not really happening, and Volkswagen has reached out. And, you know, there's the Karmann Ghia, we have an old GTI, we have the Microbus. I think Joel got the drive an old Beetle. Just lots of cool things that we're getting to try, and it's fun.


JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. You know, I've wanted to buy a classic Beetle for years and years and years. And there's one or two that I came close to, but after driving this, I really want one. I'm ready to go out and spend a few grand to get a classic Beetle that maybe isn't in the best of shape.

And, you know, my son is interested in cars, and that'd a fun one. You know, a simple enough one to work on too. But I'm ready. This-- it's just so much character. So much character and so much history too. It's a wonderful, wonderful vehicle.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. I don't share your passion for the Beetle. I really-- I think I'm, like, kind of the grouchy Autoblog guy who just is not really into the Beetle. I know Joel loves it. I actually went to the launch of it back in '12 or '13 when they revealed it at the New York Auto Show.

I mean, I like for what it is. But, I mean, just throughout the generations, it's never really done much for me. If I was going to get a classic car, I don't think I'd get a Beetle. I mean, that's fine. I'm glad other people like it. But the van, I 100% think that is sweet. I could get on board with that. I could have fun.

Like you, I don't think I'd want to drive it very far. But it'd be a fun tailgate kind of thing. Or, you know, I don't know. I mean, tailgate close. But, you know, that sort of thing.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. And it's got, you know, three bench rows, so you can fit a lot of people in there.

BYRON HURD: Oh, god. It'd be so slow.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: And there's just lap belts. There's nothing really keeping you from getting hurt if you get in an accident, but that's the risk you take with these little cars.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Yeah, it's-- I don't know. Old cars are fun. I don't know how to work on them. That's what's basically stopping me from buying something that I-- you know, that would require some, like, actual work. Because I'd love an old Alfa. I'd love an old-- I have this weird thing where I'd like an old Chevy Nova, but I'm, like, the only person who probably would be into that.

An old Ford Falcon from the early '60s. But again, if you can't do the work, what are you going to do? You know, you're just going to basically have this monument in your garage that's not really doing anything. And I actually have several of those cars right now in my life that I need to dispose of, including my personal car, an '06 Charger, and my parents still have a '73 Chevelle I need to unload.

So-- and the Charger is in OK shape. The Chevelle is fine. It's just, you know, it needs to be restored. And when you're in that kind of like, gray area of, what do you do with it, you know, it's tough. So I digress. Somehow we went from '60s Volkswagen vans to '73 Chevelles. Should we do some trivia?


GREG MIGLIORE: Oh, wow. That is-- I want to make that sigh, like, my email notification. Like, when somebody Slacks you, you get like, Snyder, like, sighing and kind of lightly growling. All right. So I came up with this segment. We tried it out about a month ago with just a few trivia questions.

And I tried it out with you two, because you seemed like, you know, you guys have been around a little while. You know a thing or two. You know a little bit about trivia. And then I just haven't had a chance to do it again. And Lo and behold, who's on the podcast? Let's do some trivia again.


GREG MIGLIORE: And you guys are like, yeah, could you do this when anybody else is on the show but me? But it's all right.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: I just-- my brain works in weird ways, but.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, well--

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Sometimes I get them. Every once in a while, I can get a trivia question.

GREG MIGLIORE: Well, this is fairly easy, I think. So let's give it a go. All right. And also, one thing the, like, podcast listeners told us last time is try not to spend too much time thinking about it. So it's all right. Think about it.

BYRON HURD: You either know it or you don't. Spit it out.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Apparently the awkward pauses were not well received. I mean, so it goes. I don't know. All right, keep it simple. What British car company was featured over a couple of seasons in the 1960s AMC drama "Mad Men?" Byron?

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Oh, I haven't seen it. Byron, have you?

BYRON HURD: Yeah, that should be Jaguar, I believe. I have seen that.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's a win for Byron, and John just punts. So there we go. Score is 1 to nothing. All right. Now, this is actually-- multiple answers are acceptable here. How did Chevy's bow tie originate? We'll start with you, John.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Oh, I honestly don't know. I feel like I've heard the story before, but if there's an answer, if there's a correct answer, I don't recall it. And I remember hearing about it at one point, but forgot it.

BYRON HURD: I think the only GM logo story that I know well was the whole, you can't sell an American flag on a car, and so the Corvette ended up with the other stuff instead. That's the only GM story I can think of off the top of my head for logos and badges.

GREG MIGLIORE: We'll keep it simple. Billy Durant is said to have seen it on wallpaper in a Paris hotel in 1908. That's sort of, like, the official answer. But even GM sort of admits that may or may not be true. And they have multiple alternate theories.

Maybe when we post this, put this in the podcast post, I know everybody's probably listening to this on your phone. But if you care that much, check out over the Autoblog and we'll post these questions with the answers. And there's a link to this press site.

And it's funny, because normally car companies are very like, this is the press release. This is the statement. This one's, like, well, we think it could have been this. It was probably this Paris hotel room story. But it also is, like, you know, these other things that it could be.

So I guess we'll keep the score at 1-0 Byron, which technically gives John a chance to pull into a tie here on question number three. The Buick Riviera was originally supposed to be what? I'm looking for a brand here.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: A brand? The Buick Riviera?

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Think about GM in the '60s. This car was designed, and it wasn't actually supposed to be a Buick, if that makes sense. Think GM and all the brands they had back then. What was it actually supposed to be, or could have been? Not much it was supposed to be, but could have been.


GREG MIGLIORE: Good guess. Byron?

BYRON HURD: I'm going to say Oldsmobile, just because it's not one of those.

GREG MIGLIORE: You're both wrong. Cadillac.


JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Oh, that was my first instinct.

GREG MIGLIORE: If you look at it, and it almost looks like a '60s Cadillac, especially the earlier ones, just the way the headlight and the grille kind of stack up. Yeah, it's--


JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: I was thinking that until you started reminding me that there was all those other brands back then. And then I was like, I have to go with one of the orphan brands. Those are good questions, Greg. I really like this.

GREG MIGLIORE: We're just going to do three this time. Last time we did five. We got a little, you know, just a little bit--

BYRON HURD: A little in the weeds?

GREG MIGLIORE: A little in the weeds, yeah. It got a little whatever. But--

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: No, there are great questions.

BYRON HURD: Yeah, this is good.

GREG MIGLIORE: I will call up this Wikipedia page here. But I've heard this before, believe me. I don't just do this all on Wikipedia. But apparently this was like, an experimental design. And this is straight from Wikipedia at this point. Called the EXP715, and it was going to be called the Wasal or something.

Yeah. Apparently Cadillac, this goes to like-- and this is more, like, general history. I have heard this. Cadillac was just like, yeah, no, we don't want this. You know, back when the company was, like, GM was at the height of its powers, and Pontiac, Olds, Chevy, the trucks division. They were all like they're individual companies within the company. And they'd be, like, no, we don't want this. And then Buick's like, well, wait a minute here. We could use this. And away we go.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Yeah. That was back when there was a lot of competition between the GM brands.

GREG MIGLIORE: They used to fight over engines. Like, different V8 engines and things. So.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Oh, yeah. It was sometimes a bitter rivalry, but it made for great cars.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, absolutely. I think that's a great example of competition being better, if you will.


GREG MIGLIORE: All right. How are you guys doing? How is your life? We have a couple extra minutes here, everybody. I'd say quarantine is somewhat over. There's no quarantine recipes to share. Are you guys venturing out much before the second wave of coronavirus maybe hits? I don't know.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: I've been going up north. I've taken the Outback-- I mean, the Forester, our long term Forester, up north a couple of times recently. But it's just really nice to go up to the lake. Man, like, my almost five-year-old son was going crazy, I feel like, during quarantine.

And then, you know, he misses people. But when he's up there, he sees the neighbors he knows and stuff, and, you know, just plays in the water. And everyone's mood and behavior just gets way better instantly. But I've been really enjoying those long drives.

Because, you know, I used to commute into the office every day. And, that drive time was time for checking out the cars and time for reflection. And I get to do that on a drive.

And plus, I got to take the-- it took the Outback out on some trails to go to some state land where I go shooting. So-- and it was sort of on these sand trails. Put it in the X-Mode with the dirt and mud, so I tested that out, and it was pretty cool.


GREG MIGLIORE: Byron, what's new in your life?

BYRON HURD: I've been pretty much doing the same kind of stuff. I've been trying to get out on the weekends and just kind of drive around. I mean, I'm new to Michigan, so it's all novel to me for the time being. So I've just been trying to, like, see how far I can tolerate driving in any given direction or until I hit water, one or the other. That's--

GREG MIGLIORE: In Michigan, that's pretty easy. You're going to run into water pretty quick.

BYRON HURD: Yeah. So I haven't made it to the UP yet, so that's on the list. But that's something I kind of want-- like, I'd rather do that with somebody and make kind of a long weekend out of it, instead of just, kind of wander up there, which is what I've been doing by myself for the most part. So.

JOHN BELTZ SNYDER: Here's a little fact for you, a little trivia. Anywhere in Michigan, you're never more than, I believe, 86 miles from a great lake.

BYRON HURD: Oh, OK. Interesting.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. There you go. I think that's a great way, John with the trivia. Hey, we'll leave it there. If you're in the Midwest, find yourself a great lake and have a great weekend. Hope you enjoyed this episode of the "Autoblog Podcast" and all things cars. Have a great weekend. Enjoy summer, and we'll see you next week.