Dodge Durango SRT, Ford F-150 Lightning and why we like physical controls | Autoblog Podcast #678

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by News Editor Joel Stocksdale. They start things off by discussing cars they've been driving, including the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT and the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE. Next they discuss the announcement of the Ford F-150 Lightning electric truck, Genesis G70 Shooting Brake and the use of physical controls in cars instead of touchscreens. Finally, they help a reader spend some money.

Video Transcript

- This week's episode of "The Autoblog Podcast" is brought to you by "The Autoblog Daily Digest." It's a great way to stay updated with what's happening in the world of cars in just two or three minutes every day. Ask your smart speaker for "The Autoblog Daily Digest" to stay up to speed with the latest car news or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to "The Autoblog Podcast." I'm Greg Migliore. Joining me today on the phones is news editor Joel Stocksdale. How you doing, man?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: I'm doing all right.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, we got a great show for you today so we're going to jump right in. In the review section, Dodge Durango. It's the SRT, right, Joel?


GREG MIGLIORE: All right. That's the one with the big engine. You may have heard. The-- what do they call that, like, "the Charger of SUVs" or something? I feel like I've heard the Dodge guys say that. I drove something a little more sedate, but I think it looked pretty cool, the Camry. It's the hybrid with the XSE trim. So that's sort of like a combination of the-- the luxury and the sport, all kind of mashed together. It's a really good value, I think, for $38,000.

I'm going to run through some news. Ford confirmed that Lightning will be striking on May 19. Sorry, I had to do it. Play the (SUGGESTING SAD TROMBONES) "wah-wah." Eric, producer, if you want to do that, you can. Feel free.

But big deal. It's the all-electric F-150 that we've been hearing about, we've been waiting for. We're going to break that down. Joel did the opinion piece this week on why he thinks switches should be more common in cars. I agree with him. Certain cars, it just really is the right feel in my opinion.

G70 Shooting Break wins the internet this week as far as good-looking vehicles. And finally, we will spend your money with a letter from Jason from St. Paul. Let's jump right in.

Joel, kick things off with the Durango. That's probably-- you know, V8s are a little more fun than hybrids. So what did you do with the Durango?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Cruised around and listened to that sweet V8.


JOEL STOCKSDALE: It's the-- it's not quite the top-dog SRT Durango. That would be the SRT Durango Hellcat, which I drove, gosh, I think a-- yeah, a few months ago. This is the slightly more common SRT 392. So it's got the naturally aspirated 6.4 liter V8.

And you know, I'm going to be honest. I-- I think the Durango SRT 392 is a better all-around package than the SRT Hellcat Durango.

GREG MIGLIORE: All day long, same. I agree with that completely in all applications of Dodges. I think give me the 392 in the Charger. Yeah, the Hellcat Challenger, OK, I can get on board with that, the two-door thing. But I agree with you completely.

I am actually drinking an espresso and a regular coffee. I'm more of a regular-coffee person if you will. So that's probably where-- why I like the-- you know, the "near top of the mountain" with the 392.

Did you do anything fun with it, haul anything, get some mulch? I don't know.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Honestly, no. It's basically just been me in it and not carrying anything. It's-- I-- I picked up a couple of dinners this week. [CHUCKLES]

GREG MIGLIORE: Nice. What did you have? I'm curious.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: I got Penn Station one night and Pizza Hut another.

GREG MIGLIORE: Pizza Hut-- I have not had Pizza Hut in years. That's good stuff though, I think.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, it depends on what you get. But-- but we digress. The-- getting kind of more into the nitty-gritty about why I would pick the SRT 392 Durango over the Hellcat, one of the big things is just that the SRT Hellcat Durango is loud in good ways, but it's also loud in bad ways. I took it on kind of a long drive when I had it and spent some time on kind of like backcountry roads, kind of like "55 mile an hour," "60 mile an hour" speed limits. And it had some awful, awful droning from the exhaust on those roads that there just wasn't much you could do about it.

It was kind of one of these things where, if you weren't, like, poking around town at, like, low "30 mile an hour" speeds, or if you were out on the interstate going at like 70 miles an hour or something, it was fine at those speeds. But anywhere in between, it was just-- it was very loud. And that could wear on you really fast. I don't have the same issue with the SRT 392. It seems to have a quieter exhaust that's just a lot easier to live with.

And I think this has a more compliant suspension too. So it's just a little quieter. It's a little more comfortable. You still get a lot of V8 rumble though. It still sounds excellent. And I still think the HEMI V8's are some of the best-sounding on the market. It's just that really classic, smooth, round, hardy V8 noise. It's just that this is something that you could live with a little bit easier.

And it's one of these things where if your SRT Hellcat Durango is something that you don't want to use for, like, practical things like long trips or hauling things, you might as well have just gotten a Hellcat Challenger or Charger. Because that's something that you might not use except for on kind of fun occasions. And it would be lighter, it would be cheaper, it would be faster, it would be more fun. So I feel like, if you're going to be buying kind of like the crazy V8 Durango, you should get the one that offers most of that feel but is something that you can, like, live with and actually use as the three-row big SUV that it is.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think, the way you describe it, the Durango becomes in some ways-- it's a premium SUV with that kind of engine. And then when you talk about-- I'm sure there were probably a number of, you know, electronics and interior upgrades things like that. And we could get into that.

But you know, at that point, you're just-- you're driving a large, styled-up, potent SUV, three-row SUV. Which it's not a BMW or Mercedes competitor. Let's be real. But it's like you're getting into that territory where it's a significant amount of money. You know, it's-- it's your family car. And it's maybe not your family car unless you have a little bit of money once you start to load all that stuff up. So it does tread in that premium territory.

It's funny you mentioned the drone of the Hellcat. Like, literally, I heard that, like, ringing in my ears. I could picture it. I remember starting up the-- a Challenger Hellcat. And just, like, you hear that. Like, just it's got that such unique sound. But I still prefer the 392 for most circumstances.

What-- what kind of trim? What are we looking at here for this Durango?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Ah, I don't have the sheet in front of me. It's-- it's pretty well equipped. It's got a really nice dark red leather interior. And it's got that kind of like molded carbon fiber finish. So it's like the kind of chunks and flakes of, like, carbon fiber material that have all been kind of molded into-- into a shape. So it's not that uniform carbon fiber weave. It's kind of-- kind of a mottled texture to it, sort of like-- I almost think it looks a little bit like some kind of, like, granite or kind of stone kind of look.

GREG MIGLIORE: I can picture that. That FCA, like, look, if you will, I totally can see that.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: I think it actually looks pretty good.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, no, same.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: I like it overall. And, like, most of the materials are pretty nice. Like, they do-- they do bump up the SRTs a fair bit. And it's also got the new-- the latest Uconnect infotainment system. And it works really, really well on this.

GREG MIGLIORE: I've always liked Uconnect, to be quite honest. I've-- it's been-- consistently it's in my top four, five, minimum, sometimes three, as far as industry infotainments. It's just-- it's easy to use. The touchscreen's good. It works. And then some of the executions of, like, the RAM, with that enormous screen, it's just really gorgeous, you know? It's as good as anything you'll see in, like, you know, dare I say a Volvo or a Tesla or an Audi. Just and they're, like, screened-- screened out, if you will.

What'd you think of the new Uconnect?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: It works great. It's-- it's super, super responsive. The screen is really high-resolution, really bright. It's really easy to see. It's positioned fairly high up on the dash, but it's also-- it's integrated nicely. It's not just slapped on top of the dashboard or anything. They've done a nice job with it.

GREG MIGLIORE: That sounds pretty good. Cool. Any other thoughts on the Durango?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: I guess the one other thing, it does handle really well. It's got super-sticky tires. It's got pretty stiff suspension. Not really-- like the steering isn't the most precise. And the whole chassis kind of has a little bit of wiggle to it when you're going over bumps and things. It's-- it's an old-- it's an old platform. It's an old SUV. It's-- and it-- and it kind of shows that a little bit. But despite all that, it does handle pretty well.

Flip side of that is that the ride is fairly stiff. It's-- it's comfortable enough. But like if you're OK with firm suspensions, it's not too bad. But that's another thing to keep in mind, that, like, if you are looking for kind of a V8, rumbly, family hauler or even like mild tow vehicle, you might even want to look at just the Durango RT, which has the 5.7 liter V8, which should still be fairly rumbly but should prioritize comfort over outright performance. And for a lot of people, that would probably make a lot more sense.

GREG MIGLIORE: Is that still that really ancient Mercedes, like, ML platform? Am I imagining that? Because if you remember, the Grand Cherokee was the ML, the old ML, that they used for years and years. Now they're bringing out a new one.

And I thought the Durango may have shared that. I don't know. This is like a bar drinking game at this point, like what old Mercedes Daimler platforms is Stellantis still using? I don't know. Any ideas?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: I think it's related to that same Grand Cherokee platform. But from what I've heard, like, Stellantis has, over the years, made a lot of modifications and updates, just kind of continuously, over the years. So-- which I think is how they've managed to keep, like, the Grand Cherokee and the Durango and the Charger and Challenger actually relevant and competitive still.

So I don't-- so it's one of those things where, like, I think it's still kind of related to that old platform. But it may have changed enough that it would be hard to tell. I don't know. It's-- it's kind of one of those-- it may a little-- it may be a little bit of that like Ship of Theseus kind of thing, where when if you've replaced all of the parts of it, is it still the same thing?

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, that's a great point. Like, to my knowledge, they've never actually, like, replaced the whole platform, if you will, and done one up from, like, a whole sheet of paper. But they've, like, essentially replaced everything and evolved it.

So cool. Well, the Durango's always a fun one for me. I think it's-- you know, it's-- I don't know. Real quick, where would you put it in the segment?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Hmm, that's-- that's a tough one.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's kind of tough, I think. Because it's a very likable vehicle in my opinion. But then it's like, where do you put it, you know?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: That's exactly it. Like, I think, if you're looking for a particular type of vehicle, there-- this is-- this is just kind of it. Like, you can't get a, like, rear-drive, midsize, three-row SUV in the segment, especially with any kind of V8, whether it's the RT with kind of the small V8 or one of the SRT ones with the crazy hot ones.

So it's one of those things where it's like, for certain people, it's absolutely top-- it's absolutely first thing on the list. But if you were like probably-- I guess what I would say would be more of a normal buyer, I'd maybe put it a little farther down. Maybe high end of mid pack. Like I would probably put it behind, like, Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade. I'd maybe put it on par with, like, Mazda CX-9. I think the CX-9 might be a more refined all-around package. But the Durango is a little more spacious, probably better towing. Yeah. Maybe also behind Explorer, but it's close.

GREG MIGLIORE: Interesting. Yeah, that's a good breakdown. I think, for some people, like the Charger, this is what they want. You know, it's absolutely the right-- right car, right SUV, but not for everybody. Let's put it that way.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, it's almost kind of a thing where, like, it's-- it's hard to sort of-- because there is enough variation also in that segment that there are certain models that are just a lot better depending on what you need. Like if you need space above everything else, the-- I'm blanking all of a sudden. The Chevy. [CHUCKLES] Why am I blanking on this?

GREG MIGLIORE: The Traverse? Is that what you're going for?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yes, the Traverse, the Traverse. [CHUCKLES] I had a-- had a brain fart there for a minute.

GREG MIGLIORE: Well, it's funny, because so did I. When you said it, I'm like, wait a minute, which Chevy? Because, like, they have-- yeah, but--

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Because a Traverse is basically a minivan. It's-- it's huge, inside and out. So, like, if you just need space, that thing is probably the way to go. But yeah, if you want, like, a V8 and, like, towing, Durango is really good. If you want-- yeah, Durango and Explorer are really good for those. If you want something kind of more luxurious, like, CX-9 and Buick Enclave are probably really good ones. Yeah, there's enough variation in there that you want to know what you want when you're going out and buying.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I think it's the-- the right car for some people, the right SUV for some people, if you will. And you know, again, it depends on your taste as far as the Durango. You know, it's really like, if you want that, like, in-your-face, you know, SRT vibe, then, yeah, that's-- that's what you should get.

But you know, the Traverse, like you said, is the minivan, essentially, crossover. Maybe a minivan is also what you want too. If you might remember, a few weeks ago, we did the minivan, like, marathon episode of all things minivan. So you know, if you need to haul-- haul stuff, you know, got a lot of different flavors.


GREG MIGLIORE: So well how about we transition over to the Toyota Camry, which is a bit more of a ubiquitous product. You know, you may have a favorite in the segment. It maybe probably isn't the Camry. But the Camry still might be the right car for you. Because it's-- frankly it could be the right car for everybody, in my opinion.

Have you driven a Camry lately? I feel like I'm blending a couple of car-company jingles here.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. I drove one a few-- yeah, [CHUCKLES] was that a-- was that a Toyota jingle?

GREG MIGLIORE: No, that was Ford. "Have you driven a Ford lately?"

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, so I drove a Camry a few months ago. And then, more recently, an Avalon, which is same platform, same engine.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. So, well, I spent a week in the XSE. It was quite nice. Every time I drive the-- the Camry or the Accord, which I drove-- I drove the Honda about two weeks back-- big fan of these cars. I think they're really well rounded. They're very attractive. You get a lot of stuff-- you can haul a lot of stuff with these things. The interiors are pretty nice. It's tricky because I feel like we're-- you know, pick your comparison. It's like the end-- the final days of ocean liners, when, like, you're seeing them as good as they could be but people don't really want them or want to do that anymore.

You know, it's like-- you know, I think Toyota and Honda and some of the other car companies that are still investing in sedans are doing the right thing. Because they can still win with them, they can still get, you know, decent volume with them. And it makes sense to be there because some people do want them. But we're just seeing such a shift all things crossovers that, you know, I just-- even driving in the Camry, it's like, well, you know, it's been a while since I've been in a non-crossover, if you will. You're lower to the ground than you might think. Like, and I'm talking about a Camry here, not like an S2000 or something.

But I mean, to get a little more specific about the Camry, I think it's really good looking. I think the last 10 years, the car has come a long way. Hot take-- maybe the Camry is the most severe-looking car in the Toyota lineup. I'm open to discussion. But there's a lot going on there.

You know, if you look at things like the 86 that are very simple and clean and even some of their-- their SUVs-- like the Land Cruiser is relatively sedate. And I'm just throwing all sorts of segments in here. Camry's pretty severe.

You know, there's a lot going on. And I like it. I think they're-- you know, they had, like, I think it was like a kind of a blacked-out roof. The wheels were pretty smoky-looking. It had LED lights. Even the sill plates actually illuminated at night with, like, I think it said Camry on them.

So a lot of bells and whistles. I should mention, again, this is the XSE package. So you're talking, like, most of the luxury things like I've mentioned and then some of the sporty things. So it really looked the part.

To me this had some of that almost like old-school, like, car gravitas. Like, it's a car. You know, it's not like a sedan or a lifted hatch or kind of an SUV, this is a car.

And you know, Toyota's got that right. I think, from the style standpoint, the interior was bright red. Bright-red leather seats. You know, my family was rolling around in this, and they're like, wow. You know?

It's been a while since we've seen a car that's all red inside. My son loved it. So that was cool. But yeah, so there's a lot going on.

Sticker price is about $38,000, $38,100 if I'm looking specifically somewhere in here. Again, a couple of option packs but that, to me, felt like a really good deal. And this includes the tech pack and the driver assistance features. It's-- like, that's a lot of stuff. And when you consider the average new car or new vehicle price is like $38,000, $39,000, I've even read $40,000, depending on what source you're looking at, you get a lot of, like, capability for a Camry. The trunk is enormous.

If you check out-- I'm not sure if it's the Camry buying guide or the Accord buying guide, but one of our writers laid out that the Camry's actually like the third or fourth-best in segment. But that's not even like, you know, a slight to the Camry. That just speaks to how big these trunks are. I stuck a tricycle in the Accord's trunk a couple of weeks ago, which is a very awkward, fairly large bike.

So, like, you can do stuff with the Camry and the Accord and-- and the like. Handles pretty well. The hybrid gets great fuel economy, mid-40s, depending on the circumstance. So that alone-- you know, you're talking about a large hybrid that's going to give you 40-plus mpg. Yes, sign me up. You know, it's-- it's not exciting like an all-electric car is or even a plug-in, but it's just a hybrid doing its job.

So-- so yeah, I mean, that's-- it's kind of a monologue on the Camry. But it's a pretty competitive segment. You know, you've got the Camry and the Accord, the Sonata, which is very good, and the Mazda 6. So far we have the Camry and the Accord and the Mazda 6 are currently editor's picks in the segment. And they all have at least a rating of 8.5 from-- that's us at Autoblog.

Again, we haven't done the Sonata yet. I think there's a good chance that is going to score very well. Let me put it that way. Because you could get a hybrid version of it. The Kia K5, I think, is going to be compelling. I mean, just to kind of bring things together, it feels like, if you're doing a medium-sized sedan, you're doing it pretty well and you're, like, in it to win it, at least the top of the pack.

You know, and everybody else-- Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, you know, the rest of the crowd-- sort of on their way out. They're not really doing it anymore, you know? So yeah, that's the Camry and that's a mini-- midsize sedan homily, if you will.

I mean, I guess, when you look at the midsize sedan segment, like, what do you think? I mean, where-- do you have an order? I mean, what's your-- what's your favorite?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: I mean, Accord is still number one for me. It just-- it does literally everything extremely well. It's hugely spacious. It handles really well. It's got great engines. I mean it just-- it doesn't-- it doesn't really have a weakness except the interior is maybe a little bit on the bland side. But that's not a weakness. [CHUCKLES]

And then, after that, like-- well, like you were saying with the ratings, I think it's really, really close between, like Toyota Camry, Mazda 6, Kia K5 and Hyundai Sonata. They're all just really close. And again, it's kind of one of those things where it sort of it depends on what you're looking for.

Like the Mazda 6 is still the most fun to drive in the segment. I'd say the Kia K5 is the most stylish. Probably close-- and close behind that is probably the Sonata. And the Sonata has the bonus of offering a hybrid. And Camry offers about the most choice in the segment. You can get it with a V6, you can get it with a four-cylinder, you can get it with hybrid, and you can even get it with all-wheel drive now. Not necessarily combining all of those things into one, but all of those options are there if you're interested.

And I do think it is cool-looking. I love-- I've had one, many years ago, with that bright-red leather interior. And I love it.

But like you said, this-- this segment is just cutthroat. And I think that's partly why some automakers have kind of abandoned it, like Chevy and Ford. Not necessarily-- I mean, like, they were still selling volume. It was declining, but it was still a significant chunk of sales. But it's just the amount of investment it would take to beat the best cars in the segment at this point would be pretty significant.

And if you can't easily translate that platform to other more profitable vehicles like crossovers, it doesn't make that much sense to make that investment. I mean, like, the Ford-- the old Ford Fusion was a solid car but was significantly outclassed by the latest crop of, like, Accord and Camry and Sonata. And it would just be such a huge, huge cost for them to focus on trying-- trying to build something that matches or exceeds that car and possibly coming out at a point where the next generation of these class leaders would come out again and then continue to be class leaders.

I-- I think they got-- I think they just got tired of putting so much money into it to try and compete when they weren't getting a huge amount of market share, that segment of the market is shrinking, and that money would just be better spent trying to be competitive in the hotter crossover arena.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. I-- in Ford's case, I feel like the Fusion was a little bit better than the Malibu. And that-- I think that was a mistake for them to bail on that like they did.

The Malibu was, I think, really good for a minute. But that minute was like 2013, 2014, somewhere in there. And then it just-- the car looked good, but they never, I thought, did enough to get the interior quite where it needed to be. Although the interior actually was even OK. To me, that was like the Malibu sort of got-- like, caught the pack but the pack kept going. And they just, like-- it's like at that point Chevy had already decided, like, eh, we don't know what we're going to do with the Malibu. And then it was just sort of like, you know, the only bad decision is indecision so they just, you know, got rid of it. And that makes sense.

You know, in the case of all of these, Ford and Chevy are, like, large automakers, auto brands if you will. They could give up some scale if it means maybe, hey, they can, like, close this factory or build a crossover there, whereas, like, specifically Hyundai and Kia are still trying to really, like, increase their footprint in sectors, manufacturing, like, just get bigger, whereas General Motors, I think, is still-- even still, like '10 years after bankruptcy, sort of trying to look back and say, hey, what don't we want to do? And I think, obviously, sedans is part of that.

So yeah, that's the Camry. That's a bunch of other different cars. Let's talk some news. Big news this week. Ford confirmed that the electric F-150 will wear the badge Lightning. Great name, I think.

I wrote the story, in fact. So I was obviously quite excited. This is a name that was used in the mid-'90s to early 2000s on, like, basically a performance truck, a high-powered V8 F-150 back in the day. It makes a ton of sense to put it on, like, an electric truck for obvious reasons. Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, I think, were friends back-- back in the day, as in, like, the 1890s or whatever. So just, you know, a lot of parallels there.

But you know, going forward, this is what they need to do. We kind of knew they were working on this, like, themselves after they, like, disentangled themselves from-- it was Rivian, I believe. They had kind of a deal with them, trying to, like, co-develop an electric truck. And, like, I guess Rivian was going to provide the skateboard or something.

But regardless, that fizzled out pretty quick. Ford's doing this all in-house, doing it themselves, which I think makes a ton of sense.

Just doing some research for this article, we were-- we were covering spy shots. And it was out there for sure. But then I went back and just found some stuff that they said. It was sort of buried in a manufacturing announcement from last fall. And you know, we know a fair bit about this truck. You know, we're talking about, like, there's going to be a frunk, if you will, because again it's electric, which makes sense. But they're sort of saying, hey, it's going to be roomy, if you will.

There's two electric motors. They say it's going to be the most powerful-- that's horsepower and torque-- more than any existing F-150, the quickest acceleration, which is logical. So hey, check out my piece. You know, that's-- rather than read it, I'll just say, hey, that's-- that's what's going on with it.

But I think this is what they need to do. You know, Chevy-- I think it was Mary Barra confirmed a couple of weeks back how the Silverado is going to get an electric version. Detroit's got to get to this space, if you will. It's very important. This is-- you know, this is the breadwinning part of their company, you know? Ford is very up front about how the F series brings in more revenue than, like, Coca-Cola, Nike. But then they don't break out that figure, which I think is a little bit of a cop-out.

It's a very lucrative segment. It's going to be electrified. How do you feel about the-- the electric F-150, Joel?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: I mean, I think it's a good thing in a lot of ways. I think the name is, I mean, super-obvious. It's like how can-- how can you not use a name that is about just literal electricity for your electric pickup, and one that has a positive brand-- brand history. It just-- it just makes too much sense. It's like it just was begging to happen.

And I think the-- the only thing that-- that says that Ford is serious about electrification more than making an electrified Mustang-branded car is an electrified F-150. I mean, the Mustang and the F-150 are the company's flagship nameplates. Like, those-- those are Ford more than any other products. So it says that they're serious.

And I mean, I think it's going to be good. Because the American car companies know how to do trucks. Like, if there's anything that they know how to do, it's they know how to do trucks. They know what truck buyers want. They know how to make them work. And I mean, I-- I think it's going to be a really impressive vehicle.

I'm going-- I'm curious if they will be chasing the GMC Hummer pickup when it comes to horsepower. I'm not entirely sure if they will or not. Because while I'm sure that the GMC Hummer is capable of a lot of, like, traditional truck things, I could see Ford kind of dialing back the just, like, outright power and stuff, just to make sure that it's a really durable pickup truck, that like the powertrain will be able to do truck things and do them for a very long time.

GREG MIGLIORE: It'll be interesting to see how they price it. You know, I could see them doing multiple, like, power levels and range levels, where maybe there will be a top end that sort of competes with the Hummer. But then there'll be more-- like, you know, like Tesla and they do with the Mach-E, different-- different outputs and ranges. And I think that would make-- you know, make the most sense.

I think they also-- you know, it's a bit of a transformation for the F-150. You know, it's really becoming an electric F-150. You know, I would bet, as the years go by, maybe we're going to be in a world where there's, you know, the electric versions will be the volume versions. Just like, you know, for a while, it was inconceivable that the V8-- there would be anything else but a V8. If you got a V6, it was like the compromise truck.

And now it's like, you know, V8 is definitely a smaller piece of the pie, you know, because it's-- there's so many other good options you can get within the F-150 lineup. And I think we're going to see a natural evolution of, you know, where F-150 buyers go.

May 19, check it out. They're going to livestream it on their platforms. We're going to try to live stream it on Autoblog. So we'll keep it simple for you. You know, you can be reading our story and also we'll try to get it so we can stream it as well. If you're in the metro Detroit area, they're going to stream it off the side of their world headquarters. So there's that.

I suppose, if you're passing by, you might be able to just see the reveal. But that's coming up in just over a week. Let's talk real quickly. A little bit going back to the past, you are sort of Old Man Who Yells at Cloud here, if you will, like Grandpa Simpson saying, hey, I do not want all of these touchscreens. You want switches. What do you mean by that?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: So-- and what's funny is that I'm probably one of the younger writers at Autoblog and I'm the one that's writing the manifesto for physical controls. But one of the things that I wanted to kind of focus on-- because there's a lot of journalists who've complained about touchscreens and things and have wanted physical controls to come back. I mean, enough people complained about the lack of a volume knob on Hondas that Honda rushed out, literally, a volume knob for their existing infotainment system on, like, the Honda Civic and things to get journalists to quit complaining.

But one of the things that I wanted to kind of highlight is that, aside from the fact that physical controls have a lot of advantages for convenience and even kind of safety, because when you reach for a knob or something, it's always in the same place every time. You can actually get a grip on it. And you instinctively know how to use it without having to look at it-- are all benefits for driving because you don't necessarily have to look at it for very long to be able to actually use it.

But what I wanted to also highlight is that you can use switchgear to make the car a more enjoyable experience. And in my article, I highlight one of the things that I had a whole lot of fun with on the Ford Ranger Tremor is its bank of auxiliary switches that they've got for hooking up fog lights and winches and things.

And stock, they don't do anything. But I just found myself playing with those toggle switches because they just feel really good. They're big, chunky toggles. And they feel like you're activating all kinds of crazy gizmos and stuff. They've got this good, solid "ka-chunk" kind of feeling when you flip it. The-- like, I kind of wish that they actually did things. And there are other cars like the-- like Lamborghinis, for ages, had a cool safety cover over the starter button, kind of like you were going to fire missiles or something.

And actually, in my own personal cars-- I didn't mention this in the article-- on my Mazda Miata, I swapped out the old kind of plastic switches for the power windows with old-school like metal toggle rocker switches, kind of like what you might find in a plane or something or like an old race car, just-- just because I like that feeling. Like, it's a nice, satisfying, kind of mechanical, metallic feel when you're using those switches.

And even like in my VW Beetle, like the starter button on it, it now-- I got a button from, like, a video arcade machine and took the top off of that and put it on there. So now it's got this nice-feeling bright-blue plastic button for starting up my bug from, like, an arcade machine.

Just, like, buttons and switches can actually make the whole experience a lot more fun and can make it feel more premium. Like Audi and Mazda have had some, like, really nice climate-control knobs and switches that have, like, really crisp-- really crisp action on the, like, knobs. And they look nice with, like, the illuminated numbers and things.

And this is all stuff that you just can't get out of the screen. I mean, every touchscreen pretty much feels like every other touchscreen,. It's all just taps and swipes and things on glass. It's-- it's literally the same thing that you do with the most mundane tasks on your cell phone.

And so, given the choice, I would rather have kind of like fun little switches and buttons and things that I don't get anywhere else and can kind of distinguish a vehicle from another and add some character.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think that's a really good point. I think back to the last time I have driven, like, a Jeep or something. The Miata always comes to mind. You just-- because so many things are touchscreens right now, when you can use, like, just a manual switch I think it really adds to the experience.

And in certain cars, you know, to your point, it doesn't feel cheap. It feels actually, like, upscale. You know, it really reinforces a little bit of an old-school vibe but in a good way. And I think certain cars, you know, I think especially in the luxury and sports sectors, chosen wisely, this is-- this is good. It really-- you know, like, if they're, like, chrome or, you know, there's some bright work to accent them, it feels cool. You know, it's-- it's kind of a neat enhancement.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: And, like, I also-- I'm also not against touchscreens. They really-- they have a place. Like in my article, I highlighted that if you're punching in directions on navigation and your parked somewhere, it's way easier just to tap away on the touchscreen keypad than it would be to like scroll through with a dial or-- or even like-- I mean, there are times that it makes sense-- or even like just menus or options that you don't touch very often. And if you did have, like, buttons for everything, it would end up taking up a lot of space and looking cluttered and stuff.

Like, it just makes sense to have a touchscreen for certain things or even like an infotainment dial for getting through some stuff. But for things that you use a lot, I think it makes a lot of sense for them to be physical controls for convenience and then also, like, to actually take that as an opportunity to be creative and give the car something a little distinct and special about it so that when you are using them it's fun and enjoyable.

GREG MIGLIORE: I agree. I mean, I think, like, touchscreens are important. They're the way of the world. Done well-- like, hey, the Mach-E, beautiful touchscreen, works great. You don't even need really any other controls when they're that good. But for certain vehicles, it's the right thing. It's like using an old-school pen or something. And it could also add, again, functionality. Like just a couple of knobs that are maybe handsome, they're a design feature, but they can make it easier.

You know, like, no matter how good the touchscreen is, you know, it might be helpful, just when it's 6:30 in the morning and you're not thinking and you want to get your heater going or you forget how to work your radio in the car you've had for five years, it's not a bad thing. So it can be form and function.

So check out Joel's column that went up on Wednesday. We're recording this on Thursday. You'll probably listen to this on Friday or Saturday. But it went up last week. Give it a read. It's a good-- again, a good read.

So let's talk about wagons. The Genesis G70 is quite the beautiful car. Revealed this week. It's not coming here. Makes me sad. It's officially called a Shooting Brake. Zac Palmer, road test editor, wrote the piece, up earlier this week.

But I mean, I think this is one of the coolest, like, cars that we'll probably see this week. It wins the press art contest of, you know, most attractive vehicles. The G70 is really something that I am-- you know, the more I see of it, I've driven them at least-- I've driven one, I think, maybe two. It's a cool car for sure.

I-- my only thought here is I wish they would bring this here. I mean, crossovers, I feel like, have a place. Why can't we have some car-based crossovers? You know, why do they all have to be lifted, like, crossover things with, like, plastic wheel wells? Why can't we do this, is my thing. So why can't we have nice things?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Because people don't buy them. [CHUCKLES]


JOEL STOCKSDALE: I mean, like, I'm absolutely with you. I really, really, really wish that we could get this here. Because A, it looks gorgeous. It's-- it is a wagon-hatchback thing but with kind of a fastback feel to it, not-- not as much as the, like, crossover coupe or-- or, like, the Audi Sportback stuff. But also it's not nearly as upright as, like, a Volvo.

So it's-- it's just really, really good. I've seen some people online compare it to the old Lexus IS. I think it was called SportCross.

GREG MIGLIORE: Wow, I forgot about that car. Yeah, yeah.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. But this is-- but honestly this is even sleeker. And then the other part is that I've driven most versions of the G70. And it's just a superb car to drive. It is-- it is my favorite kind of small luxury sports sedan. It's such a tight, eager chassis. The steering feels great. The engines, especially the V6, is seriously powerful. And it is a shame that we're not getting it.

But also it's because it probably wouldn't sell well here, especially because Genesis has a crossover of roughly this size coming to America soon, the GD70. And I'm sure that if people walk into a Genesis dealer and they're like, I want something practical, and they were offered the G70 Shooting Brake or the GV70 crossover, I'm sure nine out of 10, maybe even 10 out of 10, would end up buying the GV70.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think you could turn some-- turn some, like, hearts and minds, if you will, just by having a wagon on display, like, that looked that good. I think some people might walk in and be like, whoa, what is that? But yeah, not enough to justify it. If anybody might do it, I could see Genesis taking a swing at this.

You know, their-- their cars, I think, are gorgeous. I think, right now, if we were doing a rating of just pure style, like, they would be in the top 10 easy, creeping into the top 5. And if you really just look at designs and throw out all the legacy, like, heritage, I mean, these are great-looking cars. It's hard to really, like, say somebody is demonstrably better than how Genesis vehicles look right now.

They're not for everybody. You know, I drove-- I think I had the GV80 a while back. And it was-- there was a lot going on. But it looked like a Bentley in some ways because it was British racing green, it seemed like, and it had a ton of chrome, and the headlights looked a little, like, Bentleyesque.

But you know, they're going for it. And I applaud that. And if they really want to go for it, bring a wagon to the United States.

How about we spend some money? All right, this is a good one. Jason in St. Paul writes to us, "First of all, thanks for the show and all the car reviews over the years. I enjoy listening every week." I hope you're listening this week. Thanks for listening to "The Autoblog Podcast" and reading Autoblog.

Now to spend some money. We had to get rid of his daily driver a couple of months back, during the first lockdown-- this was a-- this was a Golf care he really enjoyed-- mainly because he wasn't using it working from home and it was getting time to put it out to pasture anyway.

"Now I'm anticipating my office will be opening up in the next couple of months, and would like something that's a little bit fun but also comfortable for a daily commute. Looking for a little bit more cargo space than the old Golf."

So here are the candidates. Cadillac CTS wagon, Audi A4 wagon, an A6 Allroad, or something else. The budget's about $15,000. What are you thinking? What else should he consider? "Thanks ahead for the help and advice."

I'll kick it over to you, Joel, because I know which way I'm going to go.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: I mean, honestly, I think all three of those are good choices. Like I-- I don't think I really have anything bad to say about any of them. [CHUCKLES] Like, I think it would kind of come down to you should go ahead and just, if you see them, check them out and see which ones you like.

I can add-- I've got two ideas that you might want to also consider. One of them I would strongly consider, if you can find it, look for an Acura TSX Sport Wagon. Not super common, but they are out there. And they're really nice.

It's the Acura TSX. It's a good-handling little car. It came with a Honda K series four-cylinder, which super smooth engine. It's fairly revy. It's really reliable. You can only ever get it with an automatic, which it's gonna-- I mean, I think the A4 wagon, depending on what year you're looking at, you could still get a manual with it. But most of these, you're going to be kind of stuck with an automatic.

But the TSX Sport Wagon is something I would very strongly consider. And the other thing I would say is to maybe look for a late-model Golf Sport Wagon or Golf Alltrack. Because it would be the updated version of your Golf, but with more space. And you could actually get those with a manual transmission. They were also available with all-wheel drive. They're really nice-- and they're really nice cars.

So yeah, TSX Sport Wagon and the Golf wagons are what I would add to the list. And both of those-- well, the Golf would be-- you would probably be able to get that one as the newest compared with the others, which-- which might be a nice thing. It might not be as worn out, which is something to kind of keep in mind. And like I said, with the Gulf, it's-- it's more commonly available with a manual transmission in case that's something that you're looking for.

But I-- yeah, I think any of those you would probably be happy with. How about-- what are your thoughts, Greg?

GREG MIGLIORE: I forgot about the Acura and the Golf. Good choices. I did forget to mention that this is a fifth-gen Golf. So we're talking about like '06 to '09 model years, I'm assuming.

It's-- it's an interesting way to go down, just a newer Golf, you know, or a wagon. Because I did drive-- jeez, I forgot when I drove it, but I did drive a Golf manual, like, wagon thing. And that's kind of cool. But my answer is just pretty simple. It's the Cadillac CTS. If you can find a CTSV, which you probably can't for $15,000, go with that. I think that was a beautiful design. The taillights were amazing. It had a pretty good V6 in it. Just a great looking car. That, for me, would be what I would do.

The Audis are very good options as well. What I'm doing is what I think most of us do, which is base your choice on emotion. And I really like that era of Cadillac design. I think they-- they really crushed it. And I think they did it, you know, at a time when other people weren't taking that kind of risks.

So that's what I would do. Probably not a surprise there. My guess as you would assume I would lean towards the Cadillac wagon, just because I like that generation of CTS wagon.

Let us know what you're going to-- what you're going to do there, Jason. Good luck with the purchase. Please give us an update. Have fun with that Golf while you have it.

And that's all the time we have this week on the Autoblog Podcast. Have a great weekend. Be safe out there. And we will see you next week.