2024 Ford Mustang interior, and we drive the BMW X7 M60i | Autoblog Podcast #771

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In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. They kick things off with a discussion about the 2024 Ford Mustang's interior that Zac got to spend time in this week. Then, in the news, the pair run through news of a CT5-V Blackwing refresh by way of spy shots, the reveal of a new AC Cobra, rumors of the 911 GT2 RS going hybrid for its next generation and hit on the start of the Formula 1 season. Next, they discuss the cars they've been driving as of late, including our long-term 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line, the 2023 BMW X7 M60i and the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross. Finally, our hosts field a Spend My Money question for someone looking to go electric for their next vehicle purchase.

Send us your questions for the Mailbag and Spend My Money at: Podcast@Autoblog.com.

Video Transcript



GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to "The Autoblog Podcast." I'm Greg Migliore. We have an awesome show for you this week. We're going to talk about the interior of the Ford Mustang. This is the new generation of Mustang. Road test editor Zac Palmer sat in it. So we're going to talk to him here in just a minute.

We also have news on the Cadillac CT5 Blackwing Refresh. I honestly can't believe these cars are already due for a refresh, but we're seeing some spy shots. We're going to talk about that, because at the end of the day, talking about American muscle sedans, that's just a lot of fun. The Ace Cobra is back.

The 911 GT2 RS may go hybrid-- that's a rumor. And of course, there was an F1 race last weekend in Bahrain. We got to talk about that. Can anybody stop Max Verstappen? We're going to get into that.

What have we been driving? The IA EV6 electric car. I just turned that over to news editor Joel Stocksdale. And in return, I got a Toyota Sienna. Really happy about both, but I am very sad to see that EV6 go. I loved every minute of driving it. And actually, my long-term update on that is going to be a little bit different.

We'll also talk about the BMW X7 M60i and the Toyota Corolla Cross. Woo, that is a mouthful. I'm a little bit out of breath. Hey, we will spend some money. Road test editor Zac Palmer, welcome aboard.

ZAC PALMER: Thank you. Yeah. Man, I'm excited to get this show going. We got a lot of stuff from high-performance VA, high-performance hybrids, some racing. This is already shaping up to be a pretty neat looking show, I think.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, let's have some fun. You sat in the new Mustang. The interior is actually a pretty big story here because a lot of the new generation-- some of, I would say, almost like the critics have said this isn't exactly a full new generation. It's more like a half-generation.

Ford's calling it an all new generation. We'll let the people fight that out in the comments and on the enthusiast, like, the forums and everything. But what was the interior like? That's a big selling point, if you will.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. So this was really the first chance that we got to get into the Mustang. We've seen it from the outside. I've taken a lot of photos of it. It's in the the Detroit Auto Show, Chicago Auto Show, you name it.

But got to sit in the seat today, which is pretty neat. And like you were saying there, Greg, yeah, this is where the huge changes are. So the old Mustang was a pretty traditional design. You had a smallish screen in the center with another smallish screen in front of the driver as the cluster. But this new one has a completely different center stack, center console. It has basically a wall of screens in front of you. Brings it thoroughly into the 2020s.

And yeah, the real thing that Ford was emphasizing here was showing off the new tech that they had for their screens. They're using this thing called Unreal Engine, which if you're familiar with a lot of video game engines and how those run to get super smooth graphics, just next gen stuff that all appears-- super high refresh rate, very responsive-- it's the same tech that they're using in this Mustang.

And it's actually really neat because you get a lot of animations in the screen that-- well, it's stuff that I've really never seen before in any kind of a car. The way that they're able to really visualize the different drive modes, look at things like the launch control, being visualized in the screen, the way you're able to move the car around on the screen. There's a lot of really high tech in here that I think would appeal to somebody who likes that really smooth video game processing and whatnot.

But beyond the screen, of course, there's the interior in and of itself. When I hopped in, it very much feels like a Mustang. You sit a little higher than you probably want to. The shifter is right there. Transmission just kind of falls to hand in that very cliche way of saying it, but that's the way it is.

There's a lot fewer buttons all throughout. Frankly, there are more buttons on the steering wheel than there are throughout the whole cabin. I want to say there's probably like seven or eight buttons on each side of the steering wheel that you can swap through modes with. The adaptive cruise control, the lane keeping, everything is on the steering wheel.

And then in the center console, there's like five quick shortcut buttons because all the climate control stuff is in the screen now; all the radio controls are in the screen now. It's very, very pared down and simplistic feeling inside just because everything is routed through that giant wall of screens in front of you.

But yeah, all of the normal things that you expect from a Mustang. You're sitting in it. You don't have a really great view out. Is it better than a Camaro? Totally. The visibility is slightly better than a Chevy Camaro.

But yeah, you still feel like you're sitting in an American muscle car. You still feel sort of like you're sitting in that previous gen car if you remove all of the screens and button ideas from it. So you're going to feel at home inside the new Mustang so long as you can adapt to those new screens, which we still have a gap to use while we're driving and whatnot. That'll be the real kicker.

Like, how easy is this stuff to adjust on the fly. Is it intuitive? Is it not? But I am hopeful for right now because just the actual performance of both the screen, the infotainment screen, and the digital cluster is really high.

And one little Easter egg that I was super excited to check out that I'll sort of finish with here is that I got to see the Fox Body gauges, which Ford is really high on about for this generation, and I am too. I'm sure that everybody else had seen them is this well.

But no, and they're really, really cool. You can just swap into them like two or three different ways throughout the infotainment system. And they're just the white backed gauges when the headlights are off. But when you turn the headlights on, they turn green just like they would in like a late '80s, early '90s Fox Body Mustang. It is way cool.

And if I owned one of these, I would probably be running around with it in that view most of the time just because it is so cool and so retro. And we need more cars to do things like that. Bring back the retro gauges now that we have a digital cluster that can basically do whatever you program it to do.

GREG MIGLIORE: Totally love it. My parents had an '82, '83, '94 Fox Body, somewhere in there. And I do remember-- I think it was that timeline. But it was a Fox Body. And I remember the digital cluster, and I remember-- I love that car.

It went through, I think, two transmissions though or something. Quality, reliability in the early '80s was not great, let's put it that way. If you got a bad car, you got a bad car.

But man, I remember that car. I loved it. They loved it, too. But they were just like, you can't budget a new major piece of the powertrain into a young family budget. Let's put it that way. But I'm with you. I would roll around like that all day long. So I could see the Fox Body kind of getting its due if you will kind of as an aside here.

ZAC PALMER: It's absolutely come back. Values on them are going up. I remember when you could get like a Fox Body GT with like-- in decent condition for maybe like four or five grand.


ZAC PALMER: Not happening these days. And I think that Ford is recognizing that and giving us a little bone with the new Mustang.

GREG MIGLIORE: Well, it's also as like population ages and people come into like serve their prime car buying years, they remember cars of either their youth, their parents, or their teen years, college years. And for a lot of people now, that age is turning to be the '80s and the '90s, as opposed to like more like the dream cruise era of like '50s and '60s.

It's like I mean, time marches on. And suddenly, the '80s are a very long time ago. And people want this kind of nostalgia. So I'm very excited to drive the new Mustang. I think it's going to be a winner. I think they did exactly what they had to do.

And it sounds like-- and by that I mean they stayed the course, but they changed it just enough that it's interesting. And it sounds like the interior was well executed, let's put it that way.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. I really don't have any big complaints after crawling all through it. There could certainly be some people that are displeased about the fully digital experience. But I'm certainly a fan of what's going on here. So they didn't completely change it. It still feels like a Mustang, for those that are worried about that. [CHUCKLES]

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Sounds good. Sounds good. Well, let's talk about the Cadillac CT5 Blackwing refresh. I actually can't believe we're already due for a refresh for the Blackwings already, you know?

I drove the CT5 last fall, and I remember thinking, this is awesome. This is just red meat and potatoes, muscle sedan in a luxury package. It's not really what I think Cadillac is going to be doing for all that much longer. They're definitely moving to a fully electrified strategy.

And they're even moving away kind of from this sort of like really like in-your-face demeanor. If you look at like the Lyriq-- well, the Celestiq is pretty over-the-top. But even some of the crossovers, they're not quite of just the aura that the CT4 and the CT5, especially in the Blackwing editions, bring.

But they're refreshing them. It looks like a pretty significant refresh", quote unquote, "upfront" if you can try to see beyond the camo here in these spy shots. So I'll be interested to see what they do. This is kind of a strange comparison.

But when you look at the Hyundai Palisade, it was pretty good looking SUV. And then they changed it for the refresh because you got to change it for the refresh. So once they peel back all this camo, I'll be curious to see like is this a slightly good change or a slightly bad change, you know? So we'll see.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. Just like you, I was frankly shocked to see these spy shots roll into our inbox the other day. I was like the CT5-V Blackwing is already being refreshed? I feel like we just did the first driver this thing like a year ago.

GREG MIGLIORE: We did. Yeah.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. A little bit like here it is I guess if you bought one, sorry, there's already a newer one coming out.


ZAC PALMER: But yeah, no. Certainly, looks a little more aggressive up front. And from the rumors that I've seen poking around online, it looks like that even bigger changes will be coming inside the CT5 in general-- including the Blackwing are getting a fairly big interior refresh where instead of the separate cluster and infotainment system, they're going to get Cadillac's wall of screens, similar to what we see in the Lyriq or even like the just-refreshed XT4.

So that was sort of like the one knock on these cars if you're going to knock it for anything is that it just didn't feel as premium inside as, say, like an E63 sedan or BMW M5. Theoretically, this would sort of amp up the luxury feeling inside the thing, not as though the car needs much to be better. Like, I would still recommend it over pretty much anything else in this segment, as far as like a four-door sports sedan with crazy power.

But yeah, this will probably just make the CT5-V Blackwing even more difficult to beat. So yeah, I'm excited for it. And I'm more or less excited that Cadillac is just going to keep making these things. Like a manual supercharged V8 sedan in the mid 2020s or 2023 is not-- it's a bit of a rare bird to see them still looking to develop it and bring it forward for years to come. Has me excited.

GREG MIGLIORE: That is the-- and perhaps, we maybe buried the headline a little bit here. But we do expect that 6.2 liter supercharged V8 to stay the course, which, I mean, you know, I'm all about electric, but you really can't beat a 6.2 liter supercharged V8. That's awesome.

ZAC PALMER: Plus, a manual transmission. Nobody else offers a manual. And in this luxury class like this, it's one of a kind right now. So--


ZAC PALMER: --keep it going, Cadillac. Keep it going as long as you can.

GREG MIGLIORE: Absolutely, absolutely. So, speaking of continuations, the AC Cobra continues-- subtle design tweaks, supercharged V8, 654 horsepower. So that is going on.

A little bit of a history lesson-- a lot of people see this car. You think Shelby. Shelby American actually sourced sort of the car, the body from AC cars in the UK back 50, almost 60 years ago. So that company is still around in some form. And this is around. It's a Cobra GT Roadster.

So, again, this is like a modern vehicle, if you will, such as it is. But it has the totally retro design. So we're looking for a full reveal in April 2023. I think that'll be interesting. That probably isn't the New York Auto Show, although, man, that would be awesome if they did. Who knows?

So, and you can get a six speed manual transmission with this car. That was the cohesion I was looking for with this in the Blackwing, even though they're two entirely different beasts. But I think this is cool. I'm glad this is still available in this day and age. I just watched "Ford v Ferrari," which had the Shelbys in them. But just this design, it's really held up over the years.

I remember-- this is quite a few years ago, and I'm forgetting who named it. So this is kind of a half-baked story here. But somebody named the Shelby as one of the most iconic designs of all time for American. And I'm looking at that like, well, is that really an American design? Technically, that's a British design. So I mean, sure, Shelby's as American as Apple pie, but this car has some British roots, and they're continuing.

ZAC PALMER: British design made famous in America. This thing is really like almost exactly what I would expect, like an old Shelby Cobra Restomod would look like today. And it has all of the modern touches-- LED headlights, LED tail lights, big brakes that actually work, some really sticky Michelin rubber on it, a modern engine. It has the 5 liter coyote V8 in it with a supercharger attached to it, of course.

GREG MIGLIORE: I feel like they've done that play once or twice before, right?

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, yeah. Maybe.

GREG MIGLIORE: Stick a Ford V8 in the AC Cobra. I mean, I don't know, I feel like I've seen this movie before.

ZAC PALMER: Exactly, exactly. But no, I mean, it's a Restomod, but I feel like it's made even cooler because, well, it's AC that's actually doing the dang thing.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, that's nice.

ZAC PALMER: So, you know, you get it from as much of an original equipment manufacturer as it gets when it comes to Cobras. Now, will it be as deadly and as just absolutely crazy as the old one? I'm guessing not. I'm guessing it'll have some sort of traction control. So that'll be neat.

And it looks like you can get it with an automatic transmission, too, which, I don't know, I don't think I would do if I'm out there buying a Cobra. But one could do it if they feel like it.

$342,000 honestly seems about right. How much does like a real Shelby Cobra cost these days? Definitely into the six figures, like deep six figures. So, yeah, I mean, you love this look, and you want all of the modern day performance, this kind of looks like it.

I hope that they build it because it looks like it's coming soon. And hopefully, they build enough for people that everybody can get one if they want one. So I'd love to see this rolling around Woodward. It'd be so cool.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I think, yeah, I can't wait to see more news out of ACE. It's kind of cool. It's kind of-- like I said, it's fun to be talking about this in 2023.

So let's shift over to the Porsche 911 GT2 RS rumors from "Autocar" is that it's going to get some hybrid running gear to enhance performance. I think this is just really a natural evolution. Like, Porsche is actually quite good at hybrids and electrification.

They use it for performance a little more than, like say, Tesla does, if you will, as far as more like electrification and efficiency, although Tesla does do it with performance. But, again, Porsche is all about the performance. It makes a lot of sense. It could really get that total system horsepower rating up to a lofty figure, let's put it at that. But what say you?

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, I mean, this rumor of the 911 going to a hybrid powertrain I feel has been kicked around for a few years now at this point--


ZAC PALMER: --and in a few different forms. This one, to me, seems like the most reputable, the most likely to actually occur just because it really jives with my thinking of, like, all right, where should the 911 go hybrid first? The idea here is the GT2 RS, which is the craziest highest horsepower 911 that exists out there.

And it's sort of like a test bed and experimental model to a certain degree. And that like this-- it's not one of the core models like a 911 turbo, a regular 911 Carrera, even the GT3. This is like a super low-production, low-volume throw the entire book at it, throw every single thing that we have at it sort of car. That's what it's been in the past.

And if there's any place to introduce 911 buyers to the idea of the 911 having a hybrid, this feels like the place to do it. Like, you can spend as much money as you want. This car will be an untold sum of cash to buy and none of the buyers will care. And so you can just make this hybrid incredible.

Porsche's prove that they can do that in the past. They have plenty of hybrid electric cars just like you said. But the key here really is just going to be keeping that weight down to like, all right, this is an RS model. Is it still going to be good for the track? And coming up with a car that is actually better on the track because of that hybrid system than the previous GT2 RS.

So if anybody can do that I believe that Porsche has the ability to do so. So, yeah, I'm all for this rumor. And I kind of hope it's true because this is a nice feel, like an easy way to ease us into hybrid 911s, which, I suspect for the next generation that comes around, we're probably going to be looking at that more hybrid than non-hybrid 911s. So we'll see if this rumor ends up being true or not.

GREG MIGLIORE: They have been talking about Porsche hybrids for like almost a decade regarding the 911. I remember interviewing there the then Porsche CEO at a European car show. I think it was Geneva. Might have been Frankfurt. It could have been Paris. I was fortunate to go to a lot of these shows back in the day.

But I remember I asked them point blank about like the sports car hybrid and electrification strategy. And he said something that I believe was in German that was kind of lost in translation. Then he kind of walked it back. But this has really been on their minds for a long time.

And I think like the GT2 RS is a good starting point. You raise a really good point, just as like how do you get into this without maybe alienating some people? How do you do it right? And like this specific 911 is so purpose built. It's so-- it has such a focused mission that you're going to add some hybrid technology to it.

You've got to think, how does it work to achieve what we try to do with this car? Because it only has like one, one and a half goals, if you will, which is to be wicked awesome on the track. So that added weight has to be distributed properly.

And then you have to look at how the electric components increase performance. So I agree with you. I think that's a really salient point there that this is a good way to of dip your toes into it. And then as you look at more mainstream 911s, well, how do you roll out some of this technology or similar technologies. And I think if the 911 GT2 RS buyers can get on board with it, my guess is some of the other 911 buyers will as well.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. And then Porsche can go ahead and say, all right, yeah, we sort of derived our new 911 Carrera hybrid tech from the 911 GT2 RS hybrid tech.


ZAC PALMER: So you're getting the RS stuff. This is great. This is good. It all just meshes and works together well.

GREG MIGLIORE: Absolutely, absolutely. We have the story. We have some good context in there. If you want to see the original story, it was on "Auto Car." It was written by Greg Cable, who I used to work with at "Autoweek".

He was sort of like the scooper extraordinaire. He knows everything, let's put it that way. And a lot of it's true. So check it out. He's a great journalist, a great European motoring journalist. So head over to "AutoCar," too. Got to give them a shout out for their original scoop.

Speaking of performance, just segue over to F1. What'd you think of the race?

ZAC PALMER: Man, it looks like Red Bull is pretty unbeatable right now this year. They're looking a little bit like Mercedes did in they're like seven- eight-year run constant world championships. Right now, honestly it's tough to see many people coming up and trying to challenge Red Bull.

I even saw that Red Bull had both Max and Sergio turn their engines down with like about 10 laps to go in the race. Like, yeah, so you guys can go ahead and target a time that's about a second slower per lap than what you've been doing because nobody's going to catch you. So I mean, I would be scared to see what would have happened if they had turned it up and gone full at it the whole time because nobody was even close to them at the end of the race. The only person that was on the podium other than a Red Bull was definitely the most exciting part of the race, though, with Fernando Alonso.

GREG MIGLIORE: Definitely.

ZAC PALMER: He might be the one that could save this season as far as making it exciting to watch. So huge pass on Lewis Hamilton. Huge pass on Carlos Sainz there toward the end. Dude is, I believe, 41 years old now and just racing the wheels off of that Aston Martin.

That has me most excited about this season is just seeing where Aston goes, where can they go with updates? Can they get anywhere close to Red Bull or not? We'll see. What did you think about it?

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. I mean, I agree with you that dramatic pass there on lap 46 by Alonso to pass Sainz who's got to be like maybe a little over half his age, you know? I mean, that was--


GREG MIGLIORE: --that was cool. I think it's nice to see sort of this generation of-- last generation of F1 drivers like Alonso and Hamilton still kind of hanging in there with Vettel retiring. I kind of wonder if he might come back at some point. It seems like a lot of times F1 drivers sort of pull the Tom Brady and find a reason to come back in a year or two, which I think would be great.

But it was nice to see a veteran, let's put it that way, have such a great race. I didn't expect this out of the Aston team, did you? I was a little surprised.

ZAC PALMER: So it was definitely a surprise coming into pre-season testing. All of the rumors around pre-season testing was about like Aston Martin was like creepily fast because they were setting really good times. Like, Fernando was topping the timesheets. And everybody was like, all right, maybe it's real, maybe it isn't. This is pre-season testing. It's practice.

Everybody has their engines turned down. Maybe it's not for real. But Aston Martin came out and did it in the race. Everybody was going at it. And, I mean, Fernando passed both Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz on track. It's not like one had a huge advantage over the other.

The Aston was just quicker. So that's really cool to see. We got to get Lance Stroll up there. Hopefully, he's recovered from the cycling incident that he had before. And he'll be able to get up there with Fernando and challenge the Mercedes and challenge the Ferraris.

But we could have a really interesting fight on our hands for second and third place here as far as the constructors go because Ferrari does not look like a clear second place team right now. We saw Charles Leclerc actually went out from an engine failure. So, yeah, it's wide open right now as far as who's taken second. There have to be a lot of changes from somebody to try and challenge Red Bull for first, though.

GREG MIGLIORE: This in some ways reminds me of back when like Vettel was at Red Bull 10 plus years ago, and they were just really rolling, just the aura that they have again in the-- the team does look unbeatable. But I also kind of wonder if-- in all sports, a team looks invincible. And then after like a race or two or a game or two, something happens.

So I mean, I'm not ready to just be like to crown Max already. But I mean, if I were a betting man, clearly he looks very amazing, let's put it that way. But I don't know, I think there'll be some wrinkles here, you know? I wouldn't be surprised if somebody else could get into the fight here and at least make it a little more interesting. So, yeah.

ZAC PALMER: I mean, you never know with reliability issues. Obviously, Ferrari had a ton of those last year. Does Red Bull have this car fully sorted for this year? I'm sure they'd like to think so, but you never really know what could happen. Ferrari had a car that was ridiculously fast last year, but they couldn't do it. They were not good enough strategy wise or reliability wise to keep the car on track and actually win races.

Red Bull has definitely proven that they can do it in the past, but they don't just hand you the trophies for every race. They actually got to go out there and race and win them. So no, there are a lot of fun storylines I feel so far here.

I mean, Aston Martin is definitely the most interesting. But like on the other side of the grid, McLaren's performance was almost like just as shockingly terrible as Red Bull's was shockingly good. And that was just brutal watching McLaren, watch Lando Norris go into the pits five times. I feel like he came close to breaking a record for most pit stops in a race--


--having to keep worrying about the hydraulics of that car. And yeah, man, that was brutal watching it. And Oscar Piastri going out. They have a lot of work to do down there. It was actually kind of brutal watching the broadcast because they'd keep going back to Zak Brown.

They were talking to him on the pit wall throughout the race. And that's like, oh, my god. McLaren's just having the worst race of their lives right now. And the TV has decided it's Zak Brown day. So-- [LAUGHS] oh, man. Yeah.

Fun race to watch, though. I was entertained the whole way through.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Bahrain is always spectacular, like, at night with the lights, the dramatic camera angles. I don't know if that's like drone footage they're using or however they get it, but it's really just a spectacular race to watch, I think. Just my viewing habits this week, I recorded it, and I've kind of been parsing it out throughout the week.

My preferred way to do it is actually to watch the races live, especially when they're like European. I think it's a great way to wake up with a cup of coffee and kind of just let your senses come to as you get into the race. But, yeah.

ZAC PALMER: This one was nice. It started at 10:00 AM. Not everyone will be that way. [LAUGHS] But, yep.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, cool. OK, so follow along on "Autoblog." All season, we're going to have the race reports. We're going to try to actually expand our F1 coverage a little bit this year. we're not going to be Autosport, we get that.

But try to bring you some special features. A lot of our editors are actually pretty big fans of Formula 1, not a lot. Almost all of them are. And we're going to bring some of our own expert analysis such as it is. And man, I hope to get to a Grand 1 this year. I would love to get to maybe the one up in Montreal.

Miami is one we've talked about. I wouldn't say no to Vegas, Austin, any of the ones that are out there. I guess, is Vegas on the circuit this year, Zac? Am I--

ZAC PALMER: Vegas is on.

GREG MIGLIORE: Vegas is on. Oh, man.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. It's the most expensive Grand Prix ticket of the year. It doesn't matter where you go in the world, you're going to pay more in Vegas this year.

GREG MIGLIORE: I mean, what else is new, right? Formula 1 just, in general, Vegas. But--

ZAC PALMER: Yep. That's where you go to lose your money. So instead of losing your money at a casino, you spend it all on the race.

GREG MIGLIORE: Maybe Vegas might be the closest thing we get to like Monte Carlo, if you will, on the domestic circuit for a variety of reasons.

ZAC PALMER: Oh, yeah, I guarantee all the celebrities will be there, all the big names. It's going to be a spectacle.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good, Sounds good. So let's talk about some of the cars we've been driving, and we've been in some interesting ones. I will lead things off with the long-term KIA EV6.

I just passed the key fob over to news editor Joel Stocksdale, who I charged it, I quick charged it. Then he went to-- he had to do a bit of errands, including one to like Toledo, Ohio. So he topped it off again that things were working out the battery, let's put it that way.

But man, I'll miss. To me, it was like a great-- like, I mean, just to break this down a couple of different ways. I loved how it looked. It's a crossover, but it's still relatively kind of low slung.

It looks like a sport wagon to me in a way that you just don't see very much. I get why they had to call the crossover a utility vehicle. Hell, it won utility vehicle of the year from NACTOY, North American Car, Truck, & SUV of the Year. But I mean, to me, this really felt like a sporty kind of wagon.

They did just enough to make it a crossover, which you got to do in this day and age. They could have even-- they've done some more things which, they did. Joel drove the crazy powered one. I forget where he actually drove it.

But that's there if you want it. But just our long-termer is really-- it's a gem. It's pretty functional, plenty of room in the back. I didn't really have any major issues charging with it, which I mean, charging just in general is hit or miss.

Yesterday at like over 100 kilowatt hours, it was just ripping. I was able to top it off pretty quick up to 80 plus percent for Joel without spending all day there. It was a nice, sunny day. I dropped it into winter mode to kind of prep the battery, which was good because it was still quite cold.

And thanks to you, Zac, you went on Amazon grabbed this level one charger. So that actually worked out pretty good for me as well. I plugged into my just standard outlet in the garage, left it there like all day Sunday.

I was like walking the dog. We're in the front yard, in the backyard, just around the house. So just I didn't mind running that cord from the garage to the car in the driveway. And think it got about 20 miles of range. So that was not bad.

ZAC PALMER: That's good to hear that the level one works out. And I feel like for a lot of people, that honestly could work out. If you don't drive more than like 20 to 30 miles a day, that's about how many miles you're going to recoup from that level one charger.

And OK, maybe you want that level two charge to get much quicker charging at home, but I have a feeling a lot of use cases, you might not even need it if you're not a really heavy driver.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. It really depends, too, like, what is your personal grid? What do you have at home? What do you have at the office? Do you live close to something of the charging network? Do you have a DC fast charger close to you because that can really make a difference?

I was very confident letting it run down because I know there's a fast charger that's fairly close. And it usually works pretty well. The worst experience I had was-- a very cold day. I guess this was last week. It was kind of late.

It took me a good 45 minutes just to get anywhere And it took a minute it seemed like for the battery or the charger to, whatever, to warm up and start actually giving me significant electrons. But I mean, the charging has been pretty good.

I still enjoy, like, hey it's, lunch time. I need to go charge the car, you know? I think that's still fun. That's still a novelty. I don't look and say, oh, hey, it's lunchtime. I need to go gas up the Chevy. That's not something that I look forward to.

But yeah, let's go do a charge. Let's see how it goes. That's fun, you know? So I will-- it's a very solid car; very, very good execution for Kia. I think it's very impressive how they were able to meet and nail the design and also have a really solid execution with the powertrain and the range.

And they're well-positioned. Just even the summer, I think we're going to see significant gains in the infrastructure for charging. I know here in Michigan, they've talked about adding chargers on 75, which is sort of like the main thoroughfare that connects everything from the state line all the way into the UP. So more to come. It's going to be good.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. I'll also just mention we're going on eight months with this car. No big issues to speak of.


ZAC PALMER: I know that going and dipping your toes into a brand new EV, totally new powertrain technology, can be a little scary. But our experience has been like virtually seamless with this thing. And it's cost us even less than most gas cars to run because we haven't had to do an oil change. So, no oil change.

And Yeah, it's just been super easy and chill to run. So that's really been on the up and up. There are no horror stories to speak of. It's just been seamless adding an electric long termer to the fleet, which I'm really glad to see.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good. Can't wait to add another one.


GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. All right, so let's talk about the X7 seven M60i. You spent some time in that. What did you think?

ZAC PALMER: I did. Yeah. I'm a huge X7 fan.

GREG MIGLIORE: OK. That's interesting. I don't hear that every day.

ZAC PALMER: I know. Honestly, I mean, if I had to like go and rank cars in the BMW lineup that execute and do their job really well, the X7 is, frankly, one of their best products to me. As far as like three-row SUVs in this area, I would probably recommend the X7 over pretty much everything.

And I specifically drove the M60i, which is the hot performance version of it. It is indeed a true hot performance model of the big three-row SUV. It's a lot of fun to drive. It has that 4.4 liter twin turbo V8, 523 horsepower, 553 pounds feet of torque.

The thing gets up and moves. It sounds great. You get some good burbling and crackling from the exhaust. It feels like a bit of an event to drive. It's not this like boring three-row SUV. It's a BMW through and through, and that the thing is clearly engineered to be fun and interesting to drive for enthusiasts who care about that sort of thing.

And in addition to it having all those great elements, it also just executes on the idea of a three-row SUV so, so well. It's not just really great at handling. It rides so, so well on the highway. The air suspension really gives you this nice plush ride.

And it's rocking 22 inch wheels. They're not small wheels or anything. But it's just comfortable. I put a decent number of highway miles on it over my few days with it. And man, you could drive this thing a long ways with the family in the back, second, third row filled up and just feel very, very comfortable.

On the downside of this thing-- and I should also mention that the X7 got refreshed for 2023 exterior design, interior stuff. What I'm talking about-- on the downside is the interior refreshing of this thing, specifically the tech. It has BMW's new iDrive 8 interface with their curved display.

It looks beautiful. It looks really nice. It looks expensive. It's rather responsive. It has all the good screen things that you might like. It's just the UI is frustrating-- so, so frustrating. Previously, BMW's old interface, you could get to certain things with just a tap of a physical button, like a heated seat button or the tap of the traction control button to go into sport traction. If you want to change your heated steering wheel, boom, there's just a button on the steering wheel.

That's no longer the case. It takes so many button presses to get to things, which is not luxurious in any way. It's annoying to do while you're driving. It's annoying to do when you first start the car up, and the screen is loading up. And it's like I just want the heated seats on right now.

Unfortunately, getting rid of all those buttons has taken away from the interior experience to me. And the prettiness of that curved screen is just-- it's not making up for it at all. But that's really like my one complaint about the X7. Everything else about this thing is just fantastic.

I even love the design. The one that I had was this crazy marina bay blue frozen. It's like a matte paint thing. I mean, I had multiple people throughout the week asked me like, is this a wrap? Because, yeah, it looks-- honestly, to a certain degree, it looks like it could be a wrap, like a really nice wrap.

But, no, then you say it's paint. And everybody's like, oh, wow. This is a crazy paint job that you can get from the factory, from BMW. So, yeah, no, like I sort of said off the side, I have very few things to say that are not glowing praise for the X7. And M60i is definitely my favorite just because it has that awesome rumbling V8. So, great week in it.

GREG MIGLIORE: I feel like we've were really kind of like boomeranging like electrics, takes on electrics, and then rocket ship V8s in this podcast, which is not bad, you know? It's a time of transition, right, you know?

ZAC PALMER: We absolutely are. And you know what? Both are great. Both have their merits.

GREG MIGLIORE: Indeed. "Car and Driver" got this thing to 60 in 3.8 seconds. Did you do that? And does it feel that quick?

ZAC PALMER: It genuinely does feel that quick. And one thing from the refresh that is even better-- so I drove the pre-refresh, one of these, like three or four years ago. They gave it a new 8-speed ZF transmission. And it's noticeable. The shifts, when you're in sport+ mode, are far more pronounced.

You really feel like you're slamming the paddles and the car responds to it. It's far more sporty and engaging than you would expect from a three-row family SUV. Just sort of adds to the drama of the M60i. It's not boring to drive. It's genuinely fun to drive.

GREG MIGLIORE: OK. Yeah, this is-- the X7 is-- I don't think we have too many people truly dislike it. But it's not really-- I don't know, it doesn't seem to have strong support in our editor like sort of ranks. Maybe you could be the one who builds some momentum, I don't know?

It's just it's interesting everybody has their preferences and what resonates with them. It's been a minute honestly since somebody has had a strong take on particularly liking the X7. I'm wondering if the M60 treatment is giving you a little bit more good feelings, if you will of it. If so, that's great. That's what it's supposed to do.

I will say this-- I'm kind of with you. I generally have liked the vibe that the X5 and the X7 give their owners, as opposed to some of the other like Mercedes or Audi or Acura SUVs. I kind of like the feeling you get, if you will. Like, it's the steering, the design, some of the interior layouts. It does resonate with me. So you're not on an Island, let me put it that way.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, most of the beef, I feel, from others is about the design.


ZAC PALMER: And I mean, I think if the big grill works on any BMW more than others, it's the X7. It's proportional to the face. It's a flagship for all intents and purposes. They sell more of these than they do 7 series by a long shot.

And it should have like this big royal, hey, I'm a BMW face. And it fits. It fits. And I really like the refreshed touches they made to it. And to your point about like the M60i, yeah, sure, I really do like the V8. But I drove the pre-refresh version of the X7 with the Inline-6.1. That thing's really sweet, too.

It's so hard to fault the BMW Inline-6. And going 0 to 60 in the low fives versus this one car and driver did 38, that ain't so bad. That's still pretty dang quick for a pretty large family vehicle. And it sounds so sweet, too. So I'd recommend either one, truthfully.

GREG MIGLIORE: OK. Fair enough, fair enough. Would you recommend the Toyota Corolla Cross?

ZAC PALMER: That is a tougher sell.


GREG MIGLIORE: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

ZAC PALMER: Oh, man.

GREG MIGLIORE: A bit of a speed bump there.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, yeah, definite speed bump with the Toyota Corolla Cross. If there's a car with the definition of like, "it's fine" applies to it, I feel like the Toyota Corolla Cross embodies that. It's not a bad car, so to speak, but it just does everything to an acceptable degree.

It has the tech that you would expect from it. It has a nice little infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, digital cluster, heated seats. The one that I'm driving is the XLE, costs over $27,000.

But this car is sort of exists because the RAV4 is so dang huge these days. So well, here's a little Toyota that's a bit smaller. Still has very usable backseat space, pretty large trunk.

But now, where it really starts to get away from me is driving the thing. It has a 2 liter four cylinder with a CVT and very little sound deadening. It's just buzzy, buzzy, buzzy. I mean, maybe, I say, all right, I'm getting on the throttle a little. Well, you really do have to get on the throttle to make it accelerate because it ain't that quick.

So even of just trying to keep up with traffic, you're going to get the CVT, going to rubber band high up into the revs. And it's a very unrefined experience. It feels its price. So the handling is nothing to write home about.

It rides. It's plush enough. I've sort of been calling it the college grad special. It feels like it's a car for somebody-- you just got out of college. You want something that can hold all your stuff in the back, maybe a cup of friends, something that's super cheap that has tech like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

But you don't really care about the way it drives. You're not super concerned about steering feel or handling feedback. This is a car that does all those things. It checks a lot of boxes, but it doesn't do it with the same excitement that say like a Mazda CX30 does it. Doesn't have the styling presence of, say, like a Kia Seltos. It's definitely not as even fun to drive as a Kia Seltos with its turbocharged engine, dual clutch transmission, and that thing.

And yeah, there's just a lot of other cars that also do all of these basic things right and well, and they also drive better than the Corolla Cross. And that's sort of where I land on the thing, and that, sure, does it do a lot of the things that it needs to do right? Yeah. But it just-- there are other cars that do all of those things, and they drive well and make you a lot happier than the Corolla Cross will.

GREG MIGLIORE: OK. Yeah, I think that's-- I think that's a very thorough take, let me put it that way. And that's how I often feel when I drive something that doesn't resonate with me. Like, you can see, OK, this might be the right car for XYZ person, but here's some of the shortcomings. Here are some of the good parts. I mean, that's part of the job-- reviewing the cars.

And I haven't driven the Corolla Cross, but it's not really on my short list of things to get into, let me put it that way. There's a lot of things I'm really fired up to drive this year, whether they're performance, whether they're electric, whether they're just interesting or new, that type of thing. I'm really psyched to drive a number of minivans. But yeah, we'll see if that Corolla Cross makes its way over here, let's put it that way.

ZAC PALMER: [CHUCKLES] Yeah. Yeah, no, I wouldn't be too enthused about it. The one saving grace for this thing that is coming is that they're going to make a Corolla Cross hybrid. And that to me will have some real appeal because that is going to be a very efficient small crossover.

This thing, it's just a regular 2 liter four cylinder. It gets the standard fuel economy that everything else in this segment gets. Throw a hybrid at this, though, and I bet you're going to get in the 40s, which is pretty darn impressive for a vehicle that can hold as many people and carry as much stuff as this. So it needs something like that to get me excited about it because, as is, it's just a very budget-oriented vehicle that others beat.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. I think that's a fair take. Should we spend some money?

ZAC PALMER: Let's spend some money. It's a good one this week, it looks like.

GREG MIGLIORE: This is a good one. All right. Ron writes in, "hey, there. I really enjoy the Spend my Money portion of the podcast. And I find myself in a quandary over my next vehicle. I currently drive a 2013 Audi Q5 with a buck 20 on the clock. I plan to look for an EV in the fall."

OK. Here's the catch-- he's not really a new car buyer. He wants to get a used luxury SUV. Requirements-- under 40 grand, precise handling, hopefully under $50,000 price tag with great styling and a quiet cabin.

He lives in North Carolina, very seldom take road trips over three hours and he works from home. So he's not a high-mileage guy. That means you're going to have some flexibility I think when you're looking as far as like exactly what kind of EV might work for you.

"Also I, don't haul more than one or two people or lots of things." He's a fan of the Jaguar I-pace and he's driven one. "With so many other cars out there now in the used market growing, I thought this would be a good ask." This is a great ask. Thank you for writing, Ron.

A lot of things come to mind here. It's a really interesting time to be in the market for something exactly like this. Just to jump in here real quick, I do like the I-pace as a potential candidate. I think you're on the right track. If you drive it and you like it, that could be the right vehicle for you.

I really was taken by the design. It does offer respectable range. And nobody's going to say, hey, this Jaguar's not a cool electric vehicle. So I think you've already got like, I think, a really strong comp. And then there's a number of things you could kind of toss in there as you make your decision. But what say you, Zac?

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. Man, the I-Pace is definitely a good one if you're looking for that precise handling and great design because there are very few EVs out there that I feel look as unique and striking as the I-pace. And I drove one for the first time about a year ago. I actually did a pretty large road trip in one.

And the thing is surprisingly fun to drive. It doesn't really drive like an SUV. It drives like sort of a slightly lifted hatchback. More car like than SUV like, which I'm guessing is why you like it so much. But I'm also going to throw two other alternatives out there--

GREG MIGLIORE: Let's do it.

ZAC PALMER: --that are right around your $50,000 range-- one that'll crest it, one that'll probably even be below it if you're looking at a used car. The one that I'm going to say that will stretch your budget a little is a BMW I4, specifically the eDrive 40. Those have been out now for about a year at this point. So you can go find a used one.

I did some research on prices, and it looks like you can get one. None of them are really high miles at this point. The most miles I've seen on one are like 10,000 to 15,000 miles. And those are in the low 50s. You can get them between like $54,000 or $56,000. So just above that $50,000 mark.

But I think that it's going to hit every single one of your requirements here. Great styling. I love the Gran Coupe look. You obviously don't need to carry more than one or two people around. So that means that a sedan would work out just fine.

Plus, for those rare moments that you do have to haul stuff around, it's got a hatchback. You can put those seats down. It's super utilitarian in that way. And the I4, I'd argue, is even more fun to drive than the I-Pace.

Other than that, going on the lower side of things, I would recommend the Polestar 2. And these you can get for well under the $50,000 range, especially if you're OK with some miles. And you can even go with a dual motor for the Polestar 2.

That I4, you're only going to be able to get the eDrive40, which is a single motor rear drive. The Polestar 2 will be quicker. Not quite as luxurious as the BMW on the inside. It's a little more pared back with that Swedish styling that we're used to from Volvo and Polestar, but it's still a luxury vehicle.

It still feels premium inside. And it also hits the fun-to-drive angle, too. I drove a Polestar 2 probably about a year and a half ago at this point. Thing is shockingly fun to drive. Obviously, Polestar was derived. They've always been a performance side of Volvo, and they've kept that in the Polestar 2.

And I even drove one that didn't have the performance pack with the Ohlins and the big brakes. And the thing was still very engaging. Could you get one with the Ohlins and the big brakes and it'd be even more fun? Totally. And I'd still be under $50,000.

So, yeah, those are my sort of two that I would recommend checking out. I would definitely drive both of them if you can. Polestar 2, dual motor, specifically. It's really quick, probably just about as quick as that I-Pace that you're looking at. And the I4 is just going to be even more luxurious.

And it has a little better charging tech than the others, too. It's faster for fast charging. So if you go on those three-hour trips, you'll be able to get back quicker. And I just like the BMW look and the interior tech that you get with it. So, yeah, those are my two recs.

GREG MIGLIORE: OK. Sounds good. Those are solid ones. I think you you've been a big fan of various models from BMW in this podcast. Interesting thread, trend I'm picking up. And hey, that's fair. Sometimes cars resonate with you.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. There are a lot of new BMW I like. Some I don't like so much. But no, there's definitely been more that I like than dislike as of late. I think.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good. Sounds good. A couple of others. I will throw out there that don't directly address some of the criteria. But I think it's something as you look at your search, you might be interested.

You can get like an EV6 or an Ioniq 5, the Hyundai version, right in that like price point, like 40 grand, 50 grand. So I know you don't want to go new. But if you do-- you could-- they're also-- just doing some quick Googling. You can find like a 2022 Kia EV6 Wind. I'm seeing one here on Carfax.

It's got 20,000 miles on it. That is technically a used car. It's a 2022. Not technically, it is. So some of these like the EV6 and the Ioniq 5 have been out for a little bit. So some of them have hit the used market.

If you want to approach it that way, I would probably still stay with a new vehicle from one of these models just because. But if you wanted to go used, that's there for you. The prices do seem to be pretty similar, though. You might want to drive one of those just to get a different take on the segment, if you will. Try that. So a couple other thoughts there.

But yeah, Ron, let us know. Let us know how you land. Good luck with your search. Check out everything on Autoblog Electric. Got to give that a plug right now. That's our hub for all-things electric. We have a charging station finder on there. We're going to keep evolving that. Get some more details in there. All the latest electric news from "Autoblog." It's all in one place. So do check that out. So that's all we have this week.

It's been a great show. Good hanging out, Zac. What's your spring beer?

ZAC PALMER: Spring beer, man, I've got an Ommegang Trace Vos in the fridge right now.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good.

ZAC PALMER: I recently went to this beverage warehouse that had a wild array of stuff. It was a Belgian ale that I'm rocking right now. It's straddling between light and dark. So sort of like how we're straddling winter and spring right now. I feel like it's a nice fit.

GREG MIGLIORE: Three to six inches of snow is apparently on tap for Friday. so--

ZAC PALMER: Oh, joy.

GREG MIGLIORE: --you're going to want to maybe go back with your winter side of that. I've still got my case of Guinness that I'm working through. Its March, March Madness. Tournament's about the start.

To me, Guinness is-- this is the time you drink it-- when it's cold, it's chilly still. But you get a little bit of sunny. It's Saint Patrick's Day coming up. These are all good things in my book. But then you kind of want to be done with your Guinness by like April because a lot of times you get into April, it can be like shorts weather like on April 2nd, at least around here.

And Guinness is not a summer beer, let's put it that way. You kind of want to be drinking it when there's like patches of snow still on the ground, so.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. I might have to go break out some Stout's for this weekend if we're going to be back in and dated with the snow. A Guinness sounds good.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right. And if you liked the podcast, please give us five stars on Apple, Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you get the show. Be safe out there. Send us your Spend My Money's to that podcast at autoblog.com. And we'll see you next week.