A hybrid and electric Corvette, plus we drive the Ioniq 5 | Autoblog Podcast #728

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. Zac drove the electric 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Greg drove the fire-breathing 2022 Maserati Levante Trofeo. The two dive deep into the relatively heavy news week by starting off with a discussion about the upcoming hybrid Corvette before chatting about what the electric Corvette might be like. They have a chat about the possibility of Porsche and Audi officially joining the Formula 1 field. Then, Greg and Zac get into some quick-hitting news to round out the segment by dissecting the updated Kia Soul (now without a turbo), the 30th Anniversary Edition Land Rover Defender and the new CEO at Aston Martin.

Following the news and drive reviews, they rope in Senior Editor, Green John Beltz Snyder to give them a quick download of what went down at the first drive for the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning. Finally, they reach into the mailbag and answer some questions from someone who is less than pleased about infotainment systems in some new cars. And lastly, the gang hears back from someone they helped out in a prior Spend My Money segment on the podcast.

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

Video Transcript

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GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to The Autoblog Podcast. I'm Greg Migliore. We've got a great show for you today. We're going to talk about the electric Corvette, which soon to be here. Audi and Porsche are going to join Formula One. That's going to be awesome, I think.

We'll talk about the new Kia Soul, kind a cool look at Land Rover 30th Anniversary Edition with white steel wheels, shake up at Aston Martin in the CEO's chair. We're going to break down a couple of cars we've been driving, the Maserati Levante Trofeo and the Hyundai Ioniq 5. Zac Palmer, our road test editor, is going to talk about both of those, because he's driven both of those.

We're going to try a new feature called Dispatches with senior editor for all things green, John Snyder. He's going to give us some of his impressions from the Ford F-150 Lightning launch. I think he's down in Texas, actually. So we're going to see what that's all about.

Let us know what you think. We think it's pretty cool. And finally, we will spend your money. We have a Mailbag feature.

All right, let's get right into it. Zac, welcome.

ZAC PALMER: Thank you. I'm happy to be here. We have a pretty packed show. I'm excited to get to it.

GREG MIGLIORE: Packed show, we've been talking about this for years, for years-- an electric Corvette, a couple of different things here to peel back the onion. It's going to be a plug-in hybrid first, then we'll get an all electric model following that, and the plug-in is going to be all-wheel drive. So this came out of nowhere, frankly.

It almost was like Mark Reuss, who's the President of North America for General Motors, just shared a LinkedIn post, and it caught the car world very flat-footed, and then it was just out there. So, I mean, to me, this is super exciting. We don't know a ton about this, not a lot of like specs or anything of that nature.

But I mean, to me, and I'll throw it over to you here. But I just-- this is like, in the last few years, a mid-engined Corvette, and now we're talking about an electrified Corvette. It's everything people have been talking about for like 15 years. Boom, it's here. So I'm pretty psyched, to be honest.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, that whole mystery of we don't really know a whole lot about it right now is that Chevy just sort of like shove this on us. And they're, like, yeah, there's going to be a hybrid C8, and they didn't say if it's going to be like a Grand Sport sort of thing. They didn't say if it's going to be like a full on flagship, 1,000 horsepower, crazy thing that is even above the Z06.

They just said there's going to be a hybrid, and there's a video of one with the power being sent to the front wheels, which, I mean, obviously, that has never happened in a Corvette. So it's pretty mind blowing to even see that video, to see the reality of that. And then also like you said, the fully electric one, which I have even more questions about honestly.

I've seen the rumors about them possibly making an electric Corvette crossover, which is a whole other bag of worms to get into, I suppose. I mean, I know that we've talked about the possibility of some like Corvette brand offshoot and that this could possibly work for. But yeah, it's some interesting times going down there in the Corvette world, I have to say.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's interesting, too, because I don't think the idea, the notion of a Corvette crossover is blasphemous anymore. We've got the Ferrari Purosangue coming-- I think I said that right-- pretty soon. Ferrari already did the FF, which was-- the beauty of that, is they sort of have the stance in a car-like stance, if you will. But it was a hatchback. I think they call it four-wheel drive, but it was really all-wheel drive.

I mean, Ferrari has already done that. We're going to talk about the Maserati Levante in a little bit here. Lambo has the Urus. Like, I'd be OK with it. To me, I don't necessarily think we need to have these sort of sacrosanct boundaries in 2022 anymore.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think it could actually work for them.

ZAC PALMER: And it's sort of following in the footsteps of the Ford Mustang. The Mustang Mach-E already going as an electric crossover. I think we've already seen some pretty good evidence as far as sales and demand for that. That people want something like that, a crossover with real performance, with a really great design, and really great name recognition, too. Just probably what would sell it right there, have something super sporty that people know and understand. So, yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think what would help General Motors and Chevrolet is the fact that Corvette is transcendent. I don't think Camaro currently is. I feel like that nameplate has been almost weakened a little bit. Nothing really wrong with the car. Well, a few things wrong with the car. But--

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: --it's still for what it is. It is fine. Like, I don't know anybody who has driven a Camaro recently amid like, oh, this thing sucked. It's more like-- there's some compromises with the visibility, the interior, like bits, things like that.

Things that, frankly, cars like the Challenger get away with just because they're a little more drivable, and there's more different things you can get on them. Whereas the Camaro has sort of morphed into the really like sharpest end of the spear-- yeah, the spear, if you will-- the sharpest tip of the spear, in the pony car segment. And the Mustang has gotten more-- you could get a Shelby or whatever you want there, but you can also get an EcoBoost.

So that one-- like to me the Mustang is sort of evolved in a better way, I guess, to bring this all together. And Corvette has certainly evolved over the last few years. And yeah, I mean, I actually, as I think allowed, I did a piece on this a few years ago about how a Corvette SUV and a Corvette spin-off, if Chevy or General Motors were to do that, could actually work.

I think there's something here, and I think Corvette design has been awesome for the last two generations. So I think they have a lot of like mojo there to try to like create some different like electrified variants and even a crossover variant.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, and you know what? If it ends up being a two-door sports car, I don't think I would complain that much about that either. We certainly have plenty of those super, super high horsepower EVs on the way. But to have probably one of the most affordable versions of those, you have things like the Pininfarina Battista, Lotus Emira, those are all going to be in many hundreds of thousands, if not million plus range.

A Corvette electric hypercar on the other hand, maybe that's a couple of $100,000. So crossover, two-door sports car, I'm in either way. Chevrolet Corvette and Chevy wants to go with this one.

GREG MIGLIORE: And to put a really fine point on this, when you look at some of the exotics that Chevy sort of competes with. They do compete with this. To me, the C8, the Stingray, is as good of value in any segment as you can get. Because it is an exotic mid-engined sports car that you could get for like 50 some, $1,000 I mean, that's a steal in so many different ways.

You add the Ultium technology, which is what it sounds like they're going to use. And you can even slice that up a few different ways like make them more affordable, one like, you know, the Mach-E, the entry level one, make it more powerful with more range, charge more money for it. You could do some interesting things. Again, that certainly lends itself to like a crossover silhouette as well.

So this is also an area where General Motors is ahead of companies that-- with the Corvette, they do compete against. you can suddenly throw out that Ultium battery pack against Ferrari and what are they going to say? They don't have any sort of EV tech that can answer that. Porsche does with the Taycan. But also remember they've got the Volkswagen group behind them, helping them with their battery technology.

But it's definitely not like a universal thing. Like this is definitely becoming a strength for Chevy and Ford. So we'll see. I mean, to me, that would be kind of wild if Chevy gets an electric Corvette out before Tesla gets the electric Roadster back. You know? I mean, kind of wild.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, I really think that no matter what, I mean, at the end of the day, it's really looking like the Corvette lineup is going to be way more diverse than it has ever been with just your standard small block V8, the Z06 with a flat-plane crank V8, a hybrid, an EV. It's going to start looking like the 911 lineup, honestly, with like eight billion different variations. I'm sure that they'll have convertible and coupe versions of both. There's going to be a million different choices, which is great. I'm all for it. It's a lot of fun.

GREG MIGLIORE: Cool. So let's transition to something that I've been enjoying a lot this year. It's been a lot of fun, Formula One.

ZAC PALMER: Yes.

GREG MIGLIORE: We recently got word that Audi and Porsche, two Volkswagen Group brands, are looking to enter the series in about a couple of years. This has been rumored for years, that one or both would try to get in there. Makes a ton of sense, especially for-- these brands are enthusiast-oriented brands for many of their products, to try to get in there, and get sort of that enthusiast message to some of their core consumers.

And I think it could be a good move for both of them. Little surprised that VW is sort of looking at both of them from a strategic standpoint. Like it seems like from a corporate hierarchy standpoint, you could probably pick one--

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: --and go from there. Audi had the like the best endurance team of all time in the early 2000s into the 2010s. Like they just-- like Tom Kristensen and those guys, I mean, they would just dominate. at Le Mons and like, here and like the ALMS series, one of it was called that. So I mean, and they both, obviously, Porsche have great motorsports histories.

But Formula One is something different, and it's not cheap. I mean, one of the stories is it looks like Audi would make like $550 million offer to sort of buy in to McLaren, which is an interesting move.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: I mean, we'll see. But I mean, at a high level, I would love to see two of these brands involved in Formula One.

ZAC PALMER: Me, too. Me, too. I mean, to have some sort of team, the McLaren Audi, that sounds pretty cool. I was pretty excited when Honda swooped in and they were Honda McLaren. Then obviously, that went very downhill.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.

ZAC PALMER: But the partnership I think with Porsche, I know that they're rumored right now to be talking with Red Bull to possibly supply engines when they get to the engine refresh in 2026, which is an even cooler partnership than I feel the possible E McLaren Audi one since this will be a true engineering partnership. If Porsche hops back in there and starts to develop F1 engines, I'm going to be very, very excited about that.

I know that way back in the '80s, they had a lot of success. Porsche has not spent a lot of time in F1. Back then they were sort of Porsche tag engines. But no, if they get back in here, seeing how successful Porsche has pretty much been in every motorsports competition that they try to compete in, I have a feeling that they're going to be very, very good.

Will they be world beaters right at the start? I'm not so sure. I was feeling pretty good about Honda's chances when they jumped right back into the sport a few years back. But obviously, any sort of predictions about success for them right away were very, very wrong. They eventually got there. They obviously won the World championship with Red Bull last year. But just in time for them to pull out.

So I don't know. I don't know if Porsche can hop right back on there and be super competitive in F1 as it is today, or if it'll take them some time. And maybe five, six years down the road of them, maybe by like 2030, we'll see a Porsche winning a world championship. That would be really, really cool.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think that's a really good approach for Porsche, too. I agree with you. Like Audi sounds like they're going to be more ambitious. Like just reading all the different scuttlebutt out there from like car and auto week, and a few other like really hardcore motorsports like hubs, like--

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's a little-- like that seems very ambitious. Like they're trying to go very much into the McLaren team, which, I mean, I know McLaren's had some financial troubles. But to me, I mean, you're talking about one of the most successful teams of all time. So somebody who likes the sport, like I prefer the idea of like Audi being something a little bit different, not taking over McLaren. But there's a lot of questions there yet to be answered.

But a Porsche engine deal sounds awesome. Like Red Bull had a lot of success, too, with those Renault engines for a while, too. So getting like the right unit in their cars could, I mean, could really get them back up on the grid.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, I know that they've basically taken over the Honda power transfer right now, and it's just doing all the development work themselves. And it seems to be working. They're pretty much just as quick as Ferrari this year for the most part. They've pretty much won an equal amount of races. And well like you said, it's been super, super fun to watch so far this year.

So I don't know, man, I'm really excited. There's obviously every chance that they could go back on this. Because they won't actually be entering for real, for real, for a few years now. But man, I am very excited about the prospects of it happening.

GREG MIGLIORE: I've been just real quick trying to like really pin down to go back to the Audi side of things. It looks like they're offering 650 million euros for a pretty large stake in the McLaren team. I was looking for that number now for a few minutes.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's a power play, right?

ZAC PALMER: It's a lot of money.

GREG MIGLIORE: I mean--

ZAC PALMER: It's a lot of money. And yeah, I mean, if they do that, they will be like the McLaren Audi F1 team so they'll for sure have their name out there right next to McLaren. And I mean, they haven't defined how that would work. Would there be Audi people in the garage? I don't know how much sway each would have.

But I mean, maybe there'd be some parts that Porsche develops that Audi gets to share because Volkswagen Auto Group-- I don't know. Or maybe they'll just be entirely separate like racing teams tend to do a lot and just sort of go their own ways. So yeah, I don't know. So many questions I have right now, and Herbert Diess has not exactly answered all of them. He's just sort of announced that it's happening.

GREG MIGLIORE: Pretty excited for the Miami race this weekend, though.

ZAC PALMER: Me too.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yet another US race, so I think that's awesome.

ZAC PALMER: New race, new track, man, I would love to be there.

GREG MIGLIORE: Oh, yeah.

ZAC PALMER: I'm actually considering the Austin race maybe this year, or maybe Vegas a year after that. There's so many opportunities now to go to a race in the US, and I love it. I would love for them to get back to Detroit. Let's have another Detroit Grand Prix.

GREG MIGLIORE: 100%. I think you could work on Belle Isle, although that's a pretty tight course, where they're going to run the Indy cars. And then Indy is actually going to switch to the streets of Detroit, which is where Formula One ran in like the 1980s.

ZAC PALMER: Exactly.

GREG MIGLIORE: So I mean, I think it could work. Detroit, I mean, obviously there's a lot of motorsports fans here, a lot of gearheads. I mean, a lot of people like F1 around here. That's for sure. And I mean, we have the airports. We have the hotels. I mean, I think it could totally work here.

I agree. I mean, I'll give myself a plug. I wrote a column on this a month ago. Mainly because I've been semi addicted to Drive to Survive. I think that's really good like evening content, if you will, when you're looking for something to do and maybe whatever you normally want to see isn't necessarily on. It's just great open a beer and zone out from 9:30 to 10:30 at night or something on Netflix.

ZAC PALMER: Hey, I'm right there with you. I just finished the last season myself.

GREG MIGLIORE: Nice.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, they do an interesting job. Every now and then, maybe the drama is ramped up a little more than what reality actually is out there. But--

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.

ZAC PALMER: --just like you said, it's such an entertaining watch. And you know what? If they don't ultimately come super close to us, I would take like Watkins Glen as like a consolation.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.

ZAC PALMER: Do like a historical track. That would make me really excited, and I'm sure any all-time F1 fans would flock there in the US at least.

GREG MIGLIORE: Gosh, that would be like-- would there not be like the greatest email to get from like a manufacturer saying, hey, we're going to be having some media. We'd love to have you experience our something something. It's going to be at the F1 race at Watkins Glen. I mean, oh man. I've never been there. So that's like really on my list of tracks I'd love to get to, do a lap or two in, that'd be awesome.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, same. I've driven past it a couple of times hiking the actual Gorges of the Glen. It's a beautiful area down there. But yeah, I know, got to get to that track one day.

GREG MIGLIORE: Well, I'm rock, too. When you look at those like Northeast tracks that-- have you ever been in the Lime Rock?

ZAC PALMER: Never been, no, that's another one on the list. So--

GREG MIGLIORE: Well, we feel like we're coming up with like a summer bucket list here of tracks we need to get to.

ZAC PALMER: No kidding. Got to make a little Northeast road trip, with a fun car.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Well, this is another fun one, Land Rover 30th Anniversary Edition, it essentially has some styling cues that hark back to the original Defender that was sold here 30 years ago. And I mean, that's just kind of what this is. They're kind of giving us-- it's sort of like the Toyota Land Cruiser Final Edition. 500 units for the American market.

It harks back again to that first Defender from 1993. This is a 2023 model. the only thing I don't really like is the mud flaps. Otherwise, it's just a fun styling exercise that is pretty cool. If I were looking for a defender, I-- I'm always a fan of steel wheels on off-roaders or trucks even. So I think this looks pretty awesome.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, me too. Honestly, it looks like a pretty ideal spec with the white paint on the white painted steel wheels, all-terrain tires. The only thing that I might change about it is upgrade from the 2-liter four cylinder up to the inline-six. That's the only version of the Defender that I've driven, is the inline-six, and is such a smooth, smooth nice powertrain with all of the power that you might need in a car like this.

At the starting price, looks like it's $75,000. I think I might just want an inline-six versus a little turbo four. Might just make me a little happier, I think. But other than that, really, really great spec.

GREG MIGLIORE: When I saw that, I thought, oh, the turbo four is the motor they're going with? Ugh, OK.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: Not that there's anything wrong with that engine, but I'm just like-- I don't know. It wouldn't be the vibe I would be looking for in that.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, the old one, the one that they're sort of basing this off of had a 3.9 liter V8 with like at least a little rumbly sound. Obviously, I don't necessarily want the V8 Defender but that inline-six I think would be perfect.

GREG MIGLIORE: We've seen a few cool like sort of throwback Broncos, and Defenders, and things like that, Wranglers, in the last like just a couple of years. Now that these vehicles have all been back out on the market, the Wrangler, of course, has been around, never left. But I mean, that Park Service or Forest Service Bronco that they did with-- I think it was with Filson, which is kind of like a clothing utility goods brand. That was a really cool one.

And I think Ford did one with one of the charity soup kitchens in Detroit around here. And that was like an all-white one that looked really cool, also had the steel wheels. So yeah, I mean, it's definitely a cool look. I think when I'm looking at these vehicles, I don't want like the most cutting edge futuristic look, like I want that retro look. So yeah, it's just a lot of fun.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, same. I actually saw that Filson Bronco-- it's like two years ago now when I was on the Bronco Sport launch. They had it out there at the off-road course. Yeah, thing looks fantastic. Would love to buy like that exact spec for the street. And yeah, I mean, it would be cool if you could do this.

I don't know if you can. Maybe if you play around in the configurator enough, you can make whatever Land Rover Defender look just like this one, or at least very close to it. I know that this is definitely the direction that I would take. Maybe a 90, though. You make it a two-door, and it'd be perfect.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I think the Defender in two-doors looks-- to me, that's the look. And I know that's a cliched take, but I actually think in terms of the Bronco and the Wrangler, it looks great with four-doors. I really think that's a good look for both of those, and of course, the 4Runner.

But to me, when I see like the Defender with four-doors, it takes on almost more of a generic SUV look. Whereas with two-doors, I look at that, and I think, OK, I see what they were going for. That reminds me of some like the concept they showed like 10 years ago.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: And I feel like they're hitting a little closer to the mark there. And I mean, sometimes I wonder not to get too in the weeds on the design. But you see like that Ineos Grenadier--

ZAC PALMER: Oh, yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: --thing--

ZAC PALMER: I've seen that.

GREG MIGLIORE: --and you wonder, it seems like there's like a market that maybe Land Rover didn't quite capture with this new generation.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, that's a really great point about it looking a lot like just a regular old SUV and four-door spec. And it looks a little like a discovery when you--

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.

ZAC PALMER: --have a full long four-door Defender. They're going to have a three row here. I think the 130 that's probably going to look even more plain Jane.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.

ZAC PALMER: So standing out with the 90, I'm 100% with you right there. That makes all the difference in the world for that thing.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, well we were talking about how we're not thrilled with the turbo in the-- previously, the turbo in the Kia Soul is going away, and that is one of the highlights of the model year updates for the Kia Soul. I'm not necessarily sure that's a good thing in this case--

ZAC PALMER: No.

GREG MIGLIORE: --whereas, the Defender Turbo like, I don't know if that's what either of us want, but no turbo in the Soul. It seems like it's going to be soul sucking, if you will, to be very cliched. That's so bad, I know. But you do get more standard safety features.

Yeah, I don't know the Kia Soul won our compact crossover comparison a couple of years ago now. Largely because we all love that turbo engine, and the design, and all-wheel drive, and it was one of those things where the strengths outweigh the fact that it wasn't exactly a crossover, and people just gave it a lot of points.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: I don't know.

ZAC PALMER: I mean, that just like you said, that engine is going to be missed. 201 horsepower turbo engine from that. Actually just drove a car the Kia Forte GT that had that same engine with the same dual clutch transmission. That is just a great little power train. And now that the only powertrain is a two-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder with a CVT front-wheel drive only, it's-- yeah, it's not going to be as much fun.

It's going to be-- it still looks great. I do like what they did to the front end. I like the new colors. That's one really cool thing with this update, is that they added a couple of really interesting colors like the blue that they revealed it in is fantastic.

And then I saw they also dropped the X line model, which was also sort of like a faux off-road trim that added a bunch of cladding and whatnot. This all was never really that kind of a vehicle. But so that's fine that they dropped that. But yeah, really, what you said there.

The soul of the Soul is definitely gone, a little missing here without that GT line trim with the turbocharged engine. It's just not going to be as fun to drive because it was a legitimately fun great car and super utilitarian. Still is super utilitarian, but just not as enthusiast-oriented as it used to be. I don't think.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, a part of me wonders like cynically, cryptically are they-- what's this mean for the Soul? Like generally, when you're pulling engines out, scaling back model lineups, you start to question, well, what's really the-- like what's next for the Soul? I mean, this is a refresh.

So it is an update, and it does get more safety features. And arguably, I wonder how many consumers opted for that upgraded turbo engine. It's a little more enthusiast-oriented. So I don't want to read too much into it. But that's an interesting move for Kia. Let's put it that way.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, and if you want that engine, there are other opportunities to get that engine in the Hyundai Kia lineup. So--

GREG MIGLIORE: Yes.

ZAC PALMER: --and probably if you're into something sporty, maybe you'll go for a Kia Forte GT or a Hyundai Elantra N line that has that exact same powertrain and is probably more fun to drive than the Soul, since it's more of a-- those cars are sedans. And this one is technically a crossover with a much higher center of gravity. Definitely won't handle as well. So still sad about it though. I can still be about it.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, the Soul has always been about design.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's really like you buy it because it was kind of funky. I went on the launch back in-- well, I'm going to date myself here-- 2009, and it was in Miami. And it was for auto week, and there was a rumor that Britney Spears was staying at the hotel. It was the Mandarin Oriental, which was really nice hotel especially in February.

Because I left here, went down there, and was, like, well, this is great. These press trips are amazing! What is this? You just lay on the Beach, and then they had like a beach barbecue, and it was a lot of fun. It was a cool trip. But it also-- sometimes cars like that, earlier in your career, tend to stick with you. And I always have been like-- the Soul has been on my radar as far as a vehicle that's like-- it's different. At its best, it can be kind of special. It's funky. It was sort of the successor to like the Honda Element and the Scion-- whichever the boxy Scion was, I forget-- xB?

ZAC PALMER: xB, yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: It filled that void. The Nissan Juke was around for a bit. But the Soul has had staying power. So I think the more they look at like the electrified version of it, too, that is where you're going-- and I drove that electrified version in Vegas a few years ago as well.

To me, that's the future for the Soul, ultimately is. Give it some sort of electric lifeblood and let the design just stand on its own. Because it's a unique thing.

ZAC PALMER: That's actually what we were talking about in Slack this morning is Kia not giving us the electric Soul.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.

ZAC PALMER: And that-- man, it was like two or three years ago, Kia was saying, yeah, we're going to give you guys the electric Soul. We're going to have that, the electric Niro, and the electric Kona. We're going to have all three of these options. And then they just stopped talking about it, and eventually they confirmed that we were not going to get the electric Soul.

I'm guessing they just didn't-- that there's not room for it and in amongst the Niro EV and the Kona Electric. And they obviously still don't think that we are deserving of it. Because even with this refresh, there's still no electric Soul. Maybe the next gen is fully electric and there's no gasoline option at all.

And ideally, it would also be pretty affordable just like this current Soul because that's definitely one of its big benefits is that it is a relatively cheap little car. So maybe that was the holdup is they can't really get the price where they want it for the electric one right now. And maybe like five, six years down the road, then we can have an awesome electric Soul for-- I don't know, 25 grand. That sounds really great to me.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I agree with that. I'd agree with that. Let's get some inside baseball here. New CEO at Aston Martin, Amadeo Felisa, who is not exactly a household name. But here's why you probably at least have a vague idea of who he is. He ran Ferrari from-- for the better part of a decade. He was the CEO, which was the number two position when Luca di Montezemolo was the chairman, the commander-in-chief. Like Luca was running the show of that place for years and years.

But I mean, Felisa was a very important figure. He ran-- like is my take-- is like the day-to-day of Ferrari for a really long time. And Ferrari is not really had a bad year, let's put it that way, or a real clunker of a product in a long time. Even with the F1 team taking a decade off. They're back. They're back on top this year.

So I mean, put simply the dude knows what he's doing. And he's replacing Tobias Moers-- Mars, how do we say it-- who I did interview. I've interviewed him a few times, more when he was in AMG. But he seemed to be, my take, like Mercedes' guy, and Mercedes owns a chunk of Aston. And it doesn't seem like it resonated-- like his message didn't seem to resonate with Aston. Even though they have made some progress with some important product launches in the last few years, including things like the DBX and whatnot.

But I mean, to bring this together, these are essentially two guys you may or may not have heard of. I'm just wondering what this all means for Aston. I mean, one of my like more enjoyable brands to cover, to write about, they have a great history. I mean, how are you feeling when you look at like Aston, taking their temperature?

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, it's really weird because I really thought that when they got Tobias Moers over there that he would really right the ship. They were sort of flailing. A lot of their cars just weren't really that competitive with what was out there. They didn't have an SUV out. And now, I feel like some of that ship is righted now. And maybe it's from Tobias or maybe it's not because he hasn't actually been there all that long. It's been maybe two years now since he was CEO of Aston Martin.

And I think that they're in a better place than before. They've revealed some really neat things. They're mid-engined supercar that's sort of a 488 GTB competitor. The Valkyrie is a massive success, and one of the coolest hypercars that I've ever seen. I for one certainly think it's a lot cooler than the Mercedes AMG project one out there. Mostly just because it has that V12 Cosworth engine that sounds incredible.

And then I haven't driven the DBX. But everybody that I know here has, has absolutely loved it. They consider it one of the best luxury performance crossovers out there. No money in that conversation. So some of their products I think are really cool, interesting, and good. And all of their products look extremely good. They just somehow have to return to real profitability and making money on these cars.

Some company like Lamborghini or Ferrari seem to be doing just fine and that name sells it on its own. But I don't know. That just doesn't seem to be happening for Aston Martin and maybe that's why Lawrence Stroll has decided to switch it up and go with an old Ferrari guy.

GREG MIGLIORE: I mean, when you look at like Felicia's resume, he ran Ferrari from '08 to '16. And before that, he was at Ferrari for a long time and had some important roles within the then Fiat group. So if I'm him, this is a guy you want to bring in when you take a look at the big picture. Their IPO went terrible, it sounds like. Which is something that I sort of pride myself on looking at the industry news, and I missed that one. Like, oh, jeez, OK.

So I mean, in some ways, Aston's success was maybe five or six years ago when they were almost like-- they were private at that point. They had some pretty good launches with the sports car lines. They were developing the DBX at that point. And they had a little bit more momentum going. And now it just seems like-- with the IPO, churning through CEOs, I mean, they've also-- we were actually talking about this in Slack.

Andy Palmer, who was like the big dude at Infinity, ran them for like a minute. They've been churning through people there. And that's not a great way to create stability and affect some cohesive strategy, so.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. But hey, they have an F1 team. So they got that going for. Aston Martin--

GREG MIGLIORE: I mean--

ZAC PALMER: --is an F1. And I wonder with the new CEO, will they stay in F1 or not? That's a question for the future, isn't it?

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I mean, I think it's one of those things, too, where F1 is so expensive. If I'm Aston Martin-- I mean, it's a great place to be if you're Aston Martin. I mean, can they afford it? Honestly, probably not.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, That's the thing. They're really trying to get their name out there in sports cars and whatnot, because they have that mid-engined supercar coming and the Valkyrie. So it makes a certain amount of sense for them to want to try and make people think of them in that way. But yeah, like you're saying, F1 is so expensive. And it makes sense for somebody who is as profitable as a company as Porsche is. But Aston Martin is not Porsche right now, not anywhere close. So we'll see.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, so Porsche, Aston Martin. Maserati, this is the Levante Trofeo that I've been driving for I call like a long weekend, if you will. this is a 580 horsepower, twin turbocharged, Ferrari-powered engine under the hood of this thing, all-wheel drive, eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, beautiful, beautiful crossover. $173,500, give or take, and add the custom red paint, which is a $17,000 option.

ZAC PALMER: Seven--

GREG MIGLIORE: That's a lot of numbers. But I'm just really glad I didn't scratch it.

ZAC PALMER: Hope you like that paint. $17,000, wow.

GREG MIGLIORE: So it's part of their-- and I feel like this is the podcast where I'm just butchering like Italian words, and British words, and German words. It's the [INAUDIBLE] collection. So that's essentially like the custom collection, if you will. And this is one of the options you get. You can make your Maserati look crazy, almost like '80s themes.

The Corsa collection is more like the historic themes if you want, and that's where you get like this very traditional Italian red. Is it worth 17 grand? Of course not. But it's also a Maserati that's six figures. So it's not going to be like a $2,000 red paint option on a Camry either. Like of course it's going to be 17 grand. And I will say this, it's a gorgeous color. It's almost iridescent.

Like when the sun hits it, I was coming around the corner looking at it after walking the dog. I was like, that car looks like it's glowing almost. It really did have that kind of just like transcendent appearance. And yeah, I mean, it's beautiful. And like one of the things I put in my review, that is being about to be published, is if you want an Italian SUV in this segment, it's this or basically there are others.

The Stelvio is a bit smaller. And it's its own thing. Ferrari doesn't have a crossover yet or an SUV yet. So this is sort of what you're looking for, this is it. People need crossovers. If you're like a Maserati buyer, this is something you're going to look at. It's a qualified conclusion. But I don't think the market for this vehicle is particularly large.

I would probably go more likely like the X6 M, the Cayenne Turbo Coupe, I think those are all better values. Some of them have more horsepower even, although this is a lot of horsepower. The X6 M-- they're a little more I'd say holistic, if you will, as far as like being hot rod SUVs. That being said, and not to put too fine a point on this, I mean, it's a beautiful design. Like it's Italian front to back that grille, the curved fenders, the different paints you can get on it.

I mean, it does have a presence. And your neighbor, no matter-- like whatever gated community you live in where you're like trying to beat the Joneses-- your neighbor probably has a BMW, or a Mercedes, or something, probably doesn't have a Maserati. So I think there is still-- like I would compare it a bit to the Jaguar F-Pace SVR I drove about a month ago, which is a much better deal than this.

That car starts at like 84 or five, I want to say. For a similar like high powered V8 experience only. That was supercharged which I liked a little bit better. I would say the Maserati is a little bit better probably not twice as much better though, as far as like a base price.

But there is still like some Maserati mystique, some magic that does come along with driving this car in my opinion. And I know you drove one a while back. So there's definitely some shortcomings here, too. There's some Stellantis, Fiat, Chrysler bits, not even the good ones. Like it could definitely-- like a Ram has a better infotainment screen.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: So there are some shortcomings. But I do think the Maserati magic can overcome that. I don't know if you agree with that though. What do you think?

ZAC PALMER: I mean, my favorite thing about this car and its main selling point for me is that engine. The fact that you can get-- I mean, this is a true Ferrari engine. This is no like Stelvio Quad with like a V6, or the V8 with two cylinders chopped off. No this is a Ferrari engine that was, for all intents and purposes, under the hood of Ferrari-badged vehicles.

And it feels like an exotic engine. It sounds like an exotic engine. And like you said, it has just a stupid amount of horsepower. And that right there, if you're an Italian car enthusiast, if you're an engine enthusiast some sort of like a really big engine nerd in that way, then I think that this car has a lot of appeal and certainly much more appeal than say something like a Cayenne turbo, or Cayenne GTS, or like you mentioned an X6 M. You could throw out GLE 63 S out there, too.

All those cars they offer very similar experiences. They all handle extremely, extremely well. They all have four-liter twin turbo V8 engines, except for the BMW is a 4.4-liter. But they're all very similar.

And I think that the Maserati is a slightly different driving experience. It sounds different. It has that Italian feel to it. Is it, just like you were saying, is it as holistically good as those other ones? No, I don't think that the interior is really as nice as those.

The tech in it isn't quite as good. And the price is significantly more. So for all those reasons, it's not exactly like the go-to buy that we would recommend to anybody. But like how I started off, if you are that kind of person who finds pure joy and such a genius and an incredible powertrain like that one, you've got to have a Ferrari engine under the hood.

I mean, you have the red crinkle paint and everything. It's special. And that right there is why you buy the Levante and maybe why you buy the $17,000 red paint, too. So it has its points. But it's for a very specific buyer, I think.

GREG MIGLIORE: Trident points. Let's put it that way.

ZAC PALMER: Trident points, a good one.

GREG MIGLIORE: They actually messed-- not messed-- changed some of the script font, which I was looking closely at. I can't tell the difference in the word Maserati. But in this car, it does say Trofeo right above the like the vents on the front fenders.

ZAC PALMER: Oh, yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: Which is cool. That's a nice little detail.

ZAC PALMER: They needed that. Because the one that I drove two or three years ago didn't say Trofeo on it anywhere. There's literally just the trident, the rearmost pillar, and that was the only thing that designated it as a Trofeo. And half the reason like you buy one of these things is so that you can brag to your neighbors that you bought the most expensive one.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.

ZAC PALMER: That's why every AMG has 30 AMG badges on it, same with the M cars. Everybody's got to know. So it's good that they added that Trofeo on the front fender there.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's where I actually, I think-- I was looking at this guy who lives around the corner from me has a Model 3. And I was thinking, gosh, I really like that Tesla. I think it's my favorite one actually. And like they're even-- there's hardly any badges on Teslas. And I feel like that's where like you a brand is getting it right for their image when they don't have to like beat you over the head with their different explanations about what engine you got, that sort of thing.

I mean, logos are certainly iconic from the Yankee's crest to the Maserati crest, to the old English D. I mean, they can be very iconic. And I think for Maserati, it works. Honestly, I don't think it works as well for some of the different like AMG and M cars, where it's like OK, yeah, I mean, jeez, we get it. You have an M5. Cool, man.

And one thing that's clear about the Trofeo, though, is the sound is awesome. I mean, that bass reverberates like through your neighborhood. It gets a lot of attention, let's put it that way. And I took it up to buy Stellantis headquarters just because one of the great things about living in Metro Detroit is usually there's a car location that you can tie to the thing you're reviewing someone nearby.

So I drove up there. I drove near-- there's actually a Maserati headquarters like in the old Walter Chrysler Museum. I didn't actually go to it. But I kind of looped by it, if you will, and ended up at the Meadow Brook Mansion, which is on the grounds of Oakland University. And just a good place to hang out with some of the Maserati like family tree, if you will.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, it seems like a nice place for it. if I recall correctly, it's very pretty up there. So it's a great setting for that car where somebody who has a few dollars might go out and spend a day or two.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, yeah. Shifting gears here to something that's far more ubiquitous or Hyundai hopes it will be. That's the Ioniq 5. Interested to hear your take. We've had a few people on the show who have been getting through it recently. I drove it last fall. But the floor is yours.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, man. Ioniq 5. So this is my first go at any of the Hyundai Group E-GMP cars. I haven't been in the Kia EV6 yet. But Ioniq 5 was honestly the one that I think I was most excited about. Mostly because I prefer its looks over the EV6. I really dig a hatchback, granted it's like a mega super large hatchback. Once you see it in your driveway there, it is much larger than say like a GTI or like a Civic Hatchback.

But yeah, like first impressions look at the thing, it's absolutely stunning. I love all of the retro design touches to it. The lights, the little pixel lights feel very of the moment. And yeah, every little like, weird little touch there-- you can tell that there's a lot of detail put into this car's design to make it cool and interesting.

And then you hop into it and it's unlike any Hyundai I've ever seen on the inside. This thing costs just over $57,000 so with that, you expect $57,000 interior. And I honestly thought that it delivered for the most part. Mine was in this two-tone green and white interior--

GREG MIGLIORE: White and green.

ZAC PALMER: --yeah. Which I really liked. It was a nice complement to the teal exterior color as well. But no, you hop in there. There's no Hyundai logo on the steering wheel, to tie back to our logo talk. And you're met with these pretty large wide swath of screens, great materials everywhere. And all of the little detailing, I think, continues.

You have like cool little pixel graphics on the doors. I was just like loving being in this thing. It's so spacious. There's no like center tunnel for you to knock your knee against. It's just really refreshing and different. And I really like driving the thing, too. So it's like hitting all 3 in 1-- exterior design, interior design, driving.

It's quick. It's not like make your stomach hurt quick, which I'm totally fine with. The one that I drove was the dual motor, 13 to 20 horsepower, 446 pound feet of torque. And I thought it handled pretty well, too, for what it is.

It certainly feels a bit weighty. It can be a little ponderous when you really start swinging it around if you try and treat it like a GTI or some other hot hatch. It's not exactly that. It's still very much a daily driver and comfortable car at heart.

And honestly, I think that Hyundai nailed it by straddling that, being-- All right, so it's sort of fun to drive because it's rear drive bias. You can swing the tail around a little, has a super low center of gravity so it feels very stable. But it's not this like super button down hot hatch.

And I think that the Ioniq N will be that very sporty version of this thing that a lot of people will be wanting. I know that I will definitely be looking forward to that car after driving this one at another 100 horsepower stiffer suspension, a whole lot of cool and exterior changes. And man, this thing is going to be a lot of fun. And I even charged that thing, too.

I hooked up to an Electrify America station, one of the 350 kilowatt power ones. And I was at 39% when I plugged in and about 16 minutes later, I was at 84%, which was wicked quick. Honestly, this is the fastest charging EV I've ever driven. I've yet to drive the Taycan. I know that would just about match it or even do better than it.

But no, I was very impressed with the car's performance charging. And you even have the little fully recline and foot rest that you can do with the Ioniq 5. So I fully recline the seat, kick the footrest up, and I just laid there and relaxed for about 15 minutes while I waited for it to charge.

Maybe more EVs need a full layout feature with the footrest to let you hang out there while you charge. So yeah, overall, I love this thing. What do you think about it?

GREG MIGLIORE: So it's one of the vehicles I am very excited to drive this year. Every year, you sketch out like what car, what are you really excited to get into? And for me, it's like the Bronco, the Maverick, one year it was a McLaren, which was a pretty cool year. But like this is on the short list, to get back into. So very excited about just what it means for Hyundai and what it means for like just the electric car segment in general.

I like how it looks. Originally, I like the EV6 better. I just thought it was a better pure like design from a stylistic standpoint. This one is growing on me, seeing it in real life. It's John Snyder and I were talking about this. How it has like an '80s almost like Quattro sort of vibe with those headlights. And like I like that. That's obviously a cool era of design.

You got to really want to see that if you look at it. But it does look cool. And I think Hyundai did a good thing here by taking a measured approach to it. Like you're going to be able to get the end version with more horsepower and that'll be a little more of the sportier thing. It'll be more expensive. Like the specs on this are good, but they're not mind blowing.

You're not going to buy this because it wont upset anybody else. But it's a good value. It looks good. To me, it embodies everything Hyundai has been doing recently, which is take a step forward in design, like they did with the Palisade. Do something a little bit different. There's not many cars in general that look like this out there, which I think is a good thing. Dial into the technology and go for it.

I was OK with the interior. I drove one that had more of a whitish gray beige thing. So that was an area where I was like ugh, geez, I don't know if this feels like 50 grand or whatever. But I also don't recall exactly how that car was equipped either.

It doesn't sound as like sporty as the green and white teal combo thing that you had going on, which like we said with the Trofeo paint does make a difference. It could make something feel special. So very optimistic about this car though, crossover, if you will. I think it's going to do a lot for them if they could get the word out.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, I completely agree. I missed seeing it go. And pretty much-- there are very few complaints that I have about this. I just want to try out the EV6 now to see what I think about. Which one of these should you buy? Because that's the question here. They're so similar in that-- the big difference is really just final tuning and design. So yeah, but both really great cars.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, sounds good. All right, so we are going to debut a new segment on the podcast. Senior editor for all things green John Snyder is on the ground in San Antonio, Texas for the first drive of the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning. It's an interesting segment here where he's going to tell us what it's like to be there. It just his general take on things. So granted he is there and enjoying like the trip. So let's hear from John.

JOHN SNYDER: Thanks, Greg. I'm currently outside of San Antonio, Texas. And I'm sitting in the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning. Specifically, I'm in the platinum trim dual motor extended range. It's got 580 horsepower and 775 pound feet of torque. It's a beautiful truck, really nice two-tone leather seating. It's got Ford BlueCruise hands-free driving, that giant infotainment screen, panoramic sunroof. It's got the shifter that flips down to give you a nice work surface.

This version of the car, the extended range, comes with the charge station pro, which is neat. It's the charging station, it provides 19.2 kilowatts into the car. But should you need it, it can take up to 9.6 kilowatts out of the car to put it into your house, should you lose power. For this, you need the home integration system that converts it from DC from the truck to AC for your home. But it can provide up to three days of power from the truck.

If you are really conserving energy, Ford says you can power your home for up to 10 days, which would really come in handy in one of those dire outages. And speaking of charging, most charging happens at home. But there's a lot of tension surrounding public charging. Ford is working with its partners to create the Blue Oval network. 70,000 plus plugs, 20,000 plus sites, and it's trying to get these customers to build these sites, where they're most useful to Ford customers.

The F-150 Lightning has a Power My Trip feature in the app that helps you plan trips with charging integrated into the trip, which is quite helpful. Tesla does something similar, the Electrify America network. The truck is plug and charge capable. So you can plug it in and does sort of electronic handshake and it knows how to bill you, and you just plug it in and go.

Ford has deployed a fleet of vehicles to test chargers all over the US just to make sure they're working properly in places where they're going to be needed to establish trust with customers for whom this might be their first EV, probably will be. Today, I'm just driving on some expressways, rural highways, in town a little bit. Tomorrow, I'm going to try some off-roading in the Lightning and some towing.

But so far, I am really enjoying some of this truck's features. The BlueCruise hands-free driving is really neat. It's got a camera that monitors your driving and lets you take your hands off the wheel in certain instances. It's got sport off road and tow haul modes, which is great. It's got a one-pedal driving mode, which I think all EVs should have. I don't know why some EV companies don't include that. But the F-150 Lightning does. So thank you Ford for one-pedal driving.

So other great features, it's got a huge frunk with power inside. Ford was telling us about a customer, a disabled vet, who had a mobility scooter. He was super excited that his mobility scooter fit in the frunk of this truck, and he could charge it while driving. So he had more charge in the scooter to interact with his kids, and chase them around, and spend more quality time with them.

The truck comes with a 240 volt, 30 amp mobile charger. So level two charging right out of the box. But with an adapter, you can plug that into the bed of the truck, and you can charge any other EV that might need some power. Say, a friend runs out of juice on the highway. You can show up in your Lightning to the rescue. And it can also power tools out in the field of course, and there's lots of exterior lighting to light your workspaces on.

As we know, this is already a wildly popular truck, already sold out for 2022. Ford is expanding production capacity to 150,000 units, which will represent about a third of F-150 sales, which is kind of mind blowing. Yeah, I'm excited to tell you more about how the truck actually drives. But that's going to have to wait until my review publishes on Wednesday. Thanks. Back to you, Greg.

GREG MIGLIORE: OK, thanks John. Safe travels home. Now it's time to go to the Mailbag. Should we be ready to answer some questions and spend some money?

ZAC PALMER: I think so. Let's check it out.

GREG MIGLIORE: Let's do it. This is really more of a question, if you will. Josh from New Hampshire writes, "Great podcast. I listen every week." Thank you, Josh. Glad to hear that. Question is, "Specifically about the new MDX, but unfortunately applies to most new vehicles. My wife and I recently test drove the MDX. We're irritated with the touchpad interface." All right, let's talk about that one--

ZAC PALMER: I already know where this one is going.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, it could be even off the rails. But to get through some of this here, "I've watched and read a bunch of reviews on it. With rare exception, they all are complaining about it in the same way. The best I've heard was, I think it was from someone at Autoblog," he adds, "Is that after it takes you a few weeks, you get used to it. And it's not so bad."

That could have been me. Although that sounds pretty warm for how I've been feeling about it. That could be maybe more like you.

ZAC PALMER: No, that was 100% me.

GREG MIGLIORE: OK, yeah. So there's some challenges there, basically, he's asking is asking someone to buy something with a promise that it will suck at first but probably get better seems like a big ask. I'm not disagreeing with you, Josh. "First question, how hard is this for Acura to fix it? Second question, will automakers in general listen to the overwhelming number of reviewers and buyers who don't like these complicated infotainment interfaces and just go back to knobs and buttons?"

He notes accurately that a lot of the trucks and off-roaders have basically stayed the course with knobs and buttons to keep things simple. So a couple of questions here. I don't actually know if Acura is looking at any near term fixes. Perhaps you do, Zac. But I don't. I think this is the room for tainment, for the near term.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, I mean, if you want my personal take, I don't think it's broken. I'm one of the few on staff who actually likes the Acura True Touch infotainment system. And I am the one who wrote if you use it for a few weeks, you will learn to like it. It ends up being quicker and easier to use than a lot of other infotainment systems that don't have that true touch technology.

Granted, it's a great point. And I completely see this point that it's not exactly a great idea to try and sell somebody on a car that they have to get used to. That could create a lot of problems in the test drive, which is a very important part of any purchasing decision. If you cannot figure it out, I could see it's very likely that you might just walk away from the car frustrated. But yeah, you just got to spend some more time with it and then maybe you won't think it's broken anymore.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I think, if you're looking at the MDX and you don't like it, I mean, I guess it's up to you, if this is how, frankly, you want to spend your money. Is it a deal breaker or try to live with it. Try to live with it, I would say. See if maybe the dealer will let you have an extended test drive or something. Dealers are more flexible these days. That could be one solution.

Let's just say, hey, look I love this thing, but I don't know about the infotainment. Like, I'm a maybe. Give me the crossover for a week, and I might buy it. Or if you can't do something like that or similar, I'm going to go see what's going on with like and x3, or an x5, or something. I mean, because I don't know. I mean, I did slowly come to understand it grudgingly. And it's like I get what they're doing. And it's an OK interface as far as from like a design aesthetic, and what they're trying to do.

But, I don't know. To me, it's like one of those things to even once I did start to understand it. Like in a version of this was in our long-term TLX a-spec, like, I understood it, and I didn't like it. So to me, that's a hurdle.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: So--

ZAC PALMER: And the question is, how hard is it for Acura to fix it? Extremely.

GREG MIGLIORE: Pretty hard.

ZAC PALMER: It's not going to change. Because, yeah, the actual screen itself is so far up in the IP-- up there on the dash. There's not going to be any like change to a touchscreen like a mid-life refresh or something like that. They're pretty much stuck in that pad operation for the foreseeable future.

Because that's not something that they like change after a year or two. Pretty much every accurate is going to be in the same boat for a good while now. So if you don't like it, well maybe the Acura is not the car for you then.

GREG MIGLIORE: So that's the first question. Second question here is just in general, our OEM is going to listen to like complaints and go back to knobs and buttons. I think we have seen a little bit of like a coming back to where companies that were going, I think Cadillac's a great example with Q, where like it had like electronic buttons that were very hard to use, especially on cold days.

They've brought back more of a middle ground infotainment system. I think it's a little bit of common sense, too. Like even like the Uconnect system on Stellantis vehicles, which is a big screen. There's still a few like very basic sort of pillar functions you can do. So I think that's really the path forward. And then you just-- in the case of infotainment, it's very hard to like speak in broad terms. Because every company does have a different approach.

And some are always going to invest in that like almost no button approach. And for some, it will work. Some companies do have really good touchscreens. Some probably aren't going to go down that road as much. So it's going to really come down to do you like that car? And how well do you adapt to the infotainment?

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, I really think the point about every automaker is going to basically go their own way. Like you see somebody like Volkswagen, and they've gone like 100% into touch haptics, weird touch sliders, and just full touchscreen controls in cars like the ID4, the new GTI, even the ID Buzz has stuff like that. Whereas if you look at what Ford is doing with a lot of their cars, every F-150 has a bunch of buttons and knobs galore, same with RAM.

Even though you still have that giant 12-inch screen in there, RAM still manages to find room to put redundant buttons and knobs for pretty much every important control in the car. So it's really just does an automaker think it's important or does the automaker not think it's important? And sometimes I think it sort of depends on the specific car. Because just like his point there, a lot of the trucks in off-road focused vehicles, and even sports cars to a certain extent, like the new BRZ, GR86.

They understand that the buyers of those vehicles probably value buttons and knobs more than, say, the buyer of some brand new EV like the Hyundai Ioniq 5, that we were just chatting about. That thing has a lot of touch haptic controls and it's very screen and touch heavy with a lot of things. And meanwhile, you have the other Hyundai's out there that may not have as many touch controls on them.

So automaker-dependent, even model-dependent, on where they think that sort of buyer is going to be for those touch controls. But yeah, I don't see it changing a whole lot. People are going to touchscreens and those sorts of controls. We will continue to see more, and some will sort of hold on back.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's also, I think, important to note that it really does lie in the execution. The devil really is in the details. If you look at the ID4, where it's a touchscreen, and I don't know if there's really any buttons. It be tricky to use. Not terrible, but it's not my favorite system out there. You look at a competitor like the Mach-E, which does have a few buttons, but it's also very heavily-- it's like the latest version of Sync.

It's a heavy touchscreen-oriented infotainment system, very easy to use. So a lot of it depends on how dense is the system, how well do those haptic buttons work. Do you just maybe salt and pepper in one or two buttons just so it's like the user can navigate like intuitively? Like just the little things can make all the difference.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, I completely agree with you on that. Even just like a volume knob or like a Home button sometimes--

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.

ZAC PALMER: --can make a huge difference in the experience.

GREG MIGLIORE: Acura's downfall I think is really that touchpad. Like people just don't-- like that's not what people use right now. And I think that's tricky to educate consumers on how they need to use something. So yeah, all right, so that is the Mailbag sort of a Spend My Money.

We have an update on a spend my money from episode 704. Let's see, we have-- let me scroll on down here. This is from Earl. He sold his 2018 Tesla Model 3 for 40 grand and made about $2,000. Hey, thanks inflation. Thanks used car market. Glad that worked out for you.

So he did that, and he had been looking at some different things, was looking at going back to just like you an ice-powered thing like a beater, if you will, for a couple of years until he figured out what he wanted. He figured it out a little bit quicker. Ended up with Ford Maverick.

Well, no, he was looking at a Ford Maverick. But he couldn't find any Just because Ford is selling the doors off of those things. Found out the hybrid powertrain we shared with the Escape.

So he bought a 2022 Ford Escape plug-in hybrid that covers his commute to work on electric. So he essentially took his own advice. So thanks for writing, Earl and thanks for the update. And I think that's a pretty good move. That's very practical move.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: Just go get the Ford you that's out there that probably meets your needs as well as any-- as the Maverick would have outside of the truck things. But people have different ideas for what they use trucks for. And I think the Escape, a plug-in hybrid is a very solid crossover. I think that's a good move.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, and know if you're really dead set on a Maverick one day, he's probably going to struggle trying to buy a Maverick for the next year, maybe two years. So just enjoy your plug-in hybrid Escape. And then maybe a couple of years down the road, if you still want a Maverick, then maybe you can get one that doesn't have any markup on it and get it exactly how you want it.

So but yeah, for the time being, if you have a place to plug-in, a plug-in hybrid sounds lovely. And sounds like you can commute to work on an electric power, which is the ideal situation in a plug-in hybrid. So living good, I'd say.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's the move right there. Get a plug-in where you get like a sort of certain amount of range and then plug-in. And then you can use the hybrid tech for the rest of your driving needs. I think that's really smart right now.

And plug-in hybrids are much readily available versus EVs. Everybody it seems like is like looking for EVs or other things. Whereas the hybrids are just like the simple option, the traditional option at this point. So good move, man. I hope it works out for you. Do you have any spring beer recommendations, Zac?

ZAC PALMER: Spring beer recommendations. Well--

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, what are you drinking these days?

ZAC PALMER: Man, I have my first Oberon probably a couple of weeks ago, which is sort of like a spring rite of passage here for Michigan. That's when I've been drinking as of late. I hit up HOMES Brewery here not too long ago, too. I don't know if you've ever been there down in Ann Arbor. But--

GREG MIGLIORE: No.

ZAC PALMER: --and they always do a lot of interesting experimental stuff that I think is fun. If you're into sour IPAs, IPAs of any sort at all. They have a lot of really interesting tasting stuff. So yeah, Oberon great all the time. If you're in Michigan, hit HOMES up. I can almost guarantee that you're going to find something you like there.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good. I've been drinking some Griffin Claw Mr. Blue Sky. Hopefully we have more Mr. Blue Sky here in the weather. It's a nice spring summer beer. Good year-round actually, too. But a little bit more of fruity kick, and it's a good beer. It goes with anything-- cooking out, burgers, whatever you want.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, I really have to hit Griffin Claw up here, and nab me some, and just like you said, perfect spring beer.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, perfect spring beer to go with hopefully your perfect spring podcast. We hope that's us. If you enjoy the Autoblog Podcast, please give us a five star rating on Spotify, Apple Podcast, wherever you get the show. We're basically everywhere.

Send us your Spend My Money. That's podcast@autoblog.com, Spend My Money's, Mailbags. We love to answer your questions. Be safe out there everybody, and we'll see you next week.

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