• Feb 16, 2008
The Chicago Auto Show wasn't that eventful, but that's what we lead off Autoblog Podcast episode #87 with. The Challenger was the biggest deal, followed by the Denali XT, and then a bunch of inconsequential things. We did find ourselves talking about the Suzuki Equator and the Ford Transit Connect, too. We give you our first up close and personal impressions of the Challenger SRT-8 in this podcast. We also saw the VW Routan, which certainly doesn't conjure warm, fuzzy memories of Type IIs gone by. Chevy's Traverse calls into question the usefulness of Saturn's Outlook in the product lineup. Speaking of GM badge-engineering, we got word this week that Pontiac will not be getting a Trans Am companion to the Camaro, dang. Another disappointment is the rumor that Cerberus is going to let the Viper run down without rewinding the clock for a third generation. We wrap up by touching on the possibility that an Indian pickup could be the first diesel hybrid in the US, even though it's not even being imported yet, and we're sure that when it gets here, it'll generate even more hate than the new Acura RL. 42 minutes, that's it. Sorry it's a little late this week, it's all Alex's fault, I swear.
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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 4 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Two things:

      1) I totally agree about the Firebird. I think it's a wasted chance on GM's part. This could have been a real opportunity to do something new and different than making a throwback car.

      For example, building the Firebird around the direct-injected motor from the CTS and bolting on a single turbo for a Trans Am variant. V6s nowadays make good power and economy and Nissan doesn't seem to be sweating CAFE with their VQs. When not driven like a total hoon a Z can get pretty decent mileage.

      Speaking of Nissan, I feel like Pontiac could have had a car that would have taken on the 350Z (370Z soon, I guess) in the same sort of niche the Nissan has, an evolving sports car (then, 280Z; now, 350Z). This could have been a car that's looks like its evolved like the Z.

      To wit (if I'm using that phrase properly), a person looking to get into a Z/G37 is not going to cross shop a Challenger, Camaro or a Mustang. These sort of consumers are looking for an ostensibly cutting edge, affordable yet completely modern sports car that doesn't necesarily need to have retro cues.

      To me, Firebird was synonymous for Phoenix. Oh, well. To Hyundai and its new GT coupe go the spoils.

      2) Acura = Japanese Saab. Honda/Acura should take note at how well Saab is doing (read: not well) and really think about whether or not that's where they want to be.

      This sounds corny, trite and hackneyed, but Honda needs to take some chances. Either make the entire line AWD standard or make the TL RWD so one has the choice between a FWD TSX a RWD TL or an AWD RL.

      I'm leaning towards an all AWD Acura with an AWD TSX wagon. Acura interiors are very good and if Honda made the entire line AWD they would have accomplished two things: Differentiated Acura products from Honda products and positioned themselves as an genuine alternative to Audi.

      After that I guess the stage would be set:

      Acura vs Audi
      Infiniti vs BMW
      Lexus vs Mercedes

      Sorry for the long rant, but I wanted to get that stuff off my chest.
        • 6 Years Ago
        An AWD turbocharged TSX station wagon sure would make for a really intriguing A4 Avant alternative.
      • 6 Years Ago
      damn john r.. you read my mind exactly.. are you single? just kidding buddy..

      i fancy the g37 and would never look to a current american musclecar for comparison.
      • 6 Years Ago
      love the podcast guys. my only complaint is that I just wish you'd be more consistent w/ putting out a new episode every week! Other than that, keep up the great work!