Suzuki bankruptcy, Hyundai/Kia mileage, Scion FR-S supercharger, Tesla Model S awards, Consumer Reports top 10 most reliable American cars

Episode #307 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Zach Bowman and Jeff Ross talk about Suzuki departing the US market, the debacle surrounding Hyundai and Kia fuel economy numbers, rumors of a Scion FR-S supercharger kit, the Tesla Model S being named one of the best inventions of 2012 by Time magazine and Consumer Reports ranking its top 10 most reliable American cars. For those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Keep reading for our Q&A module for you to scroll through and follow along, too. Thanks for listening!

Autoblog Podcast #307:


In the Autoblog Garage:
2012 Scion iQ
2012 Nissan Frontier
2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Hosts: Dan Roth, Zach Bowman, Jeff Ross

Runtime: 01:17:49

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Russ Wood
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good podcast. In the BRZ supercharger discussion, I would have enjoyed hearing more about how a supercharger vs. turbocharger would affect performance and overall fit in with the dynamics of the BRZ/FRS.
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Accord was the car with the best chassis dynamics and the quickest, most accurate steering, but it was underpowered by 20-30 horsepower and had a serious flaw with the interior; the seats were covered with fairly nice materials, but the foam used is worse than what is used in seat cushions for cheap patio furniture. I could press down on the Accords seats far enough to feel the metal frame in spots. This means that the seat materials will wear out much sooner than they would with better foam and seat covers can't fix the problem. Honda cut too far in their efforts to save money on materials. The Sonata had the best engine and the strongest acceleration, but the steering felt more like a racing video game controller than something actually attached to a car. This made the car difficult to drive precisely in the slalom and on the road course. Also, it would consistently off-throttle oversteer in the obstacle-avoidance test by just about everyone. The Camry can be best described as a "Livable Compromise". It was a master of nothing, but a failure at nothing either. It had better steering control than the Sonata, which by default made it better in the slalom and on the road course, while understeering all the way. The interior felt cheap, but durable and I'll bet it will look exactly the same ten years from now with little care. It could use more power like the Accord, but it really couldn't use it as well as the Accord. Lastly, the Altima. This car was my biggest disappointment and is the one car I would tell my friends and family to avoid at all costs until it gets some major revisions to its suspension. As for its good points, it had the most classically styled body, which I think it will age much better than the Sonata or Camry, and has one of the best seats offered in any car, not just within this comparison. Now for the bad, the car has poor, if not just dangerous, chassis dynamics in obstacle-avoidance, slalom, and road course tests. It was the only car to physically try to throw me about the cabin in all three planes of motion (left-right, forward-backward, and up-down); the other three cars only managed left-right naturally with some forward when using the brakes. I know a lot of people said that the new Altima had great steering and was a good handler, but from my experience with the car, it wallowed so much in the driving portion of the event I couldn't judge the quality of the steering because I had to use the wheel to help keep me stay planted in the driver seat as well as steering the car. This problem also made evaluating the structural rigidity the car impossible. Was it the shocks and springs or the structure itself that made the car so unwieldy? The Altima was also the "Cone Crusher" of the group because it hit over three times as many cones as the Sonata, the next worst with three or four cones. I just don't recall seeing the Accord hit any cones! Please! Don't get an Altima until it offers a sport suspension!
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Car & Driver/ Road & Track "Editor for the Day" Event I went to occurred Saturday in the parking lot of Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The weather was ideal; blue skies, 72 degrees, and a faint breeze off the bay; so weather was not a distraction. The Event itself was divided into Sign-In, Orientation, Detailed Inspection of Four Static Cars, Drive the "Atlantic" Course, Drive the "Pacific" Course, and Final Evaluations. I was put into a group with about 25 people. Sign-In was basically just signing waivers and to give them permission to use my likeness should they deem it usable from any of their small "Go" cameras mounted in the cars or from the camera crew recording the cars on both tracks. Orientation basically explained that C&D/R&T were the sponsors and that there was no involvement from any of the auto manufacturers of the cars being used. They were mostly interested in repeatable driving results of what are statistically the most average cars bought by the American public. Each car was fitted with the most popular options so "on paper" each car was identical to each other. Detail Inspection was basically an opportunity for each person in the group to look at every exterior body panel, panel gap, and overall paint finish and then at the interior finish, seats, door panels, center console, dashboard, ceiling, sunroof, and steering wheel of each static car under a tent, while answering random questions comparing each car on an iPad they loaned us for this part of the event. The "Atlantic" Course was a combination of an obstacle-avoidance test with a slalom course using a set of four cars identical to those used for the Inspection. The first rule they tell you is don't touch the shifter, since a "Pro" Driver will supervise the shifter and will give instructions to the driver regarding safety and vehicle spacing. The "Pro" Driver will first demonstrate to the three riders how to driver the course with the first car, whatever car that may be, and then he or she will ride "Shotgun" in each car for the rest of the time it takes for the three riders to rotate through all four cars. The "Pacific" Course is basically a single, winding road course using another set of cars. The same rules and procedures as the "Atlantic" Course apply. The Final Evaluation involves getting back the iPads and answering more questions based on the totality of everything experienced with the cars. The End. As for the cars, I was shocked to discover each car had some major flaws that could make me pass on three of them and definitely "No!" on one of them. Continued on next comment.