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In this week's Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by News Editor Joel Stocksdale and Associate Editor Byron Hurd. They discuss news about the 2020 and 2021 Nissan Frontier, as well as a mystery Mustang and classic luxury coupes. After that, they talk about cars from the fleet including Chevy Silverados and the long-term Volvo S60 T8.Transcript
GREG MIGLIORE: Hello and welcome to another episode of the "Autoblog Podcast." I'm Greg Migliore. Joining me today, from various quarantine locations, is associate editor Byron Hurd. What's going on, man?
BYRON HURD: Hey. It's going. Enjoying this wonderful spring weather.
GREG MIGLIORE: Sometimes it's sunny. Sometimes it's hailing. It's pretty wild. And on the other line is news editor Joel Stocksdale. What's going on, Joel?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Not much. Just hanging in there.
GREG MIGLIORE: It's all you can do right now. But we've got a great show for you today, wherever you're listening to this. Hopefully, from your stay home, stay safe location. We're going to talk about the 2020 and the 2021 Nissan Frontier.
If you're into trucks, specifically midsize trucks, this is kind of interesting. Joel wrote up some news this week on this, and we're going to let you know what's coming, essentially like, right now, pretty soon. And then sort of for the next generation, that's really coming fast too.
We did an interesting story on the site about a 1966 mid engine Mustang concept that was essentially rediscovered. One, I think, of the interesting things about this story was Ford is such a big company with such a long history, that they had this amazing thing that everybody just kind of forgot about.
So we're going to dive into that a little bit. Then just some random chatter, stuff we've been talking about around the office and our different Slack channels. And then we've been driving a bunch of different things, actually.
Joel spent some time in the 2500 Silverado and the 1500 Trail Boss, both pretty cool Chevys. If you're into trucks, obviously stick around for that. Joel also drove the Mini Countryman JCW. That's a fun car. It's been a while since I've been in really any minis, but they're fun to talk about. They're fun to drive, so we'll get into that.
And then lastly, we'll have a long term update with the Volvo S60. So let's jump right in. On the site this week, hope you caught up with Joel's post on what's going on with the Frontier. If you haven't, check it out, autoblog.com, of course.
Break this down for us, Joel. We've got the 2020 and then the 2021. 2020 is essentially a new engine and some like, you know, relatively light updates. 2021 is what we would consider a new generation, which we've been waiting for for some time. So based on your reporting, you know, how are you feeling about this new Frontier? Pardon the cliche.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: I mean, I'm excited. I think a lot of people are excited. It's-- what we learned the other day, since we're getting a 2020 Frontier with a new engine in it in a couple months, we were talking with some Nissan experts.
And we found out that the new one, it's going to be lighter and a little bit more aerodynamic than this current one. Which means it'll be more efficient than the current truck. And the fuel economy numbers for the 2020 truck with the new engine already were a significant improvement over the old truck.
So we should be looking at fuel economy probably at least on par with the four wheel drive V6, Chevy Colorado, and the four wheel drive Ford Ranger turbo engine, which do pretty well.
Actually, with two wheel drive, both of those trucks, they get like, 26, 25 on the highway. So I wouldn't be surprised to see similar numbers out of the new one. And the new truck, it's not going to be a reskinned Nissan Navarro, which is their small truck for the global market.
It's going to be specifically designed for the US. And apparently it's even going to share a few bits from the current Frontier, which should be interesting. It's interesting to see kind of the old parts reused. And I'm sort of hoping that it means that this new truck will still be fairly small.
One of the perks of the current Frontier is that it's far and away the smallest, most easy to maneuver pickup truck on the market.
GREG MIGLIORE: What I think is interesting is the way they're sort of staggering these, like, changes. You can get the 2020 with the 3.8 liter, which is interesting, because that's the same engineering you're going to get in the 2021, which is where it essentially does become the new model.
So, I mean, based on what you know, would you go for the, like, the new truck, or go for like, the really new truck, essentially, next year?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: It's a tough call. Because I actually, I'm really rather fond of the current Frontier. It drives a lot better than you would expect for a truck that is-- let's see, I think this design came out in like, what, 2006, 2007?
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: But it's surprisingly comfortable, handles decently. The interior is really dated. It's got some pretty chintzy plastics. You can tell that it's over a decade old.
But I guess, I mean, if you like the Frontier a lot, go ahead and get it. If you're a little bit on the fence, just wait and see.
And I suppose if you're in a situation where, I don't know, you maybe have like, an old Frontier and you've got a lot of like, extra bits that you'd like to carry over to a new truck, that would be a good case to buy the 2020.
Because you'll get a much newer, much more efficient engine with more power, but you can reuse all of the parts and stuff from your old truck, because it's still basically the old truck.
GREG MIGLIORE: You drove the Frontier down in, I want to see Miami, fairly recently, maybe January, somewhere in there?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Last fall.
GREG MIGLIORE: That was last fall? Jeez. Yeah, time is of no consequence right now. It's all just one big world, it seems like. But I remember you came back and you said something like, this is better than like how we would think it is.
Like, it's actually a decent like, truck, currently as is, that maybe, you know, if you're looking for a smaller truck, a value truck, something that just kind of is what it is, that this is better, perhaps, than people might think. Which is totally a backhanded compliment, but I remember you were basically impressed with it, is what I'm saying.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Totally. Yeah, I was surprised and kind of pleased with it. I guess a couple other things, like, if you are looking for a truck and kind of considering Frontier, because my biggest-- probably my biggest complaint was the fact that the old engine and transmission combinations were really inefficient.
Just because they were really old. I mean, the old V6 had been around for years and was coupled to a six speed automatic. This new one, it's 93% different engine, and it's got a nine speed automatic, so it can actually operate more efficiently.
But another thing to consider is safety. The old truck doesn't hold up that great in current crash tests. It's fine, but all the competition is better. So for safety-wise, probably better wait for the new truck.
And also, if you're looking for a deal, one thing to keep in mind is that this 2020 truck is only going to be offered with the V6 and the automatic. You won't be able to get the V6 with a manual transmission, and the four cylinder is not on offer at all.
So like, the super basic, super cheap trucks aren't going to be around for this year. When we were talking with the Nissan experts, they wouldn't confirm one way or the other whether the four cylinder or manual transmission will return for the 2021. So that's up in the air. It's not a no. It's not a yes.
GREG MIGLIORE: Interesting. I think, you know, with all of just this like, essentially the car business, in many ways, shut down, part of me wonders if you're going to be able to really get a screaming deal on the 2020s if and when people start going to dealerships, you know, again, more often, if you will.
Because at that point, let's just say it's like, September, and the world is somewhat back to normal, and you're somewhat willing to go to a car dealership. And who knows? Maybe it's longer. Maybe it's shorter.
And you've got the 2021 sitting there. You know, if I'm Nissan, I probably don't delay the new truck because of, you know, because people weren't out buying for the coronavirus. I'm thinking maybe you roll that thing out.
But then they, I assume they're going to like, have some scale, some production allotment of the 2020s with this like, Frankenstein V6 in it. So at that point, it's kind of like, well, OK. You know, maybe they incentivize them. I don't know. To me, that's going to be a very interesting situation.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. And the folks at Nissan did say that, currently, all their plans for production on the trucks are still on track. Granted, that can always change the next month or two depending on how things go with coronavirus pandemic.
But the 2020 is still slated to hit dealers this spring, and we should see the 2021 truck by the end of the year. And it'll probably go on sale sometime early next year.
GREG MIGLIORE: All right. Sounds good. Well, let's move on to this. This is so random. I love stories like this. They're almost like footnotes to history. 1966 Mustang mid engine concept car was sort of rediscovered recently.
You've got to check out these pictures. They're amazing. This went up on our site a couple of days ago. It was April 6, actually. I mean, straight out of the "Mad Men" era. Sort of, you know, the photos are black and white.
Very clearly, they were like, just coming up with different ideas back then. And it's just super wild. Joel, why don't you just kind of, really quick, summarize this story? And then Byron, we can get you in here, jump in. I'm curious what you think. But Joel, what exactly is this, first?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. So for performance share that the now retired head of the Ford archives had just been digging through old photos and things, and found these photos from May of 1966 of this weird, chopped up Ford Mustang with a small block Ford V8 in the middle powering the rear wheels.
And he didn't know what it was. And he was reaching out to all sorts of other former Ford employees and designers and engineers, trying to figure out like, what is this thing. And nobody knows what it is.
It's just this weird mid engine Ford Mustang prototype. It's only got two seats. It's got the engine in the middle, like I said, and it's got a spare tire kind of in the cargo area behind the engine.
You can tell that it is Mustang related, because the rear fenders, they've got the little kind of hockey stick shaped molding in the side, and it's got the cut outs for the tri bar tail lights in the back.
And yeah, people, they just don't know what it is. There is some speculation that it could be the prototype for the 1967 Mach 2 mid engine prototype, but there's a number of differences that seem to say that's not the case.
GREG MIGLIORE: Interesting. It's, when you look at these pictures, this is straight out of like, "Unsolved Mysteries," Robert Stack. This is very just, cue up the music. It's pretty wild. What do you think, Byron?
BYRON HURD: Well, I mean, first of all, it's insanely cool. This is-- I'm in the same boat as you are. I really like stories like this, especially when you have kind of a true mystery element to it, which this absolutely has.
It's got that vibe to me where like, I mean, this was when Ford was gearing up for Lamahs when they were going after Ferrari. And it has that kind of feel like, not quite a homologation effort for Mustang racing, but the same tie-ins you saw where they were like, we need to make the Mustang credible as a performance car.
We need, you know racing victories and things like that. And then you've got these GT 40s that are taking it to Ferrari on the world stage. And this has that feel of like, what can we do to combine our motorsports presence with the cars we're actually selling in showrooms.
Because the GT 40 wasn't like the new GT. So it wasn't a customer car. It was a custom a racing car at one point, but it wasn't a car that you just went out and bought the way you can with a GT, even though that's oversimplifying it.
But it's got that kind of vibe to the where they were like OK, what can we do to kind of lend this motorsports credibility to what-- I mean, they addressed it, so it sounds sexist and it was sexist. But what can they do to make the secretary's car serious.
And it's like, a past echo of what we see with the Corvette, where they were like, well, we have the Corvette. It's already a world beater. What can we do to make it even better? How can we elevate its performance to the next level?
And they were like, mid engine. That's the way to go. And there were rumors about mid engine Corvettes for decades for a reason. Because I'm sure the domestics were trying to find ways to capitalize on that design. And I think this is just kind of one of those weird vestiges of it that history has kind of lost. And it's really cool to see it come back.
GREG MIGLIORE: I think it's interesting too that, you know, almost right out of the gate, they were already looking at ways to make a mid engine Mustang. You know, we talked about how the Corvette's mid engine heritage goes back really far.
It's interesting that's that they were doing, at least thinking about doing, with this. My first gut also was-- gut instinct was like, this has got to be somehow related to like, the Lamah program. You know, the homologation.
Like, something like that. I mean, I wonder-- there's just so much, like, so many different ideas. Part of me also wonders if maybe this is just, some engineers were screwing around. You know, they had access to some of the parts.
You know, they fabricated some pieces, they took a motor and slapped it in. And then who knows? Somebody took some pictures and stuck it in a drawer, and this was just like, you know, what somebody did the month of May-- May probably was-- so earlier that spring, you know, almost 60 years ago.
I mean, it's like, part of me just wonders if this is like, a random project. Though I kind of doubt that. The way this looks, if feels like there was an idea here that at least had some credence, some level of support. I don't know. It's interesting.
BYRON HURD: You could absolutely see it being like, kind of a skunkworks internal response to what Ford was effectively doing externally with Shelby. Because you have to think the Ford engineers kind of felt a little left out, like they wanted to get in on what was happening in California.
And just, you know, they were isolated from it because they didn't have their hands in the racing program. And I think, you know, this might have been their way of expressing their creativity, their vision for a mid engine Ford race car that they weren't invited to actually participate in.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, it's interesting. It's, you know, the farther we kind of get away from some of that like, really wide open west '50s, '60s racing times into the '70s when it was so dangerous, and they were doing all kinds of things just to like, make, you know, maybe a limited version to like, sell to the public, and then build something that could be raced, you know?
It's just, the farther we get away with it, or away from it, the more of these things, I think, take on almost a mythical quality. And especially when you're talking about something that, you know, you get like, mid engine, you get Mustang, you get, you know, some circumstantial evidence that this was around the time of the Mach 2.
You get the whole Lamah backdrop. It's just, it's very cool. You know, the more-- you know, the more of these that I think can resurface, you know, I always find stuff like this interesting. You know, every now and then, some sort of shipwreck will wash ashore along the coast.
And you're like, oh, wow. That's cool. Turns out that was from the Revolutionary War, and nobody's even seen it in 200 years. So that, to me, is kind of like what this is. Something, you know, from the dusty files of history just comes back out.
I mean, the real amazing thing is if somebody could track down this prototype. I think there's almost no chance it still exists anywhere. But I mean, you never know.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: I mean, so many concept cars, even the ones that are well documented and photographed, and show up at auto shows and stuff back in the '50s and '60s, most of those just got scrapped.
And so I wouldn't hold my breath for this particular prototype to have survived, just because we don't even know what it is. And it was only partway finished in these photos. I wouldn't hold my breath that this exists.
GREG MIGLIORE: Or it, you know, they hacked it up and pieces of it are somewhere else. And who knows? But yeah, I highly doubt this is still out there. So that's, I guess, that's kind of the random news for the week.
Speaking of randomness, you guys, I think, were kind of the ringleaders of this like, totally random Slack conversation that happened yesterday morning with west coast editor James Riswick. He tweeted about it last night, and that's what kind of made me notice it.
Because I saw it earlier then kind of forgot about it. And I wish I had chimed in. You guys we're talking about late '60s to early to mid '70s personal luxury coups. I think the genesis of this was-- Oldsmobile Toronado somehow came up, and you guys really started going off on it.
So if you want to talk about like, a forgotten genre, talk about like, Nixon era personal luxury coups. And I know you both had a couple of favorites, if you will. So I don't know. Where did you guys land?
BYRON HURD: Well, I mean, we ended up discussing-- actually, it's kind of funny that we were zeroed in specifically on just GM coups. But that's kind of where we ended up. We were talking about the Oldsmobile Toronado, the Buick Riviera, and the Cadillac Eldorado from the late '60s to early '70s.
Yeah, I don't know. They're just-- they're really interesting cars. And it is a segment that seems to be really dead. Or, well, actually, I don't know. Maybe not really dead. We'll circle back to that in a second.
But, because I guess there actually are a few still out there. But yeah, with these cars, I don't know. They're long. They're wide. I guess to seem kind of selfish too, that such huge cars that are just two doors. I mean, I guess they're technically four seats. But I mean, it's not really for carrying around your family.
And just kind of interesting things that like, two of those three that we were discussing, the Eldorado and the Toronado were both front wheel drive with giant V8s. But the Riviera was still pretty traditional. It was V8 rear wheel drive.
GREG MIGLIORE: That's interesting. I-- it really seemed like Cadillac and Oldsmobile really owned this brand, or this sort of segment for a while. Of course, Chrysler had some offerings in there. You know, the Thunderbird was, you know, depending on what you considered sort of premium and luxurious back then, it was kind of in there.
I mean, it's just-- I don't know. I'm interested, too, to hear what you think, Joel. If this segment is even remotely viable anymore. I think the Germans still do it pretty well with some other big flagships. You know, you still can maybe get into something.
Or like, an S5 or something, where I would say that gets to be almost like a personal luxury car. But you don't see it as much. It's like, basically, luxury is usually some form of loaded up SUV or, you know, the proverbial like, flagship sedan, you know? And you just don't see these personal luxury coups that much anymore.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. Because when I did think about it, it sort of does-- because these like, old GM things I would consider to be pretty much flagship cars. It's Eldorado, the Toronado, Riviera, like, these were sort of the standard bearer for, this is cool, and luxurious, and special, and personal.
And I think that actually does kind of show up in like, the Lexus LC, the BMW 8 Series, and especially in the Mercedes Benz S class coupe. That's probably the true spiritual successor to these cars, because that thing, it is the full size S class. It is the full S class luxury experience.
But it's just two doors. It's not meant for carrying extra people or anything. It's just to be stylish and luxurious, and kind of show off a little bit. Not too much, because it is still subtle, but a little bit.
I don't know if it's really a viable segment, though. Because everybody wants to buy crossovers and SUVs. And actually, I mean, I said that like, these cars kind of look and feel a little bit selfish. Because it's like, you've got this huge car that is just for like, one or two people.
But I don't know. I think there's maybe something a little bit honest about it too. Because, I mean, I know the times that I've driven like, an S class sedan or an Audi A8, or even like, an X7, I just kind of feel like, why do I have all-- why do I have these extra back seats?
Like, if I-- I mean, if I'm a single person or like, married without children and I own one of these huge sedans, especially the ones with like, a long wheelbase, because that's, I guess, prestigious. It's kind of like-- but why? I'm the one driving it. Like, I want all of the luxury and attention focused on me.
And I don't know. I guess there's almost something that feels maybe a little bit wasteful about owning like, a gigantic, super uber SUV like a G Wagon when it's just you driving it. So you might as well, I don't know. I'm rambling a little bit here. Chime in whenever you guys would like.
BYRON HURD: Well, I mean, I think-- I mean, your points are very good. And when I think of this segment as it exists today, I think the epitome of it is like, a Bentley Continental GT, where it's just, you know, a massive piece of metal that's all for you.
And it's one of those things where they can really-- I mean, they're viable in that kind of segment where people are willing to spend a lot of money on something impractical. And that, as you were talking, Joel, I was actually thinking, I think the modern equivalent of these things is the like, fast back SUV coupe.
Because it's the same kind of compromised approach to a large car, just a different kind of car. Like, you have these big SUV these that are terrible at being SUVs, but they're great at being large, personal luxury vehicles with serious road presence.
And I think even like, going back, I was thinking, when I was in college, we had a roommate named John. John had a '72 or '73 Monte Carlo SS. And Johnny was the fake ID, and let's go somewhere type of guy.
And he would frequently lock his keys in his car at the liquor store, and we'd have to go and retrieve him. And so the poor Monte Carlo would have to like, live in a parking lot over there. It was amazing it never got stolen. It was in pristine shape for what it was.
But it was just-- it wasn't necessary-- it was a Chevy. It wasn't a luxury make. But the presence it had and just the space it took up made it a luxury, because you were effectively saying, well, I'm not compromising on size. I'm not being practical. I just want all of this car.
And you get kind of the same thing with like, my Challenger. Especially because the Challenger, when it was first conceived, was not supposed to be a performance coupe in any real sense, because that was the Viper's job.
And until the Viper went away, the Challenger was always second fiddle. It was more of a big luxury cruiser. I mean, my car is a slick top, but it has a heated steering wheel and heated seats, and all those other kind of things you would more likely associate with a Mercedes E Class coupe than you would with a Challenger. And I say that because they share some DNA.
And so you can get that same, like, the presence, the style, the look at me, I have all of this. And I could have bought a Miata, which would be faster half the time and much more practical to own. But I bought this instead, because look how freaking cool it is.
And I'm in the minority, obviously, in this current market in finding that kind of thing appealing. But there's a large chunk out there willing to plunk down a lot of money on something like a BMW X6, which makes a lot of the same functional compromises, just with a different class of car.
And I think there's even, to an extent, the Jeep Wrangler is kind of an extension of that too. Because it's a car that is a style statement in a way, and not practical for most people who actually buy them. But it's cool.
And that cachet is just in SUVs now, where it used to be in coupes. So I think the same thing is happening now, just with completely different cars.
GREG MIGLIORE: That's interesting. I think, yeah, I mean, I think there could still be a market. Although I wonder, as the market sort of gets tighter, the economy's uncertain, just how long this, you know, this market segment is really going to have to live.
I think I've, you know, I've said this for a while. Like, the car market right now is pretty decadent. You know, you could get like, high powered muscle cars. You could get all sorts of different flavors of luxury vehicles, luxury SUVs.
You know, you guys remember 10, 15 years ago. It was much more pared down, that sort of thing. And now it's kind of like, you know, whatever flavor you want, you know, you can have. It's great. It's, you know, Baskin Robbins.
And I feel like, you know, some of these, you know, if we do face like, you know, a couple, few years of uncertain economic times, then stuff like this is going to go by the wayside. Because, you know, the last time we went through this, a lot of the muscle cars, a lot of the sports cars went away. The racing programs were cut.
You know, luxury brands were shed in the case of, you know, General Motors, in some cases, like Pontiac. Maybe that's not pure luxury. But, you know what I mean. And it's like, you know, when times are tough, this stuff kind of goes away. So we'll see.
But that was a great Slack conversation. You know, cars like the Riviera were brought up, that '72 Monte Carlo, '73 that you just brought up there, Byron. Toronado, Eldorado. My parents had a '73 Chevelle, which was not really a personal luxury coupe. You could get it in a wagon or a sedan, although they did have a coupe.
And it's interesting. Because back then, people did use big coups as family cars. Because the doors were so big, you could just get in and out of them pretty easily. You could put car seats, I assume there were car seats, in the back seat.
Yeah. I mean, by the time I came around, this car had been around for some time. But, you know, I mean, just, there was a different market for large coupes back in the day. And I think, you know, it was kind of fun to have everybody riff on that.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. Actually, on coupes as family cars, it just reminded me. I had a friend in college who had a, say it was a late '70s Granada coupe. It was green on green. Like, it the most green car you could have without being a Prius.
And I think I remember it had ashtrays in the very back of the doors for the rear seats. Because, I mean, every seated position in a '70s car had to have an ashtray, because everybody was smoking.
GREG MIGLIORE: All right. On that note, let's move along to cars we're driving in the modern era. Let's go to the Chevy Silverado. You've had two of them in your kind of short term fleet there, Joel, which I think is cool.
Why did you go with the Trail Boss first? What did you do with it, and what do you think of it? I think it's a very interesting truck.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. So I actually had the Trail Boss first anyway, so it's a good place to start. And I had a couple weeks ago, and since like, an offroad pickup truck isn't exactly that much fun on road, I decided, I figured I'd try a little bit of offroading, and drove it out to the Bundy Hill Offroad Park like an hour or two west of Detroit.
GREG MIGLIORE: Bundy Hill's fun, absolutely.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. And, you know, it did pretty well. For a truck that mostly boils down to, it's got like, a two inch lift on it. It's got Rancho offroad shocks and retuned suspension. This particular one came with the standard mud terrain tires and it had skid plates, and it had like, big beefy tow hooks.
And an automatic locking rear differential, which has been kind of a GM hallmark for a long time. And that's pretty much it. It's not like-- it's not like a Raptor, with like, crazy remote reservoir or fox shocks and extra long travel suspension, and then it's not like a Power Wagon has a winch.
It's a relatively modest offroad package. And it's, in a number of ways, it was really nice. It was wet, and muddy, and overcast out at Bundy that weekend. And the tires were great. I had excellent traction all the time.
I think I only kicked on the locker like, once. And I never put it in four low. And the ground clearance was really helpful. Bundy has a lot of steep hills and tight trails, and so I was able to clear quite a few like, kind of big old hills.
And actually, the suspension, it was-- it had great body control. It was actually pretty comfortable driving it offroad. The one downside, it's a big truck, and Bundy has tight trails.
It's difficult to get around in like, really heavily wooded areas with lots of trees right up on the edges of the trail, and rocks and things. It can be tricky to maneuver. There was definitely a reason that most of the vehicles I saw out there were ATVs, side by sides, and Jeeps, and not full sized pickup trucks.
So pretty decent offroad. If you're serious about-- if like, offroading is the thing you're going to do and you want a Chevy, I would strongly recommend going with a Colorado ZR2 instead. It's a lot smaller more nimble, and it has a few extra offroad upgrades that make it even more capable.
On road, the Trail Boss is not my favorite. That offroad suspension, that's great while offroad, is really-- it's really pretty stiff. And actually, it actually doesn't do potholes that great on pavement. There is, on a 10 mile road near my house, it is really pockmarked. you'd be surprised that it had been a road at one point.
But going over it at like, normal street speeds, the whole truck kind of shimmies and shakes around, and it doesn't feel particularly stable. And if you're going to do much pavement driving, I'd strongly recommend opting for the 20 inch wheels with the all terrain tires instead of the mud terrain tires.
Because the mud terrains are super loud. Those big, knobby treads just cause this-- just all this humming that's audible at basically every speed. Plus they've got terrible pavement grip. You've got to think a little bit farther ahead when you're braking and when you're turning, because it's not going to respond as quickly as a normal vehicle.
So it's an interesting truck. I think it looks awesome. And it does what it needs to do pretty well, but it definitely comes with some compromises.
GREG MIGLIORE: What I think is interesting about the Trail Boss is, I think it's by far the coolest Silverado, the way it looks. But it's also one, you know, your comments make for kind of a cautionary tale.
You know, you'll see people driving pretty probably overly capable Wrangler Rubicons. And you know that that Wrangler is never going offroad. But, you know, frankly, the Wrangler is just, you know, it's, in general, pretty uncomfortable. You know, and Byron, I know you own one.
It's just how uncomfortable do you want to be and how much can you tolerate. You can get a pretty comfortable Silverado, you know, depending on what trim you get and, you know, how you spec it out.
So I mean, I think that's, you know, again, kind of a cautionary tale. You know, the Trail Boss looks pretty awesome. But unless that's what you're going to use it for, you probably don't want to go ahead and go for that version of the Silverado.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: One other thing that I think is good to mention is that offroading, like, there's always a decent chance of damaging your vehicle. And, I mean, most of the trucks and stuff I saw, they were pretty beat up.
And it's hard to imagine taking, because the truck that we had, as tested, costs $56,000. And it's just, it's hard for me to get my head around somebody that would want to take their brand new, $50,000 plus pickup truck and do serious offroading.
I mean, I think there are definitely situations and buyers that would be looking for a full size truck like this, that's got like, the towing capability, and the cart, and like, the people carrying capability, that's reasonably comfortable but can also do some serious offroading. I'm sure that there are those buyers out there.
But, you know, just keep that in mind when you're looking for an offroader. There's always that risk, and you need to think about-- you've got to think about whether you're willing to bang up your shiny new truck.
GREG MIGLIORE: Tell me about the 2,500, which I got to believe was even bigger, but also probably more comfortable. What did you do with that? You probably didn't go to Bundy Hill.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: No. I've only driven that on the street. I would, boy, I would not want to take that out to Bundy. It's, as big as the 1,500 was, 2,500 is even bigger. I actually took a picture of it next to my Miata and shared that to Twitter if anybody wants to check that out. It's-- I found it amusing.
It is, it's just-- it's so, so huge. It's also a lot more expensive. This one costs about $75,000.
GREG MIGLIORE: Wow.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. And it's got the Durham X diesel V8, which is a really nice engine. It's really good. It's smooth. It's refined, and it always amazes me and amuses me how these like, big diesel pickup trucks, they're quick. They move.
And it just amazes me that like, this gigantic, super heavy chunk of metal can accelerate as effortlessly and quickly as it can. Yeah. It's a great engine. Interior is, I mean, it's basically the same as a regular Silverado.
So it's kind of gray, bland GM interior. But yeah, it's interesting. And I mean, I just-- I kind of enjoy giant diesel trucks.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I would agree with that, I think, I'm also just kind of, like, overall, I've said this before in words and on the podcast. I'm really starting to come around on the Silverado. It took me a while. Like, the new design, when I first saw it, I liked it. But then I was like, oh, jeez. I don't know. I think they messed this up a little bit.
But the more like, in the last couple of years, it's been around a little bit. It's grown on me. You look at the old trucks, and they do start to look, you know, the farther away we get from that design, they do start to look a little dated.
It's a more traditional look. This like new, air quotes, generation. It's a little quirkier. It's a little curvier. So there's that. And, you know, the last one was definitely more like, kind of boxy, if you will, more traditional.
But, you know, especially the Trail Boss, especially the heavy duty versions, I'm liking the Silverado in a lot of ways. And, you know, we mentioned this I think last week on the podcast. We hear that they're going to get updated interiors, which I think is going to really help them out.
So we'll see. I mean, I like big trucks. They're fun. You know, they're fun to haul stuff in. They're fun to go offroading in. You know, regardless of how the interior shakes out, I still generally prefer the RAM as my like, sort of best in class pick. But yeah. You had kind of a unique little Silverado test there, it sounds like.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. And actually, one last note. It's also funny how the heavy duty feels more truck-like. One of the things with the Silverado Trail Boss, even with the mud terrain tires and stuff, the steering was actually pretty quick, felt pretty weighted.
Like, and with the stiff suspension, like, if it had some more grip, it would almost feel borderline sporty. But this, it's got a super long steering ratio. It's been a while since I've had to drive something where I have to turn the wheel over and over and over again to get around a corner.
And the whole thing, it takes a minute for it to kind of make the corner. It's just kind of slow and lumbering. And also, it is just so wide. It's wide. It's tall. It feels like a tiny big rig.
Whereas, I mean, a lot of the modern like, the 1,500 class pickup trucks, they're starting to feel almost car-like. But this still feels like, old school pickup.
GREG MIGLIORE: Wow, interesting. Yeah, I mean, I think sometimes, you know, driving dynamics with trucks is something that, you know, it's a very traditional feel, traditional dynamic. And I don't really see a lot of this stuff changing too much.
Cool. Let's move on to the long term update. Byron, you've spent a lot of time in the Volvo S60.
BYRON HURD: Yes.
GREG MIGLIORE: Why don't you just remind everybody of what, you know, how this thing is specced out, what it is, and then what you've been doing with it.
BYRON HURD: OK. So the one we've got in the garage, it's an inscription model, which means it's like, the luxury-oriented interior versus the sporty one. T8 powertrain, that's the plug-in hybrid, 400 horsepower, 495 pound feet of torque.
It'll do 22 miles of pure EV range, which I actually validated today for the first time during our long term run with it. It's, honestly, I'm completely won over by this thing. It has some powertrain idiosyncrasies, if you will.
It's not the most refined. It's, I mean, sometimes obnoxiously so. But on the whole, it is one of the best luxury cars I've driven in a long time. And it's really hard to beat the level of comfort it offers. Those seats are phenomenal, and the performance you get and the practicality it offers, mostly just based on its fuel economy.
I mean, we haven't done a great job of driving it like a hybrid. Like, we as a collective group, because we have so many people with longer highway commutes and stuff like that that deplete the battery instantly, and kind of invalidate the one thing it's superb at, which is being efficient around town.
But it's got so much more to offer, that I don't really feel like we're missing out on a lot. So I've had it I think close to a month straight at this point.
And as I mentioned just a minute ago, today was the first time I actually took it out with it starting in a full battery charge and just seeing if I could go the entire range that was suggested by the EPA without the gas engine coming on.
Because it's impossible to completely prevent it. You just have to drive it really carefully, and it was able to do it. And as a little teaser for that, which we'll do as an update probably next week, actually beat the EPA 22 mile range slightly without trying.
So I just drove it out to Pontiac and back on Woodward, and didn't do anything special, didn't try to hyper mile it or anything like that, and actually managed to do better than 22 miles on purely electric. So it's an impressive car.
I mean, if I owned one, I would effectively be able to commute to our office indefinitely without ever putting gasoline in it and still have a 400 horsepower hybrid that can eat all the Hemi Chargers around here for lunch, so.
GREG MIGLIORE: There you go. I missed the S60. I remember when it arrived back in, I think, January, you know, we were jockeying to see who could get in it. And, you know, I was able to kind of get some seat time early on.
The plug is really, I think, a cool feature. Something you would even consider to be a luxury feature in some ways. I think we'll see if plugs become more commonplace, which I hope they do. But I also think, you know, the way it's used on this car is almost like, it's a legit add on, value added feature, which I think is cool.
Yeah, that's a really nice driving car. We talk about personal luxury, the S60. Yes, it's a sedan, but it's not a huge sedan. So, you know, that's a little bit of a personal luxury car in some ways. I think that's how you can look at some of the smaller sedans.
Love how it looks. It's a great looking car. Steering was really good. Dialed in chassis, without being too intense. Yeah, it's a very nice car. A very nice car.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. I love the S60 too. Every time I've had it, I come away loving it. Like you said, those seats are amazing. I don't know what-- like Volvo, Volvo knows how to do seats. They're really supportive, but they have lots of cushioning. And like, oh, gosh.
GREG MIGLIORE: Those are great seats, yeah.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: They're so good. And almost every time that I had it, and when I was still like, commuting to and from the office when we were allowed to go there, I was able to drive it home entirely on electric power going from Woodward and onto the interstate.
And granted, I did have to kind of limit my pedal usage a little bit. And there's not really a-- like, and I know that some other people in the office, including, I think you, Byron, mentioned that you wished that there was a more clear point in like, the pedal travel, it would say when you would kick on the gas engine.
I've managed to kind of work around that, and I can drive it EV-only pretty easily. And oftentimes, I would like, drive it home on EV power, and then drive it back to the office on like, the full performance hybrid power and just let it rip the all 400 horses.
BYRON HURD: Yeah. And it's-- it's actually, I think, one of the most impressive things about that power train is that, unlike a lot of EV assist type cars that are out there, that power feels like it's there all the time.
It's not, oh, it's really quick initially like, just coming away from a dig right at the stoplight or something like that, and then it tapers off. If you hammer it, even on the highway, the power is there. The torque is there.
And I mean, it helps that your-- the base engine, if you want to call it that, but you've got a twin, both turbo and super charged, two liter, four cylinder making 315ish. I forget exactly what the total is, but around 315 horsepower. That alone is adequate.
And then throwing in the extra 100 from the electric motor is great. It just-- and it's just always there. And the fact that the system actually banks reserve power while you're driving it to make sure that you have that electric torque when you want it helps.
And, I mean, you know, you can go from being stuck behind a semi truck on an on ramp doing 20 miles an hour trying to get into a 70 mile an hour zone. And as soon as the way in front of you is clear, you're there in a heartbeat. And it's just-- it's a very luxurious power delivery once you get up and rolling.
When you're kind of puttering around and the engine's coming on and shutting off and doing other a little weird hybrid things, that's when the refinement issues kind of creep up. But they're so forgivable. And once you learn how to kind of drive around them, you don't even notice them anymore. I love that car. It's great.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. I know what you mean about the power too. Because like, it feels like the electric assist is assisting for more of the time and makes more of a difference than in a lot of like, plug-in hybrids.
And also, with like, the refinement, I think one of the problems is that four cylinder is not very refined in general. I've always found it to be a little noisy and coarse.
BYRON HURD: Yeah. That's definitely an issue. I mean, when it-- sometimes it's just more pronounced than others. But you'll just be sitting in the driveway and like, you'd flick it over to power mode, and that immediately brings the gas engine on whether you're moving or not.
And sometimes, just as you're sitting there idling, it'll drop into these weird kind of voids in the NVH tuning where it just feels like the engine's about to fall out of the front of the car. And, I mean, you know it's now. It's a brand new expensive luxury car. It's not that poorly made. But it's just, they're just little weird harmonics that come through sometimes that kind of make you scratch your head.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. It's-- yeah, I think that's something that you always kind of find a little irritating. But I mean, you know, what are you going to do? Any other thoughts on the S60? Either one of you guys?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: I don't think so. No.
BYRON HURD: That's probably it for me. I've got updates to come on that, so.
GREG MIGLIORE: I like it. I like it. Check out all the S60 coverage. Byron's had-- you've had at least one piece, maybe more than that. I'm not sure if I maybe missed one of them in there. But, you know, check it all out, long term coverage on Autoblog, of course. The long term fleet.
We've got a Forester that I believe is in the hands of our green editor, John Snyder. He's taking care of it, such as it is during quarantine. And yeah, you know, it's always fun to talk about these cars, because we get to spend a lot of time with them.
Kind of figure out things we like, things we don't like, things that maybe aren't quite as advertised such as it is. And that's always kind of cool too. And, you know, hey, we can pass it along to you guys, the listener.
One kind of random post script. I randomly had Twitter going in the background, guys. We were talking about that Ford random mid engine concept. And Ted Ryan, who is apparently the Ford Motor Company archivist, just randomly tweeted like, and this came through my feed about the Allegro, which was apparently this random like, sporty performer thing from 1963.
So I don't know. It's super random. If you do some googling, you'll see it out there. Reminds me a little bit of almost like, a Corvair fighter, if there is such a thing back in the day. Hemmings has a nice sort of piece on it. It's just, man. When you look at some of the weird cars from the '60s, companies were trying things. That's for sure.
BYRON HURD: Yeah.
GREG MIGLIORE: So check that out. If anybody has any more information on that mystery mid engine concept, hey, let us know. Probably let Ford know. But, you know, you can let us know too. You know, we'll keep it a secret just between you, them, us, and, you know, autoblog.com. You know, send us your tips, if you will.
That's about it for this week. We don't have a spend my money. So if anybody listening out there, you're thinking about buying a car, wondering how maybe to buy a car, especially during this time of, you know, the coronavirus, when most dealers in most states, I think, are shut down, or how to approach that. Let us know.
We're willing to field all questions about that, or really any other questions. We've had a few mail bags in the recent weeks, and those are always fun. So, you know, shoot us a question, whether it's about buying a car, or spending your money, or something else that, you know, maybe has piqued your interest in the last few weeks.
Yeah. That's about it. How are you guys doing in lockdown? Are you guys-- any interesting routines you've come up with? Have you tried any new hobbies? Anything like that?
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Well, I just got my Miata back from the mechanic a while back, because it was having an idling issue. And that's all been sorted out. Apparently there was a nasty vacuum leak. One of the-- the brace that kind of props up the supercharger that we added has some bolts that thread into the intake manifold.
And apparently, at one point on the highway, one of those bolts had just kind of, like, worked itself loose and fell out. So there was like, an 1/8 inch hole on the intake manifold that was causing a major vacuum leak.
GREG MIGLIORE: Oh boy.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: So that's been fixed, and--
GREG MIGLIORE: Well, that's something.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. And now that the weather is nice, I've been doing a lot of cruising around. Woodward has been busy with lots of cool cars the last couple days because the weather's been awesome, and everybody's been cooped up, so everyone's out cruising around.
GREG MIGLIORE: How about you, Byron? Any-- I don't know. What have you been doing, man? Normally I see you every day at the office. What have you been up to?
BYRON HURD: I've been getting really good at moving boxes.
GREG MIGLIORE: Oh, right. You moved.
BYRON HURD: That's about-- that's about it. I'll wrap that up next week. Yeah, so my hobby has just been taping cardboard together for the past month and a half.
GREG MIGLIORE: Nice. Yeah, I-- yeah, that's-- I don't know. We're not moving, we're just bunkered down. Been trying just different versions of pastas, you know, with different things out of a can. You know, what's left of the spinach, you know?
If there's a way to make pasta, we've been figuring it out. So, you know, it's interesting. Everybody, I read about these new hobbies and things people are picking up. But I think most people are just hanging out, trying to stay healthy. And that's what you're supposed to do.
So I guess we'll leave it there. That's a good way to sign off for this week of the "Autoblog Podcast." It's been fun hanging out with you guys, Byron and Joel, and of course all of you listening at home or in your cars, or when you're out walking the dog, or wherever you do listen to the "Autoblog Podcast."
Stay safe. Enjoy the drive, of course, if you're going to one of your approved grocery or medicinal purposes. And, you know, hey, we'll see you next week.
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