AD #1203 – Nissan’s Bold Autonomous News, Ford Reveals New S-Max, Two EVs for VW

August 28th, 2013 at 11:47am

Runtime: 7:54

Nissan makes a historical commitment to bring fully autonomous cars to market by the end of the decade. Ford takes the wraps off a thinly veiled concept of the S-Max. VW shows off the EV versions of two of its compact cars. All that and more, plus John McElroy responds to your questions and comments in You Said It!

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Welcome to Autoline Daily. Later in the show we’ll get to viewer questions and comments, but now let’s get to the news.

In an announcement that is going through the auto industry like a lightning bolt, Nissan says it is going to have a fully autonomous car ready for sale in 2020. Here’s Andy Palmer, executive vice president at Nissan.

(Comments from Nissan Executive Vice President Andy Palmer are only available in the video version of today’s program.)

Nissan worked with MIT, Stanford, Oxford, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Tokyo to develop the technology. It says it is also building a proving ground in Japan for autonomous vehicles. Here’s my Automotive Insight. This is a historical development. Other automakers and suppliers have said this technology would not be ready until 2025 or even 2030. Of course, Google has said it will be ready in 2017, so maybe the others will take it more seriously. In fact, this is going to force other automakers to dramatically change their plans.

And in other Nissan news, the company says that it’s on track to be the worlds leading manufacturer of light commercial vehicles by 2016. As a part of its Power 88 plan, Nissan is targeting 8 percent market share for LCVs and to help them achieve that goal the company announced it will sell an all-electric version of the NV200 in 2014. The company sold over 1.1 million LCVs last year, which accounted for more than 20 percent of all Nissan sales.

Ford showed off a concept version of its S-Max crossover that it sells in Europe. Except that this is just a very thinly disguised concept. Just imagine that it has door handles and a D-pillar at the trailing edge of the rear doors and you’ll see exactly what the production version will look like. Essentially Ford is just grafting its new nose on the S-Max. Ford claims that the S-Max is in a segment all by itself and doesn’t have any direct competition.

Volkswagen revealed the electric versions of the Golf and up! before they make their official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The e-up! is powered by a 60kW electric motor while the e-Golf uses an 85kW one. The electric up! has a range of 160 kilometers or about 100 miles and the e-Golf can travel 190 kilometers or about 118 miles before it needs to be charged. Volkswagen developed the electric systems for both cars in-house and will manufacture the components in Germany.

German supplier ZF has team with Levant Power Corp., a Massachusetts based company, to produce an adaptive and regenerative suspension for passenger cars. A unit fitted to the side of a damper has its own control unit, electric motor and a electrohydraulic gear pump. The electric motor drives the gear pump, which regulates the oil flow in the damper. The system automatically adapts to each driving situation, virtually eliminating body roll and can even raise each wheel individually. It also uses the motion of the damper to recover energy by guiding the oil to drive an electric pump motor, which is fed into the vehicle’s power supply. Since ZF just announced this technology, no word yet of an automaker signing up to use it.

Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!

Rich Candy says: “I’m in the market for an EV as a second car, but all the ones that interest me are CA-only. What am I missing here?” Rich, California has a mandate that forces automakers to sell electric cars, no matter what. So automakers are obeying the law, even though they’re struggling mightily to meet that mandate. They are all losing money on these cars, and so the thinking goes, “Let’s only sell them in California so we minimize our losses.” Remember Sergio Marchionne says they’re losing $10,000 on every electric version of the Fiat 500 that they sell in California.

GM Veteran wonders why we are pronouncing the name of a certain German transmission supplier the way we do. “Really? Zed F? So, how do you pronounce the name of the black and white striped horse? Zedebra?” Force of habit, GM Veteran. Just about everyone in the industry pronounces it ZED F, not ZEE F.

Ron Paris Says: “No government incentives on diesels? Here’s a novel concept: why not remove incentives on all forms of electrified vehicles as well and let everyone fight it out on a level playing field in the marketplace.”

Meanwhile, dcars says: “Why does VW want incentives for diesels when they are selling so well? Isn’t VW the most profitable automotive company?” I say, Ron has got it mostly right. Let’s get rid of all incentives, not just those on electric vehicles. Let’s not give HOV lane stickers to anyone,either. Then the diesel people will not feel left out. Let the marketplace decide, not government bureaucrats and regulators.

HtG heard our report on the NAFTA region setting an all-time production record last month and says, “Come on now, John, wasn’t it you that predicted in the midst of the 2008-9 maelstrom that we’d be seeing record production in a few years? Stand up and wave to the crowd.” HtG, thanks for remembering. I did make that prediction back when everyone was saying the industry would never recover. But that’s because with age comes wisdom. I’ve been around long enough to remember the collapse after the first oil crisis, and the collapse after the second oil crisis, when everyone said the industry would never recover. In each case, within four years the industry set a new record. And guess what? We are now only four years after the big collapse of 2009 and setting a new production record.

Thanks for all your letters and comments, we truly appreciate going through them. Also, please join me and the Autoextremist Peter De Lorenzo tomorrow night for Autoline After Hours when our guest will be Jeff Luke, the chief engineer on the new Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. And get your questions ready as well.

But that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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61 Comments to “AD #1203 – Nissan’s Bold Autonomous News, Ford Reveals New S-Max, Two EVs for VW”

  1. jim Says:

    if it wasn’t for government regulation, the automakers would not be spending the time and talent to increase mpg for all vehicles. we have relatively cheap gas in the U.S. and there is no big incentive to produce more efficient engines. I say yes to government regulation!

  2. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Regulations are one thing,incentives are another.

  3. Mike Says:

    Okay, quiz time: what do windshield washer systems, dual brake cylinders and side marker lights all have in common? They are all on the list of things that were required as a result of government mandates. It is a very long list of things that Detroit said “couldn’t be done” Federal mandates leveled the playing field by mandating the changes. Not all government intervention is evil. Mike

  4. Jim Sawyer Says:

    Really, Mike? Windshield washer systems? First time I’ve ever heard this.

  5. Lex Says:

    Great Job Ford on the look of the new S-Max!
    I had suggested this very idea quite some time ago. That Aston Martin nose makes Ford vehicles look more upscale. I hope you continue this trend.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The car companies weren’t even going to have positive crankcase ventilation until forced to, in about 1963.

    The is a long history of “incentives” to jump start new technology, like railroads, nuclear power, aviation and, more recently, renewable energy of various types, and EV’s. Some of these incentives have produced more useful results than others, but all take time. EV’s aren’t selling well now, but who is to say that won’t change in 10, or even 5 years. An EV would work for nearly all of my driving, except for occasional road trips, but I wouldn’t buy one now because they cost too much, and there is no place to plug one in at my Florida condo. That could,and probably will change in not too many years.

  7. ColoradoKid Says:

    #1 government regulations designed to ‘ regulate ‘ .. I’m all for . Government ‘ mandates ‘ designed to manipulate the market place in order to benefit a very few that are in fact more damaging than helpful as well as not viable or affordable I say … BS … in spades

    #2 – And as to incentives … once again designed to manipulate the market place for the sole benefit of a very few I say ….. ” Time to Make Some Changes ” in the way our government has been functioning over the last 50 or so years

    Suffice it to say I’ve had it up to here with clueless politicians and the Vocal [ extreme even more out of touch with reality ] Minority ruling the roost when it comes to the cars we drive …. as well as my tax dollars paying others to buy vehicles they want even less than I do but are too blinded by science to realize are costing them more in the end .


    Mike – A little history lesson good sir . Windshield washers and dual braking systems came directly out of racing then transferred to the road when customers demanded them .

    Side markers … yes the government mandated them …. but like those now worthless center rear window brake lights …. wanna have a guess as to just how effective they are now that they’re commonplace and everyone is used to them ?

    And the answer is ….. NOT AT ALL … period .

    So please … do go on about how those government mandates are making our lives sooooo much safer …. when in fact 95% of them are completely worthless and a total waste of our money .

  8. ColoradoKid Says:

    6 – Kit – In case you haven’t noticed over the last eight to twelve years or so …… We The People ( tax payers ) DO NOT have the money to be throwing at each and every pretentious Geek/Dweeb’s Lab Experiments in the name of efficiency … Especially when said Geek/Dweebs have never manufactured a single product in their entire lives .. nor even so much as participated in the development of a product …

    And even more especially when said Lab Experiment is in fact no more advanced overall than its now century old predecessors ( talkin bout EV’s of course ) in any real or viable way

    ( Todays EV’s … from the TESLA to the LEAF all to a number still have the now century old problems of ;

    Battery Life
    Recharging Time
    Reliability etc

    Somewhat improved … yes …. but in no way substantially improved )

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Dual braking systems were definitely mandated, for the 1968 model year. The car companies didn’t do it on their own. Windshield washers were also mandated, but many, or most car companies DID do that on their own. My ’57 Chrysler had washers, but some later cars did not.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There is little comparison between today’s brushless motors and the electronics, and the huge, heavy brush motors of 100 years ago. Also, there is little comparison in energy density of today’s li batteries, and lead acid batteries.

    The reliability of today’s EV’s is very good, but yeah, the limited range would make them mostly city cars, even if the charging infrastructure were better.

  11. Earl Says:

    Ford’s new S Max could be the answer to those wanting a mini van but don’t want a Grand Cravan,Seinna, Odessey as they have just gotten too big for a lot of people. The Mazda 5 is the right size but they must be over priced or not a large enough dealer network as there isn’t a lt if them around.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Mazda 5 is actually kind of a bargain in today’s car market, starting at around $20K, reasonably well equipped. My sister has one, and likes it pretty well. Yeah, I suspect the small dealer network doesn’t help, and some people think it looks funny, especially since the redesign a few years ago.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    These autonomous cars BS is looming like the beginnings of a giant hurricane that has just formed off Africa and you know it’s gonna hit and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it!

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There will be a lot of lawyers following those first autonomous cars around town.

  15. ColoradoKid Says:

    10 – Going from big brushes to little brushes and barely reliable to sort of reliable * assuming the weather is between 55 and 75 degrees is a ‘ marginal ‘ not a huge advancement . Fact is its not an advancement at all . More a small insignificant evolution of the SSDD .

    * everyone I know with an EV from my neighbor and his TESLA S right down to SG’s co-worker with her LEAF and everything in between has had nothing but problems with them whenever the weather is not to the EV’s absolute satisfaction as well as a plethora of other complexity related problems . Fact is .. with SG’s commute being under 5 miles one way she’s the perfect candidate for an EV which is why we began seriously asking around . Suffice it to say … the more we hear first hand …. the less we’re considering one for her

    Fact is ….. the EV’s of today being reliable is a myth once you take it down to the street level and listen to those who own them . Even the owners suffering from PDVS ( Post Decision Validation Syndrome )


    Pedro – Know what I think ? This whole Autonomous thing is nothing more than a pant load of Smoke & Mirrors to keep the manufactures ( and software folks ) in the news … despite the fact that there IS no news to be had . IMO of course


    HtG – August – I’m with you mien freund – Dog Days heat – Allergies galore – End of Summer – Not yet Fall – No automotive news worth considering – No TV – the Movie releases in August suck – Music and Books as well ….

    August ….. pleahhhhhhhh !!!

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    CK I was thinking of you this AM, had a client named Franz and him and wife own 2 GLK’s, what a coincidence!

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    #14 and people jumping in front of them. with helmets and football gear.

  18. James Says:

    In response to gm veteran out side of the US most English people’s pronounce Z as zed. A Z-28 in Canada it’s zed-28 not zee-28 as an example. Color colour, labor labour, tyres tires, curb kerb. It just depends where you live.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I don’t think you know much about electric motors. The very old ones are very big and heavy, low RPM, and have brushes. The new ones are small, light, and BRUSHLESS, as I said in my other post.

    It sounds like we each have a sample of two acquaintances with EV’s but they’ve had different experiences. Of the two I know, one has a Leaf, and the other has an even more complex Volt. Both have been reliable. No, I don’t want to get into a discussion of “what” a Volt is. We’ve been there, but the guy I know with one likes it, and it’s been reliable. It is mainly used for short commutes, and has burned very little gas. The Leaf guy also does short, ~10 mile commutes, so does not test the limits of the range. That’s what they are good for.

  20. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: Are these vehicles in Florida,or Indiana? That I believe would make the difference.I like and used brushless in my rc helis,outrunners to be exact.They don’t run too hot,have tons of power,and cause tons less interference to the other on board electronics.For cars,I’m sure they are better then the old brushed type motors,but certainly not the panacea that the oems tout.

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    I wonder if we’d still have drum brakes all around if it weren’t for govt regulations?

  22. T. Bejma Says:

    I know several people that own and lease Volts and every single one of them absolutely loves them and have had ZERO issues. This is in a range of temperatures in Michigan from the high 90′s to below O.

    Sorry, I do not know one single Leaf or Tesla owner (and I think unless you live in California you wouldn’t know very many).

    Leaf = air cooled batteries
    Volt = liquid cooled and heated batteries

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    So TB, Leno made a video of the Elmiraj concept,upclose inside and out, will they build it? it looks like a striking car and if done right could take on the Germans quite easily, IMHO

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They are both in Indiana. You lose a lot of range when it’s cold, but both have commutes of not much over 10 miles, round trip. With the Volt, of course, the gas engine will crank up if needed, but the owner I know rarely goes that far in that car.

    Brushless motors are a lot more efficient than brush motors, about 90%, and not having brushes to wear out, they need no maintenance, unless bearings fail.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Leaf owner I know hasn’t had any trouble, but the car has a pretty easy life, normally going less than half its nominal range between overnight charges. Also, it is in an attached garage overnight, where the temp probably doesn’t go much below 30, even on the coldest nights.

  26. T. Bejma Says:


    Pedro, if you look at the 2009 Converj concept car and the production ELR, you will see they are very similar, therfore…

    Dan Akerson confirmed in July that we are building a large RWD Cadillac so you can probably assume that the Elmiraj should give a lot of clues to the production car. Doubt it would be coupe like the concept though…

  27. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ TB: I read an article a few days ago about the upcoming GM midsize twins.It said that there will be two diesels offerd,the larger one being a 2.8L.Would that be a VM Motori engine,or Izsusu?

  28. T. Bejma Says:

    G.A. – The Thai version uses the Isuzu 2.8L diesel so I would assume that is the one we get here, but to be honest, I don’t know. Powertrain is a different group from the Body group I work in.

  29. T. Bejma Says:

    Found an article that states that the North American Colorado/Canyon will get the same Isuzu diesels as the overseas versions…

  30. ColoradoKid Says:

    T Bejma & Kit

    1 – This here’s Colorado … not LaLa Land , Michigan or FlA . Which means we’ve got damn near as many Green Weenies as CA … but the weather and the altitude her place real demands on any car that neither FlA , CA Indiana or Michigan can even approach .

    2- For the umpteenth god blessed time … will you both get this straight in your goram heads ….. the VOLT …

    IS NOT IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM … an EV … Period .. End of discussion …. If the SAE and bloody Green Weenie California as well as any engineer worth his or her salt says it Aint … it aint …. period . Its a PLUGIN Hybrid … and had GM advertised it as such from the get go …. they might of actually sold a few at a decent price rather than the Dealing Doug Bargain Basement Giveaway prices they’re dumping at right now !!!!

    So don’t even bring it up in a discussion about EV’s . It aint !

    3- Kit – Don’t know much about Electric motors ehh .. Really ? Might want to rethink that , Take a good long look at todays electric ‘ brushless ‘ motors and then do an in depth comparison . Same principal …. same mode of function …. ever so slightly evolved . As to that issue .. even Porsche engineers have stated EV’s have ‘ barely ‘ evolved since the late 1890′s . Barely !

    4- T … honestly son …. much as I’d like to be able to …. experience tells me I can’t take anything you say here as fact ..about much of anything

    5- And errr … dare I say it … perhaps the people i talk to are simply more ‘ honest ‘ about their EV experiences .. or perhaps I’m just better at getting at the truth than either of you ?

    Hmmmmn …. Could be !

  31. T. Bejma Says:

    I don’t give a flyin F&*&# if you don’t believe the facts I post here, you still have not shown a single example of a fact that I posted that was incorrect.

    Give it a rest there CK. The FACT is your insults and rambling about your so called knowledge of everything… well… “errrr” EVERYTHING, is in fact just a lot of hot air with very little substance. Understandable considering the source of your knowledge (Entertainment career)…

  32. cwolf Says:

    I’m not a fan of Nissan’s small cars,which would then include the autonomous one. Not many will be driving one….think about it!

    I’m a Ford product guy, but ALL their stuff looks exactly alike, except for size. The blind spots of these new designs are unacceptable.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:


    1). No matter what you say a Volt IS an EV for that first 30-some miles on a charge. The ICE never runs.

    2). A brushless motor HAS NO BRUSHES. Brushes are graphite things that physically rub on a copper thing called a commutator. The brushes and commutator wear out, and there is electrical resistance between the two. Brushless motors use electronic switching. There is nothing to wear out, except bearings. There is a big difference.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    ..and there are AC induction motors, which the GM EV1 used, and maybe the Tesla Roadster. Those are substantially different from either brush, or “brushless DC” motors.

  35. pedro fernandez Says:

    #31 cwolf do you think they’re gonna mess up the new Mustang as well by adapting the same Aston Martin big grill theme?

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …and also…

    Indiana has a wider temperature range over the year than most places in Colorado.

    The performance of EV’s improves at higher altitude because there is less air drag, but, unlike naturally aspirated ICE’s, the power train performance of the EV is not affected by altitude. Yes, I know that most EV’s are not good in deep snow.

  37. cwolf Says:

    pedro, I don’t object to the grill shape Ford has abopted. This includes the Mustang as long as it still has Mustang charm of old. I’m not sure a shorter car for 2015 will trip my trigger until I see one. I hope a fastback is reintroduced, like the old ones with block-out sail windows. I’m afraid the new stang’s slope will mirror the Fusion. Like CK said the other day about all cars looking too much the same; Such a shame IMO.

  38. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf when I see the current Mustang I can see where they can cut off some extra length, specially in the hood and trunk are and extend the wheelbase and widen the track as well, it would make for a better handler and also give it a better ride.

  39. T. Bejma Says:


    And also, if the Volt isn’t considered as much as an electric vehicle as the Leaf/Tesla/etc., then why does it get the full amount of the government tax rebate (Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicle Credit)?

    Plug in Prius = $2,500
    Ford C-Max Energi/Fusion Energi = ~$4000
    Chevrolet Volt = $7,500
    Nissan Leaf = $7,500
    Tesla Model S = $7,500

  40. cwolf Says:

    pedro, I’m with you on those changes. I just have this sour feeling that Ford will continue the trend of placing an over large console inside an interior that seems to have gotten narrower. The Taurus is a good example of what I mean. My wife’s Edge is another good example.

  41. pedro fernandez Says:

    but cwolf, isn’t every single car suffering from narrow leg room syndrome where I don’t care how thin you are, you will rub your knees or legs against some plastic piece somewhere either at the door or the ever growing center console, I thought one of the benefits of FWD was to get rid of the transmission tunnel so there would be more leg room for both driver and passengers?

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I like the “Aston” grill on the Fusion, but if they use it on everything, it will become too common. When the rounded Audi 5000 came along, and then, the first generation Taurus, I liked them because they were something different. Now that all cars have that “jelly bean” look, no one likes it, or at least no one will admit to liking it.

    Ford seems to be wanting to get away from the retro look on the Mustang, thinking that the “boomers” have bought their last new Mustang, and they want to appeal to younger people. It might be a mistake moving too fast with the styling of Mustang. Some younger people like the retro look, just as some younger people like Led Zeppelin and the Beatles.

  43. T. Bejma Says:


    I don’t know what cars you have been in recently Pedro, but I have been very impressed at the leg room in almost everyone of today’s cars. My Cruze has plenty of room for my 6’4″ frame. Notable exception was the Honda Civic and, of course, the BRZ…

  44. cwolf Says:

    There are 3 happy Volt owners at work and another who leases. One single gal claims she hasn’t put gas in her car since Spring! Not bad, in my book.

  45. DonC Says:

    Typically dumb comments about “incentives” for electric vehicles. We could stop the $8B a year in oil subsidies. That itself is far more than we spend on electric vehicle subsidies. And then of course there is the military spending which protects oil supplies from the Gulf. That’s a subsidy of at least $1/gallon.

    It’s the old saying: people living in glass houses should not throw rocks. Unfortunately you have to be smart enough to know you live in a glass house.

  46. pedro fernandez Says:

    TB wasn’t the whole idea of the FWD craze to get the most interior room with the least exterior dimensions? the ever increasing size of the dash and center consoles has just about eliminated that, I hit my knees in every small car I have sat in lately.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, FWD was for packaging efficiency, but also for getting around better in ice and snow. FWD cars have a higher percentage of their weight on the drive wheels, making them go better in ice and snow, and they are less likely to be driven into the ditch by unskilled drivers when on slick stuff.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems that today’s FWD cars aren’t taking full advantage of the packaging advantages, but the current crop have better foot space for the driver than a Chevette, the last RWD small car sold in the U.S. that I can think of. I don’t have wide feet, but it took some getting used to, driving my Chevette without hitting the clutch and brake at the same time, and such things.

  49. T. Bejma Says:


    Yes, Kit you are correct, in addition there is (of course) a cost savings with the utilization of a smaller transaxle, and a much less complex rear axle.

    Pedro, you can’t believe that automakers would do something just for our benefit now do you? ;-) ;-)

  50. ColoradoKid Says:

    The TRUTH … about Blacklisting by Auto Manufactures ;

    Ford does it . GM the worst of the US automakers . ( which is why TTAC is now back peddling so hard with GM ) FIAT/Chrysler is rapidly following suit . Ferrari is the absolute worst of them all worldwide …. with it seems only the Japanese manufactures willing to suffer storms of criticism from the press with little or no retribution incurred

    [ the above list coming from a friend in automotive print publishing the record of course ]

    Which is why when it comes to the automotive media ( especially the print media )

    Everybody Lies !


    Mr T Bejma – Thinking on your EV comments yesterday in conjunction with the lecture you tried to give me on how Word of Mouth sells better than Marketing & Advertising .. a question ;

    How is it … assuming what you claim about customer satisfaction with the VOLT ( and the LEAF ) to be true … that both the VOLT and the LEAF’s sales are so abysmal … not to mention both manufactures practically having to give them away to get em off the lot ?

    Could it be you’re wrong about your assumptions when it comes to marketing ?

    Or .. could it be your information about the LEAF/VOLT’s reliability and customer satisfaction is in fact … how shall we say … a bit biased – off track and flat out inaccurate ?

    The answer being – All of the Above ;-)


    Kit – BTW no insult was intended when it came to my statement to rethink my not knowing much about electric motors .

    Think about it for a minute … remembering I’m an analogue advocate thru and thru when it comes to recording ( as well as having that degree ) … how many electric motors I deal/dealt with just in a recording studio alone ;-)

  51. ColoradoKid Says:

    T Bejma – BWTM – So whats next to try and stimulate VOLT sales good sir ?

    A free VOLT with every C7 purchased perhaps ? Or better yet … a free VOLT with every Suburban /Escalade purchased/leased ? :o

  52. T. Bejma Says:

    Simple answer, Leaf and Volt sales are low because that is how new technology works. It is not for everybody (yet) and not everybody is comfortable with it. Fact is, the people that have them, love them. Simple. Don’t over think it CK…

  53. T. Bejma Says:

    Next way to stimulate Volt sales?

    More range on electric, better mileage on ICE, lower cost.

  54. HtG Says:

    49 car reviewers

    My eyebrows certainly do pop when the MotorTrend guys beat on BMW for making cars that are too heavy. They keep doing it, too. Check out Johnny Lieberman comparing the Infinit Q against the Lexus IS Fsport-pretty rough stuff.

    On the other hand, MT also will criticize a road for being too tight for their hot cars. And then one Johnny Lieberman said, out loud, that manual shifting was really just about changing the gears. I don’t forget, landsman.

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    According to data from J.D. Power, CR, and True Delta, both Volt and Leaf are at least “average” in reliabity, and the data for most model years of both is better than average. We’ll see how that goes as they get older but, except for batteries, I would expect them to be reliable long-term. The batteries are a big unknown.

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’d be “uncomfortable” with those big, expensive lithium batteries in a Leaf or Volt, at least having them after they are off warranty. I’m a little that way with the Prius, even though the NiMH batteries are mature technology, and they have proven reliable over more than 10 years on the market.

  57. T. Bejma Says:


    Asked around and heard from an internal source that the diesel engines for the Colorado/Canyon are going to be VM Motori, not Isuzu.

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I beat on BMW’s for being too expensive. It was kind of a shock to see a recent AW test of a 1 series coupe, not convertible, with an MSRP over $48K. That makes the ATS not seem so overpriced after all.

    Of course, like most cars, the 1 can be bought a lot cheaper than the ones the magazines drive. A 128i coupe with the sport package, and no other options, would be a very fun car, and would cost “only” about $35K.

  59. T. Bejma Says:


    Some would say BMW “earned” that right (to charge an arm and a leg) but discerning buyers know that the competition has definitely caught up with (and in some cases passed) them and the premium is no longer as deserved as it was.

  60. Brett Says:

    For those who say a Tesla Model S is too expensive, even a 5 Series BMW can be optioned up to the same price level.

    People that have money have money. They’ll buy stuff that costs that much because they can.

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