Episode 304 – Ford Sweeps NACTOY, Toyota & Honda’s Hybrid Battle, Audi’s Awesome A8

January 12th, 2010 at 9:00am

Runtime 5:59

The Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Transit Connect win the North American Car and Truck of the Year Awards. Toyota and Honda duke it out with dinky hybrids. Audi’s awesome A8 makes its auto show debut. All that and more, plus a closer look at the MINI Beachcomber concept.

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30 Comments to “Episode 304 – Ford Sweeps NACTOY, Toyota & Honda’s Hybrid Battle, Audi’s Awesome A8”

  1. Nick Stevens Says:

    This is a very attractive looking personal coupe, and a hybrid too. Price???

    “DETROIT — Volkswagen AG today unveiled a hybrid compact coupe concept capable of achieving 45 mpg in combined highway and city driving.

    The sporty coupe has a 150-hp 1.4-liter TSI engine and a 27-hp electric motor. The four-seat car has a seven-speed direct-shift gearbox.

    Ulrich Hackenberg, VW board member for technical development, said the coupe, unveiled at the Detroit auto show, combines fuel-economy with fun-to-drive performance.

    The car can reach 141 mph and accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds. It is front-wheel drive.”

    Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100111/OEM04/100119971/1115#ixzz0cPGyI2Li

  2. Nick Stevens Says:


    BMW goes downmarket, you save $9k and also get brake energy regeneration.

    (to offer the “740″ and “740iL”, which have the 6-cyl 3.0 turbo making 325 HP and 316 lbft (I think), these numbers are greater than those of the glorious old BMW 750iL V12 of the 80s!, and hence fully adequate). Plus the MPG will be excellent due to Energy regeneration when braking.

    I predict these 7′s will be HUGE sellers. Most people do not need the turbo v8 “750iL” making 400 HP and 450 lbft and no energy regen, or the $105,000 750 Hybrid. Can get better MPG and $9k cheaper than the non-hybrid 750.

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Another really goofy car name from BMW, “740″ for a car with a 3 liter turbocharged engine. The car is very nice, though.

  4. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I just saw a press release for the Cadillac XTS. In my opinion it is a stunner; This is to be the replacement for the DTS and STS. A Platinum edition will have a 3.6L engine in association with a hybrid system.

  5. Nick Stevens Says:

    The car name is not just mangled. As I observed above, the smallest 7 today, with the turbo 6 cyl 3.0 lt, makes more Hp and even torque than the old and then awesome 750iL V12 (which was correctly named). If they called this new one the 730, how many would still put down the $71k (base price! probably $85k with options) car?

    They should also import the 3.0 Turbodiesel version of the 7, for splendid Fuel economy.

    But the VW compact coupe 45 MPG hybrid is a far more groundbreaking vehicle and I can’t wait to see how much they will ask for it, if they bring it here.

    The passat 4-door cc “coupe” has been a huge sales success, it sells 4 times what the Passat sedan sell!! Maybe that’s why they came up with the smaller coupe, to cover that promising part of the market.

  6. Nick Stevens Says:

    chuck: link and pics of the cadillac please?

  7. Nick Stevens Says:

    Never mind, just read about it. VERY Dissappointing. This is NO flagship, but a rebadged Regal and Saab 9-5, with a laughably short 111 inch wheelbase, while the S class and the new 7 go 126 inches!!

    “The XTS has the exact same 111.7 inch wheelbase as its LaCrosse cousin, bringing it in several inches shorter than the “entry” Cadillac, the CTS. This is no surprise, considering the XTS will be built on an AWD version of the same Epsilon II platform that underpins the LaCrosse, Regal and Saab 9-5. We had heard that a stretched “Super Epsilon” platform was being developed by Holden, but based the dimensions of the XTS, it seems clear that this is a plain-Jane midsized GM sedan under the skin.

    To make up for the pedestrian underpinnings, Cadillac designers stretched the XTS out to 203.5 inches. The fact that much of the extra length is in the rear overhang might be Caddy’s attempt at fixing the EpsiII’s legendary trunk shortcomings. One thing is for certain: a LaCrosse with more weight and longer overhangs isn’t going to exactly embody the dynamic-forward, BMW-competing brand values Cadillac is supposed to be cultivating. And at 74.8 inches, it offers only 1.7 inches of width advantage over the LaCrosse, so it’s not exactly a stately cruiser either.”

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I can’t imagine that it would hurt sales of the 3 liter turbo 7-series if they called it “730it” or something like that. People who shop these cars know that turbo six has gobs of power, regardless of the displacement or number of cylinders. In the UK, they get the designation right for the diesel. It is called 730d.

  9. Nick Stevens Says:

    Who actually BUYS the NEW 7s and the S classes and the A8s and the LS460s in the US?

    Not auto literate people, not engineers, but Dentists and orthodontists and Surgeons and a few lawyers.

    When one of these replaces his old 95-01 740IL or 02-09 745IL for an.. 730, he and esp. his social sycle may think he is in financiakl trouble! BMW had to find a way to make the far more expensive and powerful new cars also sound like it in their names!

  10. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    Honda: sell that hatch as a Civic, slap in the 1.7 engine and a 6speed manual or auto and forget about hybrid and you’ll sell a lot of them.

  11. Dave Says:

    I liked the early pics of the new Honda, butthe car at the show looks very cheap and not that nice..

  12. Nick Stevens Says:

    I agree, Honda has failed again and again, especially with acura, but also with this creature. On the contrary, the VW co mpact coupe (see the stats in my first post) is a WORK OF ART, a SOLID, elegant coupe that exhudes the highest quality and class. (and the 45 MPG are not too shabby)

  13. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Nick, I love the Acrua beak. Its an accquired tatste that takes time to understand. It has that Sci-Fi Pre-Apocalyptic businessman in some slum like Detroit thing going for it. I think its sweet, but they need smaller Fit/Civic based cars in the US market. That’s the crux of the problem with Generation W (Baby Boomer)/Generation X (30-45) Luxury brands. They still see small cars as bastions for Econo brands.

    That’s exactly where Hyundai can build an advantage to gain acceptance as a Luxury marque. VW did it like that by upmarketing its small products too.

    I also think despite the CR-Z having the same highway fuel economy as a Hyundai Accent, Honda Civic, KIA Forte, MINI Cooper Manual, or Colbalt XFE it will do well with the Dork Set.
    You know, Scientists/Environmentalists who are Single or married with no more than 2 kids.

    John, I think Toyota should slap a Yaris badge on it, add some gas variants to the powertrain mix, and call it a day. Ive seen next gen Yaris, and I think Toyota needs to go back to the Drawing board, and quickly. Like TODAY!!!

  14. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    It looks like a Shrunken Down Matrix, with an SX4 like rear stance.

  15. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    John, I also think the CR-Z is a next Gen Fit Derivative. It will even be built at the new Greenfield, Indiana Plant still under construction eventually with the next gen Fit. That’s the last I heard of their plans.

    Kit, your brand is really growing, all from one small car. Then again, that’s how it always starts doesnt it.

    That’s how the Chinese and Indians will start as well. A small competent B-C segment car. Personally, I think TATA Indica shows the most promise, and they should sell them from Jag dealers ASAP.

  16. Mark Wilson Says:

    John you say,”DINKY” now but soon these electrics will be the quickest cars on the track and getting more miles per charge than any 20 gallon tank. The future belongs to the electrics. Buy the way, what makes them dinky?

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Electrics will need infrastructure to make major inroads. The best places to use electric cars, urban areas, don’t have a place to plug them in. That will change in time. I’d think urban delivery vans which are kept in depots within a city should be good candidates for electric power. Maybe Ford should consider an electric Transit Connect.

  18. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    FIAT’s PUTTING Chinese engines in it’s cars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! From Chery!!

    “ACTECO is an automobile engine brand created by Chery Automobile of China. Engines range in size from 800 cc to 4.0 L with architectures including a straight-4 and V8. The range was developed with the Austrian company,

    In November, 2006, Fiat announced that it would use Chery-produced 1.6 L and 1.8 L ACTECO engines starting with the Fiat Linea.”

  19. HyundaiSmoke Says:



    That’s to help any journalists get started.

    A Chinese State ran company supplying engines to an American State ran company, WOW!!!

  20. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    That’s to help any journalists get started.

    A Chinese State ran company supplying engines to an American State ran company, WOW!!!



  21. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Not just FIATs, but Alfas and Lancias too. Could you imagine some poor 50 year old lady in the Midwest whos a Social Worker buying a Chrysler Delta with a Chinese Engine?

    It could be Your wife, your mother, MY MOTHER Who loves Chryslers (we were a Chrysler Family) but is very curious about Hyundais now!!! Im going to get her to buy a Hyundai Sonata Touring in the future.

    Screw Chrysler!!

  22. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Im dt care what an of you say, IM TIRED of people plunking down $30,000 for these vehicles that cant even last 100,000 Mles before a $700+ Repair, or giving up and trading it in, or junking the thing.

    Remember, we paid $7 bilion. We’re going to shut this company down, some how, some way!!!

  23. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    By the way On the Hybrid, Toyota and their Competiive Intelligence Department has Blatantly stolen the design of the rear end of the Prouction Hyundai Veloster/`nee Accent Hatch.

    Damm Sneaky Toyota rats.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There was a comment about the upcoming Honda whatever hybrid being the first hybrid with a manual tranmission. Not true. The first Honda Insight, the 2-seater, had a manual trans.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    HyundaiSmoke Says:
    January 13th, 2010 at 12:31 am

    “Could you imagine some poor 50 year old lady in the Midwest whos a Social Worker buying a Chrysler Delta with a Chinese Engine?”

    I could imagine it. I know people of the demographic you describe who bought Chevy Equinox’s (first generation) with Chinese engines.

  26. Dave Says:

    “Could you imagine some poor 50 year old lady in the Midwest whos a Social Worker buying a Chrysler Delta with a Chinese Engine?”

    Something to think about, 25 years ago you could have said that about the Koren auto makers and about 40 years ago about the Japanese auto makers…..(disclaimer I own a Toyota and a Kia)

  27. Nick Stevens Says:

    Sooner or later the truth about EV range had to come out of the GM closet.

    “Bob Lutz, the father of the Volt, admits his last but not least automotive child is not going to reliably meet his lofty expectations.

    ABC quotes Mr. Volt:

    Lutz said that electric vehicles may not get the stated range on fully electric power because of weather, atmospheric conditions, terrain and driving habits.

    He said he had a Volt during the Thanksgiving weekend and got only 28 miles on full-electric power because of the cold weather.”

    Thanksgiving had cold weather? Are you kidding me, Lutz??? LAST SATURDAY Evening we had cold weather, when the temp fell below -1 F (!!) in Detroit. His 28 miles would shrink to a pitiful 15-20 miles if he drove it then!!!!!

  28. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    You got a point Dave, somebody had to buy them first right? Who knows? The Chinese by putting their engines in American/European cars are working out the kinks, and then when they come over they could end up wth surprisingly good JD Power Scores, etc….

    It might be their way of learning from Japanese and Korean mistakes.

  29. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    My mom almost bought a First Gen Equinox, Kit.

    Now, she drives a Dodge Magnum with a borrowed/Chrysler Modified 2.7 L V6 Hyundai Mu Engine. Its in cars such as Azera, and Current gen Sonata.

    I understand from my reaearch Magnum trannies are POS, so well see. She doesnt have many miles on the ODO, but the trim fell off the firsr day on the body, and everything goes wrong; well except that Hyundai engine.

  30. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    My Mom is still somewhat gung ho about buying American products, GM and Chrysler only. She said when I told her that Chrsyler borrowed her engine from Hyundai, “What Chrysler cant even do their own engines now, that they have to depend on foriegn Companies (She knows very little about cars-much less the current goings on of the Auto Business)?” Then she said “I hope this engine will work like the Little Hyundai engine you drive son.”

    I said “Well Chrysler Modified it, and they do cut corners, you know that Mom. So, it might be a Modified Hyundai engine, but it might not be as good if Hyundai built it themselves.”

    Im going to get her into a Sonata Touring, even if I have to buy it for her myself. Well see in a couple of years.