Christopher M: See? I told you so. And unlike the Detroit Auto Show, automakers actually showed up.
Christopher M: Ram brought their new heavy duty truck to Detroit. GMC and Chevy brought theirs to Chicago. Ford refreshed their F-Series Super Duty. It’s got a new 7.3 liter V8 that I’m sure will be great on fuel economy. Joel what else can you tell us about this truck?
Joel S: Yeah, so the big news is Ford’s third engine that it’s offering on the Super Duty. It’s a 7.3 liter V8. It’s a gas engine and it’s got a cast iron block and a forged crank shaft. It’s kind of an old school design and it’s a push-rod V8 and it’s got port injection. Ford is expecting it to have best in class horse power for a gas V8 engine.
Christopher M: So, it’s going to best the Ram HD, which has 420 horsepower right now?
Joel S: Exactly. It should be at least 420 probably a little bit more.
Christopher M: So, finally the grille is a bit different.
Joel S: Yeah, so every Super Duty has a new design of grille and all of them let in more air for better cooling. The dually models like this one have the largest air flow. They’ve made sure that this one gets the most because this will be doing the heaviest duty towing and hauling, all that like really tough truck stuff. They want to make sure that this one got the best cooling possible.
Christopher M: How do you think this truck compares to the other two companies that brought their new HD trucks to the market this year?
Joel S: This is a refresh so, it’s not quite as, I don’t know, show-stopping as the Ram and the Silverado and the Sierra. But adding the new engine, doing some small trim updates should make this still interesting, and of course Ford people are going to buy Ford trucks, Chevy people are going to buy Chevy trucks. And you know it could play to their advantage a little bit that this is a little bit more conservative refresh whereas the Silverados look so angry. It looks so mean.
Christopher M: Speaking of the Silverado, let’s go check one out.
Christopher M: Alright, so now we’re sitting in the Silverado 2500 HD, it’s a LT trim, with the Z71 package, and as you can see through the magic of b-roll, it is not a good-looking truck.
Zach: No, so the big news on this one is the big grill. It’s huge, it has crazy design, and if you read any internet comments about it at all, you’ll see that a lot of the public is not too happy with the design.
Christopher M: Yeah, I wasn’t a huge fan of the regular Silverado, when this came out I was like man how did they do a worse job when it comes to the front end?
Zach: Yeah, this particular trim is probably the worst offender. You get over into the Highcountry or the custom, and to me those look a little better.
Christopher M: Yeah, I agree I’m a fan of the Trail Boss, I think it looks a lot better than this one.
Christopher M: Let’s talk about the interior since we’re sitting in one right now, it’s fairly Spartan and one of the things that we were disappointed about in the regular Silverado was just the quality of the interior, and it seems like that has kind of carried onto the HD truck
Zach: Yeah I really wouldn’t expect them to try and jazz up the whole heavy duty line, this is more of a work truck, so I’m not as upset about the fact that it’s not as luxurious, but if you do get the Ram heavy duty you can get all the luxury in the world. And it is definitely nicer than the Silverado’s interior.
Christopher M: And now that we’ve seen a refreshed Ford heavy duty truck at this show, we’ve seen GM, Sierra and Silverado offerings, and obviously we saw the Ram HD at Detroit, do you have one that stands out to you as just being beyond the best over the other two?
Zach: My favorite has got to be the Ram. You know, the interior is just leagues, leagues above, and a lot of the tech features in it as well, they’re fantastic. The 12-inch screen is just glorious to use. You get in this thing and even just driving the non heavy duty versions of it the Ram is a million times more comfortable it’s more refined, and I imagine that that’ll come through and heavy duty as well when we end up driving it.
Christopher M: Yeah, I really did like the Ram HD as well or the other two, though not to pick on this too much. It does have class leading towing by what, about 400 lbs over the Ram?
Zach: By 400 lbs. This one’s 35,500 lbs, the Ram max towing is 35,100.
Christopher M: So if you have to tow anything from 35,101 to 35,500, get this, if not get the Ram.
Christopher M: Alright, so now standing in front of the 2020 Subaru Legacy, which looks like a Subaru Legacy.
Zach: It looks a lot like a Subaru Legacy, actually, but there are a lot of changes under the skin. For example, it’s riding on Subaru’s new global platform, which is 40% stiffer than before. That platform saw its debut with the Impreza, but it’s slowly making its way through the Impreza lineup. It has two new engines. One that replaces the old 3.6 liter flat-six is the new turbocharged flat-four. Makes a lot more torque than before, and gets better fuel economy than the flat-six.
Christopher M: And it looks like the interior is changed a lot, let’s hop in and take a look.
Zach: So, this is the first Subaru with genuine Nappa leather, it’s really soft. It feels great. This is much more luxurious than pretty much any other Subaru you’ll hop in, even the Ascent.
Zach: The big news on the interior is a huge 11.2-inch screen. It’s super similar to the Rams 12-inch screen, it’s vertically oriented just like this, but you got what looks like normal Subaru infotainment software on it. Looks pretty high-def right now and it’s a great compliment to this much more luxurious cabin.
Christopher M: So a lot has changed about the Legacy as far as the platform in the interior, but do you think it’s enough to just stand out from its competition? I know that its all-wheel drive, the competition doesn’t really have that, but is it enough to stand out above all those other cars?
Zach: Well, that is a huge thing that really differentiates the Legacy from its competitors. I don’t actually think that it’s enough. You’re looking at a super tough, tough segment where you have the Accord is new, the Camry is new, the Altima is new, and both the Accord and Camry are fantastic entries. Maybe if Subaru had gone for it a little more on the exterior design they could grab some more people, but with the way crossovers and SUVs are doing right now this just probably isn’t going to set the world on fire.
Christopher M: So the 2019 Chicago Auto Show is almost kind of like a Toyota show in and of itself, like everyone else brought like one or two new vehicles, and Toyota brings four?
Joel S: Yeah they brought updated TRD Pro vehicles for all of them, they’ve added another TRD Pro vehicle, they’ve added another vehicle with TRD off-road stuff. One of those is the new Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road.
Christopher M: So, the RAV4 Adventure, I finally got to drive that for the first time in the snow and ice last week, and I had a blast. The TRD off-road looks even meaner, it kind of looks it looks a lot like the adventure.
Joel S: Yeah, and it is very similar to the Adventure. It’s got the same ground clearance, the main changes are the suspension has been re-tuned, and they say it’s inspired by Millan’s rally Toyota RAV4, and he’s actually been very competitive with his off-road rally RAV4, so we’re curious to see what this will be like. It’s just inspired by suspension, so it’s not THE suspension so yeah we’ll see we’ll see how it goes.
Joel S: Besides that, it’s also got all terrain tires and unique 18-inch wheels.
Christopher M: And they look really good. I can’t wait to get my chance to drive in this thing, and I know you want to drive it in a rally-type setting.
Joel S: Yeah, listen, if they’re going to say that it’s rally inspired we got to test it like a rally car.
Christopher M: And then right next to it, we have the new TRD Pro Sequoia.
Joel S: This is the first time that TRD Pro has been available on the Sequoia, and it comes with your typical TRD Pro stuff. It’s got Fox Racing Shocks, it’s got skid plates to protect the underside, it’s got unique BBS wheels, all-terrain tires, and a lockable rear differential.
Christopher M: This thing is just a behemoth. It’s really like the– it’s the Tundra’s SUV counterpart, obviously, so it’s just huge. We got the V8 still?
Joel S: Yep, and it comes with a Cat-Back exhaust so it sounds a little throatier, little meaner and of course. It’s got visual upgrades, got the unique Toyota grille, it’s got rigid Industries LED fog lights, it’s a pre-customized off-road SUV.
Christopher M: What do you think of a TRD Pro SUV that is this big?
Joel S: I mean everybody’s going big, so its hard, I like small stuff, I like small off-roaders. Yeah, this thing is huge, you can’t take it down super tight trails, but there’s obviously a market for gigantic off-roaders. Just look at the Ram Power Wagon.
Christopher M: Or the Ford Raptor.
Joel S: Exactly, so there’s definitely a market for it. If you want to trailer your ATV or whatever off-road somewhere, and you’ve got just a whole bunch of other gear, or you got friends, it’s not a bad way to go because you’ve got space for all that stuff.
Christopher M: And behind us we do have a refreshed Taco but it’s–
Joel S: It’s a light refresh.
Christopher M: Not a huge difference.
Joel S: Basically, they get new grilles, and they’ve introduced some LED headlights available on some models, but for the most part it’s all pretty much carry over. It’s got the same engines, it’s got the same transmissions, TRD Pro is still kind of the same thing, there are a couple small upgrades. You can now get it with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Christopher M: They’ve brought themselves up to 2016 standards.
Joel S: And actually those features are also available on the Sequoia TRD Pro.
Christopher M: Okay.
Joel S: The other thing is, is that the TRD Pro model for this, you can get these surround view camera so you can see everything around you, it’s really handy off-road.
Christopher M: And you can even see underneath you with those cameras.
Joel S: Yeah it’s got a camera that points down so you can kind of see what’s ahead of you as you’re coming up over a hill or something.
Christopher M: Then finally we have, way over there, the Land Cruiser so let’s go check that out.
Christopher M: The Toyota Land Cruiser is celebrating its 60th anniversary, which is one of the oldest models still to be around, and so there’s a Heritage Edition. It’s a lot of subtle stuff, but it’s something I like a lot.
Joel S: Yeah. One of the big things is that it’s got badging on it. Something that we love, it’s got some of the Classic Toyota font and Land Cruiser in cursive written out something you’d see on the old Land Cruisers. It’s also got unique bronze BBS forged wheels.
Christopher M: They have that Toyota badging in the middle there, I really love that.
Joel S: And to make it a little bit more off-road friendly, it gets rid of the side steps and any kind of side molding on it just so you’re not dragging that on the trail, not damaging anything, not getting stuck on anything, a little bit more off-road friendly.
Christopher M: I think the front looks really mean too with this blacked out grille. It’s got a little bronze on it too.
Joel S: Exactly, Yeah the interior’s got bronze accents too, kinda ties the whole thing together.
Joel S: So these are going to be really limited production too, they’re only building 1200 of them, and if you want one you better get to a dealer this summer because that’s when they’re going on sale.
Christopher M: So that’s the 60th anniversary Land Cruiser, let’s go check out the 30th anniversary Mazda Miata.
Christopher M: So this is the 30th Anniversary Miata, it is bright orange, as bright as it looks on camera, that’s how bright it is in real life.
Joel S: Kind of wish we had sunglasses right now.
Christopher M: But I think it looks gorgeous what do you think?
Joel S: I love it, this is orange creamsicle orange, and it’s fantastic. I love it.
Christopher M: This might be the best orange color I’ve seen that wasn’t on a McLaren.
Joel S: Yeah, and you better like it because there’s orange everywhere on this car, it’s on the outside it’s on the door sills its–
Christopher M: On the brakes.
Joel S: Yeah it’s on the brake calipers, the stitching, it’s got orange, bezels around the air vents, this is really, really orange, and I love that, but you got to be okay with really, really orange.
Christopher M: So what’s different about the 30th Anniversary compared to just the normal Miata?
Joel S: Well did I mention it’s orange?
Christopher M: You may have mentioned.
Joel S: But besides that, it’s got a unique raised, forged aluminum wheels, which I love, they look fantastic on it. They’re in this kind of like dark graphite color. Then, on the manual transmission model, you get a limited slip differential, you get a front shock tower brace and Bilstein shocks. The automatic one doesn’t get those. It also comes with Recaro seats standard. It’s got Apple CarPlay.
Christopher M: Now, would you get the RF or would you get the soft top, or would you just get both? Are you going to be the guy ordering within the first 10 minutes so they don’t run out?
Joel S: Nah, I would probably get the RF. I like the soft top, I like the open feeling, but I’ve already got a soft top Miata, and you know it’s kind of fun to take Miatas out on longer road trips but the soft tops are so noisy and the RF the really cuts down on that wind noise a lot.
Christopher M: Yeah, RF for me as well I think it just it looks so good with the roof up too.
Joel S: Yeah the RF is super, super cool. Even with the top down.
Joel S: One downside is that they’re only making 3,000 of these worldwide, both versions combined 3,000, and only 500 are coming to the U.S. so it’s going to be tough to get one.
Christopher M: Yeah.
Joel S: They’re also expensive. The base price is right around $35,000 for the soft top one.
Christopher M: So, I love that camper van conversion that’s over at Ford, but that’s not really like a Ford vehicle.
Joel S: Right.
Christopher M: So I’m trying to figure out what my favorite thing here at the show that is actually a debut, and I honestly, after seeing the Miata, think that it might, might be it. I’m not a usually a huge fan of Anniversary Special Edition things. I think it’s just like a reason to sell a car that’s marginally different, but that one is so good-looking.
Joel S: I mean, when it’s done right like it’s something really unique, it stands out, then anniversary editions are kind of cool, but I totally know what you mean.
Christopher M: what is your favorite thing here at the show?
Joel S: Well, I think my favorite thing, because I like performance things, and I like little things, I think maybe the VW GLI.
Christopher M: Alright, so we’re sitting in the Jetta GLI, which you described to me earlier as a Jetta GTI.
Joel S: The Jetta GLI has always been sort of a GTI sedan of sorts, but this one may be the closest yet. The engine is the same 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder as in the GTI, it makes 227 horsepower and 258 lb ft of torque, which are both still respectable numbers.
Christopher M: Yeah.
Joel S: And it’s also got the mechanical limited-slip differential from the GTI, along with all the electronic gizmos and breaking based torque vectoring stuff going on, and it’s got a multi-link rear suspension instead of the torsion beam that’s used in regular Jetta, so it should handle a lot better, should handle more like a GTI. But, yeah, I mean it’s got the GTI guts in a Jetta body.
Christopher M: That’s why it’s your favorite of the show.
Joel S: I mean yeah, because I like having as many affordable performance options available as possible because I mean rich guys with supercars can’t be the only ones with all the fun.
Christopher M: We’re sitting in front of the 2020 Range Rover Evoque got a new platform with some added electrification and a bunch of cameras. Wanna tell us a little bit more about it?
Zach: Yeah, absolutely, so the big news here is the 48-volt system similar to Mercedes, Audi, etc.
Zach: It’s a mild hybrid system that means that it stores some energy in the battery packs and it’s a super seamless start-stop, so when you’re coasting to a stop the car will actually shut the engine off at about 11 miles per hour, but it’s not just fuel economy, you get an added boost in power. You go from the normal base 2-liter which makes 246 horsepower with mild hybrid it makes 296 horsepower with that. You have to be able to store the battery pack somewhere so they have that under the floor here for good weight distribution, and then beyond that we obviously have a lot more Tech, so they doubled down on the coupe body style, and they tapered the roof off even more.
Zach: It has, you know even worse view out the back that than the old Evoque, but they’ve gone and tried to remedy that with the rear-view camera mirror, similar to that seen in GM cars. So you can just flip a switch there and it’s totally uninhibited view out the back. Another cool camera tech on this car, they have put cameras in both the mirrors and under the bumper here, so that you can get a really cool view of the ground right underneath the car so that will help when you’re off-roading.
Christopher M: Alright, so when we first hopped in, this area here was just all blank and now as you can see it’s a giant screen.
Zach: Yeah, so right here houses all the central controls for the Evoque. You got climate control the seats, any vehicle settings, and then you can delve even deeper into the settings there. Those are those are the basic controls of the car. Up top here is where you have your infotainment. So this is new software for the Evoque, but you’ll notice that this set up those look a lot like the larger Range Rover over there because they share a lot of the physical screens here. And then there’s actually third screen right here or the instrument cluster. This is also new. Very similar to The Range Rover. And you have fully digital dash, super customizable, similar to a lot of cars like Audi, and their their digital cockpit, Volkswagen as well. A lot of people are moving that way and it looks great on the Evoque.
Christopher M: Zach, what was your favorite thing at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show?
Zach: I’m thinking it has to be the new Volkswagen Jetta GLI.
Christopher M: I think my favorite thing was the Ford Transit Campervan.
Zach: Oh, this one?
Christopher M: Yep, this one. It’s pretty comfortable.
Zach: Looks pretty nice up there.
Christopher M: It is.
Christopher M: Thanks for watching guys, see you in April in New York.
Christopher M: It does not look like me!