Chris: Welcome to the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. A lot of car companies didn’t make it to the Motor City this year, but a few big reveals from the Big Three, not to mention Toyota and Kia, have still kept it pretty exciting. Let’s go check them out.
Chris: We’re at Ford, checking out the new Explorer. Behind me over there is the new GT500.
Chris: So I’m standing in front of the long awaited Ford Mustang GT500. This car has more than 700 horsepower. They haven’t given us a specific number yet. It is also the first GT500 to only be offered in an automatic. Joel, what do you think of this car?
Joel: Man, it looks really mean. There’s a couple of reasons for that. The grilles have been enlarged. They’re now able to get 50 percent more airflow over a GT350. They’ve widened the front fenders. They’ve even put on the biggest Cobra badge that has ever been on a Cobra.
Chris: Everything is bigger about this car. It comes with the 5.2-liter V8, which is based on the engine that’s in the GT350, but there are a few changes to it.
Joel: Right. They made it stronger. They’ve switched to a cross plane crank as opposed to the flat plane crank. They felt the high RPMs weren’t that important and this other crankshaft is a little bit beefier. It’s got a supercharger on top too. It’s also got a gigantic hole in the hood. That allows for better cooling. It also helps reduce lift. It’s got 5-inch exhaust tips at the back. Now, the actual exhaust piping is smaller than that but they put on as big of tips as they possibly could.
Chris: Yeah, it looks pretty mean. I think of all the Mustangs, this is definitely top three for me in looks as I sit right now. I do love the GT350 and I really love the Bullitt, but this is a mean looking Mustang.
Joel: Yeah, I think I prefer the GT350 a little bit. It’s just a little bit more subtle and of course you can get a manual with that so that’s great, but I am excited to see what kind of lap times this thing puts out if they take it to the Nürburgring or something ’cause this is built purely for all out speed. It’s over 700 horsepower. It’s only a dual clutch transmission. They put the fastest shifting transmission they could get in there, and if you get it with the carbon fiber track pack you also get a rear wing from the Mustang GT4 race car.
Chris: The only photos I saw of it beforehand was that one in Vegas at the dealer thing and I was like, “Oh, I don’t know,” but in person, it’s like …
Joel: Yeah, it looks way better in person.
Chris: So good.
Joel: I was talking to somebody and we were kind of pondering whether it would actually look a little better if that center bar was colored body color. It would look a little bit more like a regular Mustang as opposed to having this gigantic hole in the front but-
Chris: Right. With that spy shot I thought it was more of a big hole in the front and that’s kind of what took it away from me, but yeah, I think you’re right on with that. If it was blue like the rest of the car that would look a lot more like a Mustang, but it would still be a lot more aggressive than all the other ones out there. Do you have any guesses at what the horsepower number is gonna be?
Joel: That’s tough to say. I mean, it’s surely gonna be more powerful than a regular Hellcat, but whether it matches a Hellcat Redeye, I don’t know. I also don’t know that they actually need to hit that number anyway ’cause this is more of an all around track car as opposed to a drag car.
Chris: Right. I know that leaked spec sheets said 720. I don’t know where that spec sheet came from. It could have been somebody’s Excel spread sheet or whatever.
Joel: Yeah, I don’t know. We’re just gonna have to wait for them to give official numbers.
Chris: If I had to guess … Yeah, that’s what I’m gonna guess.
Chris: So, 2020 Ford Explorer. Looks very similar to the previous generation. Underneath almost completely different. The last one was based on a front-wheel-drive platform shared with the Taurus. This one is more closely related to the Mustang. So, what is unique about this?
Joel: So the Explorer is completely redesigned ground up for 2020. The big news is that is goes to a rear-drive based platform. It’s the same platform that you’ll find on a Lincoln Aviator, but with Ford badging. You’ll be able to get base Explorers either with rear-drive or all-wheel-drive. There are kind of three main versions. The base one has a turbo charged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder making around 300 horsepower. There’s also a V6 hybrid model. That’s a naturally aspirated V6 with a hybrid power train. It’s about 315 horsepower or so and then there’s the version that we have behind us, the Explorer ST. This one has the twin-turbo charged 3.5-liter V6 engine making 400 horsepower and 415 lb/ft of torque. This one is only available in all-wheel-drive.
Chris: This one looks awesome. It’s got the ST badging there, ST badging on the seats. I was really bummed when they got rid of the Fiesta and Focus ST. Obviously they’re moving to much larger vehicles with the Edge and now this. 400 horsepower. That’s quite a bit for a Ford Explorer.
Joel: Yeah, and it should be pretty fun to drive since it is a rear-drive based platform. Even with all-wheel-drive, it’s still gonna be rear-drive biased so in default modes, it’ll be running more power to the rear wheels than to the front wheels. That engine will be sending power to a ten-speed automatic and all versions of the Explorer get a ten-speed automatic.
Chris: So one of my gripes about the old Ford Explorer and the Ford Taurus on which it was based was that they were big vehicles and they felt very small on the inside. Now this one’s supposed to improve upon that and have a more airy feel. Do you think they achieved that?
Joel: Yeah, I think this feels a little more spacious and I mean, Ford reps were even acknowledging that the previous version did feel tight on the inside. They’ve worked on making the door panels a little thinner, making sure everything is packaged as close as possible, so even switching to rear-wheel-drive, they said was able to help them make the inside more roomy because it allowed them to get a little bit more steering angle out of the front wheels and so they were able to make it longer without sacrificing the turning radius, so you get all that extra space between the wheels for passengers.
Chris: They also said that they were trying to appeal to more rugged outdoorsy types and I’m not sure if that’s what they were aiming for, but when you open the doors, there is a background, says Ford on it and there’s the mountains that are in Patagonia, so they’re aiming for more of this outdoorsy type person to buy this car. I don’t think you’re going to do any Rubicon Trail-rated off-roading in it, but definitely we’re going towards that.
Joel: Yeah, and it’s funny that you mention the instrument panel. An option on all Ford Explorers is an instrument panel screen and each of the different drive modes has different animation and images that shows up, so you saw the mountains for, I’m actually not sure what the drive mode is. There’s a whole bunch of them, but each different mode, like this has a sport mode and everything turns red and angry and stuff. On the topic of screens, every model gets a touch screen in the middle and this particular ST has the optional extra large screen that’s mounted in very interesting portrait fashion.
Chris: Yeah, that’s different than what we’re used to seeing. It almost looks like you could take it out of there and carry it with you.
Joel: But you can’t.
Chris: No, you cannot do that. So once that becomes obsolete so does your infotainment system.
Joel: The Lincoln Continental with the suicide doors and the longer wheel base and got custom coach work is here on display too. It’s on the floor so we’re gonna go see if we can check it out from the inside.
Chris: Never been in it so this’ll be the first time. That’s what never means.
Joel: So this is the long wheel base, suicide door Lincoln and I have so much leg room back here. This would be really comfy. You can actually buy one of these Continentals. It is fully homologated for safety and emissions. All the body work is custom built. It’s really expensive. It gets close to $100,000, but you’re not going to see really anybody else with a door set up like this. It’s pretty sweet.
Chris: Check out some of the stitching. The front seats too are really nice as well. So it’s not all just about the back.
Chris: All right, so Cadillac has never had a three-row crossover. Of course the Escalade is a three-row SUV. This XT6 is its first and I don’t know about you Joel, but from the outside, I’m a little underwhelmed.
Joel: Yeah, it’s a pretty safe design from Cadillac. Even the little XT4 is a little bit more exciting just because of it’s more squat shape and the big tall taillights right up the rear pillars. This is a much more conservative vehicle but it is really important for Cadillac because Cadillac has only had two crossovers up to this point with the Escalade at the very top, and this is a great alternative for somebody that wants the practicality of an Escalade, but doesn’t want to drive a gigantic, enormous truck.
Chris: All right, tell me a little bit about the engine.
Joel: So it’s got a 310 horsepower naturally aspirated V6. It’s available with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Between that and the engine it’s got a 9-speed automatic. So, I want to say base model but they’ve kind of positioned it as like two different but equal trim levels. There’s Premium Luxury which is the version we’re looking at right here and that one is available with front-drive or all-wheel drive and then the Sport model is all-wheel drive only.
Chris: Have you seen the interior to this at all? I know for me GM probably makes my least favorite interiors of any car company so I’m wondering if the inside of this Cadillac suffers from kind of that same issue.
Joel: It’s still not … it doesn’t look super modern or exciting, but it does have plenty of leather and either wood or carbon fiber trim. The carbon fiber trim actually has some neat copper threads woven into it to make it look a little more interesting. It should be easier to use the infotainment on the interior because there are more physical buttons and there’s also a little control wheel, kind of like what you’ll find in a lot of other cars as opposed to operating solely with touch controls.
Chris: How do you think this is going to compare with the Lincoln Aviator which everyone kind of loves?
Joel: The Aviator for the driving enthusiast is probably going to be the one to go with because it uses the same rear-drive based platform as the Ford Explorer. It also comes standard with a twin-turbo charged V6 that makes 400 horsepower and there’s even a hybrid version that makes similar power and over 600 lb/ft of torque, so if you’re a driving enthusiast, the Lincoln is probably the way to go. That’s not even mentioning its really nifty kind of mid-century modern inspired interior.
Chris: So if you’re an interior enthusiast or a driving enthusiast or just like great cars, it sounds like the Aviator might be the one.
Joel: Possibly, but of course, we’ve got to wait for pricing for both of these vehicles. It’s possible that this could be more affordable than the Lincoln and that’s not an insignificant fact.
Chris: One thing I think could really improve this is …
Chris: I’m with Senior Editor Alex Kierstein standing in front of the Toyota Supra, a $51,000 car. Why should I buy this over a BMW M2?
Alex K.: You shouldn’t. Thanks for watching.
Chris: All right, well what’s the story here then?
Alex K.: The Supra hasn’t been sold here in North America for a while. The last Supra that was sold here had a legendary inline-six, the 2JZGTE, sort of was a very iconic tuner car that was built during an era when the Japanese had more money than God. They could build whatever they wanted and they built this sort of ultimate, iconic, super car and it’s been years. Enthusiasts have wanted another Supra. For this one though, it’s got kind of an interesting back story in that a lot of the engineering, the platform, the engine, the transmission, the differential, it’s all BMW. They partnered with BMW on this car, so you have Toyota styling and Toyota calibration stretched over BMW bones.
Chris: It doesn’t look like a BMW though.
Alex K.: No it doesn’t and on the outside, I’m gonna give Toyota a lot of credit here. I’ve been critical of this car on the website. I’m gonna be critical of this car on the video but the styling I think is amazing. I don’t know that it’s classically beautiful, but it’s really distinctive and it looks really Japanese and it doesn’t look anything like the Z4. If you got out the calipers and did all the measurements it would probably be, you know, it’s still a Z4 under the skin, but outside, it looks great. It’s really hard to see in video but there’s incredible curvature on this car. This car has incredible lines so I think it’s a striking design. I don’t know that it’s pretty, but it’s definitely striking.
Chris: That’s what you like about it. What don’t you like about it?
Alex K.: I don’t like how much of this car is BMW and not Toyota. This Supra has always been Toyota’s sort of marquee car, well until you got to the LFA. That was sort of the last thing that they did that was, you know, no holds barred. They pulled out all the stops for the LFA. For this, they kind of shopped out the engineering so to speak. I’m not super keen on that.
Alex K.: The numbers look good though. It’s 335 horsepower, 365 lb/ft of torque. It’s an inline-six, turbocharged twin scroll. I mean BMW knows how to make an engine. They know how to make an integrated drive train. The diff’s pretty cool. So it’s not like the hardware’s bad, it’s just not BMW, you know?
Alex K.: I mean, it’s BMW, it’s not Toyota.
Chris: Exactly, yeah. It’d be like Ford shopping out a Mustang.
Alex K.: Yeah, it’s like if a Mustang was riding on a Porsche platform or something like that. It’d be weird. It might not be bad to drive. You know, one of our contributors drove the prototype and they thought it was pretty awesome, but you know. It’s a very short car. It’s got a real short wheelbase that’s really wide. It’s got a lot of power, so it’s lively apparently. I’m really excited to drive it.
Chris: So being a sports car, at the end of the day, it’s the numbers that matter. How fast is this thing zero to 60?
Alex K.: It’s pretty quick. Zero to 60 time is 4.1 seconds. BMW’s generally conservative with their figures so originally BMW said the Z4 was a little bit slower than this and then just after this was revealed, they revised that number so now it’s a little bit slower than the Z4. The Z4’s got a little more power. Top speed is 155. It’s a limiter so that’s not an aero limitation. That’s just regulations and safety.
Chris: How about transmission?
Alex K.: No manual is available, sorry guys, but it is the same 8-speed automatic that’s in the Z4. It’s a great transmission. I mean, I’m an enthusiast. I love a manual, but I’ve got no bones to pick with the BMW 8-speed auto.
Chris: Last thing, what about the interior?
Alex K.: The interior betrays the car’s origins as a BMW. This car is built on the BMW line in Austria. Inside it looks like a BMW. It’s got a BMW infotainment system, BMW switch gear. It looks like a Z4 inside. That being said, it’s comfortable. It’s a nice looking interior. It’s a little dark, but you know again, no real complaints. All it needs to do is be comfortable and work well, right. BMW’s infotainment system works well. All their switch gear’s are good. It’s a little weird to see BMW stuff inside a Toyota, but it’s not that it’s bad, it’s just …
Chris: It’s weird.
Chris: Now we’re with Associate Editor Reese Counts. I loved the old Power Wagon and I love the current Ram 1500. This is the new Ram HD Power Wagon, so chances are I’m gonna love it too. Reese, tell us a little bit about this truck.
Reese C.: So it’s not a whole lot different from the outgoing models. Underneath it’s basically the same thing but they’ve added a lot of enhancements. The biggest thing being the interior. The old interior was fine but it was feeling a little dated and it takes the class-leading interior from the current Ram 1500 and puts it in this. Styling’s updated too. It’s got new LED lighting and stuff and the new front fascia from the current model.
Reese C.: So there was really nothing wrong with the old truck but the new interior and the new updates really help refine what was already a solid product.
Chris: Awesome. Let’s go check out the inside. So getting into it obviously the first thing you notice is this massive touch screen.
Reese C.: Yeah, it’s a 12-inch touch screen. It appears to be the same one that’s in the standard Ram 1500. It’s pretty much Uconnect double sized so it’s highly configurable, super easy to manage. Uconnect’s one of my favorite infotainment systems out there.
Chris: Me too.
Reese C.: And the latest one is pretty great. It really kind of brings a little bit of tech and luxury to a truck that was already pretty nice.
Chris: Yeah, and you were just mentioning the bench seat up front.
Reese C.: Yeah, I’m glad that’s still here. I know it’s probably pretty terrible to sit in the center of this, but the fact that they still offer it in something so rugged is kind of cool. I do wish we got the giant cargo space from the regular 1500, but I think you can get that in some of the other models.
Chris: Speaking of some of the other models, the Power Wagon wasn’t the only one to be unveiled. What were some of the others?
Reese C.: So we saw the standard 2500 and 3500 models. The 6.4-liter V8 that’s in this is standard across the range though you can get the new 6.7-liter Cummins. It’s just kind of an upgraded version of the engine that’s currently out there. Now making 1,000 lb/ft of torque.
Chris: Which is just an insane number.
Reese C.: Yeah, the payload and towing capacities for now are class leading.
Speaker 5: Highest payload and towing ratings. An incredible 35,100 lbs of trailering and 7,680 lbs of hauling.
Reese C.: The new Chevy HD might come out and beat that in just a few months, but as it stands, it’s best in class which is super impressive. Honestly more capability than most people ever need, but trucks like this, it’s all about what they could do than what they actually will do. Nobody’s gonna complain about more power and more capabilities.
Chris: Yeah, most people won’t go off-roading in such a big truck either but I know I cannot wait to get the chance to do that.
Reese C.: I love the Power Wagon. Every time we get one in the fleet, I love throwing my dog in the back and just cruising around. It sounds cool. It looks really good. Yeah, I’m actually really stoked about this thing. I’m really looking forward to driving it.
Chris: So the Power Wagon was something I was really looking forward to. One that kind of surprised me was the Kia Telluride. We’re gonna go and check that out and see what Kia’s offering in their largest vehicle.
Chris: All right, so now we’re in the Kia Telluride which is Kia’s largest vehicle. We’re doing a little ride along that they have here at the auto show. This is something that I was pleasantly surprised by. I really like the look of this vehicle. Reese, how do you feel about it?
Reese C.: Yeah, same. I mean I like the look of the concept. Bouncing around back here.
Reese C.: No, I like the look of the concept and I like the look of the production car. It’s a little derivative if I have to say, it kind of reminds me … There’s some Ford in it. There’s some Cadillac, but in a good way. They kind of aped the best of both, so yeah, it’s new. 3.8-liter V6. It’s yeah, I don’t know. This is our first time inside of it. I think it looks pretty handsome in here.
Chris: Yeah, it feels good back here too.
Reese C.: There’s some neat stuff. There’s a USB port right down here.
Chris: One on this seat as well.
Reese C.: A lot of room back here.
Chris: It’s pretty comfy in the front seat for someone who’s 6’4″, so yeah, there’s a lot of space. Yeah, I think it looks awesome with these off-road accents that they have in the one specifically here.
Reese C.: Yeah, Kia’s been on a roll lately. I love our long term Stinger. Chris, you’ve spent some time in that this week.
Chris: I just finally got to get behind the wheel of that. I drove it across the state a few times and I was very impressed and likewise here.
Reese C.: Little bouncy. I wish I could poke around in it a little more. The interior actually looks really pretty nice. In a brief drive like that, I’m pretty impressed so far. I cannot wait to drive it. One of my favorite things of the show this year.
Reese C.: What did you get?
Chris: Some chocolate pecan fudge. It eases the pain of how disappointing the Supra is.
Reese C.: How much sweets have you eaten today? You had doughnuts earlier, now you have fudge. How are you not sick?
Chris: I am feeling not great right now.
Chris: So we’ve seen a few of the cars that we really love. Some of the bigger reveals. What is your least favorite car here or what were you just really bummed about?
Reese C.: The Toyota Supra is honestly the most disappointing thing I’ve seen. I forgot it was here until I walked past the booth and this is supposed to be one of the biggest reveals of the show.
Chris: Well, they’ve been building it up for too long.
Reese C.: I was at the Geneva Motor Show when the GR concept was unveiled. I was at Daytona when the NASCAR version debuted and now I’m here and I just don’t care. It’s underpowered. It’s …
Chris: Incredibly expensive.
Reese C.: Yeah and I don’t know, it doesn’t feel like a proper follow up to the old Supra.
Chris: I’ve been kind of disappointed in general with the Detroit show.
Reese C.: It’s really slow this year. I mean there are some good things. I honestly really dig the Explorer, the Ram looks great. The Telluride, but as far stuff that’s supposed to be exciting like the GT500 and the Supra … I know you like the GT500.
Chris: I do love the GT500.
Reese C.: But I don’t know for me it’s a powertrain variant at that point.
Chris: Plus no one is here though too. Like Mercedes, Audi, BMW-
Reese C.: None of the big Germans.
Chris: Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover.
Reese C.: Porsche. None of them are here.
Chris: Mazda. No one is here.
Chris: Thankfully, this is the last year that the Detroit Auto Show is going to be in winter. Make sure to hit subscribe and ring that bell so you’ll be notified when we go to the 2019 Chicago Auto Show in the Windy City next month.