Real Wheels Live: The Jeep Renegade, Roadsters and more

Aug 21, 2015

The Washington Post cars columnist Warren Brown and guest Lou Ann Hammond discussed what they're seeing in the auto industry. Plus, they gave purchase advice to readers.

Good Morning Warren and friends,

The 2016 Ford escape titanium four-wheel-drive

(The 2016 Ford escape titanium four-wheel-drive. Photo courtesy of Lou Ann Hammond.)

I love August. August is naked lady month. If you don't know what a naked lady is look at the picture of the Ford escape. There are naked ladies in the foreground. I have thousands of them in my yard. Some years I have a naked lady party and invite all my friends to come enjoy dusk and the naked ladies. On the invitation I put, Fantasy is better than reality, please wear clothes. :)

This week I drove the 2016 Ford Escape Titanium 4WD SUV, swathed in naked ladies.

  • Model: 2016 Ford Escape
  • MSRP: $31,485
  • EPA MPG: 22 city / 29 highway
  • Horsepower: 173 horsepower
  • Towing capacity: 2,000 lbs
  • Engine: 1.6L 4-cylinder

and the 2016 Acura ILX 2.4L Technology Plus and A-SPEC Packages luxury Sedan:

The 2016 Acura I LX technology plus
(The 2016 Acura I LX technology plus. Photo courtesy of Lou Ann Hammond.)


  • Model: 2016 Acura ILX
  • MSRP: $34,890 plus $920 destination = $35,810
  • MPG: 25 city / 36 highway
  • Horsepower: 201 HP
  • Engine: 2.4L 4-cylinder

The Acura ILX is a great driving luxury sedan that has decreased the noise in the vehicle by adding depth to the wheel and technology to the drivers seat.

Let's chat about cars.

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I really like the Subaru Forester except for two things: it needs more horsepower, and the driver's seat is very uncomfortable - not suitable for long drives. Can you recommend another small-mid SUV that doesn't have those issues? Thanks.

Honda CR-V

Mazda CX-5

Kia Sportage

Acura RDX

Chevy Trax

Buick Encore

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

honda HR-V

All of these are 4WD and they have great amenities and good horsepower. The HR-V is a new segment (along with the CX-3) and you should drive those. Nissan has great NASA seats. You could try the Rogue if they come with those seats. The Volvo XC-90 is a 2-row but they have great seats as well. 

Lou Ann, you mentioned that you drove the Jeep Renegade -- What do you think of the vehicle? Is it also fine for city driving?

the segment for that vehicle is very strong and I think there are a multitude of vehicles I would buy before I bought that one. I didn't like the transmission for sure. 

Subaru Forester, Subaru Outback, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Impreza, Subaru XV Crosstrek, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Juke, Kia Sportage, Acura RDX, Chevy Trax, Dodge Journey, Toyota RAV, Ford Escape, Buick Encore, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Toyota Venza, Ford Flex,Honda HR-V




After admiring from afar since its refreshed introduction 2 years ago only to watch recalls (and Clifton) cause me to question my admiration, some deep discounting by Jeep dealers has me ready to pull the trigger on a Grand Cherokee. Other full sized two rows that I considered were the Toureg and Merc M-class, but truth be told 50K+ gives me sticker shock even if I can afford it. The discounted GC Overland gets me closer to a more comfortable 40K. Our car strategy is one nice car and a drive till it dies commuter (2004 jetta goin' strong). So this vehicle ideally is capable and "the nice car". I'm NOT a fan of FULL size SUVs that have added third row seating to become family haulers. We want a full sized SUV for home improvement shopping trips, hauling Labrador Retrievers out and about town, and long road trips that aren't off-road but do include unpaved back roads, bike racks, kayaks, and camping gear, not a place to isolate the munchkins from mom and dad (our munchkin drives her own car and when we can align our schedules, she prefers to "meet" us at family vacation spots). In two years will I feel penny wise by pound foolish?

nope. I like the Jeep Grand Cherokee a lot. 

Are any of the automakers planning new, reasonably-priced, roadsters for the future?

other than the Mazda Miata? 

What cars are comparable to the A3 but might not have the "luxury" name and price?

Acura TLX or the Volvo S60 or a Volkswagen CC. I just had the CC and loved driving it. 

Have either of you driven this yet?

We have not. I can't wait to find out more about the car Audi is bringing out at the Frankfurt auto show that will rival the Tesla

A while back there was a discussion of the 2016 Miata. I drove a 91 for years, have driven the 15, and now have a 12 (got jerked around by two dealers and decided to go to Carmax for a used one). What strikes me about the 12 and the 15---and I'll bet about the 16, if I drove one--is how much the everyday driving experience is like the 91, and I drive mine almost everyday. To be sure, the 12 has lots more power, a bit more elbow room, and more bells and whistles, but none of that makes any difference driving to work. The big difference is between a Miata and a nice sedan, not between Miatas. So anyone looking for one might check out used ones; there are a lot of low mileage Miatas for sale by dentists whose wives have complained they're not being driven much. A couple more things: as much fun as a Miata is, it's no fun in the rain, a nightmare on snow and ice, pretty uncomfortable after a couple three hours, and invisible on multiple lane roads. In other words, a luxury, not an everyday car. But more than worth it if you like to drive.

I loved the Miata and you are right, it is a drivers drive. It is a sweet drive and I think I drove it comfortably for 3-4 hours (that's all the time I had). I'll get it soon - probably in the winter and tell you then. 

Thanks for the real world experience. 

Hey guys, thanks for these chats. My good friend bought a new Lexus ES in 2001, and the car served her well, but it is now about to take its last breath. My friend's budget is such that she could get a 2013 Avalon, nicely equipped, for around the same price as a 2011 Lexus ES, similar mileage. What do you recommend? Also, should she consider the Avalon hybrid because it, too, is within her budget? She's not considering any non-Toyota product.

The Toyota Avalon is a sleeper in the market but a very nice car. 

If she can get a hybrid for about the same amount I would go with that - the hybrid will give you at least 10-15 more mpg according to fuel 

and both take regular gasoline. 

How does the Acura ILX compare to the Honda Civic on which it is based? Thank you.

The 2016 Honda Civic isn't out yet, I will drive that in October. 

Of course the Acura is going to be more money, but it will have the nicer amenities and the newest technology -

the drivability is great on the ILX. It does take premium gasoline compared to regular for the 2015 Honda Civic and the ILX gets about a 5 mpg decrease from what the 2015 Honda Civic gets. 

Good morning, folks. If you had the chance to ask a political candidate (House, Senate, presidential) a question concerning automobiles and/or driving, what would it be?

What would they do about Mexico being part of NAFTA and able to import to South America without import taxes even though the USA can't do the same thing?

Extraordinary summer here on Vancouver Island re-inspires an old zest for the two-seater soft top. BMW Z3, Z4; Porsche Boxster; or Mazda Miata. Ceiling price, $10,000. Whichever columnist provides the most agreeable answer can borrow the purchased car for a Saturday afternoon.

My favorite would be the Z4 - love the styling and drive. Porsche is always easy and fun to drive, but you would have to get an old one to meet the $10,000 requirement. 

Like a little more horsepower and shy away from 4 cylinder models. How would you rank the 6 cylinder SUV's in this size segment.

Old school. 

6 cylinders eat up more gasoline. I would go with a Ford ecoboost 4 cylinder or a hybrid that gets low end torque. 

Is this an issue with/lack of gasket/sealing/buffer etc.? Honda owner Iso an Accord would love to know..

Hi - thanks for chiming in. 

I asked the Honda rep and he is calling the PR fleet. It sounded odd to him as well. 

I will be getting the new 2016 Accord soon and will let you know if it happens again. 

metal-on-metal is like nails on a chalkboard to me. hate it. 

The Acura website indicates that the ILX has an 8-speed dual clutch transmission with a torque converter. How well does that work? Thanks.

Love the 8-speed. no problems. (the 9-speed in the Renegade felt more like a CVT - I think you can only go 8-speed before it feels like a CVT) 

The safety technology and noise dampening in the ILX is worth the money. 

Hi, when is GM redesigning the trio crossovers? I'm in the market for one and drove a 2016 Buick Enclave which is not obviously different than the Enclave of 2013, 2014 or 2015. The exterior is beautiful but the interior seems very dated, and you still need keys to start the engine (no push-button start). Plus, they don't even offer a smart key option. The Acadia is also long-in-the tooth. What's going on? I want to buy one but feel it's already too old and lacking technology.

Buy a Honda Pilot. It went from key start to keyless. I wouldn't buy a car that has the key in the steering column. old school. we've seen the fatalities from it.

My good buddy, and yours, Warren, had troubles with his PC - AGAIN. (Perhaps a MAC next time Warbro :) 

Start getting your frankfurt auto show questions together. Both Warren and I will be there. I will do the show from Frankfurt and we hope to have lots of videos and pictures for you. What do you want to know about? what should we take pictures of for you? 

Thanks for joining the chat. Talk to you next week. 

And remember - 

Never driver faster than your Angel can fly. 

much love, 


In This Chat
Warren Brown
Warren Brown has covered the cars industry for The Washington Post since 1982.

On Wheels Archive

Real Wheels Live Q&A Archive
Lou Ann Hammond
Lou Ann Hammond is the founder and owner of the first privately owned automobile website Recently Lou Ann has developed an automotive and energy issues related website,, that covers a broader range of subjects than solely the automotive or the energy industry.
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