Real Wheels Live (March 10)

Mar 10, 2017

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.

Like me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Download the Carlist app and list your car for free on and it goes to Facebook and Twitter instantly

Good Morning Warren and Friends,

Finally, the rains have stopped, and the Sun has come out. There are so many sparkling clean cars in California; everywhere you look there is green, the flowers are blooming, it's going to be a beautiful Summer full of allergies people never knew they had.

I drove a 2017 Ford F250 Super Duty 4 X 4 crew cab  6.7-liter V-8 diesel this week. Talk about a behemoth of a vehicle! I got to practice my two-point turn everywhere I went. Ford is smart enough to put a button in the truck that pulls the foot long mirrors in when going through tight spaces.

The truck is completely functional, except for parking. I still have to master parking, but it got easier through the week. The funny part is that I had more neighbors and friends talk to me about this truck than any vehicle I have driven in the past couple of months. My neighbors, Penny and Dan, just got back from a trip to San Diego, hauling their trailer down there. My neighbor, Sheri, hauls horses and would love the low-end torque of the diesel and the 14.7 mpg.

The MSRP is $50,620. The pickup I drove was $66,945 out the door. I got 14.7 mpg.

The embargo has been lifted on the 2018 Toyota C-HR. You can read my review here.

I also drove the 2017 Cadillac XT5 Platinum AWD, a crossover. The EPA estimated fuel economy is 18 city / 26 highway/ 21 combined. I got 21.6 mpg. The base price is $62,500, out the door my CUV was $69,985.

The competitors for the Cadillac are Porsche Macan, Mercedes-AMG GLC43 4MATIC, Jaguar F-Pace, BMW X3, Audi SQ5, Mercedes-Benz GLC-class.

Let's chat about cars

I understand that this show has started. What is the biggest news so far?

Geneva is known for beautiful fast cars. Ital design was there showing off it's beautiful designs, American car companies were there showing off their 800 horsepower cars. Then you had normal cars like the Nissan Nissan qashqai- coming to us as rogue sport later this year.

With the help of my colleague and friend, Ian Beavis, Chief Strategy Officer for Foote, Cone and Belding, I put together a list of cars from the show

Will this have any effect on the US auto market? Is it possible that this increases the chances that we will see Opels, Peugeots(Sp?) in the US?

A couple of years ago I asked a PR person from PSA if they wanted to bring cars over to America. Of course all companies do. It will have very little effect on the US market. GM has been losing money on Opel almost every year, so it will give GM more money to build more plug-in electric and electric vehicles instead of crying that they want the fuel economy regulations changed because they can't make money with those requirements.

Hi, Warren and Lou Ann -- After 17 years and 163,000 miles of faithful service (well, the last two years were a little iffy), my beloved 2000 Passat Wagon has gone to live in the country. One last cost-benefit analysis on one last semi-catastrophic failure, and we donated him to charity. Now there's a shiny new 2017.5 Murano in his space, and although it's really a beautiful car/SUV/whatever, it doesn't have a name or a soul. RIP, Dieter -- you were the best car I ever owned, and probably the best car I ever *will* own. A relic of another life, and another, more successful, career, you allowed me to live out my dream: a beautiful fabulous wife and a great big Boxer in my German car.

Hopefully you still have the beautiful fabulous wife.

This is the best post!

Okay all my chatters - what do you think as a new name for a new car?

Mind you, the Volkswagen had a German name, so I would think the Nissan should have a Japanese name right?

Maybe Shogun? Or Sakurai (for Cherry blossom)

Anyone have suggestions?

Which is best value? BMW x3 or Audi q5? And would the extra cost be worth it to move up to a Porsche Macon? Thanks

It really depends on the options you get. All of these cars are option heavy, meaning they start out at a base price and go up exponentially on options. Porsche is known for optioning up.

Also, do you need an all-wheel drive? Another option.

As far as best value when you're driving I would go with Porsche on all out fun to drive, BMW as a more sporty drive, and Audi as a more luxury drive.

If you are selling after a few years I would look at how resale value fairs on each one of them.

I suppose most customers live where there are wide open spaces for parking this "behemoth", but I wonder why, in this day and age, it would not be equipped with the "safety features" that help guide parking. There are cars that practically park themselves, why can't that be provided for these big trucks?

Oh, don't get me wrong, I had backup camera with sensors and beeps going in and out of my ears. It's just a YUGE vehicle. The F250 crew cab is so much bigger than any vehicle we've had up here.

And if I did get in an accident Ford has something called SOS post crash alert system. I'm sure that is the car calling 911, but I always envision me being in an accident and a voice from the ethers saying, you've have been in an accident. Please remain calm. :)

Hi guys, would like your view on the following: We're helping my folks look for a nice mid-sized car and they insist that it be a GM car (dad used to do legal work there). We've looked at the Cadillac CTS, Buick LaCrosse & Chevy Malibu. They're nice but my gripe is that they share similar instrument gauges, buttons, etc and so why pay way more for a Caddy that's got the same interior bits as much lower cost Malibu? Also, shouldn't Caddy be focused on differentiating it's cars with interiors on par with its competitors instead of what it's currently doing. I can't justify the price increase, your thoughts?

I'm with you. There is not enough driving and interior difference between the two - go with the Chevy Malibu unless you're going to get the Cadillac ATS. That is the Cadillac that stands out to me on driving ability.

Does your Dad have any friends at GM? They might be able to get him a friends and family discount. My brother just bought a GMC Canyon and he got $2,000 (because of a program they were running) off and zero percent financing was available.

$30 is cheap. I was in Playa Del Carmen Mexico last April and it cost us $100 for an entire day of taking s around - that was for four people but the amount didn't matter.

My friend and photographer extraordinaire, Brenda Priddy, goes to Cuba at least once a year. Someday I'm going to go with her. 

I like Makoto :-)

Would that be after the musician or the animated street fighter?

I saw a post here last week about relying on automatic headlights. Today's weather is a good day to let people know that the automatic setting may not turn on your lights in cloudy, rainy, or foggy weather occurring during the day. Enough sunlight penetrates the clouds that the sensors don't detect that the headlights need to be on.

gloomy day in DC, eh? Thanks for the reminder.

I was just talking about this in a previous post - that automakers are fighting the increase in miles per gallon - and using studies paid for by them to show the affect - don't be fooled- tell them to get rid of the deadwood in their company and that you want clean air! They should be ashamed of themselves.


U.S. consumers may pay an average premium of more than $1,800 per vehicle by 2025 due to tougher fuel economy and emissions targets, according to the Indiana University study, which was conducted over 18 months and funded by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

Name for the Murano? "Munchkin"?

Munchkin is not a Japanese name - why would you name it Munchkin?

My ex-wife and I owned a Volvo named Olof. Olof had his name on his vanity license plate.

So the new Murano name has to be 8-9 characters or less?

I'm liking Sakurai - cherry blossom

We're about 90% of the way to buying a Ford Edge (one of the few midsize SUVs that are out there right now) and they have these funky inflatable seatbelt for the back row. Is anyone else doing them? And have you heard anything good or bad about them? We love the car, but will have kiddos in boosters in the backseats for a while - and I got nervous.

Those funky inflatable seatbelts are worth their price in gold. Buy them. SEatbelts will hurt in an accident. Those seat belts are made to inflate and hold your beloved child in place without ripping off their neck. Sorry, reality bites.

Buy the car.

As part of the GM sale of Opel, what will be the future of GM's access to Opel platforms? The Cadillac ATS and the Buick Regal are based on the Opel Senator platform.

GM will continue to have access to Opel and vice versa. They need one another.

Toshiro, Mako, Miyoshi, Mariko, or my favorite - Sulu.

Why are any of those names ones you would name a Murano?

Other than Sulu - the StarTrek character played by George Takei... that one is pretty good.And Takei is Japanese

Maybe the license plate could be CAPT SULU :)


I'm guessing that the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers study did not consider the cost of health care as a function of vehicle emissions. If manufacturers were forced to cover the cost of respiratory illnesses resulting from vehicle emissions, they would increase fuel economy and lower vehicle emissions STAT. Power companies would do the same if the EPA were not being dismembered.

You are guessing Right. But I'd hate to go up against them in court on that one.

Why "Munchkin"? He went from a German car to a Japanese ?UV - just for old times sake. Not like it will become an affectation.

But he will refer to his car as this - always - I like Captain Sulu best so far. Especially if it has captain's seats in it.

Best name I've seen on a DC-area car was one with a Washington Nationals license plate. The vanity plate read "ILSON" The leading curly W made the vehicle name WILSON, after former Nats catcher WIlson Ramos.


Let the marketplace rule and not the govt setting regs. I fi want to buy a SUV that gets 9mpg thats my right.

I agree, sort of. Just don't ask me to pay the cost of your right.

TOSHIRO Mifune is one of Japan's greatest actors, star of SEVEN SAMURAI and a host of others. MAKO is another great Japanese actor and MIYOSHI Yumeki was the only Asian actress to win an Oscar (so far). Also really like AKIRA (great Anime movie).

Lou Ann here:

Got it. But remember - it has to be understood by Americans. CAPT SULU is the best. He would get honks just because of his license plate

Ok. Thanks.

Lou Ann if you could wave your magic wand and turn every vehicle in the US and Canada powered by a diesel engine or internal combustion into a ZEV it would have no effect on climate change and very little effect on air quality. Vehicles arent the problem these days.

Thank you Scott Pruitt. That's what you say today, even though you didn't say that in your congressional hearings.

And btw - what difference does that make? The fact that we send our children over to fight wars for oil should be enough reason to get off the dependency of gasoline.

And don't tell me we don't - if the Sudan had oil we'd be fighting there too. Gasoline is yesterday's generation- we have the ability, the science and the technology to be different

Now all we need is the will.

Thank you all. Please come back next week. Gene, Lou Ann, Ria. You are great!

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.
Recent Chats
  • Next: