Real Wheels Live (May 6)

May 06, 2016

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,

Want a chance to win a tour of Jay Leno’s Garage? If you're in Virginia May 7th, stop by The Hill School (130 South Madison St Middleburg, VA 20117). The proceeds from the auction will go to the JK-8 independent school Financial aid for Hill School tuition, Professional Development, and Community Outreach.

What do you get? The winner can bring three people with them to the garage. Round trip Air transportation (for two) within the United States is included. You’ll get to visit Jay’s Garage in Burbank, see the cars, and possibly meet Jay if he’s around that day.  

You've only got one more day to win a box of chocolates for your Mother to give her for Mother's day. If you have a story to tell about your Mom (and presumably a Nissan) submit it and you could be one of the fifty people to win a box of chocolates. / Buzz Aldrin will be in your town May 17th talking about Mars; Human to Mars that is. Aldrin will be one of the speakers at the Human to Mars summit and on his twitter page he gave the code to get a discount; Buzz Mars.  

I drove the 2016 Infiniti Q50 2.0t premium this week. The luxury compact field has some great competitors; BMW 328i, Mercedes-Benz C300, Lexus IS300, Cadillac ATS, and Acura TLX. The MSRP was $37,650, out the door $40,705. EPA estimated fuel is 23 city/31 highway/ 26 combined.

Let's chat about cars.

Good morning. I recently came into a very large inheritance and I've decided to treat myself to a dream car. (I can do this as my 2013 Accord is all paid for). If you could spend $100,000 on a car, what would it be? (I'll keep the Accord as a backup). My first thought was a Quattroporte. Thanks

That would be mine as well, or a Maserati Gran Turismo S. If it were $1,000,000 it would be the Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid

I have a 2007 Mini S which is a blast to drive, but the rough ride and maintenance bills are starting to bother me. I would like to replace it with something that has a similar driving experience (nimble, powerful), but with a little bit more luxury and a more comfortable ride. I'm willing to spend up to 40K (maybe a bit more). I'd prefer a non-German car, but could be persuaded to go in that direction. What would you suggest? P.S. Our other car is a 1994 Civic which still runs great!

Warren had the same problem, maintenance bills.

Look at the Ford Fiesta ST fully loaded or a Subaru WRX or a Chevy Spark.



Warren & Lou Ann Wondered if you are aware of any value guides for the various safety tech packages offered across manufacturer lines? Collision mitigation is often a separate add from blind spot detection or lane departure, some include nav, some offer pedestrian recognition. Some require adds of non-safety items (e.g. appearance packages). Also is radar best or is camera? Subaru's Eyesight seems to be most competitively priced, but "build and price" comparisons become difficult between Mazda, Honda, Ford, GM etc. Thanks for these interesting chats you do and your excellent WaPo vehicle reviews! James, Chicago

Warren and I have talked about this and as safety and technology become more important with the looming autonomous vehicle those comparisons will become more important.

Right now I don't know of one single place that does that better than Consumer Reports. NHTSA is paying more attention to safety issues and is looking at making a star rating that includes certain safety items.

I was talking yesterday to an acquaintance who likes and buys fancy cars. He likes his non-diesel Audi A6 very much and said it is better than his previous Mercedes E class but said it is not as quiet as the Mercedes S class he had a few years ago. The difference in price between the A6 and the S is probably about $60,000 so I guess you should get "something" for that difference in price and, according to him, it is silence.

It's the old poster from the '70s - rich people don't live next to the freeway. Because of the noise

I like a quiet car as well. The Buick Verano is the quietest car in its class.

Drive the S Class and then the Verano and tell me what you think

What is a good source for reliable information about the tax credits for plug-in vehicle tax credits, e.g., which vehicles are eligible for the credits and how much can be had for each vehicle? Thanks

When I look to good sources I look to government websites. If you are going to buy a car based on the government website take a screen shot of the information so that you have proof it was there (if you're on a mac it is command-shift-4 and then cover the area you want to copy - it will show up on your desktop)

In spite of the diesel issues, I would also consider the VW Golf GTI or Golf R. I think its received great reviews.. WRX is a cool car but has grown in weight and complexity, but certainly a fun car with utility to go with it.

I would consider the VW Golf R as well, but I don't like talking people into cars. If you don't want a german car there are other cars out there under $40,000 - my favorite is the Ford Fiesta ST fully loaded. fun car to drive

Practical vehicle go Range Rover, Sports car go 2016 Corvette Z06 or Cayman. Slightly more practical go BMW M4. Shelby GT350R should be in the mix. used Aston Martin. Nothing from Audi a or Mercedes is as much fun as a BMW. Might want consider a 7 series too. Maseratis have crummy dealer service and once out of warranty repairs and maintenance in 36mos will cost you as much as new one. Clifton, VA

I would consider the M4. I don't like that locking in the Corvette when you turn to hard. Range Rovers are over complicated. I actually prefer the older Maserati Gran Turismo S

Purchased a 2015 Jeep Renegade 4x4 Latitude in July 2015, with standard basic 36K miles/3 yr bumper to bumper warranty. I thought, "If anything was wrong with it, I would probably find out within 36K miles/3 years so, no, I will just go with the standard warranty." Unfortunately, my dad experienced a stroke the week after my purchase and I immediately started the frequent 4-5 hour drives down to take care of him and his financial affairs. Nine months later, I have over 21K miles on my new Jeep, which has performed flawlessly and enjoyably -- especially in last winter's snows. Considering the its performance and the number of unexpected miles driven and likely to be driven in the future, should I consider the extended warranty?

First - Am hopeful your Dad is okay. Thank you for taking care of him.

I never buy extended warranties, and especially if they are not through the manufacturer.


Are you kidding, a Spark as a replacement for a Mini? We had one as a rental car, it was dreadful. I felt cruel for making it go 70mph.

yeah, after I put Chevy Spark I knew I was going to get one of you rassing me :)

The difference is it is a throw around car - the little 2-liter is fun to drive, but you are right, not hard, not fast. I just remember it as fun to drive around the country roads I live in.


That made me laugh; it's kind of like comparing apples to elephants.

Yes, I would agree, but when you are comparing quietness the difference is how much work they put into making that car quiet. Buick touted the Verano as the quietest in the luxury entry-level segment. If the person asking wanted something that was quieter, and $60,000 cheaper the Verano Premium Turbo could fit that bill.

I bought the Audi A6 instead of moving up from my 2010 G37 to the infiniti Q70, because every review I read of the newly designed Q50/70 was negative. A shame after the G37 which was such a great car. What was your take on the Q50?

My favorite Infiniti was the first G35. It still remains my favorite. I thought the Q70 was overpriced, but the Q50 fit in its segment price wise. I would like the torque to come in a little sooner. I would look at the Cadillac ATS, though I don't like the design as much as some of the other competitors.

I'm currently leasing the Acura TLX and find it to hit the sweet spot in so many areas: sporty yet decently thrifty at the pump, luxurious but not ostentatious and so far, excellent dependability.

You could get an Acura TLX V6 Tech package AWD for a little over $40,000 or a fully loaded Honda Accord.

The old Mini is a different drive, though, more of a go-kart drive. The new Mini is more of a BMW/Acura drive.

Is he having computer problems again?

Stretch is practically on the verge of buying Warren a MAC! It's either computer or internet problems or some type of virus. 

As the Jalopnik guys would say: the answer is always "Miata."

you know, you are right! Mazda is a great car company and behind the scenes we're asking why Mazda hasn't captured what Volkswagen is losing.

The Miata is a great vehicle, the 6 is a great vehicle. Thank you for reminding me.

Sometimes if I haven't driven a certain car brand in a awhile I forget them. Mazda Mazda Mazda, vroom vroom.

Practical is not a concern at all for me. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to treat myself to a car that I would never have been able to purchase in a million years. So thanks anyway Clifton.

I love the older Maserati Gran Turismo s and if I had that kind of money I would go to Italy and tour the countryside. I tuttled around Modena, and the Quattroporte was almost too big for those little roads. I managed though. There is a great little maserati museum/cheese factory that you should visit as well.

Thanks for all the input today everyone. Gene, thanks for the behind the scenes help. My dear Warren, I missed you today. Get rid of that virus.Eat lunch, come back next week.

And remember,

Never drive 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.
Recent Chats
  • Next: