Real Wheels Live (August 25)

Aug 25, 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.

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Good Morning Warren and Friends,


Major fail on my part last week! I need to correct a statement. Last week I told you that Trudy from the Paris Bakery in Monterey, CA was 102. She's not; she's 101 years old. So embarrassing! 

This week I drove the GMC Terrain. If you're looking for an SUV diesel, this is the one! It's listed as a compact SUV, but the interior room is spacious, the low-end torque intact and we got around 35 mpg in the diesel. 


2018 GMC Terrain

$25,970 - $40,245



2018 GMC Terrain SL and SLE  SLT and Denali models starting MSRPs


2018 GMC Terrain SL FWD — $25,970

2018 GMC Terrain SLE FWD — $28,795

2018 GMC Terrain SLE Diesel FWD — $32,565

2018 GMC Terrain SLE AWD — $30,545

2018 GMC Terrain SLE Diesel AWD — $34,315


2018 GMC Terrain SLT Starting MSRPs


2018 GMC Terrain SLT FWD — $32,295

2018 GMC Terrain SLT Diesel FWD — $35,140

2018 GMC Terrain SLT AWD — $34,045

2018 GMC Terrain SLT Diesel AWD — $36,890


2018 GMC Terrain Denali Starting MSRPs


2018 GMC Terrain Denali FWD — $38,495

2018 GMC Terrain Denali AWD — $40,245



gasoline 9-speed1.5 turbo



diesel 6-speed 



2.0 gasoline turbo 9-speed 



How many of you ride motorcycles? Would you consider a 3-wheel motorcycle?


Stretch went to Malibu this week and drove a Slingshot. Our neighbor, Glenn, has a three-wheel motorcycle and loves it. We see him riding it around, and it has a great stance; looks menacing! 

Slingshot has been around since 2014. The 2018 Slingshot model lineup consists of Slingshot S, SL, SLR and SLR LE. The Slingshot S will be available starting at $19,999 in Gloss Black. Starting at $25,499, the SL will come in Navy Blue and Sunset Red, while the SLR starts at $28,999 and introduces a new Electric Blue color to the lineup. In a limited run, the Slingshot SLR LE will be available starting at $30,999 in a two-tone Ghost Gray with Lime-Squeeze painted accents. It's a 2.4-liter General Motors engine that can produce 173 horsepower and 166 lb.-ft of torque. 

The Fastest electric Supercar Rimac Concept One is not just a one-off, The lightweight hybrid battery system is also used in the Koenigsegg Regera and the Aston Martin Valkyrie.

And as promised, here is the unveil of the Acura ARX 05 prototype

And as we watch from afar we still wish all our friends in Texas a safe road ahead. 

Lou Ann, Sadly I need to begin planning for a replacement for my 2008 G35, I'll buy a used, aka pre-owned, car in a couple of years, so the replacement would be new or about to be released now. I've been disappointed by the reviews of the new Q-series as compared to the G-series. What is out that is comparable in terms of performance, size (I could go larger not smaller) and fit and finish?

The first generation G35 was the best. Just splendid.

Replacements might be a BMW 3-series, a Nissan 350Z, a Ford Mustang Cobra, a Mazda RX-8 an Audi A4 or TT


Warren you have written very positively about both cars--which would you buy?

Last week a reader mentioned bad reliability experience for a VW Passat. My own experience: My 2004 Passat was the most reliable car I have ever driven—it needed only routine maintenance. I traded it this year for a new Passat only to get the new driver assistance features. I don’t know whose experience is more typical; Consumer Reports says VW reliability is marginal, but my own dealer, whom I trust, says they haven’t seen a lot of problems. What have you heard?

I think your experience is moe typical. And on an earlier question, I'd chose the A4 because it accommodates more people.

Hi, I live in Arizona and I've been hearing a lot about a national electric drive car week in September. Do you have more information? What are these events? Are they free? Can you test drive the vehicles? Thanks!

I don't know about one in September, but I know that at most the major auto shows now they have free test drives of electric vehicles. 

Wait, I just looked up on

There is an electric drive in MD in September

I'm going to have to replace my 2007 Mazda3 soon and am looking for a new hatchback. I don't like the look of the current Mazda so I'm looking at the Fit and the Golf. I'm leaning toward the Golf because I want an engine with some power to it, but I'm a little worried about the reliability/maintenance costs of a VW. Any thoughts, or different cars I should be considering? Thanks!

Either the Fit (more economical) or theolf will do, really. 

I want a car that can drive autonomously in traffic -- bumper to bumper and not moving. Does that exist today? I need to know by the next eclipse (April 8, 2024)

My husband, Stretch, always says that autonomous vehicles can't get here soon enough. 

Check out the website it should give you the best timeline that is out there. 

BTW - 2025ad is saying that by 2025 there will be autonomous driving. 

Any thoughts on a 2016 Mazda 3 as a car purchase for my college attending son? We found a used one with only 16,000 miles at what appears to be a decent price. Thanks.

I'd take it that we are speaking about a Freshman, right. No car until junior or senior year.

I echo your thoughts to those in the way of Hurricane Harvey. Sadly, we will likely see some salt-water damaged cars on the market in the months ahead. What's the best way for people to protect themselves from inadvertently buying a car like that?

The one National program that I like is Carfax - they have the most complete history of cars that I know of to date. 


He's a junior and commutes from home. Do you like Mazda 3 - I have not owned a mazda since my rotary engine in the 80s.....

Yes, I like the Mazda 3. He's a junior, which means he's already demonstrated some responsibility. Mazda 3 is fine. I especially like the safety engineering and crash protection on that car.

Warren didn't answer the poster's question. He may feel that kids going to college shouldn't have a car until junior or senior year, but he doesn't know what year this kid is. The parent asked his opinion of a used 2016 Mazda3. Nothing wrong with saying "that's a good car" or "it's a piece of junk," then appending "but I don't think the kid should have a car until at least junior year." His answer is utterly useless to the poster.

What age were you when you got your first car? I was 16 years old. I lived out in the country and had to drive to school. (I graduated from high school when I was 16 and started college when I was 17)

My first car was a VW Bug, green - named Herman; her man. :) 

The Mazda 3 is a great car. It's just drivable enough that the college student will feel stylish, but not crazy Dodge Demon 800 horsepower that he will kill himself. 

Good Luck to your child. 

I did answer the question. The student is a junior, which means he has demonstrated some responsibility. I don't believe, and many colleges don't believe, freshmen should dhave cars on campus.

Have you reviewed this yet? How does it compare to other Hybrids?

Yes. Not impressed. I much prefer the Prius or Ford Fusion hybrid.

Lou Ann here: 

I like the Hyundai Ioniq - There are three shades of 2017 Hyundai Ioniq green; hybrid, PHEV and EV:

I see a few Slingshots around DC. I think they get classified as an HOV vehicle because it's a trike. They remind me of the KTM X-bow, are they related?

That's cool. They look like fun when my neighbor rides his. I have asked the slingshot guys if the KTM is related. When I get an answer I will let you know. 

Why the judgement on the parent who wants to buy a Mazda 3 for his/her college student? From the initial question, the student's year, age, driving experience, location, and need cannot be determined. For all we know, the student could be a 20 year-old freshman, attending college after military service, has lots of driving experience, and needs a car to commute to his/her off-campus job.

I judged no one. I asked. Am told that the student is a junior. Many colleges don't allow motorized freshmen--for very good reasons.

Another good check is -- no joke -- lift up the floor mats. If it's been under water, you'll see the damage. Also, once you get the history from Carfax, maybe have an electrical specialist check it out. You think it's a problem when your phone gets wet, imagine the technology under the hood.


Shame the rear seats dont fold completely flat. GM is going to lose a lot of potential buyers because of this. There are millions of dogs owners who participate in various events with their dogs and a big selling point is a completely flat floor when all the seat are folded. There are Facebook Groups devoted to vehicles and hauling your dogs. A flat floor would have netted GM at least 10K buyers maybe more. Clifton, VA

Lou Ann here: 

Did you see the picture at the top? The seats do fold flat. 

Aren't all of these smaller than the G? (BMW 3-series, a Nissan 350Z, a Ford Mustang Cobra, a Mazda RX-8 an Audi A4 or TT)

I was thinking the G35 coupe. Did they say sedan? :( 

tough crowd. Thanks for your feedback.

It keeps us honest. 

It's all good.

Warren, My niece just got dropped off at a VA Public university to start her freshman year and all VA public universities allow incoming freshman are allowed to have vehicles. Clifton, VA

Her is hoping she does well. Private universities tend to have different rules.

New 2017 Hyundai Elantra with every safety feature and user assistance feature in my driveway now. But WHY does Hyundai make me take a sunroof if I want all the other good stuff? I'm sure they are better than they used to be and don't leak as much. But why do I have to buy ice cream when all I want is a great chicken sandwich?

That's a marketing ruse--benefits Hyundai, not you. You should have argued with dealer.

What are your thoughts on when college students should have a car?

It depends on the child, where they live and how responsible they are. 

If you live on the campus you don't need a car. I would buy them a bike :) Heck, if it were really hilly I might even buy them an electric bike :) :) 

The reality is that children are going to dumb stuff. Even my God son, as smart and responsible as he is, can be stupid when he gets sucked in by peer pressure. 

With the advent of car sharing - uber and lyft mainly, kids don't need cars if they are within a certain proximity of school. 

If they are not, they are going to need a vehicle, but those children will be coming home after school at night, so...let's hope they are all safe, that the parents are raising them to the best of their abilities and all their angels are flying faster than they are driving. 

I'm old fashioned. It is hard enough for most freshmen to get accustomed to college without the worries of a car.  

Look closer rear seat behind drivers seat dont fold completely flat. Think dog crates Clifton, VA

Good Morning Clifton 

I was there in person, I am a dog lover and am always on the look out for fold flat seats. 

These seats fold flat enough that you could put two dog crates in there. Well, depending on the size of the crate, but you know that already.

Who is hoping she does well?

I do. I hope she does well. Is that  a problem?

I want an SUV that gets the gas mileage of a prius and at a reasonable cost. Can't find it! Kia Niro is close but more of a crossover as not as "tall" as most SUVs. Surely I can't be the only one that wants this type vehicle. How long do I have to wait?

You don't give a price, but the closest you are going to come to a real world SUV with good gas mileage is the 2018 GMC Terrain diesel SUV. 

They literally do not make 2017 Elantras with the ultimate safety and tech package but without a sunroof. The sales guy agreed with me it was stupid (though he had plenty of motive to do so).

Then, argue that the sell you the unwanted  suroof at dealer's cost. It has been done.

When I was at Big State U, only juniors and seniors could have cars on campus ... and the parking lot was so far away, you had to take a bus to get your car. Of course, that was when the car's footprint was bigger than the dorm room.


To the person worried about a leaking sunroof, I don't think that is a problem. I have 2011 Elantra and have never had any issues, and my car isn't housed in a garage. Enjoy your new car, and don't worry about it.

Thanks for the help 

Thank you all for joining us today. Please return next week. To our Texas friends: Be safe. Hurricane Harvey is no joke.

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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