Real Wheels Live (Sept. 15)

Sep 15, 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,

 

Stretch, and I are back in California, and still sending our thoughts and prayers to all the people caught in harms way from Hurricane Harvey and Irma and the earthquake in Mexico. 

 

Last week was the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA). There weren't as many car companies there; I heard nine companies didn't show up. We spent most of our time with car suppliers; Continental, Harman Kardon, Bosch, and ZF. We got some great video that should be out next week. 

Many of you have asked what would happen if someone had a heart attack in an automated car, or just wasn't able to drive the vehicle if it needed to be driven. Continental has come out with a suite of technologies called Cruising Chauffeuring. The video will show you the different ways a car can stop and what the colors purple, blue and red mean. 

Harman Kardon has such an excellent reputation that some of the biggest companies of the day are creating speakers with them. Harman Kardon and Amazon Alexa have combined to create an intelligent speaker with Amazon Alexa Voice Service called Harman Kardon Allure. Harman Kardon’s brand, JBL, has partnered with Google Assistant built-in to create JBL LINK.

 

Next week I will have some really cool articles and videos about diesel, electrified cars, new car products from the Frankfurt Motor Show

 

Let's chat about cars

I need a practical vehicle for my family of 4 (soon 5), and hauling our voluminous gear. It seems like a minivan is the most rational and practical choice, and probably the most economical, too. I'm proud to be a family guy, so it's not too much of a hit to the ego. But I wonder whether you agree with my analysis (not necessarily the ego part!) about practicality. If so, is there a minivan you're recommending now? If not, what else should I consider?

I absolutely agree! Stretch and I don't have children, but we love minivans. When we had our dog we loved the Town and Country minivan for the stow-n-go seats that the auto supplier Magna created. 

While Honda's Odyssey is the number one minivan on the market I prefer the stow-n-go seats of the new minivan Chrysler Pacifica and the plug-in version. 

Check the reliability and quality control of the Pacifica minivan. I have heard rumblings about how slow they have been to market and it concerns me. 

When I said there was no link, I was wrong. There is a specific link relating unloading of the continents due to glacial melt. This is still happening from the end of the last ice age. Presumably, there will be future earthquakes near the edge of Greenland and Antarctica caused by glacial melt/human induced global warning. With that said, the 8.2 earthquake in mexico had nothing to do with climate; it was the result of plate tectonics.

Good Morning Nat Seismologist 

You had everyone shaking Warren off his much earned pedestal last week. I am glad you have come on this week to set the record straight. 

https://live.washingtonpost.com/real-wheels-live-20170908.html

I did look up what you were talking about and replied to ClarkKent1 and Fenway Frank with this message 

Hold on FenwayFrank before you take Warren off that pedestal. I heard from the Seismologist above and he said he was wrong and wanted to apologize to Warren. According to the Mohr–Coulomb theory of rock failure, large glacial loads generally suppress earthquakes, but rapid deglaciation promotes earthquakes. According to Wu & Hasagawa, the rebound stress that is available to trigger earthquakes today is of the order of 1 MPa.[20] This stress level is not large enough to rupture intact rocks but is large enough to reactivate pre-existing faults that are close to failure. Thus, both postglacial rebound and past tectonics play important roles in today's intraplate earthquakes in eastern Canada and southeast US. Generally postglacial rebound stress could have triggered the intraplate earthquakes in eastern Canada and may have played some role in triggering earthquakes in the eastern US including the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-glacial_rebound

 

I am interested in how you two personally rank-order the various criteria you look for in a car. For example, I have read Lou Ann recommend that Land Rover (Discovery?) a couple of times; LR has a long history as among the least reliable marques available. I wouldn't own one on a bet. no matter what else the vehicle offered. So among the major criteria, which are most important to you within a price range for a car you would actually buy: reliability, styling, handling, utility (i.e., storage capability, off-road handling etc within product categories), acceleration and "sportiness" (I know where you are on that Warren!), prestige (ditto!), bleeding edge technology, fuel economy, safety, price-within-category . . . I am blanking on any other major points

Lou Ann here: 

The only Land Rover I have ever said I would own is the Range Rover Evoque Convertible. It was such a great vehicle, so much fun to drive, a two-fer; a convertible that you could get into without feeling like you were getting into a cockpit of a jet fighter. 

I do agree with you on most other Land Rovers. I have been in them and had to reboot them with a computer! But I do love the autobiography edition. 

My car would be a plug-in hybrid. Something like a Volvo XC 60 PHEV. I'm not a big fan of SUVs in general, but I would be with a PHEV. 

The Audi A3 is better, especislly vs. the 23i,

Audi A3 vs BMW 2 series? Thank you

There are so many different variants of both cars; coupes, sedans, diesel, eletric. 

I am going to assume you mean the  2.0 TFSI Prestige quattro 4dr Sedan AWD Turbo versus M240i xDrive 2dr Coupe AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo) because they are both turbo, both all-wheel drive. 

I like the luxury sporty drive of the Audi, but My favorite BMW is the M car so on the M2 I would go with the BMW> 

https://www.drivingthenation.com/california-and-bmw-m2-not-a-state-a-state-of-mind/

Hi, Lou Ann and Warren: Too bad the new regulations won't take effect until September 2020, but Transport Canada -- finally -- is doing something about cars without automatic headlights. The federal agency has heard from many Canadians fed up with people driving cars late at night with no taillights. Those inattentive drivers are a menace. It's too bad that automakers couldn't reach a consensus sooner, but this is a good step. One of my biggest pet peeves. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/tail-lights-head-lamps-safety-phantom-vehicle-transport-canada-regulations-crash-1.4279458 Hope you had a great summer! Garey, Ottawa

Here's hoping we catchup, soon.

The plug in hybrid gets 47 miles on electricity on its own, more room than a Volt, and not as, um, unique in looks as the Prius Prime. Given the Honda reputation, think it will sell if it is priced around 35,000 with Honda Sensing? Gracias

Yes, great vehicle, Honda has good reliability. The Honda Clarity also comes in a fuel cell  version if you live near a hydrogen highway 

https://www.drivingthenation.com/2017-honda-clarity-fuel-cell-vehicle-fcx/

I love the future-retro design of Honda's concept from Frankfurt. I loved my early Accord. Back when they were smaller than the current Civic. Those early Civics were cute, and actually quite quick race cars when built out. The Urban Ev seems to mix those old influences with modern and futuristic design.

Yep, It will sell

I'll leave it to you to believe current climactic happenings have nothing to do with human activiries, I don't.

I did not participate live in last week's chat, but did skim through it shortly after it concluded. I'm well aware of Mr. Brown's need to inject social commentary into his automobile reviews and into this chat, predominantly as a foil to Clifton. However, last week's insistence to battle with a purported seismologist regarding the connection between earthquakes and climate change was beyond ridiculous. I myself am a professional geologist, and while I agree that man's activities on this planet have contributed to the rise of mean surface temperatures, there's little evidence to suggest major tectonic activity along known fault lines are a result of human activity (I have never seen or heard of a study or abstract in any of the major journals even suggesting any such connection). I'm not sure what "scientists" Mr. Brown is referring to in his retorts to those questioning his ridiculously false statements, but his tone and lack of coherence leads me to believe he is either misinformed or just plain ignorant about science in general and the scientific method. Perhaps some shred of decorum, support for such an extreme view, or editing (you, after all control which questions submitted are answered live, and in effect control the direction of the chat) so as to not make the Washington Post look like some tabloid rag or alarmist propaganda would have been called for in last week's chat. Mr. Brown's choice to continue to answer questions on the topic with his short, snippy, close-minded responses only made him look more ignorant and degraded any shred of journalistic integrity he may have possessed. As he has probably been told multiple times in his career, "stick with reviewing cars Mr. Brown", and leave the science to the scientists. As a certified professional geologist, I implore you to leave the study of earthquakes and Earth science to those who know the difference between slickensides, foliations, and bedding planes. Your car reviews have lost all credibility with me after your stubbornly moronic display in last week's chat. I wish you the best of luck living in your magical world where surface temperatures and atmospheric conditions contribute to tectonic shifts and the movement of plates along the Moho. In the meantime, I will get my car-buying advice from a reputable source that does not feel the need to make ridiculous, extraneous comments about a subject they clearly know nothing about, and lives on a planet where its inhabitants have physical evidence to support the claims they make.

To discredit an entire lifetime of reviews because you think Warren spoke about a subject that he isn't an expert in puts you in the same category you are putting Warren in.

The seismologist that came on last week has already come on - during the week to me - and on this chat to say that he was wrong. 

I give you this 

Look this up and see if it makes sense - I heard from the Seismologist above and he said he was wrong and wanted to apologize to Warren. According to the Mohr–Coulomb theory of rock failure, large glacial loads generally suppress earthquakes, but rapid deglaciation promotes earthquakes. According to Wu & Hasagawa, the rebound stress that is available to trigger earthquakes today is of the order of 1 MPa.[20] This stress level is not large enough to rupture intact rocks but is large enough to reactivate pre-existing faults that are close to failure. Thus, both postglacial rebound and past tectonics play important roles in today's intraplate earthquakes in eastern Canada and southeast US. Generally postglacial rebound stress could have triggered the intraplate earthquakes in eastern Canada and may have played some role in triggering earthquakes in the eastern US including the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-glacial_rebound

Let's talk about earthquakes instead!

I know right! 

There is a correlation of climate change to what energy we should use in a car, but really....

With the existence of outstanding GPS apps such as Waze, is it still advantageous for factories to install their own software in vehicles. My idea would be to develop a console that syncs with phones to display the map and audio information.

Thanks.

I wanted to get your opinion of the new Toyota Rav4 Hybrid? I test drove it and was impressed by how quiet and safe it felt? What are your thoughts, or did you see something at the auto show to hold out for? I need a slightly bigger car than a prius for my family?

Toyota is to be congratulated for constantly improving hybrids, of which the 2018 Eav-4 is the latest example.

I;d go with the Chevy SilvERAD0 It is put together right and widely used a constructiositesm which says a lot to me.

My husband is jonesing for a new pickup truck - he's currently torn between the Chevy Silverado and the Toyota Tundra. Whichever model he gets will be the king cab, fully loaded. Thoughts?

The Chevy Silverado 1500 has a better transmission than the Toyota Tundra. The Silverado 1500 has better fuel economy than the Tundra.

Will you be towing?  The Tundra has great towing capabilities. 

Test drive the Silverado and the Tundra and check out the transmission. That would be my deciding factor. 

In any event, can we please stick to cars and not politics? Don't we get enough of that from pretty much everywhere else?

And yet, you didn't ask a car question....:) 

Warren, So let me get this straight. You don’t believe current climactic happenings have nothing to do with human activities. Which means you do believe current climatic happenings have something to do with human activities. I am honestly trying to understand what you meant.

I did not say that. I do believe that current climactic happenings have much to do with human activity.

Like a previous reader, I am looking for a new vehicle and have no problems with a minivan, which I would prefer to a SUV/CUV. I need a higher seating position, but don't need something quite as large a the Odyssey, etc., and my garage is a little too small for those minivans. Is there anything that is a little smaller on the outside than those minivans and has a higher seating position?

I'm thinking the Honda Cr-V or Chevrolet Equinox.

At the Frankfort Auto Show? Surprising that so many chose to skip it. Economic or geopolitical issues at play here or just scheduling issues?

Not scheduling issues. Had to economic. General Motors is getting out of Europe, Chrysler Peugeot, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Nissan, and Infiniti - another brand...

US sales are slowing, so they have to keep their profits up for stockholders. If you're not in that region, why bother to show there? I understand that for GM, but the others? 

There has been a tectonic shift (not because of climate change :) in auto shows; more press events before or during the auto show off the convention center grounds; it costs a lot of money to have those union workers put a bunch of chairs down for you, instead they rent a hall near the centers and parse the work out themselves. 

How was the transmission on the RAV4 hybrid? If I recall correctly, it is a CVT and my limited experience with CVTs was not good.

It is a continuously variable transmission, which makes sense in a vehicle primarily engineered to save fuel and reduce exhaust pollution.

You don't grow up on the Gulf Coast, severe hurricane after severe hurricane, without asking questions about climate change. I was reared in Louisiana  and saw enough death and destruction to wonder why, Be safe. See you next week.

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 Carlist.com. Recently Lou Ann has developed an automotive and energy issues related website, Drivingthenation.com, that covers a broader range of subjects than solely the automotive or the energy industry.
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