Real Wheels Live (Nov. 3)

Nov 03, 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, 


Another wonderful week in the world of automobiles. I drove the 2018 Hyundai Accent in Las Vegas, NV. I can't give you my driving impressions, and the pricing hasn't been announced, so I will leave you with just a picture of the 2018 Hyundai Accent in the Valley of the Fire. 

While I was in Las Vegas, I spent half a day at SEMA. It's supposed to be an aftermarket supplier event, but I think of it as pimped my ride on steroids. Every car celebrity was there, including Ken Block unveiling his 90’s WRC Ford Escort Cossie in its Gymkhana TEN livery at the Pennzoil display.


Hyundai showed off three new vehicles. You can see the whole reveal at


The (1) "All-Show," "All-Go" Blood Type Racing (BTR) Elantra Sport, (2) HyperEconiq Ioniq, courtesy of Bisimoto, and the (3) Vaccar Tucson Sport Concept. It was a toss-up which picture to post for you today, of the three Hyundais. It was between Nigerian-born tuner Bisi Ezerioha's Ioniq that got a combined fuel economy well over 80 mpg or Aaron Vaccar's Tucson Sport Concept with Katzkin Ice Grey Leather, Fog Suedezkin, Blue Stitching. The nod went to Vaccar because he brought his Pops, Carl with him.  I'm a sucker for parents being involved with whatever their kids are doing, no matter what age. 

Stretch, and I drove the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 with 4Matic Coupe this week. Beautiful outside, luxurious inside. There is a lovely pinstriping across the width of the dash, starting from the driver's door all the way to the passenger's door. The design creates a feeling of feng shui that should be copied by other designers; it's that good. The 2-door starts at $61,400, the car I test drove was optioned up to $86,685. The EPA fuel estimate is 20 city/ 26 highway/ 22 combined. 

Let's chat about cars. 

Do you think the elimination of the EV tax credit under the current GOP tax proposal will dramatically hamper sales of EVs and stall industry development?

It depends on whether the car manufacturer takes the price of the car down the same amount that the Federal government has been giving as a tax credit. Is the car, on its own, worth $45,000-$75,000, or is it only selling because the taxpayer gets a credit? 

Do either of have on your schedule a test of the Lincoln Continental with the super-adjustable seats? As one member of a couple who both have achy backs, butts and legs after long drives, I am very interested in finding out if the seats perform as well as advertised.

Yes. Ford says in a few weeks. Will review and you know.

Greetings. While I do know that the 2018 QX80 will be premiered at the Dubai Auto Show Nov 14 -18, do you know when it will go into production and be available for purchase?

There has been no release date as far as I know, but a 2018 is usually released from now to December of 2017. 

My 2010 Audi Q5 began to consume oil abnormally at 30,000 something kms on the speedometer. The transmission has problems down-shifting from 2nd to 1st gear. And it alway very "reluctantly" and "violently" pull the car forward even the accelerator is pressed lightly. Audi Taiwan has never solved the problem and the only solution is have the transmission replaced and it would cost a fortune ! It seems the problems occurred always after warranty expired! Now the oil warning light blinks less than 700 kilometers after last filled. It is a common consensus that Audi car "drink" oil heavily in the car service community, but I was not warned when Audi sold me the car. Naturally, I am very much disappointed that Audi is not so hi-tech as it projects on TV commercials! Why car buyers have to add oil when service is not due as the Audi suggests?

Are you in Taiwan? 


Hey Warren, after watching the great Steph Curry ads, i'm wondering if Nissan is trying to make it's way back to the great G35 models they originally introduced to some small degree of fanfare. thanks.

Not quite. In the same neighborhood. urry is a good spokesman, unless he gets into a biiger hassle with thr Trump.

Is there an embargo?

Yes, there is a manufactured embargo. They say it is so that all journalists can have time to write their story, but I am suspect. I think they like all the publicity all at once - to bring it up in Social media. And they don't have the pricing yet, so...

Hi Lou Ann and Warren, Our family is growing and we need a full-size SUV with a 3rd row. The complicated part is that I prefer captains chairs in the second row for easy access to the back. What do you suggest? (Besides a minivan, haha). Thanks.

The Mazda CX-9 for 2018. I Touring model with all-wheel-drive and third-row seats. Congrats on your growing family!

Have you driven the 530e? I have a Volt and am thinking about moving up to a larger, more luxurious car while still maintaining at least some "green"

Not yet. Wait before ditching the Volt. Check out comparable Tesla.

The government shouldn't be selecting technologies with tsc schemes. But it pretty much is doing the same thing with environmental and safety regulations.

Sorry its not the job of the Federal govt to push a technology or a vehicle. EVs need to sell themselves based on merit not on tax breaks. EVs actually do more damage to environment than vehicles with internal combustion engines when you take into account the mining of the lithium for the batteries, the making of the lithium batteries, and finally the salvaging of the lithium batteries at the end of their life spans.

Is it the job of the federal government to give money to drug addicts? come on - every single group gets money to push in them in some way, hopefully towards the better, towards being cleaner.

Lithium isn't the only chemical they are looking at for batteries on the long run. We need more options for energy, cleaner energy hopefully, domestic energy hopefully. 

Every energy has its issues, I've seen the technology that builds the oil industry. It is brilliant, and if we can build that we can build a different energy. 

Do mostly urban driving but drive the freeway 2 to 3 times a week. So need good acceleration for freeway on ramps for adjoining freeways. Am 70 plus so need all the safety tech. Need good turning radius for narrow streets where I live. Want a small SUV that is easy to park. Have looked at the hybrid RAV 4 and Mazda CX 5 both nice cars. What else should I test drive before buying?

Honda Accord, Toyota Camry 2018 (good turning radius), Ford Fusion with advanced electronic safety options.

My kids are now in college so I'm ready to trade in my 10 year old 3rd row SUV for something still practical but a bit smaller and more fun - would like to ideally keep it under $50k - thoughts?

Honestly, I love the 2018 Mazda CX-9. And remeber that college, if applicable, is only ONE cost of setting the free. Good luck!

Here's a group of them


Nissan Pathfinder

Hyundai Santa Fe

Ford Explorer

Dodge Durango

Mazda CX-9

Kia Sorento

GMC Acadia

Honda Pilot

I would look at Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder and GMC Acadia 

No insult to the original poster, but do you think we're suffering from a Russian misinformation campaign (you've heard something about those, right? :-) ), when it comes to mini-vans? Why oh why do so many people say they hate them? My kids were born in the 80s, and I finally got my first one in 89. Drove them for more than 20 years, as they kept getting better and better. Actually bought my last one the year the last kid moved out - pretty much out of force-of-habit. Yeah, well, I came to my senses and traded it on a convertible! Truth be told, though, I still do miss the practicality of that last one (a Nissan, btw). If I was still hauling kids around, I'd have one again in a heartbeat! Just my two cents... Thanks, you two, for a great weekly exchange!

Not a Russian mis-info campaign, not on that one. Just American bias and the illusion that "minivan" means adult commitment to someone other than self.

Ahh, thanks. thanks for chatting with us. 

If you give me $75 million I could tell you about the campaign :) Amazing. I can't even fathom that kind of money. 

I love minivans. A friend just bought a Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid and he loves it. He has 7,000 miles on it already 

Have a great weekend

Yes, if you have the money. And the Audi SQ5 if you really have the money.

Last year I got rid of an old Chrysler minivan and bought a 2014 Honda Odyssey. The old one drove like a truck, the Honda handles like a luxury car, and I love the power doors and navigation system. My grown sons borrow it frequently, especially the one who goes camping a lot. They're not just for soccer moms!

Agreed. But please tell me yhey help wit fuel and maintenance bills.

I read a great line somewhere, to the effect of: minivans are evidence that you have, in fact, engaged in procreative activity. There's literally nothing more masculine than fatherhood.

Agreed. It comes with a cost to wallet and selfish ego. But, ultimately, it's worth it.

thinking of getting the new Audi Q5 thoughts? what else should I look at?

Gosh there are so many in that category

Jaguar F-pace

Volvo XC 60 (plug-in hybrid version for me) 


Land Rover Discovery Sport

Mercedes-Benz GLC




Congress is getting ready to make you pay for automobiles electrification by taxing your vehicle 1cent a mile use to support the cost of public electrification infrastructure. Watch this space.

Thank you all for joining us today please return next weekend. Love you all.

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: