Real Wheels Live

May 02, 2014

The Washington Post cars columnist Warren Brown and guest Lou Ann Hammond will discuss the auto industry. Plus, they'll give purchase advice to readers.

Good morning Warren and Friends

Do any of you keep your car information on your smartphone? Your banking info?

I had the misfortune of losing my iphone for two days this week and it was torture.

I've never put a passcode on my phone because I thought I didn't have anything on there that would matter - till I lost it.

I had the "find my phone" app on the phone, but somehow it got turned off - just when I needed it most.

Make sure you have a passcode and that you have a "find my phone" app and that it is turned on.

Let's chat about cars

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Lou Ann Hammond

Good morning, Warren and Lou Ann. Wondering whether you've heard from any of your Mazda sources on the outlook for the diesel version of the 6. Thanks very much.

It's coming. according to company sources. But no one seems to know when exactly.

LOu Ann here:

They have delayed the 2.2-liter SkyActiv-D four-cylinder disel engine because of performance, not fuel economy. Mazda is a stickler on how they like their car to perform.

Is this chat still on? It's not listed on the home page.

Today's chat is still on! It's not on the homepage because of a production delay. My apologies.

On the subject of the Mazda 6, are there more diesel sedans in the works that may compete in the size category of the Passat TDI? Cars for us "mature" folks who like to sit up straight and stretch our legs.

Yes, all major car companies are planning diesels in the US.

Lou Ann here:

Did you know Chevy made a Cruz turbo diesel?

BMW has a 328d, Audi has a diesel sedan.

I wrote in last week about all-wheel drive vehicles, under $30,000 and you asked me why I took the Mazda CX5 off my list. I added it back to my list and enjoyed the test drive of it - but went with the Subaru XV Crosstrek (and I LOVE it, so far - it's only been 5 days).

The Subaru Crosstrek is a good one, but I'm glad you went back and test-drove the Mazda. Globally, Mazda was up something like 238% from last year. They are hot in Europe, but not as much here.

I've written to you before about my unhappiness with my S60 Volvo navigation. I've had enough. After waiting and begging for an update, I received a set of DVDs that took over 6 hours to upload to my navigation system with the car running the whole time!!!. I've heard good things about the Audi navigation system and kind of like the new Audi A3. What do you think? I did read about the phone connectivity and how it is not that good if you don't have AT&T Wireless. I have to admit. All these little details matter to me: navigation, ease of phone connectivity, etc....and I'm not that technically savvy. I have Verizon Wireless. Does it mean that my phone will be basically useless in the A3? Please help me decide.

You can take a look at the Audi system. But I'm concerned that the Volvo system you've already paid for apparently works poorly. Keep hounding Volvo until you get some satisfaction.

Lou Ann here: 

I love Audi's infotainment system and the fact they use google maps is the absolute best. I have verizon as well and don't remember a problem hooking up to it. The A3 is a dream.

Any chance the Mazda 6 wagon will be sold in the U.S.?

Yes. More than a chance.

Good afternoon you two! I saw Volvo brought their S60 Diesel-Hybrid to market in Europe and supposedly its a highly efficient rocket ship. Why is this technology not here in the States yet, and do you anticipate it ever coming?

It may take a while for that one to get here. I was told by Volvo officials in Geneva that they've sold out of that one in the European market and now have a long European waiting list.

Looked at Subaru Legacy and Audi A3 CPOs to date, any others I am missing at or under $25K?

Lou Ann here:

all-wheel/4-wheel drive and come in around (or under $30,000). On the list is: Subaru Impreza, Legacy, Crosstrek, Crosstrek hybrid; Jeep Cherokee; Kia Sportage; and Buick Encore. Already eliminated from my list (for either cost or safety reasons): Ford Escape, Jeep Compass, Mazda CX5, Nissan Rogue and XTerra, and Hyundai Tucson.

Yes. Check out fpr a complete list. Also, take a look ar for a used-car possibility.

What is the difference between a $15,000 and $25,000 new car? It seems like many of the smaller, compact cars have lower prices and better gas mileage. I guess the added prices associated with luxury features also add weight to the cars giving them lower gas miles. It seems that if I want a cheap commuter car, it will get good mileage, but if I want comfort and luxury I will pay more for the car and have to buy more gas as well.

anytime you add content to the car your power to weight ratio changes to the worse and you will get worse fuel economy. BMW is bringing out smaller cars but they are starting to use carbon fiber in their cars which make them lighter. Expect to see smaller cars, more fuel efficient and with great content.

I will be happy when the mandate for back-up cameras comes into play because right now I am driving a BMW without it and it seems so 20th century.

As I get older, I'm noticing that it's increasingly harder to get out of the lower-to-the-ground sedan, and that some SUVs are still too high to step up into. Are there any vehicles that have a reasonable in-between point? Blame my tired old legs and back...

Yes, holding onto the bar like you do in a full-size truck and pulling your whole body into the car isn't for me either.

You're going to want more of a compact SUV. Try these and let me know which ones work for you. If you want a list of luxury suvs let me know

Subaru Forester
Subaru crosstek
Mazda CX5
Volkswagen Tiguan
Kia Sportage
Hyundai Tucson (Santa Fe if you want a little bigger)
Honda CR-V
Buick Encore
Chevy Equinox
Nissan Rogue
Toyota RAV4
Ford escape
Jeep Cherokee Limited
Jeep Patriot
Jeep Compass
Jeep Cherokee Latitude
Mitsubishi Outlander
Nissan Juke

Good morning Warren and Lou Ann, I was wondering what your impressions where of the Kia lineup and Hyundai line in particular the Kia Rio hatchback 5 door and Hyundai accent Hatchback. I have heard these two sister companies have come a long away over time. Also I have heard they are not the same Vehicle nightmares as the Hyundai and Kia cars or yesteryear. What are your impressions of them now. I have also heard good things about the Subaru Imprezza hatchback.

You have heard correctly all all accounts, including the Subaru Imprezza.

One thing - check the smell of a Hyundai when you get into it. Does it smell funny to you? I had a new one this week and  it had to be the leather, or glue? but it smelled funny. I'm checking into it but I'd like some of your opinions.

Clarify please - you recommended the CX-5, but then in this chat you included among SUV's that you removed from your list due to safety or cost reasons. Confused.

That's you, Lou Ann.

Lou Ann here:

If I said I didn't recommend the cx-5 it was a mistake and my apologies to you and Mazda. I like the CX-5.

I've always wondered: When we get torrential rains and flooding, where do the car dealers put all of their cars? I always wonder if someone goes to buy a new car there if it's sat through standing water, hail, or other calamities, or whether they just pull some or all of them into a giant garage.

Sometimes there is not enough warning to do anything, but all car dealers have flooring insurance. The question is, if that car sits through it and gets damaged will they still sell it? Yes, depending on whether they can fix the damage.

Always look at the carfax report. It will tell you if the car has been fixed.

Lou Ann's comment was a copy and paste of a question I asked last week. I eliminated it because of cost - not safety - but then added it back after the chat last week because it was highly recommended here.

Good. I do like the Mazda and am sorry if I confused you. Thanks for emailing and clarifying.

Sometimes we get so many questions in one hour a little nuance will fall through a crack so I appreciate you bringing it to my attention.

Hi Lou Ann, In response to your question I have not test driven the Hyundai accent hatchback but have heard nothing but good things about it . I have heard positive things about the Rio 5 . I do not know about the smell of the Hyundai was it used or new it might be the material or something.

It was new and I talked to someone else and they said the same thing - they said it was the leather. It smelled more like glue to me and gave me a headache. I had to keep all the windows open to air it out.

Hyundai and Kia are great cars, they are so much better than they used to be. I would have no problem buying either one of them.

There aftermarket steps available that fold up. Also the Grand Cherokee and various Range Rovers offer air suspensions that lower to allow easier egres and ingress. I dont believe Mercedes, Lexus, Infiniti,Audi, and BMW offer air suspensions yet. Ram offers it on their pick ups. Land Rover has offered air suspensions for decades. No, it's not made by Lucas. Clifton, VA

Good Morning Clifton

Thanks for the information

Thank you all for joining us today. Please return next week when our share of the Internet is up to snuff. Our prayers for all of you hurt by the recent spate of tornados in the South. Thank you Angela, Lou Ann, Michelle and Ria. Eat lunch.

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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