Real Wheels Live

Jun 22, 2012

Washington Post cars columnist Warren Brown will discuss the auto industry. Plus, he'll give purchase advice to readers.

Looking for a small sporty handling car that can safely and economically get me around. So far I liked the Miata, Honda CRX, and the MINI. I've reach the point in life that I no longer want to ever consider another SUV, station wagon or a "roomy" car. Love to hear your opinions.

The Mini Cooper ad Mazda MX5 (Miata) would go at the top of my small-cars ist.Snall, fun-to-drivr, affordable.

Hello Mr. Brown. I believe you had injected your personal bias view into the review of the 2012 Quest in today paper. The Quest is actually a little smaller than every other minivans on the market today. Yes, it is only taller by about 3 inches. It might seems bigger due to its boxy size. It is also actually smaller than the minivan it replaces. It seems to be a cool thing to do to demonize fast food industries and put down the low to middle class Americans.

Well, yes, I injected my personal bias, which is what columnists and other opinion writers are supposed to do. And I hereby stand by my opinion that the new version of the Quest is a big bread box--bigger than any Quest sold in the U.S. to date.

We recently bought a new Camaro SS convertible and we love the car, but we are worried about the design of the top. There's a lot written online about troubles including leaks, rub marks, holes, etc. A google of "camaro convertible top trouble" will show what I'm talking about. I'm curious if you've driven the new SS convertible. If not, would it be possible for you to give us a review and also share your take on the issues people have identified with the convertible top? Any advice on dealing with issues like this is appreciated!

There most probably is a cunsumer service bulletin on this one. Check and put in the proper rubric.

Warren, What I said is Range Rover has a history of unreliability. Evoque is new and they still use many small parts that are not reliable in this vehicle. Time will tell if the Evoque's reliability improves. Jag has made significant improvements since they revamped thier entire model line and expect Range Rover to do the same. Can't wait for the 2015 Defender which will be sold in the US. Clifton VA

Fair enough, Clifton. How are you?

Are all manufactures using drive by wire technology for brake systems ?

A number of them are using brake by wire and drive-by-wire systems, yes.

Afternoon all. Had a quick question. I have the Jetta TDI and love it. My wife is a fan of the Eos convertible, but I would prefer having one in TDI when its time to replace her BMW. Have you heard of any VW plans to broaden their TDI line? Thanks!

The Eos is regarded as the ladies' convertible, 95 per cent bought by women.

Can't Chevy find themselves a good advertising agency? Their ads are just...lame. I feel they're shooting themselves in the foot. Thanks for all your work, team!

I agree. Have been making that complaint for several years. Chevrolet has grat product, lousy marketing.

Warren, I really love my 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee. So far after 7 weeks and 1600 miles we haven't had any problems. Now the dealer is another story. I qualified for 1% under dealer invoice since I am a member of Tread Lightly. I gave all the info my first sales person requested to include my membership #. My new sales person and the sales manager had a miscommunication. They were talking about some certificate which I did not have and called Tread Lightly about. I told them both in emails this is all the info I had and did I need anything else. Never heard back. Well Dulles Jeep and their sales manager decided to hold my new tags hostage because they needed more info. Would have been nice if they kept in contact w/me. They didn't until I called about my tags. As a result I received two tickets for expired tags. When I went in w/ the info, the sales manager admitted he was holding my tags hostage. I recorded it. I was able to get the two tickets dismissed since I had the recording and they were only 2 days past the expiration date. This is why dealers are referred to as stealers by many. Sorry I can't recommend Dulles Jeep/Chrysler to anyone. They are not honest and above board. And this has soured me on Jeep. Clifton, VA

I'm putting this out there because some dealers claim that they and their manufacturrs are perfect. They're not. People do not complain just t0 be complaining. C''mon, Jeep. Take  look at this!!

Warren, Good morning. Why can't they make a small truck, front wheel drive for under $20k? Every truck I see is at least $30k and too big for most folks. Subaru used to make the Baja which was small but pricey. I think they would seel like hot cakes in this economy as most folks do not need a truck like the F150, Titan, etc.

"They" can make a small truck to your specifications. But they won't, because "they" don't see much profit in that market.

I own a 13 year old Chevy Blazer that might need a major $4,000 repair. I have had my eye on the replacement Jeep Liberty that will not be produced until next summer and do not really want to buy a new car this year. I have never considered leasing a car but I would in this situation. What would you do Warren? I am very open to the type of car.

I'd lease a Jeep or a Ford  Escape and be happy.

Any impressions of the new Acura ILX ? Particularly compared to the TSX. Thanks !

It's the best Accord Acura ver made. Seriously.

Last week a questioner asked about future availability of a Hyundai / Kia minivan. What about U.S. availability of the 2013 Rondo mini-minivan, and if so, with what driveline(s) and predicted highway MPG?

The Rondo was poorly received in this market. I think  it's done for.

Are you hearing any rumblings (no pun intended) about additional manufacturers offering diesels in the US? I would like to buy a diesel when I eventually replace my 2004 Honda Pilot (141,000 miles, runs great, not being replaced any time soon), but I also want a manual transmission. Chevy's Cruze is supposed to be available next year, but only with automatic; VW offers diesel versions of the Golf, Jetta, and Passat, but the first two are hard to find with a manual transmission, and the Passat is impossible. If Hyundai would market a manual diesel version of its Elantra Touring, I'd be very interested, but it seems like that's a pipe dream. What do your tea leaves tell you?

Yes. GM, Ford anf Chrysler. Coming soon.

When I want a new vehicle that is not on the lot, I realize that I must special order. Which companies let you pick and choose options without forcing you to take unrelated things which will not increase the eventual trade in value when the vehicle drives off the lot? Example: a stripped Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4 Laredo lists for about $30k. Many of the options require a bling-loaded "Laredo E" package for $2k before you can buy an off road package which has nothing to do with the E stuff. Exanple 2: .Toyota care @$699 has migrated under the MSRP. The "free" oil changes are certainly not worth this amount, especially when they insure the dealer service business. Ideas? Good dog cars do not appear that often as program cars.

 I'd go with Carmax or Penske. Seriously.

Hi Warren, love your articles/chats, keep up the good work! My folks' brand new Prius V has been left at our house while they are on vacation, giving me the opportunity to use it to shuttle our 3 kids. This is the car I never would select on my own, but after driving it for a few days, see how practical it is and how much we could potentially save on gas. But after parking next to a Mazda5 recently (which seats 6) which suggests a kissing cousin in size, I think that Toyota missed the opportunity to offer families what they truly desire: enough space for those brotherly elbows to be holstered and money to be routed away from the pumps and into college savings funds. What's your take on this and perhaps you know of something like this coming down the pike?

The small-car market is growing fast, even as gasoline prices are declining. I expect this to continue with all manufacturers putting an emphasis on 4-cyl engines and improved small-car quality. Watch out for the Koreans.

A friend offered me her 2003 Saturn L200 at a good price after she inherited a newer car. Other than taking it to a reputable mechanic for a once-over, is there something I should look out for? I don't need anything fancy (obviously), just reliable.

Take it to a good mechanic and have it checked out. If it passes muster, buy.

Have you had a chance to see the 2013 Fusions? What's your thoughts about it?

I can't wait to drive them, which should happen soon. I'm impressed by their exterior styling, which I've seen in Geneva and New York.

Good morning. I will be getting the Mazda5. While I know that I will not be able to get the Skyactive engine package (sad, as the cx-5 - bigger, not to our needs - but gets better mileage), I would like to know when the 2013 line is coming. That will give us the choice of a 2013 or pointing to a 2012 and asking the dealer "how much to take that 2012 off your hands?" I've looked online and sent mail to Mazda to no avail. Thanks

I'll put this out there for our Mazda retailers. They know how to reach

Down to decision time (and yes I saw the earlier response) - New Mini Roadster, New Miata or a certified pre-owned Lexus IS-C or Infiniti G-37. All are in the mid to upper $30K range - what would you choose Warren?

The Miata MX-5. Lots of fun and not much trouble at a reasonable price.

Have you had a chance to check out the new X1 yet? Thoughts on handling, mileage, cargo capacity? Could I easily haul a dog in the back? And, if you've had a chance to check out the AWD, how did that go? Many thanks!

Not yet.

Have you driven the new Ford Escape or the Toyota Rav 4? If so, what are your impressions. I am concerned about the limited rear visibility in all the new cars in this class.

Both are on te schedule for July. I will let you know.

Warren - when are you going to review the mostly-lauded FR-S / BRZ twins? Also, do you have a link to your review to be published this sunday, or do we have to wait until tomorrow to access it online?

As soon as the respective manufacturers hsip them.

Hi, Producer Dominique here. You'll be able to access Warren's latest review online later this afternoon. 

Are you saying that VW won't come out with a diesel version because most buyers are women? I can assure you we appreciate the benefits of diesel as much as men. Does VW not understand this?

I'm not saying that at all. Women buyers in Europe gt that one with diesel. But when it comes to putting that one in the US with diesel technology, VW turns unreaonable bean counter.Here's hoping the company will change.

You missed what the earlier poster asked about the Eos. He was wondering if VW has any plans to put the TDI drivetrain in the Eos, not who buys it.

Got it. Right now, based on the info at hand, I have t0 say "NO" for the U.S. Here's hoping that I'm wrong.

I am yielding to my migraine. Please come back next week. Thanks Dominique and Ria. I'm off in search of Tylenol. Eat lunch.

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Warren Brown
Warren Brown has covered the cars industry for The Washington Post since 1982.

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