Real Wheels Live

Jul 26, 2013

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

Warren is on assignment today, so I'm going hans-solo :)

Let's talk cars, let's talk kia

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I heard a news piece about Elio Motors and checked out their website. Have you seen their car? They were supposed to have been in the DC area a few weeks ago. The claim that it can get 84 miles to the gallon on the highway along with a price tag of $6,800 make it seem like a pretty good deal for commuters. I put more than 85,000 miles on my smart car, but not sure if I am ready for this. With the smart fortwo, it is noisy, doesn't accelerate very fast, and can only be serviced by a smart service center. Will Elio Motors face the same issues?

Good morning. Elio might be what is known as a niche vehicle. I'm with you, I'm not sure I would take it on the highway.

There are a lot of niche cars coming out right now, shockwave has an electric vehicle they say will be coming to market.

The one niche car that seems to have made it is Tesla, but the big question is how long before the big car companies make a car that competes with Tesla (did you see Alex Taylor's article  for Fortune, BMW vs. Tesla: The electric car race heats up with the i3?

Or will someone buy Tesla? It's an interesting time we live in.

Mr. Brown, wondering if you have driven Jaguar F-type and if so how would you compare with Porsche? Thanks

I remember Warren saying he was going to drive the F-type, but I haven't heard if he did. Ian Callum is a great designer and his artistry in the F-type continues. I have seen articles that love the F-type and some that question why a 4-cylinder was put in the Jaguar. I haven't driven it so I can't say. I have driven the Porsches and love everyon of them. I was at the Porsche museum last month. If you'd like to see some video of 50 years of Porsche 911 watch

Also, if you're going to be in Stuttgart you can visit the museum for free if:

All 911 drivers plus one accompanying person, upon presentation of the vehicle registration at the box office of the Porsche Museum, have free admission from June 4 to September 29, 2013. The Porsche Museum also foregoes any admission price for visitors who were born in 1963 and can prove it by presenting their ID.

I am in the market for an SUV with a 3rd row and so far am debating between the Highlander and Traverse? Which one do you prefer? Seem to be a lot of good deals right now on the 2013 highlander. Any others to consider?

I would go with the Traverse, but would consider the Hyundai Santa Fe long-wheel base. I just got out of the Nissan Armada and it seemed heavy, but it was not top heavy and had a lot of power.

It really depends on what you want the vehicle for. Are you going to tow a vehicle behind you or are you just looking for 3 rows with the best gas mileage?


Hi, Lou Ann -- I saw a Volvo spot that talks about a guy who bought a P back in the 60's and has driven it to 3 million miles...made me think that what I'd really like to do is: not buy a Volvo, but take my Passat to a million, or at least a few hundred thousand. Any reason I can't?

I believe the guy is Ira. He's been around forever, really great guy and loves his Volvo.

no reason you can't do the same.

Hi, Lou Ann: I saw a news release posted at with production info from Volkswagen of America: "There will be a limited number of 2014 Golfs and GTIs sold in the U.S. market, as four-door models only." Does that mean we're getting some Wolfsburg-made Golfs before the plant in Puebla, Mexico, is up and running? Some people at a local dealer in Ottawa said pretty much the same thing recently while others have said we're not getting anything until 2nd quarter of next year as a 2015 model. Help! Garey in Ottawa

Wolfsburg-made. limited volume, not limited edition. It's a short run that they're able to build. They will start building in Mexico early next year. They will go on sale in summer of 2014 as 2015 model.

Hi Lou Ann Thanks for doing the chat. Is there any expected time frame for VW to offer a Passat Wagon with the TDI engine? I drove the sedan a year ago and have been a fan ever since. But my "hauling" needs dictate a wagon. Is there hope for me?

no. no matter how much warren and I hollar VW hasn't placated us. :)

The passat wagon in europe is a different spec than the US specs needed.


Can you link to the Fortune article on Tesla?

BMW vs. Tesla: The electric car race heats up with the i3{%2210201676534500399%22%3A485635204861973}&action_type_map={%2210201676534500399%22%3A%22og.recommends%22}&action_ref_map=[]

Thanks! Will not be towing, just need the 3rd row for more room. Would like to get decent mileage as well since will be doing local driving for work.

Then you don't need a big V-8 engine.

Stick with a V-6. Since you're looking for extra cargo room you don't have to be as concerned about an adult in the 3rd row.

Some of the vehicles would be, Chevy Traverse, GMC Terrain, Hyundai Santa Fe, Buick Enclave, Kia Sorrento, Mitsubishi Outlander, Mazda 5, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Quest, Volkswagen Routan, Lincoln MKT

Have you tried out the new Mazda 3? Any news on a Mazdaspeed variant?

I had to look at this queston twice. Yes, there is a 2013 Mazdaspeed 3 out already. check out

Lou Ann, Good morning. Why do car companies spend so much money on concept cars when 95% of these cars never make it to the production line? Thanks.

because 95% of the new technologies on the concept cars make in into production.

I love the Ford Atlas concept - it just won concept truck of the year. Will it go into production, not sure, but some of the really cool technology will. I talked to the designer of the truck. You can see the video with al the cool technology at

Concept car award winners: Hyundai HCD-14 Genesis, Ford Atlas, BMW i8 spyder

GM's had quite the turnaround recently, especially when Consumer Reports raves about the all-new Chevy Impala. When are you test-driving it?

Just got out of it. We already have a video up about the design, with the designerJohn Cafaro

Heated steering wheel, heated and cooled seats, well balanced car, HUGE trunk.

Part of the reason GM is making better vehicles is because they're no longer taking the lowest bid. They used to put a bid out for seats and it didn't matter if you had made a car seat before if you were the lowest bid you got the job. Not anymore. They're looking at quality and performance and history of the suppliers.

It makes a difference.

I was just in Germany for a couple of weeks. It always makes me sad to see some many cool cars over there that we'll never get to have in this country. Including the VW Scirocco. I saw a handful of them. If VW sold them here I likely wouldn't have bought my MINI Coupe.

VW knows this, they just can't make them compliant for the US specs and the European specs on the same line. Trust me, both Warren and I have talked to them about this.

It is interesting that Volkswagen is the one car company that we get the most requests for of cars that people see in Europe that are not in the United States.

I hope everyone is having a lovely summer. Warren will be back next week. I will join you next week, after driving the BMW i3 and talking to their executives. I will be on the east coast, the jersey shore for the first time in my life!

Thanks Matt for the help today.

And remember, never drive faster than your Angel can fly.

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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