In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. They discuss recently driven cars: the GMC Yukon XL diesel, Maserati Quattroporte Trofeo and Acura TLX Type-S. After that comes recent Tesla news along with cancelled Mitsubishi Delica registrations in the state of Maine. Finally, the editors help a reader spend their money on an affordable crossover.
Send us your questions for the Mailbag and Spend My Money at: Podcast@Autoblog.com.
GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to The Autoblog Podcast. I'm Greg Migliore got a great show for you today. We're going to talk about the Yukon XL EcoDiesel, Maserati Quattroporte, and the Acura Type S. We'll get into some Tesla news, talk Concours, and finally, we'll spend your money.
We're going to bring in road test editor Zac Palmer, who is about to head out to drive the Nissan Frontier. That's pretty exciting. So we'll tease that out for a future episode. But how are you doing, man?
ZAC PALMER: I'm doing well. I'm excited. Going out to Utah to drive this Frontier tomorrow, actually. So this is one of the-- I guess my first time on the other side of the Mississippi since the pandemic started. [CHUCKLES]
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, man. So, should be exciting. And Utah is a beautiful state. I drove the Fort GT out there on a track. And it's just-- you know, obviously, the GT on a track is great. But just on some of those open roads, just like, the views, the mountains, I think you're going to have a lot of fun. And I think the Frontier is going to be a really interesting truck.
ZAC PALMER: I think so too. Looks great in photos, so we'll see how it drives.
GREG MIGLIORE: Cool. Cool, cool. So let's jump right in. I spent last week in the EcoDiesel Yukon XL. In simple terms, this is a dressed-up Chevy Suburban. You might recall Yukon and Yukon XL are suburban and-- or, excuse me-- Tahoe and Suburban siblings, if you will. So plenty of room back there.
I actually spent two earlier stints in the suburban EcoDiesel, so I'm very familiar with just the basic underpinnings in this engine. I was trying to focus on is the Yukon XL really worth it. I should mention it was a Denali trim. Mine came at about 84.6.
So honestly, that's like-- this is going to sound crazy. That seemed like a pretty good deal to me, just for a Yukon Denali with this kind of interesting engine. One of my neighbors stopped by and was looking at it, and he's like, this looked like the presidential, like, motorcade thing. And I'm like, well, those are Escalades, and that's the Beast, and this is a Yukon. But I think that's a compliment, if you will.
So it's a capable engine. You're looking at 20 miles in the city, 26 highway, 22 combined. For something that literally is as big as, like, a presidential motorcade troop transporter that the Secret Service could ride in, that's pretty good fuel economy, I think.
In some configurations, you can tow, like, 8,000, 9,000 pounds with the EcoDiesel, depending on-- like the Sierra, you can tow a little bit more. Four-wheel-drive, two-wheel-drive, there's some variance there, but pretty capable engine. It's actually slightly cheaper.
I was speccing this out. It's about $1,600 less than the 6.2-liter V8. I would strongly consider that. I feel like at this point, you're probably not looking to save money either way. $1,600 on an $84,000 or $85,000 vehicle, you know, I don't think that's a consideration. But I mean, I think I might get this engine for the fuel economy, and the towing, and just the torque. In its own way, it's fun to drive, so.
I mean, broad strokes, though. When I look at this, it feels like, to me, that General Motors has really nailed its latest generation the full-size, truck-based SUVs. And I know you spent some time in the Escalade, which is essentially this with Super Cruise and nicer lights. This has awesome lights, though, I would say.
I mean, what do you think of that statement? Do you think-- is that fair to say, that these new GMT SUVs are where they should be?
ZAC PALMER: I think from, like, a ride and interior and looks perspective, absolutely yes. Would I love to see something like a hybrid or a plug-in hybrid version in addition to all of the V8s? Also yes.
But the one that you just drove here, that EcoDiesel, I feel is probably the one to get. I've driven that engine and the Silverado, and I love-- really, really love-- that engine. It is so, so smooth. You wouldn't even assume that it's a diesel, you know. It's not one of those old, clackety, noisy diesel engines that Americans tend to not like.
No, this is smooth and good enough that you can throw it in an Escalade, and it still feels luxurious. As it's supposed to be there. But overall, I mean, you look at the tech portfolio and the actual interior design and interior quality on these new IRS full-sizers, and GM is right there, right at the top of the heap in pretty much every class.
You look at Escalade, Yukon, Suburban. There's a little something there for everybody at all the price points. And if you need to move a lot of people and a lot of stuff, it's hard to beat that. Except if you go for a minivan. But of course, then you don't have towing.
GREG MIGLIORE: That's true, that's true. You know, the IRS does make a big difference. This new generation of full-size, you know, crossover SUVs, I should say. They handle better. I feel like they handle-- it's a cliche, but I feel like they do handle a little bit smaller and more nimbly than they are.
I mean, driving the old Tahoes, Suburbans, Yukons was a chore. It was a lot of work. This is still a very large vehicle, but it's a little bit less work. And they also have made for, like, a better layout in the back.
It's one of those things where it's like, with the new IRS, it allowed them to move some other things around. And that opened up just a little bit of a more-- it's more cargo space, quite simply. And that was one of the things they were touting when I was driving the Suburban. It also applies, of course, to the Yukon and the Yukon XL.
Really, for these, it sort of comes down to like, what do you want? Do you want to get everything and convey the image of driving the Escalade, maybe get Super Cruise? Do you want a vehicle that's almost as, I would say, over the top? And that is the Yukon, the Yukon XL especially, Denali trim. I mean, the headlights on the Denali Yukon were more crazy than the Cadillac headlights, actually, if you look at them.
The Cadillac grill in some trims are a little-- it's a little more reserved, if you will. There's like, the headlights are a little bit smaller, in simple terms. I actually kind of like the Tahoe and Suburban just from a very simple aesthetic. So yeah. I mean, again, it just really comes down to what do you want because mechanically, they're the same.
And the Tahoe and Suburban are a little understated compared to the other two. And I think that's by design. The other hand, they're not cheap. So it's kind of like, if you are going to start to spend that kind of money, you know, you probably don't go from Chevy to Cadillac. But you might think of going from, like, Tahoe to Yukon depending on what you can get, what incentives are available, and that sort of thing.
So it's a strong portfolio right now for General Motors.
ZAC PALMER: Yeah, absolutely. And when you do think of doing that jump from a Suburban to, say, like, a Yukon XL, I know previously, like, the previous generations, the basic interior design and look was very similar. Maybe there's a couple more pieces of leather and/or fake wood here and there. But when you jump from a normal Yukon to a Yukon Denali or from a Suburban to a Denali specifically, you get a different interior.
Which was really bizarre to me, actually, to see at the launch, that you have a whole different interior design, a different center stack, a different infotainment screen. And all that just for going up to Denali. But that sort of speaks to the actual Denali brand itself. Just GMC has as recognized that people absolutely love that, and now they're giving you an interior that is more fit to that.
When somebody says, oh, I got a Denali, well, it is actually remarkably different inside than just a normal GMC Yukon. Which I think is pretty cool.
GREG MIGLIORE: I think, across the board, these vehicles have much better interiors. The Denali is sort of-- I think that's a smart, strategic play for GMC to actually really differentiate it from the other Yukons and non-Denali vehicles and, of course, Chevy. But to go back to like the Chevy example, I was blown away by how good the Suburban interior is.
The last generation, you had to actually spend a little bit of money to not look like you were driving an enclosed Silverado with an OK interior. And now the Suburban and the Tahoe look very nice inside. So I think, frankly, the last few Chevies I have driven, the Bolt and the Suburban, have had very nice interiors. So I think that-- the Corvette actually has a very nice interior, too.
So I feel like, strategically, Chevy's interiors are moving in the right place. And then you're starting to see some of the upper upscale interiors also go that place. And they have to. Like, you're looking at interiors at a variety of price points. Whether you're talking the premium space, like Genesis, or all the way up to, like, a Lincoln, which is legit luxury. And they're throwing, like, 1960s mid-century modern things at you.
Really, if you're going to have a premium SUV, you gotta bring it. And if you're going to try and be true luxury, you gotta bring it. So that said, the Denali interior in the Yukon XL was quite nice. Quite nice. So yeah.
So how about we shift gears to even higher luxury at the Maserati? You're had the Quattroporte. Which Quattroporte were you driving? How much did it cost, roughly?
ZAC PALMER: So it was the Quattroporte Trofeo specifically, which is the new top dog for 2021. MSRP just north of $150,000. So--
GREG MIGLIORE: Wow.
ZAC PALMER: --not cheap by any means. But I know just as you and I were talking before the show about Maserati, maybe they're a little mystical. Their lineup isn't exactly the most obvious thing anymore. If you are wondering which one the Quattroporte is, just sort of think of it as the S Class size of all the different Maseratis.
You got that. One you got the Ghibli, which is smaller. And then the Levante. But the operative word in all of this is Trofeo because that means that it has the Ferrari V8 engine in it, which makes it instantly extremely cool. So it's the 3.9-liter twin turbo V8. 580 horsepower, 538 pound feet of torque, rear-wheel drive. Gets horrendous fuel economy, but you're going to have a really, really great time getting that pretty horrible fuel economy.
Just for disclosure, I averaged about 12 MPG in my week with it. So that's around Hellcat territory right there. And just as you would expect, the V8 is freakishly good. There's nothing in this segment that sounds anywhere close to as good as this one is. I know I spent most of the weeks motoring around in Sport and Corsa mode, which opens the flaps in the exhaust.
And yeah, it 100% sounds like a Ferrari V8. There's no ifs, ands, or buts about it. You're driving one of the coolest-sounding big luxury sedans on the road. It doesn't really matter if you get an S63 AMG or an Audi S8. Even a BMW M760i. This thing is going to sound a lot better and definitely make you happy in that way.
Unfortunately, the powertrain is around where my, I guess, effusive praise will die down for this car. So, for a multitude of reasons, most of them having to do with the ride and handling quality of it. So you see the Trofeo name and you instantly think, all right, so this thing's going to handle pretty well. This is going to be like a big luxury sedan, like an S63 or like an S8, as I mentioned.
However, it's not exactly that. It's more a land yacht barge-like than anything. I was actually reading Maserati's press material, and they said that they didn't actually do anything to the suspension or chassis for the Trofeo model. They were basically going on, well, the GTS and standard Quattroporte was good enough, and this one is just about the engine. And that's about what it is because the handling on this is, well, it's sort of uncoordinated, very rolly. Not exactly what you would think when you hear the word Trofeo.
And with that semi-not-so-great handling you would expect, oh, so it rides really well, right? It's a super plus cruiser. Unfortunately, it is not the softest thing out there either. It's rather harsh over a bunch of potholes and frost heaves. Any 7 Series or S Class of that matter-- even a 5 Series or anything-- is going to ride better and be more comfortable from an actual daily driving perspective. So that was pretty disappointing to me, just to see that.
The upside is this-- is you have a fantastic engine. Like, that is where your money is going, to that lovely Ferrari engine. But the actual ride and handling leaves much to be desired.
Another bright point of this thing was they gave it a new infotainment system this year. It got Uconnect 5, which was a massive improvement over the old reskinned Uconnect 4. That infotainment system just felt a bit lost in Maseratis before. It's the same thing that you get in, like, a $35,000 Pacifica, and here it is in this $150,000 Quattroporte.
But now, with Uconnect 5, honestly, it feels just as luxurious as, say, you're stepping into a BMW or something of that matter. Super smooth, super clean graphics, and it's actually there. But this is a weird car because it's tough to find, like, who would actually want one of these.
And at the end of the week, I just came down to the-- you have to be a Maserati and/or a Ferrari enthusiast to want this kind of vehicle because it gives you that Italian exotic feel from the engine. It's like the most buttery smooth, creamy engine. And it sounds so, so good under every bridge and overpass you go under.
So if that's what you want, that's who this car is for, I think. But I think that there's still a lot that Maserati needs to do to bring this up to snuff with a lot of its other competitors.
GREG MIGLIORE: And that's actually a place-- I'm curious on your thoughts here. I feel like Maserati sometimes falls short in making its cars emotional and-- I think they can do an OK job making them emotional and exciting. But they still don't feel super special to me.
And then there's just, like, the execution of it. It's like, you look at competitors for BMW, Mercedes, especially the Germans, where it's like, well, they're just going to offer you these other things that make your life better as a driver and as a user. And their electronics work better. There's nicer features inside.
So I mean, it does sort of come down to, like, well, hey, you do have the Ferrari V8. That's a trump card. But then it's like, unless you're just in love with the idea of a Maserati, literally that in love with the idea of a Maserati, you're probably best served going someplace else. And I honestly can't believe I'm saying this, but it seems like Mercedes and BMW are better values than Maseratis, you know? So I feel like there's some work for Maserati here, primarily in their product executions to make up some ground here.
ZAC PALMER: Yeah. I mean, the actual build quality of the interior and exterior is, like, top notch. Like, this is really, really nice stuff. All the leather that they use, some of the nicest feeling leather I've ever felt, frankly. And all carbon fiber.
But then there's just some weird things on the interior that-- you know, like the push button start, and the headlight switch, and the window switches are exactly the same as you'd find in, like, a Dodge Charger and not changed at all. Like, literally just lifted straight out of there and then put in this Maserati.
And you know, maybe if you haven't driven a Dodge Charger or have exposure to a bunch of Dodge products, you won't notice. But us, having driven all these cars, we see that and it's like, oh, this is the turn signal stock out of the Charger I drove the other week. Hmm, interesting. So yeah, just stuff like that would go maybe not a long way, but some way, into making the car feel more special from an interior perspective.
GREG MIGLIORE: I drove this engine in the Levante Trofeo a couple of years back, and the engine is brilliant. It's probably more than you need, especially in, like, a Levante, which is just a Crossover, if you will. The GTS is very capable. You're still north of, like, 500, 550 horsepower. So you don't really need the Trofeo, if you will, which will get you somewhere quick with the golden retriever and the take-out and all that stuff.
I was willing to give the Levante a little bit more of a pass because it was like, it's a Crossover, you know? Whereas you're talking about the Quattroporte, which is a car. I feel like, as a Maserati, it has to live up to sort of a higher standard. It really has to translate some sporting ethos into its dynamics and really just have that special feel, and also have a luxurious element.
To me, it kind of sounds like the Quattroporte falls a little bit short. Whereas when I looked at the Levante, it was just like, hey, it looks pretty good. It looks different than things you'd see from the Germans. Build quality is actually pretty good. It's just it's sort of like, the curve was a little bit different. And that's why I think I was willing to give it a break.
I mean, it is a brilliant engine, though. I mean, it's a Ferrari engine. It's hard not to like that. And I think Maserati is in a bit of an interesting spot. They're trying to get the MC20 out, which I think we're going to drive that later this fall. It's a very important car. And that's sort of, like, where you get the reset. Like, what is Maserati? And then you build out from there.
ZAC PALMER: Yeah. No, I think they're in a big brand transition right now. They're trying to phase out some of these older cars, like the Quattroporte and the Ghibli. And they're going to come out. But like you said, that MC20. And that's going to be their halo. Something to look at, like, this is what Maserati means in this decade.
And then they're going to come out with that Grecale Crossover, which that's going to be, hopefully, a really good Macan fighter. And then, of course, they have their new engine, the Nettuno Twin Turbo V6, that hopefully they'll share that around the lineup. And that thing is going to be-- well, it's going to make every one of their cars a bit of a rocket ship. And it probably won't make us miss the Ferrari V8s that much since this is the last generation of Maseratis with Ferrari engines. For the time being.
GREG MIGLIORE: One thing I think the Alfa Romeo does a little bit better than Maserati is make you sort of, like, ignore their shortcomings. Whereas I feel like-- and maybe it's just the price, you know? Like, a $40,000 $50,000 Giulia, it's like, hey, this thing looks amazing. Interior is nice, but parts of it don't look great or don't feel great. But oh, hey, it's got-- that also has, like, a Ferrari engine in it. Or some of the lesser engines are still quite capable, and it still looks like a Giulia, you know? Or like, a Quadrifoglio is amazing.
It feels like right now, at least for me as an enthusiast and a guy who likes Italian cars and is actually half Italian, as you might imagine, Alfa is more like the brand that I tend to skew towards. And then Maserati is-- of course it's a higher-up-the-food-chain luxurious thing, but I don't know. I'm not even trying to put that all together other than to say, it feels like I'm willing to give myself a break because their cars cost less. Maybe that's a way just to distill it down.
But I also feel like their design is better right now. You know, a special Alfa Romeo Giulia is awesome to drive, and it looks amazing. And you-- I mean, many comparison tests that some of the other buff books have done have made it a very credible entry against BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes. So it's like, you can see how it can be done right. And Alfa has its own problems, as we all know.
But I don't know. To me, the template feels more like, hey-- I wouldn't say Alfa has a template. But it feels like their path is a little bit better. So you know.
ZAC PALMER: I completely agree with you. I think that Alfa's new cars are-- both the Stelvio and the Giulia are just huge successes for somebody who wants a luxury enthusiast vehicle. Both of them, from the base to the Quadrifoglio, they're just all brilliant to drive, and God, they look so good.
GREG MIGLIORE: They just need a Spider Duetto.
ZAC PALMER: Yeah, yes.
GREG MIGLIORE: Seriously, they do.
ZAC PALMER: Give us a Spider. I'm all for it.
GREG MIGLIORE: Let's do it. They had the design. I mean, they don't change it. Just do that. Probably electrify it, or come up with a brilliant engine for five years here until you've got to be all electric and go from there, man.
ZAC PALMER: Exactly. Retro design is in. Keep it up.
GREG MIGLIORE: It is, it is. So how about this Acura Type S you were driving?
ZAC PALMER: Yeah, TLX Type S. This is one that I was really, really looking forward to. I spent a little while, obviously, with our long-term TLX. And honestly, like, my two biggest complaints with that car were the engine and the transmission. The engine sounded good, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I wanted more power.
And the 10-speed automatic, the logic for when you threw it in Sport mode was not exactly that smart. It'd be up-shifting all the time when you didn't want to. The pedals with manual mode were on the slow side of things to respond. No problem with the handling at all, though. The handling of that car is absolutely superb.
But I was hoping that the Type S would fix my two gripes there. And I can happily say that it has. The new 3-liter turbo charged V6, 355 horsepower, 350 core pound feet of torque, is a brilliant little thing. It may look down on power versus, like, an M340i or, if you looking, the Q50 Red Sport 400. But I have no complaints at all with it.
It's probably the most characterful engine in this group of cars, which Honda has had a knack of doing in the past, is making really good, really strong engines that make enthusiasts happy. And I think that this is another one.
Revs super smoothly. Great torque all the way up to red line. Makes a really great-- just the pitch of the engine increases as you get higher in the rev range. It's just a super, super fun engine to wring out. And, of course, we have V6 Turbo Power. So no more complaints about the actual thrust. It's awesome. And combined with the SH all--wheel-drive system, it's just even more fun than before since you can send even more power to those rear wheels.
And then the transmission. This has, like, a fairly heavily revised 10-speed. A new torque converter in there. New clutches. They've beefed it up, and they said they get 40% quicker shifts. And I 100% believe that. Honestly, I might even-- if you hadn't have given me a number, I would have predicted that it was even quicker than 40% quicker shifts because you tap those pedals and it responds near instant. A near instant response.
Sort of like the ZF 8 speed on a BMW or an Audi. Just super, super quick reflexes. And that's exactly what I wanted in a performance sedan that-- I mean, I would love a manual transmission, but this is really good. And it has a new Sport Plus mode, as well, for that transmission that actually gives it's super smart automatic shifting, as well. So you can pound around your favorite back roads or the track, and it'll stay in the right gear, no shifting necessary.
Now, the only, like, small, small disappointment, I'd say, with this car is because it's the new V6, and it's up, the weight distribution is not as ideal as it is in the four cylinder. And unfortunately, you do feel that the car is a little more front heavy than ours. I believe it's, like, a 2% or 3% weight distribution difference, front to rear.
It's not as extreme as you might feel in, like, a Mustang 5-liter V8 versus a Mustang EcoBoost. But you can 100% feel that there is a little extra weight on the front end up there as you're feeling the balance through corners. But besides that, looks fantastic. I really think that they killed it with the exterior design changes for the Type S.
Engine, transmission, lovely. Interior, mostly the same as the regular TLX, just a little nicer. Bolsters on the seats. Overall, really, really well-executed car. And at the price point that it's at, you can make a really, really solid argument that you should buy this over, say, like, a BMW M340i, or a C43 AMG. Because if you want the same luxury features and all of the tech that comes standard in this Acura at 55, you've got to spend north of $60,000, nearing $70,000 in and most of those Germans.
You can get those Germans base without all of those options for around the same price as the Acura. But you're definitely getting a better value when you go for the TLX Type S, I think.
GREG MIGLIORE: I think the Type S offers something kind of different and special. It does sort of build on that heritage of Acura, like, motor sports history and performance. I didn't drive it. But even driving just the base TLX that we have in our long-term fleet, I felt some of that, like, Acura DNA, like the good DNA from, like, the '80s and '90s, kind of coursing through its veins, if you will.
And the car made me excited to drive it and to see about this Type S. So this is certainly on my list of things that are available later in the fleet. I'd like to try it myself, obviously.
ZAC PALMER: [LAUGHS] Noted.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, yeah. Actually subtle here. But no, it sounds like unlike with, say, the Quattroporte Trofeo, where we're kind of like picking it apart and trying to, like, obsess over the brand and its meaning, it really feels like the Type S just kind of connected with that, like, first shot off the tee and solid contact, and it landed where it should. So.
ZAC PALMER: Yeah. No, I-- absolutely. I had driven a couple Type Ses before this. And RSX Type S and an old CL Type S. That RSX Type S was the one that really spoke to me as this is what Type S performance means. And honestly, I feel like this is a solid revival of that from a performance and fun-to-drive standpoint. So Acura did the job it needed to do.
GREG MIGLIORE: That's exciting. That's good to hear. And let's shift gears over to some news.
We have a little bit going on this week. Kind of a range of things here. The big news this week. Tesla reported earnings. They made a ton of money, even better than people thought they were going to do.
But to really parse out, like, the product stuff that we care a little more about, Cybertruck and Semi are delayed. Basically, there was, like, a moment, if you will, where Tesla said, hey, we think these are going to be out by 2021. They kind of hedged on the call, and then later clarified, doesn't look like it's going to happen as scheduled.
I don't think it's the biggest deal based on the whole, like, well, they said they were going to do it this time, and now they're going to do it later because it always was probably going to be the end of this year. It wasn't going to be, like, January 1. It was always going to be November, December.
Whenever a car company says, we're to do something by this year, you know, plan on checking it out on New Year's Eve, you know what I mean? They're usually pretty cautious about that. That being said, though, I think whether it comes out at the end of the year, or the Cybertruck that is-- and the Semi, I think, is even more up in the air. To me, that's almost a project that they might want to consider, to me, that could be a distraction. Let me put it that way.
It could also have broader implications as far as, like, moving goods and things from place to place. It could really change the game. But if you're gonna be a car company, they don't generally always-- every OEM doesn't focus on semis and everything else they're trying to get right. So to me, that's a little bit of, like, a pitcher that's got, like, it's forcing fastball, a good slider, and then they also try working on a knuckleball. Like, what are you doing there? You don't necessarily need the knuckleball, you know?
So I digress. I think the Cybertruck, to kind of bring it all together, what's going to happen here is, does it matter if it's out in November or February? Not really. But what you are seeing, though, is Lucid just did an IPO yesterday. They're working on a Crossover. It's not a Cybertruck competitor, but they're a credible EV maker in the space.
We've now got-- the Lightning is a screaming deal, and you can order one now. And Ford will probably get it to you sometime when they say it will. You know, we're talking about Sierra. Silverado electrified. The Hummer is going to have a truck version. Rivian, Lordstown Motors, Bollinger. Faraday had some news today on something electric.
So you know, if you want an electric vehicle, or specifically an electric truck, there's a lot of people that are like, hey, we can help you out with that. So that's where I think the broader implications are for Tesla, is in, hey, you want to get the Cybertruck out soon. So I mean, that's kind of my hot take, if you will.
ZAC PALMER: Yeah, yeah. I mean, the delay does not surprise me. To me, it's just more of classic Tesla. I mean, I feel like every single product they've ever launched, they've said, yeah, it'll be out this year. And then, at least one or two years after that, OK, here's the first ones rolling off the line.
And you get a couple thousand out there. And then, like, a year after that, then they start becoming widely available. And I assume that's what will happen with the Cybertruck, assuming they do figure it out and actually do start production on that then. I don't think it's going to be any time soon at this point.
And yeah, your point about the semis is well taken because as you do take a step back and look, OK, so you got Daimler. They're making semis. You got Volvo. They've always been involved with that.
But it's not like a big, popular thing for most car companies to just hop into semis. And you have Tesla struggling just to get enough Model 3s, Model Ys, Model Ses out there for everybody. And oh yeah, we're also designing an electric semi truck, something that nobody else has ever done. And yeah, it's just going to continue to be delayed.
I know that was announced back in 2017. So I mean, we're running on, like, five-- it's going to be five, six years after it's announced before any customer actually gets their hands on it. Assuming their latest timeline is even going to come to fruition.
GREG MIGLIORE: You know, semis are the ultimate workhorse. You know, you've really got to-- these trucks have to be, like, super reliable, bulletproof. You're going to look at-- the business model is different in some ways because it's like really, you know, the independent owner operators, if you will. The technology is a little bit different.
I mean, everything. It's a little bit of a different breed. You know, it's like-- it's an interesting area to try to expand into. And you're not going to take a lot of your learnings, if you will, from the car business and translate them to semi trucks. So that's tricky.
Some of the battery technology, for sure, could translate. But I mean, you've got to get a whole new chassis, you know? And like, aerodynamic design. There's just-- to me, it's sort of like putting more on your plate than is necessary.
But I mean, the one thing-- I was talking about this the other day with our friends at Yahoo Finance. And one thing that you shouldn't get lost in the shuffle here is they actually did have their best second quarter ever with 200,000 deliveries, Tesla. They made a ton of money.
I mean, these are KPIs that are good for the health of a company. And if Ford or Toyota or Honda or General Motors were just putting up good vitals, that in and of itself is actually a really good thing, I think, for Tesla. So I think they're definitely stacking up some good metrics.
I don't know. I mean, their financials were also hurt because they've invested, like, a bazillion dollars in Bitcoin. I mean, there's just stuff when it comes to Tesla that does not apply to any other automaker. And frankly, that's cool. It's good for them as a company. It's good for their user base. And hey, it gives us something to talk about on the podcast, so.
Now, let's go even more off the grid here. You're following this story about the Maine DMV, if you will-- as in Maine, like, the state of Maine-- is sort of sending letters to some people who own these old Mitsubishi vans. Delicas. I think I said that right.
ZAC PALMER: Correct.
GREG MIGLIORE: Just what's going on there?
ZAC PALMER: Man, I wish I knew. That's the funny thing about this story. Like you said, I have been following it here quite closely, or at least as close as I am able to. But it all started when a number of Mitsubishi Delica owners in Maine received letters from the state of Maine saying that they had to take the license plates off of their Delicas and ship them back to the states, and let them know that their van is no longer road legal.
Now, the reasoning for doing that is still semi-elusive. How this all started is still semi-elusive. However, Maine is starting to enforce a no-Delica law almost. That's not what it is, but that is how it has effectively been here. Basically, there is a law that they say, no off-road vehicles allowed in this state. And somehow, Maine has classified the Delica as an off-road vehicle.
Now, if you know what a Delica is, it's not exactly an off-road vehicle. It's a van that people have imported from Japan under the 25-year Import Rule, which we all know. In the US, it allows you to import vehicles that are over 25 years old that may not have met federal safety emissions or any standards here and license them on the road.
Now, these owners had successfully registered their Delicas in the past in Maine, and now they're being told that that is no longer an option. So I've been trying to figure out why it's not an option, and there's a lot of legalese, a lot of, it seems, moving targets almost to see what exactly is going on here. But the bottom line is that these owners of these JDM vans are not able to drive their Delicas anymore.
And it's sort of unclear if this will expand to other JDM vehicles because the way that the rules are written would seemingly encompass a lot more than just this Delica minivan. So they're only targeting this van for the time being, and we'll sort of see where it goes from here.
Like you said, I've been in contact with the Secretary of State office, the Maine DMV, which is actually the BMV, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, there. And you know, it's all semi-confusing. There isn't a whole lot of explanation for things other than just the vans are no longer legal. And that's the way it is.
So I suppose look for more because I'm going to continue digging into this. I have a story up that published, I'd say, about a week or so ago that goes into much more detail with the actual legal terminology. I won't bore all of you with that on the podcast. But if you do want to look more into it, there are more details and a fairly lengthy written report of mine. So I'll just say, check that out.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Yeah, it's an interesting story. We actually were first tipped off to this by one of our freelancers. Her name is Mercedes Lilienthal. Her and her husband are really into the off-road scene. They're really just tuned in to what's going on. And also, like, kind of random vehicle scene, too. They were among the first to kind of hear about this, and they did some reporting on it. So shout-out to them.
I mean honestly, though, when I look at this whole thing, it's interesting to me because these are kind of, like, cool vans. You don't see these things on the road much. And when you do, it takes you to a different time.
I mean, like you said before, for me, just the obvious question is, why? Like, of all the things that you could be investing resources on, I don't think these vans pose a danger. And it seems like there's a potential here for it snowball a little bit.
I mean, I understand you want to be aware of the public safety. You don't want people driving, like, bulldozers down the street, or finding loopholes and, like, importing weird military vehicles from the Cold War that you could get in under a loophole. Like, I get that, of course.
But it's like, this just seems like a really bizarre thing to go after. Especially when, I mean, my impression-- the Delica poses no threat to people on the road any more than, like, another sort of vintage car. You know, like, the dude driving the '57 Chevy, just because it was built here, that doesn't mean that's a particularly safe car, you know, for daily use. Or-- you know?
So I don't know. It's really interesting to me, but I can't figure it out.
ZAC PALMER: Maine has repeatedly cited our federal motor vehicle safety standards and emissions as, like, the two overarching reasons why these Delicas are no longer allowed. And your point about the '57 Chevy, I mean, that's about as good a point as you can make.
You look at this minivan from the '90s and late '80s, or you look at a Chevy from the '50s. The Chevy has significantly worse emissions, significantly worse safety, and yet those vehicles are allowed on the streets, and these vans are not. So it's just-- it's so confusing. So, so, so confusing.
And like you said, the Delicas pose no threat. There's probably, like, 15 out there, and they use them to drive up to their cabin during the summer and just go have a good time with their families. And now they're not allowed to. So we will see what it is.
GREG MIGLIORE: Like, I'm no expert. I've never driven one. I'm sure there's definitely some challenges. It's not like you're driving, like, a 2021 Camry. But I mean, you know, there's a lot of old things on the road that are technically legal.
And the other thing what I don't get about this is it seems like it's retroactive. Like, once you've already made the call, like, what? You're going to go back and say, well, let's look at this car, you know? And I mean, it just seems like-- it's a very interesting story to me, as you can see. But I don't get it. So how about we spend some money?
ZAC PALMER: Let's do it. I like spending money.
GREG MIGLIORE: All righty. All right, so let's see. The writer here is trying to help their aunt buy her next car. Currently has a 2018 Honda CR-V. Before that, she had a 2011 Toyota RAV4. So that's kind of the segment that she likes and is also looking for all-wheel-drive. Safe Crossover with all-wheel-drive.
Lease is coming up in October on the CR-V. Doesn't really want to keep it. She does have a buyout option, though. The problem is, is the CR-V does not have many features, options. It's not really the car you want to be married to for a long time. It doesn't even have a backup camera.
Looked up the value. It's only got 8,000 miles on it. So right now, that means that is very valuable vehicle in the crazy used car market. MSRP was 21. Apparently, the current market value, according to our writer's research, is still 18.5, which is incredible.
Basically, to his point, she's giving the dealer a gift if you give this car back. So there's that. They might hang on to it a little bit, all that being said. But still, looking down the road a little bit.
Only real requirement is it's got to be all-wheel-drive. Reliable. Something a little bit higher off the ground, so not a hatchback or a sedan. She lives in upstate New York, which is probably a lot like Michigan with a lot of snow. Doesn't need bells and whistles. The budget is 22,000 to 24,000.
Ideally, it would be new, but a one- or two-year-old car, which would probably still be CPO, could be a good option. Here are the choices. Kia Seltos, Nissan Kicks, Honda CR-V, Buick Encore, Volkswagen Taos, the Mazda CX-3, Toyota Corolla Cross, anything else that we might think of. They would love to hear our top two options.
So that's a lot to Unload. What do you think, Zac?
ZAC PALMER: So yeah I guess I'm going to go off the book for my number one choice already. It is semi-related to one of the choices, but I would recommend a Mazda CX-30. Not the CX-3, but the CX-30. So that hits the budget. You can get one for about $24,000. I think it's also fairly comfortable, and it is tall. It's sort of like a tall Mazda 3, and the Mazda 3 is one of the best compact cars, period.
I also think that the CX-30 is the best driving vehicle in the class by a long shot. And since your aunt lives in upstate New York, I'll just give a shout-out to upstate New York because I went to school in Syracuse. I know that there are a lot of fun driving roads out there. So having a vehicle that is at least semi-competent on the curves and semi-fun to drive would be rather nice. And you'll have a lot more fun in a CX-30 than, say, a Toyota Corolla Cross or a Nissan Kicks.
Lastly here, you're getting an interior that, I think, is far and above the actual class and luxury level of pretty much every other car on that list for the money. Mazda does really, really well with their new interior designs. And the CX-30, I think, is a fantastic option that your aunt would like and would be a really big upgrade versus the super base CR-V. Because Mazda makes a lot of nice things standard on their cars.
So CX-30, number one option. I'm curious to hear what your option is here, Greg.
GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, so I would echo that. I think that's a very good vehicle. You get a lot of design language, if you will. It's, I'd say, the enthusiast's choice, but it's classy. Mazda brings a certain cachet to the segment, and I think that's cool. But I would also probably throw two more here at them.
I would say the RAV4, I think, is-- it's slightly out of the price range. It looks like it starts at 26-ish. But I'm sure you can maybe get some sort of a deal on that. I think that's an interesting-looking vehicle. Reminds me a little bit of a Jeep Cherokee, actually. But I think that's got some character. You can certainly get all-wheel-drive.
And then I would also look at the Honda CR-V. I mean, it's going to be kind of weird to go from an 18 to maybe, like, a 21, 22. But I really like the CR-V in this segment. I think it rides well. The interior is pretty good.
And it's a Honda. You know it. You like it. It's good to be reliable. So I feel like that is-- it's a little bit of the conservative play, but I still think you're not going to be unhappy with it. Especially if you step up and try to get a few options on it, maybe step up in the trim.
So I think those three, you're going to like them and you're not going to go wrong either way. So. So yeah.
ZAC PALMER: Yeah. And if I were to throw a second option out there, if the CX-30 maybe gets a little too expensive or if you think it's too small, the Kia Seltos, I think, would be another really good option. Because I think that drives really well.
And if, for whatever reason, you need more cargo space, because I know the CX-30 is on the smaller side of all these that we mentioned here, the Seltos is the bigger side of all of them. And it's also not a drag to drive. So that'd be a neat alternative to the Mazda, I think.
GREG MIGLIORE: And of course, with the Seltos, you get a great value. Kias and Hyundai's offer you a lot of things for a pretty good price. So you know, that's certainly something that could be a compelling point.
So thanks for writing. Thanks for listening. Send us your Spend My Moneys or any other questions you might have at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you like the podcast, please give us a five-star rating on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Be safe out there, and we'll see you next week.