We talk trucks: 2022 Nissan Frontier, Hyundai Santa Cruz and Bronco pickup | Autoblog Podcast #694

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by News Editor Joel Stocksdale. It's mostly about pickup trucks starting with the 2022 Nissan Frontier and the Hyundai Santa Cruz. We even talk about the now cancelled Ford Bronco truck variant. But as a little change of pace, we end with the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance hybrid with more than 800 horsepower.Send us your questions for the Mailbag and Spend My Money at: Podcast@Autoblog.com.

Video Transcript


GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to The Autoblog Podcast. I'm Greg Migliore. Joining me today is news editor, Joel Stocksdale. What is up, man?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Hey, how are you doing?

GREG MIGLIORE: Doing well. Doing well. I literally just got out of the Nissan Frontier. This is their new midsize pickup truck. I literally drove it like 25 minutes ago. And you drove one last week, probably maybe 48 hours ago. So we've got a little bit to talk about there. Staying with midsize trucks. Really not midsize trucks. This is almost more like kind of like almost like a compact like crossover white space replacement thing. That's the Hyundai Santa Cruz. I drove that last week. A lot of thoughts, a little bit all over the place with it. Like to hear what you think. So yeah, we'll have a truckie review section.

Staying with trucks, we'll talk about the fact that it sounds like Ford is not going to do a Bronco pickup truck. Spoiler alert, I think that's probably a smart move for them. As an enthusiast, I would like it, but hey, you know, we can't have everything I guess. I will talk a little bit of Redwood, and there is a crazy Mercedes hybrid that gives you like seven miles of range at 831 horsepower. So you know, we're not exactly saving the planet with this car, but it sounds fast as all hell.

So let's jump right in. You had a Frontier. We were just kind of debating off camera here what trims we each had. Why don't you tell me what you had. You probably have driven it a little bit more, and you did the first drive of the Frontier way back when. So tell me your thoughts right now. Where do you think this thing rates?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: You know, I like it. I think it's a good truck. And actually, I think it was Zac Palmer that was actually on the first drive. But the-- yeah, the new Frontier, I think it's a pretty solid truck. I had a Pro-X. And that's not to be confused with the Pro-4X. Basically, this is a Pro-4X but two-wheel drive. So it still has all of the offer visual bits and bobs and things. So it looks really off-roady. And you know, it's got some genuine offered upgrades, it's got off-road shocks, it's got chunky tires, it's got fog lights and tow hooks. But it doesn't get the locking rear differential or the skid plates from the Pro-4X, which is the four-wheel drive version.

And there's a lot of things that I really like about the truck. And are some things that could still probably use a little bit of improvement. The engine and transmission I think are fantastic. It's got a 310 horsepower V6, makes 281 pound feet of torque. And it's got a nine-speed automatic transmission. They work great together. The engine is really smooth and quiet. And the transmission shifts really smoothly too. And it doesn't have to kicked down a bunch of gears or go through a bunch of gears trying to get to the right one. It seems to have a pretty good idea of where it wants to be.

It doesn't shift, particularly fast, but it's a pickup truck. I mean, it doesn't have to be full-on sports car. And the engine like it feels quite-- it feels potent. If it really gets around well. And even though it does have to use a decent number of revs to make its power, the fact that it's so quiet and smooth means that it doesn't-- like it's not thrashy or anything. I even got pretty decent fuel economy with it. I did a drive down to Toledo and back, and on the way down, it indicated about 25 miles per gallon. And then on my drive back, I got about 28 miles per gallon.

I'll admit I'm probably a bit more-- I've probably got more of a feather foot for highway driving than a lot of people. But I was impressed. I also really like the steering on it. It's still the old hydraulic power steering from the old trucks. And it's really good. It's got good feedback. It's really accurate. Like there are a handful of like actual cars that could learn a lesson from this old pickup truck.

Body doesn't roll much. But the downside is it's still got a little bit of kind of the jitters and jutters and stuff that you associate with kind of older-body-on-frame pickup trucks. Other trucks in the segment are a little bit tighter. They don't feel quite as loosey-goosey. So that's one area that it can improve. Cabin is still a little bit tight also since it is still about the smallest in the segment. But the cabinet is vastly improved over the old one. And I think it might be my current favorite for this segment, maybe except for Gladiator.

All the materials are really quite nice. The infotainment is easy to use. It's got lots of easy to use buttons and knobs. I was a little bit surprised that it still only had a tilt steering column on this one. That was a surprisingly and like old school touch. But yeah, for the most part, I think the Frontier is good. I don't think I would say it's the best in segment. But depending on what you prioritize and what's important to you, it could be the best choice for you.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I would agree with that. I think it's interesting in that to me this is almost like a really close competitor for the Tacoma as far is like just like mission and how it drives and how it feels. You know, you mentioned the ride quality. It's a little kind of rough and ready if you will, a little bouncy-jouncy. I was surprised how much work the steering is. That's like a real like almost like Tacoma-4Runner-Land-Cruiser kind of vibe. And I really liked it. You know, I think I would agree with you that it's also-- you know, I think this is the best in the segment-- but I do think it's very competitive. It's a big step forward from where they were.

I think it looks pretty good. It's got a little bit of like almost like a vaguely GMC-Canyon vibe, except I actually think when you look at this, this looks more like the GMC Canyon to me than like the Canyon does. The Canyon's got some kind of like flares and stuff. This is just like all business, kind of blocky. So I like it. I think it looks cool. People have been noticing it in my driveway. 310 horsepower is nothing to sneeze at. They definitely bring some power to the fight here, and I think that's cool.

The nine-speed, like I totally agree with you there. I at first guess wouldn't have thought it was a nine-speed because it is kind of a slow shifter. You're really letting things rev up, cycle down, rev up come on back. But again, it's fine, and it doesn't feel dated like some of the other like the Toyota vehicles I referenced. They do feel a little like you're driving something from the Stone Age. So that's fine. Like it feels modern or modern enough, if you will. Yeah, I mean, I think there's-- you have a ton of options in this segment right now like so many different things.

And even if you want to go a step below and look at like the Maverick or the Santa Cruz, you know, some of that might meet your use cases as well. So I mean, there's a ton of flavors out there right now. I think, you know, this is very competitive. That's how I kind of like, you know, put a point on it. Would you do you have a rough rating right now of the mid-sized truck segment, Joel. I'm curious after having driven this and probably all of them.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. I think, like if I was going to recommend a midsize pickup, it would be either this, Chevy Colorado, or the Ford Ranger. I think all three of those are-- they're the best to drive, and have kind of the best specs and feature sets. I specifically left off Tacoma because outside of its resale capability and its reputation for reliability, I struggle to find anything to recommend about it. It's got a really old engine and transmission that are slow and noisy, it doesn't handle particularly well. It's got an uncomfortable driving position.

But the other three there's a lot to like about them. I think with like Frontier, that would be the one I would recommend if you want something with like a really nice interior and a really refined powertrain, and something that has a slightly sporty feel to it. I would recommend Ranger if you want a good amount of power on a budget. That turbo engine is really nice. It drives really well. I would recommend the Colorado like if-- well, if you're looking for a really off-road-centric vehicle, the Colorado and Ranger are great options.

You've got the trimmer package on the Ranger, and you've got the Colorado ZR2 with those. Colorado has great engine options. You can still get a super cheap Colorado because they still offer it with the base four-cylinder. And you can also get a diesel if you want really excellent fuel economy on the Colorado. Like those three I think offer the most in the segment. And honestly, you just kind of pick the one that you feel most comfortable in would be my recommendation.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. I think you definitely-- if you're in the market for one of these, you do want to try to like get in the cabins because there's differences among them as far as like space, infotainment, comfort, seats. The Frontier is a little tight. I got a car seat back in there. And part of me was even like is this like-- you know, am I supposed even put a car seat back here? It's pretty cramped. But it actually has this like kind of command position in the middle so it's quite cool.

But I mean, I'm kind of all over the place. I feel like when you look at probably the most consistent, the best all around trucks, you know, the Colorado really, to me, just does everything well. I think the interior could use a little bit of work, but still, it's pretty good. You know, a lot of times throw the Ranger in there when you get like their off-road package, the FX-4. That really gives you a nice-- even on-road feel, I really like that vibe. So I kind of put those like pretty close together.

Ranger interior is also a little [eh]. But, you know, again, this isn't like, you know, 7 Series S-Class segment. Like you know, there's some compromises you live with. Tacoma, love it, it's an emotional pick. Too many of its characteristics are from the Stone Age. If I were going to go with like sort of an off road like rough and ready Toyota, I'd be thinking for 4Runner first. So again, your average truck buyer is going to be like, hey, I want a truck. Maybe he's not shopping on like brand loyalty like that. But that's where my process would go.

And then to me the Gladiator is almost like its own thing. They've made a point of saying it's not a Wrangler with a bed, but-- and it's not. It's a very competitive midsize truck. But it's definitely a Jeep, you know what I mean? So that's just a different feel. It's probably has the best interior in class would be my guess. The Uconnect is really good. There's a lot of Jeep Easter eggs. And of course, it's Jeep cool. You know, you could drive that, and then hark back to Gladiator's scramblers from the days of yore, and you could definitely get that vibe, which is very cool. But it's also very expensive. It gets expensive quickly. So there's some drawbacks there.

I put the Frontier right in there with like Colorado, Ranger, I guess Canyon just because. As far as like sort of like vehicles that are real midsize trucks that do everything well, it don't have really any major drawbacks, you know, to really like break it down. Gladiator, Tacoma are like kind of the outliers. Then you have this like pretty strong middle of the pack. And then you throw the Ridgeline in there, which I almost forgot about. But to me that's also-- I would say that is like an alternative to this like middle of the pack group here, if that makes sense.

Like it can also do everything you need. Very comfortable, very good interior, clever bed, but you know, some people are not going to necessarily want that vibe. You know, it's a little bit like a pilot. You know I mean, it's pretty crossover-like. So I guess that's my long way of breaking down the midsize truck segment, and slicing it very much.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: And I think I agree with you, though. And like yeah, Gladiator, it's not one of the first things I'd recommend just because it can get really expensive. And because it is very closely related to the Wrangler, it comes with a lot of Wrangler drawbacks like being really loud and maybe not handling particularly great, things like that. It's still-- if that's what you're looking for though, because it is a very unique driving experience. I mean, that's what you're looking for. There's not really any competition.

And with Ridgeline, it is very good it does most of the things that you would want out of a pickup truck. But it doesn't feel pickup-trucky when you drive it. The others feel like trucks. And I mean, depending on who you are, that's a plus or a negative. I mean, some people really don't like the way trucks drive, but still want a truck for practical reasons, and vise versa. People like trucks because they like the way they drive, and Ridgeline doesn't drive like a truck so they're not going to want to drive Ridgeline.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, well said. And that's where you can kind of put the Colorado and the Ranger in like they're good off-road and on-road. They feel like trucks but they're not going to just leave you aching when you're done driving them. Ridgelines are-- no Ridgeline-- Frontier is a little rougher than that. I think considerably rougher than that, actually. But still it does do a good job of being like you can drive it. It feels like a truck, but you're not feeling like you need to go get a massage after driving. It I think it again, fits into that middle pack of trucks that are going to be in trucks but also, you know, they're not the Taco, let's put it that way.

Cool. Well, let's segue over to trucks that are not the Taco . That's the Hyundai Santa Cruz. This is a new vehicle for this year. I was going back, looking at some of the clips. You actually covered the reveal. I just drove it last week, actually. I did a local drive here. Senior editor West Coast James Riswick has drive it now. So a few of us have gotten through it. The way I would sum it up is I feel like it's going to be all or nothing.

It's going to be maybe not a home run, but a really interesting thing that they can't get enough of, that consumers can't get enough of, people are going to love it. Or it's going to be a footnote because it's the answer to a question that kind of no one asked, which is, do you want this kind of crossover thing with a pretty small bed that's actually sort of surprisingly quick. It's, I would-- this is a cliche. Every time a new entry like this comes up, we bring it up. It's almost like an El Camino, The stance is not particularly high. You know, it's higher than Sonata, but it's not crazy like the Frontier or something.

It's a little bit shorter than the other like say a midsize truck. It does definitely, I would say, match up much more it's the Maverick, and that's what Hyundai says it's, you know, looking at. You know, I drove the one with the turbo, the turbo four. So you're talking about a little bit more of a get up there than the base. I think it's a 2.5 liter, which is just naturally aspirated. It felt quick. Again, there's not much of a trunk vibe to it. And again, that's really not what they're going for. So I don't even want to like try and like criticize it with faint praise or anything like that.

Because I think it's important to put it out there. This isn't really a truck other than it has a bed. It's a crossover with an open trunk. So at least that's how they're trying to market it. And frankly, after driving it, that's how I interpret it, and would sort of agree with it. But it's fun to drive, it looks cool. It looks a lot different than really, you know, almost anything out there. It's one of those things where if you live in like an area where maybe you have a garage, and even like the Ranger is a pretty big truck, you know, you want to have some space, you can easily back this thing in.

Certainly, it's great for like parking in like downtown areas where you might have to parallel park, things like that. The bed is interesting. The bed has a trunk, but it's a pretty shallow trunk. It's almost more like a cooler or a drop floor or something. So what are you going to put back there? Well, honestly, I don't know. It seems like it's pretty good for like, you know, when curbside take out was like the only way you could get food. It seems like it would be good for that. You could pop it up and have somebody put it in there.

You can't get a ton of stuff in there. Maybe like a duffel bag or a laptop bag, so there's that. But it's also like a nice to have feature. You can get a bunch of stuff in the bed, I think. My short test drive was probably 60, 70, 80 miles, something like that. Obviously, I didn't really haul anything. They offer up some things like you can sort of use plywood or two by fours to make shelves for like moving things short distances. There's cleats. It has a tonneau cover, which is something I love. I think that's where you get a vehicle that's very like versatile.

And if you go to the store, you can't maybe load up 15 bags from Kroger in the back of your Ranger without full confidence that they're going to fly out. Or you're Maverick, I should say. But in the Santa Cruz, you can just throw them back there, pull the tonneau cover up, and away you go. So that's cool. That being said, you know, again, it's not a very big bed. So like your kayaks, you're going to have to have them hanging out or on the roof or strapped down. You know, it's not that big of a space as far as like traditional pickup truck sort of footprint.

And this is the way like their executives laid it out. They were basically like, if you're in the market for a crossover, come into us, check this out. You might think this is even cooler than the crossover. You're still getting some functionality, and this is just the footprint that you want. It's sort of like the original mission of the Ridgeline where they were trying to pick off other crossover buyers. And some people are just going to buy it as a style play because I do think it's very cool-looking. And I really enjoy driving it because it's powerful.

It had all-wheel drive, it feels quick. I suspect even the base four-cylinder engine with, I want to say 191 horsepower, still going to be plenty quick. So I mean, yeah. I mean, I think this versus Maverick is going to be a very-- you know, could be a very competitive face off. Maverick has the hybrid option, though. Santa Cruz doesn't. They basically admitted that they were caught flat-footed when they're like, oh, wait, Maverick has a hybrid. We should probably do that. Because Hyundai has this hybrid technology in other vehicles that they could easily put into the Santa Cruz.

So they should do that. Let me just editorialize right there. That's what you need. But we have been reading reports that these things are in strong demand. So maybe that's a little bit create some little bit of like a demand again here, and then bring out the hybrid. So again, I know you didn't drive it, but you have reported on it. Just high level, how are you feeling about the Santa Cruz?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: I mean, like you, I think it's a really cool-looking truck. I like that it's swoopy and aggressive. And like it's almost-- as far as trucks are concerned, it's almost got a fastback roofline. And I like the size. And I think if there was ever a time for tiny pickup trucks like this, I think it is now with how popular sort of the active lifestyle kind of stuff is. I mean, like, I feel like we've been told that this is a big thing for decades going back to like even Pontiac Aztec, and like Subaru Baja.

But with how popular stuff like the Subaru Crosstrek is, this seems like the kind of vehicle that could have some real success because in a lot of ways it's like you have, say, a Subaru Crosstek truck buyer. And they want to because it looks kind of off-roady and active and cool. And it can carry some stuff, but you may end up trying it out and realize, oh, man, it's kind of a pain to throw stuff up on roof racks or trying to wedge my mountain bike in the back. And then there's something like Santa Cruz or the Maverick where it's like, oh, I can just chuck this stuff in the bed, and a quick tie down and I'm done. And then it's easy to clean out the back and stuff.

So I think there is a real opportunity for these to have their moment in the sun. I do agree that there are some practical downsides like something that both I think Santa Fe and Maverick are going to run into is issues with long loads. Just that short bed doesn't really give you a huge amount of flexibility. And I just keep thinking to myself that, boy, it sure would be nice if either or both of these were available with the Chevy Avalanche-style mid-gate were you could fold down the rear seats and the glass so that you could have additional space going into the cabin.

But that would have been-- that probably would have been a lot more expensive and complicated to try and engineer. But I think they're both cool. I do think Maverick has a bit of an advantage coming out of the gate with A, having a super efficient hybrid option, and B, starting at a few thousand less than Santa Cruz. And I think that is one of the-- I think the price in particular, is one of the big things that Maverick has going for it because it's so cheap, like starting just a little over $20,000 that even if you weren't thinking about a truck-like thing, you're thinking about a truck-like thing.

Because it gets such great fuel economy, and it's so cheap, and just the fact that it's a pickup truck is a big bonus. Because it's like, oh, and I get all that, and I can carry a whole bunch of stuff from Home Depot. Where is the Santa Fe-- sorry, not Santa Fe, Santa Cruz starting at a little over $25,000, that's a little bit of a bigger ask for somebody that might just be looking for kind of affordable transportation.

And I do think that they should try and get a hybrid out because regular Santa Cruz fuel economy, it's fine but it's not hugely better than like the next step up like midsize pickup trucks. And to be honest, it's base price is not too far off of like admittedly very stripped out midsize trucks. But still, you're not far away from kind of the next step up and capability.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. And that's a great sort of almost layer to the argument, is some of the pretty stripped out trucks like a base Colorado or base Ranger is actually quite good. So for some of the, like I would say, maybe guys like you and me who like actually like our vehicles maybe in their more distilled state, yeah, I mean, price and fuel economy I think could hurt the Santa Cruz. I also think there's some people that will buy it just because they love it, but there's also some people that are going to buy the Maverick because it's a Ford. They're going to say, oh, Ford truck? OK, sure, sign me up.

And they're not going to even-- you know, it's just Ford's have been building trucks for a hundred and whatever, 10 years. They're not going to like-- you know, you've got some home field advantage there. That just, you know, you've been in the public conscious for so long that people are going to sort of go to the Maverick for that built-in credibility and the hybrid. So you know, we'll see.

I know the Santa Cruz is based on the Tucson platform, so that gives them a lot of flexibility. Again, I believe the Tucson does have that hybrid. And you know, it just it seems like there's a lot of flexibility there. They're going to build it in the United States. So I feel like this is going to fall somewhere between like, do you remember the SSR, the Chevy SSR?

That like sort of modern day retro thing from the early 2000s? It's going to be like almost like a trivia question like that or it's going to maybe kind of move up to be like a Ridgeline-type thing that sticks around. Which I'm sort of the volition that all cars are good, choices are good. Well, not all cars are good. But vehicle choices, interesting things are good.

You know, so to me, it's a really cool thing. And I can leave it there. It's up to Hyundai to sell it. That's their problem. But I think they've put out a compelling product. I do think again, there's some I wouldn't say blind spots, but there's some like-- there's some holes and will feel like go to market strategy as far as the hybrid, the price, the fuel economy. Things that, frankly, they can kind of solve with affordable hybrid.

And then just making this thing cool I don't actually think you need to make it like a true rough and tough truck competitor, which it isn't. You know, this is, make it like the modern day Subaru Baja, and away you go. So I was excited to drive it. I still think it's interesting. I think it'd be cool long term vehicle for us, just thinking out loud. Yeah.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: And one last thing that I'll add. Even if the Santa Cruz isn't a smash hit right out of the gate, Hyundai has a track record of really sticking with a product, and trying to get it right. Because like if you look at the Hyundai Veloster, it's had some pretty weak sales lately, and I think they are starting to finally draw it down. But they gave the car two generations. They gave it a crazy performance version. Hyundai will give a product their best and give it some investment to try and make it work before they just drop it altogether.

So I think we'll at least see the Santa Cruz for a little while, and I think there are opportunities to really make it a real competitor. Tuscon has a plug-in hybrid too. There'd be an easy way to leapfrog forward by being like, hey, we don't have the regular hybrid, but we got plug-in. So no matter what, this is going to be a really interesting segment to watch the next few years.

GREG MIGLIORE: Very cool so let's step one step, I wouldn't say down, maybe sideways. Reports are the Bronco pickup is DOA, not going to happen. To be fair, Ford never actually confirmed this in the first place. This is one of those things that were pretty wildly or widely expected, if you will. I feel like we maybe saw spy shots-- correct me if I'm wrong-- or maybe things we thought were this. Who knows? You actually did the story. You did the reporting. Why don't you break it down real quick and tell me what you think.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: So there had been rumors for a while now that Ford was looking at making a Bronco pickup truck. And there were some real concrete things that suggested that that was the case. There was even, in a teaser about Ford Bronco design, there was a drawing a Ford Bronco with a bed and a tailgate. Like it was clearly something that they were considering. And with how great the Bronco reception was when it was revealed, it would make sense that they would at the very least discussed, hey, what else can we build off of this thing?

But a report came out that inside Ford, they have officially canceled any further development or discussion of a Bronco pickup truck. And honestly, I think that's the right choice. There are just a variety of reasons that it probably wasn't a very good idea. I mean, one of the big ones being that right now Ford is having some real production issues with Bronco. And not just computer chip issues.

They've had their whole hardtop issue that they are replacing all the hard tops on Broncos, and they don't need any other production hiccups and complications from adding another model on top of what they're already building. And I also don't think that the market for a Bronco pickup truck is quite as big as a lot of people would think. For instance, like the Wrangler sells over 200,000 units a year. That's a fairly big pie that Ford can take a chunk out of with the Bronco.

The Gladiator only sells in kind of the 70,000 to 80,000 unit range a year. And that's not any more than like a Ford Ranger. And Gladiator is kind of-- it's different, but it is still kind of competing with other mid-sized trucks. And well, Ford already has a midsize truck. And to try and steal Gladiator sales, you're only looking at about like kind of a 70,000 unit sort of pool to try and steal sales out of. I mean, it's not it's not exactly a zero-sum game. But that kind of gives you some idea of like, OK, there's at least this many people that are considering a convertible retro pickup truck.

And to re-engineer the Bronco, which is related with the next generation Ranger, but to do a lot of like re-engineering and reworking, and testing and making sure that it lives up to not just off-road SUV capability, but also truck capability. Because I mean, like we were discussing earlier, the Gladiator is not just a Wrangler with a bed, it's got a revamped frame, and it's got a lot of upgrades to make it do truck stuff on top of doing Wrangler stuff.

That's a lot of development time and money and effort for what would be fairly small gains. So I think it was the smart choice to be like, OK, we're not going to worry about trying to stick a bet on the Bronco for like a couple tens of thousands of sales, just get Bronco stuff right, maybe revisit it in a few years, maybe even the next generation Bronco

GREG MIGLIORE: I think you sum it up really well. So I'm not going to put too fine a point on this. But I think it would have been maybe an overreach to do that because then again, you've got-- what are you trying to pick off? The Gladiator? The Ranger's already doing that. Arguably, a Bronco pickup might be a little better suited to do that just as far as like demeanor. But I mean, you're really starting to peel that apple back in a lot of different ways that you don't need to.

Would it be cool for enthusiasts? Absolutely. But again, what's your like market? You're talking about maybe 30,000 to 50,000. Let's say Ford because they could sell probably trucks that would look like Flintstone cars. It doesn't matter. Put the blue oval on it. It's probably going to have credibility and sell. You're still not looking at a big market case. And then you're starting to cannibalize, not only the Ranger, but maybe the Bronco, and maybe the Bronco Sport.

So I mean, this isn't like soft drinks where you're like, let's have a cherry Coke and a vanilla Coke and a vanilla Coke Zero. And you know, I think at some point you got to maybe chill for a little bit for lack of a better way to say it. And then it is a very cool thing for the next generation of Bronco. You know, maybe that's like the surprise delight after the fact thing or something. So au revoir, I guess, Bronco truck. We never knew you.

But let's talk real quick about this hotrod Mercedes AMG GT. It's a hybrid that goes about seven miles on electricity, which is like golf cart range. But it has 831 horsepower. It's a beautiful car. Very aggressive-looking, but also, you know, very beautiful. You know, it's impressive. The press shots really draw you in. Cool. I'm glad they're doing this. But this isn't like-- this is definitely a performance machine that seems to have a little bit of a hybrid amplification is how I would put it. Yeah, that's what this is. What do you think, Joel?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, it's interesting. I am admittedly quite disappointed that the range is so pitiful. I mean, seven miles, that doesn't really get you much of anywhere. And I suspect that this is one of those cases of it has just enough electric range that it will bypass congestion charges in European cities that charge you for driving a gas car into city limits. But because this has an electric range, it can be like, oh, no, it gets the exemption.

And I mean, the electricity part of the car is also there for performance. And boy, does it deliver performance, 831 horsepower and 1,033 pounds-feet of torque combining the electric motors and the twin-turbo four-liter V8. I mean, that is an outrageous amount of torque, especially in a four-door sedan. So like I do think the performance is really cool. But I do-- I don't know, I just feel like, you really couldn't just make the battery a little bit bigger, Mercedes?

Like get it at least to like, I don't know 15 miles, or ideally, even 20 miles. I think the top end Porsche Panamera plug-in hybrids can do close to 20 miles on a charge. But it's hard to fault it just for kind of the outrageous performance. But yeah, I don't know. I do feel like-- I don't know, it's like you should still do a little bit better.

And it's not like this is going to be a light car. This is a big four-door sedan. They could have made the battery bigger and not really diminished it that much. So yeah, I don't know. I'm kind of mixed. Like the performance is ridiculous, and I kind of love it. But I don't know. If you're going to do a plug-in hybrid, it's like you might as well try and make it a little bit more usable.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I share your disappointment with that part of it. I will say this. The GTs have been-- the four-door GTs-- have been, I would almost say a pleasant surprise for me. When they sort of announced these a few years ago, I was like well, beautiful cars, but where do these even fit in their lineup?

You know, they already have like, you know, the different segments and it's like obviously, there's AMG versions of them, and then several different versions of AMGs. It's like, well, what is this? But I don't know. It doesn't really fit in a neat box, but they're beautiful coupe style sedans that are quite large. And they're interesting. You know, E Class, S class, C class, you tend to see a lot of those. GTs, not so much. Probably because they're so expensive and powerful.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Oh, and we should also touch on the-- we were joking about this in our office Slack channel-- the name for this car. It's the Mercedes AMG GT 63 S E Performance. And there are spaces between the S and the E. They are just solo letters just kind of floating there. And I don't know, it feels a little bit like Mercedes needs to consolidate and rework on their naming conventions. Because like you've got the AMG GT, and then you've got the number designating kind of like, OK, which engine it has. And then the S denotes it's the performance version of that.

But then this also is the electric version so they tacked an E onto it. So it's the performance version of this is also electric. But it's also like the performance electric version of the performance version of the twin-turbo V8 version of the GT. Like they can consolidate those a little bit better. I mean, they could have-- I don't know. They could have just called the GT 63 E and just you just assume that it's there for performance as well. I don't know. It seems a little bit excessive.

GREG MIGLIORE: Would you need CliffsNotes to like remember what the name of the car is? You know, the name's probably a little bit too long. But why don't you take us back a few decades? We'll close out the show here. Redwood, you went to it over Chicago last weekend. A couple of highlights real quick. What did you think? It's on my list of things to do.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. And Redwood canceled most of their events last year. And this has kind of been the return tour. They've already had at least one show out on the West Coast. And the Chicago show is kind of their one visit to the Midwest. And it was a lot of fun. I took my supercharged Miata out there. I was really shocked at my Miata was the only Miata on display. There were people that showed up in Miatas and parked at the parking garage, but not on the show floor. Well, show parking lot. It was on the top of the parking deck near Soldier Field.


JOEL STOCKSDALE: Lots of really neat cars, not so much in the way of like kind of high end supercars, but just a lot of really just interesting stuff. You got Japanese imports, there were Skylines, there was a neat two-door Mitsubishi Pajero, lots and lots of BMWs, a variety of Porsches. Let's see. What other stuff? You know, the VWs and the Honda Civics, and Acura Integras. There's was really great section of custom mini trucks with like crazy paint jobs and engine swaps.

But it was all around a fun event. It was really hot that day, not a cloud in the sky, and not any breeze in the air. So it was pretty toasty. But it was a lot of fun, lots of cool cars, nice people. Definitely worth checking out some time if you have the opportunity. And if you don't, definitely check out our photo gallery, where didn't quite get every car, but got a lot of them, and should be a pretty good taste of the event.

GREG MIGLIORE: Very cool. Very cool. Check that out. Sounds like a great event. Like I said, it's on my bucket list. I think that time period for cars is really starting to kind of come back and resonate deeply with a lot of people, which is what we hope The Autoblog Podcast" does. If you enjoy the show, please leave us a five-star rating on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you get your podcasts. Send us your Spend My Moneys at Podcast at Autoblog.com. Everybody be safe out there, and we'll see you next week.


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