The first-phase of the ground up revamp of the entire Volvo product portfolio is nearing completion. Like most brands, Volvo has shifted heavily toward utility vehicles such as the midsize and large XC60 and XC90 as well as the slightly higher riding car variants like the V90 Cross-country. This year Volvo finally has an entry in the fast growing compact utility segment as well with the new XC40 and it has a lot to recommend it.
Twelve years ago when I first started writing professionally about cars, the very first review I ever wrote for AutoblogGreen was a fuel cell electric car, the Ford Focus FCV. In the years since I’ve had the opportunity to drive a number of different concept, prototype and production fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) from Ford, GM, Honda and Toyota. While the technology has absolutely advanced over that time, all of them have had some compromises. Until now that is. Aside from the obviously limited network of hydrogen filling stations, the 2019 Hyundai Nexo felt like the most finished fuel cell vehicle yet.
If someone were to ask which automaker offers more electric vehicle nameplates in America than any other, your first instinct would probably be Tesla. But note the qualifier in the question – nameplates. Tesla currently only has three, the Model S, X and 3. Within the next few months, Hyundai Motor Group will offer five across its Hyundai and Kia brands. The Ioniq electric and Kia Soul EV have already been on sale for some time. The Hyundai Nexo arrives in a few weeks and electric versions of the Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro crossovers will be here soon.
This week Sam drives the latest Mazda6 which is still his favorite midsize sedan while Dan samples the Hyundai Kona and Toyota Sienna with all-wheel-drive. As the auto industry changes, Mercedes-Benz considers paring down niche models while GM and Honda team up on automated driving and mobility.
Finally, we bid farewell to Tony Swan.
This week, Brianna Wu returns to the show to talk about her Porsche Cayman, Sam drives 2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Ultimate and Dan shares his feelings on the Ford Mustang Convertible. Lucid follows up on their big Saudi funding round with a deal with Electrify America to provide charging for the upcoming Air electric sedan. The crew also discusses the lack of togetherness between BMW and Toyota in developing the new Z4 and Supra.
BMW and Toyota mostly stop talking
This week, Dan and Sam come in favor of a couple of very different sedans, the plug-in hybrid BMW 740e and the latest generation Honda Accord. Despite how different these cars are, both feature a 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine under the hood. The show is a bit late because Sam was travelling in California last week for the Nvidia GPU Technology Conference. Meanwhile on the opposite coast, Waymo and Jaguar announced a deal, Nissan unveiled an Altima with variable compression ratio, VW took the wraps off a pickup truck concept, and Lincoln showed the first of new generation of vehicles from Ford.
Sam also goes on a rant about another fatality in a Tesla running on AutoPilot. We remind you that NONE of the vehicles currently in production with various levels of partial automation are self-driving. These are all driver assist systems and we ask you to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Thanks
Sam returns from duty as a judge at a FIRST Robotics competition and gives his impressions of the 2018 Toyota Camry. Dan finds himself surprisingly enamored with the Acura TLX A-Spec. Following the Geneva Motor Show, the Jaguar i-Pace is officially on sale in Europe and coming to America soon. It will be followed by a pair of electric Porsches, the Mission E sedan and then the Mission E Cross Turismo. Ford patents a repair drone for its automated vehicles and guys dish out more car buying advice.
In this week’s rambling episode, Accidental Tech Podcast co-host Casey Liss returns to talk about his experience with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and compare notes with Sam. Sam also brings up his experience trying to drive the Giulia Quadrifoglio in the wake of a winter storm and Dan talks about the new Mini Countryman plug-in hybrid. The conversation then returns to the prior discussion Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system and Casey’s newfound frustrations with it. Dan is considering replacing his Crown Victoria with a Mazda6 and Casey is continuing to ponder the new Jeep Wrangler.
For the final edition of 2017, Dan drives the 2018 Hyundai Accent, Sam gets in the Mazda CX-3 and Larry Vellequette from Automotive News drops by to talk about the end of car collecting. There’s a growing backlash from people tired of drivers trying to bypass traffic jams with online navigation apps like Waze but will the problem only get worse when we have automated mobility services like what Uber wants to build with money from Softbank? Kenichi Yamamoto, the brilliant engineer that led Mazda for many years and made the Wankel rotary almost viable, dies at 95 and the guys talk about some of their favorite rides of the past year.
Last Sunday I got to hang out with Leo Laporte as we checked out the redesigned 2018 Nissan Leaf for episode 134 of The New Screen Savers