Cars are apparently a dying breed at Ford Motor Company with one distinct exception, the Mustang. While domestic Mustang sales have declined since the debut of the current generation for the car’s 50th anniversary in 2014, the expansion of its global availability has kept overall numbers high enough to justify its continuing existence. Plus as chairman Bill Ford likes to say, the Mustang is the heart and soul of the company. As a Mustang fan since childhood, I was pumped for another opportunity to drive one and experience the latest batch of tweaks.
This week Sam drives what may end up being the last Ford car to Pittsburgh to learn about how Argo AI is helping Ford build the future of transportation. Dan takes a road trip in the biggest of Ford’s passenger carrying vehicles. A lot of very cool vehicles climb Lord March’s driveway at the Goodwood festival of Speed. VW will build some of its new generation of EVs in America. Small Hyundai’s are really good. The guys discuss the meaning of crossover in an attempt to answer a listener question, too.
Bonus photo: Recaro Expert Houndstooth seat
This week Sam has driven Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid and compares the latest Mazda Miata to the original. Dan spends the week with a very different kind of convertible, the Mustang GT. When the new Nissan Leaf arrives this fall, it will have e-pedal for strong regenerative braking and ProPilot Assist which is automated but not self-driving. Before some listener questions, the guys dive into the latest ploy by Comcast to remain the most hated company in America.
This week Dan has been driving the Dodge Charger Rallye AWD and finds that despite the age of the platform the big FCA sedans are still surprisingly good. Sam finds the Toyota Corolla is a solid car that provides basic but utterly uninspiring transportation. For 2018, the Ford Mustang gets a mid-cycle update with design, powertrain and technology changes and Sam chats with vehicle engineering manager Tom Barnes. Mazda looks to dump the spark plug for its next generation SkyActiv engines and we provide a gentle reminder to bring your key fob along even if you can start your car from your smartphone. Finally, Sam talks with Delphi VP engineering Jim Zizelman about dynamic skip fire technology and autonomous driving.
In Episode 4, Dan and Sam talk about a pair of updated SUVs, the Nissan Rogue Hybrid and Mazda CX-9 before getting deep into why GM delayed the launch of SuperCruise on the Cadillac CT6. While SuperCruise will monitor the human operator to make sure they continue paying attention while not driving, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto provide means to keep the driver entertained. As much as we might want to use smartphone based infotainment, it’s likely to be a dead-end technology. Finally, your humble hosts tackle some listener emails about visibility and opining on cars we haven’t yet driven.