Chevy Blazer EV and Ford F-150 Raptor R | Autoblog Podcast #739

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by News Editor Joel Stocksdale. They cover the big news of the week including an electric Chevy Blazer, the Ford F-150 Raptor R and the strange lifted Toyota Crown sedan. The conversation then shifts to the cars they've been driving including a Ram 1500 Rebel G/T, Porsche 911 GT3 and Hyundai Elantra N. Finally, the episode wraps up not with a Spend My Money question, but an update, as a previous advice seeker reports their car buying decision.

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Video Transcript


GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to "Autoblog Podcast." We have a great show for you this week. I'm Greg Migliore. I'm gonna bring in news editor Joel Stockdale. What's up, man?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Actually, it's quite a bit. I've just turned 30, and now I've got new air conditioning, and I've planted a tree, and it's been a crazy week.

GREG MIGLIORE: That is some life moments right there. That is-- now, that you're in your 30s, I mean, you know, hey, that means you get to sleep in or sleep later. You have all the excuses in the world to go to bed early, you know? So, hey, welcome to nearing middle age, I guess.


GREG MIGLIORE: Anyways. We got a great show for you. We're gonna talk about the Chevy Blazer, the Toyota Crown and the Ford F-150 Raptor R. They're putting the V8 back in that thing, which I think is pretty awesome.

Aston Martin has a new logo. It's a bit different, if you look closely. It's always kind of fun to look at those things. And then as far as our reviews, I've been driving the Ram Rebel G/T.

Joel's been in something. It's pretty hot here, the Porsche 911 GT3 S and the Hyundai Elantra N. We have an update on Spending Money from Blake in episode 726. It involves Blackwings and Porsche 911s. So you'll want to stick around for that.

So let me jump into the news section with my now 30-something colleague here, Joel. Toyota Crown, one of the longest-running-- I think the longest-running nameplate Toyota has used since 1955, sold in the US from the '50s until, like, I think 1972. What we've got here is kind of like a high riding sedan.

You could probably call it a crossover, but it's basically a sedan that's just a little higher up off the ground with a little bit more kind of a-- more of a commanding seating position. It's gonna offer some hybrid options. You know, I'm a little mixed on how it looks, but overall, I would say it looks pretty good, you know?

So I think this is a good move for Toyota. We've heard for years that, hey, they might bring back the Crown. What's it gonna be? It's all those sort of, like, navel-gazing things that auto journalists and, you know, other people ask. Like, what is it? What will the Crown be?

But now it's here, replaces the Avalon, which I think that's-- I think swapping out names is a good move. I don't think the Avalon had a ton of, you know, brand equity as far as, like, desirability. It just was sort of like their large sedan. Using a new name or an old name, I think, allows them to kind of reposition this. And, I don't know, I think this could be a win for them. What do you think?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: I don't know. I think it's weird.


I-- yeah, I don't think it'll be bad, I guess. I mean, like, as an Avalon replacement, a model that doesn't-- it's never really sold amazingly, at least in the last few years, because big sedans have just been kind of on the out. I mean, Chevy dropped the Impala not too long ago.

I don't know, though. I just-- I think it's a little weird that-- I guess one of the things that I think is really weird about it is that it is genuinely a sedan. It's not a-- it doesn't just look like a sedan. It actually has a trunk with a trunk lid. It's not a liftback like, say, a Kia Stinger. And with the way it's shaped, I'm genuinely kind of shocked because the-- it seems like you're missing out on a lot of usability.

But it's still something that'll replace the Avalon just fine because it is a pretty sizable vehicle. I mean, admittedly, the Avalon appealed to a much older crowd, and having something with a higher ride height is gonna make it easier to get in and out of it. I think it's great that it's gonna be offered with hybrid stu-- with hybrid powertrains. I don't know. I just think it's kind of weird.


GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I don't think you're wrong that it's weird. I kind of-- I do think there's a market for people that want that higher stance because, basically, nobody wants a low-riding car unless you're looking for something that's truly sporty. So I think that's where, like, there's still a sizable sedan segment, but you can get new buyers by saying, hey, look. Look at how this looks. Look at the stance. Look at where you're going to sit. And you can win people there.

Yeah, I'm of two minds with the, like, the trunk hatchback thing. You know, I think there are some people who actually want trunks and kind of like the look and would go with that. And you could get a pretty-- like, a trunk that's very usable. Like, a big trunk, like I imagine this will be, can be very functional.

You know, I think it's-- for me, I think it's a creative reuse and, like, reapplication and, like, a new entry, if you will, into a segment where I don't think the auto industry knows quite what to do with it, you know? I think we've been seeing things like ways the Ford Fusion could sort of come back somewhat like this. It's just like a little bit elevated riding, higher riding sedan thing, but some of the things we've seen with that, like spy shots and rumors, make it more of a wagon, if you will, but it still has sort of, like, a car aesthetic. So, you know, again, I think it's a good take, I think, on a segment that's really a tweener, and it's also-- it's like one car, right?

You know, if Toyota wants to spend some money, throw the Crown name on it, I think more power to them. Like, they're not saying, hey, this is how all of our products are gonna be. They're just saying, hey, we're gonna try this out, see if it works, you know?

Like, for every Ford Maverick where people were like, what's that gonna be? You know, the small truck that-- they already have two other trucks that, you know, isn't as capable. Like, what are people gonna want it for? For every one of those that sort of comes through, like, the mist and proves some of the doubters wrong with its sales figures and its, like, positive reviews like, we all love it, basically-- you know, there are things like the Honda Cross Tour that, you know, just flamed out pretty quickly.

So, you know, I'm optimistic for this 'cause I tend to like car-like styling, but I will say this. If you're gonna ask me, put your money at what think is gonna happen here, I would put my money on this being maybe a little bit more like the Volkswagen Phaeton or the Crosstour or something that's around for five, six, eight years, and then we're writing a story, saying, yeah, after years of declining sales, the Toyota Crown disappeared. So I could see it going that way, too.

Like, if you said, handicap this, Greg. I would say, well, I don't know. 60% chance it happens that way. But who knows?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. And it's also interesting that in other markets overseas, there are three other versions of the Crown that are gonna be available. There's gonna be kind of a cool, sporty hatchback version, kind of a longer, more crossovery wagony kind of version, and then there's gonna be one that is actually based on, I believe, a different platform--

GREG MIGLIORE: That's incredible.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: --which is like a more conventional sedan that's got a lower ride height and stuff. It's interesting that we got the kind of weird, tall sedan version. Because one of the things that I think does actually drive Crossover SUV sales here in the States that actually maybe doesn't get talked about as much as it probably should is that I think people actually do like having a hatchback. They just--


JOEL STOCKSDALE: --like having it in a slightly taller package. That being said, in the US, we have the Toyota Venza that I think would kind of already occupy that slot as sort of a more premium, more stylish hybrid crossover than, like, Highlander or RAV4.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's interesting. When I-- we have a story up that kind of breaks down these, like, global options, models that are out there. I feel like there's at least one or two of them that would be very nice complements. It would really strengthen the Crown, if you will, here in the US. I think that would make a lot of sense and make it almost like its own little mini sub brand.

So I think-- honestly, if they really want to try to win here with that, I think that could be a move, is, like, maybe don't pull that's, like, a Venza competitor, but offer up the hatch version here, too, and I think that could work. Because all sorts of, like, crossover, coupe, SUV-type things, I tend to think of like Mercedes and BMW a lot. You will look at them, and I often will look at them in my driveway and think, pretty good looking hatchback. It's just, like, an inch or two higher off the ground than it should be.

So I feel like, you know, there is a market, there's some appetite for people who still kind of want a car but just mentally they need to have that, like, ride height and utility thing. So that could work. That could definitely-- you know? And then maybe just this more car-like version, you know, becomes, you know, like the smaller volume model. I don't know.

I mean, it's-- I think it's cool. I think the name is cool. I actually think it looks pretty good. I'm kind of optimistic just with, like, all of the, like, the way they're trying to bring this thing back, like, with the name and, again, the car sort of ethos.

When I kind of look at all the different, like-- you know? Like, metrically, if you will, like, you're gonna, like, create a score sheet and try to look into the future, you know, I do kind of struggle to see how this stays around unless, you know, maybe they fully electrify it down the road and maybe that's where it finds, you know, more traction. I don't know. We'll see. I don't-- I definitely don't want to write it's obituary before they've even sold one of them, but sometimes when you do look at these tweener cars, it's a little hard to figure out, you know, how it all adds up.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, and also, looking at the photos, one thing that I'm a little bit surprised at, the interior does not actually look as premium as, like, the outgoing Avalon.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. The Avalon, for all of its faults, was actually a pretty nice car. So, you know, I guess we'll see.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. It'll-- no matter what, it's gonna be interesting.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, so a vehicle that's a little more defined is the Chevy Blazer EV. We just saw it revealed this week. I think it's gorgeous. When I look at it, I think it really gives-- it's the embodiment of a modern Chevy with strong design language.

When you look at it, I think it, you know, honestly, looks how you would expect, like, an American EV to look. It's-- it has some attitude. It's very stylish. It's a little bit over the top, maybe.

I don't know. But I can't wait to see it in person. I think it kind of takes the idea behind, like, the Ice Blazer and takes it a step further as far as aesthetically, which I think is a good thing. The Blazer, I think, is a pretty good-looking crossover, but this, I think, looks even better.

The big story here, of course, is that it's all electric. There's gonna be a police version of it, which I thought was kind of cool. And there will be an SS model, which we did know but now we got a few more details on that. So a little wishy-washy on the Crown, but for this, I think this is gonna be a winner.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, it's pretty cool. I do like the styling. I like the-- I like how swoopy it is. It's got high sections over the wheels and dips down low in between.

I really like the fender vents that are scalloped into the doors and such. It's got a nice long, low look to it. It's maybe a little bit cluttered in some areas, but for the most part, I think it's pretty cool.

It's also gonna be offered in a lot of different versions with a lot of powertrain variation. Base ones will be either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The SS will be all-wheel drive and it will have 557 horsepower. And then the RS, which slides in just below, can be had in front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, or rear-wheel drive, which is really interesting.

It's-- I mean, from a mechanical perspective, it's not necessarily that difficult because when you're using electric motors and you're developing for having all-wheel drive, you have one motor up front, one motor in the back. So going into either front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive is just as simple as deleting one motor.


JOEL STOCKSDALE: So it's gonna to be-- it's gonna be interesting. I am a little bit surprised that, like, base models are gonna be front-wheel drive, especially when this feels very much like a Mustang Mach-E competitor. And the Mach-E is either rear-drive or all-wheel drive. They don't offer a front-drive version of it, which was probably wise because making a crossover version of a Mustang is already gonna make the Mustang faithful kind of annoyed and to make it front-wheel drive would have just sent them careening over the edge.

But, yeah, I mean, I think it looks good. I think all the performance numbers sound right. The interior looks nice, too. The big touch screen looks attractive.

It's got-- thankfully, it's got plenty of, like, shortcut buttons and things and volume knobs that should make it all easy to use, and it's got nice detailing on the air vents. And also, I mean, with gas-powered GM vehicles, GM knows how to make a car ride and handle well. So I'm looking forward to-- looking forward to trying one out in the future.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, this is definitely on my list of vehicles I'm very intrigued to get behind the wheel of. It's 2024 model. So a little bit of a gestation period, but it's coming.

I think it's interesting, too, the different takes you're seeing from the car companies here. The way the Mach-E-- it's a Mustang, you know? Then you've got the ID.4. It's a crossover.

And then the Blazer is-- well, what is the Blazer, you know? I mean, it's interesting because they use the Blazer name, which a lot of us who are enthusiasts and of a certain age think of when you say Blazer, you think K5, you know? And then it sounds kind of like mid to compact crossover. Now, it's an electric car.

I think Chevy's gonna get the positioning right with this one just in the fact that it's an electric crossover with a name you've heard of that looks good and that's all it has to be, you know? I think it's pretty straightforward. They're trying to play up, I think, its merits and its strengths versus trying to steer into what the idea of it, you know, could be with a name.

So they're kind of, you know, taking it, I think, a little more, you know, practical, I think, approach than maybe Ford did with the Mach-E, where they really steered hard to make it a Mustang, you know? It's a little closer to what Volkswagen is doing with the ID.4, you know? Just like, hey, this is our electric crossover. Here it is. So.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, and I do appreciate that this is, like, a new fresh design and it's not something retro-based kind of like Mustang Mach-E. But, arguably, even Hyundai IONIQ 5, which has very strong sort of '70s and '80s hatchback vibes, whereas this is clearly its own thing that was designed today.

GREG MIGLIORE: IONIQ 5, too, and Kia-- the GT, of course. I mean, it's-- why I'm totally blanking on the name Kia electric vehicle. IONIQ 5--


GREG MIGLIORE: EV6 GT. Yeah, wrong segment. I mean, just that segment is so full right now when you think of the, you know, electric options you could get, all with their own unique styling, all with just, you know, different ranges, different performance missions. It's really gonna be an interesting time to buy an electric car in the mid-20s.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, for sure. Yeah, and I'm looking forward to getting more specifications on stuff underneath the SS 'cause we've got the horsepower numbers for SS, but, obviously, that's not gonna be the volume seller.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, for me, I'm just glad that the SS is back, frankly, you know? To have SS, you know, it's still a Camaro SS, but Chevy used that name quite literally in the '90s and early 2000s perhaps a little too prolifically. There were some Malibus and things that probably didn't quite deserve it. Although I would die on the hill that the HHR SS was actually a pretty good time.

But, you know, they got pretty austere with it, pretty judicious, and, you know, I think it's a good idea to roll it back out and electric car is a great place for it. Kind of rethinks the mission of an electric car, you know? It could be a performance thing, you know, which, you know, is definitely a thing that's not new, but I think it's a great thing for Chevy. So, you know, we have the Mach-E GT in a variety of different flavors of that.

So that sounds like a fun comparison test. I'd show up for that one, right? You know, Blazer SS versus Mach-E GT.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Oh, for sure. Yeah, and-- I mean, things should keep getting more interesting. I'm-- as the Blazer is, I think I'm actually almost more anticipating the Chevy Equinox electric crossover since that's going to be even more affordable, starting at around $30,000 as opposed to 45. So that'll be extremely interesting. I'd also-- I'd love to see Chevy do an SS version of the electric Equinox, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

GREG MIGLIORE: The Equinox SS is OK. I will say this. The Equinox, like, the electric version, is another example of, like, really spectacular, maybe I'm overselling it, but really good-looking Chevy styling, you know? I mean, we saw pictures of that, and it's like, whoa, you know? Same with the Silverado EV, you know?

They-- Chevy is-- I mean, they were the pioneers in design, General Motors was. Harley Earl, going back to the '50s, the only other company that even really tried. And the mainstream segment before that was Lincoln, essentially, you know?

That was-- Edsel Ford had an idea. He told his dad, hey, people like cars that look good. How about we try that? They don't all have to be Model T's that look like horseless carriages and they're all one color, you know?

You know, so General Motors, this is who they are. This is who Chevy is. And I think maybe articulating that through electrification is gonna be a real strength for them, so. And I like design, obviously. That's what I talk about half the time on the podcast.

So, yeah, I mean, let's just go back in time here or to the present. We got a, you know, full-throated V8 and the Raptor R, which, hey, sounds good, you know? We've talked about electrification. Let's also talk about just some old-school VA muscle here.

The Raptor is getting it. It's not gonna be a crazy high volume vehicle, but it certainly puts a traditional, like, halo back on the Raptor, you know? So for what it is, I think it's a good move.

They have the engine. It fits under the hood. Why wouldn't you do this, right? It's the Shelby GT500 motor. That's gonna really give the truck some more power. So more power to them. That's my take.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Literally more power to them. Yeah, it's-- I mean, it's a great thing for Blue Oval backers. I mean, they don't have to-- they don't have to-- they don't have to deal with random TRX people saying like, oh, you've got two fewer cylinders and you've got a couple hundred horsepower less than me. That's all been solved.

And Raptor R is lighter than TRX. So should outperform the TRX. Although I would hope it would outperform it because the price tag on the Raptor R is really high at nearly 109-- it's at $109,000 for a TR-- for a Raptor R. The TRX still starts under six figures.

GREG MIGLIORE: I like that they're actually going back, if you will. This-- to me, this goes back to, like, the origins of, like, the Lightning, you know? It's just like it's a go fast truck, you know? I think that's-- I like that idea, you know? It's not necessarily, like, my cup of tea as a consumer, but I-- as not a motor journalist, I'm glad it exists and I'm glad that it-- you know, they're offering this, you know?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, and, I mean-- and the Raptor R does deliver on not only just about matching power with the TRX. The Raptor R also has better approach, ground clearance, departure, breakover. It's got bigger tires. I mean, they definitely built this thing with the idea of we're not gonna let the TRX just stand.



JOEL STOCKSDALE: And it is fun to see a bit of that rivalry again, kind of. It felt like we used to see that with, like, Camaro and Mustang and Challenger, but-- I don't know. Is it just me, or does it kind of feel like that fight has kind of cooled off a little bit?

GREG MIGLIORE: Camaro versus Challenger, you mean? Versus Mustang? I mean, the puny part of car wars, if you will. It's interesting, because I feel like Camaro sales have been so kind of, like, middling that they've almost, like-- I don't want to say they've taken themselves out of the fight, but in some ways, they made too good of a car, if you will, as far as it being a super sporty performance coupe, but then it just-- it got a little too much backed into a corner, I think.

You've got the Challenger, which is just this kind of heavy thing that's all over the road, but it's bigger and more usable and people like that, and then the Mustang has always been the Mustang. So I don't know. Maybe the rivalry is cooling.

It's a little bit like, you know, I don't know, in sports where one team wins all the time and you're like, well, it's still a rivalry. We remember, you know, 1964 or something. But if one team doesn't win, then what is it in 2022? So, yeah, I think I might agree with you on that one.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: You know, thinking of these giant trucks, something that would be interesting would be comparing Raptor R, TRX, and Hummer, and GMC Hummer EV.


JOEL STOCKSDALE: Because GM-- I mean, like, the Silverado Trail Boss ZR2-- yeah, Silverado ZR2, is-- it's not really a true rival. I mean, like, it's nice that-- it's nice that that's an option, but it's not really a competitor to these things. But GMC Hummer EV actually does have kind of the performance and the price tag to kind of be comparable to these trucks.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, that's a good point. I think the Hummer-- and I've actually been seeing a few more of them around the-- just around Metro Detroit. Maybe you have, too. I don't know.

It's-- to me, that's almost a little bit of a different thing, too, just because it-- like, on paper, you're totally right. I think it's kind of cool the way it, you know, it's positioned with that kind of, like, Hummer, like, aura, if you will. Whereas, you know, Ford and Chevy still have just, like, these are Silverados and F-150s. So I don't know, I kind of like the positioning, too, because when you look at it, it-- like, Hummer, I think, says more luxury, whereas these are more like sport trucks. So, you know, regardless of the insane zero to 60 time and, of course, crab walk, you know?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, I mean having been in the GMC Hummer, I feel like it's actually less of a luxury. I mean, it's still a luxury vehicle in the sense that it offers you a whole lot of stuff that you really don't need, but, it's--

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I would agree with

JOEL STOCKSDALE: It's not quiet by any means, I mean, just by being an electric car. Like, it's got loads of wind and tire noise and--

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Oh, that tire noise.


GREG MIGLIORE: 100%. That was outrageous. I remember driving it at Milford and it was like they'll hear you coming in that thing.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, and, like, the interior is well-put-together and definitely rugged, but it's not nice in, like, kind of the traditional luxury sense. It's still lots of plastics and kind of hardwearing items, which, again, I think makes sense for the mission of that truck, but I think the mission of that truck is to be like a-- like an off-road super car kind of thing, like, in the same sense as TRX and Raptor are that, like, these are built for maximum off-road performance.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think-- yeah, it's an interesting segment right now, and I think it's interesting how, like, the pricing has gotten really just-- I mean, pricing has gotten with inflation. Like, it's just gotten-- some of these things are just-- they're so expensive that you almost-- it feels like they have to be, like, marketed as premium regardless of how some of the things perform.

I kind of like the interior of the Hummer. I thought it was-- I drove a pre-Pro model. I love that, like, skylight. It was like-- the whole inside was lit up. I think I would honestly go with the truck just to go off on a tangent here.

I would go with the truck over the SUV, just for the Hummer, specifically, which is different than how I would with almost any other, like, things like this. Like, I would always take the Wrangler over the Gladiator, et cetera. I just-- I feel like the vibe of that kind of super truck really carries through with the Hummer. So, yeah.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: And don't get me wrong. I actually do like the interior of the Hummer. I think it looks neat.


JOEL STOCKSDALE: And it's got very usable infotainment stuff. It's just you're not gonna find, like, nice materials like metal and leather and wood and stuff 'cause it's built to be something that you can get dirty and clean off easily and it's not going to get scratched and scuffed and broken.

It's just-- it's a different kind of luxury, which-- I think we've been used to there being two kinds of luxury for, like, road cars. You've got the Rolls-Royce and Bentley kind of luxury, and then you've also got, like, the Ferrari, Lamborghini luxury. I think in the truck market, we haven't necessarily seen that as much. Like, you've got-- we've had, like, King Ranch and Denali and things that kind of fit that Rolls-Royce, Bentley, cushy luxury. Now, we've got the super truck luxury, which is the TRX, Raptor R, and, like, GMC Hummer EV. It's still premium, but it's a premium that's focused on off-road performance.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. So while we're talking trucks, how about we just transition over to our drive section, which is trucks and sport and luxury cars? So I had the Ram Rebel GT last week. It-- I put, you know, some miles on it. It was basically my weekend vehicle. We took it to our Cars and Coffee, the one over by Pasteiner's on Woodward. You ever go to that one, Joel?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: You know, I still haven't gotten there. I really need to. It's just it can be hard for me to get myself up that early on a Saturday.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, no, I hear you. And it's actually-- we get up early around here with the preschoolers. So it's kind of like by 8:00, 8:30, like, we're ready to get over there. We actually, this weekend, had kind of a slower roll, if you will.

And by the time we got there, some of the cars were leaving and I was like, hey, this is actually even better. Because we're watching, like-- you know, there's an old Shelby Mustang that was starting up and rolling out and some dude in his Aston was, like, kind of honking as he came down the alley. So I think it's a great way to start your weekend, you know? Your Saturday, anyway. If you get there early, apparently, there's coffee. I've never quite gotten there that early, but it's good cars and coffee.

And, yeah, anyways I took the Rebel over to that. This one was bright red. It definitely gets a lot of attention. It certainly fills the lane and then some. Had the V8.

GT is like-- it kind of gives it that sport truck vibe. You can get it on other versions of the Ram, too. I think the Lariat, for example.

It-- you know, it just-- it gives you kind of like a nice sort of things, like there's aluminum paddle shifters. The shifter inside is a little bit different. I think it's leather topped. You get some better, like, an intercooler.

And then the hood-- I don't want to call them scoops, but the vents are a little more prominent. So stuff like that. A lot of graphics, that type of thing.

I mean, it's fun. It's a truck. It's the Ram. It's the Ram Rebel. It's a lot of fun. This one had the tonneau cover on the back with, like, in bed, like, the bedliner, and the rail kind of divider system.

So it was one of those, like, sort of very, like, you can do a lot of stuff with this truck, you know? It'd be a good truck to, I'd say, take up north, where you need to, like, load up the back, and sometimes with trucks, that could be challenging if you don't have the tonneau cover. Took it golfing, you know?

I mean, not a lot of the things you necessarily would do with a Ram Rebel typically, but it was, you know, suburban weekend. It was fun, you know? It's-- I think the big takeaway I have is it kind of reiterates that I think the Ram is-- it's-- if it's not the best in the full-sized truck segment, it's up there. And it wins for me based on how good the interiors are across the lineup, how good the infotainment system is. It's just-- it's a beautiful, easy-to-use system, and, you know, it's just, to me, it's a very strong competitor.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. I think the GT package is really interesting, in part, because I think it's interesting to see kind of more street-oriented performance packages for the Ram. I think of the two, I would pick the Laramie GT as opposed to the Rebel GT just because I feel like that's more in keeping with kind of the street focus. It's got the paint bumpers and it's got kind of more road-oriented wheels and tires. It just seems a little bit more GT-esque as opposed to something like the Rebel, which is a little bit more off-road-oriented.

I do think it would be kind of cool to see even more kind of street performance, like-- the catback exhaust and the paddle shifters for the GT models is fine, but it would be neat if they would offer it with, like, a few more handling upgrades, the 6.4-liter V8 from, like, the Challenger SRT 392 and the-- and I think even the 2500 uses a version of that engine as its base V8. And, yeah, I mean, it'd be especially cool if they would offer something like, I don't know, even like a Ram SRT 10, like, Hellcat kind of thing. Just drop that Hellcat engine into a Ram and just have kind of a new muscle truck, kind of like the old Viper-powered ones and the old F-150 Lightning. But everybody seems to kind of move toward off-road stuff, which is fine, but I wouldn't mind seeing some kind of old-school muscle trucks.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's an interesting take, yeah. I like that naming scheme. I think a Ram Hellcat would be very strong, and I don't think it would take away at all from, like, the muscle cars, you know?

I think people would just be like, oh, hey, cool. It's maybe the modern evolution of what SRT should have become, you know? I don't think it ever really took-- you know, those letters don't mean as much as perhaps as they could, you know, but Hellcat, there you go.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, I mean, Mopar has a whole bunch of different kind of Hellcat-powered things. You've got Durango Hellcat and even just regular SRT. They've got Grand Cherokee SRT and Trackhawk. I think the-- I think there would be plenty of room for additional Hellcat street-oriented sports trucks.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, sounds good. So let's transition over to a pretty hot, pretty race-bred Porsche that you've been testing out. What did you do with it, Joel?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, so I actually took the GT3 grocery shopping.


JOEL STOCKSDALE: I drove it over to my errand, loaded it up with some milk and some toilet paper, just kind of some basic errands, and surprisingly, the frunk is actually quite large. So--


JOEL STOCKSDALE: --you know, it actually kind of worked out pretty well for grocery shopping, granted, it's a little bit over the top. I mean, it's got a giant wing and it's bright red and it's got vents and it's got splitters and it's got giant wheels. It's maybe a little much, but, you know, it worked out all right. And, I mean, it's just an all-around really, really great car. I don't know that I'd say it's great for, like, kind of regular grocery shopping, but, you know, if you want to take it out and have some fun with it, it's-- I mean, it does everything that you expect of a Porsche.

It's got amazing steering feel and it feels lightweight. It's really responsive. The engine is amazing. It revs out to 9,000 RPM, makes 500 horsepower. It's got a great manual transmission.

It's got crisp gates and kind of springs into each one. It is loud, which, again, can be really good when you're rubbing it all the way out. The suspension is kind of stiff. Actually, very stiff, but it's relatively compliant in normal mode.

But, yeah, it's just-- it's amazing to drive. It's got a great driving position. Ergonomically, it's great. It's got amazing visibility. So much so that, like, you sometimes kind of forget that you're driving a supercar. It's actually, you know, reasonably easy to use and, like, you're not sitting on the ground and have horrible visibility.

So it's pretty amazing, granted, it's got some drawbacks. I mean, it is really loud. If you're just cruising around town and just kind of sitting at one RPM as opposed to, like, really flexing the power band, it kind of starts drilling into your head a little bit. It gets a little bit tiresome. And the ride does-- can beat you up a little bit.

So, like, if I was a person of means, this would be an amazing car. Like, if you want to track day car that you can just drive to the track and back, maybe run a couple of errands in between without having to, like, load it up on a trailer and drive it, because it can totally do that. And because it's a Porsche, you know that you can just thrash it, just all day long on the track. It's not gonna end your day suddenly with some weird malady and it's not gonna, like, cost you a crazy amount of money to fix anything because it's not super, super exotic. So, like, that would be kind of what I think it would make it would be like kind of an ideal sort of, like, easy to use track day car.

Not so much kind of a daily car. You can-- totally could daily it. It would just get kind of wearing. And, like, if you've got the money for something like this, you've got the money to have another car or two or three. So, like, it makes sense as that kind of thing. And, like, if I had that kind of means, I would definitely be looking at adding one to my garage.

GREG MIGLIORE: Wow. OK, strong praise there. I-- side note, you mentioned doing crazy things with Porsches. I did take out in a Boxster and I had them-- this was back, like, when, like, the pandemic was crazy, like, two years ago and, like, every restaurant was like they'd come out in, like, hazmat suits and put your food in the car. And it was like I had the frunk open and the person came out and put my food in it.

So I was like, OK, hey, that's a good use of the frunk, you know? And it worked out pretty well. Contactless delivery, if you will.

Yeah, I don't know. I mean, I feel like if I were gonna look for a, like, a track car with some-- like, a car that I could drive to the track, you know, just metrically, I like to use that cliché. Like, it would be tough to beat this thing, you know what I mean? Just all the, you know, the-- it measures up in every measurable way, you know?

I tend to think if I went with a 911, I would go something more slightly above the, like, the base car because I feel like you get a lot of car with 911. You don't necessarily need to go up into some of these almost, like, race car settings to get the true feel of it. But, yeah, I mean, this is definitely cool. I'm sure the denizens of Myer were wondering what you were doing with that thing in the parking lot, but, yeah. Did you get to open it up at all, you know, expressway or anything like that or some back roads or just feel a little bit of what it could do?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, I've got a couple of kind of twisty long on ramps and off ramps near my house, which does kind of let me open it up a little bit. Granted, it's kind of hard to take advantage of all that that engine has to offer, just with that super high red line. You're doing extra legal speeds pretty quick, kind of, like, in second gear or so. So, like, there's only so much that you can get away with it on public roads.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, no, I can see that, and that's always the challenge when we get a car like this. Awesome as it is. It can be tough to, like, you know, adequately test them without, you know, getting yourself in trouble, because, obviously, you know, we want to be safe and all that good stuff. But, yeah, awesome car.

I imagine it was a little bit easier to stay at legal speed limits with the Hyundai. You have the Elantra N version, right? So I think the Elantra N looks pretty good. I think the Elantra and the Sonata are, you know, pretty good as far as their design language. For the uninformed, what is the N version of the Elantra?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: So the N version of the Elantra is like the hottest version of the Elantra you can get.


JOEL STOCKSDALE: It's got a turbocharged two-liter four-cylinder making around 276 horsepower. It comes with either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It's got adaptive suspension, and it's got a fancy electronically controlled front limited-slip differential, and it's got visual upgrades, and it's got interior upgrades, and it's just a super sporty version of the Elantra.

And it's really, really good. It's got loads and loads of grip, the limited-slip diff on it. It makes it feel-- it almost doesn't feel like it's front-wheel drive because even when you're getting-- even when you're putting the gas on in corners, it just goes where you want it to. I mean, if you push it hard enough and you start breaking traction, sure, it's gonna start to understeer, but as long as you've got grip, it just goes where you want it to.

Steering is quick. It's pretty weighty. It could use maybe just a little bit more feedback, but that's pretty good otherwise. The engine has plenty of power and it all comes on really smooth. The-- it feels pretty linear. It doesn't kind of have a big turbo surge all of a sudden somewhere.

If I was getting one, I would probably go with the manual as opposed to the dual-clutch. The dual-clutch is what this one had. And it's a good transmission, but the manual, which I've tried out in the Veloster N, which has, like, the same powertrain, it's a really, really, really good manual. It's kind of weighty and it's got really clear gates that feel good.

I just think it's a little bit more engaging and it is a good manual. And so, like, you don't want to miss out on it, granted, I don't have, like, California traffic and stuff, where I would maybe want an automatic. And if you want it or need it, the dual-clutch does pretty well. It's fairly quick. It's actually quite smooth.

My only gripes are that it's got a couple of, like, the Hyundai Kia dual-clutch eccentricities, where like, coming away from a stop, it kind of slips the clutch. It's a fair-- a bit more than I would expect. And the shifts aren't quite as fast as you would get from, like, a Volkswagen dual-clutch or even, like, really good tuned ZF eight-speed autos.

Ride-wise, it's actually fairly comfortable. It's still stiff, but reasonably comfortable and normal. And it's adaptive. You can crank it up to where it's really stiff and kind of uncomfortable, but has, like, almost no body roll.

And it's kind of the same deal with the exhaust. It's very quiet in normal mode, just a little bit of burble, and then it's got two louder versions. The middle one is just kind of more exhaust sound in general, and then the really loud one is that plus it throws in all the, like, pops and bangs and crackles and stuff that people like.

My preference is kind of that middle one because I feel like-- I feel like the cracks and bangs have gotten a little bit overdone. Like, once automakers figured it out, they just started throwing it into everything and just make it pop and crack it like crazy. It kind of get on your nerves after a while, at least for me.

But, yeah, otherwise, like, it's pretty livable. It does have really low profile tires. And there were a couple of times there are some bumps on my street that I wouldn't think twice about, but in this one, it hit kind of hard and sometimes a little worried that I might have gotten a flat, but fortunately, I avoided that. But in general, it's just-- it's a really good car and, like, in comparison to the Veloster N, it's got a much nicer interior. And it's got a lot more space inside, both for the front passenger, but especially for the back. Like, I was able to drive my parents around in it.

So in a lot of way-- and so in some ways, it's actually better than a Veloster N. It's got all that performance stuff, but it's also, in some ways, a little more practical. And also, the Elantra N is-- it's decently priced.

It's kind of low $30,000, which is more than, like, a Subaru WRX or a Civic SI, but it's also less than, like, what we're expecting Civic Type R and Corolla GR to go for. And it offers a lot of what you'd expect of those, like, kind of higher-end sporty cars. So, yeah, it's a great car and definitely worth your consideration.

GREG MIGLIORE: This is another car that I wonder how long it's gonna be around, if you will. Not to be all doom and gloom for different parts of this podcast, but, like, I feel like if you want the Type R or, you know, the Subaru WRX, you're gonna probably want those cars for the-- some of the heritage and the cachet they bring to the table. I don't know if, like, Hyundai, even with the N badging, really brings that to the table here. Yeah, on its merits, it's still a very strong car. So, I mean, I guess we'll just see.

I kind of wonder, with Albert Biermann leaving Hyundai, how much some of these real, like, you know, performance-oriented models are gonna continue. He, of course, was in charge of BMW M for a long time. Then he came over to Hyundai and did some great things as far as upping their, like, you know, their performance chops. So, I mean, change in leadership, sometimes, some of the stuff is just natural, you know? Meet the new boss, not the same as the old boss kind of thing, and philosophies change, but--

Yeah, funny story. I actually-- I kind of regret passing on this car. Zac, our road test editor, Zac Palmer, you guys all know, was like, hey, you know? You're gonna be on vacation next week. You want the Veloster N.

I was like, well, I'm going to Chicago. Do you have anything a little bit bigger? He's like, OK, sent it over to, I think, you and Byron. Got some time in it, which is great, and that's probably better.

So I ended up getting the Ram Rebel, and then I ended up not taking the Ram Rebel because the day before I was going to leave, I looked up my hotel's garage, like, door requirements, and they listed it as 6'6". And I did some quick math and I'm like, ooh, that's probably not gonna fit with all, you know, the off-road articulation and ride height with the Ram Rebel. And I think it may have fit but, I-- we ended up taking the family car and I just drove the Ram a lot over the weekend, which was fine, too.

It was whatever, but talk about, you know, just not really playing your cards right as far as the press cars, if you will, and that was a really tight parking garage. It's-- I'm glad I didn't take the Ram either. I don't know if it would have fit just because

I think it was one of those things where they listed as one thing but there might be more actual room, you know? Because there were F-150s in there. I digress, but that was my brush with the Elantra almost. So that's the Hyundai Elantra N.

Now, for Spend my Money this week, we have an update. Blake writes from episode 726 that he had been torn between the 911, the Porsche 911, and getting a Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing. We offered up some of our ideas for that. And Blake writes back that what he actually has done so far, so he put in an order for a new 911, and then went ahead and bought an '08 911 Turbo.

There's a bit of a wait time now for the new 911. So what he's going to do is basically enjoy that '08 Turbo, drive it around, and then decide if he wants to go ahead with the new one or just cancel that order and enjoy his 2008 Porsche 911 Turbo, which I think is a great thing. It's kind of the best of all worlds.

So if you enjoyed the show, that's five stars in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you get your podcasts. We are everywhere. Send us your Spend My Moneys. That's Be safe out there and we'll see you next week.