THE DRIVE with Alan Taylor | Episode #322

“Oh, the places you’ll go,” as the famous writer, Dr. Seuss, would say. Cars don’t only get us where we need to go, they play a big role in our daily lives. We want to know that the ride we are putting our trust in is going to deliver. We begin the show with Dave Sargent of J.D. Power who shares their 2018 Vehicle Dependability Study – you might be surprised by the results. Next, we hear from Brian Moody of Autotrader who chats about Toyota TRD models, the Subaru brand at large, and cars under $25,000. Changing lanes, Karl Brauer of Kelley Blue Book raves about his Dodge Demon’s first time at the track before touching on the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards. For the second hour, we catch up with Lauren Fix, the Car Coach. Lauren discusses the pending reform of the CAFE standards, looming gas taxes, the cost of electric vehicle batteries, and tells us where her Ford GT is hiding for winter. Join us to prepare for mobility in 2018.

  • [00:00:00] Help J.D. Power Help You
  • [00:06:00] Vehicle Dependability
  • [00:12:30] Toyota TRD and Subaru Charity
  • [00:19:53] Quality Under $25,000
  • [00:28:15] Karl’s Demon Hits the Track
  • [00:35:55] Baseline Numbers Strong
  • [00:42:16] CAFE Standards Reevaluated
  • [00:48:23] Is Electric the Answer?
  • [00:54:46] Low Resale on Hybrids
  • [01:02:09] Jaguar E-Pace Luxury
  • [01:10:39] Heads Up Audi Q7
  • [01:18:10] Federal Gas Tax

Discover more about segments and guests below…

[00:00:00] Help J.D. Power, Help You

For years, J.D. Power has made well-rounded reviews available to all consumers on the hunt for a new car. Vehicle owners have benefited greatly from this and now the company has made it even easier. J.D. Power sends you a survey that you simply fill out online. There are different checkpoints after you purchase a car, such as right after a purchase and then years down the road. Dave Sargent, Vice President of Global Automotive for J.D. Power, explains the 2018 Vehicle Dependability Study is conducted three years after the purchase of a vehicle when many start thinking about replacing their ride. Is your car about ready to retire?

[00:06:00] Vehicle Dependability

When it comes to the longevity of a vehicle, there are a lot of components to consider. Dave Sargent of J.D. Power discusses the categories in their 2018 Vehicle Dependability Study including the engine, transmission, instrument panel, door panels, HVAC systems, seats, chassis, steering, brakes, and headliners. One section, however, out of all tends to be the most problematic for consumers and that is the infotainment system. The Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Malibu, and Lexus RX were among some vehicles that came out at the top of their groups. Chevrolet came in very strong this year and Ford even stepped it up a notch. Did your chariot make the list?

[00:12:30] Toyota TRD and Subaru Charity

Alan and Brian Moody, Executive Editor of Autotrader, talk about the Toyota TRD display at the Chicago Auto Show. The TRD packages are worth every penny, and the quality equipment that goes into them makes off-roading more feasible for your adventure mobile. While you must be prepared to pay up for a TRD truck, we are sure you won’t regret it. Also, Subaru’s booth was celebrating their 50th anniversary, and Alan praises Subaru for the fact that in the past 20 years they have donated more than $100-million to charity. The authenticity of a Subaru is what people really connect with. Discover more about the cars at the Chicago Auto Show.

[00:19:53] Quality Under $25,000

The average price of new cars is on the rise and if you look at a recent report by Kelley Blue Book you can expect to pay roughly $35,000 to climb into a new model. Brian Moody of Autotrader explains that these days, even if the base price is low, there are so many add-ons that can increase the price. He excitedly tells us that we can still find some amazing cars under $25,000. The Subaru Crosstrek, Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Fusion, Honda Fit, Kia Optima, and Mini Cooper are just a few that are still affordable. Another great option is to search for a certified pre-owned vehicle that fulfills all your dreams for a cheaper than the brand new sticker price. Explore the possibilities now.

[00:28:15] Karl’s Demon Hits the Track

Still in awe of the machines they bought, Alan and Kelley Blue Book’s Karl Brauer discuss their Demons. While Alan was out running his off the road into the mud, Karl chose a safer approach. To the track he went; while there he ran into fellow Dodge Demon racer, Ron Silva, who instructed him on how to use all the different technologies that come with this monster. For example, when you put the Demon into DRAG MODE it turns off traction control and leaves stability control on. While this car can be a comfortable everyday driver, it was most definitely designed for drag racing. Alan put his in the garage after he got sideways going over 100-MPH, and Karl warns that all controls need to be kept on while driving this car in normal conditions. Discover more about this speed Demon now. CHANGE CTA?

[00:35:55] Baseline Numbers Strong

We’ve all heard about the insane quarter mile numbers that the Dodge Demon gets, but we know that’s on a track with race gas. Well, Karl Brauer of Kelley Blue Book decided to drag race his with regular gas to obtain some baseline numbers. After a few runs finding his groove, he managed to get  7.3 seconds on an eighth of a mile which translates into 11.4 on a quarter mile. The technology blew him away, and he was geeking out over a graph that shows the function of the intercooler; what a fun car for real gearheads! Also, Karl touches on the reevaluation of the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards. Join us for more wild stories from the track.

[00:42:16] CAFE Standards Reevaluated

Right now, the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) for most OEMs is an average of 28-MPG. Lauren Fix, The Car Coach, is here to tell us about the news surrounding the Obama administration’s CAFE standard of 46.6-MPG by the year 2020. What this means for manufacturers is that sixty percent of their fleets will need to by hybrids and plug-ins; unfortunately, those types of vehicles are just not selling. The Trump administration plans to reevaluate this standard to lower it to 35.5-MPG which is just a step up from the 34.5-MPG benchmark. OEMs will be fined if they don’t meet these standards, but the lowered number will be more obtainable in the next few years. Do you see yourself driving a hybrid?

[00:48:023] Is Electric the Answer?

While the possible lowering of the CAFE standards takes a load off the shoulders of many OEMs, some argue for a higher standard because of the effect internal combustion engines have on the planet. Lauren Fix, The Car Coach, shares her thoughts on the future of electric vehicles. While some believe that electric cars will save our environment, Lauren believes otherwise. Lauren tells us that solar is expensive, only 4% of our energy comes from wind and solar, and the ingredients it takes to make a battery may harm the earth more than we know. The new CAFE standards are said to be final by March 30th. Stay tuned.

[00:54:46] Low Resale on Hybrids

While electric cars and hybrids are appealing because of their gas saving abilities, as soon as you buy one the value drastically decreases. The Car Coach, Lauren Fix, explains that battery replacement for these new age rides can now cost more than what you paid for the car itself. The ingredients that make up a battery are Cobalt, Lithium, Mercury, Cadmium, and Graphite – all of which are rare earth minerals with limited supply. This means that as the demand for batteries goes up and resources dwindle, prices will skyrocket. Many think electric and hybrids are the future but Lauren thinks otherwise. Another downside is that these minerals are not recyclable. Is there an answer to our mobility future?

[01:02:09] Jaguar E-Pace Luxury

The Car Coach, Lauren Fix, recently made a trip to Corsica, France to test drive the Jaguar E-PACE and the comfort was phenomenal. The 2L turbocharged engine pumps out 246-HP and 296 lb-ft of torque and it handles nicely on its 20” alloy wheels. Lauren’s test vehicle came equipped with 4G Wi-Fi, a big touchscreen, and a heads-up display. This is a smaller version of the F-PACE, and although you lose about 10-cubic feet of storage, the E-Pace is still a luxurious daily driver. The back was very spacious for passengers and it has a unique all-wheel-drive that makes it great for light off-roading. Built on the underpinnings of the Land Rover Discovery Sport, this beautiful machine comes in at a base MSRP of $38,000. Find out how Jaguar took its patrons suggestions and crafted this wonderful ride.

[01:10:39] Heads Up Audi Q7

Well, the new Audi Q7 is here and The Car Coach, Lauren Fix, shares her thoughts on this large SUV. Already selling quickly, this is just a facelift on the previous model, but Lauren was impressed. She especially loves the virtual cockpit which is a 3D Google map projected as a heads up display. This mid-cycle refresh also has many minor upgrades to both the interior and exterior. The only downside that Lauren can state is that she wishes it had wireless charging for her phone. The MSRP of the Audi Q7 is anywhere between $70,000 and $75,000; looking at its competition, it’s worth it. Explore more about this surprising SUV now.

[01:18:10] Federal Gas Tax

A gas tax hike is looming over us and it has many worried. Lauren Fix, The Car Coach, tells us that the Federal Government plans to implement a $0.25 per gallon tax to our fuel to raise $200-billion towards an improvement fund. She tells us that the money is supposed to go to roads and bridges, but she feels skeptical and is worried that it will go to a general fund. Lauren warns that if we have any say, then we should speak up now before it’s too late. This will be affecting low-income earners much more drastically. Are you concerned about where your gas tax money will go?

Explore More with Helpful Links:

Episode Credits:

  • Program Host: Alan Taylor
  • Producer: Dave Milligan
  • Production Assistant: Joanne Bolden
  • Audio Engineer: Dave Milligan
  • Copy Editor: Jess Baumgardner

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This episode was produced by Entertainment Right Now (ERN). If you found value in this episode, and you’d like to hear more, leave us a review on iTunes and be sure to subscribe to our podcast so you don’t miss a beat. Your feedback helps us to reach more enthusiasts around the world! If you have a question you’d like us to answer, please leave a comment below or e-mail us at

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