THE DRIVE with Alan Taylor | #340

They really don’t make any bad vehicles these days and luckily our favorite automotive experts help us narrow down the right car for us. We begin the show with automotive journalist, BJ Killeen, who discusses why premium SUVs are taking a top spot in the market. BJ and Alan also talk about the 2018 Ford F-150 diesel that Alan drove down to Newport Beach and they excitedly chat about the greatly improved fuel consumption of most new trucks. Then, Karl Brauer, Executive Publisher of Kelley Blue Book, sounds off about the latest rad events he was able to attend. San Francisco played host to a reenactment of the classic Mustang Bullitt car chase as Ford showed off the 2019-2020 redesign of the Mustang Bullitt and Karl said how cool it was to witness. After that, he tells us about his exciting drive down Pikes Peak in the all-new pure EV Audi e-tron and raves about its amazing regenerative brakes. Karl ends the first hour with an update on his greatly anticipated Ford GT, which he has made all of his final designs decisions on and is patiently waiting for its finalization. Next, Executive Editor of Autotrader, Brian Moody, pits the 2018 Toyota Tacoma against the 2018 Chevrolet Colorado. While the Tacoma still has one of the best resale values in the truck market, the Colorado stole Autotrader’s vote. Brian explains that he believes the Tacoma played it a little too safe with their redesign, while the Colorado stepped it with their interior, diesel engine option and aggressive ZR2 off-road package. Continuing with the compact truck theme, Brian also addresses the rumors surrounding the U.S. version of the all-new Ford Ranger after a write up from their sister company in Australia, Car Guides. Brian explains that he doesn’t believe we will see a diesel engine but to keep an eye out for the 2.3L EcoBoost, 10-speed automatic transmission, and a plethora of safety features. Then, before Brian goes he explains Autotrader’s Accelerate, which is an online vehicle buying program that can make it possible for you to shop from the comfort of your own home. Switching gears, automotive journalist, George Kennedy, reviews the impressive handling of the 2018 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Widebody and explains that he really loved that one could tune the individual performance options on the infotainment system. After that, he sounds off about the 2018 Lexus NX vs the 2018 Acura RDX and shares that he was excited to drive these two major competitors back-to-back. The NX was a little too small for 6’3” George and the RDX had a frustrating infotainment system but overall, the two were really great cars for under $50k. Changing lanes, Ed Justice, Jr. updates us on the recent DUI of NASCAR’s CEO, Brian France’s, and what that could mean for the position he has been in for over a decade. Ed ends the hour by sharing about his favorite new documentary, Ferrari: Race to Immortality, which showcased the most dangerous and glamorous time in racing that took place from 1955-1958. Tune in now to fill your cranium with the latest and greatest from the automotive world.


  • [00:00:00] Take an Uber or a Cab
  • [00:05:49] Premium SUVs Are Booming
  • [00:12:30] Trucks Are Just Getting Better
  • [00:19:51] Mustang Bullitt Event in San Francisco
  • [00:28:35] Audi e-tron: Tesla Model X’s Competitor
  • [00:35:53] Karl’s New Ford GT Update
  • [00:42:14] Toyota Tacoma vs. Chevrolet Colorado
  • [00:48:39] Rumors on the new Ford Ranger
  • [00:54:45] Handling of the Hellcat Widebody
  • [01:02:06] 2018 Lexus NX vs 2018 Acura RDX
  • [01:09:42] DUI of NASCAR’s Brian France
  • [01:18:07] Ferrari: Race to Immortality


Discover more about segments and guests below…


[00:00:00] Take an Uber or a Cab

Automotive journalist, BJ Killeen, joins us to sound off about the recent DUI of NASCAR’s Brian France. BJ believes that it shows Brian has problems and he has chosen drinking as a way of dealing with them. Running a multimillion-dollar corporation is not an easy task, and the way CEOs are acting these days, this is not a surprising turn of events. BJ cautions that if you are drinking, you must get a driver, no matter what. If there isn’t a friend available then call a cab or Uber. More on Brian’s DUI and what it means for NASCAR later.


[00:05:49] Premium SUVs Are Booming

SUVs are at the top of their game in the automotive industry and why wouldn’t they be? They offer enough room for everything and everyone, plus they can go almost anywhere you need them to. Automotive journalist, BJ Killeen, explains that people are trading in their cars for these more comfortable, utilitarian machines. The big seller on the market right now is the Lexus RX because it is outperforming all others by leaps and bounds. The quality and styling have caught people’s eyes because this time Lexus did something a bit differently. Buyers in the SUV segment are not only looking for luxury but they are also looking to be treated well at the dealership, which Lexus has a lock on. The SUV segment is a really tough market because there are so many amazing rides to choose from and they have MSRPs that range from $40,000-$60,000 depending on the brand. BJ has been driving the Lincoln Nautilus and while she can’t share much about it yet, she explains that it has a lot of great features. Are safety features, value, and dealership treatment important to you?


[00:12:30] Trucks Are Just Getting Better

Landscaping, a dump run or helping someone move – when it comes to getting things done owning a truck is the only way to go. Alan recently drove a 2018 Ford F-150 with a 3L V6 turbocharged diesel engine. He absolutely loved it and said that he drove it like a sports car on a 1,000 mile trip to Newport Beach, California. It had a 10-speed automatic transmission with a tow/haul mode, and if driven normally it can average 28-30-MPG which is amazing for a truck. Alan drove the King Ranch edition which came in at $74,295 but the base model starts out at $55,000. Trucks these days are coming with all the creature comforts that people don’t want to live without such as heated seats, safety features, quality interior materials, and so much more. Is it time to put one into your driveway?


[00:19:51] Mustang Bullitt Event in San Francisco

Ford recently recreated the iconic car chase from Steve McQueen’s Bullitt to show off their 2019 redesign of the Mustang Bullitt. Kelley Blue Book’s Executive Publisher, Karl Brauer, explains that this is the third redesign of this classic ride. He owns the first generation revamp from 2001 which was an extremely good execution that was basically a GT with subtle styling differences. While this choice by Ford could easily feel tired or belabored, it doesn’t because it just keeps getting better. The 2008-2009 model was even better and now the 2019-2020 model is by far the best one and the fact that they have put a decade between each one keeps it even more relevant. The 2019 model is the first with an independent rear suspension which gives it excellent handling.  It pushes about 480-HP which is a substantial jump from the 265-HP in the 2001. With a base MSRP of $47,000 and fully loaded working its way up to $53,000 keep an eye out for the Mustang Bullitt hitting the showrooms now.


[00:28:35] Audi e-tron: Tesla Model X’s Competitor

Tesla has been all the rage for the past few years when it comes to pure EVs but a new ride steps up as its competitor. Kelley Blue Book’s, Karl Brauer, took a trip to Colorado to ride in the all-new Audi e-tron on the famous Pikes Peak. While you can start putting your orders in by September 17th, it won’t hit showroom floors for about a year. The e-tron is a pure EV with a 250+ mile range on a full charge and can achieve 0-60 in under 6 seconds. Karl sat passenger as he was driven from 14,500 feet up on Pikes Peak to 7,000 feet in about 20 minutes. On this route you are required to stop and check your break temperature halfway down to make sure they don’t catch on fire. The ambient temperature of the road was 40 degrees and the e-tron’s brakes had only gotten up to 48 degrees, which is unprecedented. Not only are the brakes great at maintaining temperature, they are also regenerative so you are charging up the car the entire time you are using them. Learn more about the Audi of the future now.


[00:35:53] Karl’s New Ford GT Update

We begin the segment with Karl Brauer of Kelley Blue Book summing up his review of the Audi e-tron. He says that they haven’t released official pricing yet but he assumes that it will probably be in the ballpark of $65,000. He excitedly tells us about the rearview cameras that have replaced the rearview mirrors and the screens for them sits up on the front part of the door providing an excellent view behind you. The Audi e-tron is definitely something to look forward to. Next, Karl gives us an update on his Ford GT and shares that he finally got the color specifications locked in. It has been agonizing to make his final design decisions because of all the intricate options. He feels like an extremely lucky guy to be able to spend so much time customizing his dream ride. Catch up to speed with Karl now.


[00:42:14] Toyota Tacoma vs. Chevrolet Colorado

The midsized truck market is becoming more competitive and it is hard to choose favorites. Executive Editor of Autotrader, Brian Moody, explains the comparisons they have been doing between the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado. In this case, Autotrader gives their vote to the Chevrolet Colorado but it wasn’t by a landslide. Tacomas are known for their excellent reputation, reliability, and driver assist safety features. They also have a higher resale value, so for buyers who are only looking to keep it for a short period of time then the Tacoma would be the way to go. The reason that the Colorado gets Autotrader’s vote is that it really has a lot going for it that shouldn’t be overlooked. It has a diesel option that will be a big deal for many buyers and it seems like they put a lot more thought into their redesign. It will also come with a very aggressive ZR2 off-road package that will appeal to many adventurers and is said to perform better than Toyota’s TRD package. Does the Colorado sound appealing or does your truck loyalty lie with the Tacoma?


[00:48:39] Rumors on the new Ford Ranger

We continue the topic of midsized trucks and as we near closer to the launch of the 2020 Ford Ranger, it’s time to start thinking about why we will love this truck. Autotrader’s Brian Moody gives us an inside track on the facts coming from their sister publication in Australia, “Car Guides”. Their versions come with a V6 and diesel engine but he believes that the U.S. model will receive a 2.3L EcoBoost which is the same engine as the Mustang. It will come equipped with a 10-speed automatic, SuperCab or SuperCrew, and we can keep a lookout for safety features such as emergency braking, Lane-Keeping System, and some version of Ford SYNC. There are even rumors that there may be a Raptor version of the Ranger, and while that is not confirmed, Brian tells us that it will most likely have a powerful FX4 off-road package. Base MSRP of the Ford Ranger will be around $25,000 – $30,000. Then, Brian also explains Autotader’s Accelerate program, which takes the hassle out of buying a new car and makes it possible for you to complete your purchase from the comfort of your own home. Time for a new ride?


[00:54:45] Handling of the Hellcat Widebody

Driving is becoming more and more exciting with the advances in technology these days. Automotive journalist, George Kennedy, is here to share about his test drive of the 2018 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Widebody. He says we can rest assured that the 707-HP is more than enough and is made for a track where you will be taking corners. The big surprise is that because of the added width, adaptive suspension, and multi-mode steering this machine handles extremely well. With the giant wheels and tires, George found this machine more rewarding than last year’s model. The performance pages on the infotainment system make it so you can tune everything from the suspension, steering, and traction control. American muscle still has the heart of these two guys – what are your thoughts?


[01:02:06] 2018 Lexus NX vs 2018 Acura RDX

As we like to say often, there are no bad rides out there these days but that makes it more difficult to pick our favorites. Automotive journalist, George Kennedy, compares the 2018 Lexus NX and the 2018 Acura RDX. These compact SUVs both have a lot going for them and there were things about both that George loved and others that drove him nuts. For a 6’3” tall George, the Lexus NX was a bit too small and had his baseball cap hitting the ceiling. While he was wishing it was geared toward larger drivers he appreciated their attention to detail, the quality materials, and excellent handling. The Lexus NX 300 with a 2L turbocharged AWD machine had a price of $45,000. On the other hand, the 2018 Acura RXD starts at $37,300 and George’s as-driven model was an A-Spec that came in at $46, 495 which had hotter wheels, tires, and a Solo cup red interior. This great looking car had amazing handling and the only downside that George saw was that the infotainment system was not intuitive and had a very steep learning curve. These SUVs are both great contenders but which one would win your vote?


[01:09:42] DUI of NASCAR’s Brian France

It’s never a dull week in NASCAR, and Ed Justice, Jr. of Justice Brothers, Inc. is here to discuss the DUI of NASCAR’s CEO, Brian France. As of now, it is has been announced that Brian will be taking an indefinite leave of absence. He was recently arrested for a DUI and possession of painkillers. Ed tells us that this is not a good thing for France or NASCAR but that they will continue onward. In the past, members of NASCAR have always had a tough time with substance abuse and it is sad to see France suffer from it as well. This has been a very interesting year for NASCAR and they can’t help but wonder what kind of stress these people are under. Alan and Ed both stress that it is really important to call a ride if you are ever impaired. We will keep an eye on NASCAR to see what the future holds.


[01:18:07] Ferrari: Race to Immortality

Ferrari has always been an amazing icon in the racing world and there is a new documentary that focuses on one of racing’s most dangerous times. Ed Justice, Jr. recently watched Ferrari: Race to Immortality, which focused on 1955-1958 and showed the danger, romance and glamour of racing in those years. It was a time we will never see again in auto racing and the documentary does have a certain amount of gore, death, and destruction. The worst racing accident occurred at LeMans in 1955 where a racer crashed into the wall and his disintegrated car was sent into the crowd killing 80 people. This documentary is really worth watching and possibly even buying. Then, Ed quickly tells us about a new book by race car driver, Derek Bell, called “All My Porsche Races” and explains that it discusses endurance racing through the 60s, 70s, and 80s. If you’re a Porsche fan, these are two things you need in your life.


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