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Unnamed Automotive Podcast

Author: Unnamed Automotive Podcast

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Benjamin and Sami are two journalists who take a weekly look at the funnier side of the automotive industry and the cars they drive.
223 Episodes
Does the 2022 Acura MDX go far enough to push past the excellent crop of mid-size SUVs out there, or does it settle for more of what returning Acura customers are looking for? Sami spends a week behind the wheel to find out. Benjamin ends up puzzled by the 2021 Toyota Venza, a vehicle that should feel like its RAV4 Hybrid platform-mate but comes across with a radically different character. The pair wrap things up with a review of a fascinating reference book about the Honda S2000, as well as answer a listener question about what would be a good, fun, and affordable first car.
The 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge is the Swedish brand's very first all-electric vehicle, and the most powerful version of the XC40 SUV to date. Benjamin dives in to the good and the bad about driving this high-end EV during winter's bitter cold, and compares it against the much cheaper 2021 Kia Soul EV's performance under the same conditions. Sami gives his impressions of the aging, but still interesting 2021 Lexus NX 300 crossover before the pair answer a listener question about the best cheap-and-fun four-door first car.
Benjamin and Sami hit you with a Lightning Round bonus episode talking about this week's massive new car drop, including the Subaru Wilderness Brand, 2021 Chevrolet Bolt, 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander, 2022 Audi e-tron GT, 2021 Kia K8, 2021 Honda HR-V Hybrid, 2021 Porsche 911 GT3, and the McLaren Hybrid Supercar
The 2021 Chevrolet Blazer RS resurrects a name that at first feels laden with SUV heritage, but as Benjamin points out isn't all fun and two-door off-roading games. Sami's time behind the Blazer's wheel reveals mixed feelings about why GM didn't go all the way in making the family ride live up to its potential. Benjamin then discusses his week-long try-out of the 2021 Kia Stinger GT as a potential year-round daily driver, and mentions what he still loves about the twin-turbo hatch, and what let him down in the years between his first drive back in 2018 and the current model. The pair wrap things up by pitting the Mustang SVT Cobra 'Terminator' against the 2018+ Mustang PP1 to answer a listener question about which would be the better high performance buy.
Did you know Subaru built a flat-12 engine for its forgotten Formula 1 racing program in the early 90s? More on that at the end of the episode, because first Benjamin has to shake out his ambivalence at the 2021 Kia K5 GT-Line AWD and its ho-hum drivetrain, and Sami needs to wax ecstatic about the (finally) redesigned 2022 Nissan Frontier mid-size pickup. In between. there's an argument about the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor and just how useful off-road driver assistance features really are.
A briefing with Cadillac's Executive Chief Engineer Brandon Vivian and the V Series design team gave Benjamin and Sami a ton of info about the upcoming Blackwing versions of the CT4-V and CT5-V sedans. This bonus episode dives deep into both cars and discusses whether GM has done enough to bring the V Series reputation back where it belongs alongside BMW M and Mercedes-AMG.
Is there space for the 2021 Kia Seltos SX Turbo's top-end take on what should really be an affordable, no-frills compact SUV, or does its own brand's ultra-competitive line-up make it hard to justify spending the extra cash? Benjamin's week behind the wheel reveals the surprising answer. Next, Sami's take on the 2021 Hyundai Elantra shows just how much life is still left in the small sedan segment. Finally, the pair are puzzled by Tesla's decision to leave steering wheels and turn signals behind with the latest Model S EV refresh.
Does the 2021 Kia Niro EV deliver the kind of range and cold weather competence needed to deal with the winter's darkest depths? Benjamin wheels through sub-zero conditions to report on the surprisingly solid electric performance from Kia's battery-powered crossover. After a brief tangent about warning messages, Sami then ponders the new path Mazda has taken with the non-turbo 3's all-wheel drive model, which trades poise for a premium cabin.
Is a faster Crosstrek a better Crosstrek? Benjamin seems to think so after driving the 2021 version of the Subaru, which graduates to a 2.5-liter engine. Sami counters with the 2021 Toyota Corolla SE Apex Edition, a car he's lukewarm on before Benjamin points out all the cool upgrades he's totally downplaying. The two then discuss CES, how Benjamin hates it so much that it once sent him into a career-questioning tailspin in a Las Vegas hotel room, and how terrible it is that companies like Cadillac are bringing windowless autonomous pods to the digital-only show. The pair wrap things up with a review of TWR's Le Mans-Winning Jaguars by John Starkey.
The 2021 Porsche Taycan EV costs over $100k, has less range than the Chevrolet Bolt, and features some truly unusual ergonomic decisions inside its cabin. Everything Sami liked, and didn't like, about Porsche's first all-electric car gets mushed together with talk about off-brand batteries and just how useful a 2.5-second random 'boost' really is for driving enthusiasts. The pair then follow up with a deep look at the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L, the first three-row version of the popular SUV ever built, before being distracted by all of the other, much better names Chrysler could have used to replace the boring letter tacked on to the end of the badge.
Is a plug-in hybrid edition of BMW's popular X5 SUV even better to drive than the high-horsepower M version? That's the surprising conclusion Benjamin is forced to reckon with after an extended period behind the wheel of the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e. Sami then attempts to solve the puzzle of the 2021 Toyota Avalon AWD, a full-size model that drops power but adds traction in a bid to appeal to...who, exactly? Finally, the pair answer their first batch of listener questions for the year.
Is the 2021 Cadillac Escalade finaly worthy of flagship status? Is it different enough from the also-good GMC Yukon Denali to justify its six-figure window sticker? Both Benjamin and Sami spend a week with Cadillac's most advanced Escalade to date and come away with a lot to talk about. Wrapping things up, the pair mention the best vehicles they've been lucky enough to drive throughout 2020.
We've waited forever, but the EcoDiesel version of the Jeep Wrangler is finally here. Is Benjamin's second-favorite FCA power plant a worthy addition to the Wrangler line-up, or does the cost of entry make the turbodiesel SUV an outlier for off-road fans? Sami follows up with a full line drive of the 2021 Lexus IS, a sport sedan that seemingly triggers Benjamin's incredulity at the Lexus portfolio of vehicles.
The Nissan Rogue might not impress on paper, but as a whole it's one of the better new compact SUVs out there, according to Benjamin, finally vaulting the popular model to the front of the pack. Sami supports Benjain's new-found Rogue appreciation before diving into his own adventures dealing with the Audi E-Tron Sportback's limited battery range and extremely high sticker price. The pair wrap things up by deciding who had the cooler cars - the heroes or the villains - in each installment of the Fast and Furious film franchise.
Does the 2021 Land Rover Defender capture the unobtanium spirit that made its predecessor such a legend in North America, or is it merely another good SUV from the British 4x4 brand? Sami spends time with the four-door Land Rover and is surprised by the impression it makes on him. Even more surprising? His newfound love for the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime, whose plug-in hybrid drivetrain erases its previous sins. Benjamin has a more confusing experience with the 2021 BMW 228i Gran Coupe. It's the most affordable BMW out there, but does it make the best introduction to the brand? And are there better choices for the same money in BMW's own showroom?
Sami tries to figure out if it's enough for the 2020 Genesis G80 to be a comfortable and luxurious sedan, or if it needs to add athleticism to its portfolio to stand against the Germans that dominate the segment?. Benjamin is puzzled by the 2020 Nissan Titan PRO-4X, which needs to be better than the full-size pickup competition to catch eyes among truck buyers, but seems determined to merely match a narrow spectrum of what customers are looking for.
Sami splits between the 2021 Hyundai Elantra and the 2021 Hyundai Sonata N. Is the Elantra finally Civic-level in terms of its broad appeal? Can Benjamin be convinced that someone out there actually wants to pay that much more for a front-wheel drive, high performance family sedan? Next up are a pair of platform-mates from Mazda, the new 3 Turbo and the CX-30 SUV. Is Mazda's compact star a true luxury player now that it's left its MazdaSPEED days behind? Is there really any reason to choose the CX-30 over the almost-identical 3 hatchback?
Did Genesis hit one out of the park on the first try with the 2021 Genesis GV80? Sami certainly thinks so, as his time with the all-new SUV has him convinced it's got the German competition by the throat. The pair compare their back -to-back experiences in the 2021 BMW M8 Gran Coupe before wrapping things up with Benjamin's almost-complete 1987 Jeep Grand Wagoneer LS engine swap.
The Nissan Rogue has always done big business, but much of that was based on price and incentives. Sami's drive of the 2021 redesign reveals that Nissan's new investment in the Rogue elevates it to a new level among other compact SUVs and gives you reasons to buy it other than simply getting a great deal. Benjamin spends a week with the 2020 Honda Civic Si Coupe, a sporty compact that's among the last of its breed - and a car that is discontinued at the end of this year. How does the Si stack up against the dwindling crop of two-door offerings at the $25,000 mark?
Is the 2021 Mini John Cooper Works GP a logical track star step for fans of the brand, or are its real-world shortcomings too much of a liability? Sami puts it on a road course alongside the 2021 BMW 440i and the enormous 2021 Alpina XB7 SUV to figure out which of BMW's latest performers is the most fun to drive fast. Benjamin heads in the other direction with the 2020 Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid, which is perhaps the biggest surprise of the year for him. The pair wrap things up with listener questions, including clearing up a few more fake movie cars and digging in to the Fiat 500 Abarth.
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