Detroit Auto Show Editors Roundtable: Join us as we pick our favorites
Hello and welcome back to the Road Show by CNET's live stage at the North American International Auto Show, here in Detroit.
I'm Tim Stevens, editor in chief of Road Show and we've been here for the past couple of days.
We walked the show floor, we've seen all the cars and now we're gonna talk about some of our favorites.
]Joining me first our Road Show editor is John Wong, Emily Hall and Wayne Cunningham.
Wayne we put you at the end, because you've been getting over a little bit a sickness from CES.
But I love that you're here with us this morning.
Got a little buffer here.
[LAUGH] :>> But it's been a long couple days.
We've seen a lot of great cars.
And I just wanna quickly run through some of our favorites and why.
So John you're closest to me What's your pick of this show?
My pick of the show is the Kia Stinger, probably because it's gorgeous looking, first of all.
Kia's got design down with Peter [UNKNOWN] at the helm, and I think it's a great looking car.
A little busy at the front but everything else I'm on board with.
But the one thing that really has me interested is that Albert [UNKNOWN] was really the guy who spearheaded the development of this car.
Came from BMW and previously Kia and Hyundai.
It's had problems developing suspensions, steering and what not.
But [UNKNOWN] overlooks a lot of BMW [UNKNOWN] vehicle and what not.
So it's just interesting to see what his work there And his team of [INAUDIBLE] can develop his fingerprints should be all over this car.
Interested to see if he's still [INAUDIBLE]
It seems like it should be a simple thing.
You make a car, you add an X amount of horsepower, rear wheel drive, skip suspension, seems like it should be an easy thing.
It's a lot more complicated [INAUDIBLE]
It's an art.
It's an art, just dampening steering, this is a whole package thing Putting it all together to be one cohesive thing that's connected first of all.
Also rides well.
Asking someone to do all that stuff, it's an art.
It's magic, a little bit.
I mean, I agree with
With you, I'm super excited about this Stinger.
I think it's gonna be great.
But the one problem that I have.
It doesn't have a manual.
Thank you, it doesn't have a manual.
Come on, John.
You know you want a manual in that car, too.
No, I would want a manual, too.
All of us would want a manual.
But the main, general buying public, they don't care really.
The guys gonna get into it.
If it's a good automatic, which they say
They're promising that it will be.
It's an eight speed?
An eight speed automatic, two engines available.
What was it, turbo four with 255 horsepower in it, 3.3 twin turbo with 365.
That's a lot of power.
So, I mean yeah, I understand, yeah.
I'd like a manual.
I'd buy the manual.
But unfortunately we're in the minority.
So we're not get a manual.
And there's a lot of cars that don't have a manual in that class.
Lexus IS, Infinity 250, I mean obviously BMW does.
Audi does, but if you want a manual then you gotta go there.
Well, that's what I wanna know is, where does this car fit in the Kia lineup?
That's the confusing thing here.
Yeah, I know, it's kinda the in betweener.
It's bigger than an IS And 3 series and A4.
And I think it's almost the same size, wheel base wise, as a Lexus GS as well.
It's like 5 series size.
Right, so it's a big car.
Yeah, when you look at that wheel base, and it's like [SOUND] it's really long, really long.
Well, here's my theory is Kia uses this car to launch some sub brands.
Maybe a premium sub brand.
A premium sports car subrail?
I mean, Hyundai did it.
Yeah, I know.
Well, they're having a little trouble there too.
So I know a little bit about that obviously, but yeah, it would be interesting to see.
Well, let's start off with Stinger and if it hits then, you know, maybe they'll look at it.
Now we spoke with the product manager for the Stingray yesterday [UNKNOWN] and he basically indicated that this is basically Kia evolving along with their buyers.
The Kia has been on the market long enough that they now have brand loyalty.
And people who love their Kias and they want to continue with their Kias but they're getting a little older, maybe their families are getting a little bigger.
Maybe their disposable income is getting a little bigger too, they want to be able to move up market but stay within the Kia brand.
And so this is Kia's attempt to do that with both The Stinger and also with the K900, which is more on the luxury side of things.
That's a big rear wheel drive, more luxury, more comfortable sedan.
the Stinger also gives them the higher end, bigger, more performance type car.
But it is a bit of a weird proposition, roughly targeting the 3, 4 series but the size of the 5 series.
But the feel like a G8 or an SS, that kind of thing too, it almost feels like that in my mind.
So It's a bit of a weird proposition I think.
But I'm curious to see how it does.
I'm eager to see how it does.
It's a great looking car.
It is a little busy as you mentioned.
And the one thing that nobody mentioned it's a hatchback sort of.
It's like a It's a coupe right?
[LAUGH] Or a [INAUDIBLE] I guess a [INAUDIBLE].
It's got that little bit of the fast back look to it.
But it's still a four door, so you can't really call it a coupe.
The every man [INAUDIBLE] maybe.
I can see that.
Every man's [INAUDIBLE].
That's a good way to put it.
There's a lot of recent history around
Sedan hatchback, so I think that's a good following on that framework.
So if you can't get your Mercedes CLS or your A7, then sting her.
All right, Emme.
I think you're going to pick a truck.
What's your current pick?
Well, you know, I am a truck gal, and the 2018 Ford F-150, I think, is going to be
So good, especially because they're gonna now be offering a diesel engine, a three liter diesel engine.
We haven't gotten any of the specs on that diesel engine.
But still, being able to have the option of a diesel and not needing to go up to the Super Duty series.
I think that's gonna fill a void for a lot of customers.
Especially those that need something on the work site that don't need again, like super giant, super duty, people that really need to tow stuff.
I know, you and I, we're going out to the race track all the time, we're always needing to tow our cars.
You always drive your car to the race track, right?
If anything happens I'm in big trouble.
So having that extra torque to tow is I think gonna be great.
And Ford is also bringing in, on the 2018 F-150, adaptive cruise control with start stop technology.
Which I think is the first time we've seen that on a truck with actual start stop.
And it's hard to drive anything in stop and go traffic.
There's nothing about a truck that makes it easier to on and off the throttle.
So I think it's great that now we're getting that option in the Ford, so that you can take some of that drudgery away from driving.
And then once you get out on the open road where it's a little bit more fun, that's when you can kind of put your foot down and have a little bit of a blast.
And I guess refining styling, too.
They took some of the cues from the Super Duty and brought that down to the smaller [UNKNOWN], too.
Yeah, a little bit of the Super Duty, especially in the front [UNKNOWN] shed, bringing that in.
You know if you don't want a diesel they're also offering a new three point three liter V6 engine for 2018.
So you know when you look at the Ford line up with that F-150 there's so many options.
They've been the best seller for
Almost as long as I've been alive.
And it's great to see them still innovating.
Still putting more ideas and everything out there.
And then of course, the other big news that we got is that the Ranger's coming to the states.
Coming back, coming back, coming back.
Well, come on, John.
Give me a break.
Yes, we do have to wait.
But good things come to those who wait.
And I think the reason why they haven't, they've been a little reluctant to bring the Ranger back, is that, for a while there, they were really close in size, the Ranger and the F-150.
But now, you go to the stand, you look at the F-150, it's like that's no longer a midsize pickup truck.
That baby is
Fully gone into both sides.
So they're losing a lot of market share from the Colorado, the Chevy Colorado or the Toyota Tacoma.
So they really do need a good mid-size pickup to bring in there.
I'm super excited about it.
You know, when we were over at the Paris auto show I saw it all over the road in Europe.
And it's always funny to see an American truck in Europe, right?
That we can't get here in the US, yeah.
How does that happen and I don't get that in America?
So now brining it back here, I think it's going to be great.
What I'm curious about with the diesel option, the F-150, where are they sourcing this engine?
Is this one of their own engines from overseas, or is this something maybe they're getting from another maker?
Well, it's a three liter power stroke, so I think that that's of their own making.
It's going to be turbo obviously.
That's a good engine size for a diesel, generally enough power, and decent fuel economy on the highways.
I think I'm going to be excited.
I was surprised that they didn't address some of the more pointed advertising criticism about the [INAUDIBLE] which is the aluminum bed and potential damage there.
I would have thought that they would have maybe done So a sort of factory bed liner or something like that to just try to address that.
Because, there's been a lot of attacks for the aluminum body truck.
And ultimately, I think that's a good way forward.
But there's been some very pointed advertisement about dropping tool chests and puncturing the bed and that kind of thing.
It seems like that should be a simple fix for them.
But they didn't mention that at all.
Yeah, I'm not sure.
I mean, it would have been great to have actually seen the The European ranger, what's the name, what's the name.
The European ranger come out here.
I really wish that we had actually seen it when they made the announcement.
But all we saw as a photo of it.
That was kind of [INAUDIBLE]
And the Bronco.
And the Bronco coming too That, you know, it'll be interesting to see once the Bronco gets here, that finally, the Wrangler has got a little bit of competition for a good body-on-frame off-road SUV, to see if maybe Chevy's going to answer with a Trailblazer and then see where else manufacturers are going to answer that when it comes to real body-on-frame off-road S SUVs.
A whole new era of old school SUVs.
Do it all the old fashioned ways.
And we all have electric drive trains.
All right, Wayne.
What's your star of the show?
Well, I've kinda got two.
I've got a top and then a pretty strong runner up.
I really like the Lexus LS-500 they've shown off here.
Back about 10 years ago I was reviewing the original Lexus LS460 and that car is one of the only cars I've ever given full top marks to, 10 out of 10, because it was so good and So it's been a long time and I have been waiting and waiting, and waiting for an update and that's hard you know Lexus is, I guess that car was so good they're like, well we'll do minor updates here and there but they didn't really give it a full generational update until then, and then you and looks really good it's got some of that aspect value that we see with the Stinger And they've gone the way of a lot of luxury sedan makers where they've reduced the engine size.
They don't need a V8 anymore.
I mean, nobody really cares about cylinder count.
They're going with a Turbo V6 415 horsepower That's better than the old V8.
You know, it's gonna get better fuel economy on the highway.
Probably equal or better on the, in city streets.
It's got a nice big display.
You know it might fall behind somewhat of the real luxury cars in its infotainment stuff.
You know Lexus has always gone for more Functionality, rather than really pushing the boundary.
But this has just been a long time coming, and Lexus has always known how to do a really good luxury car.
Good luxury ride, good comfort, good cabin.
So I'm definitely looking forward to driving this one.
And my runner up on this is the BMW 530 [UNKNOWN]
I like that, I mean, the new 5 Series have a lot of stuff going for it.
It borrows a lot of stuff from the new 7 Series, which is a phenomenal car.
And earlier last year, I drove the BMW 330e and that's got, I think, almost a miraculous drivetrain.
They incorporate GPS location into the drive train so the car knows when to use its electric power.
It's a plug-in hybrid.
So it knows when to use its electric power and when to rely on gasoline.
And so the 530E does the same thing.
It's the same drive train basically.
So this is wi-fi runner up cuz it only sort of rehashes what we saw in the 330E as far as the drive train goes.
But I just think this needs to be called out again and again, because it's brilliant stuff.
And other automakers are going to have to look at how they can use location-based technologies to adjust how the drivetrain works, because you can get better fuel economy, you can just optimize so much better.
In the iDrive in the five series, you can operate it either by the little control knob, or by using your voice, or by gesture control, right?
They took that from the seven series?
Yeah, and they have expanded it [UNKNOWN].
They refined that, they added a little bit more.
And gesture control seems like a gimmick, it seems like a novelty, but when I've driven in the seven series, and just done this to turn the volume up or down You know, they say yeah.
You can just use the thumb scroll on the steering wheel or reach over and turn a knob.
But for some reason, this feels easier.
[LAUGH] I don't know why.
What if you do this in the [INAUDIBLE] does it turn up the stereo as well?
Right, it just really combines to the individual spot
But it works really well, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of these capabilities, more gesture control.
And what it comes down to is how that actually feels when you're driving.
I mean, if it feels intuitive, and if it feels just as natural for me to go over and turn the knob.
Doing this then.
It'll be interesting.
I haven't been in a car that's got the gesture control.
So I'm interested to see how personally I would react to that since I'm such a buttons and knobs kinda gal.
Well, the 5 series also has the wireless Apple CarPlay.
Yeah, that's really cool.
I'm excited about that.
Yeah, instead of plugging your phone in you just bring it in.
It's connected to your Bluetooth.
I haven't tried this yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing that as well.
So CarPlay, I found that when I get into a car that has CarPlay, I tend to use it.
I tend to just forget the original system and go straight for that.
Yeah, for sure.
I'm just wondering what this is gonna do for battery life though.
It seems Plugging in always seems like a good idea because using navigation always kills the battery in your phone pretty quick so I think most people will still want to.
But having the option is definitely good, especially for people like us who are hopping from one car to the next on a pretty frequent basis.
Going back to the LS, I think it looks great.
I think it's really cool.
But it's really aggressive on the styling.
That's a pretty in your face grill on that thing.
Do you think it's too much?
Especially for the clientele of that car?
Well, when I looked at it, if you look at the most recent RX, that's got a crazy, big grille, big angles, everything, super aggressive.
That was pretty polarizing when it came out.
When I saw the LS, I thought, they've actually dialed that down a little bit.
Yeah, it's much more than the current one, the current LS model.
It felt like it was a little bit more refined.
Yeah, it is big and chunky and has a presence.
I think they are going for more presence.
You know this is the car coming down the road.
They don't want to just blend in with all the other luxury sedans.
They don't want to be homogenized [INAUDIBLE] Something good in that.
They're certainly becoming synonymous with Lexus, giant spindle [INAUDIBLE] [LAUGH] with lots of reflection.
They're doing that but they're also focusing on performance.
Like that platform [INAUDIBLE] shared with the LC, I drove that a couple months ago, and that thing's phenomenal, just on the Stretch it super, super stiff.
But one thing they're trying to do, they want to match striding, performance dynamics with Mercedes BMW or what not.
And the alehouse has always been a super comfortable car, but it's always fallen behind when it comes to engagement.
You get it, and it's like Super soft and quiet, comfortable, everything like that, but I really want to amp up make steering tighter.
The whole thing tighter, so after driving the LT, I'm pretty confident they are gonna make a pretty sharp driving LS, I hope.
I was really curious about that-
Because Lexus has tried to do that sport thing recently and
It hasn't quite gelled.
But you said with LC they've really got it.
LC is good, and I think the work they did on the GSF, very impressive.
Yeah, GSF's a lot of fun, it is.
I'm surprised that we didn't see the LC's hybrid system in the [UNKNOWN] I guess that'll probably come down the road.
But I would have thought they might lead with that.
Yeah, it's interesting because like Wayne said they went to a downsized motor, the twin turbo V6 instead of a V8 now.
I'm guessing a hybrid will come.
And I'm guessing also all wheel drive will come down the line as well.
So they're just probably taking their time to rolling it out.
That's probably the craziest hybrid that I can think of.
Can you walk us through a little bit how that works with multiple transmissions and everything else briefly?
Not to put you on the spot or anything.
Just say planetary [UNKNOWN].
Yeah the transmission's got a CBT, and there's a four speed normal transmission.
Automatic transmission yeah.
And so the first gear, I think one through three is handled by the CBT.
I believe, I think.
I might be flipped away.
The point is that they didn't like the CVT buzz and hanging up in the revs and what not.
That's why they put that four speed in there.
It works with the CVT and adjusts A bunch of different ratios.
And so that's how they get actually shifts that feel real.
Like a shift?
But the flexibility of the CVT and the economy and the performance [CROSSTALK] and everything else too.
Right, so they're putting those two to together to try and give you the performance and the fuel economy.
So the best of both worlds.
But what does that do to the weight of the car?
They cut a lot of weight out of that new platform.
There's a ton of aluminum in that thing.
And so that kind of made up for what they added with the hybrid.
And they also use one of the most gorgeous cars here.
I wanna say it's almost the most gorgeous production car from 2017.
I mean that is an absolutely phenomenally good looking car.
Especially for under $100,000.
I mean you look at all these super crazy [UNKNOWN] and all that
We did get pricing for the LC, starting at $92,000 or something like that, I think.
And only a $3500 premium for that crazy hybrid system.
Which, on a car that expensive, it seems like they could have charged whatever they wanted to.
So, LS is looking good and the F-150's looking good.
the Kia's looking good.
Some pretty good cars.
I think we're gonna wrap up with the first phase of this discussion.
We're gonna throw to a quick break.
Thanks very much John, Amy, and Wayne.
We're gonna take a quick break and we'll come back with the second group of Road Show editors, the rest of the team.
We'll talk about their favourite cars.
We'll be right back in just a moment.
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