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  • Sep 08, 2018

    2018 J.D. Power Consumer Studies, Auto News, and Test Drives | #346


    The auto industry is like a fine wine, it gets better with age. First, J.D. Power Vice President of Global Automotive, Dave Sargent, reports on the results of their 2018 US APEAL Study, which found automakers to be doing a tremendous job of delivering to customer expectations. Also, find out which technology advances in cars today have people jumping for joy, and which are making people pull their hair out. Then, Automotive Journalist featured on, Steven Cole Smith, fills us in on the North American Car of the Year nominees, North American International Auto Show updates, his trek up the Rubicon Trail in a Jeep, and NASCAR news. Steven also chats with Alan about the 2019 Infiniti QX50, the access economy, and Next, after a couple of weeks of intensive travelling, Alan and Automotive Journalist, BJ Killeen, catch up and discuss Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, golf, auto manufacturer luxury channels, and the 2018 Mazda CX-9. BJ got a chance to sit behind the wheel of the new CX-9, and found many things impressive, but was struggling to notice anything that separated it from the pack. Similarly, Alan drove the Mercedes-Benz C 350e and thought it was a very nice car, but it just didn’t fit him. Last, Executive Editor, Brian Moody, extols the 2019 GMC Sierra, saying it’s the best full-size pickup there is, with the only caveat being that no truck on the market can match RAM’s interiors. The 2019 GMC Sierra has video camera mirrors, a carbon fiber insert for the bed, looks that can kill, and a truly reinvented tailgate. Its tailgate is like something out of transformers, with the ability to fold into several different configurations. Also, Brian fills us in on the insanely depreciated used electric car market. Some amazing cars at a fraction of their ‘new’ sticker price include various models of BMW i3 for $20,000, previous generation Nissan Leaf and Fiat 500e for $10,000, and even Tesla Model S for $30,000. Tune in for more.


    ·[00:00:00] Customers Demand, Manufacturers Deliver
    ·[00:06:34] Technology Usage in Vehicles Quantified
    ·[00:12:30] North American Car of the Year 2018
    ·[00:19:51] 2019 Infiniti QX50
    ·[00:29:05] The Rise of the Access Economy
    ·[00:35:51] Rubicon Trail and NASCAR News
    ·[00:42:12] Golf Is Fun, but It’s Great to Be Home
    ·[00:48:16] Missed Beats of the 2018 Mazda CX-9
    ·[00:54:43] Mazda CX-9 – Stuck Between Two Segments
    ·[01:02:04] Mercedes-Benz C 350e, It Doesn’t Fit Me
    ·[01:09:24] 2019 GMC Sierra: Best Truck Ever?
    ·[01:18:05] Used Electric Car Deals on Autotrader


    [00:00:00] Customers Demand – Manufacturers Deliver
    We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: no one makes a bad car these days. J.D. Power Vice President of Global Automotive, Dave Sargent, reports on the results of their 2018 US APEAL Study, which ranks cars based on performance, execution, and layout. This year, automakers have done a tremendous job of delivering to customer expectations; J.D. Power saw some of the best scores in the history of the study, and the fastest rate of improvement. Hyundai’s luxury brand, Genesis, came out on top as the best ranked brand, which is very impressive considering how new the brand is. Porsche continues to do extremely well, as they have in every study since its inception in the 90s. Other class acts included BMW, Lincoln, and Ford. Domestics performed very well in the Mass Market and saw Chevrolet and GMC as the top two rank brands with RAM, Dodge, and Ford not far behind. Learn more about the ever-improving automarket, here!



    [00:06:34] Technology Usage in Vehicles Quantified
    Does anyone even use their car’s navigation system anymore? A study from J.D. Power, which took a look at 2018 model year vehicles after 90 days of ownership and analyzed usage of technology in the vehicle, shows infotainment systems losing the battle to smartphone mirroring. Although, most technologies implemented into vehicles are being put to good use, such as accident avoidance systems. Many responders to the study claim they’ve been assisted in avoiding serious accidents, or at the very least, fender benders, reports Vice President of Global Automotive, Dave Sargent. These systems can be annoying and unpredictable at times, with alarms or warnings going off inconsistently. J.D. Power is in the business of informing consumers, as well as automakers; by benchmarking competitors, all manufacturers end up delivering better vehicles. Learn more at


    [00:12:30] North American Car of the Year 2018
    Nominees for the North American Car of the Year (NACTOY) are in, and Automotive Journalist featured on Automobile, Steven Cole Smith, is on the team of 50+ independent journalist tasked with determining the winners. Finalists are determined by ballot entries, and only twelve of each category can make it through. Thankfully, the truck category made itself easy this time around, as there were only three eligible vehicles to choose from – the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, and RAM 1500. In October, Steven and the other journalist will head to Michigan to test the finalist vehicles, and the winners will be announced at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), which, coincidentally, will be the last NAIAS to be held during in January. As the New York International Auto Show, Los Angeles Auto Show, and Chicago Auto Show steal mindshare, NAIAS executives are making moves in an attempt to increase attendance of their annual show. Issues including winter weather, ease of access of the other shows, and the fact that Detroit is home to the big three of car manufacturing (General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US) could be major contributing factors in the decline of Detroit’s annual auto show.


    [00:19:51] 2019 Infiniti QX50
    Of the numerous entries for North American Car of the Year (NACTOY), only twelve from each category (car, SUV, and truck) can make it through to the finalist round. Automotive Journalist, Steven Cole Smith, shares the list of cars and SUVs that are vying to get into the next phase. 23 cars, including the Aston Martin Vantage, Nissan Leaf, Lexus LS 500, and Volkswagen Jetta, and 20 SUVs ranging from the Acura RDX to the Porsche Cayenne have been nominated for the NACTOY award. In other news, Alan recently test drove the 2019 Infiniti QX50 Essential. Coming in at $55,285 as tested, Alan felt this SUV to be well worth the price tag. Infiniti may have gotten a slow start in comparison to Lexus, but they have been delivering on luxury, comfort, and package options in the past few years. That, combined with the wide array of amazing financing and leasing options, there’s no reason not to get your family into one of these beauties. Could you see yourself in an Infiniti QX50?



    [00:35:51] Rubicon Trail and NASCAR News
    The Rubicon Trail is one of the toughest trails in America and is a staple for any off roading enthusiast. Automotive Journalist, Steven Cole Smith, recently made his return to the prestigious Native American footpath, and had an amazing time with a 2 door and 4 door Jeep. In NASCAR news, the Brickyard 400 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be airing Sunday, September 9th at 2:00 PM on NBCS. All of the races will be on NBCS, except for the September 30th Charlotte Road Course race, which will air on NBC. Also, Chevrolet is struggling with only two wins in 24 races, while Ford and Toyota are having no trouble keeping pace with each other. While the sport is doing okay overall, recent scandals and a lack of strong leadership have left NASCAR with only three manufacturers and a weakened appeal. Are you a NASCAR fan?


    [00:42:12] Golf Is Fun, but It’s Great to Be Home
    It has been said that Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is where the billionaires look down their noses at the millionaires. Alan recently spent three days at Monterey Car Week, and said he felt like he didn’t fit in as he was trying to haggle for a hot dog in his thrift store jacket. BJ Killeen is also back from a week of traveling, back and forth to Detroit, and other places like Florida, and she says there’s no place like home. Alan then tells a story about his golfing experience with a bunch of golfers, as a non-golfer.


    [00:54:43] Mazda CX-9 – Stuck Between Two Segments
    What does it take to stand out in a saturated market like the luxury SUV segment? From the Ford Explorer, Volkswagen Atlas, and Honda Pilot to luxury tier SUVs, Mazda’s seven passenger SUV is sandwiched between two spheres of competition. Automotive Journalist, BJ Killeen, touches on the 2018 Mazda CX-9’s leather trimmed upholstery, heated front seats, aluminum interior trim, second row sunshades, heated steering wheel, and plethora of other luxury features, but doesnt feel that they’re enough to make the CX-9 stand out. Alan compares the $55,000 2019 Infiniti QX50 to BJ’s most recent test ride. While it is a smaller, five passenger vehicle, its technology was very advanced. On top of that, the QX50 has the world’s first variable compression ratio engine, which continuously transforms and adjusts it’s compression ratio from 14 to 1 to optimize the power, giving it class leading fuel economy and power out of a four cylinder, 2 liter engine. Which SUV would you chose?



    [01:09:24] 2019 GMC Sierra – Best Truck There Is?
    Is it possible to truly reinvent something as ubiquitous as the tailgate? Autotrader Executive Editor, Brian Moody, believes that GMC may very well have done that with their 2019 Sierra full-size pick-up. In fact, he goes as far as to say that GMC’s new Sierra might be the best full size truck on the market. Just one caveat – no truck can match the splendor of RAM interiors. With video camera mirrors, a carbon fiber insert for the bed, looks that can kill, and the previously mentioned reinvented tailgate that is like something out of a transformers movie, Brian can’t extol the 2019 GMC Sierra enough. Learn more about this innovative pick-up at



    [01:18:05] Used Electric Car Deals on Autotrader
    If you’re looking for a great deal on a used car, the electric car market might have something for you. Autotrader Executive Editor, Brian Moody, discusses an Autotrader article that discovered used electric vehicles (EV) going for well below their new, sticker price. For example, multiple BMW i3, a car that sells new for $40,000-$50,000, sell for $20,000 on Autotrader, with one selling as low as $14,000. A previous generation Nissan Leaf and Fiat 500e were spotted on sale for $10,000, and a Tesla Model S with 40,000 miles was sold for $38,000. Also, while many people may be afraid of used EVs due to their batteries, Brian Moody explains that the warranty on these batteries is often much longer than the rest of the car. Search for your next EV today on



    Explore More with Helpful Links:



    ·Website: J.D. Power APEAL Award Summary

    ·Website: J.D. Power Tech Experience Index




    ·Website: North American Car of the Year


    ·Website: 21st Rubicon Trail 2018

    ·Website: BJ Killeen

    ·Website: Best Used Electric Car Bargains on Autotrader

    ·Vehicle Mention: 2019 Infiniti QX50
    ·Vehicle Mention: 2018 Mazda CX-9

    ·Vehicle Mention: 2018 Mercedes-Benz C 350e Plug-in Hybrid

    ·Vehicle Mention: 2019 GMC Sierra


    Our Sponsors & Supported Charities:

    ·Austin Hatcher Foundation
    ·Foundation of Human Understanding
    ·Go RVing
    ·Haynes Manuals
    ·Patriot Outreach
    ·The Little Rock Foundation



    This episode was produced by Entertainment Right Now (ERN). If you found value in this episode, and you’d like to hear more, please consider leaving 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


    Host: Alan Taylor
    Producer: Dave Milligan
    Production Asst.: Joanne Bolden
    Audio Engineer: Dave Milligan
    Copy Editor: Cody Castleberry
    Contributor: Steven Cole Smith
    Contributor: BJ Killeen
    Special Guest: Dave Sargent
    Special Guest: Brian Moody

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  • THE DRIVE with Alan Taylor

    Live on Saturday from 7-9 am PST, 10-12 pm EST. - Podcast Avail. 24/7

    THE DRIVE with Alan Taylor puts you in the driver’s seat for a unique, fast paced look at today’s automotive industry. Your pedal-to-the-metal, two-hour thrill ride devoted to the latest car news and test-drive results, how-to tips, auto show coverage, expert insights, and behind the scenes action. Don’t miss exclusive interviews with executives, athletes, celebrities and prominent news-makers from around the world.

    Find out what it’s like to jump behind the wheel for a test drive of the Jaguar F-TYPE on one of Spain’s most challenging stretches of hair pin winding roads. Go with Alan to Iceland for a zip around a track in subzero weather. Hear the inside scoop from the most powerful car execs, celebrities and car guys around.

    THE DRIVE with Alan Taylor is also your source for fast paced news and insights from NASCAR, IMCA and ASA Sprint Car and Truck Racing, including Super Stock, Street Stock, Super Dirt, Modified and Late Model Racing. Get track-side insights and behind the scenes info from industry leaders, drivers, designers, crews and legendary racing figures. Listen in on chats with auto buffs and collectors like Jay Leno, Tim Allen, Mario Andretti, Ali Afshar, Micky Jones, Jesse James, Rich Evans, Billy Gibbons and thousands more.

    Award-winning host, Alan Taylor, is a 30+ year broadcast veteran and a true automobile aficionado. For years, Alan has been a featured automotive expert to millions on ABC’s “LIVE! with Kelly & Ryan”, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC,  the SPEED Channel and others. Alan brings you his expertise on car and truck related topics every week on nationally syndicated radio, podcast, videos, and blogs.

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