Vans, Jeep Busters and Fusion vs Chrysler 200 [Ask Nathan]

2014 buick verano nathan adlen
Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.

From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.

2015 subaru legacy chicago video debut

In this edition of Ask Nathan:

  • Off road domination
  • Swagger Van
  • How much we demand in bribes?
  • 2014 Fusion Titanium vs 2015 Chrysler 200 AWDs…

Jeep Wrangler Maximum Performance
This guy wants to know if a few well-regarded off road rigs can compare (and keep up) with the best in the market.

Q: Hi Nathan, First and foremost, great work on TFL. I’ve watched many hours of your reviews, and you guys do a great job. Unique and different from the rest.

I hate to reach out and ask this age-old question, but I’m hoping you have a simple answer from all of your experience off-roading. From your feedback I recall, you say there are 3 vehicles off-road worthy: Jeep Rubicon, FJ Cruiser, and Xterra PRO4X. Born and raised in Southern California (not much around Woodland Hills, where I live), so Big Bear is the usual go-to spot. In Big Bear, the typical blue-rated trails have features that require decent ground clearance. Boulders, rocks, etc.

A stock Rubicon can get along decently, due to nice clearance. Do you feel a stock PRO4X or FJ can hang? The Nissan and Toyota don’t have a swaybar disconnect or dual locking hubs (rear only, I think), but I’m thinking they would survive alongside the Rubicon??

Last thing… I recall in your PRO4X video you didn’t mention the Cherokee Trailhawk as one of the three capable factory off-roaders. Is the lower ground clearance it’s only downfall?


Best Regards,

A: Dude! I grew up near Woodland Hills too! You pose a good question and the simple answer (regarding the Jeep Rubicon off road and – “do you feel a stock PRO4X or FJ can hang?”) is yes. The Jeep Rubicon is over-built for most off road trails. The Xterra Pro4X and FJ have good ground clearance, good approach/break-over/departure angles and have solid underpinnings. With the right suspension, gearing and tire combination, they have serious potential.

I would take the Nissan over the Toyota as the FJ is a pain to see out of and the Xterra has everyday utility. Then again, I would take the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon over both.

As for the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk: it’s good, real good off road – but it’s not in the same league as the Rubicon. It is the best off road capable car-based vehicle out there. Comfy too.

By the way – have you tried Gorman’s OHV parks? It’s pretty easy to get there from Woodland Hills.

Best of luck!


2015 Subaru WRX Front

This next one is from a conflicted van buyer.

Q: Hey, I honestly LOVE your channel on YouTube, the first thing I do every morning is wake up and check for some new reviews and you have helped open me up to a whole new world of cars, my family has always owned GM’s and my dad has always driven Cadillacs as long as I can remember but now he has a van, a 2008 Chevrolet uplander, can you look into the car and give me some thoughts about the designing and power and tell me what you think, I’ve seen some really terrible reviews about the car but after my dad has had it for soooo many years with about 100,000 km on it and no issues I was wondering if GM is gonna make another van, I’m really really really looking forward to hearing back from you guys, thanks sooooo much for helping me learn more and opened me up to a new world of being a car enthusiast
– Bill


A: Wow! You’re the second person this month who has mentioned his/her love for the Uplander! Sadly, your beloved van is no longer being built. GM is building a small van based on the Nissan NV200 – the Chevrolet City Express and it should have a passenger version available at some point. That’s about it in North America.

I hear good things about the Ford Transit Connect. Andre says its a damn good vehicle, kind of like a Ford Fusion wagon. If you feel like Italian, the Ram ProMaster City might feed your van-biased desires. It looks like an interesting possibility too.

We will review all of these vans on our TFLtruck channel and website. Stay tuned for that!

Best of luck!


2015 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro
We had a unique chance to produce videos with Toyota’s TRD Pro trucks. It was only for a few days, so we shot as much off road material as we could. The Tundra TRD Pro matches up nicely against trucks like the Ram Power Wagon and Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. Now, we own our Raptor which made the vitriol spewing from this viewer seem a tad overboard (this viewer pops up on many of our Toyota truck videos).

Q: (These are parts of a few quotes from a TFLTruck video regarding the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro vs the Ford Raptor)”How much did Toyota pay you guys for this review??” – “The Raptor is 10 times the truck that the Tundra “TRD” is, there is not even a comparison. The Raptor even drives better on-road, and is a much better built!” – – WM113

A: The accusation that journalists are paid for good testimony is an old one. If a journalist’s opinion is counter to something the reader/viewer believes (especially about automakers’ products) sparks often fly. We’re consumers too. Everyone at TFLCar/TFLTruck is human and has favorites. Still, to insinuate that we get paid off by automakers is kind of silly.

The suitcases of cash, drug-fueled rages and free Rolex watches are normal – right?

All kidding aside, we do allow ourselves to be catered to when we go to a press event. Often, automakers will fly us to a nice location at a fine hotel to sample their rides. It is usually a fine-dining affair with a hint of destination adventure thrown in (from time-to-time). Yes, we get swag like bags, jackets and whatnot – but no suitcases full of cash.

Here’s the truth: Our small outfit doesn’t have the resources to attend all of these trips on our own dime, so – yes – we let the automaker bring us in. Still, we manage to be straightforward with our first impressions and we try to resist the temptation to favor the vehicle because the automaker is paying the tab.

We at TFLcar and TFLtruck work our tails off at these events and do not treat them like a freebie vacation. Our work speaks for itself in our videos. Our payment is in providing the best, most entertaining video and written coverage we can. Seriously.

With all that being said: turns out that this anti-Toyota troll may not be old enough for a driver’s license.

Go figure!


This last one comes to us from a viewer who is is choosing between a 2015 Chrysler 200 and a 2014 Ford Fusion.

Q: Hey Guys…I am looking to trade in my Honda Accord CVT…Not happy at all with its performance. The fuel economy is the only major plus. I am now considering the 14 Fusion Titanium and the 15 Chrysler 200 C. Coming from the Honda, which vehicle would you choose if you were in this situation. I am looking for a power upgrade and features upgrade as well. Would either one be better with AWD? Any help you can give me would be great.


A: You, my friend are not alone – others have recently looked at the differences between the Fusion and the all new Chrysler 200. They are very different and both vehicles have several trims to choose from.

Roman and I differ on which one we would get:

Roman likes the power of the Ford’s EcoBoost, it’s tight AWD system and Euro-feel interior. It’s a proven, competent package and it’s still a handsome ride.

I prefer the Chrysler 200 with the V6 and AWD as it’s a sleeker, more contemporary package. The interior is excellent and the driving experience of the 200 S is undeniably fun.

Either way, both are terrific with AWD – but your mpg will suffer a bit.

Good luck!


Nathan Adlen Bio Picture Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism – Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. His words, good humor and videos are enjoyed worldwide.