Cadillac isn’t about Cars, KIA Explorer, Fiat 500X and We’re not ‘Merican Enough [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.


In this edition of Ask Nathan:

  • Cadillac is not about the Cars!
  • The new 2016 Ford Explorer looks like a KIA!
  • What IS the 2016 Fat 500X?
  • If TFL likes foreign, they HATE America!
2016, cadillac, ats-v, coupe, turbo
2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe

This first question (rant) is from a viewer and long time Cadillac owner regarding Cadillac Brand Manager Melody Lee’s recent statement in Forbes Magazine.

Q: Nathan! Can you believe the unmitigated gall of Cadillac to say they are not about the cars!? I am so mad I could spit! I have owned Cadillacs for over 30 years, through good and bad, and I have never witnessed a more pathetic attempt of redirecting the brand in such an anti-car way. I am seriously thinking about Lexus after this one.

They want to be equated as a brand and not as an automaker. The Brand Manager said, and I quote, “We want to be a global luxury brand that happens to sell cars. We don’t want to be an automotive brand,” and how about this one!? “I don’t buy products, – “I don’t use Apple computers because they are the best computers, I use them because Apple is cool. We need to show drivers what the Cadillac lifestyle is all about.”

“Happens to sell cars!?” How about selling the best cars in the world? How about building the best American cars on the road. How about acknowledging that your core buyers are old enough to be your grand parents and don’t want a youthful brand stamped on their beloved cars. Great, the Cadillac “lifestyle” will consist of commercials with yachts, high end dinners and shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Are you such fools that you forget and forsake the history of Cadillac building the best cars in the world?

Come on! We’re car people Cadillac! We want serious cars with the best performance built by the best people! We want our cars to exemplify respect and power! Yes, “cool” is good, but the car has to be the most important, the most prominent, the most amazing thing you do.

Don’t kill your brand again. Don’t let her make you into a joke. Please Cadillac, be the best car maker out there that happens to be called “Cadillac.”

A: Wow! Yes, I read the whole article. It seems that, as a company, Cadillac wanted to reinvigorate their customer base by changing things up. This includes moving to New York, NY for their new base of operations. Melody Lee, Director Brand Reputation Strategy Cadillac is in her mid 30s and was brought in to shake things up. Sure, some of the moves and statements have been harsh, but I’m sure Cadillac isn’t losing their mojo quite yet.

If you look at their recent batch of vehicles, like the ATS-V, you’ll see a brand that has oodles of potential and a brand that can take on the Germans head on.

Cadillac is at the forefront of innovation and are one of the more unique brands out there. Having someone that wants to beef-up the brand identity isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They need to create more awareness, increase revenue and bring in younger buyers. Sure, a few provocative statements may be a bit shocking, I assure you, Cadillac hasn’t forgotten their core buyers like you.

Still, with that being said; I do remember the failed attempt at gaining a youthful audience with “The Caddi that ZIGS!” a while back. It did not end well.


The Refreshed 2016 Ford Explorer will go on sale next summer
The Refreshed 2016 Ford Explorer will go on sale next summer

This emails is from a viewer who was a bit miffed at Ford’s decision to restyle the Explorer. He thinks it looks like a KIA.

Q:Hi TFlcar guys and girls. Can you believe what Ford did to the Explorer? I used to think it was one of the best looking SUVs out there. Now it looks like a older KIA Sorento. What the —- is going on at Ford? Can’t they refresh a car without destroying the looks?

I just wanted to know what you guys think of it.

W.W Palmdale, CA

A: I get what you’re saying my friend. I was there when Ford pulled the sheet off the 2016 Ford Explorer and I was a bit surprised too. They are trying to make the Explorer look more truck-like and eliminated some of the soft lines. By doing this, they gave the Explorer more heft and less softness. The result was a vehicle that still looks like an Explorer with the addition of some masculinity.

Ford also alienated a few fans and owners.

I must say, I think it’s a different looking vehicle when you see it in person. More importantly, Ford has added some fantastic new bits to the 2016 Ford Explorer that make it a better machine – this includes a new engine choice and a heavily revised list of options. You can read about the 2016 Ford Explorer (here).

Sure, it’s a different look – but I don’t think its ugly. Yes, it looks a bit like a KIA in some ways. I can assure you, that’s not what the designers were aiming for.

Hope that helps!



This question comes from a Fiat fan who’s excited to see what the new Fiat 500X has to offer.

Q: Yo TFL Car!

I like you Nathan, but I am not always on board with what you think about cars. I do like that you seem to like the new Fiat. Ido too. I think they build something unique and they seem to drive very well overseas. The problem is I can’t find a Fiat in the USA that I want to own. Then I saw your story on the Fiat 500X and I am very excited to try one out.

I have a few questions like how much do you think it will start at and do you think the awd will come with the stick in the base model? Thanks for listening.

CZ.J. Daytona

A: Thanks for the email man! I agree with you, the Fiat 500X is something worth getting excited about. The only details I have on it were presented on my recent post; however, I do have a (fairly educated) guess where the 2016 Fiat 500X will base for the front-wheel drive (FWD) model with the manual and 1.4 engine. I think Fiat will shoot for a base price around $19,000. It makes sense as that’s about the same price Fiat is charging for their 500L.

Regarding the AWD option connected to the 1.4 and the manual transmission… I don’t know.

The cousin of the Fiat 500X, the Jeep Renegade does offer that type of setup in their base model, but I have yet to talk to a Fiat suit about such a combination. I hope they do as only a few automakers offer an AWD turbocharged car with a manual transmission.

It would be cool.

I will stay on top of this one and let you know as soon as I know.

Hope that helps!


volkswagen factory robotics human

The last question (statement) comes from a viewer who is appalled at our lack of patriotism when it comes to our automotive reviews.

Q: (This was a comment made regarding an Outback review) A typical American review laud everything Japanese and kill your own Auto industry- Then blame Obama of course….

A: Here are a few points I would like to make in response to your ridiculous and misdirected comment. A comment that, I wager, was nothing more than troll-bait. Still, I want to address this as it’s not the first time we’ve received this type of comment.

We don’t care where the car is built. We’re not “The Patriotic Lane” and we measure a car based on how good it is – period. If it’s built in the USA and it kicks ass – great. If it’s not and it kicks ass – great. The bottom line is this, we have no allegiance to any automaker. We like what we like based on our opinions, no one but us. No journalist, automaker or country has anything to do with how good a car is in our book. If it’s a great car, we’ll say it is.

You may have noticed, TFLcar and TFLtruck have nothing to say about politics – ever. Race, gender, religion and political affiliation do not a car-lover make. We stand by that 100%.

Are you suggesting that we put down other automakers based on what you believe? Ain’t gonna happen pal. Once again, TFLcar and TFLtruck base their opinions on the vehicle itself.


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Nathan Adlen Bio Picture Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. His words, good humor and videos are enjoyed worldwide.