Mazda3 vs Mazda6, New Mustang’s Looks, Cherokee Reliability and best choice for Rugged Colorado [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:

  • How do I get your job?
  • Mazda3 vs Mazda6?
  • Ugly new Ford Mustang?
  • Cherokee reliability and the best SUV for snow?

TFLTalk Roman and Nathan

This first question comes from a fan who wants to do what we do. We average several emails each week regarding this topic and, because we try to answer as many questions as we can, I posted this email from an enthusiastic fan.

Q:Hi guys!! My name is J.R. and I’m a huge fan of your shows and I love cars/trucks and driving/reviewing them, and I just wanted to know how would I go about doing something like that. Even if it means starting my own show! Thanks!!
Sent from my iPhone

A: Thanks for the email! Everyone involved in TFLcar and TFLtruck had to cut their teeth on some form of media, journalism, and/or broadcasting. Add to that, all of us have an automotive background of some sort. We all began working for different publications, video networks and different forms of media before coming together at TFL.

It takes work.

My background started with my family’s wrecking yard business before I could even drive (legally). I raced, I built, I destroyed cars. Over time, I learned how to drive tow trucks, forklifts, flat-beds, scooters, ice cream trucks – just about anything that moved. I went to school for theatrical production, journalism and education. Meanwhile, I kept driving everything I could get my hands on (from school buses to race cars).

During my studies, I worked for a company that tested new vehicles and prototypes. This, combined with everything else in my background, pushed me towards publishing and broadcasting in the automotive industry. Over more than a decade, I worked with over a dozen automotive review publications – all before working with Roman.

My point is: if this is what you want – you have to work hard to get it.

I wish you the best of luck!


2014 Mazda6

Here’s an email from a viewer from Down Under who wants to see a head-to-head comparison between the Mazda3 and Mazda6. That’s a tall order.

Q: Hi,

My wife and I are about to buy a new car, and after many months of to’ing and fro’ing (you’d know what it’s like to choose from such a wide variety of vehicles!), we’ve settled on either the Mazda6 Touring sedan or the Mazda3 SP25 GT sedan, both automatic transmissions*. Can you please, please do a side-by-side review of them, as no such reviews exist, to my knowledge?

*Australian spec – US might be different nomenclature.

Big fan from Down Undah!



A: Greetings! Roman and I are huge fans of Australia! Your question is a tough one. We will try to get both Mazdas to film, but that’s easier said than done. Mazda’s test fleet is pretty small in the Rocky Mountain region and we rarely (almost never) have access to more than one Mazda at a time.

We’ll do what we can.

For what it’s worth. Roman and I agree that, for the money, the Mazda6 automatic is the way to go. It’s because, with the prices of the Mazda3 2.5 being pretty expensive and on par with the Mazda6, you get more car for your money with the Mazda6. It’s roomier, has better street presence (it is the best looking Mazda to date) and it has a better overall ride.

Don’t get me wrong, the Mazda3 with the beefy 2.5-liter is a hoot to drive. The hatchback is fairly utilitarian and it’s one of the best driving cars in the segment. Its just that it can’t beat the Mazda6 when you equate their prices.

Hope that helps!


2015, Ford, Mustang, RSF

This question comes from a reader who dislikes the way the 2015 Mustang looks. He wants the older style back.

Q: Just curious if you guys think the same I do about the new Mustang. The front end look a lot like the front end of a Taurus. They just tried to make it look more aggressive on the Mustang. Personally I hate the way it looks in the front. They should have keep it the way it look like in 2014 model with the the new fastback look..

A: No love for the 2015 Ford Mustang’s looks eh? Although I cannot condemn it the way you do, I will say that I’m not a big fan of the grill either. Roman loves it and would probably throw a heavy object at me for suggesting that it’s anything but beautiful.

I like the Dodge Challenger best.

Still, the rest of the 2015 Ford Mustang looks pretty good to me. I like the stronger lines and shapely rear end. It looks more purposeful and the fender/wheel-well cutouts are very nice indeed.

I see what you’re saying, but I only agree that the grill needs to look different.

To each their own.



2014 jeep cherokee trailhawk emme hall muddy

The last question comes from a viewer who wants to find out more regarding the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk’s reliability and the best choice for Colorado.

Q:Hey there, I’m not sure if I’m sending this question to the right email address buts this was the only one I saw on your site.

Anyway, I’ve been looking at getting a new vehicle and I thought that I had it narrowed down to a couple of jeeps but after seeing some reviews I’m just not certain and was hoping you guys could help.

I live in Colorado and while I don’t do any major off roading I’d like to have the ability to do some things like going up left hand canyon for example. I don’t need to have wrangleresque abilities though. I’ve actually got an old ’51 cj3a I’m fixing up that will be used off road primarily.

Anyway, I was looking at a trail hawk version of the new cherokee and the grand cherokee limited/Laredo. I had thought they were both decent everyday family commuters and still offered some off roading ability for when I might want/need it. Here is my issue though, I’ve been reading a lot of negative reviews about reliability and consumer reports listed the cherokee as the least reliable new car.

So now I’m sort of stuck. My questions to you are what your thoughts on the two jeeps are and if you’ve seen any major issues in the ones you’ve had? What are some other good alternatives to consider? I’ve been glancing at a few other cuvs and suvs like the Mazda CX-5, Toyota 4 runner, Ford Escape, and Subaru Forester. Most of my driving would be on road, in snow etc with occasional mild to moderate off roading. Thanks for any advice you can offer. I really appreciate it,


A: That’s a good question. Let me address your question about long term reliability first. Other than our long-term Ford Raptor, we have never had a vehicle for more than a few weeks. It’s not long enough for any of us to give an informed opinion/observation about long term reliability.

With that being said: many of the reports that have surfaced slamming various vehicles stem from (in most cases) to issues with their infotainment systems. That includes the Cherokee. Hopefully, those problems will be fixed as it enters its second year of production. Fortunately, the mechanicals seem to be pretty good, and that’s what would be crucial for me.

Now, as for the alternatives that you listed; the Toyota 4Runner is excellent. We like the Subaru Forester and the Ford Escape too, but the Toyota 4Runner is the most rugged out of everything you listed.

Hope that helps!


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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.

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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. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.