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:
- Why is there no Mustang EcoBoost Rocky Mountain review?
- Tired of my Mommy car!
- You’re obviously biased towards Jeep?
- Cheap as Chips Chrysler 200!
The first question comes from a viewer who noticed we have yet to test the Ford Mustang with the EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine in the Rockies.
Q: Ever since TFL reviewed the Mustang EcoBoost 4 at the launch, I’ve seen nothing from you guys. I have waited for a review in the Rockies. As you guys always say, you’re doing your testing at high altitude which is tough on cars. I’m curious how the Mustang EcoBoost would handle it.
When do you think you’ll be testing the Ford Mustang EcoBoost in Colorado?
A: We’re wondering that same thing. I’m hopeful that we’ll have a Ford Mustang EcoBoost in the test fleet by spring or summer. Right now, with snow and ice on the ground, it would be difficult to test. In a few months, when the roads surrounding Denver and Boulder are (fairly) clear, we may have a test car.
That’s the hope.
You can bet that we’ll keep begging/pestering Ford to get one.
Thanks for the email!
This next one comes from a reader/viewer who is sick of her “mommy” car.
Q: Hi TFL!
I love watching your show and I just recently began reading your (TFLcar.com) website. I wonder if you can suggest a good car for me? I have a 2005 KIA Sedona and it’s been a reliable, perfectly acceptable family hauler. It’s boring and it gets bad gas mileage too.
I am a single mother of three and my two oldest, twins, are now driving on their own. I have a t’ween to haul around and that’s it. My friends have pointed out that I can have a little bit of fun with my next car. And, I owe it to myself to have fun too!
I want something new, fun and cheap that gets good mileage. I’m pre approved for $25,000, but I would like to spend less. It needs to be fun!
One final request, is Roman available? Just curious! XD
Thank you so much!
K.K.D Las Vegas, NV
A: Great question!
Roman’s status? He’s EXTREMELY taken.
Here are some cars that, with a few options, are still under your $25,000 mark.
Scion tC: One of our favorites. It’s a lot of car for the money and it’s a blast to drive too. The utility is impressive for a coupe and it has Toyota reliability built right in.
Hyundai Veloster: This is a funky, unique car that has a sizeable trunk and a tiny right-side passenger door. We hear good things about the turbo version, but we have yet to test one. Plus, the turbo will push the price too much for your budget.
Honda Fit: Great little car with a ton of utility. It’s not that fast, but it is a fun little, economic ride that gives you ridiculous utility.
Fiat 500 Turbo: If you configure it the right way, you can make this baby rocket crazy fun. Fiat has lots of deals on their 500s and you can get lots of accessories too. It has a tight back seat, but it is a hatchback and there is a bit of utility. Stick with the turbo and you’ll enjoy it even more.
Volkswagen Beetle: The newest Volkswagen Beetle is s solid, fun ride with good utility. It’s bigger than the MINI and 500 with a more comfortable rear seat. You can easily feature this vehicle way above your budget if you’re not careful.
MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door: If you are VERY careful and stick with a few, cheaper packages and options, you can get the base MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door that’s within your budget. It is the best driver’s car in the bunch, but it’s also one of the most expensive and, for some, the “go-kart” driving position is difficult to live with.
There are a few others in this category, but these are the ones we’ve had recent experience with. Please test drive the vehicles (with a friend) more than once.
Best of luck!
This viewer is displeased with our Jeep Renegade mashup. Apparently, we are biased.
Q: I just watched your Jeep Renegade mashup, you said it’s a step above the others but you forgot to mention the problems jeep is having with the 9 speed transmission, why? You may have noticed that it never goes into 9th gear! Are you actually reviewing cars unbiasedly for just promoting American cars?
A: I didn’t “forget” to mention anything. We do not base our reviews on long term quality perceptions from any other publication, program, periodical or group. Did you expect me to say, “Oh, by the way… so-and-so says it doesn’t shift into ninth-gear – so don’t buy it?” Sorry, that’s not what we do.
TFL is all about the driving experience. We do not rate vehicles based on other reviews, rumors, innuendo or biased opinions – like yours.
The Jeep Renegade I tested worked flawlessly and it DID shift into ninth-gear, just like the Jeep Cherokees I’ve tested.
With that being said, I fully admit that I am biased towards many Jeep products. Why? Not because they are “American” – they are not. It’s not because they pay me off in cash, cigars and beer – they don’t. It’s because I can take them off road – period. I like driving off road and I freely admit that I like vehicles that can truly go off road.
I like Isuzu, Suzuki and Daihatsu too. I guess that makes me biased towards Japanese vehicles that are no longer sold in the United States.
This last question comes from a viewer who found a great deal on the Chrysler 200.
Best online video car reviews! You folks have consistency and good production values. Great music production.
I see myself as a legit buyer of a new car this year. I will admit to having my head turned by new Chrysler and Dodge products. But two trips to different dealers in 2 states have dissuaded me from dealing with those people under any circumstances.
Reviewers compare cars at their list price. Chryslers and Dodges do not sell at anywhere near their list price.
I am not going to deal with local dealers under any circumstances. I will select based on the most whored out lowball online price; fly and buy. I cant get a test drive out of the local idiots. The dealers won’t give anything like reasonable service or help with a fact based selection process.
I have started to check out the huge range of competition to the Chrysler 200. I was looking at Auto Trader Honda Accords and was rather shocked to find that there is not one dealer who advertises an Accord manual coupe at anything less than retail!
The rankings and reviews quickly fall apart. There are the prices that the Toyotas and Hondas sell at. The next tier down is the Subaru Mazda class where some discounts are a bit easier to find. Then there is all the other manufactures, generally trying to move product by discounting the price.
When a 2015 Chrysler 200s can be had for $10,000 dollars off list most days of the week, there is no apples to apples way of comparing it. I can get that magnitude of discount on a car which is optioned exactly how I want it, in the correct color. Everything else starts to look seriously expensive. Dodge Darts can be more expensive new than the much more compelling Chrysler.
When the typical review mentions that there are slight differences in feel, weight, sophistication, refinement that are obvious when comparing the cars side by side, they are distinctions I will never be able to make. An Accord really does nothing for me. A manual coupe would be amusing, but it is not like owning a real sports car. The 2015 WRX is a no brainer, and I see myself in that car in a year or two.
What I need need now is a work car. Comfortable long haul company car that gets better than 25 mpg. It would be nice if 500+ mile days are not punishing. I have plenty of 25 mpg cars now. I have no need for back seats. The endless worry over which car has the worst back seats is lost on me.
The bottom line is that a Honda, Toyota level of quality, or a Mazda level of zoom zoom great feeling rack will cost major money in comparison. I already own a Honda Odyssey. I have a Subaru Outback. At some point cars with that kind of quality get old, boring and stop delivering on a certain level of entertainment and sophistication that a much newer car brings.
So there is the field report which begs the question. When a $30,000 200s can be had for $19,000, what else should one consider, at a similar street price. Is a Mazda 6 worth 20 to 25% more? What can a Fusion really bring to the party? $7500 worth of “road feel”?
A: That’s a tough one. You’re right about many dealerships. Rarely are there any that you can rely on. Most are out to sell a car, not win a (return) consumer.
It all boils down to your personal preference as a driver. I mean, the choices out there mean more than a 20% premium to some drivers. For example: the Mazda6 is one of our favorite cars, but it can be too expensive for some when loaded. In your case, it seems that it’s a question of, how much better is a car, like the Mazda6, over the Chrysler 200.
Dynamically, the Mazda6 is the “driver’s car.” It’s a tad noisy inside and it has a sporty ride. It’s a great machine, but paying a 20% premium seems steep to me. As good as it is, you’ll never see one anywhere near the price you mentioned for the Chrysler 200.
The Chrysler 200 is a great car and has impressed most of the staff at TFL. When I drive the Chrysler 200, I can tell they sweated the details. I’m not saying it’s a top contender with the likes of Fusion, Mazda6 and Camry, but it’s an excellent alternative. Personally, I like the fact that you can get a loaded V6 with all-wheel drive or a base-model with front-wheel drive each one going head-to-head with more expensive machines – for less. In your case, muchless.
$19,000 sounds like a damn good deal for a decent car.
Thanks for the question!
Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. His words, good humor and videos are enjoyed worldwide.