Ask Nathan: The Least Expensive AWD EV, Mitsubishi MotoMan Mayhem – and Heat Protection

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • What is the least expensive AWD EV you can buy?
  • Explain this Twitter thing with Mitsubishi and MotoMan!
  • How can I keep my car cooler?
The Tesla Model 3 Is 'Needlessly' Complicated to Assemble, According to Analysts [News]
Image: Tesla

The first question comes from an email regarding the least expensive AWD EV currently available.

Q: Hi TFL guys and Nathan! I wanted to know what the least expensive AWD EV you can buy is.  

Just like you guys, I live in Colorado the Rocky Mountain state! My mom has a 2017 Nissan Leaf and it has been pretty good all year round. I am going to inherit it in two years when I start driving in high school. My mom will need a new car to replace it. I already know from a Tweet he answered that Nathan says not to blow your money on markups right now. We will wait until after the summer at least before buying.

I think we need AWD because there have been times when her Leaf has struggled. Mom’s boyfriend got her snow tires and it got a lot better. But I think that AWD and snow tires are the way to go just like Roman and Tommy have said!

Now that mom is looking at new cars I wanted to ask you guys about an affordable replacement for her Leaf. Can you guys give me or us an idea about what is the least expensive AWD EV that is currently available? She is serious about buying in September or October. That is when I start my drivers training too!

Thank you TFL guys!

— Nancy K.L

A: Hi Nancy!

That is a terrific question. Right now, there are three AWD vehicles that compete (sort of) in this segment. I say that because Tesla’s least expensive AWD vehicle is a sedan, while Volkswagen and Ford are crossovers. Now, the prices you see below are before Federal and State incentives, AKA “Tax Credits.” Also, these tax credits can vary from state to state.

Keep in mind: the three vehicles I am listing are the base versions with the small battery. In other words, you can get more range out of some of these, when you pay more moolah.

  • Tesla Model 3 $48,990 (it says $42,190 on the Tesla website – but that’s after incentives). This vehicle has a range of up to 353 miles.
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E Select AWD starts at $45,595 and it has a range of up to 211 miles
  • Volkswagen ID.4 AWD Pro starts at $43,675 and has a range of up to 249 miles.

REMEMBER: an EV “Tax Credit” does NOT mean “cash-back!”

EV Tax Credits are non-refundable tax credits that come from buying a vehicle with a battery propulsion system that can draws power from an external power source. The credits are available for both pure electric vehicles and plug in hybrids. The credits earned depend on a variety of factors and are used to decrease taxes you owed in a given year. For instance, if you bought an EV eligible for a $7500 tax credit and your total federal taxes for the year came to $8500, you would owe only $1000 to the government. – MotorTrend

Bottom line – your mom will have to pay less back in taxes when the time comes. She will not get a price discount on the car.

The Volkswagen ID4 Pro is the least expensive AWD EV you can buy – right now

I liked the ID4 a lot. It’s a smart, utilitarian design with more useable space than the (more fun to drive) Mach-E. In the near future, we will see a lot more AWD EVs coming from nearly every automaker. There will be a ton of announcements that we expect to receive about AWD EVs throughout the summer.

Stay tuned!

— N

Yep, I had a 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander GT – and it was a great car. (Image: TFLcar)

The next question comes from a fan who noticed a tête-à-tête between my friend MotoMan and I on Twitter RE: Mitsubishi.

Image via Twitter @Motoman

Q: (Via Twitter @NathanAdlen)Nathan. Can you clue me in to what you and MotoMan are talking about on Twitter. Why is Mitsubishi featured?

Is it an inside joke? Do you hate Mitsubishi? If so, why?

— MitsubishiLove

This was my first gen Mitsubishi Montero (“Pajero” everywhere else), and I adored it. Image: TFLcar

A: He’s giving me a hard time because of my tract record with Mitsubishi products (I’ve owned several) – among other things.

I still like the automaker, and I hope they get back to making unique, and remarkable vehicles. There was a time when they were EPIC. I mean, they won Dakar several times, and they built the legendary EVO – among many other awesome vehicles. I hope some of their resources go back to doing it differently, like they once did.

’97 Mitsubishi Montero (Image: TFLcar)

The current batch of vehicles aren’t too shabby for the discount shopper. In fact, many of their products are highly rated for reliability and initial customer satisfaction. Seriously. You can read about it here.

Still, even the mention of the automaker creates a negative reaction out of some people. I suggest you ask him yourself.

Simply put, MotoMan is having a laugh at my expense – but it’s all in good fun.

— N

Q: Hi. My daughter moved to California and my car is always a microwave! (From: a nice lady at my dentist’s office – regarding her daughter.)

She lives inland, about ten minutes from Palm Springs. This is after spending her life in the northern Rockies. So, she’s not used to the heat. Often, she burns herself inside and outside her car when she needs to drive. How can she help herself?

Julia at the dentist’s office.

A: There are a few things you can do.

I know it sounds silly to some, but those sun shades (that used to be all the rage – way back when) are very effective for keeping out heat. Simply parking near a shady are helps immensely. If you park in a spot that will eventually get shade as time goes on, that can be helpful too.

If she gets desperate, you can buy a full car cover on real bad days. It’s a pain to use and store, but it will make a huge difference in overall temperature.

When she goes inside the car, make sure she unrolls the windows before recirculating the air conditioning too.

When she goes inside the car, make sure she unrolls the windows before recirculating the air conditioning too.

Do any of you readers have other suggestions?

p.s. for anyone who owns a pet that’s reading this – please DO NOT leave your pet(s) in a hot car.

— N

Speak of HOT…