Ask Nathan: Future Badass Off-Road EVs, Toyota Avalon Hybrid AWD Substitute and, the Ugliest Car Ever?

Rendering: GM Design

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • I bet future badass off-road EVs will be common in 5 years,
  • Is the Toyota Crown a substitute for the lack of a Toyota Avalon hybrid AWD?
  • What do you think the ugliest production car was?

The first question comes from an email from a fan who sees a lot of promise in future badass off-road EVs.

Image: Jeep

Q: (via I think I like the idea of what future badass off-road EVs might shape up to be.

Nathan I don’t know if you remember. I met you at Pismo Beach and came up to you when you were in a Hyundai Kona Iron Mand edition.

You were rokin’ out to Soundgarden and I commented when you were driving near a sand bank. I said something like you can’t drive that thing on the beach! You smiled and put on a killer song from Metallica and charged into it. I thought you were insane! Then you blasted around it and got back just fine.

That was before I started watching your videos! Over the past few years I grew to truly enjoy and appreciate your videos. You guys aren’t just yelling about how great super cars are and how much you hate EVs. You even go as far as show the honest pros and cons of just about everything out there.

He’s talking about this Hyundai Kona Iron Man Edition (Image: TFLcar)

With EVs especially Nathan I’ve seen you matured.

You never drank all of the cool-aid but you acknowledge how good their potential is. And I like the fact that you even bought one. Also read a few of your articles about the fake propaganda out there. I know there are people out there who call themselves journalists who post anything on the net that coincides with their political stance. Both sides are full of misinformation.

I still have a problem with what we’re going to do with the waste of dead batteries. I know there are a few things we can do with them like strip some precious medals from them. Do you think that’s enough because I don’t. You mentioned in a podcast that it will be a buioldup of scrap batteries before they figure out how to recycle them. I totally agree with you dude!

I have ridden and driven off road all my life. Some of the new side by sides are amazing and have crazy tech. You would think they are the pinnacle of off road ability. But the idea of a future badass off-road EV is pretty cool. All that torque and the potential for off grid charging looks like it could be a winner.

What do you think Nathan?

  • Jake from Santa Maria, California

A: Hi Jake, I remember you, and I actually went to school in Santa Maria!

I already stated my position on journalists who post BS propaganda, and I still hate the idea that they are politically motivated to spin crap – on both sides. Thanks for reading it!

You’re right about me – even an ape can evolve a bit. I absolutely hated EVs 10 years ago, but things can change. Now I see plenty of positives in moving to a future with EVs AND internal combustion. I think owing both (or a PHEV) is ideal for many families.

As for future badass off-road EVs? Hell yes, the potential is there!

Image: Tamiya

I look at all the years I screwed around with electric R/C cars. Even back 40-years ago (and then some), many high-end R/C cars were powered by electricity. I owned about a dozen electric R/C cars (and one gas model), starting with a Rough Rider from Tamiya. That thing was released in 1979! Sure, modern R/C cars out perform the Rough Rider, but it was mighty capable – and it looked cool too. I got one in 1983.

Now, if you think about how these little things are remarkably robust, and (when sealed properly) can even be submerged, it makes you think.

If an R/C car can be so capable off-road, what about a larger version I drive?

Okay, the GMC Hummer HT is a bit of a stretch, but you get my point. The cool thing about these off-road EVs is that the battery packaging can totally reshape what we think off-road vehicles can be. Imagine having the insane amount of torque from an electric motor on tap when your speeding through the dunes.

Once we get a better grip on remote recharging, infrastructure and waste, it could be a badass off-road future indeed.

  • N

The next question asks about a Toyota Crown being a replacement for a non-existent Toyota Avalon

Image: Toyota

Q: (Via: NathanAdlen@Twitter) Is the Toyota Crown the answer for the lack of a Toyota Avalon Hybrid AWD?

Seems like that’s what it was built for.

  • Unknown author

Good question…

2023 Toyota Crown: A Delightfully Strange, High-Riding Hybrid Sedan

A: Yes – the Toyota Crown is exactly that.

Funny thing, I was driving a Toyota Avalon hybrid with a Toyota engineer a few years back, and we had a similar discussion. One thing that he (and many other engineers think) is that consumers want to move away from low-slung sedans. Simply put, the idea of a higher seating position is appealing for many drivers over a certain age.

Indeed, egress, and ingress are better with crossovers than standard cars. On top of that, this gives Toyota the opportunity to wake up its higher end fleet. I mean, the Toyota Crown appears to be just one step away from Lexus. Why not make it special?

You can read more about the Toyota Crown (here).

I love the fact that it can make up to 380 HP. The AWD system is always sending engine power to the rear and that ratio is configurable from 20:80 to 70:30. On the top trim, Toyota gives us a real six-speed wet clutch transmission with the Hybrid Max. The XLE and Limited get the eCVT unit. Sure, the sporty Hybrid Max gets a weak 28 mpg, compared to the lower model’s 38 mpg – but it looks outstanding

Yes, I believe you’re right – the Toyota Crown does, in many ways, replace the Avalon.

  • N

The last question comes from a fan who wants to know what I think the ugliest production car is/was…

Q: (Via: YouTube) What do you think the ugliest production car was?

I think it’s the Pontiac Aztec. Like the one you guys had way back.

  • Koll556
This was the first generation Rodius

A: Sure, the Aztec is one – but there are others.

The worst I have even seen (in terms of production vehicles) was the SsangYong Rodius. I saw one overseas a while back, and I thought it was someone’s attempt at humor. A one-off that was made for a movie perhaps.

No, I was wrong. It was an actual production vehicle designed by Ken Greenley, and I’m sure alcohol or mushrooms were involved. Just LOOK at it! Who in their right mind saw this and said, “Yep, I bet it will sell like hotcakes.”

Worse still, people have willingly bought it. I mean, COME ON! There has to be another people mover where the design doesn’t make children cry – right?

Riding in the $1.1-million Youabian Puma | Autoblog
Images: Puma Automobiles

Over here, there was an attempt to sell something even worse. Fortunately, it never made it into full production. The Youabian Puma was… interesting. Parts were sourced from Volvo, GM and others. I gave Youabian my public opinion in the past, and the “automaker” threatened to take me to court. Whatever.

If I had to choose either of these, I would probably choose a blindfold first.

What’s are your ugliest choices?

Let us know below!!


Speaking of ugly…