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:
- I want an AWD Ford EcoSport!
- Volvo diesel cars in the USA?
- No more metal bumpers?
- I hate the music you use!
This first question is in regards to the tiny crossover that Ford sells elsewhere – the Ford EcoSport.
Q: Hi guys! You know it’s hard to be a total Ford fan. I love some of the stuff they build, but I hate some of the other stuff. They said that their vehicles would be sold throughout the world. But not in the USA. The cool lookin Ford EcoSport is not coming to America and I’m depressed. What ever happened to “Ford 1″?
I saw your story on the Chevy Trax and I know that if the EcoSport was sold here, it would be a much better car. It just needs an all wheel drive system, thich it doesn’t have overseas. Ford must build it and sell it for around 20 grand. Please Ford please!! ”
A: I hear you. You’re not the only one who is questioning Ford’s “One Ford – when we feel like it” take on the industry. For those of you who don’t know, the Ford EcoSport is based on the B2E platform shared with the Ford Fiesta. It has a three cylinder EcoBoost and, in some markets, a good sized four-cylinder. It’s pretty popular and, judging by what the international press has stated, it’s fairly well received.
The danger for Ford is: they do not have a vehicle that can compete with the new tiny crossover segment that’s building up steam in the USA. The Chevrolet Trax, Honda HR-V, Fiat 500X and Mazda CX-3 are the newest entries into this bracket currently owned by the Nissan Juke and the MINI Countryman. If Ford brings the EcoSport, or something like it to the USA, they will need to give it some sort of all-wheel drive (AWD) system.
The last time I asked a Ford rep about the EcoSport, he laughed at me – that was back in 2012. Still, I head rumblings that Ford is indeed looking at the possibility. Reading the tea-leaves, with so much tech coming out of the Ford Fiesta and if the Ford EcoSport does make it to our shores, it will be 2016 or later.
Wish I had better news for you.
This video was from the 2013 Beijing Auto Show.
This next email is from a viewer who wants to know why Volvo isn’t selling diesel cars in the United States.
Hi guys,My name is M. and I live in Utrecht (the Netherlands), I watch all your video’s and they are very good every time.
Last night I watched the video of the american Volvo V60 T6 and is indeed a hell of a ride.
The thing I don’t understand is why Volvo is not selling their cars in the U.S with their praised
D5 2,5 liter diesel, wich is the most popular here in Europe.
To get a feeling how this Five cylinder diesel sounds, I sent you this link.
I recommend to wear headphones to listen to this great “raw” sound.
I wish you all the best and keep up the good work!
M. van S.
A: Excellent question and great email! I have heard wonderful things about Volvo diesels for years. We do use Volvo trucks (big rigs) and have done so for years, according to truck-folk, they are highly regarded.
Unlike most of Europe, petroleum is very cheap in the USA and it always has been. Diesel prices are higher here and, based on what big oil has been doing to truckers for years over here, it will remain expensive. Diesel earned a bad reputation in the 70s and 80s in North America. It’s a reputation that no longer applies. Volvo did sell a few diesel cars here a few decades back; back when diesels were unexceptional and unloved on our shores.
As far as many Americans are concerned, diesel cars are dirty, noisy, smelly and finding diesel at your local fuel station can be problematic.
Look, I love the diesel engine – even named my dog “Diesel,” but the awareness and acceptance of diesel cars in the United States is pretty insignificant compared to gas engines. They are expensive to bring to North America too. Emissions legislation, Department of Transportation requirements and the Environmental Protection Agency all maintain stringent requirements for automaker’s power-plants. Even the new batch of super-clean diesels require lots of money to push through all of the hurdles to be sold in the USA.
That’s a lot of work for Volvo and a ton of money. With their new batch of Drive-E vehicles excellent efficiency ratings, it may be more cost effective to keep developing those engines for this market – for now. I did hear a rumor that the next X70 may be offered with a diesel.
Thanks again for that great email.
Hope that helps!
This reader asks about the loss of steel bumpers.
Q: Hi Nathan,
It looks to me like many very attractive new cars have no front bumpers, just big exposed grills.
They look totally vulnerable to minor, but EXPENSIVE damage.
What do you think about these?
I live in Palm Springs where we have many very bad drivers….I’d hate to come out of a parking lot needing thousands of dollars of repairs…..
A:I hear you. The days of external steel and chrome bumpers on cars vanished a long time ago. The last cars I can think of (off hand) that had exposed steel bumpers were cars like the ’89 Lincoln Town Car and’96 Cadillac Fleetwood. The only vehicles that still (predominantly) use uncovered, steel bumpers are pickup trucks. Even the mighty Jeep Wrangler’s front bumper is usually covered in plastic.
Now, having the front grill so predominately displayed with (seemingly) no bumper to protect it is a risk. You’re right, destroying the nose of a car is expensive and easier to do today. If you look closely at some of these designs, there is a bumper AND the grill/nose is built to flex.
Keep in mind: you still have bumpers on all automobiles sold in North America, they are now integrated into the shape of the vehicle with a plastic cover. Usually, large foam and plastic bits surround and incase the bumper to allow for low-speed impacts that will not misshape the bumper. It also follows the contours of the plastic cover for aerodynamics.
Yes, the cost of replacing the front or rear of a vehicle is very high. Fortunately, there are times that the plastic cover over the bumper components needs replacing. It’s much cheaper, especially if you get one that already matches your vehicle’s color.
Hope that helps!
The last question (statement) comes from a viewer who feels our music choices for our videos is in poor taste.
Q: Nathaniel, old boy.. Why do you and Roman insist on playing terrible music in your videos? It’s always too loud and is as cliché as the crap music they play on foolish car reality shows. Do you seriously think people want to hear heavy metal when a cheap SUV slightly tilts in the dirt? Why not play that —- when you film a muscle car! You guys are close to being great, but your editor has the taste of a tosser. Why not use classical or something symphonic? Sorry gents, but it’s tiresome, amateur and childish.
I still think you have potential.
A:¡Ay, caramba! I get it, we all do! I’m sorry the music has angered you, but we are doing our best with what’s at hand.
Let me explain: We average more than one video a day and try to keep the production as clean as possible. Musical choices are not as plentiful as you might think. We pay for our music and have to justify each track when we download a video. Having familiarity with the tracks makes editing slightly easier. Also, there’s an abundant amount of music others use, so we try to use music that fits our style.
With that being said, we’re trying to get it right every day. We will continue to keep improving and; hopefully, our musical library will expand.
Thank you for your patronage.
Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org