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:
- What about the Dodge Durango vs. the new Honda Pilot?
- Moving to Montreal, need a Wagon?
- Sporty, luxury, AWD sedan under $30,000?
- Should I get a Nissan Leaf?
The first question comes from a viewer who’s curious about the Dodge Durango vs. the Honda Pilot and other competitors.
Q: I put this question in the comments of the Honda Pilot mashup, but figured there might be a better chance of asking it here, so here it goes:
I really enjoyed the Pilot Mash-up that Roman did this past weekend. However, one 3-row small-ish SUV that was not discussed was the Durango. I understand that Honda chose the models, but it would have been nice to know how you guys felt that 3-row SUV compared.
For me, the Durango at least has some styling that too many of the other 3-row SUV’s lack. They all look sort of the same. At least the outgoing Pilot looked different and stood out as such. My father has a Durango R/T, and the car has pep and moves me, the wife and three kids pretty well. Internal storage space in the Durango is a bit of a problem in my mind though if you consider the front console and minimal storage in the second row. My father has the 2nd row bench, and not the captains chairs and optional console though. The Console in the new Pilot looks enormous.
Wondering how you feel the Durango compares to the rest of the Mash-Up Vehicles.
A: Hi D,
I completely agree with you about the Durango. It is my favorite vehicle in the class; not just for its looks, but for its feel.
In my estimation, the Durango R/T competes with vehicles like the BMW X5 over the Pilot.
Yes, Honda did not equip us with a Durango to compare; however, even if they did, it would be the base model V6. It’s still a good ride, but it would have been less competitive.
The Durango is not as accommodating in the third row like the Chevy Traverse or the new Pilot. In fact, the Durango is somewhat in the middle of the pack for overall comfort.
For me, the bottom line is how much fun the vehicle is to drive. If it’s fun, I can accept less space and utility. That’s exactly how I feel about the Dodge Durango R/T.
Best of luck!
This next question comes from a viewer who’s moving from France to Montreal, Canada and wants a good, used, AWD wagon.
Q: Dear TFLcar Team,
Thank you for your videos, I really enjoy watching them.
Your driving happiness is really communicative.
I am moving from France to Montreal Canada in July, and I’ll have to buy a new car (probably a used one to save money).
I think you are the right people to help me to make a good choice. (a fun car to drive)
I know European car market quite well. The choices are not the same in the North American market.
You’ll probably have no time to reply with all the videos and the MMUSA tour but I will try anyway.
Here are my requirements:
- I like wagons, but I noticed there were only few ones during my last trip to Montreal.
- We don’t want a huge SUV. (GMC Yukon XL…)
- We are a family with 2 daughters.We also have a dog (like the one in the RV in the intro of some of your videos)…no sedan compatible.
- I’ll need a ski pass-through because we love downhill ski (and it’s faster than putting skis on the roof bars)
- 4 wheel drive the ability to stay parked in the street during the long winter nights and to start the engine with no problem in the morning. Something reliable and therefore, not too old. (I hear bad things about some american cars)
- Fun to drive!
I have absolutely no preference about brand or country of origin.
Price (used car): between 20000 and 25000 $CAD +Tax, maybe a little bit more if it really worth it.
Thanking you in advance (you read until here ! )
A: Bienvenue en Amérique du Nord mon ami! That’s a great question and you’re requirements are completely logical.
Here’s a few smart buys regarding used, all-wheel drive (AWD/4WD) wagons. These are just a few examples that are in this market. All of these cars range between $11,000 and $19,000 (U.S.).
- Volvo XC70 (2009)
- Audi Allroad (2004)
- Toyota Venza (2009)
- Sub Outback (2012)
- Dodge Journey (2013)
- Mitsubishi Lancer Sportsback (2010)
- Mercedes-Benz R350 4Matic (2006)
- Ford Flex (2010)
- Volkswagen Passat 4Motion Wagon (2007)
- BMW 530 XI Wagon (2006)
I hope this helps!
This email comes from a fan who’s trying to buy an AWD sedan for under $30,000 with a good interior and a sporty look.
My father is finally getting rid of his crummy old Lincoln sedan. He needs something that had AWD, a nice interior and a bit of class. We want to buy it for cash, under $30,000. Cadillac and Lincoln are too expensive, as are brands from Japan. We can’t stand the Legacy’s interior and the Buick Regal is too much.
Do you have any suggestions?
A: Great question! Surprisingly, there are very few choices out there. Have a look at the 2015 Chrysler 200S. You can get a well equipped, AWD model for under 30K. I highly recommend the V6. It’s a great deal considering how elegant the interior is.
I know the Ford Fusion is not what you might consider to be an entry-level luxury car, but it’s a great bargain. If you get the SE with the 2-liter EcoBoost and AWD, you’ll be surprised how it handles and feels.
Both vehicles are great, but I suspect your father will lean towards the Chrysler 200S – my father would.
Best of luck!
This last question comes from a viewer who is considering an electric car.
Q: Hi Nathan,
I love watching your shows and my partner thinks you should come out to California more often. Maybe we could see you and Roman! We live in Ventura, CA and I drive less than 20 miles every day. My old Corolla is great, but it’s getting old. My partner got to ride in a Tesla and loved everything about it. I looked it up and it’s about three times more expensive than I’m willing to pay.
I’ve seen a few plug in hybrids and a Nissan Leaf in my neighborhood. The hybrids and Leaf look like fish to me. I like the price and the low carbon emissions, but I want something that makes me smile when I see it!
Do you think I’m being to superficial? Should I just ignore the looks and take one for mother nature? Is there something out there that I’m missing? Please help!
A: Thanks for the great email! The Nissan Leaf is a great runabout, but I agree with you about its aesthetics.
The way I look at it: if you don’t like the way your car looks, it’s hard to admire the rest of the machine. The reason the Nissan Leaf looks that way is (mainly) due to aerodynamics. Still, it is indeed a bit fish-like.
Have you looked at the Fiat 500e yet? It’s a fun little electric car based on the painfully adorable Fiat 500. Now, it is not as utilitarian as the Nissan Leaf, it’s not quite as capable with its overall range either; however, its 87 mile range is pretty damn good. Best of all, it’s fun to drive. Roman rates it as one of the more enjoyable electric cars he’s driven.
Let me know what you think!
Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out this video where Roman pits Lexus against Lexus!