Honda Powering Disney’s Autopia, BMW i3 vs Nissan Leaf vs Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Scion tC? [Ask Nathan]

Lincoln MKX vs Lexus RX 350 vs Volvo XC60 T6

In this edition of Ask Nathan:

  • What’s up with Honda powering Disney’s Autopia?
  • Best reasonably priced electric BMW i3, Nissan Leaf or Mitsubishi i-MiEV?
  • Is the 2016 Scion tC a good buy?

Today’s first question comes from a fan who heard that Disneyland’s Autopia ride is now sponsored by Honda.

Disneyland Autotopia powered by Honda

Hi Nathan! I know you’re a Disney freak, so riddle me this.

Disneyland California (Anaheim) closed Autopia ride in January for refurbishment. It was sponsored by Chevron Gasoline but my friend’s recent visit to Disneyland showed a new sign. It’s now sponsored by Honda! I can’t believe it! Honda is all I drive and they are in Disneyland! Now, it’s going to be a year or two before I can visit Disneyland again. I live in Portland and it’s an expensive vacation to go to Disneyland. But every trip has been worth it. I was going to wait until the new Star Wars Land opened in 2018 but maybe I should go sooner?

Do you know anything about the new Autopia? Please let me know!

Your the man!

Todd

Disneyland Autopia cars by Honda

A: Hi Todd!

You’re absolutely correct, I am a Disney nut. Growing up in L.A., I would buy season passes all the time. I often found “ways” to head to Disneyland forgoing other commitments. When I was a kid, I grew up with the Autopia cars that looked like tiny Corvettes. Loved that ride!

Did you know that Autopia is one of the few rides remaining at Disneyland that dates back to the park’s opening back in 1955? Crazier still, my mom visited the year it opened and drove one of the original cars! Also, the maximum speed of the cars is supposed to be around 7 mph; however, these golf-cart-powered machines occasionally exceed 8 mph, but often have a hard time surpassing 5 mph.

As for Autopia’s now Honda sponsorship: Yes, there are quite a few small changes, but nothing big. If you live for the details, you’ll notice many things right away.

Entering the line, you’ll see many vintage animated shorts showing transportation predictions for tomorrow. Many of these films were produced in the late 1940s-1960s. You’ll see films that inspired The (non-Disney) Jetsons. Some of these films are present on smaller screens while others are on a big screen hanging near the actual Autopia cars.

The cars still have the same body and drive, but they have new colors. The track is the same, fortunately Disneyland changed some of the scenery giving the ride a retro-futuristic vibe. Honda has been pretty quiet on additional changes to the ride, but I feel that there may be a few cool things brewing.

That’s all I have for now. If any of you readers have info, please let everyone know below!

Give Mr. Toad my best!

N

This next question is from a viewer who wants to know which is the best reasonably priced electric BMW i3, Nissan Leaf or Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

Q: I want the best, reasonably priced electric vehicle. I’m looking at the BMW i3 (used), Nissan Leaf or Mitsubishi iMiEV.

What do you think? I can’t afford a Tesla and, knowing Tesla, it will be three years before anyone receives their cheaper new car. I need something today. My price range is $25,000 to $30,000. And I know the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is very inexpensive. I don’t care about that. I care about the most logical ride for me.

I have my own garage at my condo and I have higher wattage washing/drying machines in that garage too.

I am a single person who commutes less than 10 miles to work, my gym and the beach. I use public transportation often and fly to places rather than drive long distance. I have no pets, no kids, no large things to transport. I am unsure about a range extender like the one available in the BMW i3.

I want comfort, ease of use and maybe a bit of fun from time to time.

I like electric cars because they are clean, unobtrusive and quiet.

I do NOT want anything from Volkswagen, Chevy or Ford.

Thanks.

Pam

BMW-i3

A: Howdy Pam,

Right off the bat, I can tell you that the BMW i3 with the range-extending generator is the best choice. Still, the Nissan Leaf is a solid choice and the range has recently been extended. I would pass on the Mitsubishi i-MiEV as it cannot compete with these vehicles – other than price.

If you want the most utilitarian of the three, the Nissan Leaf is most comfortable and can hold lots of cargo too.

Best of luck!

N

Scion tC FR-S

The last question is from a fan debating her purchase of a 2016 Scion tC.

Q:Hi Nathan, I watched your videos and read your reviews about the Scion tC.

My question is: with the brand Scion disappearing soon, should that be a consideration when buying a 2016 model? I like and agree about your perception of the Scion tC, I’m just worried that servicing and parts will be an issue in the future.

What would you do?

Amy

2012 Scion tC Five Axis
Scion tC

A: Great question!

I absolutely love the Scion tC. I’ve driven every version and enjoyed them all. Yes, it’s getting on in years, it’s still an outstanding value and a fun car. It has lots of utility and good features for the price. It’s my favorite Scion and one of my favorite Toyota products.

You’re right, it’s going away soon and it doesn’t look like Toyota is bringing a replacement to its fleet anytime soon.

Still, should you be worried about service and parts? Absolutely not. Toyota will service the tC once the Scion brand folds back into its Toyota parent company.

I say: get one while you can!

N

Speaking of fun cars…

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.

Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: asknathan@tflcar.com

Nathan Adlen
Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.