Swiss Army Kar, Dodge Barracuda and Stanky Breath [Ask Nathan]

If I had a million dollars to spend at the 2013 Denver Auto Show
    • I want a SAK (Swiss Army “Kar”) for under 35K?
    • Will there be a Dodge Barricuda?
    • Stanky Breath?

The first question comes from a viewer who wants a crossover/SUV that gets decent gas mileage, can tow over 3,500 lbs and has no problem with light off roading. He calls it a “Swiss Army Kar.”

Q:Hey Roman (and Nathan),

I wrote to you a while ago hoping you might review the Subaru Crosstrek. For some time now, I’ve been hoping to identify a car that can “do it all”.?

– all wheel drive
– decent fuel economy
– can tow at least 3500 pounds
– doesn’t ride like a truck
– inexpensive to repair
– decent-looking daily driver
– would sell for less than $35K (new or used does not matter to me)
– my kids are grown = no car seat considerations

As good as the new Crosstrek may be, it can only tow 1500 pounds.

For a long time, I thought Nathan’s Toyota RAV4 with a V6 might do the trick. The last year with the V6 was 2012. The new RAV4 “Adventure” looks promising, but I have not seen many real-world reviews and it might be worth it to wait for a 2019 redesign.

Roman, I know you are a fan of both the new Pilot and Ridgeline – both of which I can’t afford. (I’m not attracted to the CRV, but would look at it if they could get their towing capacity up.)

So –

Can either of you think of a model which “does it all” in a reliable fashion that I should consider?

Note: I like the looks of the new Crosstrek, have never owned a truck, will travel forest service roads but never seriously off-road, would like to tow a small travel trailer, have snow in Wisconsin, and am done with my minivan stage.

You guys have driven so much more than I ever will – I’d appreciate a few ideas to chase down.

Thanks for any minutes you spend on this!

Kyle K

P.S. I will take suggestions on USED Swiss Army Kars as well.

A: Hi Kyle!

You’re right, the Subaru Crosstrek has lots of strong points, but towing isn’t one of them. Most vehicles that compete with the Crosstrek tow around 1,500 lbs. Fortunately, there are some great rides out there that may fill the bill.

May vehicles like the AWD Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot and Volkswagen tow between 4,500 and 5,000 lbs. It’s better to get a vehicle that can tow well over your maximum as they will be less stressed. Out of these larger crossovers, I like the Volkswagen Atlas – so does Roman.

A great alternative is the Jeep Grand Cherokee with the Pentastar V6. If you’re thinking about towing more often, consider a used Chevrolet Tahoe or Ford Explorer with the EcoBoost. The Kia Sorento is worth mentioning too.

Good all-season, off-road tires can help any of these machines perform better off the beaten path.

Most of these vehicles have optional towing packages, which we always recommend getting. Try to remember, watch your gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and remember your trailer’s tongue weight has to be part of that number.

Go to for more information.


Dodge Challenger concept

This next question comes from a fan who wants to know if there will ever be a Dodge Barracuda.

Dodge Challenger GT AWD Concept | 2015 SEMA

Q:I once heard that FCA might build a Dodge Barracuda.

Do you know if that’s true? What would it be like? I know you can only guess, but I like your guesses!

You guys rock!


Dodge Challenger GT AWD Concept | 2015 SEMA
Dodge Challenger GT AWD concept

A: Thanks for the email Moses!

Here’s what I know (or what I’ve read):

Back in 2015, FCA, via the United States Patent and Trademark Office, (on June 16) trademarked the name “Barracuda.”

There is speculation and an unconfirmed UAW rumor that the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant, in Michigan, which was closed after the end of the Dodge SRT Viper’s production, may reopen for a new, limited run performance vehicle. Some say it will be the Barracuda.

A European insider said that the Dodge Barracuda will use the Alfa Romeo Giulia platform and be the next generation’s Dodge Challenger’s convertible cousin.

Absolutely none of these rumors have been substantiated; however, it’s all I could find.

Let’s hope they build it!


The last question comes from a tweeter who wants to combat bad breath. Seriously.

Q:Do you have stanky breath?. I do.

How do you combat bad breath?

D Ortiz

(Via: Nathanadlen@ Twitter)

Speaking of smelly…


A: Hi

I floss a lot. letting food rot between your teeth is bad. Floss before brushing.

Always use a strong mouthwash too.




(This is a guy who normally trolls me. I guess he has issues with halitosis too.)

With Halloween right around the corner – check out these videos!

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.

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