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 full name will be omitted – leaving your first name, initials or nickname, your preference.
In this week’s Ask Nathan:
- Are we going to get the Ford Puma?
- Taking on an old RV project – or buildup a van?
- Fake expert! You have ZERO experience!
The first question comes from my Twitter (NathanAdlen@Twitter.com) page. The question is, are we getting the upcoming Ford Puma in the United States?
Q: Hi Nathan. You guys are good at research. Do you know about the new Ford Puma?
Saw photos of the Ford Puma and wondered if it will replace the Ford EcoSport here. You mentioned that Ford is looking at replacing or updating the EcoSport – you can read about that (here).
Live long and happy!
A: Hi Ellswig!
Thanks for the question. There are a few things we know about the Ford Puma. It has nothing to do with the sleek little coupe that Ford once built.
I drove one overseas in the 90s and it was a tossable little thing. Too small for the U.S. – it showed how, a while back, Ford kicked ass at small cars. Now, it’s back as a tiny crossover-ish machine.
The power-plant is said to be a turbocharged 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine that has a mild hybrid system. It is expected to put out around 155 horsepower. It has a 48-volt lithium-ion battery pack that increases torque to 180 lb-ft. There could be an additional 37 lb-ft of torque which comes from the integrated starter system. The electric power kicks in when extra oomph is needed.
Currently, it is NOT available with an all-wheel drive (AWD) system.
It will be built at the Craiova plant in Romania and Ford says there are no plans for it to come to the United States. Other outlets say that there’s a bunch of Ford suits who are begging for it and that it’s a real possibility.
I’m not sure if the folks at Ford want to sap the sales of the EcoSport. It’s selling fairly well and, even if there is an update, it will probably maintain its AWD setup. With a FWD-only setup, the Ford Puma would compete against the Toyota C-HR and Nissan Kicks hatchbacks – not huge sellers in the United States.
Still, Ford has a few surprises up their sleeves, so you never know.
We’ll keep an eye on the Puma – for sure.
The next question comes from a viewer who is thinking about an old RV or van to restore.
Q:Love the content on the TFLcar site and your videos are fun! Was thinking about a project for this summer.
I am finally partially retired and I have plenty of time and a limited budget. Thought about camping off the grid on occasion. Never had a real project and I was thinkabout trying something I can personalize. I have a chunk of property in New Mexico and I have a 1978 Winnebago and a 1981 Chevy van on it. Bought both for a couple hundred bucks as a cheap way to hold storage boxes.
Now have a large metal shed and both trucks are no longer needed as storage. The best thing is that both is that they run and drive pretty good. It would probably be a few hundred bucks worth of hardware to make either legal and safe. Tires and brakes are needed for both.
So which one would Nathan restore? I’m curious about your thoughts!
Jeremiah but not the bullfrog! A
A: Howdy and thanks for the email!
Interesting question, but I don’t have much to go on. I suppose if you want a vehicle for utility, something that can be both (an RV and a cargo vehicle), the van makes sense. Otherwise, as long as the plumbing and electrics are in order, the RV is a better choice for camping off the grid.
RVs can have many issues. If they sit unprotected, even in dry conditions, things age and decay. There are so many questions that need to be answered about things like suspension, steering, interior condition, water damage, rust – you name it. I’m glad that you mentioned tires and brakes, because they tend to be a priority.
Sorry I can’t give you more of an answer. I need more data. Still, I hope your partial retirement is enjoyable and that you find a project that’s rewarding!
Best of luck!
The last question/comment comes from a viewer who’s displeased with me. He didn’t like my response to a Nissan question and feels I only recommend things I would buy. He also feels like I am not qualified to do what I do for a living.
Q: (Paraphrased from Facebook comments) The fake expert strikes again. Recommending low quality Fiat based Jeeps and junk CVTs.
Just remember – the fake experts give recommendations on with they would personally buy, given examples like 0 (zero) experience or technical mechanical knowledge.
A: “Fake Expert?” “Zero experience or technical mechanical knowledge?”
Interesting statements Terrence. I will try to answer your criticisms without being too snarky, which is hard considering your obvious, scathing hatred.
I am basically listing my automotive journalist resume below. As such, I am omitting the trifling details – like being president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press association, being attached other journalism guilds, writing/journalism awards (got one from TAWA recently), racing experience or my past outlets, like CBS, Vehix, Autodriver, Off-road.com, Mademan, AutoWerkz, HupoTV and more. Yep… not needed.
Does growing up in a wrecking yard family count? Look up my last name “Adlen” but add another “A” (because we wanted to be first in the phone book) – “Aadlen Brothers Auto Wrecking” in Sun Valley, CA. Sadly, it closed a few years ago, but it’s still on the net. It was around for well over 50 years.
My family still has another wrecking yard that’s still in business. It’s located in Los Angeles and it’s called Samson Auto Salvage U-Pick-Parts. By the way.
Great place to be for a gearhead. Worked on and off there since I was a kid – well into adulthood. I messed around with every aspect – from auctions, parting cars, towing them, crushing them and even selling them as used cars.
Learned a lot about cars and the automobile business. Sure, it wasn’t as prestigious as working for an automaker, but I got to live and breath in a world experiences by few. It sure beat slinging burgers.
Lack of Mechanical/Technical knowledge:
Aside from building and ripping apart cars from the wrecking yard – and for fun with my friends, I worked at a small garage in the San Fernando Valley (California) in the 1980s. I learned a lot and wrenched on other people’s cars for money.
As I was transitioning into a journalist, I knew I needed more automotive insight to be competitive in the automotive world. I took a job with MDE International as a test driver. This gave me invaluable insight into the process of testing and evaluating new vehicles and prototypes.
Fake expert knowledge:
Even as a kid, I wanted to work for Car and Driver or Automobile. I wanted to review cars real people could afford. Growing up in L.A., I saw first hand how important even the most basic car was to a family would could finally afford one. I wanted to spend just as much time on a base model import as a badass pickup truck. Even back then.
Not an easy gig to stumble into, unlike nowadays. I was lucky enough to get advice and critiquing from David E Davis early on. It took a ton of emails and, finally meeting him in person to get his attention. He hated a lot of my early work and was not a fan of video. His advice helped guide me back to college to learn the basics of journalism.
Prior to meeting him, I had collegiate experience in history, theater, television and film with basic familiarity with english/literature. After going back to school, two years of journalism was procured. I learned how to communicate with viewers and readers – in my own way.
Sadly, Davis passed in 2011 – before he could see TFL really take off.
Recommending cars I would buy:
Yea, of course I would. That’s kind of how this whole thing works. If I experience a vehicle I would want, I will let the readers and the viewers know. Almost every automaker builds something I would consider buying.
Higher end vehicles, of which I rarely review and would never buy, are judged based on their individual merits. I’m usually crystal clear about the pros and cons. I would never recommend something I haven’t driven.
Recommending Jeeps and CVTs:
Yes, I recommend Jeeps because a majority of them kick ass off-road. I love to go off-road and despite your dislike for FCA, they build capable off-road vehicles. Lie to me and explain how any other automaker builds a more capable off-roader out of the box over a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.
As for recommending CVT? I usually get static from readers because I am constantly voicing my dislike for CVTs. I’m guessing you’re a tad confused on this one. I never would consider any CVT over an automatic transmission or a manual. Sorry.
Okay Terrence, there’s my answer to your comments. Usually, I’m not as detailed; but your comments strike me as odd. I don’t think you know a thing about me, or anybody else who does this for a living.
You’re not the only one. There are plenty of people who regard people on the internet as “fake” I suppose. It’s a shame that they feel like bashing our integrity before finding out what we’re all about.
Enjoy a video that was shot live where we talk about the (light) off-road capable crossovers.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.