100 episodes

The iDriveSoCal Podcast covers automotive news and the future of transportation from the car capital of the world – Southern California.

The region with the worst traffic on the planet has become ground zero for the revolution in how humans and our stuff travels from points ‘A’ to ‘B’.

But while the future of mobility is sorted out, you still have to drive, pretty much everywhere, especially here in SoCal. So, our content includes lots of vehicle reviews and behind the scenes car buying tips from real car dealers. After all, what better time to contemplate the details of your next vehicle purchase then when you're stuck in traffic?

Plus we're always covering cool automotive events, shows museums and everything about the history and future of transportation.

iDriveSoCal Tom Smith

    • Automotive
    • 3.5 • 2 Ratings

The iDriveSoCal Podcast covers automotive news and the future of transportation from the car capital of the world – Southern California.

The region with the worst traffic on the planet has become ground zero for the revolution in how humans and our stuff travels from points ‘A’ to ‘B’.

But while the future of mobility is sorted out, you still have to drive, pretty much everywhere, especially here in SoCal. So, our content includes lots of vehicle reviews and behind the scenes car buying tips from real car dealers. After all, what better time to contemplate the details of your next vehicle purchase then when you're stuck in traffic?

Plus we're always covering cool automotive events, shows museums and everything about the history and future of transportation.

    2021 Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab RST: Drop The Tailgate

    2021 Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab RST: Drop The Tailgate

    The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab is definitely a vehicle that would be in my garage if I only had space.  Because the full-size Silverado is Chevy's top-selling vehicle and it gets a lot of attention.  Each year, there's always something new and improved about the truck.  And it's packed with technology and innovation.

    Plus it's 100% a chameleon.  By that I mean, you can get a totally basic Silverado.  And that would be that will be a tough work truck.  But you can also get one souped-up for on or off-roading in ridiculous style and capability.

    ✅ And my friends at Martin Chevrolet gave me the 2021 Chevy Silverado Crew Cab RST 4WD pictured in this review.  And mine had the Z71 package off-road package.

    2021 Chevy Silverado Top-3:




    Cherry Red Tintcoat

    2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Review

    New for 2021 Chevy Silverado brings a couple of key features that will light up everyone universally.  Plus it offers a number of new options that are a bit more niche-specific.  But they're sure to be enjoyed nonetheless.

    So, universal features will have everyone mouthing the word 'sweet' include:  The multi-flex tailgate that's being brought over from GMC.  And wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

    Plus there's a slew of additional new options.  Including increased trailering capabilities and enhanced tech to monitor your trailering.

    Also, new available packages: All-Star Edition Plus, Texas Edition Plus, and LTZ Premium Texas Edition.  And there are new colors including Oxford Brown Metallic, Mosaic Black Metallic, and Cherry Red Tintcoat - pictured in this article.

    Prices And Trims

    It's notable that there are more ways to equip a Silverado than I think anyone has bothered to compute.  From trims to special packages and engines to drivetrains, plus cabs and beds.  You can, and should, get your Silverado exactly as you like.

    '21 Chevy Silverado 1500 Trims:

    Work Truck (WT)


    Custom Trail Boss



    LT Trail Boss


    High Country

    And starting MSRPs for the various trims range widely.  For example on Chevy's website, I configured a minimally equipped WT for a starting price of about $26,595.  Conversely, I also configured a High Country with all the whistles and bells for about $67,455.  Moreover, that's before customizing any equipment or considering special packages.

    Engines, Transmissions, Towing, And MPG

    So, with all the trim options in mind, the engine options might surprise you.  Because there are nine of those when you consider their various transmission pairings.

    Engine/Trans Options

    4.3-liter V6 with 6-speed automatic and Active Fuel Management

    5.3L V8 with 6-speed automatic

    With Active Fuel Management

    Without Active Fuel Management

    5.3L V8 with 8-speed automatic

    With Dynamic Fuel Management

    Without Dynamic Fuel Management

    5.3 L V8 with 10-speed automatic with Dynamic Fuel Management

    6.2L V8 with 10-speed automatic with Dynamic Fuel Management

    2.7L Turbo 4-cylinder with 8-speed automatic and Active Fuel Management

    3.0L I-6 Turbo-Diesel with 10-speed automatic

    In addition to all that, as you can imagine, the fuel economy is all over the board.  But good, overall.  There is some criticism about the 4-cylinder.  Not that it's not powerful but that it isn't very fuel-efficient.

    Fuel Economy

    Overall, the worst EPA estimated fuel economy would be 13 MPG in the city.  And that's with the Trail Boss 4WD, 5.3L V8 paired with the 6-speed automatic without active fuel management.

    • 16 min
    2021 Volkswagen Arteon: The People’s Euro-Elegant Sedan

    2021 Volkswagen Arteon: The People’s Euro-Elegant Sedan

    The refreshed 2021 Volkswagen Arteon adds elements of driver assistance, connectivity, and refinement.  As a result, Arteon continues its this/closeness to luxury sibling brand Audi.  But the midsize flagship sedan does so while maintaining the Volkswagen pricing creating an attractive value proposition.

    ✅  The latest Arteon deals and incentives –> check inventory at Ontario Volkswagen

    2021 VW Arteon Top-3:




    Because at under $37k starting price it's hard to beat the overall package Volkswagen Arteon offers.

    268 hp & 258 lb-ft of torque

    2021 Volkswagen Arteon Review

    Because no other European luxury brand has a non-luxury sibling VW is special.  And thanks go to Audi for sure.  But Porsche and other brands owned by Volkswagen Group too.  So, when you consider the available technology and innovation easily accessible to Volkswagen.  It's easy to understand how the carmakers packs so much into it's flagship sedan.

    First, it's exceptional design - inside and out.  Plus Volkswagen's reknown attention to fit and finish details.  And class leading technology.  Arteon looks great.  It's fun to drive, quick and offers superior handling.  And it includes Volkswagen's Digital cockpit which is a direct carryover from Audi.

    Trims And Prices

    For '21 Arteon is offered in three trim configurations.  Starting with the base-model SE.  Next is the SEL R-Line.  And the top trim for 2021 is the SEL Premium R-Line.

    2021 Volkswagen Arteon Trims & MSRPS:

    Base-model SE $36,995

    SEL R-Line $41,595

    SEL Premium R-Line $46,995

    As an reference I provide manufacturers suggested retail pricing.  But go see my friends at Ontario VW for not only your best price and selection but also your best buying experience.

    Engines, Transmissions, And MPG

    No matter which trim configuration, Arteon comes with the same engine and transmission.  But the factor you do have to weigh into the equation is front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.  And VW's AWD system is referred to as 4Motion.

    So the engine is an inline 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that's turbocharged.  And it puts out 268 horsepower with 258 pound-feet of torque.  That engine is paried with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

    EPA rated up to 32 mpg

    Leaving the FWD or 4Motion decision.  But, FWD is the only option on the SE trim.  The SEL R-Line offers both FWD and 4Motion.  And the SEL Premium R-Line only comes with the 4Motion.

    Fuel economy varies only a little.  Because AWD gives you 20 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway.  Whereas FWD will deliver 22 in the city and 32 on the highway.

    Finally, Arteon's curbweight also varies slightly due to FWD or AWD.  With FWD it's 3,686 and with AWD it's 3,955.

    What Does 2021 VW Arteon Look Like?

    Arteon's styling is undeniably attractive.  But it's also undeniably a Volkswagen.  And, you could say, it's undeniably the Volkswagen flagship sedan.  Because there's no bad angle when viewing the vehicle.

    Exterior Dimensions:

    Wheelbase 111.9


    Front 62.5

    Rear 62.1

    Length 191.6

    Width 73.7

    Height 56.9

    *All inches

    Plus, depending on your trim configuration.  You can have your option of stylish 18", 19", or 20" wheels and R-Line sporty accents.  It's European for sure with a contemporary forward-leaning vibe.

    Inside '21 Arteon

    Inside the 2021 Volkswagen Arteon is where the fit and finish details really hit home.  Because even a non-car-guy/gal are able to appreciate the little things.  Like how the doors close with a solid feel.

    • 14 min
    2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV: Insanely Affordable Range

    2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV: Insanely Affordable Range

    The 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV delivers an EPA-estimated 259 miles of range on a full charge.  And that's comparable to a gas-fueled vehicle with a full tank.  So, consider that.  Plus new insanely competitive pricing on the compact electric wagon.  And it's easy to understand how sales are taking off.

    2021 Chevy Bolt EV Top-3:




    Plus Chevy's just getting started with more electric product offerings on the way soon.  I recently picked up a nicely equipped base-model from my friends at Martin Chevrolet for this review.

    -->Continue reading or click play below to listen. --

    2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV Review

    With 2021 Bolt enters its fourth model year.  And since the first model year of 2017, Bolt has increased its capacity where it counts.  Specifically range.  Because previous model years came with just 238 miles of range.  And when it comes to EVs that's at the top of every list.

    Due to the EV nature of the '21 Bolt, it offers a smooth ride.  Because the battery weight across the floor of the vehicle gives it a sturdy confident feeling while driving.  Plus being electric, Bolt has ample torque.

    And besides very aggressive pricing, where Chevy Bolt really differs from its EV rivals is inside.  While Bolt is EV-minimalist inside, it's not overdone minimalism.  Because most manufacturers making electric vehicles these days take that less-is-more thing a bit too far.  (Ahem, Tesla.)

    Trims And Prices

    For '21 Chevy offers the Bolt in two trim options.  So, you can go with the base-model LT or the top-tier Premier trim.

    The base-model LT trim MSRP starts at $37,495.  And the Premier trim MSRP starts at $42,695.

    Up to 100 miles in 30 mins w/ DC Fast Charging

    Motor, Transmission, Range, And MPGe

    Regardless of trim, the 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV comes with the same powertrain.  And it delivers the same range and miles per gallon equivalent.

    Both trims come with the same electric motor that delivers 200 horsepower and 266 lb-feet of torque.  And front-wheel drive is your only option.

    Up to 127 mpg-e

    Additionally, up to 259 miles of range is the same for both trims.  And the EPA MPG equivalent is a whopping 127 in the city and 108 on the highway for a combined 118 mpg-e.

    So, the one notable difference in trims when it comes to range and mpg-e is the DC Fast Charging capability.  Because that's standard on the Premier and available on the LT.

    What Does The 2021 Chevy Bolt EV Look Like?

    The 2021 Bolt EV looks like an electric vehicle.  But I wouldn't go so far as to say it looks Prius space-shippy.  The EPA classification actually lists Bolt as a wagon.

    While the Bolt is certainly no Corvette C8 it is good looking for an EV.  And especially one that's currently available for a $99 monthly lease!

    Exterior dimensions:

    Wheelbase 102.4

    Length 164

    Width 69.5

    Height 62.8


    Front 59.1

    Rear 59.1

    *All inches

    And, the '21 Bolt electric vehicle has a curb weight of 3,563 lbs.

    Inside The '21 Chevy Bolt Electric Vehicle

    What I really like about the 2021 Chevy Bolt is the interior.  Because while it's minimally adorned, it's not overly minimized.  Some manufacturers seem to think because a car is electric drivers suddenly no longer stuff.  And because we do have stuff, that stuff needs to find a home in our cars.  Like coat hooks, nooks, and crannies.  Places to keep our belongings out of sight.

    Comfortable and inviting denim-like upholstery

    And Bolt doesn't have that problem.  Chevy doesn't overdo the minimalism.  Bolt is still an EV inside for sure.

    • 15 min
    2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI: Value Euro Compact Sedan

    2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI: Value Euro Compact Sedan

    The 2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI stays true to its roots.  Because going all the way back to 1984 it's been considered a GTI with a trunk.  And that holds true today.

    But what does that mean?  Specifically, it's sporty, Euro-stylish, handles great, and is fun to drive.  Moreover, it's wildly affordable.  And definitely within the financial reach of every car-buyer.

    ✅  At Ontario VW, every new Jetta GLI includes 3-years of zero cost maintenance!  Check out your best prices.

    '21 VW Jetta GLI Top-3:




    -->Continue reading or click play below to listen.--

    228 hp & 258 lb-ft of torque

    2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Review: Value!

    Here's what's great about VW.  No other car company has as robust an ownership group.  Because VW enjoys sibling brands like Porsche and Audi.  Plus many others.

    So it's easy to understand how VW manages to pack so much value into an incredibly reasonable price-point.  And that definitely holds true with the '21 Jetta GLI.  You get far more than you pay for.

    It accelerates quickly, is nimble to navigate, and exudes European luxury inside and out.  And all at a price that's well within the reach of any new car shopper.

    Trims And Pricing

    For 2021 Volkswagen keeps your GLI options pretty simple.  You can go with the base-model S or jump to the top-trimmed Autobahn.

    2021 VW Jetta Trims & MSRPs:

    S (base) $26,345

    Autobahn $34,745

    Of course with only two trims there's a considerable difference between the two.  And the GLI that's pictured throughout this post is a base model S.  It's adequately equipped for sure.  But my pick would definitely be to go with the Autobahn.  And that's because of all the extras you get including Volkswagen's digital cockpit which is one of my favorites.

    It replaces the traditional instrumentation in the dashboard with a digital monitor.  And that monitor is completely customizable.  So you can have a traditional view with your tachometer and speedometer.  Or, you can minimize that information while placing your navigation instructions inside the dash!

    Length 185.2" Height 57.9"

    Engine, Transmission, And Fuel Economy

    While keeping your trim options simple VW does the same with your engine and transmission choices.  Because you get nearly the same no matter what.

    2021 VW GLI Engine

    So, regardless of S or Autobahn trims you get a highly spirited 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder that turbocharged.  And it puts out 228 horsepower with 258 pound-feet of torque.

    6-speedd manual or 7-spd automatic transmission

    Transmission Options

    When it comes to transmissions you can go with a 6-speed manual or 7-speed automatic.  As much as I love manual, living here in Southern California almost always requires automatic for daily drivers.  Because manual transmissions and SoCal traffic is a recipe for frustration.  But, if you can control your schedule and miss traffic it's doable.

    But, that said, the automatic offers paddle shifters to keep the driving experience fun and low-maintenance at the same time.

    When it comes to curb weights the manual transmission comes to 3,228 pounds while automatic bumps up to 3,294 lbs.

    18" aluminum-alloy wheels

    '21 Volkswagen GLI MPG

    And GLI's fuel economy keeps you skipping more gas stations than stopping at for certain.  That's due to 24 mpg in the city for both transmission options.  While you'll get 33 mpg on the highway with manual trans and up to 35 highway mpg with automatic.

    What Does '21 GLI Look Like?

    It's undeniably two things - European and a VW.  Sporty and stylish with great lines from all angles.  And again,

    • 13 min
    2021 Chevrolet Traverse: 3-Row Midsize SUV Families Love

    2021 Chevrolet Traverse: 3-Row Midsize SUV Families Love

    The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse looks just like a little Chevy Tahoe.  That's due to the Tahoe's redesign as of the same model year.

    And Traverse is a midsize SUV.  But here's the thing.  It's huge inside.  Best in class cargo room with up to 98.2 cubic-feet of stuff-space.

    ✅ Thanks to my friends at Martin Chevy for giving me the 2021 Chevy Traverse for this review!

    Plus it's a -row SUV that seats up to eight.  And it can tow up to 5,000 lbs.  Additionally, it can deliver up to 27 mpg.  So yeah, families dig it - a lot.


    Interior - space!



    -->Play the podcast below or continue reading.--

    204.3-inches length & 70.7" height

    Chevrolet Traverse Review

    It's surprisingly quick.  And it's long but agile.  No problem with u-turns or navigating tight spots.  And it's a great-looking sport-ute.  But the show-stopper for the 2021 Traverse is inside.  In fact, it's the entire interior.  Because there's a huge amount of space and great use of it.  Finally, there's the NHTSA 5-Star Overall safety rating.

    Trims And Prices

    There's a Traverse trim for just about every need and budget.  So, without including Special Editions and options Traverse is offered in seven different trims.

    2021 Chevy Traverse Trims & MSRPs:

    L starting at $29,800

    LS $32,900

    LT Cloth $35,400

    LT Leather $39,100

    RS $43,700

    Premier $45,800

    High Country $50,900

    As Chevy is known for, Traverse is offered in its Redline Edition.  And that's what you see pictured in this article.  Premier w/ Redline and all-wheel drive.

    Engines And Transmissions

    Unlike its trim options, Chevy keeps the Traverse engine and transmission combos simple.  Because you only have one choice.  And that's two-wheel (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD).

    And that's great because the engine and transmission combo delivers a fun and powerful driving experience.  So the engine is a 3.6-liter V6.  It delivers 310-horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque.  And the transmission is a smartly geared 9-speed automatic.

    Redline Edition wheel

    So, with that little variation in engine and transmission Traverse's fuel-economy is stable.  AWD will give you 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.  And FWD delivers 18/27mpg.

    It's highly-capable too.  Traverse has 5,000 lbs of towing capacity.  And a curb-weight of 4,236 lbs.

    What's the 2021 Chevy Traverse Look Like?

    With Chevrolet's redesign of Tahoe and Suburban, Traverse looks exactly like a scaled-down version of those.  And considering Suburban was basically the original sport utility vehicle, Traverse delivers that DNA impeccably.

    NHTSA 5-Star Safety Rating

    What's nice about having so many trim options is there's a look for every taste.  From on-road sporty or off-road rugged, Traverse goes there without a struggle.

    Class-Leading Space Interior Space

    Sure, as a Dad I like to look cool.  And Traverse delivers that.  But, it's all about my family.  And that's why so many families are choosing Traverse.   Because the interior space is huge and very well designed.

    Cockpit - Premier trim

    My Premier trimmed Traverse had pinhole leather and surfaces that were quality to the touch.  One of my favorite features on any car is ventilated seats.  And Traverse has about the coolest I've tested in a long-time.

    Secret compartment in-dash

    And there are two hidden compartments inside the 2021 Chevrolet Traverse.  One is behind the infotainment touchscreen.  And the other is below the cargo area floor.

    Under-floor hidden compartment

    • 14 min
    2021 Chevrolet Equinox Review: Prices, Trims, Specs & Pics

    2021 Chevrolet Equinox Review: Prices, Trims, Specs & Pics

    The 2021 Chevrolet Equinox marks the 16th model-year for the crossover sport-ute.  And it's always been a 5-passenger.  But it's been categorized as both a midsize and compact SUV.

    Because of its size, it's currently referred to as a compact.  But the Chevy SUV lineup also includes two smaller SUV models.  Both the Trailblazer and Trax are Equinoix's little siblings.   While  Equinox's larger sibs include; Blazer, Traverse, Tahoe, and Suburban.

    Equinox has been Chevrolet's number two selling vehicle in the US.  Because it's highly capable, versatile, and affordable.

    2021 Chevrolet Equinox Top-3:




    My friends at Martin Chevrolet in SoCal's Chevy Dealer in South Bay gave me the Equinox pictured in this article.

    -->Continue reading below or click play to listen.--

    Premier trim w/ Redline Edition Package

    2021 Chevy Equinox Trims & Prices

    So, this year's Equinox offers four trim levels.  But that doesn't include the special edition packages and options.

    Trims & Starting MSRPs:

    L $23,800

    LS $26,300

    LT $27,500

    Premier $35,390

    Plus there are special edition packages available for the '21 Equinox.  For example, the handsome Redline package that you see pictured here.  Additionally, Chevy offers an athletic Sport and Midnight special edition package.

    Engine, Transmission & MPG

    Chevy keeps the engine and transmission options simple for Equinox.  All trims receive the same spirited 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder.  It produces 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque.  And there's a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission.  That can power either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

    1.5L Turbo 4-cylinder

    Fuel economy is a solid 25 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway for the AWD.  And if you opt for FWD you increase to 26 mpg city and 31 mpg on the open road.

    The curb weight for '21 Equinox varies with configuration - from 3,274 to 3,512 pounds.  And it can tow 1,500 lbs.

    What Does 2021 Chevrolet Equinox Look Like?

    From the entry-level L trim to the Premier with Redline pictured here, the '21 Equinox take on many looks.  You can stand out from the crowd or blend in.  But regardless of the trim, Equinox is well proportioned.  It has a clean aerodynamic look.  And it's especially good-looking from the rear three-quarter views.

    7.6 to 8.0-inches of ground clearance

    Equinox leans more crossover than an off-road sport utility vehicle.  But you still have the option to give it that more rugged look.  Plus with up to 8" of ground clearance Equinox is ready for some light-duty off-pavement adventures.

    Exterior dimensions:

    Length: 183.1

    Width 72.8

    Height: 65.4


    Front: 62.2

    Rear: 62.2

    Ground clearance: 7.6 to 8.0

    *All inches 


    Inside The 2021 Equinox

    Inside the Equinox is class-leading-spacious and equally versatile.  Depending on the trim, you can dance it up or tone it down.  New for 2021, leather is available on the LT.  Including perforated leather-appointed seating surfaces.

    39.9" backseat legroom

    And, the Premier trim that I drove was subtle but handsome inside.  And all the surfaces had a quality feel to the touch.

    Interior dimensions:

    Headroom - w/out & w/ sunroof:

    Front 40/38.2

    Rear 38.5/36.9


    Front 40.9

    Rear 39.9

    Shoulder room:

    Front 57.2

    Rear 55.5

    • 13 min

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5
2 Ratings

2 Ratings

cscscsc28 ,

Review or Advertisement for Rock Honda?

I listened to the Civic Hatchback Review and it seemed more like an advertisement for a car dealership with name dropping folks over at the car dealership. Would have loved more info on the actual car

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