#260, Cheap SUVs, racing icon dies and more

Michael James

Craig Breedlove was a pioneer in the "need for speed." He died in April at age 86.

From time to time during the more than five years of The Weekly Driver Podcast, co-hosts Bruce Aldrich and James Raia catch-up on automotive news instead of having a guest. This week on Episode #260 we visit four diverse topics — cheap SUVs, the death of speed racing icon Craig Breedlove, the most expensive states to own vehicles and no ignition new car

It’s no secret, Hyundai and Kia have drastically improved in recent years. The related manufacturers’ vehicles have had some of the industry’s top ratings, from economy to luxury segments. The 2023 Hyundai Venue is also the country’s cheapest SUV. It only has 121 horsepower and its cargo area is a postage-stamp sized at 32 cubic feet. And it’s not available with all-wheel drive. But for about $20,000 its base model is available.

Breedlove, who died in April at age 86, was a professional race car driver and a five-time world land speed record holder. A California native living in Rio Vista, Breedlove was the first person in history to reach 500 and 600 miles per hour.

The Hyundai Venue is the cheapest SUV in the United States
The Hyundai Venue is the cheapest SUV in the United States.

All of his turbojet-powered vehicles were named Spirit of America, and Breedlove’s persona fit the name. He was handsome and flamboyant and perfect for the spotlight.

The need for speed was also a family affair. Breedlove’s wife, Lee Breedlove, became the fastest woman in the world when she drove the Sonics 1 to 308 mph in 1965. Craig Breedlove was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2009.

Bruce and I also discuss the most expensive states to own a vehicle. And here’s a surprise: It’s Connecticut where $1,503 on average is the year cost for a minimum insurance policy. The cost increases to $2,999 for a full coverage policy.

Finally, Bruce and I talk about the 2023 Volvo XC40 Recharge. It’s the first vehicle both of us have driven that doesn’t have an ignition button, toggle or switch or any need for a keyfob except to have it nearby to operate the car.

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