Quick Stats: Jonathan Scott, host, HGTV’s Property Brothers: Forever Home
Daily Driver: 2018 Tesla Model X (Jonathan’s rating: 10 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Other cars: See below
Favorite road trip: Trans-Canada Highway
Car he learned to drive in: 1975 Oldsmobile Omega
First car bought: 1975 Oldsmobile Omega
Even as a kid, Jonathan Scott was conscious about the effect cars have on the environment. Now that he can buy any car he wants, he still opts for something that is eco-friendly.
“When we were kids, we had one truck that was really smoky and we would always say to dad, ‘Dad, that can’t be good for the environment!’ So eventually he sold it and he got another truck that wasn’t a big polluter.”
“I find Drew’s car is a little hard to get in and out of. I’m not as limber as he is because he goes to the gym every day, so I like having the crossover—and it’s got more space for me to haul stuff, too,” Jonathan says.
He gives his Model X a perfect 10. “It’s hands down the best vehicle I’ve ever had. The interesting thing is I’ve never experienced power like that in a vehicle before. I’ll be on the highway at full speed, and you have to be careful—if you just touch the accelerator, it will whip your neck back,” he says.
He adds that since his house in Las Vegas runs off solar, it charges the car at no cost. “I never have to fill it up. It’s always topped off, so it’s really taken the hassle of having to stop and fill up completely out of my life.”
But it’s not just about doing right by the environment. For Jonathan, the Tesla’s design and interior space attracted him, too.
“I found for the longest time that a lot of the electric vehicles didn’t look very impressive or didn’t have the storage capacity that I would want,” he says, “so the Model X was the first one that I was like, ‘Wow it actually has a lot of storage room.’ We have a lot of equipment to haul around.”
Jonathan appreciates that his brother bought a Tesla first, so he could figure out whether he wanted one, as well. “I did let Drew be a guinea pig. Same way when we were kids, when we were going to get braces, or get bonding to fix the gap between our teeth, I thought, ‘I’ll let Drew go and test it first.’ It looked perfect, so then I did it after. I let him get it first and it turned out to be a great car, so when they came out with the model that had more room for me, it was perfect.”
After Jonathan recently worked with Jaguar, the automaker offered to give him a car. Initially, he said no: “I already have a vehicle and I like electric vehicles. Nobody ever told me that they had an electric vehicle,” he says.
When he was shooting the campaign, executives told him they just launched the I-Pace. “I was like, ‘What?’ They sent me an I-Pace so I’ve been zipping around in that,” he says.
Now that Scott has the I-Pace plus his Model X, he sees some clear differences between the two electric cars.
Rating: 7.5 for maneuverability, 10 for design
“They promote it as an SUV, but I don’t see it as an SUV at all. It’s a more compact vehicle than the Model X I have,” he says, giving it a 7.5 in maneuverability and a perfect 10 stylistically.
“It’s an absolutely beautiful vehicle. I love the big rims, I love the curves, it’s a very sexy vehicle,” Jonathan says. “When I have my Tesla and my I-Pace parked next to each other, everyone always comments immediately on the Jaguar first. Visually, it’s gorgeous.”
Technology-wise, Jonathan likes that he can control the Tesla essentially from his phone. “I can summon it, I can open doors, I can unlock it. The technology on the Tesla seems a little bit more modern—the big screen and the ability to control absolutely everything from it, though the I-Pace has the heated and cooled seats, whereas I don’t have the cooled seats with the Model X.”
Jonathan says the regenerative braking is a little more involved with the I-Pace. “I pretty much never even have to touch the brakes. … On the Tesla you have the ability to turn that off. So you have it either on or off, whereas on the I-Pace, you can control the intensity of what you want,” he says.
“And as the battery starts to get lower, the regenerative braking naturally increases, which is interesting.”
Inside the Jaguar, Jonathan really likes the materials. “It just seems like a cool vehicle and quite elegant, soft finishes throughout,” he says. “The power is fantastic. … I may test 0 to 60 every now and then, [and] it throws your head back. The front of the car actually raises up and it goes.”
He chose the Model X because his brother’s Model S is too low. “It’s hard to get in and out of,” he says. “Even though the I-Pace is a little bit higher, I still find it fairly compact. One thing I notice, when I have construction boots on, I can barely fit my foot where the pedals are, between the edge of the brake pedal and the wall on the right, so I keep clipping the brake when I’m trying to push on the accelerator. Everything is just a lot tighter.”
He says the Model X is a bigger vehicle, so the storage and spacing is better. “From a storage and function capacity, I prefer the Tesla Model X. From a style perspective and that initial punch, I prefer the Jaguar,” Jonathan says. “I think this is the perfect vehicle for me to have if I’m not in boots and I’m just zipping around or if my family comes to visit. My family doesn’t want a bigger vehicle like my truck; they want something smaller that they can get around easy in.”
Jonathan says the Jaguar also feels more like a conventional Jaguar than an all-electric car. “If someone was just getting in it and turning it on, I don’t think they would know right away that this is an electric vehicle, whereas with the Tesla you actually can’t even figure out how to turn it on and off unless you’ve taken a course and you know how to do that,” he says, with a laugh. “I do find that the I-Pace feels a lot more like what you’re used to in a sporty, elegant vehicle.”
He says the Jaguar is a fantastic vehicle but hopes consumers just know what to expect with the I-Pace. “It’s a fantastic vehicle if somebody realizes that it is a smaller vehicle than the Model X,” Scott says. “I think it’s beautiful, but it’s a little confusing when it’s promoted as a crossover. I don’t see any part of it being an SUV. To me it’s a sporty, sophisticated, sexy car. Wait ’til people see a new all-electric Lamborghini. I think I may have to get that.”
2016 Chrysler 300
Before Jonathan got the Tesla, he had a couple 300 sedans. He keeps his 2016 300 for when friends and family visit and need a car to get around in. “I really like it. It almost felt to me like it’s a much more luxurious vehicle than what I paid for it. It’s got all the finishes that I really like.”
He also likes the “amazing sound system” and that it has a lot of space. “I have a lot of big friends, and that’s why I was with the 300 for the better part of a decade.
I always said it’s the poor man’s Bentley. It’s the ‘fake it ’til you make it’ Bentley,” he says, echoing another Celeb Drive, the late Adam West, who also had the same car.
Car he learned to drive in
Scott learned to drive in his very first car, a 1975 Oldsmobile Omega. “My dad had a rule when we were kids, that they wouldn’t just buy us a car; they would pay up to 50 percent of the value of the vehicle up to a max of $2,000.”
Jonathan and his brother worked out the math to think of what would be the most car they could get for that. “Drew and I at that time were living in difference cities because I moved to Alberta to help my dad build a ranch,” he says. “I didn’t want to invest in our $4,000 vehicle until we were back, so I just picked up a total beater and that’s what I learned in. I would go out in the field of the neighboring ranches, and I would drive it in circles and learn how to do everything, and park it.”
The Oldsmobile is also the car Scott got his license in. Although he jokes his original horsepower was a quarter horse, since they had horses on their property, the Oldsmobile was a fun ride to have. “Our friends, everyone had their own beat-up vehicle and we’d tow around in the fields. Probably the safest way for teenagers to get out and be reckless is to do it in an open field where you’re not going to cause any trouble,” he says.
The fields were also a good place to practice parallel parking. “We’d take a couple of logs and set out the logs and then I would parallel park between them,” he recalls.
Jonathan got into an accident with the Oldsmobile after having it for less than a year. “The vehicle was totaled, but I walked away totally unscathed, and that was a testament to it,” he says. “It’s a pretty bulky car. I was fortunate enough that I didn’t get injured. Good thing I wasn’t in a tiny little Datsun or something.”
“It had leather seats, powered seats, it was just a really sexy-looking car,” Scott says. “We had never had anything like that, so that was what we pooled our money on. We drove that until we drove it into the ground. We had that forever. The first thing that sold me on it was that it had leather seats and it was all powered because my dad never believed in having powered seats or powered windows because he thought it was just one more thing to break down.”
Jonathan doesn’t have regrets and nostalgia about past cars such as that Thunderbird. “I’m not a very materialistic person that way, so I don’t hold sentimental value in things like a vehicle. For me it’s more about ‘Does it do what I want it to do?’” he says. “Drew and I could go out very easily and buy ourselves a $400,000 car. But we’ve never been that type of people. I want something that’s safe, something that looks good, and something that functions. For me, I put a lot more value in experiences, getting out and spending time with friends.”
One thing his friends want to experience, though, is test-driving his Tesla. “They want to go for a ride in it, and they love the falcon doors,” he says. “It’s always fun to just go and joy-ride with friends and have them test it.”
Favorite road trip
“I love going up into the mountains. We lived on the edge of the forest growing up, just outside of Vancouver, before we built the ranch in Alberta,” Jonathan says. “It’s the most magnificent drive up in the mountains. The whole city was basically carved out of the forest. Thick, big trees, they’re hundreds of years old. Just an amazing drive.”
Jonathan and his family would do that drive through the mountains on the Trans-Canada Highway. “You pass through the Rockies and you see mountain sheep, bears, and elk,” he says.
Those are the road trips he remembers fondly. “You go from where we were, Maple Ridge, British Columbia, and we would take it all the way across through the Rocky Mountains, through Banff, into Calgary. That’s magnificent.”
He says people can take the train, as well. “The Rocky Mountaineer is a world-famous train, and it’s touted to have the best views of any train in the world. The train parallels the highway a lot of the way, so it really is a spectacular view,” he says.
If you choose to take the journey by car, however, there are a few scary parts to the drive. “You have several parts where it’ll be one lane in each direction and it’s a sheer drop down hundreds of feet. You definitely want to be on your A game and make sure you’re paying attention,” he says with a laugh. “It’s a pretty treacherous drive to do in the wintertime when it’s snowy and icy. But during the summer, that’s when I enjoyed doing it.”
Property Brothers: Forever Home on HGTV May 29
The Scott brothers are back on HGTV this May with a new series that focuses on catering to what a family needs to make their house a permanent home, one where they can grow roots and stay. They promise some episodes will be emotional, so have tissues handy.
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