Talking Cars (HQ)

It's a decidedly practical episode of Talking Cars, talking all about boxes on wheels. First up, a viewer question asks about the Ford Transit Connect. Consumer Reports just finished testing one, so we have plenty to say. Other viewers ask about minivans, including why they don't have diesels, and why no one ever mentions the Nissan Quest. 

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E45_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

It's one of the most frequently-asked questions that we get at Talking Cars: what's a good car to buy for a newly-licensed teen driver? We talk about the essentials, including why electronic stability control is so important. Viewer comments also point out some common concerns, opinions, and misconceptions about good cars for teens. Finally, we discuss the role of advanced driver training and where our vehicle recommendations overlap with the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety - and where they deviate.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E44_HQ.mp4
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

They both have rear hatches: that's about all that the Honda Fit and Porsche Macan share. Each occupies totally different places in the value vs. practicality scale. The Honda Fit might just be the most practical car you can buy, especially given the price. But we don't all agree on the car's refinement. At the other extreme, our Porsche Macan costs over $63,000, but proves to be a rather satisfying guilty pleasure. In between, we discuss test results for the Chevrolet Suburban, Chevy Tahoe, and GMC Yukon. A lot hinges on equipping these big SUVs with one particular option: GM's magnetic ride control.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E43_HQ.mp4
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Sure, the electric Tesla Model S is the top-scoring car in Consumer Reports ratings, and their owners love them. But over 15,000 miles of driving, the Model S we bought has had more than a few problems. We talk about those issues, public reaction, and what it all means. Next we discuss another electric car, the BMW i3. It's unlike any BMW you've ever seen. Bringing things back to more "normal" cars, we introduce our 2015 Subaru Outback test car. Subaru's been listening, because they fixed a lot of the shortcomings in previous Outbacks. Finally, we answer whether a first-time new car buyer should get an Outback and plan ahead for kids.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E42_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00pm EDT

Flogging a new F80 BMW M3 around the Consumer Reports test track proves to be a good time, but the jury's out about how much fun it is on the street. A Lexus owner complains about CR's complaints about their controls, leading to an inadvertent iPad mistake that shows the dangers of complex controls when driving, or recording a podcast. A viewer asks about buying a small crossover and if buying one from an upscale brand is worth it to him. Finally, a young viewer has the chance to get a free Range Rover for his first car.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E41_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30pm EDT

Lexus finally jumps into the upscale small SUV fray with their new NX -- we determine that it's far more than a fancy Toyota RAV4. Moving on to viewer comments and questions, our comments on the Volkswagen GTI still bring us grief. A viewer asks how to get into the auto journalism business. Finally, we talk about the seldom-mentioned Nissan Altima.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E40_HQ.mp4
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

Our last episode about the Volkswagen GTI ignited some controversy, so we answer follow-up questions about this important car for enthusiasts. Older GTIs appear in the questions too, as a viewer decides whether to keep his VW or get a new 2015 Ford Mustang. Turns out he's not the only viewer interested in Ford's new pony car. Another viewer wants something good for a strict $18,000 budget, and he's helped out by his fellow YouTube commenters. Finally we make a pick between a Subaru Outback and an aging Honda Odyssey for a family road trip.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E39_HQ.mp4
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

We're car enthusiasts here at Consumer Reports, so we got rather excited by the arrival of our new 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI test car. While it's a very nice car indeed, some of us have mixed feelings about this more mature hot hatch. Moving on to YouTube questions, we finally answer a patient viewer's question about which three-row SUV to buy. Another viewer asks about buying a truck for his 18-year old son -- our answer probably won't win many popularity points. Finally, we answer a viewer's question about a good American sedan with all-wheel-drive.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E38_HQ.mp4
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

Two new Hyundais join the Consumer Reports test fleet, a Genesis luxury sedan and Sonata midsized sedan. Both make for favorable first impressions but for different reasons. We then jump into a bunch of reader questions. A lot of people commented on fuel economy, eco modes, and driving behavior, so we sort that all out. Finally, two letters ask about buying sedans for sons.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E37_HQ.mp4
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

GM recalls keep coming, with another 6.5 million cars recalled for various problems including ignition issues. We talk about how these recalls illustrate the perils of cost-cutting, and suggest that GM stop building cars with ignition keys altogether. After just a few months on the job, GM’s CEO Mary Barra probably wishes she was in Alan Mulally’s shoes. He retired today as Ford’s CEO, stepping down as a lauded hero after basically mortgaging and saving the company. We discuss the impact this had on Ford’s products in the eight years of his tenure. Finally, taking a break from industry news, we answer a viewer question about buying a BMW 3-Series as a second family car.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E36_HQ.mp4
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT