Talking Cars (HQ)

Two new Mini Coopers join the Consumer Reports test fleet. They might look familar on the outside but the little car gets some big changes underneath, including a three-cylinder engine. Then we answer viewer comments and questions. A viewer asks if, despite our negative comments in the last two shows, GM made any improvements in the redesigned Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon. They did, but they get overshadowed. We take a crack at defining "German engineering" and Jon gets flack for saying the PT Cruiser is a bad car. Ned Flanders, Yugos, granola bars, and the awesome Chevrolet SS all finish out this episode.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E33_HQ.mp4
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It's a thorny question: what is the worst car of all time? We give our answers based on personal experience and our years of testing cars at Consumer Reports. Our viewers also chime in with their picks. Unsurprisingly, the list takes on a more modern bent with several frequently named contenders: Yugo, Pontiac Aztek, and Chevrolet Vega, to name a few. We finish up responding to viewer comments about our discussion of the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E32_HQ.mp4
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Two big new test cars join the Consumer Reports fleet: the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban. We also drive the GMC Yukon Denali XL and Cadillac Escalade. First impressions are that these big SUVs might be something of a disappointment, but there's no question that they get expensive. We then tell the conflicting tales of two BMW coupes: a 435i press car and our fabulous M235i test car. Then we discuss a BMW 2-Series competitor, the Audi A3. Finally we ask our viewers to weigh in on a question: what is the worst car of all time?

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E31_HQ.mp4
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From the floor of the New York Auto Show, we discuss the big introductions. The Toyota Camry goes for style while the Hyundai Sonata gets more practical. Kia rolls out the redesigned Sedona minivan and Subaru refines the Outback. Jake and Gabe agree on a favorite car of the show, the Alfa Romeo 4C, while Tom pines after the not-done-yet new Mazda Miata.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E30_HQ.mp4
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Test results are in for the Toyota Highlander, both in Consumer Reports tests and crash tests done by IIHS. Some midsized SUVs did poorly in the crash test, causing them to lose their recommendation. We also talk about the new Chrysler 200 and Tom rants about Jimmy Fallon's pickup truck choice.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E29_HQ.mp4
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The GM ignition switch recall mess has been front page news, including Congressional hearings. Jake Fisher and Tom Mutchler discuss the issues, including cost cutting on Chevrolet Cobalt and its siblings and why safety issues should cause prompt recalls. We also discuss what it will take for GM to repair its image.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E28_HQ.mp4
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When you're spending your hard-earned money on a car, we think you deserve a good one - and some models are better than others. This episode focuses on those models we think you should avoid, presented by category. Don't confuse this with a list of the "worst cars." Cars like the BMW 7-Series and Ford Taurus certainly aren't among the worst cars out there, but they are bad choices within their respective market segments.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E27_HQ.mp4
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A three-cylinder Ford Fiesta and four-cylinder Chevrolet Impala question how many cylinders are enough. No question that six cylinders are enough for our great-sounding Maserati Ghibli - after all, they come from Ferrari. We then talk about the new Jeep Renegade and answer viewer comments about the Chevrolet Volt, Tesla Model S, Subaru Outback, and (once again) the Dodge Durango.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E26_HQ.mp4
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We announce our Top Pick list for 2014 highlighting the best choices in ten different categories. Selected vehicles scored well in our extensive tests and have proven reliable and safe. This year's list has five new choices including the Tesla Model S. We also talk about cars that came close but didn't quite make the list. Moving on, we answer reader questions about picking a family car in snowy Minnesota and the best three-row hauler. Finally, we announce our new Maserati Ghibli test car.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E25_HQ.mp4
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Long-awaited test results are finally in for the Jeep Cherokee and Mazda3. While the Cherokee is ultimately disappointing, labeled as "not done yet," the Mazda3 proves to be impressive. We also talk about the new Toyota Highlander and the most expensive test car we've ever bought, the Mercedes-Benz S550.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E24_HQ.mp4
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Quietly clattering its way into the second top-scoring spot in our Ratings, the Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec gets a awful lot right - until you get to the price. We then show off our new Chevrolet SS, which has a surprise or two up its sleeve. Two very different Subaru Imprezas are at the track - the XV Crosstrek Hybrid and the new high-performance WRX. We then answer a bunch of viewer questions about testing fancy cars and why Tom is so mean to Jon. Finally, we tackle a question that haunts the ages: which is more fun, the Ford Fiesta ST or the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S?

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E23_HQ.mp4
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We cover all the news from the 2014 Detroit Auto Show floor! Ford launches their new F-150, very big news indeed. Chrysler finally gets in the midsized sedan game with the new 200. Super-small luxury SUVs take over, including the Audi Q3 and Mercedes GLA. Chevrolet gives the Corvette what it really needed (ha ha) - the more powerful Z06. And Honda rolls out a new Fit.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E22_HQ.mp4
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Wrapping up 2013, we each pick our favorites - and not-so-favorites - from the past year. Lots of votes go to the fiesty Ford Fiesta ST, Audi A7, and Tesla Model S. We also applaud the Hyundai Santa Fe, Cadillac ATS, Buick Regal, and Mercedes-Benz GL. On the flip side, the Fiat 500L, Mitsubishi Mirage and Scion tC come in for universal distain, while the Mercedes-Benz CLA, Lexus IS, and Buick Encore also get thumbs-down.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E21_HQ.mp4
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Things are getting fancy around the Consumer Reports test track with the addition of two Land Rovers to the test fleet: a Range Rover and a Range Rover Sport. But it turns out the Sport packs a wintertime surprise. We also try out the Cadillac ELR, which shares the Chevrolet Volt's electric drivetrain and has stunning styling - plus a stunning price. Then we get to viewer questions, including the status of testing the Mazda3, Jeep Cherokee, and Honda Accord Hybrid. We discuss whether the VW Golf TDI is a good first car. Finally, we help a viewer find a replacement for his Ford Mustang GT.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E20_HQ.mp4
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This time around, we talk all about tires with Consumer Reports' tire engineers Gene Peterson and Jen Stockburger. Lots of questions get answered: What are the advantages of winter tires and summer tires? When are all-season tires "enough"? In general, who makes the best tires? How can you make tires last longer? They also discuss how Consumer Reports tests tires and our favorite tire test cars.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E19_HQ.mp4
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We talk about fun cars, both cheap and crazy-expensive. First up, test results for our super-fun and affordable Ford Fiesta ST. Two impressive sports cars visit the track: the Jaguar F-Type, one of the best-sounding cars we've driven, and the Porsche Cayman, one of the best-handling cars out there. What's it like to buy a Chevrolet Corvette or a Porsche 911? We share our experiences shopping for our test cars. Finally, we talk about a four-door sedan that wants to be a sports car: our Cadillac CTS 3.6 test car.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E18_HQ.mp4
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A shootout between two upscale Japanese sports sedans - the Infiniti Q50 and Lexus IS250 - should be good times. But as we explain, it didn't turn out that way. We also take a first look at the Mercedes-Benz CLA250 and the Honda Accord Hybrid. The stunning and sonorous Maserati Ghibli visits the track as does a new Jeep Cherokee. Finally, we help a viewer find a SUV to replace his aging BMW M3.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E17_HQ.mp4
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Find out what cars are reliable - and which ones are a pain - as we discuss results from Consumer Reports 2013 Auto Reliability survey. This year's survey has some surprises, including an unexpected fourth place finisher for most-reliable brand. Learn how reliable the Tesla Model S is from responses for over 600 cars. Complicated infotainment systems bring down some brands, while others also struggle to launch reliable new models. We also discuss what all of this means to a buyer, and highlight a change in recommended models due to IIHS crash test results.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E16_HQ.mp4
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Are orphan car brands like Pontiac and Saab good deals on the used car market? We answer that and discuss why the Volkswagen Passat doesn't feel all that "German" to drive. Then we look at the updated 2014 Volkswagen Jetta and redesigned 2014 Toyota Corolla. Other reader questions look at substitutes for the defunct Lincoln Town Car and Cadillac DTS, testing the diesel Audi A7 TDI, whether the Scion FRS and Subaru BR-Z are powerful enough for our tire test program, and how we purchase test cars.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E15_HQ.mp4
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Fresh on the heels of the high-scoring Chevy Impala and Silverado, we try out the redesigned Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and Cadillac CTS. Then the talk turns to more trucks: the Ford F-150 and Toyota Tundra. Find out how the updated Honda Odyssey did in Consumer Reports tests and get a preview of our upcoming Infiniti Q50 and Lexus IS test. Finally, the guys give advice to buyers shopping for a Dodge Dart and a Toyota Prius.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E14_HQ.mp4
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Consumer Reports' car experts referee the battle of two pickup trucks: 2014 Chevrolet Silverado vs. Ram 1500. But it turns out that picking the best truck for you isn't that simple. We also discuss the waning compact truck market and why alternative trucks, like the Honda Ridgeline and Chevrolet Avalanche, never gained traction. We answer a reader question about the best used heavy-duty truck, ending with a quick question about an unusual comparison: Audi A6 vs. Chevy Impala.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E13_HQ.mp4
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Have American cars turned the corner? Consumer Reports' car experts answer that question and give buying advice for readers who want to buy American. Plus discussion of the Acura MDX, Mitsubishi Outlander, Fiat 500L and Kia Soul.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E12_HQ.mp4
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Consumer Reports' car experts answer questions about hybrids, including the Ford C-Max hybrid fuel economy controversy. They also discuss hybrid alternatives like diesels and efficient gasoline-powered cars. Plus a discussion of the new Mazda3.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E11_HQ.mp4
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Consumer Reports' car experts talk about track-testing the Fiat 500 Abarth and Ford Focus ST. Joe talks about the Abarth Driving Experience. We also discuss how the Volkswagen GTI fits in and answer reader questions about large sedans, including the Honda Accord vs. Toyota Avalon, Kia Cadenza, and Chevrolet Impala.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E10_HQ.mp4
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Consumer Reports' car experts chat about four recently tested cars - Chevrolet Impala, Ram 1500, Kia Forte, Hyundai Santa Fe. All did very well in our tests. Discussion continues on to the Chevrolet Spark EV and testing stick shift cars.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E09_HQ.mp4
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Consumer Reports' car experts answer reader questions about fuel economy labels, whether to keep a repaired car after a crash, annoying head restraints, the new Lexus IS, and testing off-road capability for SUVs.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E08_HQ.mp4
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Consumer Reports' car experts discuss Tesla battery swapping and diesel economics. Recent test results are also featured, including the Acura RLX, Honda Crosstour, Toyota Prius Plug-in, Jaguar XF, and Buick Encore.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E07_HQ.mp4
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Consumer Reports' car experts answer reader questions about the Scion FR-S, the RAV4 electric, Toyota trucks and more in a quick Q&A wrap-up.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E06_HQ.mp4
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Consumer Reports car experts discuss their much-anticipated test of the Tesla Model S. Find out how well the innovative electric luxury hatchback did, along with a frank discussion of the car's pros and cons.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E05_HQ.mp4
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Consumer Reports car experts take questions about their recent road test of sporty German roadsters, Ford F-150 EcoBoost reliability, and if diesels will finally catch on.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E04_HQ.mp4
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Consumer Reports car experts take questions about small cars, SUVs, minivans and highlight recent road tests of everything from the Tesla to the Subaru Forester, Toyota Avalon, and Honda CR-V and many more.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E03_HQ.mp4
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Automotive engineers Gabe Shenhar and Tom Mutchler share highlights from the 2013 New York International Auto Show. Shot on location, our experts name their favorites among the cars unveiled, and point to the surprises and disappointments.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E02_NYAS_HQ.mp4
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In looking for a fresh way to connect with our readers, we wanted to experiment with a show format that would allow our automotive experts to offer direct advice in a candid, free-form way. Tapping the multimedia wizardry available through our CRTV department, we set up a multi-camera set in our main studio and piped in calls.

Auto Testing Director Jake Fisher, Senior Automotive Engineer Tom Mutchler, and Program Manager Gabe Shenhar discussed cars with the callers, answering buying questions and sharing insights in our test program.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E01_Pilot_HQ.mp4
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