Talking Cars (HQ)

This week on the “Talking Cars with Consumer Reports” we hit the track with two spectacular Mercedes-Benz AMG models; the $140,000 AMG GT and the $80,000 C63 AMG. There's no question they're wildly different in looks, price, and practicality, but they share the same heart and intention. All of this high-powered excitement has lead us to wonder about the future of BMW. Is Mercedes-Benz considered the new "Ultimate Driving Machine”?

Direct download: 1512ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_83_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

A new Honda Civic is always big news. After the misstep of the previous generation, Honda takes a big leap with this new-from-the-ground-up 10th generation. After lots of viewer inquiries, we've got Consumer Reports' first impressions. While the new Civic is a transformation, the redesigned Lexus RX sticks true to its highly successful formula, even if that's not evident at first glance. We discuss the cars that are liked least by their owners, fresh from our 2015 owner satisfaction survey. A lot hinges on meeting buyer expectations, and Nissan appears to be falling behind. Finally, we help a viewer find a safe and easy-to-drive car for his elderly mom.

Direct download: 1511ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_82_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Jake and Tom hit the highway in our Tesla Model S P85D to discuss its Autopilot system, which can steer the car and keep it within its lane on its own. There are some advantages to the system, especially on long highway trips and in stop-and-go traffic, but this beta-level system is still working out some bugs. We also talk about the temptations posed by the technology, both for increasing distracted driving and for using it on roads where it is far from optimized. Finally, we contrast Tesla owners' willingness to purchase and try out this system, compared to the difficulty typical car buyers have in understanding the value of advanced safety systems like forward collision warning and autobraking.

Direct download: 1511ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_81_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Consumer Reports' annual reliability survey covers more than 740,000 vehicles. The 2015 survey results are out, and we discuss the trends, highlights, and lowlights in this year's results.

Direct download: 1510ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_80_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:45pm EST

Many of the car buying questions we receive come from viewers requesting all-wheel-drive. But having four driven wheels isn't enough to ensure wintertime safety. Testing at the Consumer Reports test track found that AWD can help you get moving, but does nothing to help you corner or stop in the snow. For that, you need winter tires. We also evaluate three popular small SUVs - the Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, and Honda CR-V - at our track to see how they fare in the snow, results that are also backed up by exclusive Consumer Reports survey data. Reader questions inquire about AWD sedans, Subaru manual shifters, and comparing the Mazda CX-3 and Mazda3.

Direct download: 1509ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_79_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Volkswagen admits to cheating on EPA emissions testing for its TDI diesels, subjecting it to possibly billions of dollars in fines. Talking Cars digs into the issue and what it might mean for owners. If you own one of these cars, we'd love to hear how this has affected you; please visit ConsumersUnion.org/vw-stories.

Direct download: 1509ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_78_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

Talking Cars gets lots of questions and comments; we love feedback from our loyal viewers and listeners! It's been a while since we've done a question-only episode, so we're making up for lost time. No surprise: we got lots of comments about the test results of the Tesla Model S P85D. Viewers comment on whether the Model S can be a practical only-car, the merits of home recharging, how we scored the P85D, and whether you need to be able to afford a Tesla in order to rate it. Moving on, we answer questions about sports sedans, cars for new drivers and going off to college, and replacing a well-worn Honda Odyssey minivan.

Direct download: 1509ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_77_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

It's official: the Tesla Model S P85D "broke" Consumer Reports' ratings scale. We explain why the P85D earned this distinction, and how we ultimately scored it a 100. As we discuss though, that doesn't mean the P85D is the perfect car. For starters, there's the matter of its $127,820 price tag. 

Direct download: 1508ATC_Talking_Cars_S01E76_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Scion makes a near-clean sweep of their product lineup, adding the new iA and iM. We take a look back at the genesis of Toyota's youth-oriented brand, and discuss how things didn't quite work out as expected. Although the funky xB box-on-wheels is gone, both the iA and iM prove surprisingly satsifying to drive, especially at their sub-$20,000 price tags. We also answer viewer questions about Episode #74 on tiny SUVs, including the perceived omission of the Kia Soul, Subaru XV Crosstrek, and Nissan Juke.

Direct download: 1508ATC_Talking_Cars_S01E75_HQ1.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Subcompact SUVs have become a new market niche, as automakers create SUVs to match every conceivable buyer whim and budget. We discuss what you gain - and what you give up - when you buy a super-small SUV, illustrated by our test results for the Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax, and Jeep Renegade. This trio isn't that impressive, but we hold out hope for the promising Mazda CX-3. Moving on, we highlight Consumer Reports' research into car insurance premiums; you may be surprised by what dictates your rates. Much more information is online at www.consumerreports.org/fixcarinsurance. Finally, we answer a viewer question, one that we hear a lot these days: how do you pick between a Subaru Outback and a Volkswagen Golf SportWagen? 

Direct download: 1508ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_74_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Some cars burn a lot of oil between oil changes. An extensive look through Consumer Reports' survey data highlights which engines are most likely to suffer this problem. Many German brands appear on the list, as well as Subaru. We discuss the factors behind this trend, how various automakers are responding, and what consumers can do. We then dig through the digital mailbag, answering viewer comments about choosing a sports sedan.

Direct download: 1507ATC_Talking_Cars_S01E73_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

It doesn't get more "all-new" than the Volvo XC90, as the Swedish brand redesigns their flagship SUV from the ground up. In many ways, this car is a revolution for Volvo, featuring all four-cylinder powerplants, high-tech infotainment, and a stunning interior. Two station wagons get rather different receptions from our panel. The Volvo V60 Cross Country doesn't make a convincing case, while the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen proves appealing despite quibbles over its TDI diesel engine. We then answer a reader's question about which sports sedan to purchase, only to find that giving clear advice is tougher than it seems. 

Direct download: 1506ATC_Talking_Cars_S01E72_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Jake and Tom talk about final test results for the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Colorado, recorded while driving around the track in our F-150 2.7-liter. While the F-150's engineering is revolutionary, the driving experience winds up being surprisingly mundane and truck-like, ultimately costing the truck points in our tests. Likewise, the Colorado finally gives the compact truck market a modern competitor, but it too has a host of flaws. How much those flaws matter to individuals winds up being a point of discussion, revolving around yet another viewer asking about buying a Mazda6. Another viewer complains about us complaining about the Mazda MX-5 Miata's seats. Finally we answer which is more enjoyable to drive: the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ or the Miata?

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E71_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

A new Mazda MX-5 Miata doesn't come along everyday, so the new 4th generation car is big news. While so many cars grow with each redesign, the Miata fights this inevitable bloat. Jake argues that the Miata's biggest competition is the wide variety of used Miatas available at any time; Tom hopes that people keep buying new ones so he can get one used someday. Moving on, the CX-3 small SUV brings the Miata's DNA to the subcompact SUV market, a segment that really lacked a truly desirable product. Finally, the Honda Pilot finally gets redesigned for 2016. While not immune from all of Honda's recent product gaffes (like annoying audio controls,) the Pilot proves appealing at first glance.

Direct download: 1505ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_70_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Two Ford F-150s were purchased for our test fleet, one with the familiar 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and the other with Ford's new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. Acceleration results from our test track proved surprising. Less surprising were the fuel economy numbers from the lightweight aluminium-bodied truck; we put those into perspective. In other news, our Tesla Model S P85D suffers an early malfunction, highlighting Tesla's customer service. We then reach deep into the mailbag, answering a variety of inquiries. Vehicle collaborations that were reliable, comparing the VW GTI to the Golf R, Acura ILX hate mail, sporty small SUVs, and the forgotten Mazda CX-9 are all discussed.

Direct download: 1505ATC_Talking_Cars_S01E69_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Jeep sales are setting new records, driven by models like the new Renegade. These models might help Fiat-Chrysler Group’s balance sheet, but do they risk alienating traditionalists? To find out, we invited George to bring in his off-road-ready 1999 Jeep Cherokee. Other than mercilessly mocking his project Jeep’s various shortcomings, we talk about how the Renegade fits with the brand, how it matches customer expectations, and if it’s a good value or not. Next we answer some reader complaints about reliability and recommendations, particularly comparing the Jeep Cherokee and Volkswagen Golf. Finally, we look at the VW Golf R, the top-trim model of the legendary GTI hot hatch. As expected, the gang is split on the car’s appeal and value.

Direct download: 1504ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_68_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

We see it all the time in the YouTube comments: questions about the Mazda6 and CX-5. Both models were updated for 2016, so Talking Cars highlights the changes. Both cars stay true to form, with sharp handling and impressive fuel economy. We discuss if Mazda was successful in reducing interior noise, long a brand shortcoming. Also updated for 2016 is the Acura ILX. Despite changes, the car doesn't reach far beyond its Honda Civic roots, making us seriously question its $30,000 price tag.

Direct download: 1304ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_67_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Back in Episode #62, we asked our Talking Cars viewers if we should buy a Tesla Model S P85D, and heard a resounding "yes." Your support and interest was one reason for us to buy our most expensive test car yet. While the P85D delivers "insane" performance combined with impressive energy efficiency, that wasn't the only reason for our purchase. This latest Model S also offers Autopilot, with upcoming software updates that will make the Model S one of the first self-driving cars you can buy.

Direct download: 1504ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_66_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Talking Cars hits the road, covering the 2015 New York Auto Show in an episode recorded right from the show floor. Honda surprises everyone with a 10th generation Civic. Old-school rivals Cadillac and Lincoln face-off, with the soon-to-production CT6 and the Continental concept. Lexus goes down a different road with the now-sportier RX: will it alienate previous buyers? The Chevrolet Malibu loses hundreds of pounds, yet gains four inches of needed rear seat room. While the Malibu looks way different from the previous car, it takes a much closer eye to spot the changes in the redesigned Kia Optima. The new Nissan Maxima draws on its oddly enduring brand equity. Subaru teases us with a BRZ STi while Scion outsources their iA and brings out a Corolla-based iM hatchback. Finally, the Volkswagen Golf Sportswagen Alltrack sets off a discussion about mainstream vs. enthusiast wagons.

Direct download: 1504NYAS_Talking_Cars_Episode_65_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 4:01pm EST

Other car companies promise self-driving cars, coming years in the future. Tesla just shrinked that timeframe to months, thanks to software updates to the Model S. With the technology leading legislation, this raises a bunch of questions. We discuss how the car is becoming a rolling supercomputer, how that affects vehicle design, and what this all means for driving enthusiasts. 

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E64_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

The magic number for this episode is "two." We look at two new two-row SUVs, the Ford Edge and Lexus NX, both powered by 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinders. While the Lexus tries to be sporty (with some success), the 2015 Edge winds up being the better "Lexus," thanks to a redesign that transforms the car. Normally Toyota does hybrids well, but the hybrid NX300h isn't as fulfilling as the turbocharged NX200t. Viewer feedback ran deep from our annual Top Picks episode, asking about the lack of a sports car pick and our small car choice. Finally, we talk about the possibility of buying a Tesla Model S P85D.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E63_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Coinciding with our annual April auto issue, it's time to reveal Consumer Reports' Top Picks for 2015. Selections have to be among the top-scoring cars in their category, and must have average or better reliability according to our survey data. Two big trends emerge this year: American brands are fighting back, taking three of the ten top spots. Subaru also continues to dominate, grabbing three of the other spots. We discuss each pick, why there isn't a choice for top pickup truck this year, and look at some cars that almost made the list.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E62_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:45pm EST

Right now, it feels like we're buying nothing but SUVs for the Consumer Reports test fleet. The two latest additions are the Kia Sorento and Chevrolet Trax. While the Sorento is a well-finished rival to rivals like the Toyota Highlander, the Trax literally comes up short - except for its optimistic price tag. We then dive into the viewer mailbag, answering questions about wintertime testing. Finally, several viewers didn't agree with us about the Cadillac Escalade, as discussed on episode #60.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E61_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

They're both big, plush, and expensive: the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator join the Consumer Reports test fleet. Each scores points in this skirmish in different ways, but we can't help thinking that this segment's heyday has come and gone. We also look at the new Nissan Murano, which aims for a upscale look and feel at a price point dominated by family haulers. After complaining about the Murano's steering feel, we debate how much that matters to its buyers. Finally, we answer two viewer questions from the Detroit Auto Show: Could Buick build the Avenir concept car without stepping on Cadillac's toes? And, could brands other than Volvo overcome the reputational baggage that comes with selling Chinese-built cars in America?

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E60_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

We cover all the news from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show floor! High-performance was a theme, whether it's supercars like the Acura NSX and Ford GT, or off-road-oriented trucks like the Ford Raptor and Ram Rebel. Diesel pickups also build up speed, with a fuel-efficient version of the Ram EcoDiesel and the new Nissan Titan XD. A revised Toyota Tacoma suggests new life in the small truck market, and Hyundai shows their Santa Cruz small truck concept. Buick has a strong show, with the stunning Avenir and the Cascada ragtop. Turns out our predictions for North American Car/Truck of the Year were half right, with the Ford F-150 taking the prize for trucks, but the VW Golf topping the Mustang among cars. We also look at new stuff from Volvo, Infiniti, and Lincoln.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E59_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Maybe CES stands for Consumer Electronics Show, but the big Las Vegas event is becoming a car show in its own right. We look at the latest technology coming from the show floor, and discuss the impact when (or if) it hits the showroom. Automated or self-driving cars stole the show, with Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz showing off their latest. Alternative fuel news includes Toyota allowing other companies to use their fuel cell patents, much like Tesla did with their electric car development. Gesture controls are all the rage, but we question how much they will really reduce driver distraction. Finally, new infotainment systems look promising. Ford dumps MyFord Touch for Sync3, and Hyundai and Volkswagen debut systems that use both Apple's CarPlay and Android Auto.

Direct download: 1501ATC_Talking_Cars_S01E58_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm EST

Our end-of-the-year episode highlights testers’ personal highs and lows of the year. These cars don’t necessarily bracket our formal ratings, but they stand out in our collective memory. We really like cars that balance sport and practicality, with positive votes for the Porsche Macan, BMW M235i, and Volkswagen Golf/GTI. Minority votes also went to the Range Rover, Subaru Outback, and Chevrolet SS. Cars that made our least-liked list generally promised more than they delivered. Despite its storied marque, several of us dissed the Maserati Ghibli for falling short of luxury sport car expectations. Other cars earning brickbats include the Chrysler 200, Mercedes-Benz GLA and CLA, and the Infiniti Q50. Reaching beyond 2014, some of us dug up some older-introduced cars that still bug them today.

Direct download: 1412ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_57_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Some car buyers emphasize practicality, while others prioritize driving fun. This episode of Talking Cars spans those extremes. First off, we take a look at the updated 2015 Toyota Sienna and redesigned 2015 Kia Sedona. While we applaud the space - and child-appeasing gadgetry - of minivans, we also note that SUVs are catching up or surpassing them in fuel economy. Next, we answer two viewer questions about what makes a car really fun to drive. Great steering plays an important role, but it isn't everything. Neither is the ever-increasing size of cars, despite a viewer's passionate pleas otherwise.

Direct download: 1412ATD_Talking_Cars_Episode_56_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

Two bite-sized German luxury SUVs face off in this episode of Talking Cars. While the Audi Q3 sticks to many of the brand qualities you'd expect, the Mercedes falls short in refinement. We talk about the market situations that created these cars, and how crowded the SUV market gets around this pricepoint. Next, the super-popular Honda CR-V gets an update for 2015, including a CVT and an infuriating radio. Moving on to a Canadian-themed bunch of questions, we help a viewer pick a comfy sedan. Finally, we wrap up by comparing the Volkswagen Golf and the Mazda3.

Direct download: 1412ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_55_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Modern-day muscle cars dominate this episode of Talking Cars, as we discuss the new 2015 Ford Mustang and updated Dodge Challenger. The gang debates who will buy which car, but everyone agrees that the Mustang has dramatically upped its game. Next, we detail the problems suffered by the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ as determined by our reliability survey data. Another viewer takes offense to Tom's frequent mentions of interior quality. A viewer question asks us to discuss the Acura TLX, but without comparing it to a Honda Accord. We try, and mostly succeed. Finally, we suggest alternatives to a BMW X3. 

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E54_HQ.mp4
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

New truck news takes over this episode of Talking Cars. Ford updates the truck-based Expedition; we discuss how the extended-length EL version compares to the Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL. The Ford's high point: its new EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6. Next, we sample GM's new compact truck, the GMC Canyon and its twin Chevrolet Colorado. We're impressed overall, but buyers expecting the driving experience of a car-based crossover SUV in this truck might be disappointed. (Like Tom is.) Plenty of viewers asked questions about our reliability data. One protests factoring infotainment systems into vehicle reliability, while another asks about improving reliability in a car's later model years. We answer a question about the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ vs. the Honda Civic Si. Funny how that question helps us answer another viewer's query about a reliable coupe for under $20,000. The gang struggles - only for a bit - to choose between the Honda Accord V6 and the Acura TLX. Finally, we tease next week's episode, featuring the Dodge Challenger.

Direct download: 1411ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_53_HQ.mp4
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

With over one million vehicles spanning back a decade, Consumer Reports' annual reliability survey gives us plenty to talk about. Once again, most reliable brand status goes to Lexus and Toyota. For a change, some good news for GM: they're the most reliable domestic automaker. Ford rebuilds after a crop of extensive - and unreliable - redesigns. Fiat-Chrysler struggles with the problematic Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee. Not all Japanese brands are reliable; Mazda and Subaru do well with launching reliable cars. Nissan is in a deep slump, with the Altima proving unreliable in its second year and problems at Infiniti. Audi makes the top five most reliable brand list, but Mercedes-Benz gets drug down by the CLA and S-Class. We wrap up by looking at the latest reliability info on the Tesla Model S.

Direct download: 1410ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_52_HQ.mp4
Category: -- posted at: 12:45pm EST

Once again, Tesla makes the news, this time by adding all-wheel-drive and a high-performance version of the Model S, as well as some capabilities that verge on self-driving. More important for more people, Toyota updates the 2015 Camry, but the bulk of the changes are skin-deep. A recent AAA study suggests they're distracting, and perhaps dangerous - but we suggest there's more to the question. One possible solution might be Apple's CarPlay, and we try it out at the track. Viewer questions about our wardrobes (really) and affordable used pickups come next. Finally, we ask for help with naming our online videos.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E51_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

We're celebrating our 50th episode of Talking Cars! This reader-question-only episode is our way of saying "thanks" to all of our fans, and even some of our naysayers. Can our talkative bunch answer 15 questions in 15 minutes? As you'd expect, topics covered are diverse: We correct our error about automatic 4wd availability in the 2015 Ford F-150, talk Ford Mustang history, discuss the state of Nissan (and our tendency to ignore them), revisit the Subaru WRX, and seriously wonder about buying a Ram 1500 diesel for New York City.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E50_HQ.mp4
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Redesigning the top-selling vehicle in America is already fraught with peril. But taking a big leap in materials and engines is another thing altogether. We discuss the new 2015 Ford F150 pickup and the impact of its aluminium body and downsized engines. Ford's EcoBoost 2.7-liter turbo V6 might be half the size of rival truck engines, but with 325 hp and 375 lbft of torque in a 5,060 pound truck, it sure doesn't feel like it. We also answer viewer questions about upscale sedans, including the Volvo S60 and Buick Regal.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E49_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Most electric and plug-in hybrids have an image problem, seen as earnest transportation pods. The BMW i8 shatters that stereotype, earning attention normally reserved for Italian exotics but with a particularly modern sensibility. We talk about driving this very high-tech car. Wrapping up, we answer some critical YouTube comments about our Subaru WRX review. 

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E48_HQ.mp4
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

This episode features a special car - the new 2015 Ford Mustang - and a special guest, Wayne Carini from Chasing Classic Cars. Wayne and CR's Jake Fisher talk about Mustangs through the years, how the car's evolved, and how classic cars compare to today's technology-laden wonders.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E47_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Long an enthusiast favorite, the latest Subaru WRX certainly puts down the numbers in testing at the Consumer Reports track. Whether the car is a livable daily driver, or much fun out on the open road, proves to be another issue entirely. Next we discuss the new 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata; everyone now knows what it looks like and that it's lighter, but not much else. Reader questions about modifying engine computers to game CR tests and our non-housebroken Ford Transit Connect are answered. Lastly, we have a new top-rated pickup truck: the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. It proves satisfying for far more than just its impressive fuel economy. 

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E46_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

Two iconic sports cars square off at the Consumer Reports test track - the Chevrolet Corvette and the Porsche 911. The engineers and technicians who did the testing talk about how each car performs at the track and they name their favorites. Since a new Corvette or 911 is out of reach for most of us, we also answer a reader question about affordable rear-wheel-drive sports cars.

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E35_HQ.mp4
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E34_HQ.mp4
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

Fuel efficient cars and their manufacturers are all in the news this week. Tesla announces that other car companies can use their patents, hoping to spur innovation in electric cars by mainstream manufacturers. Of course it winds up being a PR coup too. Ford's PR isn't as rosy as they announce errors in calculating fuel economy for their hybrids, leading to changes in the EPA numbers on their window stickers and goodwill payments to customers. We then answer some viewer questions about buying a good mid-sized family sedan that will go the distance, plus respond to a YouTube commenter who doesn't quite get the idea of a show called "Talking Cars."

Direct download: Talking_Cars_S01E34_HD.mp4
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 1:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EST