Talking Cars (HQ)

Mitsubishi admits to incorrect fuel economy numbers, and Snapchat is criticized for having a feature that may tempt teenage drivers to speed. Chrysler recalls confusing shifters, and we discuss the Mini Clubman.

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Category: -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Prompted by a viewer question, we review the compact pickup truck market and discuss our test of the updated Toyota Tacoma. We also discuss the redesigned Audi A4 and Chevrolet's new Spark and Cruze. Finally, we answer one of the most oft-asked viewer questions: what cars do we own?

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Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Tesla finally unveils their high-volume Model 3, but we find that plenty of unanswered questions remain. Chrysler reinvents (and renames) their Pacifica minivan, which breaks a streak of lackluster new products from the company. Finally, we answer a bunch of viewer questions about sports sedans from our New York auto show episode, discussing the Lexus IS, Jaguar XE, Audi A4, and Cadillac ATS.

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Category: -- posted at: 3:23pm EDT

Talking Cars comes to you from the floor at the 2016 New York Auto Show. Important introductions were few and far between. Subaru brings out a new Impreza, Hyundai takes on the Prius with the Ionic, and Kia redesigns the Cadenza. Jake is impressed by the potential of a concept Genesis sports sedan, while Lincoln puts gullwing doors on a Navigator. Acura adds standard advanced safety gear to their MDX, which we applaud. Finally, Tom wants the Mazda MX-5 Miata RF, but Jake wants a real liftback.

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Category: -- posted at: 11:51am EDT

What exactly makes a car fun? Raphael Orlove, a writer from enthusiast car website Jalopnik.com, joins us to discuss the conventional wisdom surrounding that question. His theory: you can have fun in any car, simply by viewing it as a tool for learning and as a gateway to new experiences. We debate whether the Toyota Avalon really can be considered "fun," and we talk about our automotive regrets.

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Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

It's that time again - time to unveil our annual Top Picks, the best automotive choices in 10 different categories. Consumer Reports introduces our new Overall Score, incorporating not only road test results from our track, but also reliability, owner satisfaction, and safety scoring. We discuss the changes needed to do this, and what effect it will have on scores in the future. (Hint: They'll change a lot more often.) We then run through the Top Picks, discussing why each car earned its place on our list. One car not on the list this year is the Toyota Prius, a perennial Top Pick. We discuss why the just-redesigned Prius didn't qualify to make the list yet, and reveal our first impressions of Toyota's hybrid cornerstone.

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Category: -- posted at: 12:45pm EDT

Even though the new default family car might be a small SUV, mid-sized sedans offer a lot for the money. We look at two redesigned entries in this mature and highly-competitive segment: the Chevrolet Malibu and Kia Optima. Proof that not all mid-sized sedans are great, we also discuss the updated Nissan Altima. Moving on, we got a lot of viewer feedback about the pros and cons of self-driving cars. Finally, as a bit of dessert to balance a rather responsible podcast, we answer a viewer question about sports cars from the last 15 years.

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Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Self-driving cars have been in the news a lot recently, hot off the heels of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and the Detroit Auto Show. We discuss the latest developments in technology and policy, and how they can benefit drivers. Next we look at two new German small SUVs: the BMW X1 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC300. They compete in different segments, and highlight the importance of starting with a good foundation and proper tuning. We then answer viewer questions about large sports sedans and cars for teens, as well as discussing Acura's Precision Concept car from Detroit and the new Chrysler Pacifica minivan.

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Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Talking Cars comes to you from the floor of the 2016 International Auto Show in Detroit. Chrysler unveils the new Pacifica minivan, important to see if the company can develop clean-sheet designs after the Fiat merger. The new GMC Acadia is downsized to match mid-sized SUV competition, while the Buick Envision comes to us from China. Luxury sedans from Volvo, Genesis, Lincoln, Mercedes, and Audi fill the show floor. The stunning Buick Avista steals the show, while the Kia Telluride suggests an appealing large SUV.

Direct download: 1601DAS_Talking_Cars_Episode_85_HQ.mp4
Category: -- posted at: 7:47pm EDT

In what's become an annual tradition, we take a look back at the cars that stood out over the last year, both the good and the bad. But no review of 2015 would be complete without discussing the Volkswagen emissions scandal. Our testing reveals that VW themselves may have created an efficient alternative to diesels, with their new 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline engine. Moving on, we look at the cars that most impressed us. It was a good year for SUVs, with mentions going to the Kia Sorento, Ford Edge, and Volvo XC90. We're even more in agreement about the test cars we disliked the most over the last year, including the Fiat 500X, Acura ILX, and Land Rover Discovery Sport.

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Category: -- posted at: 2:13pm EDT