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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 EDT

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: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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 EDT

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: -- posted at: 12:45pm EDT

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: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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: -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

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: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT