Talking Cars (HQ)

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

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: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT