Talking Cars (HQ)

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.

Direct download: 1601ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_86_HQ.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

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 EST

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.

Direct download: 1512ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_84_HQ.mp4
Category: -- posted at: 2:13pm EST

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: -- 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: -- 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: -- 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: -- 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: -- posted at: 12:00pm EST