Talking Cars (HQ)

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: -- 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: -- 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: -- 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: -- 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: -- 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: -- 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: -- 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: -- 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: -- 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