Talking Cars (MP3)

Chevrolet announces a new turbo four-cylinder engine for the 2019 Silverado 1500. We discuss the new powertrain and if the engine will be 'truck-enough' for a full-size pickup. The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta joins our test fleet and we give our first impression. Plus, audience questions on hot hatches and our annual member surveys.

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Have a question for our experts? Leave a comment on this episode, or reach out to us directly!

 

From your iOS device, iMessage us at TalkingCars@icloud.com to send a photo, video, or text directly to the Talking Cars team!

 

We love to feature our viewers on the show, so submit video questions at https://www.consumerreports.org/cars-talking-cars/

 

Subscribe to Talking Cars on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/4Jr8wJRJyN9v8T6LC1fQQ6

 

SHOW NOTES

-----------------------------------

00:27 New Four-Cylinder Engine in the Chevrolet Silverado 1500

05:00 FCA Announces Auto Subscriptions

10:00 2019 Volkswagen Jetta

14:22 Question #1: Satisfaction vs. Reliability

18:00 Question #2: Hot Hatches

22:13 Question #3: OE Tire Warranty

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2018 Ford F-150 Quick Drive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGEmjjPCCeQ

 

2018 Detroit Auto Show: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPS6od0Ic5s

 

Autos Tips: Checking Tire Tread

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lu2gEB18bwk

 

2018's Top 5 Cars Owners Wouldn't Buy Again

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO6OSi1O51E

 

Happy on the Highway: The 5 Most Satisfying New Cars

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMU3bid3BUA

 

Consumer Reports 2018 Least Reliable Cars

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywh653ENljA

 

Consumer Reports Most Reliable Car Brands

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=915hkwMdHiY

-----------------------------------

Check out http://www.ConsumerReports.org for the latest reviews, tips, and recommendations and subscribe to our YouTube Channel: http://bit.ly/1Nlb1Ez 

 

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Google+: http://bit.ly/1Md3gfQ

Direct download: 1806CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_154.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:24pm EDT

Tesla sent an over-the-air software update to all Model 3's this past weekend, which included a fix for the long stopping distances we experienced during our initial testing. We discuss our new test results, and what role over-the-air updates will play in the future of automobiles. We also discuss our first impressions of our newly purchased 2019 Kia Sorento, and answer audience questions about the Subaru Forester and the longevity of engines in hybrid vehicles.

Direct download: 1805CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_153.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:40pm EDT

Consumer Reports has revealed that it would not be recommending the Tesla Model 3, in part due to poor braking performance. In response, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk agreed to meet with Jake Fisher, CR Auto Test Director, to talk about our findings and discuss immediate updates Tesla might make. Hear all about that exclusive conversation this week on Talking Cars.

Direct download: 1805CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_152.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:40pm EDT

It's cyclists vs. motorists on this week's episode, and how we think both worlds can live in harmony with one another. We also give our first impressions of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, and answer audience questions about good cars for college and how to properly break in a new car.

Direct download: 1805CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_151.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:57pm EDT

From your iOS device, iMessage us at TalkingCars@icloud.com to send a photo, video, or text directly to the Talking Cars team!

 

We love to feature our viewers on the show, so submit video questions at https://www.consumerreports.org/cars-talking-cars/

 

Subscribe to Talking Cars on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/4Jr8wJRJyN9v8T6LC1fQQ6

 

SHOW NOTES

-----------------------------------

00:26 Left lane hogs

03:42 More American Drivers Want Electric Cars

07:36 Buick Regal TourX

09:58 Why car enthusiasts love wagons

13:18 Question 1: How CR awards its Recommended status to vehicles

17:08 Question 2: Plug-in Hybrid maintenance

21:00 Question 3: Lexus ES

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More American Drivers Want Electric Cars, AAA Survey Says

https://www.consumerreports.org/hybrids-evs/more-american-drivers-want-electric-cars-aaa-survey-says/

 

Stop The Left-Lane Hogs

http://www.courant.com/opinion/editorials/hc-ed-ct-needs-left-lane-law-20180101-story.html

 

 

4K Review: 2016 Tesla Model S Quick Drive:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9cT_mIff-Q

 

2017 Chevrolet Bolt Quick Drive:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIYG0NR42LU

 

2014 Buick Regal Review:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tD3uqAl_MBY

 

2018 Buick Regal TourX Preview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6Pni8Mo4dk

 

2016 Cadillac CT6 Quick Drive:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6dTwFJnkRU

 

2013 Nissan Pathfinder first drive:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ja8vDgiQnUI

 

2015 Kia Sedona Quick Drive:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5Zkp1jAmKU

 

2017 Toyota Prius Prime Quick Drive:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQt6L1celr4

 

Lexus ES first drive:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOpsFg2H_S8

-----------------------------------

Check out http://www.ConsumerReports.org for the latest reviews, tips, and recommendations and subscribe to our YouTube Channel: http://bit.ly/1Nlb1Ez 

 

Follow Us on Social:

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1IQ2w5q

Twitter: http://bit.ly/1Yf5Fh2

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/1P37mM9

Instagram: http://bit.ly/1I49Bzo

Google+: http://bit.ly/1Md3gfQ

Direct download: 1805CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_150.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:28pm EDT

To borrow from Mark Twain, reports of the death of the Ford sedan have been greatly exaggerated! We discuss this surprising news, and how a lot of the media coverage has gotten the story wrong. We give our impressions of a borrowed Mazda6 we drove at our track. We wrap up this episode with viewer questions about swapping out your seasonal tires, low-speed AEB, and if there is any true replacement for the Mazda5 micro van.

Direct download: 1805CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_149.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 2:25pm EDT

This week we welcome CR editor Keith Barry to the podcast, and discuss why fuel prices seem to always go up around summer time. We also break down some of the dangers to look out for when looking for a car loan, and tips to make the best choice for your budget. We talk about our experiences with the 2019 Genesis G70, and wrap with viewer questions about the new Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford F-150 transmission, and (hopefully) our last question about snow tires for the season!

Have a question for our experts? Leave a comment on this episode, or reach out to us directly!

 

From your iOS device, iMessage us at TalkingCars@icloud.com to send a photo, video, or text directly to the Talking Cars team!

 

We love to feature our viewers on the show, so submit video questions at https://www.consumerreports.org/cars-talking-cars/

 

Subscribe to Talking Cars on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/4Jr8wJRJyN9v8T6LC1fQQ6

 

 

SHOW NOTES

-----------------------------------

 

:26 Welcome Keith Barry

 

1:23 Nerd moment

 

1:43 Fuel prices

 

06:16 Car loan break down

 

10:49 2019 Genesis G70

 

14:57 Video Question 1:  Hyundai Santa Fe; Mazda CX-9; Ford Edge?

 

19:25 Video Question 2: Ford F-150 & 10 speed transmission smoothness

 

22:58 Video Question 3: All-weather tires vs studded tires 

 

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How to Save Money at the Gas Pump: https://www.consumerreports.org/saving-money/how-to-save-money-at-the-gas-pump/

 

Where to Shop for a Car Loan: https://www.consumerreports.org/car-financing/where-to-shop-for-a-car-loan/

2019 Genesis G70 Quick

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDrN5_R3Bu0

 

2018 Ford F-150 Quick Drive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGEmjjPCCeQ

 

2019 Toyota Avalon Quick Drive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsYrBRbjUok

 

2018 New York Auto Show: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3ilxcZv1rw

 

4K Review: 2018 Kia Stinger Quick Drive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z23ztuujxfA

 

4K Review: 2016 Mazda CX-9 Quick Drive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UigcJd7PVY

 

2015 Ford Edge Quick Drive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46Yeez1661o

 

2016 Kia Sorento Quick Drive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9cvIuyLOGE

 

2018 Detroit Auto Show: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5E1EjYfXFs

 

2015 Jeep Renegade Quick Drive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xqTwaY5AA0

 

2014 Jeep Cherokee first drive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4nldxmFZq8

 

4K Review: 2017 Toyota Sienna Quick Drive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=165J4dCwUGU

 

4K Review: 2017 Toyota Highlander Quick Drive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ic5Obebxcv8

 

New All-Weather Tires Outperform Some Snow Tires

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JfEcVZvQEA

 

2016 Toyota Prius Quick Drive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GwUY0-gB0Q

 

 

-----------------------------------

 

Check out http://www.ConsumerReports.org for the latest reviews, tips, and recommendations and subscribe to our YouTube Channel: http://bit.ly/1Nlb1Ez 

 

Follow Us on Social:

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1IQ2w5q

Twitter: http://bit.ly/1Yf5Fh2

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/1P37mM9

Instagram: http://bit.ly/1I49Bzo

Google+: http://bit.ly/1Md3gfQ

Direct download: 1804CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_148.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:49pm EDT

Turns out the Tesla Model 3 needs humans after all. We discuss Tesla's production issues and what it means for the company's approach to automation. We received a number of video submissions this week, which leads to a discussion on the past, present, and future of the Ford Focus, as well as paddle shifters in minivans.
Direct download: 1804CRO_Talking_Cars_147.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:12pm EDT

Two new vehicles at the track this week, we discuss the shrinking sedan market and whether or not SUVs are taking over the auto industry, also we answer viewer questions about purchasing used cars.

Direct download: 1804CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_146.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:49pm EDT

This week, a U.S. Senator visits our test track. We debate whether or not entry-level luxury SUVs are just hatchbacks in disguise. Plus, we answer viewer questions about road trips and Volkswagen's pickup truck concept.

Direct download: 1804CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_145.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:37pm EDT

We're on the floor of the 2018 New York Auto Show for a live taping of Talking Cars! We discuss the cars that we think made an impact, the emerging trends in the auto industry and we answer questions from our live audience.

Direct download: 1803NYAS_Talking_Cars_Episode_144.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 6:57pm EDT

Ford announces an all new safety suite for 2020. We compare the newly released test results on our Buick Regal and Kia Stinger also answer viewer questions, and a special question about the Mikes.

Direct download: 1803CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_143.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:01pm EDT

Volkswagen says 'auf wiedersehen' to the Beetle and announces new electric models. We also discuss our 2018 Hyundai Accent and answer viewer questions.

Direct download: 1803CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_142.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:46pm EDT

This week, we answer viewer questions about our Tesla Model 3 coverage. Some eagle-eyed members of our audience spotted our 2018 Nissan Leaf in our garage last week, so we give you our first impressions on Nissan's all-electric car. Finally, we discuss GMC's announcement of a new Sierra, and whether its swiss army knife of a tailgate will appeal to pickup buyers.

Direct download: 1803CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_141.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Our Tesla Model 3 is finally here at the track, and we go in-depth on our initial impressions, including build quality, how it drives, and what we think of that big center screen.

Direct download: 1802CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_140.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Each year, Consumer Reports chooses the best performing vehicles of the year in a number of categories. We discuss which cars we selected as the best of the year, automaker brand rankings, and how vehicles have evolved over the last decade.

Direct download: 1802CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_139.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:45pm EDT

The Takata airbag recall continues and Fiat Chrysler recalls nearly 40,000 vehicles. We discuss how to track manufacturer recalls to make sure your car is safe. The Lexus RX350L joins our fleet, and we seek out the best American cars for teens.

Direct download: 1802CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_138.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:43pm EDT

This week we answer your video submitted questions first! We also talk about two car commercials from the Super Bowl and discuss our newest test vehicle, the 2018 Ford EcoSport.

Direct download: 1802CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_137.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:07pm EDT

We recap our trip to the SAE Government/Industry meeting and talk about why the names of safety features can be confusing to consumers. The Honda Clarity joins our test fleet and as always, we answer viewer questions.

Direct download: 1801CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_136.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:04pm EDT

It's true; we bought a new Jeep Wrangler for our test fleet. We share our first impressions and explore why people love the original SUV. We also have a new Hyundai Elantra GT at the track. Can it compete with hot-hatches like the Volkswagen GTI? Plus, we answer viewer questions and celebrate a special anniversary.

Direct download: 1801CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_135.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:26pm EDT

Consumer Reports investigates the issue of “Exploding Sunroofs” in which sunroofs on cars of all makes and models explode with little or no warning, putting the driver at great risk.

In this narrative audio documentary, a first from CR, hear from drivers whose sunroofs exploded as they drove along familiar roads in pristine conditions. Learn how they dealt with the shock and how their dealers and manufacturers dealt with them.

For the purpose of the podcast CR went into its testing lab and blew up a sunroof to provide listeners with the most realistic sense of what it sounds like when a sunroof explodes some 6 inches from your head.

Consumer Reports also provides insight about what is being done to address this issue and valuable information in the unlikely circumstance that this happens to you.

Direct download: 1801CRO_Talking_Cars_Bonus_Exploding_Sunroofs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:32am EDT

Trucks take center stage at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show with redesigns from RAM, Chevy and Ford. We talk about new models from Honda, Acura and Toyota and share which cars we're most looking forward to in the coming year.

Direct download: 1801DAS_Talking_Cars_Episode_134.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

We peek into the future of cars with news from CES in Las Vegas. The Buick Regal Sportback joins our test fleet and we give our first impressions. And, we answer viewer questions on tire ratings, starting your car in the cold and brake lights.

Direct download: 1801CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_133.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:18pm EDT

Bundle up for this week's episode as we share expert advice on how to get the most out of your car in frigid temps. Two new giant SUVs make their debut at our test track and we answer viewer questions about all-weather tires and cruise control.

Direct download: 1801CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_132.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:50pm EDT

It's our end of the year wrap up, and we discuss our most (and least) favorite cars that we tested this year at our track. We also talk about what we're most looking forward to from the auto industry in 2018.

Direct download: 1712CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_131.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week we cover Toyota's announcement on EV’s and a new Mercedes bound for the States. Owner Satisfaction results are in, and we talk about the brands and models that left drivers wanting more. Plus, viewer questions about our test fleet and more on electronic parking brakes.

Direct download: 1712CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_130.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:17am EDT

This week two all-new cars stop by Consumer Reports' test track, the Kia Stinger and Hyundai Kona. We also talk about what it takes for your car to be a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS and why some brand new vehicles may no longer hold the ranking. Plus, we answer viewer questions on older vehicles and what happens when you pull an electronic parking brake at 40 mph.

Direct download: 1712CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_129.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:26pm EDT

This week we look at in-car convenience with the new GM Marketplace, give our take on Lamborghini’s super SUV and find out why no one wants to drive our 2018 Kia Rio. We also talk about our GMC Terrain and the tough competition it faces among small SUVs and the new Buick Enclave that's been added to our test fleet. Plus, we answer a viewer question about engine trouble with the Mazda CX-9 and invite you to be a part of the show!

Direct download: 1712CRO_Talking_Cars_128.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:06pm EDT

Our experts are on the West Coast for the 2017 LA Auto Show, and give their first impressions on the 3-row Subaru Ascent and Lexus RX 350L, subcompact Hyundai Kona and Nissan Kicks, as well as the redesigned Jeep Wrangler and Infiniti QX50.

Direct download: 1711CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_127.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:58pm EDT

The world seems to be speeding toward a future of autonomous vehicles. But will the reality match the visions of the automakers and innovators? In this Talking Cars special, we assembled an expert panel at our annual meeting at the CR Auto Test Center to discuss the prospect of autonomous driving.

Direct download: 1710CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_126.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Which cars are the most reliable? And which brands have the best track record for quality? We go deep into our 2018 reliability survey to discuss who's up, who's down, and a few surprises from the over 640,000 vehicles included in our data.

 

SHOW NOTES

------------------------

:50 - How we gather our reliability data

2:50 - current reliability trends

7:14 - 2018 reliability survey highlights

15:35 - Tesla Model 3 reliability announcement

Video submission link: CR.org/TalkingCars

Direct download: 1710CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_125.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:31pm EDT

We got our hands on the all-new 2018 Honda Accord, and give our first impressions on its driving dynamics, updated infotainment system, and styling. Did you know October is a great time to find a deal on cars and trucks? We tell you why, and show you some of the big bargains out there. Finally, buying a car from a dealer can be a high pressure experience, so we share some of our tips for buying a car without all the hassle.

Direct download: 1709CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_124.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:28pm EDT

Too many people still use car seats incorrectly. That's why we're talking car seats with our two experts on the subject on this edition of the podcast. You'll learn some key facts that could help you, or let you help someone you know with children.

Direct download: 1709CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_123.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

The gang is back from their summer vacations all over the globe! They discuss how the cars they saw are different from models at home. They also talk about test results on the Toyota C-HR, and a question from the audience gets us out on our track to do some myth busting.

Direct download: 1709CRO_Talking_Cars_122.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Teen driving takes center stage on this episode. We talk about the cars that we learned to drive in, the best new and used cars for teens and a hands-on program that educates young drivers.

Direct download: 1708CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_121.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Volkswagen takes aim at the SUV market in the U.S. with two new three-row vehicles. We also answer viewer questions about Jeeps, bikes and the Toyota Camry.

Direct download: 1707CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_120.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

This week's episode is entirely dedicated to viewer and listener questions. We discuss heavy duty trucks, active safety equipment, used cars and more.

Direct download: 1706CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_119.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:30pm EDT

This week we dive into the comments section and answer viewer questions on winter tire traction, auto start/stop systems, our favorite muscle cars, and the family hauler potential of commercial vans like the Ford Transit Connect and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. We also give our first impressions of the all-new 2018 Toyota Camry.

Direct download: 1706CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_118.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

This week we answer questions from our audience about used cars and SUVs, and give first impressions of our newly purchased 2017 Honda Civic Si.

Direct download: 1706CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_117.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

This episode is dedicated to used cars. We talk about which used cars we'd buy in three different price ranges and answer viewer questions about trucks and all-wheel drive vehicles.

Direct download: 1705CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_116.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

We debut a whole new look and sound for Talking Cars this week! We discuss the best cars on the market today that no one is talking about (or buying.) Fresh out of testing, we give our overall impressions of the Toyota Prius Prime, and answer a viewer question about the environmental impact of electrical vehicles.

Direct download: 1705CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_115.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00pm EDT

We give our first impressions of our new Mazda CX-5 and Jeep Compass, talk about Honda's move toward alternative fuel vehicles and answer viewer questions.

Direct download: 1704CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_114.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

We're at the New York Auto Show, covering new offerings from Subaru and Buick, as well as an intriguing concept from Toyota, and we discuss Dodge's powerful muscle car.

Direct download: 1704NYAS_Talking_Cars_Episode_113.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

The Kia Niro and BMW 5 Series have been added to our test fleet. We talk about the Niro's potential impact on the hybrid market, discuss the BMW 5 Series' new, smaller engine and answer viewer questions.

Direct download: 1703CRO_Talking_Cars_112.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Toyota's all-new subcompact SUV the C-HR visits our test track and we share our first impressions. We also discuss our new Alfa Romeo Giulia and field viewer questions about new car buying and advanced safety systems.

Direct download: 1703CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_111.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

On this episode of Talking Cars, our experts discuss the 10 vehicles that make up our influential Top Picks list. We explain what makes a vehicle eligible for Top Pick status, and go in-depth on why they are the best in their categories.

Direct download: 1702CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_110.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:45pm EDT

The redesigned Honda CR-V and all-new Volkswagen Golf Alltrack are two different takes on the sport utility vehicle. We also answer questions about affordable cars with advanced safety equipment and if an older BMW is a risky maintenance and reliability bet.

Direct download: 1702CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_109.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

We take the show on the road to the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute to discuss autonomous vehicle technology: where we are, where we're headed, and the challenges along the way. We also take questions from our live audience!

Direct download: 1701CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_108.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

We're on the floor of the 2017 Detroit Auto Show! We discuss our first impressions of the all-new Toyota Camry and Honda Odyssey, which announcements surprised and disappointed us, and the emerging diesel trend.

Direct download: 1701DAS_Talking_Cars_Episode_107.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:55pm EDT

In our end of the year wrap up, we discuss the cars that were our personal favorites, along with the ones we liked the least.

Direct download: 1612CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_106.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

The Lincoln Continental and Alfa Romeo Giulia both aim to redefine their respective brands. We also answer questions about fully loaded small cars, and the difference between cars that we buy and rent.

Direct download: 1612CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_105.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

The Subaru Impreza is redesigned for 2017. We discuss the car's all-new platform and new levels of refinement. We also answer questions on the Chevy Bolt, vehicle reliability, and Mazda Miata alternatives.

Direct download: 1611CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_104.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Turns out the first relatively affordable long-range electric car isn't from Tesla; the Chevy Bolt beats the Tesla Model 3 to market. We found the Bolt to be enjoyable and practical, but wonder if buyers will be turned off by its dowdy styling.

Direct download: 1610CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_103.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Which car brands build the most - and least - reliable new cars? Which models are the most trouble-prone? What usually goes wrong with new cars? We discuss the results of Consumer Reports’ 2017 reliability survey. Exclusive reliability scores for over 300 models are available at consumerreports.org/reliability

Direct download: 1610CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_102.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:45pm EDT

The Buick Cascada fills a hole in the affordable convertible marketplace, providing a well-finished open-air cruiser that isn’t special to drive. We then discuss whether SUVs will go out of style, help viewers choose among luxury and practical SUVs, and explain why the Toyota Yaris scores low.

Direct download: 1609CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_101.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 6:55pm EDT

Our 100th episode is recorded live at the track with an audience of loyal fans. We answer questions about our backgrounds, essential safety equipment, the future of fuel economy, hated test cars, best and worst parts of our jobs, the death of the manual transmission, and our fascination with "soft-touch" plastics.

Direct download: 1608CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_100.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Cars with semi-autonomous features are becoming more common, but when does a car actually drive itself? We discuss the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Volvo S90, both of which have these features. We also answer a viewer question about two Ford SUVs.

Direct download: 1607CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_99.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 5:52pm EDT

Two new luxury SUVs share the spotlight: the Buick Envision and the Jaguar F-Pace. We also answer your questions about comparing the Toyota Prius and Chevrolet Volt and whether Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system is an improvement.

Direct download: 1607ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_98.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

The new Cadillac CT6 sedan and XT5 SUV highlight the brand's split personality. We also answer your questions about three-row SUVs, why we mention the Audi Q7 more than the Volvo XC90, and if we'll test a Toyota Land Cruiser.

Direct download: 1606CRO_Talking_Cars_Episode_97.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

We answer your questions about the new Mazda CX-9, the Tesla Model X, a good pickup truck choice, and a luxury SUV with serious towing capacity.

Direct download: 1606ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_96.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Driving the Tesla Model X SUV feels just like a taller Model S. But many gee-whiz features reduce utility or are over-complicated, like the falcon-wing doors. GM adjusts fuel economy measurements for some SUVs and we discuss the redesigned GMC Acadia.

Direct download: 1604ATC_Talking_Cars_95.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Two new cars join the Consumer Reports test fleet, the Kia Sportage and the Jaguar XF. Both highlight the design trends of their respective manufacturers; the Kia improves on the earlier-released Hyundai Tucson, and Jaguar is rebuilding their mainstream fleet.

Direct download: 1605ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_94.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:57am EDT

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.

Direct download: 1604ATC_Talking_Cars_93.mp3
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?

Direct download: 1604ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_92.mp3
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.

Direct download: 1604ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_91.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:24pm 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.

Direct download: 1603NYAS_Talking_Cars_Episode_90.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:52am 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.

Direct download: 1602ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_89.mp3
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.

Direct download: 1602ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_88.mp3
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.

Direct download: 1601ATC_Talking_Cars_S01E87.mp3
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.

Direct download: 1601ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_86.mp3
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.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:57pm 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.

Direct download: 1512ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_84.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 2:18pm EDT

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.mp3
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.mp3
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.mp3
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.mp3
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.mp3
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.mp3
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.mp3
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.mp3
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_S01E751.mp3
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.mp3
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_Episode_73.mp3
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.mp3
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.mp3
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.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Two Ford F-150s were purchased for our test fleet, one with the familiar 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and the other with Ford's new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. Acceleration results from our test track proved surprising. Less surprising were the fuel economy numbers from the lightweight aluminium-bodied truck; we put those into perspective. In other news, our Tesla Model S P85D suffers an early malfunction, highlighting Tesla's customer service. We then reach deep into the mailbag, answering a variety of inquiries. Vehicle collaborations that were reliable, comparing the VW GTI to the Golf R, Acura ILX hate mail, sporty small SUVs, and the forgotten Mazda CX-9 are all discussed.

Direct download: 1505ATC_Talking_Cars_S01E69.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Jeep sales are setting new records, driven by models like the new Renegade. These models might help Fiat-Chrysler Group’s balance sheet, but do they risk alienating traditionalists? To find out, we invited George to bring in his off-road-ready 1999 Jeep Cherokee. Other than mercilessly mocking his project Jeep’s various shortcomings, we talk about how the Renegade fits with the brand, how it matches customer expectations, and if it’s a good value or not. Next we answer some reader complaints about reliability and recommendations, particularly comparing the Jeep Cherokee and Volkswagen Golf. Finally, we look at the VW Golf R, the top-trim model of the legendary GTI hot hatch. As expected, the gang is split on the car’s appeal and value.

Direct download: 1504ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_68.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

We see it all the time in the YouTube comments: questions about the Mazda6 and CX-5. Both models were updated for 2016, so Talking Cars highlights the changes. Both cars stay true to form, with sharp handling and impressive fuel economy. We discuss if Mazda was successful in reducing interior noise, long a brand shortcoming. Also updated for 2016 is the Acura ILX. Despite changes, the car doesn't reach far beyond its Honda Civic roots, making us seriously question its $30,000 price tag.

Direct download: 1304ATC_Talking_Cars_Episode_67.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:18pm EDT

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.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:45pm EDT

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.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 5:00pm EDT

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.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Some car buyers emphasize practicality, while others prioritize driving fun. This episode of Talking Cars spans those extremes. First off, we take a look at the updated 2015 Toyota Sienna and redesigned 2015 Kia Sedona. While we applaud the space - and child-appeasing gadgetry - of minivans, we also note that SUVs are catching up or surpassing them in fuel economy. Next, we answer two viewer questions about what makes a car really fun to drive. Great steering plays an important role, but it isn't everything. Neither is the ever-increasing size of cars, despite a viewer's passionate pleas otherwise.

Direct download: 1412ATD_Talking_Cars_Episode_56.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT