Talking Cars (HQ)

Talking Cars (HQ)

Canada

Consumer Reports Auto Testing Director Jake Fisher, Senior Automotive Engineer Tom Mutchler, and Program Manager Gabe Shenhar discuss cars, answer buying questions and share insights on everything automotive.

Episodes

#101: Buick Cascada, SUV Questions  

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.

"#100: A Live Audience Q&A "  

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.

#99: Self-Driving Cars: Image vs Reality  

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.

#97: Cadillac CT6, XT5, and Chevrolet Volt  

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.

#96: Mazda CX-9  

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.

#95: Tesla Model X, GMC Acadia  

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.

#94: Kia Sportage, Jaguar XF  

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.

#93: Mitsubishi Scandal, Mini Cooper Clubman  

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.

#91: Tesla Model 3; Chrysler Pacifica  

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.

#90: 2016 New York Auto Show  

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.

#89: What Makes a Car Fun?  

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.

#88: 2016 Top Picks  

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.

#87: Mid-sized Sedans: Kia Optima and Chevrolet Malibu  

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.

#85: 2016 Detroit Auto Show  

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.

#84: 2015: Year in Review  

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.

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