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Talking Cars (MP3)


Join our experts at the Consumer Reports Test Track as they discuss cars, answer buying questions, and share insights on everything automotive.

Join our experts at the Consumer Reports Test Track as they discuss cars, answer buying questions, and share insights on everything automotive.


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Join our experts at the Consumer Reports Test Track as they discuss cars, answer buying questions, and share insights on everything automotive.






How to Choose the Right Tires for Winter

Become a member at to find out how each vehicle we purchase performs in our tests. What's the difference between all-season and all-weather tires? How are they different from winter tires? And do I need to bother if my car has all-wheel drive? On this episode, we explain the differences between each of these types of tires, which conditions they work best in, and offer Consumer Reports buying advice on how to make sure you're prepared for driving in icy, snowy...


#386 How To Buy a Used Car Right Now

Become a member at to find out how this car performs in our tests. This week we cover everything you need to know about buying a used car. Our experts discuss the finer points of financing, vehicle selection, inspection and overall reliability based on Consumer Reports’ latest data. We also answer an audience question about a rebuilt vehicle title and if it’s a safe bet when buying a second-hand vehicle. SHOW NOTES: 0:00 - Intro 0:39 - Welcome Steve Elek! 2:02...


#385 2023 Lexus RX

Become a member at to find out how this car performs in our tests. On this episode, we share our first impressions of the redesigned 2023 Lexus RX. We discuss how it drives, new safety features like active driver monitoring, and the updated powertrain. We also debate the perceived color of the RX we rented from Lexus and answer an audience question that begs, “What’s the deal with voice controls?” SHOW NOTES: 0:00 - Introduction 0:15 - 2023 Lexus RX 500h 4:14 -...


Bonus: Surprising Results from CR's Electric Vehicle Survey

We recently published the results of a nationally representative survey of over 8,000 people, asking their opinions about EVs, and what concerns they have about purchasing one. Consumer Reports Senior Policy Analyst Chris Harto joins us to break down the findings, explain why the survey gives us a more representative data of the country as a whole, and reveal more surprising findings. ----------------------------------- Have a question for our experts? Leave a comment on this...


#384 2023 Kia Niro

Become a member at to find out how this car performs in our tests. This week we share our first impressions of the 2023 Kia Niro. We discuss the Niro’s hybrid and electric powertrains, its promising fuel economy estimates and how the 2023 redesign seems more like a refresh. We also answer an audience question about vehicle service— and whether it's better to visit a dealer or an independent repair shop. SHOW NOTES: 0:00-15:30 - 2023 Kia Niro 1 5:31 - Question: Is...


#383 2023 Subaru BRZ vs. Toyota GR86; All-Weather vs. Snow Tires

We just purchased a 2023 Subaru BRZ for the Consumer Reports test fleet, and stacked it up in a head-to-head comparison with our tested Toyota GR86. While both of these cars (created in a partnership between Toyota and Subaru) are identical in many ways, there are a few critical differences in how they perform. Which came out on top? Our experts share which one they'd choose, as well as discuss the important differences between all-weather, all-season, and snow...


#382 2022 Audi Q4 e-tron; Why are Flooded EVs Catching Fire?

The all-new Q4 e-tron is Audi's third EV model, and we share our first impressions of its driving characteristics, tech-heavy interior, whether the 240 miles range will be enough for most drivers, and how it compares to the Tesla Model Y, Genesis GV60, and Ford Mustang Mach-E. We also share some important tips to avoid buying a car that has been in a flood. ----------------------------------- Have a question for our experts? Leave a comment on this episode, or reach out to us...


#381 Do Transmissions Ever Need to be Serviced?; Inflation Reduction Act and EV/Hybrid Tax Credits

This week we explain how the Inflation Reduction Act has changed the federal EV tax credit for new EV and plug-in hybrids; how miles per gallon is converted for electric vehicles into MPGe; should anyone really care about how many gears a transmission has; and is it necessary to ever service your car’s transmission? ----------------------------------- 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...


#380 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe

We've already tested the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee, but this week we share our first impressions of the all-new Trailhawk 4xe version. This rugged, off-road-capable two-row SUV makes use of a turbocharged plug-in hybrid powertrain, which gives it the ability to drive solely on electric power—a unique experience in the woods. We also attempt to find a three-row electric vehicle for a growing family under 50K. ----------------------------------- Have a question for our experts? Leave a...


#379 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning

Ford has transformed the nation's best-selling pickup truck into a quick and capable EV. We share our first impressions of the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, and discuss its prodigious power, swift acceleration, strong towing capability, and impressive electric range. We also talk about whether the new Lighting is a truck for the new, greener era. Plus, we help an audience member with some tire-buying advice and explain the importance of changing out your car's summer tires when the weather...


#378 Preparing Your Car For The Winter Season

With the cold season just around the corner, we share vital tips on preparing your vehicle for driving in wintry conditions, including checking and maintaining the proper tire pressure, the state of your car's battery charge, and topping off appropriate fluids. Also, we inspire a young mechanical engineering student with personal stories of how we advanced in our own automotive careers and give advice regarding future opportunities. And we welcome a special guest to the show this week,...


#377 2022 Buick Enclave

Is Buick Enclave the hidden gem of the large 3-row SUV world? With a resume that includes simple controls, a comfortable ride, and a responsive non-turbo powertrain, there's a case to be made that it deserves serious consideration. We discuss the recent updates to its steering wheel controls, gear selector, and infotainment system for the 2022 model year, and how it performs against competitors like the Infiniti QX60, Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Acura MDX, and Hyundai Palisade. Also, what happens...


#376 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a sporty, driver-focused luxury sedan, relying on its aggressive, low-slung exterior and improved powertrain to stand out against rivals like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Genesis G70. We share our first impressions of our C300 test car, discussing its handling, redesigned interior, problematic controls, and why you might want to skip the AMG sport suspension option. We also share insight into CR's testing protocols, and why we might sometimes disagree with...


#375 Best Bike Racks for Your Car, Truck, or SUV

Bike racks are a lot like cars, with new styles and brands available to consumers each year. And while we love cars at CR, we're also avid cycling enthusiasts, and recently performed evaluations on hitch-mounted bike racks, as well as pickup-truck tailgate pads, from brands like Kuat, Yakima, Thule, Bell, Allen, and Race Face. We discuss which ones performed best, how they compare to roof and trunk mounted racks, and what to look for if you need to transport an electric bike...


#374 2023 Toyota Sequoia

Is the all-new 2023 Toyota Sequoia just a Tundra with a cap on the back? We share our first impressions of Toyota's largest SUV, how it compares to competitors like the Chevrolet Tahoe and Cadillac Escalade (or even the 4Runner!), and if it can carry the torch for the dearly departed Land Cruiser. We also discuss whether using a different octane gas, for example 87 vs. 88 octane, can harm your car's engine. SHOW NOTES: 0:00: 2023 Toyota Sequoia first impressions 15:59: Can using a higher...


#373 2023 Honda HR-V

This week we share our first impressions of the 2023 Honda HR-V. We discuss how the HR-V improved over the first generation model and why it feels more robust in comparison to competing small SUVs. Plus, we answer an audience question that compares an all-wheel drive Mazda 3 to the new Acura Integra. SHOW NOTES: 0:00-10:39: 2023 Honda HR-V 10:39-18:08: Question: Which would you choose; the Mazda 3 AWD or the new Acura Integra? LINKS: Redesigned 2023 Honda HR-V Grows in Size and...


#372 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid

On this episode, we discuss the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid. Find out how the Sportage Hybrid compares to the gasoline Sportage we tested and why hybrid versions of small SUVs often improve a model overall. We also answer a question about all-wheel drive and determine whether it can be considered a safety feature or convenience feature. SHOW NOTES: 0:00 - 11:48: 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid 11:50 - 20:34: Question: Is all-wheel drive a safety feature, a nice-to-have-perk, or...


#371 2022 Mazda MX-30

This week, we share our impressions of the all-electric Mazda MX-30, the automaker’s first EV to hit the market. Find out why we think the MX-30 is behind the times and why only 560 vehicles are planned to be sold in the US. We also answer an audience question about the legality of LED replacement headlights. SHOW NOTES: 0:00-12:22 - 2022 Mazda MX-30 12:22-19:27 - Video Question: Are LED replacement bulbs legal? LINKS: Frustrating Mazda MX-30 Can’t Match Other Modern EVs:...


#370 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS

The all-electric 2022 Mercedes EQS becomes the automaker's new flagship alongside the S-Class lines. We share our first impressions of this ultra-luxury sedan, whether or not it can compete with the Tesla Model S, some of the next-generation safety features, and wild luxury comfort options. ----------------------------------- 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 to...


#369 2022 Polaris Slingshot

The Slingshot, a three-wheeled street vehicle made by ATV, snowmobile, and side-by-side manufacturer Polaris, blurs the lines between a motorcycle and car. With its single rear drive wheel and an open-air cabin lacking both a roof and doors, the Slingshot positions itself to be an action-packed alternative to weekend cruisers like the Mazda Miata, traditional motorcycles, or any number of classic cars (think Plymouth Barracuda, Road Runner, and Chevrolet Nova). But does the fun factor make...