As traditional sales categories have become saturated—even oversaturated—with options, manufacturers have been moving downward in an attempt to capture new customers. Case in point: subcompact SUVs. The Nissan Juke was the category pioneer, arriving way back in 2011. But the majority of the players—Chevrolet Trax, Fiat 500X, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, and Mazda CX-3—arrived in 2015 or 2016.

Toyota, which pioneered the small SUV more than two decades ago with the RAV4, has been curiously absent from this category. However, with the arrival of the new C-HR, Toyota finally has an option for consumers shopping for a tiny SUV. We rented a pre-production version from Toyota to get an early look at the C-HR before we buy our own next month.

After that, the panel turns its attention to the new Alfa Romeo Giulia sports sedan. Poised to take on competitors like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the Guilia follows the Alfa Romeo 4C as the brand tries to reestablish a foothold in North America. We bought our own Giulia in Ti trim, but some staff members have had a hard time getting to drive it. Is this delay due to competition from Alfisti on the staff . . . or is something else preventing them from driving it?

Viewer questions are answered in the final segment of the show, leading off with responses to our take on the lack of a radio tuning knob in some versions of the new Honda CR-V. After that, the panel discusses if a consumer should go with a Honda Odyssey or Ford Flex for work use. We wrap up the show by explaining why we don't have a minivan category in this year's Top Picks, and discuss a comment from a viewer who thinks various advanced safety systems aren't necessary. 

Gabe Shenhar, Jon Linkov, and Mike Monticello
Gabe Shenhar, Jon Linkov, and Mike Monticello

As with other "Talking Cars," this episode on popular cars is also available free through the iTunes Store. Subscribe to the video or audio. You'll also find the video on YouTube.

Share your comments on this show below, and let us know whether you need any advice about choosing a car.

Top Picks, episode 110
Honda CR-V, Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, episode 109
Autonomous Vehicles, episode 108
2017 Detroit Auto Show, episode 107
Highs and Lows of 2016, episode 106