Talking Cars 191: Behind the Scenes of the 2019 Autos Spotlight

Our panel digs into what it takes for a car to become a Top Pick and which automakers build the best cars

It's that time of year: We launch our big, annual Autos Spotlight, and with it, a comprehensive update to CR's ratings. As part of that release, we announce our 10 Top Picks and other news.

This week, the Talking Cars panel takes viewers behind the scenes to explain how our selections are made. Our choices factor in how well vehicles perform in our track tests, their reliability and owner satisfaction ratings drawn from our latest survey, and whether they have key safety features and score well in federal and industry crash tests.

Last, the panel details how our Overall Score evolves over time—and what may be coming in the future.

Talking Cars 191
Panelists: Gabe Shenhar, Jen Stockburger, and Jake Fisher.

Consumer Reports Consumer Reports

As with other “Talking Cars” episodes, this one is available free through Apple Podcasts. (Subscribe to the audio or video.) You’ll also find the audio on Spotify and video on YouTube.

Cars That Broke Our Hearts, episode 190
Questions: AWD, Tires, Teens, episode 189
Honda Passport, Loyalty Programs, episode 188
Classic Car Names, BMW X5, episode 187
2019 Detroit Auto Show, episode 186

Have a Question?

We’d love to include it in a future show. Click here to upload your video questions to our Dropbox folder. Please send high-definition (1920x1080) MP4 video files with high-quality audio. Or send an iMessage question to our TalkingCars@icloud.com account.


Jen Stockburger

I never anticipated that engineering, the auto industry, and a few hundred tire changes and child seat installations would have brought me here: director of day-to-day operations at Consumer Report's fabulous 327-acre Auto Test Center. The bonus is that the track's location in rural Connecticut leaves me close enough to home to also enjoy my children and husband while still squeezing in time for gardening, riding horses, and hunting for antiques.