Main theme: This week we discuss the steep increase we’ve seen in many new-car destination charges. A recent CR investigation found that mainstream automakers have been increasing destination charges—which is the cost of transporting a vehicle from a carmaker’s U.S. factory or port of entry to its dealerships—on average at more than twice the rate of inflation since 2011. Our panel talks about the reasons that some automakers might be jacking up their fees at a considerably faster pace than others and explains why CR feels this non-negotiable fee should be included in a vehicle’s advertised base price.

Driven this week: 2021 Buick Envision

Audience questions:

  • Can you explain why there is such a wide discrepancy between CR’s Top Picks and brand report card rankings vs. J.D. Power’s ratings for certain models?
  • Which is more accurate—my CR-recommended tire-pressure gauge or my car’s TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system)?
  • Because tire performance is greatly affected by rain, air, and ground temperature, at what temperature does CR test wet braking distances?
  • Can you suggest a smallish SUV to replace my Mazda6 that can carry bicycles and kayaks? Looking to spend around $30,000.
Talking Cars panelists Ryan Pszczolkowski, Mike Monticello, and Jake Fisher.
Talking Cars panelists Ryan Pszczolkowski, Mike Monticello, and Jake Fisher.

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 (log-in required) and video on YouTube.

• Car Buying and Leasing, episode 298
• Driving the Volkswagen ID.4, episode 297
• Driving the Ford F-150 Hybrid, episode 296
• Driving the Ford Bronco Sport, episode 295
• Nissan Frontier, Polestar 2, episode 294


Have a Question?

We’d love to include it in a future show. 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.