Testers discuss lackluster Jeep Cherokee and the impressive Mazda3

    'Talking Cars' Episode 24, plus Toyota Highlander and the most-expensive car we've bought so far

    Published: February 11, 2014 12:00 PM

    Expectations have been high for the new Jeep Cherokee small SUV. But as we discuss on Episode #24 of "Talking Cars with Consumer Reports," this important product winds up being a collection of parts—some good, some not so much—that doesn't feel quite finished. Ultimately, the Cherokee scores too low in our tests to be recommended, a big letdown for those hoping—finally—for a competitive small SUV from Jeep.

    Jake Fisher, Gabe Shenhar, Jon Linkov, and the host Tom Mutchler deliver the extensive play-by-play of why the Cherokee doesn't measure up. Discussion then moves to our test results for the Mazda3. Unlike the Jeep, this perennial favorite doesn't disappoint, proving economical and fun to drive.

    We then take a first look at our new Toyota Highlander, unleashing a long list of gripes from Gabe. The podcast wraps up with a look at our Mercedes-Benz S550, the most expensive test car Consumer Reports has ever purchased.

    Look for Episode #25 of "Talking Cars" on Feb. 25, 2014. We'll go through our Top Picks list for 2014, explaining why some cars make the list and other contenders fall short. We'll also answer some reader questions about buying a family car for snowy Minnesota, picking a three-row SUV, and testing the new Volvo V60 station wagon.

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