What makes a car influential? "Talking Cars with Consumer Reports" episode 51 looks at two new cars that have significant impact in very different ways, along with hot technology coming to a dashboard near you.
Unless you live in a very fancy neighborhood, you certainly don't see the Tesla Model S in every driveway, but any news about the pricey electric car attracts near-rabid attention. Such was the case last week when Tesla announced the availability of all-wheel-drive, a high-performance variant, and new electronic driving aids that approach self-driving capability. Clearly, the Tesla is more than the sum of its parts.
The ever-popular Toyota Camry dominates sales charts in the super-competitive midsized sedan market. Changing up that successful recipe involves a lot of risk, making the Camry's substantial update for 2015 somewhat surprising. After spending some time with the new car, we discover that other than some minor tweaks, the recipe remains largely unchanged, aside from a dash of spice and some front-end garnish.
Apple's CarPlay essential duplicates the iPhone interface on the dashboard, and its influence is expected to be widespread. To take it for a spin, we installed an aftermarket Pioneer stereo with CarPlay, well ahead of the system's appearance in a production car. The ensuing CarPlay discussion comes on the heels of an AAA study investigating distraction caused by vehicle voice controls. While some of the messages coming from this report deem voice commands as "dangerous," we suggest the true distraction issue is more nuanced and complicated.
We then get to viewer questions. Dominating the discussion: How much used pickup truck can you buy for $16,000? Finally, we ask for viewer help with naming our online "review" videos.
"Talking Cars" Episode 50: Reader questions
"Talking Cars" Episode 49: Ford F-150
"Talking Cars" Episode 48: BMW i8
"Talking Cars" Episode 47: Ford Mustang
"Talking Cars" Episode 46: Subaru WRX
"Talking Cars" Episode 45: Practical haulers