Subarus have long appealed to buyers who emphasize practicality and safety, even if their products have been somewhat plain. As competitors become increasingly refined and better equipped, Subaru is pressured to keep improvements coming and broaden its appeal to sunny states in order to maintain its impressive sales growth.

These goals and challenges are all reflected in the redesigned Impreza. This new sedan and hatchback introduce a new global platform that will be the foundation of all upcoming Subarus. After driving the car extensively, it's obvious to the Consumer Reports Cars team that Subaru doubled down on brand strengths while also making the Impreza more appealing to drive. (See our extensive Subaru Impreza first drive.)

In our latest video podcast, the Cars team also addresses viewer comments about the Chevrolet Bolt featured in the previous episode. Opinions are decidedly mixed among our fans, especially given the uncertainty around electric car subsidies under a new president. Viewers also clarify a complaint we had with the Bolt's unintuitive electronic shift lever.

We find that certain cars come up often in the "Talking Cars" YouTube comments. One is the Mazda6, which appeals to driving enthusiasts shopping for an efficient, reliable, and affordable midsized sedan. Mazda seems to make updates every single year to reduce interior noise, a big shortcoming of the car. We happened to have a rented 2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring in our fleet, so we can answer if the changes worked. (Spoiler: They did, a bit.) Look for a full first drive soon.

Mike Monticello, Tom Mutchler, and Gabe Shenhar
Mike Monticello, Tom Mutchler, and Gabe Shenhar

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.

Chevrolet Bolt, episode 103
Car Brand Reliability
, episode 102
Buick Cascada, episode 101
Special Show: 'Talking Cars With Consumer Reports' Video Podcast Turns 100
Self-Driving Cars, episode 99