Answering viewer mail is one of our favorite parts of our "Talking Cars With Consumer Reports" podcast, so this episode is 100 percent based on fan input. First up is a question about the new Mazda CX-9. It's well-timed because we happened to have two of them at the Consumer Reports test track—a rented model and our newly-purchased test car. First impressions are that Mazda actually built an affordable three-row SUV that is fun-to-drive, something that the market sorely lacks. That doesn't mean the CX-9 is perfect; enthusiasts will love it, but it might not fit everyone. 

The Consumer Reports experts discuss the Mazda CX-9, Tesla, and answer viewer questions

Speaking of imperfection, our last episode included plenty of complaints about the Tesla Model X. While benefiting from the performance and accomplishments of the Model S sedan with which it shares its bones, this all-electric SUV suffers from some errant flights of fancy—like its overly-complicated falcon-wing doors. Tesla Model X fans took us to task, knocking us for not advocating its new technology. But as we explain, we're all for automotive advancement—as long as it actually makes things better and isn't just a gimmick.  

Ford F-150
A viewer asks us about the F-150 pickup truck and how it compares with the Chevrolet Silverado 1500.

Next, a viewer asks us to compare the Ford F-150 and the Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks, yet we can't resist talking about the Ram 1500 anyway. Another viewer wants a premium SUV that can tow 4,000 pounds and fit dog crates in back—but turns down Tom's ubiquitous answer of the Dodge Durango. Finally, someone asks us to compare the likely reliability of the Jaguar XE and the Alfa Romeo Giulia, to which the best answer might be to pick what is behind door No. 3.

As with the 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 if you need any advice for choosing a car.

GMC Acadia, Tesla Model X, episode 95
Kia Sportage & Jaguar XF
, episode 94
Corporate Responsibility, episode 93
Do Compact Trucks Need to Be Refined?, episode 92
Tesla Model 3, episode 91 
2016 New York Auto Show Reveals Surprises, episode 90