• Feb 28th 2007 at 8:34PM
  • 97
Yesterday, Dan Roth and I spent the day at Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center in East Haddam, CT. The occasion was the publication's annual Press Day, during which members of the media are given a tour of their expansive (and very impressive) facilities, demonstrations of some of the tests they perform, and finally, the formal announcement of their annual top 10 car picks.

It was fun and informative, and we walked away with a real appreciation of Consumer Reports' testing methodology. Speaking as someone who was admittedly not a big believer in CR's ratings versus say, those of an enthusiast mag, I can report happily that the men and women involved with Consumer Reports' auto testing and reporting are very serious enthusiasts themselves. This is not the toaster brigade running the tests, these are real car people through and through. We'll put together a proper feature for you on our day at CR -- complete with photos and video -- in the near future.

Without further ado, however, it's time for the news of the day.

Consumer Reports Top Picks for 2007
[Source: Consumer Reports]

Four Toyotas, three Hondas, a pair of Infinitis and a Mazda -- the Germans and Americans are conspicuously absent. The last German to make the list was the BMW 530i in 2003, and the last American cars to make the list were the Ford Focus Sedan and SVT Focus in 2004. (The Focus got its 2005 "Top Pick" award stripped after it came up short in crash test following that issue's publication.) In CR's overall new-car reliability rankings, Lincoln and GMC showed significant improvement. Ford stayed the same, Chevy and Buick improved slightly, while Jeep suffered a significant drop in the standings. Last place? That dubious honor belongs to Mercedes-Benz, whose new or redesigned-for-'06 cars' reliability is described as being "far below average."

To illustrate this, David Champion, CR's Sr. Director of Auto Testing, told us they found that the 1998 Lexus LS400 exhibited fewer problems last year than the 2006 Mercedes ML 500. Interesting tidbit, for sure. We'll talk about the CR visit in detail at a later date. For now, let's hear your opinions on the top picks in the comments.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm a bit surprised they picked the G35 over either the TL (nicer interior, higher quality "feel") or the bmw 335i (stomps the G35 in the ground performance-wise). I've driven all of these and I'd take the Bimmer in a heartbeat.

      I have also driven a newish miata at a zoom zoom event. Yes it is much more fun than the Z. Sorry fanz... Though both the Honda S2000 and the boxster are more fun.

      The accord is more blah than the Camry. Both are pretty boring. Accord has a nicer instrument panel. Camry has a nicer fit and finish... (yup, test drove these too - its kinda a hobby for me). The accord really needs a redesign.

      And omg, the prius has got to be the most boring car on the planet. An outfit in LA rents them - had one for four days.

      Have not driven any of the other mentioned cars - but I did see them all at the autoshow. It is a crying shame MBZ reliability is the pits - they have some of the nicest interiors of any brand (well not counting things like the bentley...)

      Even checked out the minivans at the autoshow - the Honda is super nice. Don't know why that isn't the top pick, the sienna isn't even close.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Something is stange about this list ... I can't quite put my finger on it. Oh, konnichiwa, they're all Japanese! Boy, those Japanese must build good cars to be selected in every single CR category. There can't be any bias because it's CR, right? CR always gets it right. They won't need to retract this story like they did with the infant car seat tests. This one is right on the mark. It has to be because it's CR. Bravo CR for your acccurate unbiased testing and faithfulness to the consumer.
      • 8 Years Ago
      You have to understand that CR takes its time in these judgements. Usually you will not see brand new cars like the new GTI (an excellent car, no doubt) for at least a year after their release so that reliability figures become available. Indeed, their emphasis on reliability/economy first, handling second, and drag-strip acceleration third explains this list very well. For instance, not only does the Miata handle like a dream, but it also gets 30 miles per gallon. The civic gets great fuel economy, 36 in their reports [overall] and also handles very well, so well I bought one in fact (EX 4 door, I love it). The Camry probably lost because of its ponderous handling in the latest generation, same thing with the Corolla. As for fanboys, perhaps you should question why cars like the Civic, made and designed largely in the USA, can be so much better than a "domestic" car sourced to thirty different countries? The Cobalt gets 28 combined MPG, and that is simply unacceptable. Until the domestics give us at least 70's or 80's equivilent technology, then they will continue to bleed. The domestic future belongs to Tesla, Feel Good, and Pheonix Auto.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Sure, everybody's an expert. Maybe the naysayers need to read up on Consumer Report's methodology before they assert that they know better. Who cares if the top picks are all Japanese? This is just another tool car shoppers can use when making decisions. The scores are as quantified and objective as possible. The fun to drive category probably requires a degree of subjectivity, but nothing about it should stop you from buying or enjoying whatever you want.
      • 8 Years Ago
      CR is the most debased, uninformed, & totally messed up in the automotive evaluations that could ever be !

      Not One of those cars are worth a dollar.

      it is embarassing to see how low CR will crawl for a buck, (or yen)...that is an absoultely absurd list of top ten cars, it does not even come close to the truth based on SALES !!!

      Please CR ...stick to toasters and stuff.
      You SUCK at cars !!!..go away.
      • 8 Years Ago
      there=their sorry I was in a hurry
      • 8 Years Ago
      CR is just a giant PR department for Japanese Cars. THUMBS DOWN.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Worst list ever. Where is the BMW? Thats right, if you count them, they nail multiple categories with the same cars. Why is this so Jap biased? The only thing on there not Jap is the MX-5.
      • 8 Years Ago
      i agree with most of these. like who in their right mind would choose a Cobalt or Focus over a Civic? Or a Malibu/Fusion over an Accord? They are superior in every aspect. Aveo over Fit?

      But some of these are just stupid. Miata over WRX? Everyone knows an odessy is better than Sienna.

      some make sense, but many dont.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The BMW 3 does not compare to the 07 G35 in price and horsepower. Also, the styling of the center console in pretty much any bimmer is crap. The G35 has a 7 inch display even without nav.
      don turney
      • 8 Years Ago
      i subscribed to c.r. mag for two years but found i could get the same info by searching on line with some effort and time, plus i did not have to subsribe or make donations. with that aside, i drove a 1976 ford f-100 w/ a big 6, 3 speed on the steering, and an 8' bed for 11 years. i took care of it as advised in the owner's manual and it never let me down except the time it was stolen, partially stripped and burned, but i refused the insurance company's advice to total it. i sold it for 60% of its original value. my next truck was a 95 dodge dakota slt with a h. d. towing package. likewise ,i took care of it as the owner's manual advised. after 12 years of dependable service i sold it for 33% of its original price. i recently purchased a leftover 06 toyota tacoma 4 w.d., quad cab, longbed, w/ h.d. towing pkg., and of all the trucks i have owned this is the best driving/riding truck of the 3. although i test drove the "big three american" trucks in the midsize classification first, there was no comparison to the toyota. i was sold on it after the test drive and at least my toyota was assembled in california and not in mexico or canada where some of our so-called domestic american cars are assembled.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Duncan, the Chevy/Geo Prizm always had the same reliability as the Corolla. And they always pointed out it was a rebadged Corolla, so I don't know what you're talking about.

      Sarr, thanks for giving me the biggest laugh of the week. Submit your letter to any auto enthusiast magazine and watch them print your letter as the idiot of the month.
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