click above image for more pics of the 2008 Toyota Highlander from our review

Consumer Reports seems to have a few more fans ever since the folks there proved that they have no bias for Toyota by knocking the Japanese automaker down a few pegs. One of the measures taken after three Toyota vehicles, including a Lexus, were bumped from CR's recommended list was that no future Toyotas would get the benefit of the doubt and be labeled as "Recommended" based on the automaker's past performance. The first Toyota vehicle to be hit by this mandate is the new 2008 Toyota Highlander, which, despite becoming the highest rated mid-size SUV (it's really a CUV, but whatever) with three rows of seating, did not receive an automatic "Recommended" designation from the magazine. The Highlander received the highest score of 81 in CR's most recent test, while competitors that were tested alongside the Highlander like the Subaru Tribeca and Ford Taurus X scored 70 and 75, respectively, yet managed to earn the "Recommended" label. Like the Highlander, the Buick Enclave scored relatively well (75) but did not get recommended, with CR citing insufficient reliability data to make the call.

Though Toyota does not find itself in CR's good graces at the moment, the magazine has made it clear that if Toyota's reliability rating returns to "excellent", it will resume automatically recommending its models again. We're just curious, but do any CR readers out there know what other brands or automakers (not individual models) are also automatically recommended based on their past performance?

Click here to read a non-subscriber's version of CR's article, and click here to read our own review of the 2008 Toyota Highlander Sport.

[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]

Related GalleryReview: 2008 Toyota Highlander Sport