• Feb 24th 2010 at 9:59AM
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The time has come once again for Consumer Reports' annual Auto Issue, which means the respected magazine will hand out an updated list of the vehicles and brands that it recommends. Included amongst the pages are CR's so-called Automaker Report Cards, and the tippy-top and way bottom couldn't have been easier to see coming.
Much like last year (and the year before, and the year before...), Honda gets the nod as the head of CR's list, joined in this instance by fellow Japanese automaker Subaru. The leading duo each earned a score of 77 out of 100, putting them three points ahead of cross-town rival Toyota, who's score of 74 was no doubt affected when CR yanked its Recommendation off eight of its products following their recent recall and safety woes.

Hyundai, Nissan and Volkswagen also performed well, scoring ahead of Ford, which was the highest ranking American automaker on the list. Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Saab, and Volvo each earned plaudits for improving on their reliability scores from last year, leaving only one automaker to languish at the very bottom of the list. Drum roll please... Chrysler!

The Pentastar was the only company to score worse this year than last, though there was one lone bright spot shining from Auburn Hills: the Dodge Ram 1500, which is the only Chrysler model on Consumer Reports' Recommended list. Bravo. See the full press release after the break, and keep an eye on your mailbox or a newsstand near you for the complete Auto Issue.

[Source: Consumer Reports]
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Consumer Reports' Automaker Report Cards: Honda And Subaru Lead, Hyundai Makes Strides, Chrysler Lags

YONKERS, N.Y., Feb. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Honda and Subaru have earned class leader status for building the best all-around vehicles for American drivers, according to the Automaker Report Cards published in Consumer Reports' 2010 Annual Auto Issue. This is the fourth consecutive year that Honda has topped CR's list. At the opposite end of the annual ranking is Chrysler, which fared even worse than last year. However, Chrysler had one recommended vehicle this year, the Ram pickup, compared to no recommended vehicles last year.

Tied with an overall score of 77 out of 100 points, Honda and Subaru were followed by Toyota (74) (Recommendations for eight recalled Toyota models were temporarily suspended), Hyundai (73) and Nissan and Volkswagen tied at (72) in overall score.

Although the best vehicles overall are being built by Honda and Subaru, South Korean carmaker Hyundai, and its subsidiary, Kia, has shown the most dramatic improvement, jumping to fourth place from ninth last year.

The full report, "Rating the carmakers" is in the Annual Auto Issue, which goes on sale March 2. It is also available to subscribers at www.ConsumerReports.org

The overall score for each automaker is based on the average of its vehicles' overall scores in Consumer Reports' road tests and their average predicted-reliability ratings from Consumer Reports' Annual Auto Survey. Manufacturers received a report card only if five or more of their vehicles were tested.

Honda continues to make many of the best all-around vehicles. Overall, its Honda and Acura models, are the most reliable vehicles in CR's predicted-reliability ratings. The most recent models from Honda, however, have not shown the same dedication to interior quality and fuel economy that earlier models did. Despite its outstanding reliability, CR doesn't recommend the new Insight because of subpar emergency handling and a compromised rear seat.

The redesigned 2010 Legacy sedan and Outback wagon raised Subaru's overall test score from 78 points to 81. That helped contribute to its tie with Honda in CR's rankings. However, Consumer Reports no longer recommends the Subaru Impreza WRX because its subscribers reported a relatively high number of problems, including transmission troubles, in the latest survey. Last year, CR recommended every Subaru model.

Hyundai/Kia showed a dramatic improvement in CR's report-card rankings, led by newer models such as the Hyundai Genesis and Elantra sedans, Santa Fe SUV, and Kia Optima sedan. Their reliability continues to improve with only the Kia Sedona minivan below average.

Not all Asian models are reliable or good performers. Although many models from Honda, Toyota, and Mitsubishi are very reliable, several scored too low in CR's tests to be Recommended. Toyota recently issued safety recalls and temporarily stopped sales of eight models because of rare occurrences of a sticking accelerator pedal. Consumer Reports has suspended its recommendations of those models, which caused Toyota's percentage of recommended vehicles to drop off by almost half.

The past year was especially rough for American automakers but there is some good news: reliability of some Ford models now rivals their competitors from Honda and Toyota. But in CR's testing, Ford vehicles were not always among the best performers. Although the Flex and Fusion scored highly, most models from Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln rate only midpack. Still, the freshened Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan are excellent overall packages that provide good performance and fuel economy. Consumer Reports recommends 75 percent of the Ford models that were tested, up from 70 percent last year.

New models from GM now rank among the best in CR's testing, although overall reliability, even among some of the new models, still lags behind most of the competition. GM models that score well in CR's tests include the Buick Enclave and LaCrosse, Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Corvette, Equinox, Malibu, and Traverse, and GMC Acadia.

Chrysler's grades fell to the bottom of the class, and it is the only automaker to drop from last year in all measures. Most models from the manufacturer have noisy, inefficient, unrefined powertrains; subpar interiors; and poor visibility. The Ram 1500 pickup is the only Chrysler model on Consumer Reports' Recommended list.

If all that consumers cared about were performance, comfort, and safety, Mercedes and Volkswagen (including Audi) models would go to the head of the class. They have the highest average test scores because they ride and handle especially well, have comfortable seats, and have relatively good fuel economy and acceleration. In recent years those vehicles have lagged in reliability. But that has begun to change, with several models from Mercedes and Volkswagen, as well as BMW, Saab, and Volvo, attaining average or better predicted reliability.

The best vehicles often set the standard for their competitors to follow or improve upon. In the end, it's the consumer who ends up the ultimate winner.

With more than 7 million print and online subscribers, Consumer Reports is one of the most trusted sources for information and advice on consumer products and services. It conducts the most comprehensive auto-test program of any U.S. publication or Web site; the magazine's auto experts have decades of experience in driving, testing, and reporting on cars. To become a subscriber, consumers can call 1-800-234-1645. Information and articles from the magazine can be accessed online at www.ConsumerReports.org.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I really hate to use the term "apologist", so I'll use the slightly less derogatory term "fanboy" instead.

      Why do all the domestic fanboys say these consumer reports are a joke? Data is data, that's all it is. It's a very clinical way of choosing a winner.

      The human condition allows us to factor in emotion as well as this type of data. And it's this way of thinking that makes the folks at Top Gear rate Alfa Romeo so highly.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes data is data.

        Garbage in, garbage out as well. CR is a source of highly subjective data that touts itself as highly objective. Thats the argument some here are making.

        If someone has convinced themselves they made the best decision in their car purchase, it will take much pain to disuade them of their feelings, regardless of actual reliability.

      • 5 Years Ago
      As a 09 Dodge Challenger and 06 Grand Cherokee owner I feel CR and their lists are BS!
      I would recommend either of the vehicles to anyone. No problems whats so ever.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Do you guys realize that for every person supporting Chryslers reliability there are 10 more people that can vouch for Honda/Toyota/Subaru? Chrysler is not the best automaker in the world just because you havent had problems, being low on the list also doesnt guarantee that everyone is going to have problems. Most cars are going to be reliable, even the worst ones, no company could survive by selling $20,000 things that will break after a couple years.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @jon -

        No doubt that your experience has been positive, and you will recommend the vehicles to anyone.

        But that is 1 experience among hundreds of thousands. Which is why we rely on statistical sciences. Poll everyone - who is an owner, and find out the overall average.

        P.S. - reminds me of my decision science lecture, where the professor recommended that you do not listen to the positive glowing reviews from your own brother/father etc, but look at the overall distribution of reliability.
        • 5 Years Ago
        How about 2003? My 2003 Durango SLT has been back to the dealer once - for a minor leak. Nothing else has gone wrong in 90,000 miles. And it's loaded with options. I bet CR didn't like the Ford ZX2 when it was made. My 2000 has 135,000 miles on it and it takes me to work everyday (5 spd manual, 35 mpg - me likey!).

        The problem with CR is that it's ratings come from it's subscriber base. The more they root for Toyonda and the more they piss on Chrysler the more the subscribers will justify their purchase of the former and complain about the latter. It's a well known effect called confirmation bias.

        This may be an urban legend but I read that someone posted that one of the big chiefs at CR's auto testing department was fired from Chrysler. Since then it takes a miracle for their products to get a top rating. Can anyone confirm this?

        Really, who are these people? Do they have any connections to certain manufacturers? Like a spouse or other family member that works for Toyonda? Or a family member that was sh!tcanned from the D3?)?

        CR seems like a very secretive organization to me. If anyone has info about who these people are and the methodology and, most important of all, the scoring system (how many complaints makes a "much worse than average" vs. a "worse than average" and has it changed over the years?), please let us know!
        • 5 Years Ago
        yes, two vehicles having no issues convince the stats of being fraud, totally
      • 5 Years Ago
      Jon Linkov was on ABC’s Good Morning LIES ON CAMERA. I QUOTE LEXUS LS460L goes through avoidance maneuver very well. SEE VIDEO -- CONSUMER REPORTS A FRAUD: Consumer Reports top rated Lexus LS 460L posts the second poorest speed in Consumer Reports avoidance avoidance maneuver. I QUOTE CONSUMER REPORTS TEST DESCRIPTION ************** A vehicle with good braking and emergency handling can help you avoid an accident. Here are the highs and lows in our dry braking test (from 60 mph) and AVAIDANCE MANUEVER WHICH HELPS US JUDGE HOW CAPABLE A VEHICLE IS WHEN A DRIVER IS TRYING TO STER AROUND AN OBSTICLE; THE HIGHER ITS SPEED, THE BETTER ***************
      After highly recommending the dangerous Toyota Corolla which may be recalled for light and vague steering (Consumer Reports words), Consumer Reports Dare to TOP RATE the Lexus LS460 which posted the lowest speeds in CRs AVOIDANCE MANUEVER

      TEST RESULTS: Lincoln Town Car (dated 30 year old design) 47.5MPH Lexus LS460 L 48.5 MPH, Mercury Grand Marquis 50MPH (dated 30 year old design), Toyota Avalon 50MPH Kia Amanita.

      Consumer Reports DARE rate the LEXUS LS460L a top score of 99 out of a 100. Did I mention, this is the same magazine that highly rated the Corolla? Safety takes a back seat to selling magazines at Consumer Reports.
      • 5 Years Ago
      We bought our first Subaru last year; a Forester. Lovin' it, especially with our recent snowier/icier than usual winter here in central Arkansas. If they made a minivan, we'd be looking to trade in our venerable Honda Odyssey.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Looked, but it seemed a little cramped (we're 2 adults & 3 growing kids and usually need room for at least a couple more)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Subaru B9 Tribeca?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Too many folks rely on what consumer reports says when all they do is send out a survey to car owners and folks reply back on how they THINK their car does. One of my favorite things to do is to make a list of the problems that my co-workers have with their cars and then listen to them talk about how GREAT their car is, until I remind them of the leak in their sunroof on their BMW that they have tried to have the dealer fix three times or the engine they had to replace on their M5 due to it having a known issue with the heads (two months without their car) or how the radio stopped working and the glove compartment fell apart on their one year old Honda Accord. Then they respond with "oh, that was nothing..." hahaha, cracks me up everytime.

      Rankings based on peeps perceptions is NOT statistical data folks, get over... consumer reports is a joke.
      • 5 Years Ago
      @ Jeez and Especially NRB...Thats my point is this survey has no clue what it wants to be. There is to much information. Information about the brand, information about new cars cars tied to old perceptions, information about customer relations from God knows what year.

      Things change in a blink of the eye, and what people need to be aware of is what companies are doing to change there perceptions issues of the past. And those aren't always shown. Take one look at the cover and a person who doesn't read (experience says many don't) will only see that VW is the car of the year for consumer reports. And look at other reports and you see VW is below the average for customer satisfaction, and all other categories according to JD power.


      I like the GTI by the way, but the survey just needs to know if its a brand report or new car
      • 5 Years Ago

      Chryslers are as good as any other make .Consumer Reports blows!
        • 5 Years Ago
        chryslers are junk. any company that makes door assemblies in Ohio and then SHIPS said doors BY RAIL to Missouri aint so bright.
        PS.....start saving your dimes and maybe you'll have enough saved up for when that transmission of yours decides to become a one time, disposable pressure relief valve for your engine.

      • 5 Years Ago
      All I know is I owned a Chevy Blazer that had nothing but black dots in CR, and It was in fact a POS. My wife had a Civic which rates well in CR, and we did nothing but maintenance, and wiper motor in 100,000 miles.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sheep read and base buying with CR, real people buy what they want and enjoy regardless of it's "ranking" and they don't care, because they don't read it.

      How are those Toyota "best car ever" readers feeling at the moment?

      And never forget this: The driver need not be overly concerned" Corvair handling or Austin America wins best car award.

      They've been so far off the marke so many times they could be weathermen.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Consumers is full of it !!!

      Who can take them seriously..They tested the Sebring as a sportscar !!!

      Can anyone else see a flaw in Consumers testing ?

      This will explain why their testing is not accurate...

      Read this...


        • 5 Years Ago
        Well... seeing as an Allpar is a site dedicated to Chrysler vehicles, I see THEM as biased towards the Pentastar. Just... read their reviews. They called the Jeep Compass "an excellent option for those who were thinking about a Ford Escape, Ford Explorer, or other larger-than-really-needed SUV"... and the Chrysler Sebring review was more of flaunting its features rather than reviewing its coarse powertrain and such. It's obvious that they couldn't admit that the Sebring is a terrible car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They also shoved the Wrangler down to the bottom of last years list. They called it a fantastic off road machine, but downranked it because it wasn't a good family vehicle.

        I've hated CR since the 80's when they ranked the Mazda B2000 high, yet ranked the Ford Ranger low. Those vehicles were literally badge engineered from each other.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Many people blindly tie themselves with all their trust towards companies, agencies, politicians, celebrities, athletes, religions, spouses, people, magazines, car companies, or the media.. Some expect these things to fall into their lap and lead them towards happiness without putting much thought or research towards their decision. They rush too quickly into trusting their life with that object of trust.

      Now look what happens when these high and mighty objects of trust have their dangerous flaws revealed that lead their followers to make dangerous or deadly decisions.. The people who follow then get hurt by who they follow cry and do not claim responsibility for their poor decisions they make. Sorry, we should not feel bad for them.

      Like the other groups or persons I was talking about, I personally would not put all my trust into CR.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They do. But then the non-car person seems to act like "Mr. Know-it-all" all of the sudden when it comes to cars just because they accepted the pre-packaged opinion or information that was easy and convenient for them to accept.

        It's like someone who is confident in feeling that McDonalds makes the "best cheeseburger around" and will fiercely try to argue with you that they are "the best" when they've never tried any other cheeseburger.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This just in......

      "Most of the vehicles Toyota has recalled as a result of the automakers issues with unintended acceleration span only the past few years, but there have been many reports that Toyota's unwanted thrust issues may have gone back to 2004 or even earlier. Automotive News reports that the automaker appears to have had similar issues as far back as 1999, at least in the UK. According to the trade publication, Toyota recalled 10,919 Lexus IS200 models built between March 1999 and July 2000 for a floor mat issue that could lead to sudden acceleration. Now federal investigators are wondering why Toyota didn't spread their recall over to the U.S."
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