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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  May 25 2011, 12:50 PM

With the recent recession and high fuel prices, car buyers are placing a higher priority on fuel efficiency. To save at the pump, buyers are willing to sacrifice purchase, price, amenities and size but not safety, according to the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

1,764 random adult car owners were interviewed between April 28-May 2, 2011 regarding car buying and fuel economy issues. The surveyed said that nearly twice as many consumers expected to choose a model with much better or somewhat better fuel economy(62 percent) relative to those who are targeting about the same fuel economy (32 percent).

Survey respondents expect their next car should deliver an average of 29 mpg. More than 10 percent said they expect 40 mpg or better in their next car.

It was also interesting to note that only 17 percent of those interviewed will buy a car next year. As well, the state of the economy played a factor causing a significant shift in the age of the average car driven by respondents has increased by eight years.

With America’s passenger cars continuing to age, less than a fifth or car owners will look to replace their car any time soon. When buying a new car, fuel economy will be the deciding factor. To reach increased fuel economy, shoppers will compromise on size and even consider paying more for a diesel or hybrid.

New car Used car
Pay more for fuel-efficient car 58% 49%
Compromise amenities or comfort 44 54
Compromise size or capacity 47 48
Compromise performance 27 35
Compromise safety 11 14

[Source: Consumer Reports]

 |  May 12 2011, 2:20 PM

11ExpMediaDrive_37

Car enthusiasts may have lamented its switch from a truck to a car platform, and magazines like Motor Trend and Consumer Reports have slammed it, but consumers have really taken to the Ford Explorer.

While sales figures weren’t available at the time of publication, Ford reports that 43.5 percent of Explorer sales are conquests, and demand has remained strong despite high gas prices and an 18 mpg rating. Criticism has been leveled at the drivetrain, handling and the MyFordTouch information system, but customers are clearly voting with their wallets. We’d be interested to hear why consumers ended up choosing the Ford in light of such criticism.

[Source: Automotive News]

Read AutoGuide’s 2011 Ford Explorer Review here

 |  Apr 18 2011, 5:52 PM

CH011_048TH

Drivers are looking to cut a lot of things to save on fuel, but vehicle size isn’t one of them. According to a poll conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, most car buyers are planning to purchase the same size of vehicle as the one they are currently driving.

The results show that 56 percent of those drivers polled said they were going to keep their next vehicle the same size as their current model. Only one-quarter plan to go a size smaller and 19 percent are going to super-size to a larger model. Breaking it down to age and location, older drivers and Northeast buyers (gas prices tend to be higher in this area) are more likely to buy the same size, while drivers aged 18-34 years were planning on going bigger.

Looking at the trends, it is likely that older buyers are cutting costs (retirement pending and kids out of the house) so they don’t need a large vehicle. On the opposite end of the spectrum, younger car buyers are going bigger due to the fact that they are starting families and need all the room they can get.

Are you planning on buying a new vehicle this year? Are you going smaller, sticking with the same size or going with a larger model? Let us know in the comments section below.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

 |  Apr 05 2011, 9:57 PM

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta just got a lower base price, but it all came at a cost: a lower ranking to boot. Among small sedans, the Jetta came in dead last among its competitors in a Consumer Reports test.

The $15,995 base price meant that VW skimped on minor details such as the interior and suspension, resulting in a laundry list of faults—shoddy handling, lack of cornering grip, cheap interior plastics and finish, a long braking distance, a reluctant transmission, and a 2.5-liter five-cylinder that doesn’t let you forget the $15,995 base price. Consumer Reports put it simply, “a shadow of the agile, well-finished car it once was.”

Some of the other cars tested were the equally-new Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra: the Cruze received a midpack Very Good rating, while the Elantra was the overall winner with CR’s official recommendation.

Read AutoGuide’s 2011 Volkswagen Jetta review here

 |  Feb 24 2011, 1:44 PM

The Toyota Prius is one of the most polarizing vehicles on the market today, with a legion of fans convinced that they’re doing their part to save the world, and an equal number of detractors deriding it as nothing more than a status symbol for green-obsessed vanity hounds. Strip away the awful rhetoric, and the real issues surrounding the car still remain. Does the car deliver on its fuel economy claims? Are the running costs of the hybrid economically justifiable? And is the battery good enough to survive the long, hard miles that a lot of drivers put on their cars?

Consumer Reports decided to try and objectively measure what a Prius can deliver even after 10 years and 206,000 miles, using a 2001 model they previously tested as a baseline. The results were nearly identical, with a couple tenths here or there to be added or subtracted. This suggests that the battery is also in good shape even after 10 years, and while a new one costs between $2,200 and $2,600 from a Toyota dealer, a used one can be had for about $500. It’s also worth noting that the shocks and powertrain components are all original, which suggests that running costs are fairly low.

Overall, this seems like a bit of vindication for the longevity of the Prius, but as the saying goes “haters gon’ hate”, and we’re sure to see a refutation shortly.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

 |  Feb 02 2011, 11:04 AM

Typically, a product is reviewed and rated by a publication, whose staff, after testing and evaluating, will give their opinion on it. However, some might consider this opinion biased, either due to the writer’s personal taste or due to advertising dollars.

Nissan‘s luxury division Infiniti is now taking a different approach to the norm, becoming the first company to let consumers rate and review its products. Visitors to www.InfinitiUSA.com can currently read over 900 reviews posted by Infiniti customers on its seven different vehicles, and the number of reviews will only grow with time.

“The Infiniti ownership experience extends well beyond the driving experience of our owners and into their lifestyle, which includes peer-to-peer and social media channels,” said Ben Poore, vice president, Infiniti Business Unit. He adds that this “sharing of experience” will benefit those who are considering buying an Infiniti.

Bazaarvoice, a social commerce solutions service, will be working with Infiniti in developing content for their new site. So if you want to listen to what Infiniti customers actually have to say about their car, check out the new site.

 |  Oct 27 2010, 9:46 AM

The latest Consumer Reports reliability study is certainly packed full of more info than you can summarize in one article. That being said, we thought a followup to yesterday’s overview was in order with some added focus on some of the best and worst vehicles and automakers in the industry.

Topping out the list of most reliable automakers isn’t Lexus or Porsche (even if Porsche is second), but Toyota youth-brand Scion. And among Scions, the most reliable model is the rather dull xD, while the least reliable (the worst of the best) is the xB.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s (unfortunately for them) no surprise, with Chrysler slummin’ it with some rather surprising company. Of the 27 automakers ranked, Chrysler was the worst, with the 300C the most reliable of its product offerings, while the Town & Country minivan gets the nod as the worst of the worst.

Joining Chrysler at the bottom is sister-company Dodge in 24th, while the rest of the bottom five consists of none other than BMW, Audi and MINI. Some of the least reliable models listed include the Audi A6 3.0T, BMW 135i, Mercedes E-Class Coupe and Volkswagen Routan.

Some of the more reliable models listed by the automakers include some high-performance machinery including the BMW M3 and Chevy Corvette.

With Scion leading the pack in terms of brand reliability, the top five consists of Porsche, Acura, Honda and then Infiniti.

The Consumer Reports reliability survey aims to predict the reliability of 2011 model year cars based on data collected o the reliability of vehicles from the past 10 years. Date from 1.3 million vehicles was used to produce the latest survey numbers.

 |  Aug 30 2010, 12:24 PM

Summer vacation may be coming to a close, but that means it’s time for a whole new season of bringing your kids to school, piano lessons and football tryouts. Consumer Reports has put together a list of new cars that are great for transporting the family around, all ranging in price from just under $20,000 to just under $40,000. They all gained good scores in road tests, and have good seating and cargo arrangements.

They’re listed after the jump, listed in order by price, along with a brief description on why they ranked well:
Continue Reading…

 |  Jul 24 2010, 7:53 AM

Now that the market is on a tentative upswing, there is no time to waste – one of the positive points about a recession is that new-car buyers are in charge when it comes to making a deal.

Data collected from a recent survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center shows that half of those polled believed that they were able to negotiate a much better deal in these tough times. Further results found that around 27 percent of respondents reported no change, while 18 percent said their ability to negotiate has diminished some or a lot.

Other important information gathered from this survey showed that income played a significant role in negotiating tactics. New-car buyers who earned at least $50,000 were more likely to say that their ability to negotiate improved, compared to those with household income under $50,000, while twice as many consumers who earn less said their ability diminished relative to those who earning power was greater.

So how do you ensure you get the best deal? The key to getting the best deal is to do your homework and have a strategy when your go into dealerships. Here are some negotiation tips that will come in handy when you’re ready to start haggling:

  • Be sure to get all dealer quotes by email or phone. This allows you to focus on the dealership offering right car and price.
  • Don’t be afraid to play one dealer off another in order to get the price lowered, and tell them that you’re going with the lowest price, even if it means driving a few miles out of town.
  • It’s important to negotiate up from the bottom line price, not down from MSRP. This tactic keeps you closer to the real target while proving you mean serious business.
  • If you have a trade-in, keep it removed from the new-car negotiation, as it’s a totally different transaction that needs to be managed separately.
  • Stay away from dealership sales events – the showroom tends to be staffed with its best, profit-creating experts during these promotional events.
  • Compare interest rates and get pre-arranged financing. This way, if the dealer can’t meet or beat your best loan option, you still have secured the best rate and are not pressured into taking a bad financial deal to get the car.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

 |  Jul 10 2010, 8:10 AM

09Q5_15_hr

Oh SUVs, why do we love thee? Let us count the ways. You’re dependable. You’re reliable. You’re always up for an adventure. You look so much cooler than a minivan, yet are able to carry just as many kids. But there are so many to choose from – where do you even start?

Not to worry – the helpful folks at Consumer Reports have put together a video on how to pick the right SUV for your lifestyle. Then you can head over to the AutoGuide New Cars section for SUVs where you can sort through our extensive list of models based on anything from starting price, to fuel economy, to what AutoGuide readers have rated the car.

Just a few of the reasons why SUVs have gained such massive popularity is due in part to their carrying capacity, high-driving position and towing capabilities. And who doesn’t like all that extra traction they provide in slippery-when-wet conditions?

But SUVs have a dark side too. They’re not as adept as regular cars and in emergency situations, they’ve been known to flip and roll, thanks to their high center of gravity.  You need to weigh both the pros and the cons of this breed before you settle on the perfect one for you and your family – and that’s when this video comes in handy.

Available in a wide range of sizes and prices, smaller SUVs are the least expensive, offer better fuel economy and are more compact – although they do offer plenty of room inside. As you start to get into the mid- and large-sized models, you get more space and power, but you also get poor gas mileage and less manoeuvrability.

The video hands out some good tips for when it’s time to shop for an SUV – you should consider the type of driving you do, the weather conditions, how much power and cargo capacity you need, and how many people you will transport. Be sure that you’re not throwing away money on features and options you don’t really need and be realistic about your daily regular needs  - by keeping these thing in mind, you’ll be buying an SUV that’s within your budget and meets all your needs.

Watch the video after the jump and take notes!

[Source: Consumer Reports]
Continue Reading…

 |  Jul 02 2010, 1:56 PM

No more teachers, no more books! School’s out for summer, and with the warm weather, kids are headed outdoors to make the most of their time off. It also means parents need to be extra vigilant when it comes to keep track of youngsters, especially when it comes to their vehicles.

So far this year, child safety group Kids and Cars have reported 100 non-traffic fatalities, which includes 35 frontovers, 32 backovers, and 18 related to heat. Expect more sad stats to come, as injuries and deaths peak in the summer months. In fact, seven children died of heat stroke last week after being left along in cars.

Consumer reports as put together a video, as well as some tips, on how you can do your part to prevents these types of tragedies:

  • Kids should never be left alone in a car, as the interior temperature rising quickly, and children being particularly vulnerable to temperature changes. There’s also the risk of a child disengaging a parking brake, which could set the vehicle in motion.
  • If you’re changing up your everyday routine, be sure to check your car before you leave for the day. To remind yourself that there is a child in the car, you can use a hint such as a stuffed animal in the front seat so you don’t forget to check the rear. Another good idea is to put an essential item such as your purse or briefcase in the back seat – that way you’ll be forced to open the back door before locking up.
  • When entering or reversing from a driveway, make sure there are no children in the way and go slowly. Music should be turned off, and a backup camera comes in handy, especially if you have a large vehicle
  • To ensure that kids don’t get into your car while you’re not around, always lock the doors and keep the windows rolled up.
  • If you’re in a parking lot, have a casual and quick look around to see if any children are left in their vehicles. If so, take action and call 911 immediately.

Watch the video after the jump.

[Source: Consumer Reports] Continue Reading…

 |  Jun 09 2010, 9:06 PM

You’ll do anything to save money when filling up your vehicle, and you’ve even made sure that your tires are always properly inflated. But have you ever wondered what brand of tire will actually save you the most money when it comes to filling up? Consumer Reports did, and that’s why they decided to take two of the top tire contenders and put them through their paces to see which one would save you some cash at the pumps.

Choosing two brands of tires in the low rolling resistance category, the magazine pitted Michelin Energy Saver A/S and Cooper GFE against each other. Both are good all-purpose tires, but Michelin was declared the winner. Their tires had the lowest rolling resistance of any all-season tire that Consumer Reports tested in the past few years, and it scored a “Very Good” rating in dry and wet braking. In fact, the Energy Savers impressed the judges so much (they probably got extra points in the swimsuit category) that they made the number two spot on Consumer Reports’ chart of all comparable tires, regardless of their rolling resistance rating.

This isn’t to say that the Cooper GFE tires didn’t do well. Their rolling resistance was not as low as the Michelin’s, but they still performed well when it came to the hydroplaning resistance and emergency handling test, and they earned a rating of “Good” for both snow traction and ice braking.

If you’re in the market for a set of tires, Consumer Reports reminds you not to buy a tire based solely on its fuel-saving capabilities. “Short term savings are relatively small. But most consumers will likely see long-term fuel savings over the life of a tire,’ said Gene Petersen, a senior engineer for Consumer Reports who oversees its tire test program. “No matter what tire your car is rolling on, it’s critical to maintain proper inflation.”

[Source: Autoblog Green]

 |  Jun 09 2010, 1:12 PM

Car buyers are pretty loyal – they tend to stick with the same brand when it comes time to buying a new car. But if they were to switch sides, a new Consumer Reports survey says that higher quality, better fuel economy, and a lower price are the big three factors influencing their decision.

This telephone survey was conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, and they interviewed more than 1,700 adults whose household owns at least one vehicle.

The results showed that brand attachment varies by age and gender. Women are more likely to stick to a brand – 54 percent of women would purchase a new car that is the same make as they currently own. And brand loyalty seems to be prevalent in older drivers as well. According to drivers over 35 years old, over 50 percent plan to stay with the brand they already own. Younger drivers are more fickle – only 41 percent of drivers aged 18 to 34 years old would buy the same brand again.

It also seems that money can’t buy you love or loyalty. Results from this survey show that household income does not play a role in car brand loyalty. When compared to drivers who pulled in a modest salary, affluent consumers were nearly equal in their attachment to a brand.

What does come from this research is it proves that car buyers are, not surprisingly, attracted to the highest quality and most value for the money. Basically, our purchasing influences are those that can save money up front, at the pump, and in the long run. For more car buying motivators, see the graph after the jump.

[Source: Consumer Reports] Continue Reading…

 |  May 14 2010, 9:21 AM

2010 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 With 6-Speed Manual Transmission

According to a new survey by Consumer Reports, Honda has surpassed Toyota to become the number one brand for customer loyalty in the U.S. According to the new report performed in April, 68 percent of current Honda owners said they would “most likely” buy another Honda – up one percentage point. Toyota slipped to third place dropping 13 percentage points from 70 percent to just 57 percent. This allowed Ford to sneak into the second place spot, gaining three points for a total of 61 percent.

As for the other giants of the U.S. auto market, General Motors dropped to 49 percent (down from 57 percent), while Dodge posted continued losses in customer loyalty from 32 percent down to just 24 percent.

Toyota’s loss suggests the automaker may have to extend the significant incentives it has been offering in order to sustain sales.

Consumer Reports says the results of the survey are based off of 1,704 U.S. vehicle owners and compared to the last such survey in December of last year.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  May 07 2010, 8:40 AM

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Consumer Reports has removed the “Do Not Buy” label from the Lexus GX460 luxury SUV, announcing that changes made by Lexus to the vehicle’s stability control program have solved the issue that CR initially said could cause a roll over and, therefore, posed a safety risk.

In response to the magazine’s initial test, Lexus halted sale on the GX460 and then recalled all 9,400 models in order to install a reprogrammed stability control program. Lexus has since resumed sales of the GX and has begun to fix recalled vehicles, offering GX460 customers uncomfortable with driving their SUV a loaner until the fix is performed.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Apr 29 2010, 12:22 PM

teen-driver-safety

Getting a drivers license and a car is possibly the most important milestone in a young persons life. It means freedom, having, a place to call your own, and, most importantly, it has a back seat.

If you’re a parent of a teen, odds are you’ll be buying their first car, or at least funding a large portion of it and insuring it as well. No doubt you want your kid driving a safe, reliable car that has predictable handling characteristics and a small enough engine that the driver won’t be caught running drunk from the cops at 150. Consumer Reports has just released their top recommendations for teens, and surprising to no one, rear-drive cars are completely absent from the list. As is anything with a Turbocharger, Supercharger, or more than 4 Cylinders.

But alas, not all hope is lost. There are some great starter cars in this list. First-generation Acura TSX’s are fun to drive, well-built, and reliable. So is the Mazda3. But the Kia Optima? Come on…. 16 year-old me wouldn’t be caught dead in that.

Parents, take our advice. Allow your child some leeway to buy a fun car, provided it’s affordable and safe, but spend a few hundred bucks on real driver training, such as the Skip Barber Car Control course. Far too few parents take advantage of these opportunities to teach teens how to really handle a car in an emergency, and those few hundred dollars spent on driver training could mean your child’s life.

See the whole list after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Apr 27 2010, 2:38 PM

2010-hyundai-accent-lacks-electronic-stability-control

Consumer watchdog, Consumer Reports has released its list of 2010 cars, which includes the Hyundai Accent and the Chevrolet Aveo, that do not come with the electronic stability control (ESC) safety feature.

A computerized technology that improves the safety of a vehicle’s stability by detecting and minimizing skids in a turn, electronic stability control will become a standard feature in all light-passenger vehicles come 2012. This category includes cars, pickup trucks and SUVs. According to Consumer Reports, the majority of manufacturers have already equipped their vehicles ahead of the mandate.

The list was a short one – only nine other cars managed to make the cut. Others on the list include the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Dodge Dakota, Dodge Viper, Kia Rio, Lotus Elise, Tesla Roadster and Scion tC.

But don’t worry if you’re in the market for a Hyundai Accent – it will have electronic stability control upgrade shortly. According to Hyundai spokesman Dan Bedore, “The Accent is our only non-ESC vehicle. It is also the oldest in our lineup. We continue to roll out new technologies as vehicles are freshened and replaced.” At this time, the Accent is the only current vehicle made by Hyundai that does not come with ESC.

[Source: Inside Line]

 |  Apr 13 2010, 7:20 PM

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Toyota has announced that it will temporarily halt sales of the Lexus GX460 SUV, just hours after Consumer Reports placed the car on its “Do Not Buy” list due to safety concerns. In the latest blow to Toyota’s reputation, the Consumer Reports test showed that during emergency maneuver testing they found the GX to be at risk of a rollover. The truck’s traction control system will allow it to slide almost completely sideways before regaining control of the vehicle.

Earlier today Toyota issued a statement saying it was “concerned” with CR’s results and said it would attempt to replicate the problem. Toyota was also quick to point out that the GX460 “meets or exceeds all federal government testing requirements.”

So far, Toyota has sold roughly 5,000 2010 GX460 models since the new model went on sale. It is not yet clear if Toyota intends to issue a recall for those models.

Back in January Toyota temporarily halted the sale of eight models, including the Camry, Corolla and RAV4 while it searched to find a fix for a sticking accelerator pedal issue.

See after the jump for the Consumer Reports test video of the 2010 Lexus GX460

[Source: The Associated Press]

Continue Reading…

 |  Apr 13 2010, 10:46 AM

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When it rains it pours, and that’s certainly what’s been going on for Toyota Motor Corp when it comes to bad PR. In the midst of the automaker’s current recall crisis, it is now being faced with an issue that’s sure to put the brakes (pun intended) on sales of one of its models. According to a report by Automotive News, Consumer Reports has now listed the new 2010 Lexus GX460 on its infamous “Do Not Buy” list. The reason, says CR is that during its testing they found the GX to be at risk of a rollover. Apparently the truck’s traction control system will allow it to slide almost completely sideways before regaining control of the vehicle.

In a statement, Toyota has said that it is “concerned” with CR‘s results. “Our engineers conduct similar tests and we feel these procedures provide a good indication of how our vehicles will perform in the real-world; however, we will try to duplicate the Consumer Reports’ test to determine if appropriate steps need to be taken.”

Toyota is also quick to point out that the GX460 “meets or exceeds all federal government testing requirements.”

Interestingly, CR found no such issues with the mechanically similar Toyota 4Runner.

See the Consumer Reports video highlighting the issue after the jump:

[Source: Automotive News via Autoblog]

Continue Reading…

 |  Feb 24 2010, 11:49 AM

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Consumer Reports has just announced its list of Best and Worst Value vehicles on the market, with foreign automakers taking all the top spots in the Best Value categories, while the Worst Value categories are dominated by domestic automakers. More accurately, the Worst Value categories are mostly made up of one domestic automaker: Chrysler. Listed as Worst Values in the Family Car, Wagon/Minivan, Small SUV and Upscale Sedan segments are, respectively, the Dodge Avenger, Dodge Grand Caravan, Dodge Nitro and Dodge Charger R/T. Other losers include the Chrysler Sebring Convertible as a worst value for a sporty car while the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara was a worst value pick for Midsize SUVs.

The only imported model to wind up on the Worst Value list was the Mercedes S550 in the Luxury Sedan category.

Top picks for Best Value include, surprisingly, both the Toyota Prius and Honda Fit, despite both vehicles having been recalled this past year. It’s not clear if the recalls were incuded in CR’s analysis, as the consumer group lists its judging criteria as, “a combination of performance, utility, and reliability for the money, considering total owner costs over the first five-years. The better a car performs in Consumer Reports’ road tests and reliability Ratings and the less it costs to own, the greater its value.”

Take a look at the full release below as well as the complete list of Best and Worst picks in each category.

Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Oct 27 2009, 3:05 PM

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It’s official: all that talk by Ford about how improved the company’s quality is, is more than just marketing spin. In the most recent Consumer Reports Annual Car Reliability Survey (2009), Ford made huge gains, with the Fusion mid-sized sedan out-ranking both the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

“It’s rare for Consumer Reports to see family sedans from domestic car makers continue to beat the reliability scores of such highly regarded Japanese models as the Camry and Accord,” said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports’ Automotive Test Center, with the last domestic sedan to do so being the Buick Regal back in 2004.

As a whole, 90 percent (or 46 of 51) Ford/Lincoln models scored average or better reliability. Dragging that number down were the all-wheel drive versions of the Lincoln MKS, MKX, and MKZ, which all scored below average.

As for domestic competitors General Motors and Chrysler, the General has 20 or 48 vehicles that scored average reliability, while Chrysler continues to falter with one third of its vehicles below average and only one recommended product – the Ram 1500 4WD.

Despite losing out to Ford in the mid-sized segment, the Japanese (and now Korean) automakers continue to dominate as the most reliable vehicles, with 36 of the top 48 models being Asian. All Honda and Acura products rated average or above average, while out of Toyota, Lexus and Scion, just one model (the Lexus GS AWD) rated below average.

Like the American automakers (Chrysler excluded) European car manufacturers are improving. Mercedes has made the biggest improvement with most models now rated average or better. BMWs brought mixed results with the 535i sedan and X3 SUV declining, while the 135i rating below average. Only the 328i lists as “Recommended” by Consumer Reports.

As for Volkswagen, the Golf and CC earned top scores, while the diesel Jetta is now listed as the only diesel with a “Recommended” rating. Unfortunately for VW, the least reliable car from the CR survey is the Toureg.

As for the impeccably reliable product from Porsche, that reputation has been sullied somewhat for 2009 with the Boxster slipping in reliability, causing it to be removed from the “Recommended” list.

Consumer Reports’ 2009 Annual Car Reliability Survey is based on responses from more than 1.4 million new vehicle owners or leases that subscribe to Consumer Reports.

Read more on the Consumer Reports 2009 Annual Car Reliability Survey after the jump:

Continue Reading…

Report: Consumer Reports Survey Shows 81% Of Consumers Considering Buying Domestic

Ford posts the largest gain in consumer interest, up 17 percent from a year ago

 |  Sep 03 2009, 11:17 AM

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According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, the overwhelming majority of car shoppers are considering a domestic vehicle as their next purchase. Results of the “Auto Pulse” survey indicate that 81 percent of respondents looking at a new car are considering buying American. That number is significantly higher than the numbers for Asian imports (47 percent) and European imports (46 percent).

The increase in consumer confidence in domestic automakers is not shared equally between the brands, however, with Chrysler suffering significantly. Ford gained 17 percentage points compared to a year ago, while General Motors was u six points. Chrysler dropped significantly, by 25 points.

The survey also explores what consumers see as the most important factors in buying a car and these results contained some surprises. While price topped the list, amongst active new car buyers it listed fourth, below fuel-economy, quality and safety.

[Source: Reuters]

Consumer Reports Trash Talks Honda’s Insight

Latest Honda model won't get "Recommended" status

 |  Jun 30 2009, 11:11 AM

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In the latest issue Consumer Reports tests 22 small cars and hatchbacks and Honda’s new Insight only rates a “Good.” That might not sound all that bad, but CR usually gives all Hondas an “Excellent” or “Recommended” or “Top Pick” rating.

Out of 22 cars, the Insight is just 21st. The only car to rate lower is the Dodge Caliber… ouch!

“The Insight is the most disappointing Honda Consumer Reports has tested in a long time,” said David Champion, senior director of CR’s Auto Test Center. “The Insight is a noisy, stiff-riding car with clumsy handling that is nothing like the Fit on which it is based. Also, Electronic Stability Control is only available on the highline EX version.”

Still CR did highlight the Insight’s fuel-economy at a tested 38 mpg. Honda officially claims 40/43 mpg (city/highway). The car’s braking was also cited as a high-point.

The car did not, however, live up to Honda’s handling standards, which we suspect has a lot to do with the only semi-independent rear end.

As a result of this the Insight will not receive the Consumer Reports “Recommended” stamp of approval, which is based on test data, predicted reliability and crash testing.

Read AutoGuide ‘s review of the 2010 Honda Insight at the link below:

http://www.autoguide.com/manufacturer/honda/2010-honda-insight-1126.html

Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

Consumer Reports Announces 10 Best List

Japanese Automakers Dominate

 |  Mar 02 2009, 11:50 AM
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The Lexus LS460, Rated the Best Overall Car by Consumer Reports for 2008

Consumer Reports has just released its list of the best cars in each class and the Japanese are dominating with 8 vehicles (out of 10) in the top spots. CR says it bases its results on three variables: Road Tests, Reliability and Safety.

For a car to be a top pick it must have ranked at the top of its class in an overall test score, which includes 50 individual tests. A Car must also have an average of better predicted reliability rating and must perform “adequately” in safety tests by the NHTSA or IIHS. Consumer Reports also stipulates that for any car to be a top pick it must have stability control (ESC).

And The Winners are:

Best Overall: Lexus LS460

-powerful, good fuel-economy,uncompromising luxury

Best Family Sedan: Honda Accord

-Roomy, well-rounded and fun to drive, plus ESC (Altima bested Accord in most tests but not all Altimas come with ESC)

Best Pickup Truck: Chevrolet Avalanche

-functional and comfortable

Best Small SUV: Toyota Rav4

-roomy and quiet, good on gas with 4 or 6-cyl, third row seat available

Best Midsized SUV: Toyota Highlander

-quiet, three rows of seats, decent fuel economy, versatile, AWD optional, Hybrid available

Best Minivan: Toyota Sienna

-versatile, seating for 8, rivals luxury cars for interior, AWD optional

Best Small Car: Hyundai Elantra

-comfortable and roomy wih good fuel economy, ESC on SE model

Best Green Car: Toyota Prius

-Prius wins six years running

Best UpScale Sedan: Infiniti G37

-Agile, great interior, AWD optional, luxury and sport all in one.

Best Fun to Drive Car: Mazda MX-5 Miata

-Tied Boxster in testing but costs half as much

[Source: Consumer Reports]