Ford Explorer Selling Briskly Despite Criticism

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.

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Most Car Buyers Keeping the Same Vehicle Size as Their Current Model Says Consumer Reports

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.

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Volkswagen Jetta Finishes Dead Last in Consumer Reports Small Sedan Comparo

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.

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Toyota Prius With 200,000 Miles Delivers Identical Fuel Economy Ten Years Later

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?

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Infiniti Now Lets Consumers View Ratings And Reviews by Owners at InfinitiUSA.com

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.

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Scion Tops Reliabilty List, Chrysler Slumin' It at the Bottom

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.

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Consumer Reports Picks Top 10 Family Vehicles for Travel

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:

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Now is the Time For New-Car Buyers to Negotiate a Great Deal

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.

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Tips on How To Pick the Right SUV for Your Family

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]

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Even When Parked, Vehicles Still a Hazard for Kids in the Summer

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.

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Consumer Reports Finds Out Which Tires Offer More Fuel Savings

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.

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Quality and Fuel Economy Influences Most Car Buyers

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]

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Honda Tops Toyota in Customer Loyalty

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.

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Consumer Reports Drops "Do Not Buy" Label From Lexus GX460

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.

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Consumer Reports Lists Best Cars for Teen Drivers

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:

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