By on February 24, 2010

Growing recalls, loss of customers’ confidence, questions about their management, falling stock price and congressional hearings. 2010 hasn’t been kind to Toyota, so any good news now would be welcome. Consumer Reports is here to help. Yes, Consumer Reports.

Sun Times reports that the Toyota Prius has retained its title as Consumer Reports’ top pick for environmentally friendly vehicles (I’ll leave you to debate how environmentally friendly it actually is), the recalls be damned. Not only did Toyota win that category, but the Lexus LS460L was named best overall vehicle. The ratings where based on average road test scores and predicted reliability (apparently, uninterrupted by any ghosts in the machine). CR names Honda (also subject to global recalls) and Subaru as best all round vehicle makers, with Toyota and Hyundai tying for second place. The maker which came bottom of the survey was, no prizes for guessing, Chrysler. Though CR does recommend the Ram pick up.

CR still seems to love Toyota, but not as much, like a seven year itch. It only recommended half as many Toyota vehicles as the previous year. Well, it wouldn’t be wise have an unabashed Toyota love-fest, given the circumstances.

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26 Comments on “Mirror, Mirror On The Wall, Who’s The Greenest Of Them All? (Starts With A T)...”


  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/cr-recommended/top-picks/overview/top-picks-ov.htm

    The RAV4 and Highlander CUVs got passed over for repeat nods due to being recalled.

  • avatar
    CamaroKid

    If the editors at Consumer Reports had even half a brain in their collective heads, they would quietly, slowly and carefully back away from Toyota until ALL of the acceleration issues are resolved.

    Unbiased consumer reports is starting to look a little biased. But after all the chances of having one of these cars take off and kill you is next to nothing.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      So, should Consumer Reports de-recommend every Toyota over an symptomatic rate of 0.00000425% (deaths) to 0.000325% (SUA reports)?

      Consumer Reports is one of the few organizations that isn’t succumbing to unthinking hysteria.

    • 0 avatar
      criminalenterprise

      I just got my issue yesterday.

      In the individual ratings, CR has removed the “Recommended” check mark for all Toyota vehicles for which sales were suspended due to recall issues. In its place they have marked these vehicles with a red star.

      My overall impression perusing the issue is that Honda has edged out Toyota in overall reliability and quality. When you flip to the back, where the reliability matrices reside, it’s still a sea of pretty red circles all over Honda- and Toyota-land, but several Toyota models suffer noticeably from middling reports.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Their credibility is on the line.

  • avatar
    210delray

    Well, given that sudden acceleration events are rare (34 alleged deaths in 10 years), and Toyota IS conducting 2 recalls to address the known issues (mat interference and sticky pedals), I don’t see a problem in recommending certain Toyota models. These 34 deaths to my knowledge include all causes of sudden acceleration, including driver error. Of course that charlatan/shark Sean Kane doesn’t believe in driver error — it’s always the “ghost in the machine.”

    That ghost doesn’t rear up nearly often enough to show up in CR’s reliability surveys. Same deal with Michael Karesh’s TrueDelta.

    I see little risk in continuing to recommend Toyotas.

    • 0 avatar
      Martin Schwoerer

      34 alleged deaths in 10 years. So, as many alleged deaths in ten years as get killed by normal traffic in one average day. Hysteria indeed.

      I know, people don’t worry about getting killed for the usual reasons. They worry about terrorists, airplane crashes, and faulty gas pedals. But where is it written that everybody has to follow this logic?

    • 0 avatar
      210delray

      In the US, with 37,000 road deaths in 2008 (I don’t think we have accurate numbers yet for 2009), that works out to about 100 deaths every day.

      Where is the outrage?

  • avatar
    mjz

    Funny, my idea of a “quality” car does not include one that may careen out of control under mysterious circumstances.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    CR still seems to love Toyota, but not as much, like a seven year itch. It only recommended half as many Toyota vehicles as the previous year. Well, it wouldn’t be wise have an unabashed Toyota love-fest, given the circumstances.

    Consumer Reports is actually very clear about their requirements:
    * The vehicle has to score well (which is why, eg, the Yaris and Impala aren’t recommended)
    * The vehicle has to be reliable (which is why VW’s stuff is off and on)
    * The vehicle has to have decent crash scores

    They added “Recommended Plus” a few years back; it requires vehicles to have ESC available.

    Finally, they will not automatically give a new model automatic-recommended unless previous models were reliable. This whacks companies that see teething problems, but they can still become retroactively recommended after their first year.

    Not recommending Toyota models covered by the open safety recall opens two cans of worms:
    * It will likely give manufacturers more reason to call safety recalls “Customer Satisfaction Programs” or suchlike nonsense.
    * Safety recalls are so small in scope (in Toyota’s case, symptomatic cars were a few hundred out of, what, eight million?) that it’s kind of Boy Who Cried Wolf to de-recommend.

    Note for domestic fans who think I am being unfair: this is different from, say, how they don’t recommend cars that are statistically unreliable (the affected rate is much, much higher than that of most safety recalls), flat-out suck or have poor crash results. It doesn’t affect the average consumer much at all.

    Personally, I’d say a congressional investigation into Toyota’ sludge issues was more warranted, based on how many were affected. While we’re at it, I’d certainly like to see congressional investigations into how GM still doesn’t seem to be able to design an assemble a reliable car. I guess, though, we can’t get tearful witnesses and shoe-thumping congressmen together for thousands upon thousands of thousand-dollar engine repairs.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Personally, I’d say a congressional investigation into Toyota’ sludge issues was more warranted, based on how many were affected.

      Sadly, like with so many things, one does not get to choose the time of his “execution”.

      While we’re at it, I’d certainly like to see congressional investigations into how GM still doesn’t seem to be able to design an assemble a reliable car.

      See, again, your snark is getting the best of you. You were doing well until this broadside. Of course, most everyone on TTAC doesn’t know that the Silverado exists and keeps calling everything a “car”. The mind boggles.

      You were just talking about their passenger car line, were you, then? I hope to get a little more clarity than I’ve been seeing on here.

      Doesn’t Paul’s Truck Saturdays (or is Thursdays?) mean anything to you people? :P

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      See, again, your snark is getting the best of you. You were doing well until this broadside. Of course, most everyone on TTAC doesn’t know that the Silverado exists and keeps calling everything a “car”. The mind boggles.

      Oh, I know it exists. I also know that Ford makes a more reliable truck. :)

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      I also know that Ford makes a more reliable truck. :)

      Good thing for you I don’t have a dog in this hunt! :)

    • 0 avatar
      210delray

      Personally, I’d say a congressional investigation into Toyota’ sludge issues was more warranted, based on how many were affected.

      My understanding is that not many engines actually sludged, as I recall 3 or 4 thousand or so, out of 3 or 4 million sold, or 1/10th of a percent. So engine troubles were not seen in CR’s reliability data for the affected cars.

  • avatar
    skygreenleopard

    Grammatical point – Title should be:
    Mirror, Mirror On the Wall, Who’s the Greenest Of Them All? (Starts With a T)
    It’s not a universal rule but publishers usually don’t capitalize internal articles like “a” or “the,” and it’s your choice which prepositions to capitalize. Of course, older American newspapers used to capitalize the first letter of every word, which is also valid. I just thought it made the phrase in parentheses confusing (Starts with AT?)

    • 0 avatar
      ott

      re

    • 0 avatar
      ott

      I can see where Cammy was going with the headline. I was confused a bit as well upon first read while scrolling down the fresh posts (Starts with A T. –Akida Toyoda?) But as each word in the headline is capitalized the “A T” part does make sense in this case, as Cammy has chosed to capitalize all words in the headline to set it apart from the rest of the post. “A” is a word.

      If the headline was bodycopy though, this would be wrong. But being that it’s a headline, this treatment is acceptable, if not 100% grammatically correct. Given the always-excellent and engaging content on TTAC, I think we should let the occasional grammatical faux pas slide and get back to talking about cars.

    • 0 avatar
      JeremyR

      This is a matter of style, not grammar. The “house style” appears to be to capitalize every word of the title, and they seem to be fairly consistent about this.

    • 0 avatar

      Jeez. Overseas Editor here. In America, we have the option of capitalizing all words of the headline, or use more intricate approaches. There are no hard and fast rules. I could even (horrors of horrors,) capitalize every single letter, says Wikipedia. Over my dead body.

      As a furriner who’s 3rd language is English, I am taking the liberty of taking the most simple and safest approach.

      Personally, I like the sentence style capitalization, i.e. write the headline just like a regular sentence, with a period at the end. This is how we did it in advertising. But I yield to the style required at TTAC.

      Case closed. There is a great website, http://www.thetruthaboutgrammar.com, run by the great Jeff Puthuff.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Bertel,
      Just because it is grammatically correct, doesn’t meant that it isn’t confusing. I was thinking of something starting with the letters AT as well.

  • avatar
    crash sled

    “Oh-Oh-Oh-OH what a FEEEEEE-ling… to drive… Tooooy-YOH-tah! (through an embankment)” ;-)

    .
    .

    Consumer Reports is correct not to jump on board with this hysteria. If what they’re doing is data-driven, then the data speaks, not them. That’s as it should be.

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    LMAFAO!!!!!!!!!!!

    Chevy Silverado best pickup! LMFAO what a joke.

    That has got to be the funniest, most ridiculous joke I have read all damn day.

    Let me drum up my complaints and issues that I had with my Silverado and Sierra trucks and lets see how CR thinks of them then!

    My Cadillac CTS was the biggest pile of garbage I have ever owned but the Sierra was a very close second and my Silverado was third. I would rather push my Ford F-150 than drive another Garbage Motors truck ever again.

    Thanks for another laugh CR.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    “Unbiased Consumer Reports is starting to look a little biased.”

    Actually, CR has always been biased. It’s not because of some management policy, but the personal biases (and age and background) of their testers.

    In the late ’60′s and early ’70′s, you could see the preference of the testers for full-size American V8′s over the smaller imported crackerboxes, even over the American enlarged compacts of the era.

    CR has gone big for fuel economy and ergonomics in recent decades, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the emphasis on reliable, trouble-free drivetrains. That’s where American makers have really thrown away an advantage.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      I would actually disagree that the focus is really on reliable trouble-free drivetrains. Drivetrain reliability today by most, if not all, manufacturers is quite good. Defects today are more about wind noise, squeaks and rattles. Look at what J.D. Powers has turned into as most common complaints…

      http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/daily-news/080807-JD-Power-Study-Shows-Auto-Quality-Improving/

      From the article…

      The AP notes that the most common complaint cited in the study was wind noise, “followed by noisy brakes, pulling to the left or right, dashboard issues and window fogging.”

      Hardly talking about drivetrains anymore.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Consumer Reports is to Toyota as Car and Driver is to BMW.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    If Honda and Subaru, are tied for first, wouldn’t that make Hyundai and Toyota tied for third?


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