By on August 10, 2012

 

“Just because a car generates a lot of buzz or is a best seller doesn’t mean that it’s a good choice for you. The five models here may be on a lot of buyers’ shopping lists, but we suggest you steer clear…”

So says Consumer Reports with respect to their list of “Five popular cars to avoid”. CR says that the vehicles “…didn’t perform well in our testing or they suffer from subpar reliability,” and that’s reason enough to stay away. I’m not entirely convinced.

We at TTAC respect the hell out of Consumer Reports. Unlike other parties in the buff book business, we never crack appliance-related jokes about their testing methods or dismiss them as lab coated slide-ruler jockeys. When they have something to say, we take it seriously.

Whipping boy number one is, of course, the 2012 Honda Civic. There are elements within TTAC who don’t like the car, for valid reasons. But as I explored in a previous column, it does have enough merit that it’s worth buying. And it’s been vetted by my Grandma. CR even recommends the Subaru Impreza over the Honda Civic; make no mistake, it’s a nice car, but there’s no way that they can criticize the Civic’s “mediocre interior” while ignoring the Impreza.

CR also lists the Dodge Grand Caravan, Toyota Prius c, Ford Edge V6 and Jeep Liberty as vehicles to stay away from. Having had inadequate seat time in them, I can’t say in good faith how accurate these picks are. Feel free to let me know in the comments.

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236 Comments on “Can 187,586 Buyers Be Wrong? Consumer Reports Thinks So...”


  • avatar

    I would have added every EV I could think of to that list.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      I don’t think you could call any EV “popular”.

    • 0 avatar
      danup

      Certainly you can count on someone named bigtruckseriesreview to deliver unbiased, measured opinions on EVs.

      • 0 avatar

        I drove the Fisker Karma. Hated almost every second of it.

        The Tesla Model S might be better, but a regular 4 cylinder car is more efficient, green and cost effective.

      • 0 avatar
        Mr.Radar

        @bigtruckseriesreview: how are 4-cylinder gasoline engines “more efficient” and “greener” than electric motors? EPA ratings for plug-in electric cars include “MPG equivalent” ratings, calculated based on the amount of energy used by the electric motor versus how much gasoline you’d need to burn to produce that same amount of energy, which are normally twice that of even hybrid gasoline and diesel vehicles (the Fisker Karma being a notable exception).

        Also, electricity can be produced by hydro, wind, solar and nuclear sources which don’t produce harmful emissions that are unavoidable when you burn hydrocarbon fuels. Even if your electricity is mainly produced from hydrocarbon sources, large generating plants can burn that fuel more efficiently than thousands of small engines and it is easier to install emissions control technologies on a few large stationary plants than it is to put them on individual cars (especially since the size, weight and packaging of them is much less of a concern).

        EVs are definitely not cost effective in their current forms and they will never completely replace gasoline/diesel vehicles in all applications, but even today’s EVs *are* definitely greener and more efficient to operate.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @bigtruck:

        I drove a Leaf and loved it. Great little car.

        But, then again I co-own an F150 and don’t like to drive it very much. It’s a great truck when you need a truck, but it just brings too much bulk for everyday driving. You have to dock it in the harbor, rather than drove of into the spot like our Prius or our Escape. There’s no accounting for taste, though, since some people seem to like driving big trucks to the corner store despite the disadvantages.

        Anyway, you should drive the Leaf some time. Its a happy little commuter car, and downright perfect for the niche it serves. I don’t expect that you would care to own one, but at least you’d understand why someone else might find it to be prefect for their needs.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        There is no point in arguing with bigtruckseries/Flashpoint. He only likes Chryslers (S550 and SRT8) and Korean cars.

      • 0 avatar
        protomech

        @bigtruckseriesreview: Compare a base BMW 528i to a base Tesla S.

        The Model S has a slightly larger footprint, has more interior volume (slightly less passenger volume, much more cargo volume), costs about $10k more comparing base MSRP and not counting the federal $7500 credit.

        BMW 528i is 23 city / 27 combined / 34 highway.

        Tesla S (85 kWh) uses 390 Wh/mile, basically the same for city and highway operation.

        To directly compare mpg to wh/mile, you need to compare the energy of a gallon of gas to watt-hours. This is hard and fraught with peril.

        Some options:

        1) EPA uses gallon-gas equivalent (GGE), which uses the thermal heat content of the gasoline. 33.7 kWh/gal.

        2) Consider charging an EV with a small genset (“generator”). Honda offers a number of generators from 1-10kW. Typical efficiencies are 5.1 – 6.0 kWh/gal.

        3) My favorite, the mouthful “gasoline energy-equivalent content of electricity”. Uses thermal energy of gasoline above * fossil-fuel grid input efficiency * electricity transmission efficiency / gasoline supply chain efficiency. 12.3 kWh/gal.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miles_per_gallon_gasoline_equivalent#Petroleum-equivalency_factor_.28PEF.29_.E2.80.94_a_CAFE_metric

        4) Consider plug-in hybrids that can operate either on battery or gas, compare electric energy efficiency vs gas energy efficiency. The Volt is rated at 360 Wh/mile and 37 mpg combined (1 gallon gets you the same miles as 13.3 kWh). Prius plug-in is rated at 290 Wh/mile and 50 mpg combined (1 gallon = 14.5 kWh).

        Converting to MPG with the above options gives us:

        1) 86 MPG (EPA rating)
        2) 13-15 MPG
        3) 31.5 MPG
        4) 34.1-37.2 MPG

        IMO we can discard 1) because it ignores conversion losses of fossil fuels used in the electric grid and 2) because small gensets are not very efficient. 3) and 4) indicate the Model S is noticeably (but not hugely) more efficient than the BMW 528i (and perhaps only convincingly so in a city or combined cycle).

        Green: CO2 is not the end-all of “green”, but it’s a useful comparison. US grid average is 552g CO2/kWh, so Tesla S is 215g CO2/mile. Combusting 1 gal of gas produces 8.92 kg CO2, so 27 mpg is 330g CO2/mile.

        Cost: In the real world, the S probably is less expensive. Despite the $47k base MSRP, the cheapest 528i at a dealer near me is $54k MSRP – stripper models just don’t show up on the lots. After the $7500 federal credit, a “stripper” S is $50k MSRP.

        Assuming $3.60/gal for 89 octane, the 528i is $0.133/mile (combined). Assuming $0.12/kWh, the S is $0.047/mile (combined).

        ***

        In summary, sorry. A similar 4 cylinder car costs more to purchase outright than the base Tesla S, it’s less efficient, costs more to operate, and generates significantly more CO2 in operation.

      • 0 avatar

        Until “cold fusion” becomes a reality (don’t hold your breath), Electric cars will continue to be less spacious than regular cars and less reliable than regular cars.

        Pick ANY fully loaded 4-cylinder car on the market right now and I assure you, it would be safer to take a journey with it across a desert or ice land than it would with an EV simply because the battery technology would either: A) leave you stranded or B) overload and fail.

        Electric cars are held hostage to battery technology. We can use Ethanol, gasoline or any other similar chemical to run a car with far less reliability issues or compromise on interior space/mass.

        Electric cars require MORE ENERGY to produce and electricity IS NOT more efficient because of the laws of thermodynamics. You need fossil fuels to give you the energy to create electricity, or you need fossil fuels to create the materials that will be used to capture forms of energy to create electricity (What are solar panels made of? Fuel-fired furnaces making glass sheets or plastics). Wind mills kill birds and cause noise pollution due to their vibrations. There is more energy lost in the transmission of electricity than in the use of a fossil fuel.

        AND WHERE ARE YOU GONNA CHARGE IT? Do real research and you’ll see the average hybrid owner is upper/middle-class and the average EV owner is WEALTHY. That’s cause you need charging stations in a garage for an EV. Regular extension cords burst into flames. Some people live in buildings that might allow charging, but eventually the grid would be overwhelmed.

        If you really wanna argue how much more efficient EV is, I’ll tell you what: you pick an EV and you RACE ME from NYC to FLORDA and we’ll see who gets there first. I’ll bet you $5000, my I.C.E wins. I already know exactly why you will lose. Your battery will overheat and fail and it will take you so many hours to charge it, I’ll already be at the finish.

      • 0 avatar

        “protomech”

        Yet another Karma has just burst into flames. You wanna argue about how good EV’s are 50 years from now instead? I’ll put the argument on hold :P

      • 0 avatar
        indyb6

        bigtrucksreview@youtube

        Please defend your original argument. Your original argument was, and I quote “a regular 4 cylinder car is more efficient, green and cost effective”.

        Your last comment does nothing to defend that opinion. What it does instead is point out the shortcomings in current EVs.

        Your arguments –
        1. Space – Really? Irrelevant for the target audience who want to use it strictly as a commuter car.

        2. Safer to take a journey with it across a desert.. – Again, irrelevant. EVs are not being marketed as Grand touring Vehicles. Two words – “Commuter Car”. Safety – I know that there have been incidents of the Karma burning, so I will give you that one. But, please provide evidence against Evs for being less safe than a similar category vehicle in crash tests.

        3. EVs are held Hostage to battery technilogy – Please provide data conerning the “reliability issues” you mention. Also, sneaking in the interior space argument here will not win any rewards.

        4. Electric Cars require more energy and electricity is not more efficient – Please provide data for the first part of this argument. Yes, current infrastructure is set up such that fossil fuel based products are needed to create some critical parts in the chain, but that does not justify the exculsive use of fossil fuels to power vehicles, or complete ban of electricity for the said purpose. Solar panels are made of silicon. Yes, you spend x amount of fossil fuels to make that panel, but then it stops. Or at least that value of x stabalizes. When you use fossil fuels further down the chain, the value of x keps on growing. Windmills might cause ‘noise pollution’, but they certainly do not burn holes in the ozone layer and they sure as heck do not have adverse effects on the weather (yes, I am defending global warming, please don’t tell me you “do not believe” in that). More electricity lost in transmission of electircity. You don’t Say! We should all just buy big generators that run on gas/diesel and get off the electricity grid. Is that cool or what? More efficient and you have choice of more than one provider!!

        5. Where are you going to charge it? – Home. Meant to be commuter cars. Not Grand tourers. Lots of parking garages and malls now have several charging ports for those who care to use them. They cost about $2.50/charge. If you get 40 miles out of that one charge, it sure is more “efficient” than an I.C.E. vehicle that gets 40mpg at an average fuel cost of $3.5/gal.

        6. Avg Hybrid/EV owner is upper-middle class/wealthy – So? If you can’t buy it, then don’t. At least there is an alternative for those who can afford it. This is not a reason to be in the not recommended list of CR.

        7. Race you fron NY to FL – Not meant to be grand tourers. Commuter cars. End of argument.

        I am not trying to say that EVs are perfect or that they definitely are the solution to every conceivable problem that ICEs have, or that they are as efficient as they can be and that the technology has plateaued and what is currently in the market is the best humans can produce. No sir. I am not saying that. Yes, EVs have their own share of flaws and there is no denying that. But, they are excellent as commuter cars for those who can afford them. I would certainly not want a pure electric car as my only vehicle, but if I have another car for long trips, I will certainly use my electric car as a runabout vehicle.

        *******************

        In short, your comment provided very few arguments to defend your original statement that “a regular 4 cylinder car is more efficient, green and cost effective”. What you did instead was bashed EVs and turned it into an essay about shortcomings in the current EV technology. Please don’t pull a Romney on people :)

        Nothing wrong with being a truck guy or liking big cars, but don’t force your opinion onto others. Believe it or not – not all humans think alike and they have the capability of having different tastes. True Story.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Per the link:

    -The Dodge Caravan isn’t recommended because of its below-average reliability as reported in the reliability survey.

    -CR didn’t like the Civic, Prius c and Liberty as a result of their testing. They weren’t criticizing those vehicles based upon their reliability scores.

    -Not only did the Ford Edge V6 do poorly in CR’s testing, but it also performed badly on the reliability survey.

    If you happen to like the Civic, then nobody’s stopping you from buying one; it probably won’t break. But if you buy a Grand Caravan and you end up having problems with it, then don’t pretend to be surprised.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      Agree with the Dodge Grand Caravan. Having owned one, can attest to the niggling gremlins and some serious problems that kept the “mini”van from being a favourite and without a doubt, the most time of any car I’ve owned at the dealership for repair issues.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Didn’t the Caravan get a new drivetrain this year? Hard to believe they’re grenading already.

      edit–Shoulda read the link first. Looks like most of the complaints aren’t drivetrain related, except MPG, which one assumes applies to latest iteration.

    • 0 avatar
      Juniper

      Truedelta disagrees. The Chryslers aren’t as bad as their reputation and the Honda and Toyota Mini vans aren’t as good. But I bought new an 87 and a 97 Voyagers had both for 10 yrs or longer and quite happy. Would have bought another but mini vans aren’t so mini any more.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study and Initial Quality Study also gives low dependability marks to the Chrysler minivans.

        True Delta uses small sample sizes, which leaves it prone to significant margins of error. If it is contradicted by Consumer Reports and JD Power, both of which have much larger samples, then I’d be inclined to rely upon CR and JDP.

      • 0 avatar

        Sample sizes aren’t the issue here.

        Consumer Reports has a sample size of zero for the reliability of the Chrysler minivans in the past year. Their data are from April 2011.

        Beyond this, we’re measuring different things. TrueDelta specifically measures repairs, while excluding software updates. Both CR and JD Power measure complaints, which may or may not result in a repair.

        I suspect that many powertrain-related complaints with the Chrysler involve odd behavior from the transmission. There’s no fix for this odd behavior, it’s there by design.

        You’ll also find some surprisingly good IQS scores for the 2011 Chrysler here:

        http://autos.jdpower.com/research/Chrysler/Town+%26+Country/2011/Van/ratings.htm#

        But not for the 2012:

        http://autos.jdpower.com/research/Chrysler/Town+%26+Country/2012/Van/ratings.htm

        So I’m not sure even J.D. Power agrees with J.D. Power.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “You’ll also find some surprisingly good IQS scores for the 2011 Chrysler”

        The “Powertrain Quality – Mechanical” score is 2 stars out of 5, on a scale that starts at 2. In other words, that’s a bottom ranking in the drivetrain reliability category.

      • 0 avatar
        derek17005

        As an owner of a 2011 T&C, I can honestly say that these ratings form CR are bunk. We’ve owned ours for about a year and a half and in that time, I still enjoy getting behind the wheel and driving the thing. The only issues I’ve had mechanically, are just simple recalls that I’ve received notice for. To this day, all I’ve had to do is change the oil and keep it gassed up.

        Now, there are a couple of minor niggles I could complain about, but considering I drove all the available mini-vans during my purchase, the Chrysler was the most fun to drive, best value, and came with options that aren’t even available on the Honda and Toyota.

        Now, will it hold up over time? That remains to be seen but as of this point, so far so good.

        The interior is infinitely better than Toyota’s all plastic interior and every bit as good as the Hondas. Drivetrain wise, the Pentastar is nice and smooth. I’ve never noticed any strange behavior with the tranny to be honest unless I have the ECON button engaged and then it’s extremely slow to downshift but that’s by design.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I’ve learned to trust Consumer Reports based on my vehicle purchase history.

        With exactly one exception (a Mazda RX-8 that has had 0 problems in close to 60,000 miles, and was rated unreliable – but CR admitted that very few of these sold in the U.S., on the order of less than 100 per month by 2011), every single car I purchased gave me a reliability experience consistent with CR’s predictions.

        I’m not saying that CR is gospel, but I believe it’s probably the best source, and by a pretty wide margin, to obtain the likeliest-to-be-predictive information about reliability of any vehicle.

        It uses an extremely large survey (IIRC, they get 500,000+ survey responses), and it inquires as to things along the lines of long term, major component durability and reliability (i.e. transmission/cooling system/suspension/motor, etc.). JD Power’s is nearly useless by contrast, IMO, as it surveys for “problems reported per 100 vehicles within the first 90 days of ownership.”

        Many have alleged Consumer Reports is biased as against domestic automakers, but on balance, CR rates far more domestic vehicles (whatever that really means today, when Fusions are built in Mexico and Camrys in Kentucky) as reliable even in % terms than European models.

      • 0 avatar

        PCH101:

        The powertrain mechanical quality is just two stars, but overall quality is five. Which I frankly find baffling.

        A two star score means that the vehicle is in the bottom 30 percent, a very broad range the top of which is likely very close to the average in absolute (rather than percentile) terms, given the way many models are bunched around the average.

        A five star score means that the vehicle is in the top ten percent, very high indeed.

        For the Chrysler to get a five star score overall, its powertrain score couldn’t be very bad. A few complaints about the way the transmission shifts (if J.D. Power deemed these a mechanical rather than a design problem) could do it.

        Wish I could be more definite, but the way JD Power presents its information prevents this. A one-star score denoting the bottom ten percent would be nice.

      • 0 avatar
        Kaosaur

        DeadWeight:

        Not surprised about your RX-8 experience or the CR rating. Rotaries are fine if you do the maintenance and you’re not going to really have problems before the 60k mark. I think some of those early RX-8s were a bit hairy but still manageable issues on those.

        Honestly though, how many people that make their car buying decisions based heavily on Consumer Reports are actually going to be able to take care of a rotary? I think they were doing the rest of us a favor. :)

        I looked at a lot of RX-8s before buying my RX-7 instead and sadly most of them up for sale at dealerships were not well cared for.

    • 0 avatar
      GS650G

      A family member insists on buying Grand caravans despite major problems every time. The latest one has a rough 1-2 shift in the trans the dealer won’t address and most of the gizmos are not well engineered, like the auto headlight dimmer that dims when a sign is illuminated or the side collision avoidance that randomly states something is blocking the sensor when it’s clear.

  • avatar

    We could argue the point of why these cars are good and bad all day long but if someone really loves a car their going to buy it no matter what the review of them says.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Which is why the Caravan remains at or near the top of the minivan sales chart. It may or may not be the ‘best’, but it sells that way.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        It’s also cheaper, right?

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        The Caravan doesn’t sell because anybody loves it, or thinks it’s the best, or even that it’s all that good.

        The Caravan sells because it costs $6-8,000 less than a Sienna or Odyssey.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        @ Dan

        BINGO.

        Show me any other minivan that you can get, basically loaded (power liftgate, leather seats, rear DVD, etc) for $25k and I’ll be impressed.

        All of CJD’s stuff these days seems to be a value play, and understandably so.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The Dodge/ Chrysler minivans are fleet queens. The Honda and Toyota minivans are not, particularly in the case of Honda.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        @ PCH

        Who’s fleet? Not snarking (and I don’t care for the Caravan anyway) but I just don’t see that many minvans in a fleet, so I don’t know how the sales figures would be inflated.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I don’t have the latest and greatest numbers, but over the last several years, about 40-50% of Caravan sales have been to fleet.

        During MY 2010 (the latest data that I have handy from Fleet Central), 60% of Caravan and 48% of Town and Country sales were to fleet. The leading retail minivan was the Odyssey, which had retail sales higher than the retail sales of the Dodge and Chrysler combined. The Sienna was the second largest retail minivan nameplate, although the Caravan/ T&C twins outsold it on a combined basis.

        A lot of minivans end up in fleets, but minivans make up a small percentage of the total fleet market. This is a declining segment overall; I would presume that a lot of the retail buyers are moving into CUVs, instead.

      • 0 avatar
        Rental Man

        Rental fleet has less KIA vans now. More Mopar for sure. Toyota Sienna is hugh in rental fleet.

        As far as I knew Honda does not sell directly to rental companies or any other fleet (Maybe CNG+Hybrids to local Gov). The few that are fleeted came from local dealers buys (priced usually @ triple net) that are still not as cheap as the price directly from the Auto makers. Going with barely fleet is another reason for Honda’s high residuals. Makes sense until you think of Toyota fleet sales & good residuals.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      With the Civic, there’s so much capital of blind faith in Honda’s products, the specifics are almost irrelevant. These types of people would buy ANY Civic, sight unseen, and have no problem doing so.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Honda on the down?Prius C makes the top 5 list too. No gov’t handout domestics?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “No gov’t handout domestics?”

      Yeah, that is something we’ll never see. All we get these days is reports of how great domestic products are. As if the foreigners and transplants have stood still while the domestics caught up with them.

      Still, we looked at a Civic in 2011 and ended up buying a 2011 Elantra for my grand daughter’s HS grad gift because the Elantra offered so much more for the money. So much more! Plus a decent warranty.

      So there may be some merit in what CR is saying but people are going to buy what they like anyway. They may not like the better choices provided by CR.

      In any case, each of the models CR mentioned are still pretty decent vehicles, maybe just not as good as they should be, but if you can get them for thousands less, maybe that means they will be the best for the buyers after all.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        What reports? Edmunds, TTAC and others seem to still offer balanced and fair reports. Maybe you are seeing an uptick in domestic products being rated as good or competitive because they are. Not some conspiracy.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Mike978: I agree with you. Nobody is say all the domestics are class leading. In fact there are only a few domestics that are class leading. But there are plenty that are class competitive and there are those who simply refuse to believe that. That’s a shame but people often refuse to open their mind. But a company can’t accept good without striving for great. Ford for example, seems to have quickly jumped on its high scores across the board a few years ago and paid the price with rapidly declining scores. They are making good progress restoring things but it tells a story about the inherent culture of the industry.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Maybe we can agree that the domestics have made GREAT strides in quality, reliability and fit&finish since the ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s, prior to 2007. I owned a bunch of them then.

        But that doesn’t mean that the foreigners have stood still. In fact, if we go by the CR write up, the foreigners may even have scaled back some since it would appear that they were offering waaaaaay too much quality and value for the money as compared to the domestics. So now we have foreigners that scaled it back a notch to be more in line with what the domestics offer.

        What really matters in the end is sales. And people keep buying the offerings from the foreigners. I’m not at all sure that the people who choose to buy a Civic would want to own a Subie or a Cruze.

        If they did, they wouldn’t be looking at the Civic in the first place. They go after something specific for their own reasons. It doesn’t matter what CR says. CR may not like any of the vehicles I bought specifying that there was better out there. I didn’t think so, that’s why I bought what I bought.

        And the Dodge Grand Caravan? How is that POS any different from the Chrysler Town&Country or the VW Routan? People choose to buy the Grand Caravan because of its utility and price. Yeah, if those same people could afford a Sienna or Odyssey maybe they would look at them from the start. But reality is, the Grand Caravan is a hell of a bargain for people who need to be conscious of their finances.

        And the Liberty? What can I say? It’s very competent offroad and in mud and snow and on hilly gravel roads. But take it out on the paved roads or Hwy and take it up to 65mph or faster and you will quickly note that the Liberty is out of its element. The foreign competition has the Liberty beat, hands down.

        So there you have it! Different people have different opinions about different cars. Isn’t that what makes the world go ’round?

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        HD…I always love your thought process….so:

        1. The foreigners were too good and scaled back to meet the domestics? Ok.

        2. If someone wants a Grand Caravan its because they can’t afford an Asian minivan so they have to settle?

        ‘I’m not at all sure that the people who choose to buy a Civic would want to own a Subie or a Cruze’

        Maybe the Civic shopper can’t afford a Cruze (much higher transaction price) and buys the Civic instead? Is that so hard to believe?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        sunridge place, anything IS possible.

        I’m not defending the Civic but I know a lot of people buy them because they are as dependable as appliances and retain a lot of resale value after 3, 5 and 7 years.

        My biggest gripe with the earlier Civics was the interference engine. I had a friend whose daughter had the timing belt go out at 58K miles or there abouts, and I could do nothing for them to make it economically feasible to repair or replace that engine.

        Reread my comment about the Grand Caravan. It’s a hell of a bargain for people who need to watch their finances. It costs thousands less than a comparable Sienna or Odyssey. Were I to buy one, my choice would be the Sienna. It really is that good.

        And a Cruze selling at a higher transaction price than a Civic? Not in my area. Does a Cruze retain a higher resale value than a Civic for the same time frames?

        Then again, anything is possible. It all depends on the buyer. And now it depends on whether the buyers of Civics and the other vehicles rated undesirable by CR will follow CRs advice and buy their recommendations instead.

        Time will tell and the annual sales numbers will verify it.

    • 0 avatar
      jayzwhiterabbit

      What do you call the Jeep Liberty?

  • avatar

    CR does have what amounts to systemic bias: they ding cars for not meeting specific criteria. As long as the implications are properly understood by consumers, there’s nothing wrong with that. For example, they dump on Jeep Wrangler in every issue for its lack of “road manners”. Liberty gets the same treatment, and it’s fully deserved. In the same time, it’s a great buy (for a little longer yet: it’s in its final model year). When I bought Wrangler, I was fully aware of CR’s Not Recommended rating. Informed consumer is not the same as weak-minded consumer.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Good point. For your average commuter, a Liberty (or Wrangler) isn’t a great choice. But if you need a CUV that can handle a bit of off-roading, it’s worth a look.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        I can see both sides. CR judges all Jeeps as road cars, while they’re basically compromised at “road manners” to allow them to perform off-road. Where CR has it right is that most buyers will never go off-road in them but will use them on-road with 4-wheel drive in winter conditions. CR needs to be more explicit when judging multi-purpose vehicles like Jeeps that are primarily 4-wheel drive off-road vehicles against primarily all-wheel drive on-road vehicles. You can’t truthfully compare a 4-door Wrangler Rubicon to a Subaru Forester.

      • 0 avatar
        jayzwhiterabbit

        Yes, and what is ridiculous is how much trouble CR gives the Wrangler. It scored the lowest ever in their tests, or whatever. Then you read the reasons: uncivilized interior, bad on-road manners, etc. The Wrangler is all about off-road, and people who buy them thinking they are just another cute-ute are going to be disappointed. Anyone with half a brain would realize this….sometimes CR is rather stupid.

        At least they are giving domestics a chance now, though.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        They do perform off-road testing, just as they track sports and sporty cars. The Wrangler’s competition just happens to be about as good offroad as makes no difference, and much better on it.

        Face it: if you want a Wrangler, you’ll get a Wrangler. CR is perhaps pointing out the obvious, but they do note that perhaps a 4Runner might be a better choice.

      • 0 avatar
        jayzwhiterabbit

        The 4-Runner is a joke compared to the Wrangler for true off-roading. Sorry, but CR does not even come close in it’s tests to the true rock-climbing, river-fording off-roading for the which the Wrangler is intended. The audacity of your suggestion of any competition between the two reveals your paucity of knowledge on the subject.

        Admittedly, reasons are myriad for consumers to choose another ute IF the reason for purchase is for any other consideration than off-roading. Yet, as I stated on my previous post, those in search of a tall, quiet, and comfortable grocery-getter are better off looking elsewhere. A 4-Runner, perhaps?

        The only recognized competitors of the Wrangler are various Land Rovers, older-generation Toyo Land Cruisers, and military-grade vehicles such as Hummer H1. Unlike any of those choices, the Wrangler offers that class of prowess at everyman prices. Not to mention the fact that, for anyone who’s actually owned older-gen Wranglers (particularly pre-1997), the current model’s creature comforts and refinement are Lexus-like in comparison.

        Sigh, it’s just a Jeep thing :)

  • avatar
    strafer

    Maybe CR feels that the new Civic is a step backwards compared to the previous gen?

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      CR has hardly been the only one; numerous auto publications dinged the “new” Civic when it came out.

      Also, there’s a reason why Honda has had to use incentives on the “new” Civic to push sales (while the new CR-V needs no such help) and why Honda is rushing out a refresh for the Civic.

      • 0 avatar
        Freddy M

        Makes me wonder if the speculation is true that the Acura ILX was originally the Civic that should have been the 9th Gen. If so, (and sold at a CIVIC price range), I think it would have been a VERY competitive car given the new competition. I recently saw an ILX in person and it is a DAMN good looking car for the segment.

        The question then remains, should Honda have spent the money up-front to bring an “all NEW” Civic, and made more money per car sans incentives, or are they still making more money now with the cost-cutting version while still putting money on the hood?

      • 0 avatar
        jayzwhiterabbit

        I think that’s the reason the new Civic and some Toyota models are so cheaply made now – they have to make their luxury brands stand out, somehow.

      • 0 avatar
        chicagoland

        No rebates, and Civic is #1 selling compact car. ANd no fleet dumping. All top sellin cars have some kind of incentive, even new car fan’s “darling”, Hyundai.

        Oh, and that ‘refresh’? Will just be to tweek the interior, in other words ‘continuous improvement’ what all makers should practice.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        @chicagoland

        Incentives on the Civic include 0.9% financing and a $500 dealer holdback.

        Plus Honda dealers are willing to deal big time, which is why the Elantra has an average transaction price that is $500 higher than the Civic.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        Every car dealer is willing to deal big time.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      I think most car enthusiasts have been saying that since 1996.

      • 0 avatar
        Rental Man

        The $$$ Honda is dropping is on the leases. Most of this year they had Zero down / under $200 p/month (12k Miles P/year) prices on Honda.com
        No shady dealer ad’s with “dealership-owner loyalty scams”

        No one else comes close other then Toyota and sometimes VW.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I agree about VW. They used to be completely independent (i.e. get stuffed if you won’t play close to MSRP).

        Today, VW is doing very aggressive national subsidized leasing and dealers are willing to sell for well below MSRP in absolute and % terms, save for all but a precious few models, like the Passat/Jetta TDI. Right now, the VW dealers near me are doing Passat SE 36 month leases with a true sign & drive $0 down for $219 a month (and S models for $189 sign and drive).

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    As I pointed out last year, it was inevitable (well, in retrospect) that CR would be controversial… in the age of Web 2.0, the print publications have really struggled to keep pace with the electronic guys. By the time CR had taken their turn at the bat, a number of other reviews had already dropped. It simply wouldn’t have been enough to say that it was another Civic and it was great… that’s not going to fly when management signs off on the piece. It’s an important car, it will be a well read issue, and the other guys have scooped you… like I said, it was almost inevitable. For all the current Civic’s short comings, sales isn’t one of them, but unfortunately CR is entrenched now.

    (This isn’t just a new-media / old media situation. Us photog fans saw a similar thing with DPReview… they were quite late with reviews during an 18 month period, and got scooped by the competition to the point that their exhaustive technical reviews weren’t that relevant anymore… this led to some eyebrow raising writing on their part, again, to remain relevant)

  • avatar
    twotone

    I value CR’s car recommendations as much as I value Road & Track’s opinion on refrigerators.

  • avatar
    Freddy M

    I think the Civic brand to this point is selling largely on its reputation. The particular faults of the car according to CR (I’ve never sat in the current gen) are apparently enough to knock it from recommended status. But I don’t think that such a rebuke would be enough to stop the masses from buying a Civic based on the stellar reputation it has garnered over the last few decades. I think it’ll take another generation or two of truly lackluster performance before the public sits up and truly starts to speak through their wallets.

    Is it a bad car? I’m sure it’s not. But some may argue that it’s not up to Honda’s own standards let alone the current crop of competition it now faces, and to give it a free pass and argue that sales must mean that it’s a good car, can only give Honda license to continue on this downward trend of blandness and cost-cutting that they are apparently on.

    The true-believers will continue to buy the car in droves. But I for one am glad that some groups are calling Honda out on it to keep them on their toes.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree with you on Civic mostly selling by previous reputation, but Camry is a shadow of its former self in terms of value and materials, and yet it moves 400K units.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Both the “new” Camry and Civic are selling on price more than ever before (as well as fleet for the Camry; even Honda is selling more Civic to fleet thru dealerships).

        Both have lost marketshare in their respective segments.

      • 0 avatar
        Freddy M

        You guys are all right. And (here comes the admission) I’m a big Honda fan. Not a fanboi or die-hard believer, but if I were to profess any sentimentality to any brand, it would be Honda.

        As such, I saw the direction that Honda has been taking of late with great disappointment. The fact that the current Civic comes over as a warmed-over and in some respects inferior rehash of the 8G makes me worry that Honda is spending too much of its efforts in breathing life into the aimless Acura brand than focusing on its core.

        28, to your point that the Camry moves 400k units while finding better and better ways to eviscerate the spirit of its predecessors makes me sad that what we’re seeing here is the Camry-fication of the Civic in a similar manner.

        Does the Civic sell to fleets? I thought many on the internet swear to the gods that only American compacts do.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        Camry value and materials? I think your forgetting that adjusting for inflation a 1992 Camry LE was almost $30k.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        JMO – Precisely my point the ’92 Camry blows the doors off the ’12 Camry in terms of value and materials, with the added bonus of probably being built in Japan.

        2012 Camry LE goes for MSRP $22,600 on their website

        1992 Camry DLX? went for $14,798 according to MSN

        According to the inflation calculator I used the 92 Camry MSRP buys $24,203.96 in 2012 money, which is darn close to $22,600.

        Sure there are plenty of variables which enter into the car buying process, including skirting MSRP through trade/rebates/discounts etc, but the rough numbers are clear. If this were GM/Ford/Chrysler I would say chances are you’re getting a better product in 2012 than 1992 for similar money but this isn’t the Big Three, its the vaunted Toyota. My point is valid, you pay roughly the same amount of MSRP give or take 2K, and get much less of a car from today’s Toyota. The same is probably true of Honda. If the sheeple had a brain among them they would vote their wallets away from Toyonda and into Hyundai and *gasp* maybe even a domestic.

        92 camry
        autos.msn.com/research/vip/pricing.aspx?make=Toyota&model=Camry&year=1992

        inflation calc
        146.142.4.24/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=14798&year1=1992&year2=2012

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        28-Cars-Later, and the 1989 Japan-built Camry V6 blows the doors off the ’92 Camry.

        I’ve got a buddy that owns one with more than 180K miles on it and it still has the original NGK plugs in it. Still gets 20mpg like it did in 1989.

        Had to have the muffler replaced and all the rubber and anti-freeze, but other than that, it is still original although the sun ate up much of the interior.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        So basically HDC, Camry has been on a downward slide since the 80s?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        28-Cars-Later, I’m in the camp that believes that the imports went to s*&@%$!t when they started making them in the states, using American suppliers. That’s why I bought a 2008 Japan-built Highlander, the last one in my area.

        My buddy with the ’89 Japan-built Camry is also in that same camp. He has told me has looked at the new Camry sedans, including the Solara and Avalon, and he doesn’t care for them.

        He’s the guy who bought his wife the first 2012 Grand Cherokee in this area and started this GC buying boom here. So far 5 2012 GCs bought by people I know.

        My buddy is a Repbublican, against the bailouts, handouts and nationalization, and has told me so many times, but he saw fit to buy a 2012 Grand Cherokee, UAW-made and imported from Detroit. They must have done something right.

        I would be very cautious if something is built and sourced in America. The Detroit 3 have a long and documented history rich in negative ownership experiences that resulted in a mass-exodus away from them, only to find now that the foreigners are having the same problems that the domestics had.

        I bought my wife a 2012 Grand Cherokee, and it has been as good as our 2008 Highlander was/still is, but I’m also waiting for the other shoe to drop. I have resolved not to take any chances and just trade off the GC before the warranty runs out. Maybe another GC, maybe something else.

        Whatever mama wants, mama gets.

      • 0 avatar
        npbheights

        Have you noticed how the sides of the rear bumper cover of the new Camrys flap in the wind on the highway? If not, next time you come on up on one going over 60mph, take a look. It is just incredible how cheap and weak it looks.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Highdesrtcat:

        I get what you are trying to say, but based on your history of “sell at the end of the warranty” posts, how are you judging what vehicle will have long term durability or not? Any modern car can last through the warranty period without a trip to the stealership. We have 4 cars, a 2009, 1999,1995, and a 1992. Mileage is not excessivly high on any of them; 150K is the most. The oldest three are domestic, the newest is Japanese. None of them have been problematic. With this many old cars (not to mention several very high mileage vehicles before them) I feel confident in talking durability. As to your concern about domestically produced Japanese cars, why are you blaming the suppliers for alleged lower quality**? The suppliers are providing parts and materials built to the standard that is required of the manufacturer. If the parts, and by extension the cars, are of lower quality it is because that is what the manufacturer wants it to be. The supplier does not make that choice. Any defective parts that make it to the assembly floor should be rejected by the assembly workers.

        **I happen to agree that there has been a decline in the quality of materials used in Japanese cars. My 2009 Nissan has some decidedly cheap interior parts, mostly on the bottom half of the interior. But that is not because of the supplier cheaping out. It is because Nissan did not want to pay for better materials to be used throughout the car. Nissan cheaped out, though I still love the car. I wish TTAC allowed the posting of photos for cases like this….

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        @highdesertcat

        Toyota builds its top selling Lexus, the RX in Canada – and it has had less problems than the Japanese built GS.

        As for built-in-the-US Toyotas not being as well built or as reliable as Japanese Toyotas in the past, that has more to do with Toyota cutting costs/corners over the years.

        Back when Toyotas were solely/mostly built in Japan, Toyota used higher quality components than they do now.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        I see so many super high mileage Toyota and Honda vehicles in Southern California. I know many people that own these, and I have yet to hear about more recent US built vehicles having issues.

        While I never keep a car more than 18 months, this extreme reliability allows me to trade them in for top dollar because of used car demand.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        golden2husky & bd2, I have heard that argument about the American suppliers “are just doing their job according to the specs provided by the manufacturer”.

        Sorry, I disagree. This subject has been cussed and discussed ad nauseam and we will never get a consensus.

        I believe that some suppliers cut corners to save money, like when the Tacoma frames were not undercoated, or the welds were poor on some front drive shafts. But let’s not get into floormats and gas pedals. You’re not going to change my mind.

        I’m anxiously waiting to see what’s gonna go wrong with my 2011 Tundra since it was made in San Antonio, TX, with parts largely sourced from American suppliers.

        I know about Lexus making cars in Canada and I don’t own one, and if the buyers of those luxo barges are happy with them, who am I to disagree with them?

        I do believe that the original ones made in Japan were excellent, but I have no data on how many owners of those originals traded theirs for a “Made In Canada” one.

        That doesn’t change my mind about me thinking the foreigners should have kept importing them like they did before. I completely understand about the pressure and chicken tax that was, is, or would be levied on them if they did not concede to the wishes of the American government and start building them in America, providing jobs to Americans. I understand all that. But even Honda was having problems in its Marysville plant for awhile. And Mitsubishi.

        And my ‘history’ of selling at the end of the warranty? What are you talking about? That was what I resolved to do AFTER I bought my wife her 2012 Grand Cherokee because MY confidence level in Fiatsler has not changed.

        Yes, I freely admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the Grand Cherokee, and that it is as good as our 2008 Highlander was and still is. But that doesn’t mean I want to give Fiatsler the benefit of the doubt and keep the GC beyond the warranty period.

        I have owned far too many used Jeeps of all sizes and shapes to do that, and I’m way too old now to wrench and tool on them in my drive way.

        And I base the ‘long-term durability’ based on the experiences of others now. Even some CR ratings. Not my own.

        My ownership experiences with the domestic brands were not all good, prior to me buying the 2008 Highlander which we still have AFTER its warranty expired.

        Yes, it is really that good. But my wife’s sisters can tell you volumes about the recalls on their US-made Highlanders, 2009- and up.

        At the first sign of trouble, our Japan-built Highlander too, will go the way of all the other vehicles we owned that went before it. I’m not going to put any money in it. Let someone else do that.

    • 0 avatar
      JCraig

      Saying ‘Can X number of buyers be wrong?’ reminds me of the fact that the ’82 Cutlas Supreme was the best selling car in America…

      Clearly the Civic isn’t garbage but the competetion has moved past simply having to make something that’s reliable.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      I would bet a huge portion of those new Civic buyers aren’t “car” people and aren’t even aware of what the publications are saying. All they know is that new Civic sure drives nice compared to their 8 year old POS.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Interesting that of the cars CD recommends as an alternative to the Civic–Impreza, Elantra, Mazda 3–none has a great reputation for reliability, in my mind at least. And in this market segment, reliability trumps interior quality any day.

      Like FreddyM, I’m a bit sentimental about Honda too, for what it’s worth. I’m not saying those alternatives are junk, but Skyactiv is too new to judge, Hyundai’s been improving but I’m not sure they’re there yet, and when I hear Subaru I think “head gasket”. Yes, Honda’s tech is getting old, but it’s darn solid tech.

      • 0 avatar
        Littlecarrot

        I’m on my second head gasket for my 2000 Subaru. And yes, this issue does show up on the CR reliability charts.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah, but is head gasket a big problem? I had a head gasket replaced on Neon for $866. Took a couple of hours. I heard they just unbolt the head without disconnecting anything beyond the timing belt, sweep the old gasket out, slide new one in, DONE. It lasted another 110k miles after that (before I sold it). Perhaps it depends who’s doing the head job.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Pete Z:

        Chrysler stealerships were notorious for doing this with the early 2.2/2.5 litre 4 cylinder engines. A “good” tech could do this in 75 minutes and reused the TTY (torque to yield) bolts instead of the required new ones. Any wonder why an engine with somewhat marginal gaskets developed a reputation for repeat failures?

      • 0 avatar
        JuniperBug

        To people saying that head gaskets are no big deal: Remember that Subarus are boxers. That means two heads/gaskets instead of one, and that said heads are pointing in possibly very awkward orientations deep in the bowels of the engine bay, as opposed to neatly on top of everything like on an I-4.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      I would argue all of Honda and Toyota, for the most part, are selling on reputation.

      That said, I have been looking at a Toyota Highlander…

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        For me, the head gaskets I remember having been replaced were on a 2.2 K-Car and my own 1998 neon. On the K, it was an afternoon of my Father cursing and not expensive parts whenever it was appx 10yrs/100k. On the neon, it was $50 deductible and 2 days with a Pontiac rental umm.. 120k/12 years ago. It was an early-run 1998 before they’d fixed the tooling and/or supplier. It was oil, not coolant leaking.

        A half dozen other cars have been fine since then. They’re a drag, but doable DIY.

        People really get worked-up over repairs, don’t they?

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      I’ve worked in the auto parts inspection field. I’ve seen factories make parts for American and Asian companies. Same parts, same specs, same inspections. Did the Americans get better, the Asians lowered their standards, or were the parts good to begin with?

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      HD…weird…a lot of the suppliers to Toyota in the US are Japanese based. Shocker I know. A lot of parts for US production are from Japan. And, the companies are based in Japan but have US production…so its just the workers?

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/31/business/japanese-auto-suppliers-fined-in-us-price-fixing-case.html

  • avatar
    Sky_Render

    Saying you “respect the hell” out of Consumer Reports makes me respect you less.

    In all seriousness, Consumer Reports is a rag not worth the paper it’s printed on. I don’t know of one “car guy” who takes anything CR writes seriously.

    • 0 avatar
      DaveDFW

      I don’t take CR’s opinions on driving dynamics very seriously, but I don’t find anything suspect about their reliability reports.

      Their test opinions and recommendations are simply aimed at a different consumer, a consumer that would probably consider their car to be an appliance.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Actually, I don’t think CR is any different from the more enthusiast oriented publications when it comes to driving dynamics – it’s just for CR, DD plays a much smaller role when it comes to overall analysis and things like rear head/leg rooma and trunk space are more heavily weighted.

        For instance, when it comes to Japanese makes, CR praises Nissan and Mazda for DD and dings Toyota.

      • 0 avatar

        DaveDFW,

        Then you haven’t been looking very closely.

        For one thing, any recommendations they make based on reliability are based on a survey conducted back in April 2011–16 months ago. Vehicles with poor scores over a year ago could be much improved at this point. But they have no way of knowing this, so they just put their old data in a new bottle and keep issuing recommendations.

        Also, note that one of their “popular” vehicles has, as recently reported on TTAC, gone out of production. They clearly put a lot of thought into this list. Generally their road test crew is much more thorough and worth paying attention to than the reliability survey group. Not so much this time.

      • 0 avatar
        DaveDFW

        Michael Karesh–

        That’s one aspect I wasn’t considering–CR’s practice of creating forward-looking recommendations based on past reliability results. This is the type of information a new car buyer would find most interesting. Because these are predictions, there is a chance they will be wrong.

        I was mainly referring to CR’s reliability reports for a specific past model for which they have received a sufficient amount of data. This is the type of information a used car buyer would find most interesting.

        I don’t see any major problems with this historical reliability reporting.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        Aren’t their “reliability reports” based on a person’s own reporting?

        That said, if a person LOVES their car, they are less likely to admit fault with it than people who HATE their car. I.E. all the old ladies that have purchased Camries based on CR’s recommendation. They wouldn’t dare tell the folks who told them to buy this most wonderous of cars that it’s actually not as good as everybody thinks it is.

      • 0 avatar

        No one has a crystal ball, so any recommendations must be based on past experience.

        What hardly anyone seems to realize is how old their data tend to be. They have an annual survey with a six-month lag between when the survey goes out and their results are updated. At this point in the year their data are 16 months old.

        For example, even though the latest Chrysler minivans have been on the road for nearly two years they’re still evaluating them based on how they performed during their first few months. A lot can change between the first few months of production of a redesigned model and the beginning of the third model year.

        There are a number of other weaknesses to their survey, but this one is the most relevant.

      • 0 avatar
        Rental Man

        There is no way the new Civic is worse then the almost outgoing Nissan Sentra. That Sentra is still on top with CR. Nowhere else. In the rental car world the Sentra is not a car anyone asks for. A Civic would make most people happy. Some of that has to do with how rare they are in fleet.

        I had to drive a Sentra from NYC to Orlando,FL in 24 hours. It fit my stuff & right knee (looking at you Civic) didn’t kill my back and got exactly the 34 MPG the sticker says it would. It got me there and thats about it. Nissan’s new Sentra could not get here soon enough and the 2012 Civic is beter then the current Sentra. Again CR just uses they own old data.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      Hardly fair criticism. CR is not meant for serious car enthusiasts. It’s for people who want an honest, non-corporation funded appraisal of durable goods. It is fair to say that CR assesses their cars as appliances, no soul or excitement value added, which the majority of Americans seem to want. Solid, dependable transportation that their neighbor will nod their head approvingly of; i.e., a Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        redrum

        I find CR’s overall car scores (which range from 0-100) to be a bit nebulous as they don’t give a specific breakdown of how they arrive at it. But I don’t find the review summary itself much different from most car review sources. They will mention things like handling and engine smoothness like any site would, although I don’t know how this factors into their final score.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      I look at other car publications for fun and eye candy. I look at CR for my car purchase decisions. Their testing methodology, while not perfect, is leagues ahead of every other automotive journal.

      The truth of the matter is that 99.9% of the car buying public really doesn’t care that a car ‘understeers at the limit’. We buy a car to move from pooint A to point B. Those of us who are car enthusiasts, most likely already have a project car in the garage which doesn’t ‘understeer at the limit’ (yes I know it’s probably stupid to set up the car like that). We need to know how well put together and functional a car is. We need to know how efficient it operates. We don’t need to know its slalom time.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Icemilkcoffee hits the nail on the head. Consumer Reports is a great reference point for purchasing a car, and for most buyers provides all the information they will need. Potential buyers just need to take a couple test drives to make their decision.

        Aside from CR virtually every other auto review is bought and paid for by the manufacturer, one way or another. CR reviews are not the result of “long term test” cars supplied to journalists or 4 star resort press events. With that in mind CR is a valuable resource for virtually any car shopper.

        Saying CR is not useful or accurate is an affection similar to liking bands that nobody else has heard of or lecturing average computer buyers on why they need the latest wiz-bang laptop. Most people don’t care, and it makes you sound like a pompous boor.

      • 0 avatar
        Monty

        CR is an invaluable tools to use for researching a vehicle purchase. I rank it in my top tier of tools – along with True Delta and vehicle specific web forums. In many instances, it’s not the reviewers’ opinions, but those of the actual owners. I exhaustingly read every owner review on CR including anything I can glean from the CR Forums. True Delta has the repair history section, which has proved very informative in regards to various makes/models. It’s usually easy to separate the intelligent debate from the angry bitter comments on both sites, as well as the vehicle specific forums to arrive at a fairly accurate picture about a specific make and model.

        To me, CR seems aimed at the appliance driving portion of the public; people for whom reliability and dependability are the overiding factors in their purchase. So what? CR’s long term reliability placings do seem to match reality. Do most people care if at extreme handling is compromised? Probably not. Do most buyers care about skidpad ratings? Not really. That is the audience to which CR speaks the loudest.In my opinion, a majority of CR subscribers care far more about cabin storage, fuel economy and price.

        Gertie Grandma may read CR before buying her next Civic, but what items is she looking for? Driving dynamics? Soft touch plastics? 6 speed automatic? Doubtful any of those are on her radar. She wants to know if the car will last ten years and not leave her stranded on a long trip. Does the Civic meet those requirements? Without a doubt. Regardless of the opinions of experts and gearheads, the Civic, even with it’s cheapened interior is still reliable and durable. It’s an appliance. Period. And that’s why it sells so well.

        We all have our anecdotal stories, but every member of this blog knows at least a few people that buy a car as an appliance, not as a status symbol or as a paragon of driving dynamics. People mostly buy due to perceived value, reliability, durability and brand loyalty.

  • avatar
    JCraig

    It’s fair to say that for the money there are better cars than the Civic. It’s also fair for them to go out of their way to point that fact out since the Civic used to be as good or better than anything else in the class. It may be Gramma approved, but there is value in an objective source that can look past the new car smell and excitement.

    I think many mediocre cars sell well because people get in them and are excited with the newness of it all. Compared to an older, lived in, possibly smelly car any new car seems just great.

    I don’t think it comes as any great shock that the Jeep and Dodge have reliability issues, and that the Jeep may have a poor ride for the class. They’re looking at it compared to every vehicle in its class, not through the eyes of someone who wants a Jeep for all the qualities the brand is known for.

    I can’t speak on the Imprezza as I’ve yet to even see one in person. I’d bet that the AWD, much improved mpg, and largely equivelant reliability play a large role in them recommending it over the Civic.

    CR is an outstanding resource for people who are planning to buy a car but have no idea what they want, and no passion for any particular brand. They want you to purchase the best car, vacuum, laundry detergent, and tv for your money.

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      > I can’t speak on the Imprezza as I’ve yet to even see one in person. I’d bet that the AWD, much improved mpg, and largely equivelant reliability play a large role in them recommending it over the Civic.

      It’s actually quite nice, you get a lot for the money. However… it`s the type of 4wd that`s really fwd most of the time, so unless you live in a snowy area, you`re paying for excess baggage most of the year. Knock down a couple of points for engine refinement, and the Civic has overall better interior room and trunk space. Classic case of the a smaller competitor competing on features against the larger market share fellow.

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        Yeah I don’t see many (non WRX) Subies around Florida and they’ve never been on my shopping list for that exact reason. No sense in paying for AWD or taking the weight penalty.

      • 0 avatar
        rwb

        Only the automatic is FWD-biased. Manual Subarus have an always-on 50/50 split. Very useful for acceleration in wet weather, traction on loose surfaces, and less obtuse behavior when clumsily applying throttle in turns.

        I will take AWD every day over FWD, regardless of weight and mileage penalties.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Michael Karesh HATED the redesigned Impreza, and yet it’s CR’s top compact model, rated well for both reliability AND driving dynamics (mainly comfort, quietness and build quality).

        I have not driven the redesigned Impreza, but unless it’s light years ahead of the old one, I find this ‘top pick’ by CR curious at best, as my opinion (admittedly of the last gen) lines up more closely with Michael Karesh’s.

        So, I put a lot of faith in CR and their reliability ratings, but don’t consider them infallible.

        One other thing – I drove a new Legacy with the CVT and base motor when they first came out and really thought of it as a very bland, just okay car. CR had also praised the redesigned Legacy highly. It wasn’t until I drove competitor models that I realized the Legacy was probably one of the better cars in the segment for having nice ride quality and low interior noise at highway speeds. This is when I first noticed most Japanese competitors were decontenting and cheapening their cars.

      • 0 avatar

        “Hated” might be a bit strong. I disliked some things about the Impreza, but liked others. I even recommended the car for people who prioritize handling over style and refinement:

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/review-2012-subaru-impreza-2-0i-limited/

        If I had to choose between the Civic and Impreza, I’d readily pick the latter.

  • avatar
    jaje

    The one true reviewer I use when I buy a car is myself. I don’t care what the mags or websites say as they are written by someone I really don’t know or trust and often they are not an honest review as there is always some bribery involved.

    We all have to realize likely half of car buyers are not buying a “car” but an appliance. Then many buy cars for other reasons…men buying pickups so they look rugged / parents who buy 7 passenger SUV to hide the fact that the real need is a minivan / image conscious wanting to look successful so they lease a $1k a month European car and park it on the street where it gets damaged.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    Honda Civic – ok, this makes sense. The Focus is what the civic used to be: fun, efficient, status for young drivers. Civic is in Corolla territory these days ~ grandma wheels.

    Dodge Grand Caravan – well you’d have to be an idiot to buy this over the Odyssey or Sienna if you didn’t have the extra $15k…ahh there’s the rub. People buy the Caravan on price, not because it’s the best, that ship sailed years ago.

    Toyota Prius c – Not sure I understand the hate here. Doesn’t CR love the std. Prius? What is similar to the “c” that’s better?

    Ford Edge V6 – Another one I don’t understand. Is the Murano somehow better? From what I’ve heard these have been quite reliable.

    Jeep Liberty – The thing about Jeep is that they have their faithful and that’s that. For what 99.99999% of Liberty drivers do there is a better CUV out there, but “it’s a Jeep thing.” The Edge is probably a better pick, but it’s not “Trail Rated” for some imaginary trail that few if any Jeeps ever see.

    • 0 avatar
      JCraig

      Toyota Prius c – Not sure I understand the hate here. Doesn’t CR love the std. Prius? What is similar to the “c” that’s better?

      – Too many compromises for a relatively small price break compared to the standard Prius.

      Ford Edge V6 – Another one I don’t understand. Is the Murano somehow better? From what I’ve heard these have been quite reliable.

      – You may have heard this but owners are reporting problems. That’s why CR is useful.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I think you’ve made some very good points, I especially like the jibe about the imaginary trail few Jeeps see.

      But I find the comment about the Focus interesting, a Focus is status? When was a factory Civic ever ‘status’? You could make the argument having a new X is something to brag about when your 16 and getting your first set of wheels, but stripper econo-boxes of any brand do not status make… even if they now come with USB aux jacks, computers, and built in Facebook. If B and C segment cheaply built high priced rides are status then wow man, just wow… no wonder inspirational brands are suffering if people are content with entry level.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        28 Cars, I believe 200k is refering to the cacique of the Honda badge. Unlike you or I or anyone on TTAC, many people cannot tell the difference between their Civic DX with plastic wheel covers to the Civic Si; excepting maybe noting that the Si has ‘more stuff in it’. These are people who buy simply on brand recognition and can care less about the car itself.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “When was a factory Civic ever ‘status’?”

        Circa 1998 a civic was the recent college grad with a good job and good prospects car of choice.

      • 0 avatar
        Freddy M

        For me, 1998 was recent HS grad, and yes a Civic was also status for me and my cohorts in the slum that was Malvern.

        Ah, we had SUPER LOW standards back in the day! :)

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        JMO – I was a hs junior in ’98 so few of us had anything new, maybe college students got excited about new owning Civics but we sure didn’t. Status to us was something fast or something that *looked* fast… first gen Eclipses were a popular aspiration, usually with the base engine which was a whopping 92hp now that I look it up, GS if you were lucky.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        A 1994 Civic EX, especially with the manual transmission and sunroof, was status for anyone under 25 or maybe even 30 years old back when they were rolled out. I know because I was in Cali at the time and it was nearly impossible to find one even at MSRP.

        And they were superior in every way than the current Civic, unless there’s one or two characteristics that I’m not thinking about hard enough. They ABSOLUTELY had better steering, brakes, suspension and build quality.

    • 0 avatar
      MLS

      Baruth and Karesh offered pretty strong praise for the current generation Chrysler and Dodge minivans, respectively. How are the Honda or Toyota vans superior?

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/review-2011-chrysler-town-country/

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/03/review-2011-dodge-grand-caravan/

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    My wife and I just bought a 2012 Impreza in february. We first drove the civic because I had one before. The impreza had much better brakes and the steering was more precise with better feel. The 5 door looks a little frumpy but it holds our scuba gear with 4 tanks and room to spare. Our best highway trip was 37.2 mpg which isnt too bad for all wheel drive. we didnt get navi but overall the interior is nice for an economy car with everything well placed. Just watch out for the red gauges at night, not the easiest to read at a glance. 187,000 people aren’t wrong, they just didnt notice Honda resting on its laurels and nobody told them.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    In comparing the 2012 and 2009 Civics, I preferred the older one in looks (inside and out), materials, ride, and steering – essentially all the reasons CR doesn’t like the 2012.

    Rather than spend more money for what I perceived to be shortcomings in the 2012, I bought the 2009, and couldn’t be happier. That’s not to say some people will prefer the 2012…I’m just not one of them.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    The best reason not to hate on CR is that, unlike everyone else, they’re not on the “free trip to Spain” junket, “borrow a cool car for as long you like” gravy train.

    CR takes a basically utilitarian perspective on cars: they have a function, and the question for CR is how well do they carry out that function, and at what price (defined to include repairs, purchase price, fuel, etc.)? Lately, CR seems to be a little less utilitarian in its outlook and makes some judgments about “fun-to-drive” etc.

    CR’s priorities are known. If they are not yours, that doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Regarding the latest generation Civic, CR’s comments weren’t out of line with anyone else’s who evaluated the car. The fact that “it’s good enough for Grandma” means nothing, except that it’s not bad. Grandma didn’t shop all of the competition. IIRC, most reviewers said it was a mediocre car and, depending upon your priorities, competitive offerings from Chevy, Ford or Hyundai were better. The fact that the new Civic has sold a lot means two things: (1) the typical Civic buyer (not surprisingly) prioritizes reliability and Honda offers a better record on that than those other three competitors and (2) the strength of brand reputation. After all, for decades, Americans bought some truly execrable stuff made in Detroit in the 70s and 80s on the strength of reputations, some of the best targeted ads in the business and purchase price. Now, of course, all of that is catching up with Detroit in a big way, as there is a substantial segment of the population who would not be caught dead in a Detroit product.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      I would agree. Someone at my office bought a 2012 Civic and despite getting a great way below invoice deal, the car doesn’t match up to the competition from Hyundai, Ford and GM for similar money. It’s not a terrible car, its just that everyone else move forward and Honda didn’t get the memo.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      DC Bruce:

      ……..as there is a substantial segment of the population who would not be caught dead in a Detroit product………

      True, but that pendulum has swung full in that direction and is now starting to swing back. Really, back in the day there was a lot of reasons (valid or not) to skip the Detroit dealerships. But today, an informed consumer would be remiss to not at least check out some of the better domestic offerings. Even it that is not what you chose to buy, at least you can be honest and say you checked them out instead of moronically saying “there no good” without even trying them.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        If the pendulum is starting to swing back, then why does Detroit still dominate the bottom end of Consumer Reports and JD Powers long term reliability ranking?

        Because the pendulum is not starting to swing back.

        As long as Detroit has excessive UAW costs, it can not compete with Toyota and Honda. Toyota and Honda engineers are not smarter than Detroit engineers. Toyota and Honda engineers have more budget to work with because of no UAW. It is that simple.

      • 0 avatar
        Freddy M

        Those reliability surveys may not suggest that the pendulum is swinging back but the sales data is. Sonic and Cruze are selling in far greater numbers than their predecessors ever have.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        I do think the Cruze is a nice looking vehicle. I do see a few on the coasts.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        jimmyyy try to open you eyes, really. If this was 1985 your stance would have merit. Back then it was common, even expected that you would have warranty work done. Fit was often marginal, suppliers were asked to make cheap parts and what should have been rejected often made it into the car. Fast forward to today. Most people will make it through the warranty period without visiting the repair bay. You churn through cars (good for you) so please don’t bother with stories about poor durability. I keep my rides for a decade or more (I am retiring at 57, a trade well worth it) so I have plenty of real world experience of what lasts. You really can’t be serious if you don’t see a vast improvement is assembly quality; today’s “domestics” in aggregate or no worse that comparable Japanese models. Yes, the Japanese have not lost ground on reliability even as the cars themselves are more cheaply made. Maybe that was a good strategy, as only internet posters seem to notice. The Civic is a good example of that. All in all, the gap in overall design, materials, assembly, reliability is the smallest it has ever been. I don’t know why I am bothering; you are so closed minded that you cloud your judgement with nonsense like union bashing, etc…this topic is just like politics…getting you to honestly evaluate an American car would be like me saying Bush was good for America….

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        golden2husky, you’re my new hero. +1

  • avatar
    mr_muttonchops

    “Just because a car generates a lot of buzz or is a best seller doesn’t mean that it’s a good choice for you. The five models here may be on a lot of buyers’ shopping lists, but we suggest you steer clear…”

    Welcome to the Internet, Consumer Reports, where everyone is wrong but you :D

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      Thats why CR uses the qualifier ‘suggests’; thereby, implying that their opinion isn’t the only one that matters. The Consumer is more aware when they purchase their Caravan that there may be certain quality issues which frankly, have really panned out.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    Honda may well be like John Deere, in that JD sells a lot of crap at the box stores painted green and people assume they are getting a mower that will last like the old JD 318 did. Not gonna happen sparky, 2 different beasts here. And ask a couple lawn care guys how good those 800 series ZTR’s were. Finally, after Kubota ate their lunch in the small tractor market, Deere responded with a rushed to market turd with self-destructing front ends. Now, Deere finally figured it out but their rep is more than tarnished. I see a lot of Kubota, Massey, Case and New Holland tractors around than I do JD, unless it’s an OLD JD.

  • avatar
    Tinker

    I respect CR as a good source of reliable reliability data, not so much on comfort, ride dynamics or sporty behavior, in cars. I DO use it as a judge of fine vacuum cleaners.

  • avatar
    JK43123

    I once told a car salesman that reliability was the main factor in my purchase decision. He said that was admirable but for every person like me there were 99 worried about the placement of cup holders. I tend to agree, most people go by looks, image, how cool the interior is, that they are “Ford people”, etc. Just because it is popular doesn’t mean it is a good purchase choice.

    John

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    As of August 1st, 1,317,589 were wrong……. they bought Fords (and by bought, I mean they actually paid money for ‘em).

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    My 76 year old mother just bought a 2012 Civic. (She was ripped off royally by the dealer, but that’s another story.) She didn’t care in the slightest that the car only has a 5-speed automatic. She wasn’t bothered by hard plastics. She didn’t care that some competitors are a couple seconds faster 0-60. She has been happy with her past Honda, and she liked the color. Moral: some sales you earn, and some are handed to you.

    • 0 avatar
      redrum

      A few years ago my (then 74 year old) aunt borrowed my parent’s 2002 Chevy Cavalier while her 1990 Toyota Camry was in the shop. She thought the Cavalier was “quick”(!). Perception is a funny thing.

      She finally bought a new car a couple years ago…ended up getting another Camry.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Which sale is earned? The one where a manufacturer routinely meets customers’ expectations leading to happy repeat buyers, or the one where a manufacturer splashes money on media events and uses a friendly NHTSA to ignore its failings and create ones for superior competitors?

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Any evidence that the NHTSA has been corrupted? Just looking at recent events there was a highly public 11,000 recall for the Escape with its fire risk and the 300,000 (global) Honda/Acura door issue. Both were valid recalls and the Ford, understandably, got more attention. Seems like the system worked to me.

        It seems some people think this way :
        If the NHSTA recalls domestic cars – the system works. If the NHSTA recalls a Japanese car – it is corrupt.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        You’ve been here long enough to know the NHTSA suppressed and delayed exonerating evidence in the Toyota hatchet job. They were fast to go before the cameras while manufacturing that farce, but have you ever seen an NHTSA official discussing the Jeep Wrangler fires? The Cruze fires? The Sonic’s missing brake pads? The Mustang’s blown transmissions? The Escape fires? All these other issues have substance behind them, but the EPA is content to let standard communications to owners suffice if they do anything at all. With Toyota, they called press conferences and stoked the flames while hiding the truth that they didn’t like. If you don’t know that, then I don’t know how you avoided learning it.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Conslaw, maybe your mom does know more about cars than you do.

      Whenever I hear a guy talks about a car only having a 5-speed auto, I can intantly tell he isn’t really a car guy. He is only a wannabe. He doesn’t understand the difference between a performance metric and a design choice. So, obviously, the larger the number sounds the better.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Not taking sides here, but count me as someone that would rather have 5 forward gears in any automatic (though I generally buy manuals) than the latest and greatest 7 and 8 gear slushboxes. Experience has taught me that unless something has been tried and proven for some time, ‘newer’ and/or ‘more’ possibly simply means ‘fragile,’ ‘complicated,’ and expensive to repair.

  • avatar
    TheHammer

    If it has a low lease payment, all objections are suddenly meaningless.

  • avatar
    jmo

    What’s all the “appliance” hate on CR? For all their talk, the TTAC commentariat is all about the best hairshirt death trap they can squeeze their last precious nickel out of.

    • 0 avatar
      nrcote

      It’s fashionable to bash CR in certain circles. This car guy will check CR recommendations before buying. Always did, always will. What fun is there in driving a great car if it’s always in the shop?

  • avatar
    spyked

    I don’t like the new Civic. However, who can blame Honda for going conservative in this market/economy? People are keeping cars longer and looking for “the deal” more than ever. Honda Civic competes, REALLY, with Toyota Corolla here in the U.S. That’s it.

    The Focus, Cruze, Jetta/Golf, Elantra, and Impreza might be wonderful (I’m partial to the real car of the bunch – Golf), but Civic and Corolla buyers don’t even know they exist. Why should they? Honda was smart. Invest no money in the new car, make it almost like the old one but smoother with better MPGs. They are reaping the rewards in sales. Buyers of them know they have a car that will last at least 10 years/200k miles with few problems. The rest of these new cars all have questionable tech (DI equipped cars and their associated carbon deposits) or low MPGs (Golf).

    Some people simply won’t take chances on Chevys or Hyundais if the car is a major expense and is requird to start, no matter what. Those buyers are Civic and Corolla folks. I’d recommend one to anyone with no guilt at all.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You should feel a little guilty about a decontented Corolla which hasn’t changed since 2008, Civic is the better buy of the two.

    • 0 avatar
      jayzwhiterabbit

      I agree. Both of them are gramma cars….and my 80 y/o grandmother loves her new Corolla. Like yours, she couldn’t give a shit about the transmission gears or engine tech, she just likes the car. It’s about the best car I can think of for her, too: her last car was a 1993 Olds Cutlass Ciera and they are very similar: bad interior, course engine, and an ancient 4-speed automatic :)

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    I like the fact that CR comes right out and tells consumers they are stupid. The truth of the matter is- most consumers really are stupid. There is a reason why MacDonalds is the highest grossing restaurant in the country and Walmart the highest grossing retailer. Consumers are stupid.

    • 0 avatar

      Comment of the day

    • 0 avatar
      geo

      Then I’m stupid too.

      I like being able to go out for a decent burger at McD’s for five bucks or so, or taking the whole family out to eat for twenty-five bucks.

      And I like going to Wal-Mart to buy low-priced (and usually decent quality) merchandise if it suits my needs. And I like their return policy.

      For a better example of stupid consumerism, look how well Starbucks has marketed their bitter, burnt coffee. They’ve brainwashed an entire continent into thinking cheap, over-roasted coffee is “premium”. Sort of like how people accept the Corolla as a premium compact.

      Further, try McDonald’s coffee after drinking Starbucks. It’s worlds better. :-)

      • 0 avatar
        icemilkcoffee

        Well, you got me there with Starbucks. Anyone who pays $5 for a cup of coffee really wins the stupid contest!

      • 0 avatar
        jayzwhiterabbit

        I do think that if you truly hate your health and body by eating somewhere like McDonald’s, then yes you are stupid.

        But when I’m in the rare mood and I only have $2, McD’s is great.

        And I’m a lifelong devotee of WallyWorld. They are way cheaper than snobby Target for the stuff I buy. We would all love to support the Mom&Pop corner grocery, but most of us cannot afford it.

      • 0 avatar
        Loser

        I’m addicted to McDonald’s $1 iced tea.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Going to McDonald’s is stupid? A double cheeseburger is 99 cents, and a large soda or tea is the same price with free refills. For $2 you can eat better than 95% of people on the planet; for $3 you can overeat or splurge on fries.

      WalMart is stupid? Their groceries are the same national brands sold everywhere else for around 20% less money (Campbell’s soup is Campbell’s soup). Decent cargo shorts are $15. The list goes on. If saving money is stupid, count me in.

      Most people are not drawing down a trust fund; they are trying to support themselves and/or a family. WalMart may not be as trendy as Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck), and McDonald’s is easy to snidely look down on, but these business offer real value that is appreciated by lots of people who actually work hard for the money they have.

      I really do hate snobs.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Yes, the smart folks are paying 20 bucks a pound for grass fed beef at Whole Foods. Incidentally my last trip up there (yes, I on occasion shop there as there are some things I just like better there) I saw a motley crew of granola cars in the parking lot. Multiple Priuses, Saabs, and even a VW Vanagon Syncro. In addition to the granola were not 1, but 2 Porsche Panameras. I think my rust on the tailgate Land Cruiser would have been towed were it not for the Apple sticker on the back to give me some granola cred.

        Having said all that, I shop at Wal Mart less and less. I am active duty Army though so I get to use the comissary for food. If not I may go there more as like was said above, Campbells Soup is Campbells soup. I am sick of the made in china last for 1 use crap they sell there though. I have gotten to the point I’ll pay more for quality. Is it really cheaper if I have to buy it 2 or 3 times?

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        “A double cheeseburger is 99 cents, and a large soda or tea is the same price with free refills. For $2 you can eat better than 95% of people on the planet; for $3 you can overeat or splurge on fries.”

        Toad, you do realize that none of that is real food. $3 worth of crap is well, $3 worth of crap. Not much of a deal.

        “Their (Wal-Mart) groceries are the same national brands sold everywhere else for around 20% less money (Campbell’s soup is Campbell’s soup). Decent cargo shorts are $15. The list goes on. If saving money is stupid, count me in”

        Wal-Mart has managed these cheap prices at the expense of every ma and pa business in every small town in America. I don’t shop at WholeFoods but hear good things about it and yeah, willing to pay a little more for organic because quality is better to me than quantity. I’m also Active Duty Military and shop the Commissary for shelf items, but mostly shop the local Farmer’s Market or small business that is not a franchise or big-box store for my fresh food. What’s stupid about that?

        And why does anybody care where ‘granolas’ shop? Isn’t calling them snobs the pot calling the kettle black? Giving people crap about what you think they are because they drive a Saab or shop at Wal-Mart or WholeFoods is snobbery on your own part.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Dolorean, Icemilk called consumers who shop at McDonalds and WalMart stupid, and Derek called it the comment of the day. I did not.

        People are free to shop wherever they wish, but to look down on relatively proletarian choices as stupid and crap smacks of elitism.

        I’ve been to places with crap food, and McDonalds is not one of them. It is not fine dining, but it is far from crap. Most people in the world will kill to be able to eat so well for such a small percentage of their income.

        I grew up in a small town with Mom and Pop businesses; they had a small selection, prices were high, they paid the few employees they had minimum wage with no benefits; they did not hire minorities and would fire anybody who turned out to be gay, was the subject of town gossip, or went to the wrong church.

        The good old days were not that great.

      • 0 avatar
        geo

        In Mission, BC, the city councel kept all box-stores and shopping malls out of the city for decades, because they wanted to support the mom-and-pop businesses. Even the grocery stores were mom-and-pop run (i.e. “The Little Green Apple”). As a result, the unemployement rate was ridiculously high, the cost of merchandise was through the roof, and people were forced to drive to neighboring cities to go to a mall. Mission dwellers typically kept their old furniture and TVs for decades because it was too pricy to buy new.

        I tried supporting these mom and pop businesses, but I couldn’t afford to. I even found that they were often buying their merchandise from “stupid” stores like Costco and reselling at double the price. They sometimes employed young people, but paid them minimum wage with crappy hours.

        Now, the box stores have moved in, unemployment is way down, and quality of life is up. Is this all due to the box stores? No, but it helped.

        And as for McDonald’s: they actually do offer quality burgers, smoothies, coffees, etc for a very cheap price. If they sold their Angus burger for twice the price at some sit-down restaurant, people would gladly pay. This isn’t 1975, McD’s doesn’t only offer Big Mac’s, fries, and crappy coffee.

        But if it gives you a superiority rush to overpay for a restaurant meal, to buy from the friendly old man with the furniture store, or buy pants from “Bubba’s Jeans” at the strip mall, by all means, do. And I hope it’s a great rush, because you’re paying a lot for it.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        McDonald’s food is pure garbage.

        That’s not “snobbism,” but fact.

        They list the ingredients they put into the different ‘food’ they sell. Even the buns they put on their hamburgers or chicken sandwiches (forget about the meat for a moment) have waaaay more chemicals and preservatives than garden variety grocery store hamburger buns.

        It’s possible to eat in a somewhat healthy way at McDonald’s, but 95% of their menu items would be off limits if you tried to do so.

      • 0 avatar
        jayzwhiterabbit

        I will say it is surprising how expensive fast food is becoming, if you want to purchase some of the better items that are not on the dollar menus. My mother and I realized we could eat truly good (and much healthier) food at Panera Bread for literally the same price we were laying out for two value meals at Burger King. Not to mention the actual dining experience….I’m tired of going into McDonald’s and having the cashier screaming F-bombs behind her while she’s taking my order. Such surly and rude people work in those places! Definitely not all of them, but surely most. It’s really appalling to may parents, who briefly managed a McDonald’s in the mid-1970′s when they still gave a shit about fast, clean, and friendly service. Fast food is also no longer fast – seems to me it takes upwards of 10 minutes to get your food these days. My Dad told me that when he was a manager back then, the time between when the order was taken and when the food was expected to be in the customer’s hands was around 30 seconds. When you actually had people that were willing to work, excellence was possible. I worked in a McD’s for less than a week one time when I lost my job at the Jag dealer, and it was enough of a hell to make me quit. As soon as the employees realized I was not afraid of work, they would mostly stand around refusing to do anything productive because they knew I could do it.

        Their food really is ass. McDonald’s food is the best laxative in the world – you’re guaranteed to take a giant dump within a few minutes of consuming one of their greaseburgers. Even the so-called “better” choices they offer such as the “Southern-style” (yeah, right) chicken sandwich are thinly-disguised imitations of real, actual, edible food. And at the prices for that stuff you might as well go to a sit down restaurant.

        Walmart is a different case. I agree with the post that says that most of us would love to support the corner independent grocer, but we just can’t afford it. The proliferation of Walmart kind of forces people on a budget to buy from them.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @ mkirk I go to Whole Foods mostly for their fresh meats and fish, bakery, and brisket from the hot bar. Lots and lots of granola cars with bumper stickers for checkbook liberals; and I’d like to slap most of the clientele. I do enjoying smoking as I walk through their parking lot.

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    I helped my father purchase a new Accord last week. He briefly considered the Civic, and we test drove an LX sedan. Our time with it was brief – he thought it was a tad small and the deals on Accords are ridiculous – but I noticed a few things:
    * The bi-level dash actually works well, but it’s gimmicky. Bars that glow green or blue depending on how you’re driving seem a little pointless.
    * The dash in general is ugly, bulky – very un-Honda like. It’s ergonomically sound, but terrible to look at. I don’t know if I could look at it every day, but to each his own.
    * Interior materials seemed fine to me, some hard stuff but at least it looked good with fine graining and good fit and finish.
    * Can’t say much about how it drove since we bascially just drove it around the block, but it seemed refined and quiet with a well-controlled ride.

    I’m not sure what CR is on about, but the Civic seems like a decent choice within the class, the dash notwithstanding. No reason to believe it’ll be anything but reliable as well.

    My thoughts on the Civic’s sales success basically boil down to one thing – a flight to safety. The economy stinks, so people go with what they know and don’t take chances with the unfamiliar. Easy cheesy.

    • 0 avatar
      Freddy M

      It’s funny because that was apparently the ethos behind this new civic – offer the consumer a cost conscious product at an identical MSRP to the outgoing model in an attempt to address consumer concern regarding the economy. Then it gets panned by most reviews for that exact reason and contrasted against the improvements of its competition. The perceived backlash was so large American Honda chief Mendel had to release a rebuttal in a statement, and shortly afterward Honda CEO Ito publicly accepted responsibility for it and pledged an update. And now it seems (from a sales and market share standpoint) that Honda hit the mark exactly. So the car wasn’t terribly good compared to its competitors but it was still a sales success. Power to the free market economy I say. Thank you to Honda for this Civic. So that it forced the competition to offer vastly improved product.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    The Liberty deserves every bit of CR’s criticism.

    And the Impreza’s interior is far better than the Civic, both in design and (most) materials.

    Here’s what I don’t understand about CR’s dislike of the new Civic: They rate the Corolla well, but it is guilty of all the Civic’s flaws except for road noise. Unlike most prior gens, this Civic is appliance grade through and through. But CR rarely blasts a car for being such. If the Civic wants to be a Corolla, and the Corolla is OK by CR, why not be OK with the Civic?

  • avatar
    marc

    This CR article perplexes me. What CR does well is independently analyze and critique key parts of a car that are important to its buyers-reliability, durability, eifficiency, etc. What they don’t do well is analyze how enjoyable one might find a car, how well it handles, its specialness, its uniqueness in the market. Once they start being subjective, they lose credibility.

    How CR thinks they can randomly choose 5 cars, for differing reasons, and lump them into a list of unworthy cars is beyond me. The Prius C and Civic don’t belong on any list with Caravans and Libertys.

    In fact, CR should stay away form these Forbes/Yahoo-like best and worst of lists, because they automatically must be subjective, and that goes compeletly against what CR claims to be about and the reasons people purchase their mag.

    As others have noted, CR is clearly struggling to find relevance in the age of interbets and blogospheres. And by doing so they are turning into a bunch of whiny basement dwellers who would be better writing for Autospies.

  • avatar
    carsickgeek

    We own a 2001 Accord EX 5-speed, the attributes of which include outstanding fit and finish, high-grade materials and an overall feeling of quality that make it easy to love. So when I recently rode in a colleague’s new Pilot, I was taken aback by a host of hard interior surfaces and a general level of execution that was well below that of our old Accord. Consumer Reports is one of many publications that have panned the new Civic, and the reasons they cite parallel my observations in the Pilot, namely that Honda has cheapened things. I’m old enough to remember GM doing the same thing in the ’70s — exploiting customers’ brand-loyalty and starting a long slide into mediocrity.

    • 0 avatar
      jayzwhiterabbit

      I know what you mean….my Dad was working on a new Honda Pilot in his shop the other day. I decided to check it out as I usually do any new car I haven’t been in, and boy was I surprised! The interior was truly terrible. A wasteland of cheap materials and 15 year-old design. It is similar to a lot of newer Hondas, though.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    I am confused by the Civic hate by Consumer Reports. They recommend the Civic SI, but not the Civic. They are nearly the same vehicle. I suspect an Obama Democrat has infiltrated the Consumer Report testing staff and is willing to push buyers toward less reliable UAW metal in order to make the auto bailout a success … this is a political priority … Shame.

    What I see is the new Civic is the favorite among youngish college educated women. At my Wall Street firm, it seems more than half the young women own a Fit or Civic.

    It appears Honda knows this, and retuned the 12 Civic to be less sporty … this appears to be a move to satisfy the young women demographic. And, the young women can’t get enough of these. On the east and west coasts, new Civics being drivn by young women are EVERYWHERE. My guess is young college educated women are smart and can see through the political smokescreen cast by the Obama team and his supporters.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      It’s tinfoil hat time!

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        If you really want to torment him, give him a tinfoil hat that was made by American union labor.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        You are correct. I am anti-union. I see what they did to Detroit. They ruined the big 3. People lost their jobs because of this. Now, large sections of the Detroit area have turned into a crime pit. See what happens when your corporations get ruined by unions? No jobs = runaway crime. Before 2005, I did not have an opinion on unions. After seeing the result, I am anti-union. To the core.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Agreed with Jimmy, unions and politicians will destroy this country.

      • 0 avatar
        PartsUnknown

        Right, because unions and politicians have only been around for what, 100 years or so? I’m sure the US will collapse any day now.

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        The Union didn’t destroy Detroit. They only aided its demise. Detroit did a great job destroying themselves by being too cheap and complacent to engineer a decent car when they finally had real competition. Whose greed did more damage? The Union greed for more perks and pay or Detroits greed that led to an awful product?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Read up on the latter works of Sir James Goldsmith and then ask yourself who helped put industry in that position to begin with…

        There’s a good interview with him on youtube circa 1994.

    • 0 avatar
      jayzwhiterabbit

      The “bailout” already is a success. It saved a hell of a lot of people’s jobs, and created 100,000+. God, it’s amazing how much people want this country to fail! BTW, it’s the banks/financial industry that got the real bailout….hope you don’t use any national banks or brokerage houses.

      All the young people I know are Obama supporters….although I suppose the children of the 1% would favor Mittens. And regardless of the economy, the Republicans have become so bigoted that I don’t see how in good conscience anyone could vote for them. But they sure can pick em: a cult member who hates women, grew up filthy rich, and doesn’t pay taxes. I couldn’t have done better if I tried!

      Once their base of 70-100+ y/olds start dying off, the Repubs are dead.

      But I am not a Democrat, I assure you, sir! You can calm down. I am just a harmless little Socialist.

      • 0 avatar

        “grew up filthy rich”?

        How much do you really know about George Romney? You realize that this is a car site and that some of us have these things called history books that we can reference.

        Interesting juxtaposition of “bigoted” with “cult member”. I bet you pat yourself on the back about how tolerant you are.

        If all the young people you know are Obama supporters, that’s probably because they’re the product of an educational system that indoctrinates rather than educates.

        BTW, what about the 100,000 jobs lost in the car dealers ordered closed by Obama’s car czar and his team?

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        Not going to join a political debate…but as far as car dealership jobs?? This link is over a year old. I’m gonna guess things look even better now.

        http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/04/01/job-hunt-car-dealers-hiring/

        Did you think that SAAR could go from 16-17 million to 11-12 million without losing a few jobs at the dealership level?

        If a certified mechanic has had trouble finding a job in the last few years, I would argue that he doesn’t know how to look for a job. Yep, a few car salesman probably needed to lose their jobs given the drop in sales.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan saved the jobs of a lot of people in the Defense industry. I don’t see you Socialists and democrats running out to praise them as being successful.

      • 0 avatar
        jayzwhiterabbit

        I guess it may have saved defense sector jobs, but isn’t that a little bit outweighed by the trillions spent on the wars themselves? Of course, the wars were started for and are now maintained for the purpose of the defense suppliers and their profits – good old private industry, the soldier’s best friend. History has proven time and again that private corporations are more than willing to have America’s young men and women killed and/or lose limbs to provide their profits. I believe President Eisenhower had something to say about this? ;)

        Needless military spending is what’s sucking our economy dry. Here’s a bright idea: why don’t we stop spending billions on chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons that we already possess by the hundreds of thousands, and actually spend a little money on treating the PTSD that so many of the soldiers are returning with.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      What you say may be true, but young college educated women are one of the biggest Democratic voting blocks – just look at the detailed polling data. Women are more Democratic leaning, younger people are more Democratic leaning and college educated are more Democratic leaning.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “What you say may be true”

        About any kind of political insider infiltrating CR and skewing test results to move UAW products? Mike, you are a very generous and courteous fellow.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        30MF – thanks. It can be exhausting to correct every incorrect or paranoid comment on here. So just wanted to go for the easily correctable errors.
        Also what with all the recent articles that created aggrieved Scion FRS owners (or wanna be owners) I didn`t want the temperature to rise anymore. And I just thought it was “Detroit lovers” that got angry defending their brand!

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      I guess the Dems must have infiltrated the boardroom at Honda as well since Honda execs have pretty come to the same conclusion, ordering a quick refresh update.

      From Motor Trend -

      It’s fair to say that critical response to the 2012 Honda Civic has been far from positive. The Wall Street Journal said the redesigned Civic was a “massive fail,” Consumer Reports called the car “insubstantial,”and we at Motor Trend concluded “the Civic already feels a bit dated.” It now appears those views are shared by those within Honda’s corporate headquarters, as executives and designers have admitted disappointment in the new Civic.

      Speaking at the Tokyo Motor Show, Honda CEO Takanobu Ito accepted responsibility for the new Civic’s lukewarm reception, and promised his company would quickly remedy the car’s quality. “The ultimate responsibility rests with me,” Ito told Automotive News. “We take inputs from the various markets with sincerity.”

      We already had heard inklings that Honda was fast-tracking a refresh for the new Civic, with a mid-cycle update now expected in 2013 rather than spring 2014. American Honda President John Mendel has admitted the Civic has been poorly received by critics and consumers, and previously said the company was “appropriately energized” to revamp the car.

      Ito reportedly explained that the 2012 Civic was under development during the American financial crisis, which led Honda executives to believe Americans would accept lower-quality cars, so long as they were fuel-efficient and affordable. That plan appears to have backfired…

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      Yes and that evil Obama was responsible for 9/11 and both space shuttle disasters. Nothing gets by you Jimmyy.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      I did not mean to cause such a thread. I was just trying to point out that I smell a rat in the CR story, and my evidence is the Civic SI is recommended, while the Civic LX/EX is not.

      This latest CR Civic smear does not mention this detail. Instead, it smears every Civic model, including the recommended SI. I smell politics. After all, the Civic is the #1 hated vehicle in it’s segment … hated by Detroit that is …

      In my opinion, if this Civic smear by CR was credible, it would have mentioned the Civic SI is a recommended vehicle. But it does not. It is not credible. It is political.

      If it was credible, one would think Consumer Reports would have corrected this SI issue. In the past, CR has quickly fixed any errors in it’s publication. Where is the fix?

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        Here’s that ringing endorsement of the Civic SI from Consumer Reports.

        http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2011/12/sportier-honda-civic-si-gets-consumer-reports-nod-/1

        Said CR: “While the Si performed better than more basic versions of the Civic, the car still suffers from many of the same drawbacks as other Civics: vague steering, cheap plastics, a jittery ride, and lots of noise.”

        And it noted that the Civic ranks 9 out of 11 of tested cars so far in the sporty car category.

        “The Civic Si has a great powertrain, but it needs a better car wrapped around it,” David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports Automotive Test Center said in a statement

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        That is the USA Today version. USA Today is a left leaning publication that pumps negativity on every Toyota and Honda vehicle whenever possible. I am sure that USA Today editors were not happy that the SI was recommended, so they threw a negative spin on the recommendation.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        ok…here’s the Consumer Reports press release that was so spun by the USA today:

        http://pressroom.consumerreports.org/pressroom/2011/12/my-entry-3.html

        YONKERS, NY — While earlier tests of the more-popular basic versions of the Honda Civic scored too low to be Recommended, the sportier Si version has earned a notably higher rating from Consumer Reports.

        As a result of these latest tests, Consumer Reports now Recommends the Si version of the Civic because it scores high enough and its reliability rating is likely to be above average.

        While the Si performed better than more basic versions of the Civic, the car still suffers from many of the same drawbacks as other Civics: vague steering, cheap plastics, a jittery ride, and lots of noise. The Civic currently ranks 9 out of 11 of tested cars in Consumer Reports’ sporty car category.

        Consumer Reports found the Civic Si 201-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine delivers terrific acceleration at high revs. Compared with the frenetic previous Civic Si, the now larger engine has more torque and is more relaxed in everyday driving. The Si returns a very good 29 mpg overall. A slick-shifting six-speed manual is the only transmission offered on the Si.

        “The Civic Si has a great powertrain, but it needs a better car wrapped around it,” said David Champion, sr. director of Consumer Reports Automotive Test Center.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        9th out of 11th? Not possible.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        But, the core issue is, why did CR forget to mention the SI recommendation in this latest smear? Because they did not want to.

        I enjoy all of you guys, and I would like to keep it going, but I need to get some sleep. I have a european debt crisis to deal with early tomorrow. Enjoy your weekend …

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        I have to admit…the character you play on here is quite amusing.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Jimmyy, maybe you should read CJ’s posts before you write yours. I don’t usually support his political opinions, but at least he is concise and makes a logical argument. Read your last couple of posts and ask yourself “Did I really write that”? …”An Obama Democrat has infiltrated Consumer Reports”….Really??? I just don’t know how to follow up on that….

      • 0 avatar
        tced2

        Honda already made “a Civic SI powertrain with a better car wrapped around it” some years ago – an Acura TSX with the 2.4l and 6-speed.

    • 0 avatar
      jayzwhiterabbit

      As far as I know, being a member of a cult is just a simple fact. The word “cult” does not imply a negative or positive connotation to me. It simply means that the religion follows some Christian tenets- but the most important aspect of the definition is that a cult changes the status of Jesus Christ. In almost all cults, JC is considered to be divine, a prophet, a miracle worker, but NOT God. I’m no Christer so I don’t care either way. My point is the irony of the fact that one of the supposed core constituencies of the Rep. party are the members of the mainstream American Christian denominations, who love to hold Romney up as a shining example of their Christian values. When he is not, in fact, a Christian.

      Another difference is that unlike the ultra-right-wing highjacked Republican party, I would not devise legislation targeting the restriction of the civil rights of any particular minority group (say, a religious cult). I actually believe all Americans should be free and have the same civil rights – regardless of age, color, sex, creed, sexual orientation, or whatever. I don’t judge people who belong to cults, in fact I think anyone is free to choose whatever the hell religion they want – just keep it out of our faces. And stop crafting legislation to force it on the rest of us.

      I don’t know a damn thing about George Romney, and I don’t care to. I know he was either the head guy of AMC or high up in the company, and that fact is especially sad considering Mittens’ lack of support for the automaker loans. Regardless, Mittens indeed grew up “filthy rich”. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but it is rather distasteful to voters who are having to choose between food or going to the doctor. And as we all know, perception is everything.

      At least he supports Obamacare. I know, I know, he changed his tune and pretends not to, but he did set up the same deal in MA. And no wonder! It after all was a conservative-created plan, crafted by the Heritage Foundation in the early 90′s, complete with the suddenly “unconstitutional” individual coverage mandate. Too bad Obama picked that plan rather than true universal healthcare since he figured the Repubs would surely support the plan they created and stood by for 20 years….but we all know how that turned out ;)

      As far as socialism leading to bad economies, in representative democracies this is hardly the case. It works quite well in the majority of Europe – Spain and Greece are actually great examples of what happens when large corporate banks get too much control within the government. Also, see “United States economic markets, October 2008″ for another example. And after LIBOR, people are waking up to the fact that while yes, government is subject to mismanagement and waste, it absolutely pales in comparison to the outright corruption and massive economic damage resulting from the widespread (read: universal) fraud coupled with arrogance found in the private sector.

      Back to cars now ;) It is so tiring when people start politics up.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Funny to see the Honda and Toyata types whining about a “perception gap”

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        jayzwhiterabbit, nothin’ by love my brother. i couldn’t have placed that argument better myself. If jimmyyy could wean himself off the hourly intake of his Rupert Murdoch right-wing media world of Fox News, Drudge Report and Wall Street Journal bile, he may be able to see that the world is not crawling with evil Socialists trying to take over the world by claiming one Honda Civic is better than another.

        And to think he works on Wall Street. In the military, we call that living up in the EAR; Eschelons Above Reality.

      • 0 avatar

        “Christer”?

        That’s offensive. Nice of you to put your bigotry on display for all to see.

        You brag about your ignorance about George Romney but then insist that Mitt grew up “filthy rich”. If you know nothing about George Romney, on what are you basing your continued assertion that he was “filthy rich”?

        The Romneys were undoubtedly affluent by late 1950s and early 1960s standards but not super rich, not even by Detroit automaker executive standards (yeah, I know AMC was HQ’d in Kenosha at the time, but the Romney family lived in Detroit). According to Charles Hyde’s book on Nash, Hudson and AMC, from 1954 to 1962, when Romney headed AMC, his total compensation was about $2 million, the most he ever made was $250,000/yr. Again, good money for the time but hardly “filthy rich”. Certainly not by the standards of, let’s say, Ted Kennedy or John Kerry or John Corzine or Warren Buffet or George Soros. Have you ever called any of those men “filthy rich”? What about Obama’s bundlers that still work for Bain Capital?

        I’m quite certain that Mitt was far from the richest kid in his class at Cranbrook nor, once the Romneys moved from Detroit to West Bloomfield, were they the richest family on the block. When he and his wife started their family, they lived in a basement apartment and took no financial help from their parents.

        By the way, speaking of Cranbrook, that’s considered to be Detroit’s most elite private school socioeconomically and academically (though Country Day alums would disagree, and Roeper gets a lot of the really smart kids). Cranbrook has an endowment of $191 million. Mitt must have been really privileged to have gone to a school that rich, right? Well, that $191 million isn’t really that much more than the Punahou School’s $171-$180 million endowment. Punahou is where Mr. Romney’s opponent in this campaign went to school in Hawaii. Actually, when including real estate, some estimates put Punahou’s endowment at $500 million or more. I should note that Mr. Obama grew up in the home of a bank vice-president, his grandmother.

        Yeah, Mitt Romney’s family was wealthy (though not “filthy rich”) and he went to a nice private school and then the Ivy League. Interestingly, Mitt’s father never went to college. Obama’s father, on the other hand, attended Harvard before his son did. We don’t know exactly how the president got into Harvard law school, since he won’t release his academic record. Maybe he was a “legacy” admission to Harvard based on his father’s previous enrollment at the school. Or maybe it was something else. Obama’s bio from his publisher for years said that he was originally from Indonesia. I’m pretty sure he was just embellishing his exotic origins then, and might have done the same to take advantage of opportunities open to foreign students at Columbia and Harvard.

        Why should it be “distasteful” for a poor person to vote for a rich person? I’m considerably poorer than John Dingell, who has become a multimillionaire while serving in Congress but had the chutzpah to call his last opponent a “rich doctor”. Nevertheless, you’d want me to vote for Dingell and not his Republican opponent.

        There’s an interesting verse in the bible, where judges are commanded to favor neither a rich man nor a poor man, because misplaced compassion for the poor can be just as corrupting to justice as the power of the wealthy. My life would be infinitely poorer, literally and figuratively were it not for the institutions that were supported voluntarily by the philanthropy of wealthy people. All the wealthy people that I know give greatly of their time and money. One big difference between them and John Dingell is that rich folks use their own money to put their names on buildings. John Dingell uses your money and my money to put his name on buildings.

      • 0 avatar
        jayzwhiterabbit

        Christ-er: A follower of JC. What’s offensive about that? Nonetheless, I regret that your happiness depends on my opinions and actions. It must be very difficult to live life giving other people that much control.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I stopped driving Hondas in 1988. Our local dealers wanted over invoice and there was a waiting list. I drove a few miles down the road and found a BMW that had just been traded in. BWAHAHAHA.

  • avatar
    Wodehouse

    I was recently given a base trim model 2011 Honda Civic as a loaner. The interior was a 3-tone color combination of beige, light grey, dark grey and fuzzy beige seat material that reminded me of the office desks, task chairs, and computers I rented for a temporary office space back in the mid 1990s. I thought how strange that this was acceptable for a 2012 automobile then I realized that many luxury vehicle interiors also come in these colors. Old computer beige and grey as modern interior trim…Yuck!

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    I have a “suddenly uncool” 2012 Civic HF and couldn’t care less what CR or ‘enthusiasts’ think. I had Fords that CR hated before, so heard it before.

    When long term reliability reports come out in a few years, the ‘mediocre plastics’ will be forgotten. Fanatics and those who look to be ‘entertained’ by car companies expected a ‘Space Ship’ this year, and are “wowed by Hyundais” only since they used to make garbage. But, those Korean tin cans will be junked once the ‘Fabulous’ 100K powertrain warranty expires.

    With used car buyers, they don’t care about ‘interior feel’ but will it break down? Want better ‘feel’? Well, buy a luxury car.

    And while the Focus has ‘fun’ image, that DCT is like riding a bucking bronco. Drove one for 2 months and hated it.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Funny as my 50K mile year old Korean car has been absolutely problem free, unlike my previous domestic that had many issues before 30, and much better than my bosses Honda Odyssey which has been in the shop 3 times within the past 6 weeks with 33K on it.

      But yea it’s a Honda so it gets a “pass”….

  • avatar
    jandrews

    Why does someone have to be wrong?

    Maybe CR is accurate in saying the Civic isn’t a fantastic car. Perhaps the Civic’s purchasers understand their application and judge the Civic to be the best value for their needs at the pricepoint.

    I wonder if many publications are taking into account the effect of an economy in the dumps on vehicle sales. When a 60% drop in home equity has torn your budgetary shitter in half, cost of ownership and reliability suddenly take on prime importance.

    Having a vehicle that was fun but less reliable was a realistic proposition when you had 3 for two drivers. Now that you have 1 for two drivers, you need the damn thing to have swiss-watch reliability so you can keep barely treading water on your adjustable rate mortgage that has already “adjusted”.

  • avatar
    limestonenative

    I purchased a 2012 Civic EX with navi last fall, to replace a 2002 PT Cruiser with 140k on the odometer that had cost me over $2500 in non-maintenance repairs. The sunroof failed, along with cruise control, fog lights, cooling fan assy., AC evaporator, both master and slave clutch cylinders, clutch cable and the ignition switch (!). Our 1994 Voyager was a similar Auburn Hills POS. I will never, ever buy another Chrysler product.

    My wife drives a 2002 Accord EX with 106k that has been trouble free. My son has a 2008 Civic LX, which I drive from time to time and like very much.

    I love my 2012. Admittedly, the interior is not as nice as the wife’s Accord, but the integrated electronics (Blutooth, voice command, etc) are great and make for an entertaining ride. And, I especially like the instrument panel with the fuel economy indicators. I am averaging 38-40mpg on my daily 60 mile round trip commute. This car uses the new 0w20 synthetic oil, which went 9k before the first oil and filter change.

    BTW, this is only my second Honda. The first was a 1975 Civic purchased new that was the worst car I ever owned. Underpowered, unreliable and noisy. Traded it after only 18 months.

    I read all of the snarky reviews and purchased the 2012 Civic anyway. Absolutely no regrets, except I wish now I had the leather interior.

    • 0 avatar
      silverkris

      Coincidentally, my wife traded in her 2000 Civic EX for a 2012. She wouldn’t consider other models, such as the Focus or Elantra. I dissuaded her from getting a Corolla (lower fuel economy, only a 4-speed tranny).

      I also think the 2012 model seems to have a cheaper-looking interior – in terms of the plastics and upholstery. However, like you, I think the updated features such as integrated Bluetooth, and being able to hook up an iPod are nice. Also, very importantly, compared with the older car, the ’12 gets better fuel economy, is quieter/smoother. So far, the spouse is quite happy with her car. And that’s all that counts.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    “If the pendulum is starting to swing back, then why does Detroit still dominate the bottom end of Consumer Reports and JD Powers long term reliability ranking”

    It’s absolutely swung back. What you don’t understand is that the TOTAL number of problems has fallen. The very worst domestics – say a Jeep have a similiar number of problems to a mid 90′s Japanese car.

    “As long as Detroit has excessive UAW costs, it can not compete with Toyota and Honda. Toyota and Honda engineers are not smarter than Detroit engineers. Toyota and Honda engineers have more budget to work with because of no UAW. It is that simple.”

    Really? What do you think its costs to build and ship cars from Japan? Does Japan have a bunch of low paid factory workers.

    Compared to many domestics – Japanese cars look bad and drive worse. It’s the same compared to the europeans. And the rub is unlike the old days they aren’t cheaper..

    Back in the 90′s and 80s’ the Japanese cars were VASTLY more reliable and they drove better and they looked as good. That’s not true anymore and that’s why cars like the Jeep Grand Cherokee – despite being less reliable then a 4runner – sell more. They look better, they drive better and the reliability – while being the absolute rock bottom is good enough.

    Saying such and such is the most reliable is not that meaningful if every car is reliable enough. If ‘unreliable’ translates into 2 extra trips to the dealer (but not complete breakdowns) – then plenty of people will put up with that for the better looks and the better drivability of european and domestic cars.

    Jay Leno ‘Steam car” now that’s unreliable. My brothers 1970 SS Chevelle – pretty unreliable as well. A new Dodge – not as reliable as Corolla – but you don’t need to be a mechanic to make that thing run.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    If the answer is lots and lots of sales means CR is wrong and consumers are right, even chaffing out the fleet sales, GM sold millions, literally millions of maligned W-bodies for almost two decades. Does that mean suddenly CR was wrong about them too?

    The current iterations of the Civic and even worse, Corolla are decontented shadows of themselves, based on out dated technology.

    Reliable? As the sunrise. The same could be said about a 2012 Chevy Impala too (and at least the Impala has a 6-speed and a modern engine – hello Corolla?).

    Does the average spawning salmon that didn’t cross shop and returned to the Honda/Toyota dealer for another helping of bland oatmeal care?

    Nope.

    That’s why they sell so many Corollas and Civics.

    Is the CR opinion flawed?

    Well considering the worse Corolla isn’t on the same list one has to wonder (I would put the current Civic over the Corolla any day of the week) but that is like debating which was worse, the all oval Taurus or the competing Impala. They both were pretty bad.

    The reality is Civic/Corolla that the Forte/Elantra/Cruze/Dart/Jetta/Focus/Mazda3 are all better. The ignored Sentra sure is long in the tooth when it comes to technology, isn’t pretty, but the interior is better than the decontented Civic, and the ancient Corolla.

    The cars just aren’t competitive. Worse for the Civic, go upscale with the ILX and compare it to the Buick Verano, the shortcomings of the platform become incredibly glaring.

    Never mind in the auto community there is a very active debate on a Civic based Acura vs. a Daewoo based Buick.

    Who’d a thunk that?

    • 0 avatar
      mggkeefer

      I recently purchased a 2012 Civic. I know there’s a lot of skepticism, but when it comes down to putting your money down on a car, I think it’s the safest choice when planning to spend nearly $20k in order to keep it ten+ years.

      Yes the engine and transmission are ancient. Given Honda’s previous problems with transmissions earlier, I am just as happy. Engines and transmissions are the parts of the car I’d least have to pay to replace.

      The new dash is not as nice as the competition. But my reference point is a 2000 Dodge Intrepid. Compared to what I’m used to, the cabin seems a step up.

      I considered buying an older Civic. It had nicer styling IMO. I test drove it but the inside seemed smaller inside. It felt claustrophobic and my head scraped the top. (I drove EX, so it could have been just the sunroof). The seats were much too firm. I like the Accord seats best but the new Civic seats are very miles away nicer. Plus, the used car prices were insanely high. My transaction price for the new Civic was less than the asking prices of two/three year old ones (certified).

      It does not have direct injection like Ford, so it should have fewer coking problems.

      The Impreza is nice but worse fuel economy, likely not as reliable (they moved their automatic to CVT and changed the engine, for any manufacturer this means problems are more likely), and had higher transaction prices. Still, the Impreza was my second choice. Manual won’t work for me on hills of Seattle.

      I can’t believe CR rates the Corolla OVER the Civic. It seems like a much worse car. And the seats from reviews are less comfortable over long trips.

      Cruze, new car from Daewoo, who was never known for reliability. Reliability of both Cruze and Focus seem to be less than Honda in CR and from TrueDelta. More so for Cruze.

      Could go to Elantra. Steven Lang mentions their interiors generally don’t wear as well. I’m not convinced they are as reliable as Honda, though one of the better manufacturers. They also have direct injection, which hasn’t been proven yet for them. Also, Focus and Elantra styling results in lower headlines than Civic. The Civic was barely enough room (would not be comfortable for me on long-term trip in back).

      Mazdas seem to be prone to salt issues. I don’t know where I’ll end up in a few years, so really want a car that won’t rust out on me. Also fuel economy is worse. And the styling is dreadful (much worse than the new Civic). Every time I see it, I think girl car. Nothing wrong with that, just not for me.

      Golf/Jetta: Lang’s posts convinced me to stay away from them. German cars are not known for reliability in general. I believe maintenance is more expensive for VW than Honda/Toyota/Big 3.

      My father had two Dodge Intrepids this year. He sold both after the brakes failed on him from rust (thankfully he was parked and testing them). Not sure I want to trust my life to another Dodge product. Dodge seems to have the worst reliability of the big 3. Trust but verify most important with Dodge. Would need to get a long reliability history going first.

      That leaves Kia Forte, which actually I think is rather nice. Fuel economy takes a hit and I’m not sure how long the interiors would last. But otherwise, it seems nice (have not been in one).

      We rented the Sentra. I liked it. It was very spacious and good deals could be had. But girlfriend said it just felt cheap. She asked who uses orange lights on the instrument panels? She vetoed that one.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        The Elantra does not have direct injection.

        It has the 1.8 Nu port injected engine.

        https://www.hyundaiusa.com/vehicles/2013/elantra/performance.aspx?

        So much for research huh?

      • 0 avatar
        jayzwhiterabbit

        You should be proud of the Civic you purchased. I’m no big fan, but all that really matters is that you like it and you’re satisfied with the car! I drive a fairly unpopular American compact (among certain circles ;) and it took a hell of a lot more criticism than anything Honda has ever put on the road. Do I give a damn? No, because I assign value to things based on what I think – not other people. I have cracked on the new Civic, but in all seriousness it’s still a perfectly acceptable car for the class.

        The positive side of an “ancient powertrain” is that it’s reliability is established. That was one of the considerations I had when I purchased my car, which was the last model year of a six-year cycle. Most crap has been worked out of it and addressed. The fact that your new 2012 Civic isn’t truly “all new” is not necessarily a bad thing.

      • 0 avatar
        mggkeefer

        “The Elantra does not have direct injection.
        It has the 1.8 Nu port injected engine.”

        You are right. The direct-injection is for the non-US market.

        “You should be proud of the Civic you purchased. I’m no big fan, but all that really matters is that you like it and you’re satisfied with the car! I drive a fairly unpopular American compact (among certain circles ;) and it took a hell of a lot more criticism than anything Honda has ever put on the road. Do I give a damn? No, because I assign value to things based on what I think – not other people. I have cracked on the new Civic, but in all seriousness it’s still a perfectly acceptable car for the class.

        The positive side of an “ancient powertrain” is that it’s reliability is established. That was one of the considerations I had when I purchased my car, which was the last model year of a six-year cycle. Most crap has been worked out of it and addressed. The fact that your new 2012 Civic isn’t truly “all new” is not necessarily a bad thing”

        I’m getting more and more proud. I’ve driven lots of big cars for so long that it’s nice to drive something more urban friendly. Not just in gas savings but in peace of mind. Parking is so much easier, it’s easier to get in and out of traffic, it can fit in the tight parking lot by my apartment. And it seems like a great car for road trips with 3-4 people (spacious and comfortable seating). I get more fun using the car as an “appliance” to have fun than from the car itself. Plus, I want to take good car of my appliance because buying new appliances all of the time is not affordable, so I drive it conservatively.

        A friend rented a BMW 3-series from Zipcar and a MINI. I thought both were nice, but given my conservative driving style, I’m not sure either would be more fun for me than a Civic. Plus, I don’t want car problems to get in the way of having fun other ways. Plus, the BMW was way too powerful for me to have fun. I’d rather drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow. The BMW hit 100 on the highway without even seeming all that fast. The MINI didn’t seem noticeable faster than the Civic on the highway, though the handling was a hoot.

        What car did you end up getting? I think the Civic could have better sound insulation and steering feel. These seem minor to me. That said, I think the sound insulation was a step up than the generation it replaced, though no one mentions this. It could be more fun to drive, but that’s why I have Zipcar memberships and go-karts.

        It seems like many here feel the Civic needs to be more modern. For someone who likes cars that have had all the crap worked out already, as it sounds like you do, it seems like the small car segment currently has few choices. I was actually hoping to give the Focus a go, but they discontinued the seasoned Focus with the 2011 model.

        There are people out there who really like well-tested cars and this Civic was one of them. I’m worried that Civic’s purported move to CVT and updated engine technology are going to result in fewer nice crap-worked-out small cars in the near future.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The “auto community” may be comparing the Acura ILX to the Buick Verano, but, in the real world, Buicks are most commonly cross-shopped with Fords and Toyotas, as per Automotive News. Buick is basically another entry-level brand, except that it doesn’t have Toyota’s reputation for reliability or the image provided to Ford by the F-series and Mustang.

      A review actual test results shows that those cars are not necessarily “better” than the Civi. The only cars that routinely outscore the Civic are the Focus and Golf/Jetta. Both are sharp cars, but the Focus, in particular, has been beset with teething problems.

      When I shut the door of the very handsome Focus hatchback on display at the Carlisle All-Ford Nationals, the car alarm went off. The Ford rep sheepishly replied, “It has been doing that all day.” Not too good…

      Reviewers have also complained of poorly fitted parts…in the latest issue of Car and Driver, the Focus was rated ahead of the new Dodge Dart, but the testers noted that it was delivered to them with a few parts not properly installed. And the dual-clutch transmission has been a constant source of complaints.

      And I say this as someone who owns a 2005 Focus SE with 150,000 trouble-free miles on the odometer. I was very interested in the new car, until now.

      The death of the Civic has been greatly exaggerated…

  • avatar
    multicam

    Just a little anecdote about a ’12 Civic coupe (not sure what trim level).

    My friend just bought his wife one. It had around 6,000 miles on it when I got in it. I did not know this.
    I didn’t focus on the car and was distracted, but I did have the vague idea that I was getting into a Civic coupe.

    His wife is a smoker so the new car smell was gone. Also it desperately needed to be cleaned on the inside.

    Anyway, when he told me it was a 2012 car he just bought new, I was shocked. It seemed like an ’07 with a billion miles on it to me. I guess that must be attributed to its cleanliness, but the dash and instrument cluster just seemed so old and outdated to me. It was strange.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Too many choices. Maybe the Soviets had it right. “You want new car? Buy used Lada.”

  • avatar
    don1967

    187,586 consumers might not be wrong, but they certainly can be mindless sheep. Kudos to CR for using a fresh writing approach to wake people up.

    The CR-haters club could use some fresh writing of its own. Instead of repeating the same tired old “appliance review” cliches, how about writing your own list of Five CR-Recommended Cars to Avoid, and exposing your rationale to public judgement?

  • avatar
    geeber

    According to an insider on templeofvtec.com, the 2013 Civic will feature a new hood, headlights, taillights and front bumper. The interior is being redone, and this person claims it will be a “9″ on a scale of 1-10 (he rated the current car as a “3″).

    Granted, on the internet, one can say anything, but he has proved credible in the past (he gave a description of the styling and size of the 2013 Accord that has turned out to be accurate).

    And comparing Honda to GM is very premature. GM would criticize the critics, pile on the incentives, dump 50 percent of production on Avis, Hertz and Alamo and then tell us to wait for the NEXT version. Honda is moving quickly to address critics’ complaints…we’ll see how successful that effort has been in a few weeks.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Completely agree, the sign of a good company is one that fixes the issues that can be fixed quickly. Rather than wait until either a) never or b) the next scheduled mid cycle review.
      This seems to be something Kia has done recently with the Soul, 2 year out it gets a much better and fuel efficient powertrain addressing one of it’s issues.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “And comparing Honda to GM is very premature. GM would criticize the critics, pile on the incentives, dump 50 percent of production on Avis, Hertz and Alamo and then tell us to wait for the NEXT version.”

      Yep. I’m not sure yet about the new GM, but the old GM would have circled the wagons and attacked its critics. It would have blamed the consumer for being too dumb to appreciate the beauty and wonder of yet another fantastic GM vehicle. It would have not sped up the refresh.

      Honda is handling the Civic matter quite differently. It’s actually impressive that they’re responding to the criticisms and taking the negative comments into consideration, even though sales volumes have been high.

      It goes to show that corporate culture really does make a difference. Some companies are genuinely better managed than others, and those attitudes from the top do end up in the product.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      The big question, will be whether they fix sound insulation, suspension calibration, and power steering calibration. They had better do that, otherwise it’s going to be lipstick on a pig … changing the styling alone won’t fix the various ride, NVH, and handling complaints.

  • avatar
    pickboz

    CR are not perfect and they have their preferences , and like in every other thing their is a fashion, the one that says the Japanese are better, the other; the domestics car are better ect, and all that stuff got no influence on someone who knows to choose by himself. CR is a business so they want to attract attention with some good title and so they sale more! I do not think that they have a big influence on other who do not share their view. The only public that they will attract is the one that share that kind of thinking and keep them all the way.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I’d have to agree with the Prius C at least. A friend bought one out in CA and I took her out for a full day of deserted canyon driving in the little thing. Now I know that isn’t the inteded purpose, but this car was heinously bad in this context. To the point where, owner having no reference points and me not dogging it to her face, she was starting to regret not getting a Mazda3 or Golf all on her own, and within 1000 miles of buying the car. We also averages around 21mpg, a number easily acheivable in hard driving with any number of compacts. Except for the automatic Honda CR-Z, this might very well be the worst drivetrain I have ever experienced in a motor vehicle. If you have standards at all, or think you might develop some in the future, avoid at all costs.

    In it’s favor I’ve never seen milage figures as high as that car put out in LA driving, all without really trying. It’s not something to brag about though when you take the purchase price and (lack of) interior quality into consideration.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    “I recently purchased a 2012 Civic. I know there’s a lot of skepticism, but when it comes down to putting your money down on a car, I think it’s the safest choice when planning to spend nearly $20k in order to keep it ten+ years.”

    Eh. I ain’t seeing it. Cost of ownership will be about the same – and resale won’t be that much different either. Your entire post acts like every car but the Civic and Corolla are likely to be some kind of non-stop disaster so of course you have to buy the Civic.

    This just isn’t true IMHO. Modern cars – in both the manufacture and design are remarkably similiar. If they are taken care of poorly then don’t work. Take care of them well and even the Jetta will last ten years. Sure spend your time on the internet looking for things to be unreliable and you are always rewarded. Because there is always a chance you will get a bad one – even if its a Honda.

    Basing your decision on ‘reliability’ is the ‘appliance approach’ in a nutshell. Which is of course is not wrong – but even Consumer reports thinks thats taking things too far. I have absolutely seen Consumer reports start to value things like ride and looks in their review.

    If you notice with regards to consumer reports despite all the Japanese metal they push they don’t recommend extended warranties – because they don’t feel you will have enough serious problems to break even.

    I look at it entirely differently probably because I am older and have owned more cars (just a guess). Get a car that you don’t actually have at least a small emotional connection with and it just a few years there is a good chance you will be cursing it.

    That’s the nice thing about buying a modern car – you pretty much can’t go wrong so look for the one you like. Its not like back in the 1980s where you would buy a Renault Alliance and have it end up at the crusher in 50k miles.

    Cars are just much better then that now. I had a 1996 Civic. Still looking back I think I should have ponied up for a Mustang back then. They were only a bit more money and a ton more fun and there are a crapton of mustangs on the road right now despite they fact that they were unreliable..

    Times are changing. Audi holds its value better then a Lexus.. And that’s because they look and drive nice. The Japanese need to step up their game and sell more cars based on look, comfort, ride and performance. This is why Mazda has alot of fans – they have more cars with better looks and they are reliable enough.

    • 0 avatar
      mggkeefer

      “Eh. I ain’t seeing it. Cost of ownership will be about the same – and resale won’t be that much different either. Your entire post acts like every car but the Civic and Corolla are likely to be some kind of non-stop disaster so of course you have to buy the Civic.

      This just isn’t true IMHO. Modern cars – in both the manufacture and design are remarkably similiar. If they are taken care of poorly then don’t work. Take care of them well and even the Jetta will last ten years. Sure spend your time on the internet looking for things to be unreliable and you are always rewarded. Because there is always a chance you will get a bad one – even if its a Honda.”

      This was the argument my father gave me when we went through four Dodge Intrepids (two new, two used) the last twelve years. The Intrepids were the most reliable cars he had while he had them. But after twelve years, two were in collisions and turned into parts cars and the salt on the road weakened the brake systems on the others. We had the brakes go on both Intrepids in the span of two months. And thank God we got the 3.1 Intrepid engines over the 2.7(s). The 2.7 Intrepid engines were garbage. Which we only found out later.

      Granted, all of the cars were ten+ years old and had roughly 150,000 miles on them before they bit the dust. But you know what, we have a Honda Odyssey with that may miles and the underside hasn’t even started to rust? All it took for the brakes to fail was one good hard pump when at a stop. Imagine if we had needed to brake sharply on the highway. This type of failure doesn’t seem acceptable to me.

      For the care they were given, I feel the critical components should have lasted longer. The Odyssey could, I don’t see why the Intrepids couldn’t. Maybe this is more a reflection on Dodge/Chrysler products or maybe cars in 2012 are really that much better than 2000. One thing I think the Japanese do right is to generally carry-over many of the same time-tested components. This ensures the first production runs are relatively defect free.

      I agree with your sentiments though. I’m not sure your choice of Jetta was apt though. I think Volkswagen products are some of the least reliable historically and likely presently:

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/03/ask-the-best-and-brightest-where-did-the-vw-buyers-go/

      But I agree, in an ideal world, we could have cars that are both reliable as Toyota/Honda and as fun to drive as BMW/Audi/Mazda (Mazda seems very reliable minus salt issues). I think a lot of the criticism directed to Honda was that once upon a time they made fun cars that were reliable and now they make slightly more reliable cars that are less fun to drive.

      I think reliability is a key part of the emotional connection. I don’t know how can you feel attached to a car that lets you down when you need it.

      • 0 avatar
        don1967

        The Intrepid is not exactly a “modern” car in the context of this discussion. It was conceived 20 years ago, when the worst cars were worse by a wider margin than they are today.

        As for today’s German cars being temperamental, keep in mind that this is an essential (if somewhat masochistic) part of their appeal. The BMW driver sees himself – or at least wants to be seen by others – as having an appreciation for the finer things in life as well as the deep pockets to back it up. This is not an engineering issue; it is a marketing one.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The context of this discussion is that some people choose to learn from history and experience while some do not. 1998 was when Dodge introduced the 2.7 liter time bomb. In some cases it was more like a hand grenade than a time bomb. 2011 was when Jeep still sold Wranglers that burned themselves to the ground. June was when Ford sold Escapes and Chevrolet sold Cruzes that did so. I’m sure they’ve changed how they do everything since way back then though, so your view on this is as valid as a Honda buyer’s. BMW could probably make a HPFP that works as well and as long as Lexus’s, but that would ruin their desirability to thinkers.

      • 0 avatar
        mggkeefer

        “The Intrepid is not exactly a “modern” car in the context of this discussion. It was conceived 20 years ago, when the worst cars were worse by a wider margin than they are today.”

        That’s a valid argument. But read Steven Lang’s review of the Sonic, which I wanted to like. The transmission reminds him of Volvos of years past. And the automatic gearbox of the current Focuses does not inspire confidence, though I think in general, Ford has come along way. I’m less convinced regarding Chrysler and to some extent GM’s small cars (see CJinSD’s comments regarding the Cruze). I still think many cars (maybe not as much as before) on the market today likely have reliability issues baked in, we just haven’t seen them on the market place long enough.

        “As for today’s German cars being temperamental, keep in mind that this is an essential (if somewhat masochistic) part of their appeal. The BMW driver sees himself – or at least wants to be seen by others – as having an appreciation for the finer things in life as well as the deep pockets to back it up. This is not an engineering issue; it is a marketing one.”

        Lexus sells very well even with a sterile driving experience. I imagine if BMW had their reliability up to par, they could sell even better. Maybe I’m wrong and part of their appeal is that they are unaffordable to the the average buyer. But if they could fix reliability to Lexus’ levels, I’m sure they could charge a larger premium to keep it equally unaffordable and profit in the meantime.


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