By on November 20, 2012

Consumer Reports tested the latest offerings of Detroit automakers, did not like the Dodge Dart, was frustrated by the Cadillac XTS, was underwhelmed by the Lincoln MKS,  and put off by the Chevrolet Spark. CR ended up recommending a Japanese Lexus ES instead.

The Dodge Dart, the first all-new model to emerge from the Fiat-Chrysler alliance, “feels underpowered” with its standard 2.0-liter four, says Consumer Report. The optional 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder did not impress either. The magazine grouches that the engine “is raspy and has drivability issues when mated with the optional dual-clutch automated manual transmission.”

Disappointed by the Dart, CR tried to find solace in big American iron, the Cadillac XTS and the Lincoln MKS, but found them lacking. According to CR, “both cars underwhelmed in a class dominated by German, Japanese, and Korean models.” Consumer Reports found the Cadillac to be “wonderfully luxurious,” but was put off by the CUE infotainment system, which CR calls “convoluted and frustrating.”

The Lincoln MKS left a negative impression on CR with its “cramped driving position, ungainly handling, uncomposed ride, and limited visibility.”

Nor could Detroit redeem itself in the discount segment. The Chevrolet Spark scored points with its “excellent fuel economy”, with “a surprisingly useable rear seat,” and “a comprehensive assortment of features.” However, “sluggish acceleration, stiff and jittery ride and very noisy cabin” caused CR’s enthusiasm to evaporate.

None of the Detroit cars were deemed as recommendable by Consumer Reports. Only when CR tested the Lexus ES, smiles returned to the testers’ faces. Consumer Reports likes the “comfy, quiet interior, impressive hybrid and V6 drivetrains, and excellent fuel economy.” CR tut-tutted that the “redesign took a step back in ride and interior refinement” and that the “handling didn’t impress,” but ended up recommending the Lexus and putting it on the list of CR’s higher-rated upscale sedans.

 

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93 Comments on “Disappointed By Four Detroit Cars, Consumer Reports Recommends A Japanese...”


  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Oh boy. here come all the anti-CR sentiments and how much they hate American cars, even though the Spark is really Korean.

    • 0 avatar

      One thing I’ve noticed is that many people don’t read consumer reviews – they instead buy what they see on the road that they like – most of them aren’t enthusiasts.

      I’ve also noticed that many of these buyers get pushed into a sale by the very first dealership they visit – either because they aren’t good at shopping around or because they aren’t experienced in buying cars.

      I am currently helping people who lost their cars in Hurricane Sandy get new cars. One of my friendswithbenefits lost her car and I’m trying to get her to upgrade to something better.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Well I generally do the opposite of what rags such as CR and Edmunds say, but in CR’s defense I very much believe Spark could have “sluggish acceleration, stiff and jittery ride and very noisy cabin” simply because it looks like a $20 clown car.

      In the case of ES350, evidently taking steps back in interior design and unimpressive handling still wins the day.

      • 0 avatar

        Ugh, you’re one of THOSE people. The “look I’m a true car nut because I rebel against the mainstream reviewers! Honest! Look at me, I’m buying this unreliable POS just because CR said not to! Car nut!” people.

        Look, CR takes a very practical tone in their reviews. There’s minimal comments about styling, no emotional-interpretations of things, just information delivered in a flat tone (generally). They also independently gather other statistics that are helpful, and keep a careful score designed for consistency. No, I’ve never made a decision for a car purely because of what CR, but there is not reason not to use their information to help inform a smart decision that works for you. They don’t help you decide how you respond emotionally to a car, but they do help on more practical issues.

        And CR a rag? In a world filled with cash-grab car awards and legitimately crappy celebrity magazines, a group that try quite hard to be independent and consistant in their reporting is hardly a rag. No, not perfect, but unquestionably better than many.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’m alot of things, and maybe true car nut is one of them, but the folks who evidently wrote the article made the point for me. To quote Bertel:

        ““comfy, quiet interior, impressive hybrid and V6 drivetrains, and excellent fuel economy.” CR tut-tutted that the “redesign took a step back in ride and interior refinement” and that the “handling didn’t impress,” but ended up recommending the Lexus and putting it on the list of CR’s higher-rated upscale sedans.”

        So basically instead if calling Lexus on the carpet for “redesign took a step back in ride and interior refinement” and “handling didn’t impress” ES350 gets a passing mark as a lackluster student gets social promotion in a school chasing NCLB funding. Well the sheeple have to spend their money on something right CR?

        So they didn’t care for XTS and MKS either, lets plays devils advocate and assume no bias. Then why not say something to the effect of all of these luxury cars have drawbacks and we really can’t recommend any of them? A little honesty goes a long way.

        Personally ES hasn’t impressed me since the 330 was introduced and while I have not driven XTS, it gives me facepalm as a ‘Cadillac’ looking akin to a beached killer whale. The 2010 MKS I recently drove was competent, but it was no Town Car.

        I would love a mainstream magazine to say the equivalent of “all of these models suck, hang on to what you have and wait for the next generation”… because that’s exactly how I feel about most of today’s so called luxury cars.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        CR, Edmunds, Motor Trend, Car and Driver etc. are just data points. I wouldn’t use any one exclusively to make a car buying decision. Use them all and pay particular attention to the information you receive from the experiences of owners in the real world.

        Lastly, buy what makes you happy.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        “I would love a mainstream magazine to say the equivalent of “all of these models suck, hang on to what you have and wait for the next generation””

        What have you seen to give you any suggestion that the next generation won’t be even worse?

        The primary design goals of economy, safety, and technology aren’t changing in the next 5 years.

        The design responses of shitty to drive, shitty to see out of, and more ipads instead of buttons aren’t changing either.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Then stick with what you like/have and run the wheels off of it then I suppose.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Kluttz

        Otherwise known as “cheaping out.”

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Kluttz

        ConsistEnt. And CR tells the TRUTH. That’s hard for the buy ‘Murricun crowd to digest. But it’s the truth.

  • avatar

    NO THANK YOU.

    The new Lexuses have the CRAPPIEST infotainment system there is (that haptic mouse is pure stupidity). Not to mention less interior space than the Cadillac XTS in all but the LS460.

    CUE is only frustrating if you are technologically illiterate. The Lexus haptic mouse is frustrating and it should have had a touch screen.

    The FREE MARKET will dictate what sells and what doesn’t. I’ve seen lots of new XTS and MKS on the road. Personally, I’d prefer the 300SRT8 2012 or Tesla Model S (if I hadn’t already gotten a new car), but not once was a Lexus EVER in my considerations.

    I plan to make a video review of the new LS460 as soon as I can get myself to give a damn about it.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      If I am not mistaken, Consumer Reports is a part of the “FREE MARKET.” The same free market that decided starting in the 70′s that Detroit’s vehicles were junk and caused their market share to erode to the Japanese.

    • 0 avatar

      Yep, the free market will decide. And traditionally its decided that the ES is incredibly popular. I’ve already seen FAR more new ES’ out there than XTS, Darts, or MKS.

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      this, for the love of god this. That they rail on and on about MFT and CUE but don’t say a thing about the disgusting abomination that is the Lexus multimedia HMI speaks volumes.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Yeah, it’s hard to believe that there’s no bias when MyFordTouch and CUE are unacceptable, but Lexus’ HMI is the awesome.

      I’ve never had too much issue with most of these systems, but I could see how my grandmother would. Doesn’t matter though, because her last car was a 60s Mustang, and lots of other people’s grandmas still have their husband’s old 80s Detroit iron.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Those guys at CR must be really moving up in age now and out of touch. Too bad as the masses will purchase more of the Detroit cars individually than Lexus will sell of the ES.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Probably a lot of people buy on price alone . . . and some of those cars will be heavily discounted.

      It’s pretty obvious that the ES isn’t even in the same market segment as the Spark or the Dart.

      OTOH, the ES is in the same price segment as the big Cadillac or Lincon; and if Lexus does “Lincoln” or “Cadillac” better than the originals, that’s worth pointing out.

      • 0 avatar
        TornadoGT1

        PROBABLY a lot of people buy on price alone. The Top 3 consumer considerations in a new car purchase are;
        1 – Price
        2 – Gas Mileage
        3 – Aesthetics

        NONE of those have anything to do with the way the car performs, drives, feels, or its build/material quality, fit & finish, and attention to detail.

        Mass consumers are largely clueless when it comes to cars. That is why CONSUMER reports (or JD Power) type studies are largely meaningless.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Kluttz

        You actually think some upmarket snob is really looking at the price of anything?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Opinions are like fingerprints – everyone has different ones and car reviewers are no different. All subjective. Not a word about whether they are actually BAD cars.

    As BigTruckSeriesReview above said, let the market decide, but give USABLE information, not whether a car accelerates like a missle. Panning a car for the infotainment system? Really? Do what I do: Learn the basics and figure out the deeper goodies and features as you go, less frustrating that way.

    I know I made the right decision giving up on CR as my ONLY source of information several years ago.

    I no longer drink anyone’s Kool-Aid…

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      Actually, I rely on Consumer Reports more than ever. Since following their results, I have landed up switching to Toyota and Honda. Result: I have no more repair trips to the dealer. And, I am able to flip the Toyota and Honda vehicles every year or two because of the great resale value. I hope you enjoy your Detroit experience.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        “I hope you enjoy your Detroit experience.”

        I have very much, for the last 8½ years. For the record, my old 2004 Impala was as reliable as wifey’s Honda, and my new 2012 Impala is miles better. We’ll see how things go…

        Big cars is what Detroit excells in, and I’m a big car guy, a cruiser at heart.

        Of course, I look at CR and am not belittling them, but it isn’t my ONLY source of information. In the end, I will still buy what appeals most to me as long as I am an enthusiast and passionate about what keys I have on my FOB.

        I agree that Japanese cars seem to be more refined in some areas, and as for 4-cylinder engines, I still believe Toyota and Honda are tops. That being said, I made a choice based on what I REALLY wanted, a Chevy, not what I was ADVISED to buy. Big difference.

        Asian cars RIGHT NOW have zero appeal to me. Probably why I sold our 2007 MX5 after two years – as fun to drive as it was, it had no “soul”, so to speak. At least to me. It’s right across the street, and I don’t miss it.

        We all buy what we do for different reasons, and personal preference is why I still drive Detroit. Will I drive Detroit forever? Hmmm…it all depends what Chevy does to the Impalas! ;)

      • 0 avatar
        Loser

        jimmyy,

        How can you say you rely CR after claiming they were “infiltrated” by the Obama administration in order to make Honda and Toyota look bad? Did your tin foil hat fall off?

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Kluttz

        Your Impala is a lemon. GM accidentally built ONE decent car. On a predominantly unchanged 24-year-old platform. Geez.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      Sorry, but it sounds like you don’t actually read CR. Comments on a vehicles acceleration IS usable information to me. Panning a car for the infotainment system is what ALL automotive reviews do, and should do. Of course none of this is a substitute for actually extensive hands on test drives and I don’t think even CR would disagree with that.

    • 0 avatar
      foojoo

      Consumer Reports is part of the free market. People aren’t forced into buying a subscription from CR, nor are people forced into making their decisions based on CR’s information.

      Also, in order for there to be a properly functioning free market there needs to be information symmetry. The more information people have access to the better.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      “Panning a car for the infotainment system? Really? Do what I do: Learn the basics and figure out the deeper goodies and features as you go, less frustrating that way.”

      I put the pedal to the floorboard far less often than I use the entertainment system or adjust the heat. Ease of use is pretty important or it takes your attention away from the road. The deeper goodies are even more likely to take your attention away from the road.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Kluttz

        Anyone ever try reading the owners’ manual? All or 99% of the “deeper goodies” are in there. I never would have found out about the programmable door locking system on my (absolutely trouble-free 2006 Civic with 122000 miles–beat that, Zack and your POS) without the owners’ manual. Do the locks on your absolutely wonderful 20-mpg ‘Murricun POS have programmable options? I didn’t think so. (I am not trolling, just telling the truth…much like Consumer Reports.) Oh, and please read the owners’ manual while sitting still.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I shouldn’t feed the trolls, but Kevin, the GM W bodies, especially with the 3800 engine are some of the most reliable, trouble free cars on the road.

        Some design dimensions (really not much though) dating back 20 plus years isn’t a detriment to reliablity or the functionality of the vehicle, in and of itself either.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    Waiting for the Consumer Reports “real world MPG” on the Ford C-Max. I am seeing more and more road tests reporting a the real world MPG to be very very much below the so called 47/47. What a disaster. For example, here is the road test clip from Edmunds.com:

    “We Want Our MPG
    Rated at 47 mpg for both city and highway, the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid looks like it has a fuel mileage advantage over the Prius V, which has EPA ratings of 44 city/40 highway/42 combined.

    But after nearly 400 miles in the C-Max, our real-world mpg hovers in the mid-30s. Meanwhile, the Prius V averaged 40.1 mpg during our testing.

    Until we have an opportunity for more extensive fuel economy testing, it’s hard to tell just how close these two hybrids are in this department.

    Waiting for the Detroit operatives to tell me that the C Max needs a break in period. I don’t buy this because my 12 Camry Hybrid delivers the EPA MPG, and it has since tank 1.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Realistic fuel economy is one of the reasons I like reviews, especially CR reviews. I’m ocntinually annoyed by C&D or M/T reviews that don’t include actual fuel economy achieved.

      Luckily, soon after introduction of a new high-mpg car, Fuelly will generally have some feedback.

      “Waiting for the Detroit operatives to tell me that the C Max needs a break in period.”

      Funny that you should mention this… Overall, the C-Max hybrid is doing about 3mpg less than the larger Prius V:
      http://www.fuelly.com/car/ford/c-max/2013
      http://www.fuelly.com/car/toyota/prius%20v

      But check the notes this owner added:
      http://www.fuelly.com/driver/hackercrft/cmax

      • 0 avatar
        chrishs2000

        Very surprised about the C-Max. Will have to wait to see what CR’s very, very good MPG testing comes up with. I love CR’s “real world” fuel economy testing because unlike the auto mags, they are using extremely tight controls and excellent data acquisition methodology. Not entirely sure if they are compensating for ambient conditions, does anyone know this? Or the fuels they are using? It’s typical for fuel economy of a vehicle to lose 10-15% between hot weather and cold weather due to ambient conditions and fuel blend.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        chrishs2000,

        I’m surprised and disappointed. I own a Prius and I am something of a Toyota loyalist (I’m on my fifth Toyota, after trying most everything else) but, as a point of pride, I would like to see an American manufacturer step up and build a solid, effective, reliable hybrid to really compete with the Prius. I thought Ford had done so. Now I am not so sure.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      Yup. The C-Max and Ford Fusion look to be way over-rated in their EPA numbers. CR needs to do a thorough comparison test between these two, and the Prius and Camry hybrids. I bet the Toyotas will wipe the floor with the cheating Fords.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Kluttz

      And probably will on tank 2,000,000.

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      It’s too early to draw any conclusions, although personally I find it unlikely that 47mpg will be consistently achievable in the real world (and that’s coming from a Ford fan). I would hope that the C-Max will still at least beat the Prius V in real-world testing. CR should be more thorough than Edmunds in that regard, so we’ll see.

      The C-Max will still handle better, ride better and have a much nicer interior no matter what happens, though.

  • avatar

    I think that CR has got Detroit’s best, in there cross hairs, for so many years Detroit has produced a lot of bad designs and bad engines coupled to lousy tranny’s, when will they ever learn? Who cares about interior material, what people should worry about is reliability for the long run!

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    Is this the same CR that recommends the ILX over the Verano based on the past reliability and recommendation of the Civic on which it was based, though it didn’t recommend the Civic on which it was based…at all?

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      1) The Civic lost “recommended” status based on the road test side, not reliability. CR looks at both before they give the recommended status. My 4Runner has excellent reliability per CR, but the driving experience is too truck like and it is not recommended by CR for that reason. If the ILX corrected the road test and materials issues with the same reliable chassis and drivetrain as the Civic, why wouldn’t it get “recommended” status?
      2) The Verano is based on the Cruze which has a worse than average rating by CR as far as reliability.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Seems like an odd bunch to compare; a Spark and a Lexus face-off? A XTS vs. a Dart? I don’t get it.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      CR did not do a comparison of these models. This article is just a summary of their latest reviews.

      • 0 avatar
        rpol35

        Oh, OK; the way the synopsis was worded it made me think that CR was looking for a recommended buy and they compared all of these cars before determining that the Lexus was their selection.

        I don’t follow CR but I was of the understanding that they gave the recommended buy to a model or models within a market segment.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Meh. Two luxury cars, one faux luxury car, a mid price, and a cheapie. Two luxury cars, one faux luxury car shall we say have poor handling dynamics. They were confused by the Cue system? Those gosh-darn whippersnappers with their fancy phones! All of the American cars will sell below MSRP. Then Lexus will run their December to Remember sale. Move on, nothing to see here. Consumer Reports is influential but there are other reviewers. Anybody who relies on one source to make a major decision is a fool.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    I wonder why Americans still build cars? I’ve owned two in the past 30 years. A Chevy Blazer, and Jeep Wrangler. Both pretty much fell apart within a couple of years of more or less regular driving.

    Occasionally I’ll have a rental… a Ford Expedition was like driving a tractor with plasticized wood grain inlays. And there’s always the cheepies: the ever popular Ford Out of Focus, and the always last to leave the lot Chevy Supersonic.

    Never been a fan of the Japanese, but they’ve been able to consistently produce such a nice Buick…or is it a Cadillac?

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Troll much?

    • 0 avatar
      mikedt

      Damning current Detroit vehicles based on 10, 20 and even 30 year old models isn’t really fair. They’ve gotten a lot better and in many cases have equaled the Japanese imports in quality. Pretty much the only thing that keeps me from buying one as my personal vehicle is that they don’t make what I want – I currently drive a Miata.

      • 0 avatar
        marjanmm

        The commentators on this site do that to VW all the time.

      • 0 avatar
        icemilkcoffee

        The domestics have been ‘almost as good as the japanese’ or the last 20 years already. Too bad the japanese aren’t standing still and acting like stationary targets.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        You only get one chance to make a first impression. In fact, Detroit got many chances to improve the impression before they lost a good chunk of a generation of auto buyers and, in all likelihood, many of their children.

        Life’s not fair.

        When Detroit is producing really desireable product and is, demonstrably, equally as good in reliability (not “better” or “very nearly as good”, we want “equally”), then you’ll see attitudes turn. In the interim, the whining that goes on is not productive and it’s probably annoying the fence-sitters. Having El Lutzbo proclaim they’re just as reliable as anything else when they are clearly not as reliable is very bad; you can not help but think GM doesn’t understand reliability and, therefore, will never be able to produce it.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      I don’t know what you’re doing wrong, but both of my Wranglers have anvil-like reliability and I’ve beaten the tar out of them off-road on numerous occasions.

      • 0 avatar
        mpresley

        That’s what I thought. The damn things have been built forever, and should have the bugs out of them. Mine developed ignition problems–that is, the switch in the stalk refused to ignite when turned. They got that fixed, then the thing developed something called “death wobble.” The entire chassis would start a harmonic vibration causing the vehicle to be undrivable. It was scarry as hell, and I don’t scare too easily. After four of five trips to the dealer, including a new set of tires (the old ones had 15K on them and looked new) they finally told me to “live with it.”

        Too bad, because if I get another American “car,” I will try again with a Jeep. There is something to be said for such a design, if you can get a good one.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Kluttz

        After replacing the water pump, flashing the transmission, rebuilding the engine, rear axle and heater motor, etc. And don’t forget about that fire under the dash and the mysterious fast-flashing turn signal that I’ve seen on a lot of Jeeps (with no lights burned out). I love it when people say, “It’s been a great car” and then give you a list a mile long of what they had to have done to it to keep it “great”.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    They lost me with “The Lincoln MKS left a negative impression on CR with its “cramped driving position, ungainly handling, uncomposed ride, and limited visibility.”

    I have a Ford Taurus, essentially the same car without the frills and that “cramped driving postion” – WTF are you, God damn 8 foot tall and 700 pounds? I’m average (5’9″) height and above average weight and there’s plenty of room for adjustments in the drivers seat so I’m not at one extreme or the other. The ride and handling? Did someone not tell these clowns it’s not a track car. Honestly, if it handles like a F1, it’ll ride like shit, if it rides smooth, it won’t hold a curve like a Porshe. For what it is, it gives a great balance, leaning toward comfort. And news flash – most car buyers prefer comfort over a rock hard ride and skidpad numbers. CR should stick to toasters and laundry powder.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      Translation – I don’t agree with CR and they also review household items, therefore they are not a legitimate automotive site.

      There is at least one of these comments for every CR related story and it is pretty obvious that the commenter hasn’t actually read CR recently or otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      For the size of the vehicle, the Taurus feels* tight inside. Sit in a Lacrosse, Avalon, or any other full size FWD car and the Taurus feels big outside, little inside. Inside Line also noted the interior lacked a sense of space.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      I don’t own a Ford Taurus, but I’ve rented one . . . several times. I would not call the driving position “cramped” (and I’m 6’4″) but, considering the large exterior dimensions of the car, the interior doesn’t feel that large. (The trunk is huge.) “Ungainly handling” and “uncomposed ride” usually refer to an underdamped suspension which bounces around in response to bumps or turns. This is the classic “land yacht” ride which Detroit made [in]famous. The opposite is not rock-hard, flat riding F1 cars. The opposite is a properly damped suspension. Right off the top of the head (again based on rental experience) the Chrysler 300 comes to mind as a good example of the latter– and that was the old version with the unimpressive 3.5 liter engine. And, come to think of it, the 300 impressed me more than the Taurus in that respect. Although “bigtruckseries” seems to “play one” on the Internet, I do agree with him, that, based on my experience, the 300 is far and away the best Detroit big-car ride out there. Now that the interior has been cleaned up, a decent V-6 has been added and the slick 8-speed autotranny is available, seems to me like the car I’d buy if I were in the market for something that carries 4 people very comfortably, without getting into nosebleed price territory.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, I agree with your categorization of sport vs. comfort, CR usually doesn’t have an issue with a car if it sticks with either one of those. The G37 rides quite hard, but CR is fine with that because its handling is very good. The Outback has a soft, absorptive ride, and loses on handling but CR is fine with that. The issue with this car was seemingly that it neither rode very well nor handles particularly well. If that is truly the complaint, then I see that as legitimate.

    • 0 avatar
      hf_auto

      CR didn’t test a Taurus, they tested an MKS. The $50k+ price tag shifts the expectations considerably from a $26k Taurus.The Taurus is a good car in it’s price range, but the MKS seems to stretch things too far.

      The MKS should compete with a 5-series, GS, E-class, and A6. I can only speak for the 5-series, at that budget it is possible to tune the ride to be glass-smooth and still maintain handling limits well beyond most driver’s capabilities.

  • avatar
    ppxhbqt

    This makes it sound like ALL of the domestics scored too low to recommend. The Cadillac, while not at the top of the heap, didn’t score too low to recommend. It just doesn’t have reliability data yet. If that data looks good, it will join the list. The Lexus isn’t really all that new, so they’re using data from the Camry since it still shares many components and previous ES’s have done well. CR also mentions that there are many more compelling choices for the money than the ES, including the 300.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    When you put these cars in red none of them really stand out, other than the Daewood.

    I’ve read previous CRs and I think they’re worth a read or two, if they have a detroit bias of sorts I can understand why.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    First things first.

    Forget the XTS, Dart, Spark, MKS, and the ES.

    Give me that MD 520 Notar in the hangar-left side (flying machines>cars).

    That being said, everyone has their preferences when it comes to ride, handling and the other variables that make up a car buying decision. It would be folly to not recognize the numerous and egregious missteps Detroit has taken over the years.

    There’s a lot of built up angst and I think, or at least hope, the D3 recognize this , realize the reasons behind it, and come to the conclusion that the only way to improve their image is to build reliable, dependable, comfortable vehicles that people want to buy.

    After saying all that, I, as well as most of the people on this site (I think), buy cars that are fun to drive because that’s one of the things we like to do. I wouldn’t buy a XTS, Spark, ES, or MKZ. The SRT-4 Dart has a chance though.

  • avatar
    Brantta

    CR didn’t recommend a JAPANESE Lexus ES, it’s a lie. Bertel check your facts.

    Of all these cars, CR bought and tested only a Lincoln MKS.

    CR’s take on a Dart – “The Dart is agile, with quick, well-weighted steering and a composed ride. We found the 2.0-liter delivers luck-luster acceleration and the manual has a long, rubbery throws. A six-speed automated manual comes with the 1.4-liter turbo engine. The rear seat is snug and some drivers found the front seats uncomfortable.”

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Interesting RE: the Dart. I found the back seat to be the most spacious of any of it’s competitors. I’m 6’2″ and had ample leg room with an average size driver in the front seat. Definitely a lot more room than the Focus or Civic.

      Agree that the 2.0L felt slow in that 3200lb car, but what ya gonna do, its all about the MPGs.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      I’ve driven the manual trans 1.4L turbo and found it to be perfectly competent…the dual dry clutch unit is an option. I also didn’t mind the long shifter throws, but then I’m used to trucks and Jeeps. I personally hate short throw shifters since to me they feel like little more than an x-box joypad.

  • avatar
    geeber

    In the case of the Cadillac XTS and Lincoln MKS, this review is hardly surprising. Dan Akerson himself was obviously unimpressed with the Cadillac XTS, given his comments on it before the official introduction. The Lincoln MKS is an aging design that has been plagued by a cramped interior and other compromises since it was introduced.

    There are simply more compelling choices available from other manufacturers and even Cadillac and Lincoln (ATS and CTS at Cadillac; new MKZ at Lincoln).

  • avatar
    danio3834

    CR doesn’t like Dual Dry Clutch transmissions or complicated infotainment systems.

    Unsurprising news is unsurprising.

  • avatar
    kenzter

    No mention of Motor Trends recent comparison where the ES lost out to the LaCrosse? Thats right, new ES lost to the Buick thats been around since 2010.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d take a Lacrosse over a guzzied up Camry any day.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Kluttz

      Motor Trend vs. CR? Motor Trend, as I recollect, didn’t even do their own 0-60 times. Neither did ‘Automobile’.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Kenzter,

      I also note that the Buick lost out to the Hyundai.

      A big chunk of the third place finish for the Lexus was mediocre tires. Upgrading tires is not a big deal (and, given the rim size, a far less expensive task for the Lexus than it would be on the Buick).

      The most shocking thing about that test was the fuel economy. M/T did keep their own fuel economy records and the Buick came in at 19.6, the Lexus managed 25.2. For cars allegedly in the same class, that’s an enormous difference.

      The next most shocking thing was performance. With the nominally lowest power rating of the 3 vehicles tested, the Lexus was the quickest. Very significantly quicker than the Buick.

      Maybe in a luxo-barge like this fuel economy shouldn’t count… but I certainly think it does. Fuel economy with the hottest 0-60? There’s a winning combination.

      M/T’s judgement might be that the Buick beat the Lexus but there’s plenty of room available for other sensible and reasoned judgement to come to a very different conclusion.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m suprised they liked any of them.

    I’ve never been a big CR fan but lately they’ve been the one of the few automotive publications willing to really call-out certain new cars for their flaws.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    Didn’t CR used to give decibel measurements for vehicle cabins? I value quiet and isolation highly. I’m also curious how the Buicks compare with the best of the best in this category.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    God this popcorn is orgasmic.

    Bertel, as a child, must have loved to get long sticks and jam them into hornets nests.

    Like fish swimming to the top of the tank for bits of bread.

    Like sharks that smell blood in the water.

    Like a pack of dogs on a greasy meaty bone.

    Wow – did a bunch of people take the bait.

    ==============

    My thoughts? As the recent “why T.W.A.T.” award story indicated, the gap between the worst car and the best car has never been so narrow.

    Car reviews like at CR are becoming increasingly irrelevant beyond being a data point in overall research for the car buyer [ST0MP YOUR FEET, WAIL ITS NOT TRUE, AND INSERT INSULTS HERE]. So fighting irrelevance, where twenty years ago they could talk about crappy fit and finish, parts falling off, and lousy transmissions, they are now relegated to complaining about stereo interfaces, jiggly rides, and cramped interiors.

    If the people writing in this thread could pull their collective biased heads out of their butts – they would see the real great victory is not in the condemning or recommendations, or why – it is more so that of the four cars reviewed, only the Dart appears to have some legit, “danger Will Robinson” concerns. That would not have been the case just 10 years ago.

    The Cadillac CUE system is hard to use? OK, thanks for the heads up.

    A $13K car is under powered and has a harsh ride. SHOCKED! SHOCKED I TELL YOU!!!

    Ford phoned in the latest Lincoln product. SHOCKED! SHOCKED I TELL YOU!

    We love the Lexus ES series. SHOCKED! SHOCKED I TELL YOU!

    I don’t need a CR subscription to tell me these things as an enthusiast. But thanks for the heads up. There is no real “news” here if you look at it – objectively.

    Last I checked, when across the board quality improves – we all win. Across the board quality has improved, dramatically, hooray, carsare way better than they were ten years ago!

    But we return you now to the regular scheduled CR sucks, no it doesn’t suck, you suck, ya well you suck, ya well your mama, fight club with your host, Bertel I’m laughing my butt off Schmitt.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Sing it, brother APaGttH.

      Things like Consumer Reports and JD Power now thrive on suggesting that there are massive differences between statistically insignificant things. Even the difference between the best and the worst by their own metrics isn’t that much these days.

      I’d also suggest the Dart talking points weren’t even that surprising — Amerikans don’t like dual clutch transmissions, mmkay?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        True on the dual clutch tranny. Enthusiasts like them, warts and all because they get the benefits. The average 98% motoring public thinks they’re broken. Its the same hate for a CVT but different problem – being the rubbery delivery of power and odd feeling shifting (or lack of a sensation of shifts). There is nothing inherently wrong with a CVT, beyond the fact that enthusiasts – hate them.

        Woop-dee-damn-doo!

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Would the same enthusiasts that like contrived dual clutch automatics and hate CVTs feel differently if the FIA hadn’t banned CVTs from F1 when Williams was ready to use them twenty years ago? They were the next step, and a giant one, from sequential automatics. In the FIA’s effort to limit performance, they sent the sheep down a less efficient path. Ironic.

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        “Bertel, as a child, must have loved to get long sticks and jam them into hornets nests.

        Like fish swimming to the top of the tank for bits of bread.

        Like sharks that smell blood in the water.

        Like a pack of dogs on a greasy meaty bone.

        Wow – did a bunch of people take the bait.”

        I do get the sense that Bertel posts rather inflammatory “anti-Detroit” headlines for this reason. It’s working, for sure.

        In Cadillac’s defense the XTS didn’t do badly at all, it just didn’t do as well as some of it’s $50k competitors who tend to get extremely high road-test scores. The ES only did 1 point better.

  • avatar
    Kevin Kluttz

    Wow, this is exhilarating!

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one who draws a distinction between the CR staff reviews (which are about the same quickie fluff as everyone else’s reviews, but with a definite bias toward boring comfort) and the big list of used-car ratings with all the red and black circles (do I want a daily driver with a ton of black circles so I can spend my weekends fixing isht? How about no?).

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    Who cares what these people think? Consumer Reports is just for my grandfather to decide on an ES or an Avalon. It is not for anyone who really LIKES cars. It’s for people who are clueless as to what’s going on in the car world so they assume “TOYOTA=GOOD CHEVY=BAD because CR says so.”

    In this day and age, with all of the information we have out there in the ever changing automotive world, the fact that people rely so much on the information that comes out of this one rag is unbelievable.

    CR should stick to testing toasters and televisions and stop trying to push for whichever brand pays them more money to write good reviews.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      It’s also interesting that Yota has an official on CR’s panel. Is it any wonder they are mostly always getting a free pass. In the case of the ES350, evidently taking steps back in interior design and unimpressive handling still wins the day along with the sub par infotainment system. That and the new duller looking exterior looks too similar to it’s cheaper IS brother for the price being charged.


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