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.”
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.