Category: Quality

By on October 26, 2016

Nissan owners hoping for relief on a coolant issue that has been causing transmission failures on 2005-2010 Frontier, Pathfinder, and Xterra trucks will be disappointed to find out that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has closed a petition to issue a recall. The petition filed by the North Carolina Consumers Council claimed that failures were possible in over 857,000 vehicles.

The Associated Press (via CNBC) reports that the NHTSA declined to investigate further, stating that the majority of the complaints didn’t describe a safety hazard and that further investigation is not warranted, given its “limited resources.”

That means over three-quarters of a million vehicles have ticking transmission time bombs, and the manufacturer’s half-hearted solution seems designed to help very few owners. Read More >

By on October 26, 2016

Mustang GT350 (HiPo Joe Charles/Facebook]

It was a hot summer, but not quite as sizzling as the top-end Mustangs seen enveloped in flames at various U.S. track days.

Ford Motor Company is attempting to put a lid on that burning pot of controversy — and danger — by recalling 8,000 Shelby GT350/R Mustangs for a defect that could be blamed in a number of spectacular fires. Read More >

By on October 25, 2016

Photo by Scoo. (Photo by Scoo.) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Hoping to shed some light on the effectiveness of modern crash avoidance technology, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has spent much of this year evaluating the quality of headlights in late model vehicles.

Its research has shown that most midsize cars could use some serious refinement and small SUVs are downright abysmal in terms of road illumination. So, it may not shock you to hear that most pickup trucks did poorly in those same tests.

In fact, there was only a single model that received a good rating, and you probably don’t know anybody who drives one.  Read More >

By on October 25, 2016

2016 Toyota Prius Touring

Buick grabbed much of the limelight when Consumer Reports released its 2016 reliability survey results yesterday, earning the best-ever brand ranking of any domestic marque. But atop the leaderboard, Lexus and its Toyota parent brand continued the automaker’s reign.

Not surprisingly, three of the five most reliable vehicles in America are therefore Lexus and Toyota products. With the Lexus GS and Toyota 4Runner, the top 10 list is half-filled with Toyota products. Only one vehicle in the top ten is a domestic, the eighth-ranked Chevrolet Cruze.

They may be reliable, but do Americans actually want these vehicles? We took a look at the five least reliable vehicles in America and realized that, yes, in some cases, Americans do want them. In fact, the vehicles on the least reliable list account for 2.7 percent of the U.S. new vehicle market.

When it comes to the five most reliable vehicles in Consumer Reports’ survey, less than 1 percent of the market’s buying habits are represented. Read More >

By on October 25, 2016

2016 Ford Focus

Headlining 2016’s Consumer Reports annual reliability rankings were the dreadful results of four Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ brands. Bringing up the rear in uninterrupted fashion were Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat, and Ram. Jeep was only three spots ahead of Dodge.

Not coincidentally then, two of the five least reliable new vehicles on sale in America are also FCA products. All five are domestics, though they’re not all built in the United States.

Still, poor reliability does not necessarily correspond to poor marketplace performances. Three of the five least reliable vehicles in America are sales leaders in their respective categories; another is a steady top-tier player.

And one of the least reliable new vehicles on sale today has failed so badly in the marketplace that its days are numbered.  Read More >

By on October 24, 2016

2016 Fiat 500L, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Consumer Reports released its new car reliability ratings today, and one company should take a long hard look at itself in the Italian-American mirror.

The annual report covers brand reliability and includes a list of the 10 best, and worst, vehicles in terms of reliability. While there are some predicable favorites, Buick managed to hit an unexpected home run and electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla surprised everyone with reports of mechanical issues stemming from — get this — the electronics.  Read More >

By on October 24, 2016

CarMax in Raleigh, Image: Ildar Sagdejev [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0]/Wikimedia Commons

When is a completed inspection report not a completed inspection report? When it’s issued by CarMax, a California appeals court has ruled.

The court found the country’s largest used vehicle retailer in violation of a state law requiring detailed inspection checklists for certified used vehicles, Automotive News reports. The ruling, which stems from a lawsuit filed by a customer who claimed CarMax sold him a “certified” lemon, shines light on the retailer’s dodgy vehicle inspection practices. Read More >

By on October 20, 2016

2016 Hyundai Sonata, Image: Hyundai Motor America

The only thing missing is an ejection seat.

Panoramic sunroofs are a great way to add upmarket flair to a solidly mid-range vehicle, bringing occupants closer to the outside world and making joyriding antics a breeze. However, drivers would normally prefer some say over when those large glass panels open. They’d also like to keep them attached to the car. Read More >

By on October 13, 2016

Dodge Challenger crash test

Once again, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has handed the Dodge Challenger a five-star safety rating in its annual crash tests.

Shelf space at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles headquarters must be at a premium thanks to all those awards, but does the NHTSA safety rating tell the whole story?

In short — no, it doesn’t. Read More >

By on October 13, 2016


Toyota shoehorned a lot of cutting-edge technology into the current-generation Prius, but the fuel-sipping vehicle has a low-tech Achilles Heel.

The automaker is recalling 340,000 2016 and 2017 Prius models to fix a potentially deadly parking brake problem, the Associated Press reports (via USA Today). In the Prius, it could lead to “sudden acceleration” of a different kind. Read More >

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