By on May 25, 2017

tesla model-s-rear

Tesla Motors has won back some of Consumer Reports’ respect after being criticised for failing to include automatic emergency braking in recently built vehicles. The absence of the safety system really irked CR, resulting in a points deduction on all of the brand’s existing models. Tesla said it was abnormal to see vehicles of the same generation missing preexisting safety features and docked the Model S and X two points apiece.

“When we purchased our latest test car, we were assured automatic emergency braking would be enabled by the end of 2016,” explained Jake Fisher, director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center. “We’ve been waiting for this important safety feature, which is standard equipment on much cheaper cars.”  (Read More…)

By on April 26, 2017

tesla model x

Consumer Reports has been pretty hard on Tesla Motors over the past year. The primary point of contention in 2016 was the automaker’s perceived misrepresentation of the company’s Autopilot feature. CR wanted the automaker to disable hands-free operation until its system could be made safer and insisted that it make clear to consumers that it was not capable of true self-driving capability.

While Tesla addressed some of those concerns with its 8.0 software update last autumn, the consumer advocacy publication said it didn’t go nearly far enough — demanding that Tesla stop calling it Autopilot, disable automatic steering, and quit beta testing on its own customers.

Continuing those safety concerns into 2017, Consumer Reports has downgraded both of Tesla’s existing models, claiming the company failed to enable automatic emergency braking features it said would come as standard equipment. This is perplexing, as Model S and Model X vehicles equipped with first-generation Autopilot systems actually had this function.  (Read More…)

By on March 15, 2017

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti - Image: FCA

In the latest episode of Consumer Reports’ Talking Cars YouTube show, hosts Jon Linkov, Gabe Shenhar, and Mike Monticello discussed the persistence with which their bought-and-paid for 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti has visited the dealer.

Only recently purchased by Consumer Reports’ undercover team, the new Alfa Romeo Giulia has hardly been able to undergo Consumer Reports’ testing.

“It’s a sexy car,” Shenhar says in introducing the new Alfa. “It has a really storied brand name. As compelling as it might look,” Shenhar says, introducing the new Alfa,”I don’t know if I’m ready to send anyone to buy this car.”

“It’s been back to the dealer about three times since we bought it.” (Read More…)

By on March 1, 2017

gear selection joystick

Oddball gearboxes have been around forever. Cord’s 810 had a Wilson preselector back in the 1930s, Chrysler had the the mid-century pushbutton PowerFlite, and Oldsmobile was throwing Hurst Lighting Rods into its H/O cars in the 1980s. However, the overwhelming majority of automatic and manual transmissions have come with a strikingly familiar column or floor-mounted shifter. More recently, automakers have become a little more experimental.

Modern electronics allowed for an influx of paddle shifters, followed by an array of gear selectors that seem to serve aesthetics more than basic function. Knobs, buttons and joysticks are replacing traditional designs, occasionally at the expense of consumer safety. (Read More…)

By on March 1, 2017

2015-cadillac-ats-sedan

Navigating the new car market can be treacherous, but the used market is significantly larger and riddled with more hidden pitfalls. Used cars also offer the best potential value for your money, provided you don’t end up with a lemon. Even something that passes your initial scrutiny might be a few months away from becoming a clattering heap.

Fortunately, Consumer Reports keeps a running tally on the worst second-hand garbage that money can buy. Taken from its most recent ranking, here are some of the more common models from the last 10 years that scored so poorly in reliability that they aren’t even worth your consideration. (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2017

jeep 75th birthday

The automaker that can’t seem to catch a break in overall quality rankings — or more comprehensive ones — doesn’t get a reprieve in Consumer Reports‘ latest brand ranking.

In its 2017 list of the best and worst brands, which combines scores for predicted reliability, road testing, safety and owner satisfaction, a familiar German brand returned to the same podium it occupied last year. Unfortunately for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the bulk of its brands languished — once again — on the lowest steps of the pyramid. (Read More…)

By on January 24, 2017

car breakdown (dagnyg/Flickr)

Brian writes:

Hi there — I’ve been doing a lot of research (Googling) as of late to truly understand car reliability. I’ve been reading through sites like Carcomplaints.com, Truedelta.com, Consumer Reports, JD Power, specific car model forums, etc. What I really want to is, how accurate is this information? For example, you can look on Car Complaints and see that some models have awful reliability, but then you dig into it and realize it’s only five reported incidences of the same problem. And then you look at other websites that barely mention this particular problem.

So what gives? Even if it is a major problem, what are the chances you would end it up with it if you bought that particular model and year? (Read More…)

By on December 22, 2016

2017 Acura ILX blue

Consumer Reports’ Annual Owner Satisfaction Survey was released today, showcasing exactly how owners feel about the vehicular choices they’ve made this year.

While numerous manufacturers managed to keep owners living in automotive tranquility, some lacked the required magic. There was even one automaker that had a nearly 50/50 split of producing customers that, if given the chance, would travel back in time to stop themselves from engaging in the single purchase that created the dystopian hell they unknowingly forced themselves into.

It was Fiat.

Of course it was, and this news won’t shattering anyone’s reality. The automaker has consistently found itself near the bottom of every list we’ve come across this year. The Italian automaker did manage to keep all of its models out of the steaming mound of cars people most regretted buying, however — it happened to be one of very few FCA divisions eligible to make that claim. (Read More…)

By on November 13, 2016

subaru emblem logo

Remember the I Love Lucy sketch when Lucy gets a job at a factory where she has to wrap chocolates? She’s feeling pretty smug over how well she is performing until they accelerate the line and candies begin spilling out onto the floor and she scrambles around trying to save them all.

Well Subaru is suffering from a similar, less hysterical, problem right now with its own quality control.

(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 December 31, 2015

high_macan_gts_2015_porsche_ag-6

Man, people are really pumped about the cool, expensive cars they just bought.

That nugget of wisdom, Russia’s perpetual Cash for Clunkers program, VW’s appeal to Colorado and Washington buyers and GM’s knows what way the wind is blowing now … after the break! (Read More…)

By on December 20, 2015

7979444605_1e68ec954f_o

It’s never too late to snap up a last-minute gift for your teenager, such as a car. Consumer Reports has nifty practical advice for parents looking to make this Christmas one to remember for their teen — until next Christmas when you have top a friggin’ car. 

For your teen’s first ride, according to Consumer Reports, avoid anything with a big engine (“Generally speaking, the ideal car for a teenager is a four-cylinder mid-sized sedan”), lots of numbers on the speedometer (“If too much speed is to be avoided, then it should be a no-brainer to avoid high-performance sports cars.”) or minivans (” … a carload of teens is not a recipe for safety.”)

There are other considerations, according to the report:

(Read More…)

By on October 20, 2015

Trading Places

According to The Truth About Cars’ stock exchange bureau chief, Ferrari is good and Tesla is bad today.*

Tesla shares have dropped 10 percent on news today that Consumer Reports would pull its “Recommended” rating from the Model S because of concerns about the car’s reliability. That’s bad.

Also, initial shares of supercar-maker Ferrari may be going for more than expected due to the stock’s appeal on office walls and potential value people may find in owning another Ferrari-branded item beyond overpriced shirts.  (Read More…)

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