Consumer Reports Tells How to Goose the Secret Formula, a Little

consumer reports tells how to goose the secret formula a little

Observers of Consumer Reports' "security through obscurity" 100-point grading system got a peek under the kimono with the arrival of the July 2008 issue. The Hyundai Elantra SE got a class-leading 82 rating, up from the Elantra GLS's 70. How so, without a full model changeover, one asks? Simple, says CR: well-tuned ESC and wider tires = better handling & braking. The re-do represents chump change– compared to going back to the drawing board. The small effort got the Hyundai some free publicity by becoming CR's Top Pick. Other recipients of tuning & suspension finesse: the Toyota Prius Touring (up 14 points to 82 from the base model). The Chevy Malibu LTZ V6 got a rethink, rising 13 points, beating-out the Saturn Aura XR andearning itself a place as a middling contender into a near-class leader. The upgrade's not enough to help the bottom-barrel Chevy Aveo/ Pontiac G3 and Toyota Yaris, all stuck at 36. But for most other carmakers, there appears to be a not-so-difficult way to goose those ratings. Now, automakers, get to it, before CR changes their secret formula!

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  • Ttacgreg Ttacgreg on Jun 02, 2008

    CR sometimes makes some minor subjective judgements that I think are counter to their "rational' and "objective" . They do not have the same priorities that I have, and that is OK. They still are a very good source of data. My experience bears out their reliability surveys to be quite credible indicators of how a model or brand will pan out.

  • Robert Schwartz Robert Schwartz on Jun 02, 2008

    sean362880: "You may end up with steamed Brussels sprouts, but they’ll be the hardiest, freshest, greenest, least worm-eaten sprouts you can find." Yes, but they will still be Brussels Sprouts and I will hate them. ttacgreg: "CR sometimes makes some minor subjective judgements that I think are counter to their “rational’ and “objective”." They recommend Brussels Sprouts.

  • Jberger Jberger on Jun 02, 2008

    I thought CR covered the new grading scale a few months back. They are giving bonus points for any car that has ESC as a standard feature and only cars with ESC Standard will be eligible for the "best buy" label. Oh crap, now you guys know I'm a CR subscriber.

  • Rtz Rtz on Jun 02, 2008

    Got an `07 or `08 Sonanta out in the driveway as a rental. God damn warning chimes are enough to drive someone absolutely bonkers! About lost my freakin mind(maybe I did or already did? ;) ). 6 cars. 2 in the garage, 4 taking up all the driveway. Had to play musical cars and move some to move some others. Had to back the Hyundai up the street. Didn't bother with the seat belt. Warning chime like no other! All I could think about was locating it and disabling it. Drive it somewhere, pull up, passengers get out rear door, chimes!! Start the car with no seat belt already buckled beforehand? You get punished by the warning chime! That's a big ass heavy car. The whole time I'm driving it, "this car is huge!" They put a freakin maze on the shifter. Can't just grab it and go. Have to route it through the maze and it gets hung up on every turn. I hate that clunky, ratchety system. The car has a rubber gas pedal. It's all springy, and impossible to take off smoothly and passengers get whip lash every time. Press down and it's like nothing, nothing, nothing, too much! Gutless under 3,000 rpm and then takes off like a turbo spooled up(if it only had one). Floor it and it's a dog. Too heavy of a car and too little of an engine in it. Cycled through the ~200 XM channels a few times. I'd never pay for that. Should be free just like am/fm. Sum it up: Warning chimes, annoying shifter, funky gas pedal(springy/drivebywire?), no power, no deal. They'd sell more of them if it was a straight up electric. It would also be the fastest car Hyundai makes as a byproduct of being electric!