By on January 24, 2011

I came home tonight to see that Consumer Reports is trying to scare me out of buying a Honda Insight. The joke’s on them! I was going to buy a 2003 Crown Vic LX Sport!

Really, though… Did you ever think you’d see the day when CR wouldn’t recommend a Honda? Even in the darkest moments of the Acura transmission fiasco, the lab-coated crew could barely bring themselves to diss the brand. After all, they were too busy using robots to roll Troopers.

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37 Comments on “…IT EATS BABIES!...”


  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    I guess I won’t understand the joke without reading CR? Am I missing something? They didn’t have a typo making it look like it eats babies??

    • 0 avatar
      narf

      In the past, CR has consistently recommended Honda (and Toyota) products with little hesitation.  For them NOT to, it has to be really bad.  FWIW, they stopped giving Toyota the “automatic pass” when the new Tundra came out (black dots for reliability).

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Nice LX Sport, bucket seats (I use the term loosely) and a floor shift in a factory Panther.  Such sacrilage!  Wonder how hard it would be to fit those seats and console in a Town Car? 

    Sorry you were saying something about a Honda, Jack? 

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    We’ll get Ray LaHood to contact his buddies over at the FTC to investigate CR with full blown panels…wait, it’s not an election year.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Or maybe they are swapping former employees like Toyota/NHTSA.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    My best friend has a 03 CV with the sport package. Lower gear ratio and dual exhaust makes it almost a police car. It has a good hole shot but not without problems.
    ALternator. Twice.
    Bad connection on the climate control head unit. A reseat fixed it.
    Air shocks. Replace with coil over performance.
    Alloy wheel corrosion caused slow leaks at the bead,
    On the plus side it has over 100 K and still gets decent mileage, reliable as rain and very comfortable. Nice big back seat that Vodka M. would find acceptable, not to imply anything by that, but it does sleep 6 comfortably.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Nice big back seat that Vodka M. would find acceptable, not to imply anything by that, but it does sleep 6 comfortably.

      Psssssssssst the man already has a Town Car. 

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      A CV LX sport is way better than a P71 same engine trans ect with a much better suspension unless of course you plan on jumping curbs and always having 300lbs of junk in the trunk.

      Alternators are not a problem in those cars, my guess is the second one was a repaired unit from the local auto parts store, so in other words a cleaned up junk yard unit.

      No air shocks in a Panther they have air bags and they are very very reliable 200K on them is not uncommon. The only issue is that sometimes the o-rings on the valves need replacement a $15 15 minute job, when the bags do finally give out a set of aftermarket replacements are cheaper than the steel spring conversion and you don’t shoot the handling all to hell. They do have coil-overs on the front though.
       
       

    • 0 avatar

      “No air shocks in a Panther they have air bags and they are very very reliable 200K on them is not uncommon.”
       
      I’m a Panther fan (and a Grand Marquis owner), but I donno about the “reliability” part of this. I deliberately chose a Grand Marquis w/o the electronic gauges (another problem area) and air bag suspension for this reason, and every mechanic I’ve talked with about this since has agreed that it was a good idea to avoid those features. The coilover conversions would not exist if this was not an issue.

  • avatar
    ajla

    BUT…

    … Just wait until the VTEC kicks in!

  • avatar
    jmo

    How much of the anti-CR animus have do with people’s need to justify their automotive choices? It’s almost as if people need to justify buying a new M3 vs. keeping their 2003 TSX. There’s more to a car than reliability and pure financial considerations.
     
    Indeed, it’s fine to buy (or lease) a 335xi, S4, WRX if that is what you want.  Some people spend their disposable income of ski trips, or they travel around to Jimmy Buffet Shows, some buy exceptionally fine wine or whiskey, some spend it on cars they enjoy.  It doesn’t have to make practical sense.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC

      Thousands of control freaks/big government fans/busybodies just had a stroke just now after reading your sensible “mind your own business, live and let live” explanation.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      ;Thousands of control freaks/big government fans/busybodies

      Many here on TTAC (who tend to profess a live and let live libertarian philosophy) seem to have a real problem with anyone deciding to spend their disposable income on a nice car.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      jmo: Not me! It does make me laugh when I read that so many commentors who know so much more than I do about cars drive beaters, though. That’s not a put-down, either. I walked in those shoes for many years and there’s nothing wrong with that. Often, you have more passion for the “beater” you drive because (A) it’s paid for, and (B) you can fool around with it all you want and not feel paranoid about voiding the warranty ’cause there is none! Wrench on, TTAC’ers, wrench on! I can’t wait to read about your upcoming exploits!

    • 0 avatar
      FleetofWheel

      There is a difference between an aficionado making a gentleman’s sporting critique on another man’s choice of (car, wine, food) and a busybody who wants to alter or end that choice.
       
      A gourmet will look down his nose at McDonald’s but not seek to regulate the menu in the way the busybody seeks to make such attempts.

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      A key difference between someone else’s McRib and someone else’s Canyonaero: someone else’s McRib isn’t going to have catastrophic tire-failure causing the poorly-engineered/weighted McRib to somersault/kill your family as they drive down the other side of the interstate. Nor is said McRib going to belch out nasties which may shorten Grandma Respirator’s lifespan by a decade.
       
      This isn’t Walter Peck shutting down the Ghostbusters reactor here; if given the choice between busybodies mouthing off, and sharing a road with unregulated mass-produced vehicles engineered to suit the tastes of the least-endowed-common-denominator; I’ll take the Nanny State over Galt’s Gulch any day.

    • 0 avatar

      I know enthusiasts struggle to realize this, but most people don’t care that much about cars. They want something reliable, practical and affordable (both to buy and own) and couldn’t care less about the steering feel or suspension geometry.
       
      For many, if not most, people, there really isn’t much more to a car than reliability, practicality and price and guess what. That’s ok.
       
      Also, kudos to the commentators to dragged a post (and an article) which had nothing to do with politics down into Glenn Beckistan. I wasn’t aware this had turned into “The Truth About spouting half baked conservative talking points on internet blogs that really don’t have anything to do it, but I fear legitimate political debate so I shy away from actual politics sites!”
       
      When did that happen and why hasn’t the logo changed?

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      If defective tires are causing vehicles to have accidents, then recall the tires. That doesn’t mean that the vehicle is defective. Car and Driver testers simulated a tire blowout on Explorers, and had no problem keeping the vehicle under control. The idea that Explorers are are inherently defective is a myth – unless someone is actually dumb enough to accept the rantings of the trial lawyer lobby as unbiased and accurate.

      And please note that a 2001 Explorer emits fewer emissions while running than a 1969 Ford Galaxie did while sitting still, with the engine turned off. Newer SUVs are even cleaner. No one’s grandma is dying because of SUVs. For that matter, with more light trucks on the road then ever before, our fatality rate (number of fatalities per 100 million miles driven) is at an all-time low. Accidents have also declined dramatically in recent years. Looks as though the idea that SUVs represent death on wheels is nonsense.

      If a person wants to dictate the choices of others, he or she has to display more knowledge about the subject matter at hand than everyone else. As shown by the above facts, SUV critics generally don’t.

    • 0 avatar
      DweezilSFV

      @ Evan Reif: sort of like the media and the left has used the Tucson incident as a referendum on talk radio hosts with out any evidence the perp had any connection to so called right wing causes. He had none btw. Makes no difference, especially when the lie is always better when you can get hysterical and attempt to ban speech you don’t like. Or cars… like SUVs.
      Haven’t you taken it to the Olbermanistan level now ???

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      Geeber,
       
      I am a man who was acquainted with a dead Ford Explorer rollover victim; I’m sure the dude’s wife and son would take issue with your assertion that the cause of their loved one’s death was the trial lawyer lobby.
       
      No, the gentleman who was slain was not a test driver for Car and Driver. Most people aren’t; which is why some of our tax monies are used to regulate what cars are safe enough to be sold, or to rephrase it in Teabagger: which is why we have regulations shoved down our throat.
       
      Curiously, I am not acquainted with anyone who has died at the hands of someone else’s McRib.
       
      So, you’ll pardon me if I stand by my argument, <redacted>.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      cackalacka:I  am a man who was acquainted with a dead Ford Explorer rollover victim; I’m sure the dude’s wife and son would take issue with your assertion that the cause of their loved one’s death was the trial lawyer lobby.

      That is still no proof that the Explorer itself was defective. And I never said that the trial lawyer lobby caused those deaths; I said that relying on their arguments to prove that the Explorer – let alone an entire class of vehicles – is unsafe is the hallmark of someone who doesn’t know what he or she is talking about. 
       
      cackalacka: No, the gentleman who was slain was not a test driver for Car and Driver.

      He wasn’t slain; he was killed in accident. It helps to understand that difference.

      And the Car and Driver test showed that virtually anyone could control an Explorer that experienced a blowout. You don’t have to be a Car and Driver writer to handle that situation.

      cackalacka: Most people aren’t; which is why some of our tax monies are used to regulate what cars are safe enough to be sold, or to rephrase it in Teabagger: which is why we have regulations shoved down our throat.

      Except that cars were safe enough to be sold, even before we had federal regulation of automobile design (which began with the 1967 model year). The fatality rate per 100 million miles driven – the only true measure of highway safety – has been dropping since the 1920s. Cars were getting safer long before Ralph Nader wrote Unsafe at Any Speed. 

      It helps to know history before embarking on this type of discussion.

      And note that the “all regulations are good crowd” forced the ignition interlock system and the stupid 55 mph speed limit down our throats. One hopes and prays that no one is dumb enough to defend those regulations.
       
      cackacka: So, you’ll pardon me if I stand by my argument, <redacted>.

      The problem is that your argument is faulty, not the Explorer. I see that, instead of attempting to counter my use of facts (the fatality rate per 100 million miles driven; the level of emissions from a modern SUV), you rely on one story, which doesn’t even contain any proof that the Explorer is defective. Your arguments will have more credibility if you learn the difference between facts and anecdotes.

       

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      You’re absolutely right Geeber, raising the center of gravity a couple feet has absolutely no effect on a vehicle’s stability and inherent safety (both for its occupants and general public.)
       
      None.
       
      Forget the Large Hadron Collider, the facts that the Ford Galaxie had higher emissions than cars of today, and that cars have been progressively safer since the ’20s, have revolutionized the way we view basic physics.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      cackalacka: You’re absolutely right Geeber, raising the center of gravity a couple feet has absolutely no effect on a vehicle’s stability and inherent safety (both for its occupants and general public.)
       
      None.

      I never said that. What I said is that there is no proof that the Explorer is inherently unsafe. That fact that it has a higher center of gravity than a passenger car does not make it inherently unsafe. It makes it different, but not unsafe. 
       
      cackalacka: Forget the Large Hadron Collider, the facts that the Ford Galaxie had higher emissions than cars of today, and that cars have been progressively safer since the ’20s, have revolutionized the way we view basic physics.

      Which, of course, doesn’t prove that the Explorer is inherently unsafe or is an exceptionally polluting vehicle, both of which were your original contentions. You might find it helpful to stay on topic, and, if the facts don’t support your original contentions – which is the case here – accept that and move on.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    I’ve got a 2002 Grand Marquis LSE with the bucket seats and floor console (in a Grand Marquis!).  The Mercury has 16 inch wheels so the shocks are calibrated a little differently.

    Dealer could not sell it – the lack of a bench seat scared off the oldies, and most others don’t really pay attention to anything except what their neighbors drive.

    118k and has had three issues – front ball joints, idler arm, and a sensor in the air intake of the autotemp control.   The rear air suspension is a huge keeper over going to poverty coils.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Good luck finding a LX sport it is the rarest Panther out there, they make Marauders look common. Speaking of which save up a few $ more and get a Marauder and then you won’t be missing 16 valves and 2 cams full of win. Seriously I picked mine up a few months ago for 7K, and I will keep it until I die or can’t drive any more.

  • avatar
    Zombo

    CR found a Honda it didn’t like ? Jeez next they’ll say something bad about those cheap John Deere lawn tractors sold at the big box stores . Nah that will never happen ! They always praise those things to the moon and back even over better built machines like Kubota and Simplicity .

  • avatar
    philadlj

    BUT…well, look at it. She ain’t exactly a looker, is she?

  • avatar

    The Trooper was only one victim of the CR hit squad.
    The first was the Suzuki Samurai. CR lied so brazenly about it that Suzuki sued them and won, but the damage was already done and the Samurai was pulled from the market. The Samurai which was known as a rollover queen was actually described by the test driver as “the most stable little 4WD I’ve ever driven” but for some reason, CR wanted it to roll.
    CR seemed to really have a grudge against Japanese SUVs for a while and I have no idea why, but that incident has caused me to never trust anything they say.

  • avatar
    ARacer

    Jack, I love your writing but it seems to me you have been phoning it in recently.  Come on man!

  • avatar
    ceipower

    Why is it that When it comes to auto fanatics , too things are always present in large numbers. A hatred of traffic cameras and Honda / Toyota products when reviewed by C.R.?  Its clear to me that Honda has lost its MoJo.  It doesn’t seem to know it yet , but they seem hell bent on cheapening up their products. Is it the  Hyundai/Korean scare? Or the Chinese?
    New vehicles that nobody wants seems to be the Team Honda direction these days. Who would have thought Honda could begin to stand for anything less than the best products?  The current Insight is just their latest gaffe. If Accord or Civic (Hondas two golden Geese) ever get hit with the kind of bad press that has dogged Toyota this past year, Honda will be toast. Management needs to stop playing with jet planes and get back to what Mr. Honda vision was.

  • avatar
    v65magnafan1

    Just get the CV. I have 160,000 miles and I think I might finally have an exhaust leak in the original system.
    One brake job. One shock change. One plug change. One belt change. One battery change. Probably one bad dome light door switch–a stupid design–in the lock mechanism. And cheap front suspension odds and ends.
    Parts are plentiful and cheap, and the car’s a snap to fix. I would get into the car and drive it to Arizona today without a second thought. Way different from my SAAB, Volvo, Mercedes of years gone by, each more expensive to maintain than a mistress.
    Oh, and I always get the nod to go ahead at four-way stops. And my wife says that when she drives it in the morning rush hour, the fast lane is hers.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    I guess I’ve lived too long. Actually seeing CR dump on a Honda product is amazing to me. I’ve never understood the fawning over the world’s most boring cars that has been going on for 30 years or so, and I’m happy to see it’s at least slightly decreasing.

  • avatar
    mazder3

    Received my Consumer Reports scare package today. Their answer after the…
    “The ride was stiff and choppy- and it lacked handling agility. The 38-mpg Insight costs about $21,300, but had scores too low to be recommended.”
    Honda doesn’t need to feel that bad, though. They also rip on the Nissan Pathfinder’s rear door handles and Chrysler Co’s low hanging moldy fruit.

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