Thursday, May 31, 2018

Consumer Reports jumps the shark

How so?  Well, if you're familiar with the organization, they used to refrain from giving "buy" ratings to vehicles until they had been around a year or two.  That went out the door when they recommended, I believe, the Toyota Tundra in its first year--and at which, if I remember correctly, they were rewarded with a sub-par reliability record that any good automotive engineer would have predicted.  You have to shake out the bugs, after all. 

Another interesting thing I noted about 15 years back was that they warned against buying the Chevrolet Suburban because of the cost of gasoline, but not against the Mercedes full size SUV, which was predicted to cost about $200 more than the Suburban to fuel each year because it required premium gasoline to get full performance.

Now, on the strength of a braking update, they're giving the same rating to a vehicle from a company that has suffered a rash of battery fires and crashes while in "autopilot" mode.  I think it's safe to say that, while there are good things coming out of Consumer Reports, you've got to watch their bias when it comes to automobiles.  There are times when it isn't exactly subtle.


elspeth said...

Thanks for the PSA. I didn't know this.

Hearth said...

My most useful car buying tip: Go ask a mechanic you trust what cars he sees least.

Bike Bubba said...

I should be fair here and note that CR does indeed provide numbers, which is how I figured out the issue with their comments on the Suburban. So if you read numbers and can gloss by some prose, there is really a lot to be said for CR. Just understand their bias--they're harder on the Detroit 3 than their rivals, in my view.

Overall, reliability is tough, since some measurements are of initial quality, some are of long term maintenance costs, some are of overall longevity, etc. People have a reason to fudge and obscure things. Listen to mechanics, look at various sources (I like myself), and above all, don't delay significant maintenance. Almost anything gets to 100k miles if you take care of it.