Consumer Report’s 2016 Annual Auto issue arrived here the other day, and it shows (once again) that the Japanese and Koreans continue to do better than average, in most categories. Here’s a quick look at a couple of their lists, starting with their Top Ten Picks, leaders in their respective categories for a combination of road test results, reliability, owner satisfaction and safety.
Click in the image for a larger (but torn) view, but in case you can’t make out their Top Ten Picks, it’s the Mazda MX-5, Chevrolet Impala, Kia Sorento, Ford F-150, Toyota Sienna, Subaru Impreza, Honda Fit, Subaru Forester, Toyota Camry and Lexus RX.
The next one is for the most and least reliable cars, based normally on three years of consumer data, except when noted otherwise. This one is even more lop-sided; not a single American brand on the left side, but plenty on the right.
And the final one is of the standouts from CR’s road test results, good and bad.
You’re certainly welcome to disagree, but let’s not pillory CR for what they are: an attempt to inject as much objectivity in the evaluation of automobiles, along with other consumer goods; their name is not “Enthusiast Reports”. They really are in a league of their own in regard to objectivity and consistency, as they buy all of their vehicles and test them at their own extensive facilities as well as on the roads; no junkets, spiffs, and puff pieces. CR represents an important voice among the chorus, and they are very influential, as there is a substantial segment of the car-buying market that uses them as a key reference guide. There’s no doubt that the dramatic rise of the Japanese in the 80s and up was in part fueled by CR, and more specifically Subaru’s remarkable growth rate in the past twenty or so years. And that goes for the Koreans in recent years too.
And on the flip side of the equation, there’s no doubt that the loss of market share of American passenger cars for decades was also impacted by CR’s reliability and road test results. Like them or not, they are undoubtedly the single most influential voice in the market place. For what it’s worth, it’s the only magazine I still get from which I get info on cars.