Skip to comments.Japanese brands dominate list of top cars in U.S.
Posted on 03/02/2006 6:09:12 AM PST by Graybeard58
DETROIT -- For the first time in nine years, all of the top picks in Consumer Reports' annual vehicle guide are made by Japanese automakers.
The Honda Civic is the magazine's top small sedan, while the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the top mid-sized sport utility vehicle, according to results released Wednesday. Vehicles from Nissan Motor Co. and Subaru, a division of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., round out the top picks in 10 categories.
Asian brands also fared best in the magazine's survey of vehicle reliability. Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus brand was first, while Honda was second and the Toyota brand was third. Ford Motor Co.'s Mercury brand was the only domestic nameplate to crack the top 10.
Consumer Reports' rankings are important to automakers, even though companies can't use the ratings in their advertising. Consumer Reports spokeswoman Lauren Hackett said the April auto issue is consistently the magazine's most popular, selling more than 300,000 copies at newsstands. That's twice as many copies as its second-most popular issue, the November electronics issue.
Consumer Reports named its top picks based on road and track tests, evaluations of comfort, convenience and fuel economy, crash protection ratings from the government and insurance industry and readers' reliability rankings. The magazine said it recently tested more than 200 vehicles to come up with its top picks.
Honda had the most winners, snagging top picks in five of the 10 categories. Besides the redesigned Civic, the Honda Accord was the top family sedan between $20,000 and $30,000 and the Acura TL was the top upscale sedan between $30,000 and $40,000. The Honda Odyssey was the top minivan and the Honda Ridgeline, which is Honda's first entry in the pickup market, was the top pickup.
Toyota and Subaru each had two winners, including the Subaru Forester for small SUV and the Toyota Prius for "green car." Nissan had one, the M35 luxury sedan, which the magazine called "an excellent balance of performance, comfort and handling."
Reliability rankings are based on a survey of Consumer Reports subscribers who are asked if they have had serious problems with their vehicles in the past 12 months. The survey questions readers about 17 different trouble spots. For this year's survey, readers rated their experience with 810,000 vehicles from the 1998 through 2005 model years.
Consumer Reports said Japanese and Korean brands had 12 problems per 100 vehicles, while U.S. automakers had 18 problems and European makers had 21 problems. Asian and U.S. automakers have been improving their scores but appeared to stall in 2005, the magazine said. European automakers' ratings haven't changed substantially in the last four years, the magazine said.
After Lexus, Honda and Toyota, the brands rounding out the top ten for reliability were Mitsubishi, Subaru, Acura, Scion, Mercury, Mazda and Suzuki. The ten lowest-rated brands were Audi, Infiniti, Saturn, Lincoln, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Land Rover, Hummer and Porsche.
That's strange because I would take a Porsche or Audi over a Nissan any day of the week.
"I would take"
There is the key
What's stranger is that most real-world human beings can't affort the double-the-price...
I would definitely take a Lamborghini Murcielago over a Honda Civic. Any day.
Mercury in the top ten? LOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!
I owned one and it was horrible. My friend's was even worse. Never again.
Those are enthusiast cars, not transportation.
CR is all about pedestrian functionality, economy, safety and reliability.
What's sad is that Detroit's consumer staple sedans, SUVs and minivans didn't fare better.
But as far as reliability is concerned, I can't imagine that the Mazda would be any better than the Ford.
The ping was to you.
We just purchased a used Suzuki Side Kick 4x4 and love it. Its the perfect the local run around town vehicle. We're looking for another one. It was cheap but who cares as long as its fun to drive and is good on gas.
Rating reliability based on something like "problems per 100 vehicles) may not be the best way to measure this. I would suspect that a more accurate indicator of a vehicle's reliability is its resale value at 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year intervals after purchase.
"They are a bunch of asain car fanatics, and these findings are worthless."
You're 100% correct. What's even more interesting is that Freepers will revel in this report and not stop to consider that it was compiled by a group of tree hugging leftists.
I don't look at the things they look at.
And you simply can't get a deal on a Honda or Toyota.
Ford will win this war by cutting their labor costs by a third and then putting out road-worthy, but very cheap, automobiles.
Where I live in middle america, a 30,000 dollar car is half the price of a decent house and a third of the price of really nice house.
They should team with Hyundai/Kia in the way that GM did with the Geo.
Go with the 10 year 100,000 mile warranty and small buyers won't care that a Toyota will get 50,000+ more lifetime miles. They will care about a monthly payment they can afford attached to a 4 or 5 year loan.
Fanatics, indeed. You will notice that any non-asian car is treated very harshly in their "reliability" (color dot) ratings. It is normal for them to rate a model with one or two trouble areas, and all the other areas average or better as "much worse than average".
The fact that Consumer Reports has a "green" category tells you all you need to know.
They should stick to testing washing machines, toasters, and granola bars.
You mean the Japanese company that designs cars in California, engineers them in Michigan and builds them in Ohio?
Or the American company that builds their cars on a Toyota Camry frame and builds them in Mexico?
Nice car, but the cup holders suck. You can have mine!
That's my problem with them too. Well, and the ashtray. Do you have trouble driving yours with a beer between your legs and smoking a cigarette?
I guess all Consumer Reports subscribers could be tree-hugging leftists too...
What I really don't understand is how the Ford Fusion was the runner-up in the small car class. Since it first went on sale in September of last year (6 months ago) I wonder if they doubled the number of complaints to get a 12 month number.
That new Titan I want will be made right down the road from me in Jackson Mississippi.
We just bought the Honda Odyssey with all the frills, and we LOVE it.
Big 6 cylinder, that automatically goes down to 3 (economy) when you're maintaining a steady speed.
Also, my brother just bought the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, (SUV) and likes it very much. But it's nowhere near as comfortable as my minivan.
Cigarette? Hrumpf. I only smoke Cuban cigars.
PT Cruiser didn't make the list. Made in Mexico.
Mine has 115,000 miles on it. Five speed stick. First year car.
One wheel bearing, two water pumps and a tie rod end are my total repairs. Changed the spark plugs one time.
Pretty good car, all in all. Second water pump must have been defective, only lasted 30,000 miles. Factory Chrysler replacement part.
"They produce good products, at a fair price, in a nefarious plot to sell more cars than Ford and General Motors."
And they do it without overpaid union workers!
How do you think they are going to pull that off? And even if they do, I don't think a third will be enough.
Foreign cars are not only better than American cars, but polls of similar sample groups show that Alf Landon should have been president in 1936, and Al Gore should be president today.
This is a survey of the READERSHIP of Consumer Reports, I hope I don't disparage anyone on this forum, but that means this is a survey of people who BUY A MAGAZINE to help them evaluate products. I would do that for which I had NO BASIS whatsoever to evaluate for myself, but I believe that as concerns automobiles most people simply don't fall into that category. I am saying that these responders might possibly be people who HAD NO CLUE about automobiles to begin with.
I have purchased asian imports over the years, but recently I've been very successful with domestics of all stripes. The quality the big three is putting out is far better than it use to be. Is it better than the Japanese? I don't know, but I would bet readers of Consumer Reports don't either.
Don't waste your money, if you want an English muscle car, you want a TVR!
My family, and my father before me, are CR subscribers.
We're not all tree hugging leftists.
We check out CR before we buy anything.
Family tradition. :)
They paid James A. Guest who is the President about $400,000 last year plus $95,000 in benefits.
I'm not 100% positive but I'm pretty sure that when they mail out Consumers Reports the taxpayer pays part of the postage.
Why is this a "charity"?
It will continue in this fashion until the hippies die off.
And pay the comensurate increase in insurance and maintenance fees. I know who a guy who bought a Porsche in a momement of insanity and sold it 9 mos later to get the Nissan he should have purchased in the first place.
I'm sure that the bosses at GM and Ford have similarly dismissed Consumer Reports and are happily producing cars as before.
I think the Big 2 will have to improve quality and then, like the Korean manufacturers breaking into the market, give impressive warranties. Maybe 5 years/60000 miles or even 7 years/84000 miles would show that they are confident in their quality.
Without Japanese competition, American cars now would be like Pintos and Vegas "improved" by an additional 25 years of cost cutting.
"I guess all Consumer Reports subscribers could be tree-hugging leftists too..."
I don't have any data, but my guess is that the majority of subscribers are leftists. Just a guess.
I don't know the subscriber base, but I think the slant of the editors is obvious. And we all know that polls and statistics can be manipulated any way you choose.
BTW, I think Ford and GM make cars that aren't as good as the Japanese, but I also think they are close on some models. This is like throwing an anchor to a drowning man.
I use Cuban cigars to light my KOOLs.
I'm sure the Titan is an OK vehicle, but it only comes in one wheelbase, and there's no diesel engine available, as far as I know.
The domestics still have the Japanese beat in the full-size pickup category, IMO.
"Where I live in middle america, a 30,000 dollar car is half the price of a decent house and a third of the price of really nice house."
For 30K here in NYC, you get two shingles and a doorstop...
you too 'eh
my dad lives by that mag
he even extols the CR virtues of the top pick peanut butter...ugh!
I have a Mitsibishi Galant. I love it. Every bit as reliable and enjoyable as a Camry or Accord and cost a couple grand less.