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.
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