Consumer Reports top 10 vehicles

I am surprised by a few. Pleasantly surprised in a few cases:

Subcompact: Yaris iA. Scion is not dead
Compact Hybrid: Prius. No surprise here
Luxury SUV: Audi Q7
Sports car: Mazda MX-5 Miata. No surprise again
Small SUV: Subaru Forrester. Still no surprise
Midsize SUV: Toyota Highlander. You expected something else?
Compact Pickup: Honda Ridgeline. First surprise
Full size sedan: Chevrolet Impala: second surprise
Midsize sedan: Kia Optima, another surprise. Whither Camry?
Compact car: Chevrolet Cruze: Yuuuge surprise, and it feels so good. For me, anyways.

I drove both the Avalon and Impala, and I like the Impala better. Handling is much better for the Impala. So much better that it overcame the reliability advantage for the Avalon. the Cruze scored big on all counts. Smooth ride, quiet cabin, good reliability and it feels like a larger car. This came in a year when Honda produced a new Civic. Go Chevy! Sometimes we discuss the poor choices that JD Power makes, but this is Consumer Reports! Have they lost their religion? Anyone care to comment?

I am having a little trouble with The Ridgeline being called compact.
Frankly I call it a SUV with a trunk that does not have lid. The bed is just to short to be practical for a pick up.

As a CR subscriber since 1971, I think that I am qualified to comment, and so I will.
Over the past year or so, the magazine’s staff has become obsessed with the graphic design of their publication, to the exclusion of almost everything else. Yes, it does look much more…slick…and visually pleasing, but there is no denying that there is significantly less actual content in the magazine than there was previously.

Two months ago, the feature article was about the impact of drones on society. Yes, that is somewhat interesting to read about, but…what specifically does this have to do with actual consumer issues?

Last month, the feature article was about online dating services. While I will admit that I am not personally interested in that topic, I dare say that many (perhaps most) people who are seeking information about products may also be similarly disinterested.

Even their ratings of products have been truncated. They used to print the test results of everything that they tested in a particular category, but now they only seem to print the results of the higher-rated products. Yes, those are the ones in which I have the most interest, but I would still like to see ALL of the ratings.

Even when it comes to the annual Buying Guide, that book no longer summarizes all of the preceding year’s test results. As a result of many omissions from the Buying Guide, I have learned that I need to hold onto all of the monthly issues for at least 13 months.

I really do “get it”. I realize that they are trying to cut back on the number of pages that they print in order to hold-down their costs, but at the same time they are definitely providing less information than they used to.

With all of that being said…Do they still provide reliable/credible information?
I think that they do, but I am starting to have less faith in them than I did for the preceding 40+ years,

I don’t know about CR but see a lot of reviewers now put a lot of weight/importance on the technology in the car. Having a good nav/bluetooth might bump a car higher over the reliability or other mechanical stuff that we might care for.

Personally I had a CR subscription years ago and found myself disagreeing with them enough that I just ignore them.

Very good observation! I don’t like the current “slick” design which is hard to read and I don’t like reading only about the top 5 recommended brands in the buying guide. I was looking for a rating on Fisher Paykel? appliances which they rated as poor in the past, but found no current reference.

A Canadian Consumer magazine decided to become a social activist paper and discussed all sorts of things that are already well covered in other media. It no longer exists.

CR should stick to products and services and test and rate them. The annual survey is extremely valuable, and I for one enjoy filling them out.


I agree that the publication has gone downhill these past few years. And I agree that they seem to be more interested in their layout now than in their presentation of data. I looked at one recently and was not impressed. Unfortunately, they’re still the best source of comparative information, even in their lesser form.

As regards the specific information in the post, I’ll have to read the issue… currently I have no opinion. But I will stop by the bookstore to read the issue.

I’ve complained about CR before but against my better judgement, I subscribed again this year. I have to say that so far I really am not impressed. I have not studied the car recommendations but just enough to wonder where they are coming from. The riding mower recommendations are virtually worthless. They don’t realize MTD and Troy and other brands are the same? They say a high back seat and deck clean out is important but never mention the engines, and a plus to get the trouble prone weak automatic transmissions. What they look for are irrelevant to me.

Then this month they have mattress ratings. Two lines for sleep number and never talk about issues but 50 other ratings for memory foam and padded. I’m just not seeing the usefulness but I’ve still got 11 months yet to see. When I bought my G6 they did the same thing and rated it bad which I ignored. Its been one of the best cars I’ve ever owned.

So at any rate I guess I am just to the point where I think the voters are just plain surface consumers that never delve into the deeper issues with a product.

1 Like

So, @bing , was this a comment on CR or on the current state of American politics? Or both?


I have had a subscription to Consumer Reports from 1966 to the present. I think the quality of the writing of the test results has slipped. Also, CR seems to test high end products which I don’t purchase. It is interesting for me to read about what rich folks buy, but it doesn’t help me when I need to make a purchase. I liked it when CR tested automobiles and had charts that listed the legroom in the front and rear seats, listed the diameter of the turning circle, and did side by side comparisons of automobiles in a certain class in one issue. For instance, a side by side comparison of the Chevrolet Malibu with the Ford Fusion, the Toyota Camry, the Hyundai Sonata, etc.would be of useful to me. However, the road tests in the March 2017 issue tested the Honda Ridgeline, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, the Infinity GX30 and the GMC Acadia. These are completely different vehicles which serve different purposes.
The youngest appliance in our house is our refrigerator which is 22 years old. If it decides to submit its retirement papers, I am not replacing it with an upscale $3500 refrigerator just because this upscale refrigerator was highly rated by CR. Our 24 year old clothes washer developed a severe vibration a few weeks ago. According to CR, I should buy a new front loader because these new machines are more energy efficient. When I read the CR tests, they tested washer/dryer matching pairs. I don’t care if my washer and dryer match. I am not going to replace a perfectly good dryer when it’s the wash machine that has the problem. As it turned out, a repairman fixed the machine in my house in less than three hours for $275.
When we were starting out and had less money, CR did meaningful tests on equipment we could afford. Now, even though we have more, I am not about to spend my money on the high end products CR tests.


I’ve noticed that too, and IMHO it’s a shame. And, as Triedaq said, I have no interest in paying premium prices for “features” that I’ll never use. In cars, as with other durable goods, reliability and longevity are the most important things to me. I realize that’s a personal preference, and I may even be in the minority of car purchasers. Others might weight features more highly.

I should add that in truth my medical issues have by necessity made comfort first in cars, pushing reliability to second place. This gettin’ old stuff comes at a price! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


As a subscriber to CR for decades I think they’re losing it. The new format and lay-out, and rating systems stink.

I have never filled out any car surveys because their car reliability ratings/recommendations (based on survey results) have been totally inaccurate and useless to me.

I wonder if my having always received excellent reliability and satisfaction with my GM and Chrysler products, but never participating, has skewed the goofy survey results.

Chevys being highly rated doesn’t surprise me, but being highly rated by CR does (Can you say, “biased” ?).

The car ratings magnify miniscule differences between cars and make it seem that some brands are far superior to others. They are designed to sell magazine subscriptions.

The new CR ain’t what it used to be.

I’ll just SAY it . . . CR’s new layout just plain stinks

No point trying to sugar coat it . . . it’s lousy

I’m 45 years old, and I’m not super tech savvy, but I’m savvy enough to realize the new layout is aimed at people FAR younger than myself. And that’s pretty upsetting, considering I like to read up on stuff before I plunk down my dollars. I used to enjoy reading CR, but it’s become tedious lately

I wonder if CR will be able to survive in the long run . . . ?

I wonder if CR in its new format is indicative of the polarization we are now experiencing in this country. I will admit to being a Midwest hick. Several issues back, CR had a feature article on different price ranges for updating a kitchen. We had our present house built in 1989. Our kitchen sink faucet needed to be replaced. Even in the low range kitchen upgrades, the faucets were three times the price of the faucet my brother, who is a plumber, recommend for a replacement. It seems to me that the function of a faucet is to start and stop and regulate the flow of water. The faucet my brother recommended has repair kits available at any big box store. I have no desire to have a sophisticated designer faucet.
I want a vehicle that meets my needs and is easily serviced. The price of the GMC Acadia tested in the most recent issue was over $51,000. There must certainly be an SUV that my needs for less money.
Even something as mundane as a vacuum cleaner CR tests in high priced models starting at over $150. I can purchase a vacuum cleaner at Big Lots for $50. I would bet it cleans the carpets.just as well.
I have respect for the environment and CR pushes for environmental responsibility. However, I need to be fiscally responsible in my purchases as well. A friend just purchased a new Toyota Avalon Hybrid. I know this Avalon Hybrid leaves a smaller carbon footprint than the Mercury Milan it replaced. However, is the cost of the Avalon Hybrid.along with its complexity over a.Camry or.Ford.Fusion really worth the price?

I don’t remember where my neighbor saw the article but he says from start to finish the manufacture of the hybrid batteries including transportation left quite a large carbon foot print.

CR has been liking the Impala for a while now. This isn’t the first time it has got good ratings from CR. The Chevy Cruz seems a new one on the top of the CR heap though. Good for Chevy. Speaking of Chevy, here in Silicon Valley area there’s a radio ad playing daily, Steve Wozniak saying that he likes his Chevy Volt (or is the the Bolt?). Anyway, whichever one it is, the Woz really seems to like driving his. Woz goes on to say that electric and hybrid cars today are like personal computers were in the early 80’s, leading edge technology that are destined to become routine & common-place.

I’m sure Wozniak will publicly like what he gets paid to

To be honest, I’m kind of disappointed he’s doing that kind of thing, though

It makes me think of Matthew Mcwhatever and his Lincoln commercials . . . I don’t know if he’s doing a greater disservice to himself or Lincoln :smile:

@Triedaq; Speaking of expensive appliances, I can not see myself paying extra $$$ for a fridge with an LCD screen that is connected to my phone and could send me the inventory of whats inside. My small brain is capable of scanning the fridge in the morning and decide what needs to be bought.

As far as electric cars, I understand that as they are improving the technology and range, this might be the way of the future. But it still needs to be developed and I will let Steve Wozniak pay for it.

I looked into buying a used Nissan Leaf at around $8K as my commuter car, but then there are times that I need to take a detour from work due to elderly parents or other emergencies and can not come back home to charge it or go to a charging station. I am happy with my gas tank for now.

I love CR’s new layout and I realize that it is aimed at younger people (which I am not). Younger people are a better target audience because they will live much longer than us and buy more subscriptions. Dead people, or soon to be dead people, are NOBODY’s target demo, except maybe funeral homes.

The point of the new layout is to drive you to the website, which I also love and live on constantly.

Lastly, you may consider technology in your car unimportant but I LIVE in my car, driving upwards of 40,000 miles per year. Having my technology (blue tooth, Nav, satellite radio, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alerts, etc) is VERY important to me. Not so much that I would buy an unreliable car but it definitely drives my decision making on trim lines and options.

The difference between me and many of you (as an aging person) is I recognize the world is changing so being grouchy and wishing things stayed the same is a useless, unproductive exercise. I don’t love ALL changes but I embrace the best of them and I am much happier for it. I for one am a happy Consumer Report’s subscriber of 25 years and love them. CU is not a religion so their reports are not “gospel” but provide a good foundation for research.


I subscribed to CR for about 10 years. What turned me off to to them was when they had Behr paint the top rated paint. I bought Behr based off that to paint my bathroom. It was the worst paint I ever used. I ended up using 3 coats of Behr plus a base coat of primer and it still looked watery, I was pissed to say the least. Before that I was usually pleased with what they recommended.

The other thing is they always review the same products like Televisions. I’m almost 50 and I’ve only bought a TV twice in my life.

I can’t see the Ridgeline as a compact truck either, unless the new ones have shrank in size. I will say, I drove an Impala for a while last year as a rental and it was an awesome car to drive. Very quick and a very smooth transmission. It was a typical Chevy in other aspects though. It had an annoying rattle in the cabin and it smelled like the heater core was starting to leak. This was less than a year old car.