Deciding on a Car

I’m with Docnick on the use of Great site in general, but they did make one change in the past that was for the worse - they used to give you confidence intervals with their ratings. Simply put, it let you see how confident they were that model A was truly better than model B when the two were compared. On many models you’d see that the differences were statistically insignificant, even when they looked like a reasonable difference to the casual observer…

Interesting, I hadn’t thought about the severity of the problems being reported in CR’s ratings. I’d always assumed black marks meant that the area or system being reported on had pretty big problems, especially if someone took the trouble to report on it. Would people even bother to fill out a survey about some minor “$50 problem?” I’ve never filled out one of their surveys so I don’t know what kinds of questions they ask about severity etc.

In that respect it would be nice to have a little more information about CR’s ratings. I’ll check out those other sites too thanks!

I’ve filled those form out a number of times. They asked about any “repair” other than warranty or normal maintenance. You had to report the cost and what the repair was, such as engine, transmission, etc. Also the mileage. How this info is used exactly in the report, I dont know.

Consumer Reports is a non profit consumer advocacy publications whose contributions come from many fields, not just automobiles alone. I feel more confidence in their findings in some areas i am unfamiliar based upon their research in areas I am more familiar with. For example, they are one of the few Heath proponents who get how to maintain health through fitness. For years, we have know that the sckelectal muscular system is a major contributor to cardio health which in turn influences overall health immensely. When they (CR) make the statement that the closest thing to the fountain of youth, is weigh training, I know they get it. I feel a little more confidence in them in other areas too. Especially when it comes to the environment and the automobile.

I take CR’s reviews with a of salt. I agree they don’t take any advertisements…but the individual testers and analysis they provide have allowed some personal preferences come through. Some 20+ years ago CR rated the Bose 901 speakers the BEST speakers you could buy no matter what the cost. The tester admitted he had owned the Bose 901 speakers for years before he did the testing. While the 901’s are DECENT speakers…they are not considered even in the running for best speaker by anyone else in the industry.

10 years ago CR rated the Maytag Neptune washer as Best in that price range. We had bought one…Took it to the junk yard in 3 years. Maytag has stopped making the washer because of design and build issues.

I agree with their assessment of weight-training.

CR uses a small sampling with few controls or actual details known about whether a comlaint is justified or not. Many opinions on vehicles are purely subjective ones from people on their staff. One may think of white coated scientists testing these cars and giving expert opinions but some of heir testing is done by office help and maybe even the maintance people as far as I know. That’s according to CR themselves.

I also had issues with a Maytag washer that was highly rated by CR although I don’t remember the model. Within a couple of years it was also ready for the recycler when the transmission failed.
Just a few years ago my daughter bought a Frigidaire refrigerator that was also highly rated and the compressor failed at the 13 month mark, one month over the warranty expiration date. To add insult to injury the sales people told her this was a common problem when asked about the premature death of the fridge.

I just bought new windows for my home… looked at Consumer Reports and found that most of their reviews appeared to be nothing more than a rehash of what you could find on the labels. I also noticed that they failed to catch design problems with many clad wood windows that have led to class action lawsuits. Needless to say, as with the Maytag Neptunes, they can’t accurately predict reliability for a brand new product, but have to go with their past data for the manufacturer, which may or may not hold.

In the end, I learned far more from my own research - and ended up buying what they had rated as their #2 choice in windows. Needless to say, I still found errors in their reviews. They had it listed with the other clad wood windows, when in fact it is more of a wood clad window. In other words, many windows are wood with an exterior aluminum or vinyl cladding to make them lower maintenance. These, otoh, are mostly fiberglass with just a coating of wood on the interior. So while others are prone to wood rot problems (hence the lawsuits), these aren’t. 10 minutes of pulling the sashes out of the windows at several stores told me far more about the designs (and more accurately) than CR did in their report. They also neglected to test many of the lesser-known brands which offer superior products…

“Where did you get these “ratings compression” figures you mentioned? Need more info! =P”

I got it from a CR car guide. They tell you the frequency of repair that earns a rating…

“Should I sell my 2005 Pontiac GTO, with 23000 miles, in excellant shape? I’m thinking of upgrading to a 07’ or 08’ corvette with the 6.2 liter.”

Naw, keep it for times when a 2 seater is impractical. The C6 started in 2005 and the 6.2L wasn’t available in 2007. Sure, the LS2 is used in both your GTO and a 2005-2007 Corvette, but the 'Vette will handle a lot better. The 2008 will cost between $25,000 to $28,000 and you can likely get no more than $11,000 for the GTO. A 2005 Corvette coupe is less than $20,000.