Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Worst in Methodologies

11 Worst Cars - Consumer Reports

This is a little strange but somebody at CNN decided to research the 11 lowest scoring cars at Consumer Reports and write them up as the "11 Worst Cars".

Anybody who has read auto evaluations from Consumer Reports should know that they have a narrow view of what a car ought to be. Consumer Reports loves mid-sized sedans that have proven themselves reliable, affordable, and get good fuel mileage. If you have a family of 4 or 5 and drive them around on family picnics in addition to driving to work, then, by all means, take Consumer Reports to heart. Obviously, many do.

Consumer Reports, for the most part, hates sports cars, SUV's, and trucks. They like luxury sedans but often wonder why anybody should buy one when a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord can do the job. Speaking of the Camry and Accord, Consumer Reports for years has considered them the benchmarks, not just against other mid-size family vehicles, but everything else as well.

Knowing this, it's clear as to why the following vehicles fared as the worst.

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited: Never mind that this is a revered vehicle amongst off-road enthusiasts. Never mind that it goes places that others cannot. In fact, the article states "Consumer Reports performs off-road testing at its Connecticut proving grounds, but off-road ability doesn't factor into the final scores." Keep this in mind.

Hummer H3: Another off-road vehicle that, like the Jeep, is unique. Like the Jeep, it's not for cruising across the country on the Interstate. It's a special-purpose vehicle and certainly won't be mistaken for an Accord or Camry.

Jeep Liberty Sport: Now I'm biased here because I own a Liberty Limited (an upscale version of the Sport). Liberty's can out-tow any other small to mid-size SUV. That's valuable to some folk. Obviously not Consumer Reports, though. I wonder how well an Accord climbs over boulders.

Chevrolet Aveo5: The article doesn't bother to point out what's so bad about this car. I can only assume that it's not worth considering because its so much smaller than a Camry. It certainly costs less and gets better fuel mileage so what's the problem?

Dodge Nitro: It's actually hard to argue against this one but I have to laugh where it states the Nitro has no high points. In R/T form, it's quite powerful. Can't they at least point out its one of the fastest SUV's out there?

Toyota FJ Cruiser: Back to the off-road crowd. See Jeep and Hummer.

Toyota Yaris: Obviously, like the Aveo5, it's too small.

Suzuki Forenza: A valid entry here. It's a family sedan that doesn't come close to the Accord or Camry.

Jeep Patriot: Obviously Consumer Reports hates Jeeps. If the Patriot is so bad, why isn't the Dodge Caliber on the list? The Caliber is basically the same vehicle but it's not meant to go off-road. Apparently since Camrys and Accords don't go off-road, nothing should.

Chevrolet Trailblazer: Another valid entry here just because its on an aging platform.

Mercury Grand Marquis: This is a beloved, although aged platform. They are relatively cheap, powerful, comfortable, and are easy to find parts for and can run almost forever. All Consumer Reports likes is the large trunk.

With my disdain for Consumer Reports, I'm not really faulting them here. As I mentioned above, they have their particular criteria for judging the value of an automobile and anything that falls short of that criteria, regardless of what other strong points it has will fall short in their eyes.

I fault CNN for taking a quick and easy route of just taking results from another source and creating a headline stating their own conclusion based on those results. Shame on you CNN.

1 comment:

Erik said...

At least my car isn't there yet