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News and Information about consumer reports

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2017 Chrysler 300 gets software updates, now recommended again by Consumer Reports

The company has named this software AutoPark, which basically works the way it sounds. This system automatically gets activated when the driver leaves the car and is left in gear. What happens is AutoPark will stop the car while leaving it on accessory mode - this will keep the radio and other feature stay active for 30 minutes before it shuts off. This feature will also be activated when the driver opens his door with the seat belts unbuckled. This software update was introduced back in April. However, cars that have this software were only released in the summer.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was not only put on the spot over the new shifter designs. They were in hot water last year when actor Anton Yelchin met a tragic accident. The problem with the new shifter is not because it is complicated to use, but because it does not tell the driver whether the car is already parked. This is a problem because drivers have gotten used to this for decades now, as it is a standard in all vehicles.

The reason for the outrage was because the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration found that 266 crashed, 68 injuries, and 686 complaints were related to the electronic shifters that were the same as that on Anton Yelchin’s Jeep Grand Cherokee. After the incident, the company had to recall a total of 1.1 million vehicles in April 2016, so that they could upgrade the software on the shifter designs.

Read the entire article 2017 Chrysler 300 gets software updates, now recommended again by Consumer Reports

Audi is named best overall car brand for 2017, Tesla is ranked highest among US brands

And the best car brand for this year goes again to Audi! If there’s anything we can count on to tell us which among the automotive brands makes the best cars, it’s Consumer Reports. For two years in a row, Audi claimed the highest spot in the annual ranking of car brands. Audi is trailed closely by Porsche, BMW and Lexus. Audi has the highest overall score of 81 against Porsche with 78 and both BMW and Lexus getting 77.

The fifth spot went to Subaru with the score of 74 while the remaining six out of ten spots went to Kia Mazda, Tesla and Buick. Luckily for Porsche and BMW, the two were able to show significant improvement in their ratings as compared to last year. The overall scores are basically a combination of several factors such as safety, predicted reliability, road tests and owner satisfaction rating. So while Audi got the highest total score in the overall ranking, Porsche got a higher score in the road test with 88 points while both Audi and BMW got 86 in the same category.

The top five car brands from last year are actually the same group this year. Only the rankings changed. Subaru has lost two spots this year. Porsche and BMW went up by two slots while Lexus has moved down by one. Meanwhile, Tesla takes the lead when it comes to the highest US automotive brand this year after having earned the 8th position with a road test score of 88 points and overall score of 73 points.

Read the entire article Audi is named best overall car brand for 2017, Tesla is ranked highest among US brands

Consumer Reports predicts the new 2017 Honda CR-V will be a bestseller

When it comes to being the top crossover, there are only two models that can confidently say they have been in the market for at least 20 years. This is the CR-V from Honda and the RAV4 from Toyota. It really does not come as a surprise to know why these two are also the most popular.

Many are likely familiar with the fact that utility vehicles had a start during the 1970s with the 4x4s. However as more customers demanded vehicles that offer better ride, displays improved fuel economy, and comes with the latest in infotainment and electronic systems, this has led to crossovers entering the market.

For the 2017 CR-V in particular, Consumer Reports reveals that while the prior generation had a rather bland interior, the new version has a cabin that is not only plush, but classy as well. According to Honda, when they developed the new CR-V, they wanted a crossover utility vehicle that would be fitting for the upmarket. It is no wonder then that the 2017 CR-V not only has a cabin that is quieter but it is also a model that delivers a better ride. This was a result of two things with the first being an excellent usage of noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) engineering and the second the inclusion of an active noise cancelling system. Honda however was apparently not done with this as the brand managed to give the CR-V a more enjoyable drive by using qualities previously seen on the Civic.

Read the entire article Consumer Reports predicts the new 2017 Honda CR-V will be a bestseller

2016 Consumer Reports Survey of the 10 Least Reliable Cars

There are many reasons why customers purchase a brand-new car. It could be the likelihood of no-hassle ownership or the fewer instances of service problems over time. But while there’s no guarantee of perfection, we all still want to get the most value for our money.

Consumer Reports recently released its 2016 Annual Auto Survey, which lists the 10 least reliable vehicles. These car owners face the highest risk of visiting their dealerships sooner and more frequently than others.

The same survey considers the different factors that can go wrong, specifically in 17 trouble areas. These include simple nuisances like an interior trim that is broken or noisy brakes, all the way to major problem areas like issues with the 4-wheel drive systems or transmission repairs no longer covered with warranty.

Read the entire article 2016 Consumer Reports Survey of the 10 Least Reliable Cars

Tesla is one of the leaders of manufacturing electric vehicles. It has since been doing various developments in perfecting its autopilot system and has even started to venture out into autonomous or self-driving cars. The American automaker’s futuristic mindset is both exciting and terrifying at the same time.

Now Tesla is under fire after a fatal accident occurred early this year that involved their autopilot system. On May 7, 40-year old ex-Navy SEAL Joshua Brown met his unfortunate end after his Tesla Model S on autopilot mode nearly collided with a truck before tumbling a few yards away.

Since then, Tesla has been under NHTSA’s scrutiny because its self-driving system has been pinpointed as one of the main reasons for the accident; the brake and forward-collision warning functions on Brown’s Model S seemed to have not worked as it should, thus resulting to the man’s death. The Securities and Exchange Commission has also been keeping its eye on Tesla after the American automaker failed to report the accident which most people believe would potentially decrease their stock prices and lose investors. Now, non-profit product evaluating American magazine Consumer Reports has been calling for Tesla to make changes on the way that the automaker has advertised its self-driving cars to the public.

Read the entire article Consumer Reports Calls on Tesla to Deactivate Autopilot System

The Consumer Reports has released its 2015 Car Brand Report Cards which ranks the different automobile manufacturers worldwide in terms of various factors. The first is the raid test performance which gets the average of the results from the test conducted by Consumer Reports on the different brands.

Another major factor considered is reliability which shows how each car, on average, is able to hold up. These two main factors, plus a host of other ones, are then combined to come out with an overall score which forms the basis for the ranking.

The results showed that Lexus has retained the top position it got last year too. Rounding out the top 5 list, in order, are Mazda, Toyota, Audi, and Subaru. The bottom 5 included Dodge, Fiat, Ford, Mini, and Jeep. However, some brands were not included in the ranking as according to Consumer Reports there was insufficient data in order for them to be part of the review.

Read the entire article Consumer Reports releases 2015 car brand rankings

Lexus once again finished on top of the Consumer Reports Annual Car Brands Report Cards, its third in as four editions. Suprising many is Buick, which jumped into the top 10 in this year’s edition of the report card – from 12th to 7th. Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing, told Automotive News in an interview that Buick has a reputation for “large, cushy cars,” and it managed to invent itself pretty quickly.

He said that Buick is making reliable vehicles, those that score very well. He noted that in many ways, Buick is like the new Lexus, but is also sporty to drive. What is more suprising is the Buick Regal’s feat in earning Top Pick honors among sports sedans, which according to Fisher, is a “very un-Buick category.”

At second in the report card is Mazda, which climbed with an overall index score of 75, just three behind Lexus. Consumer Reports called Mazda’s lineup as “reliable” and “fun-to-drive” while delivering “impressive fuel economy. At third is Toyota, and the top 5 spots are completed by Audi and Subaru. The lower half of the top 10 are Porsche, Buick, Honda, Kia and BMW.

Read the entire article Buick arrives in the top 10 on Consumer Reports report card

Drivers of Tesla Model S luxury electric sedan were the most satisfied among auto owners, according to the latest owner-satisfaction survey conducted by Consumer Reports. The Model S scored 98 of 100 to top the survey a second straight year.

Behind the Model S as the satisfying vehicle in the survey are: Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, with a 95 percent satisfaction rating, and the Porsche Cayman and Boxster, both scoring a 91 percent satisfaction rating. With two models scoring high ratings, Porsche managed to cling to the No. 2 spot, getting an average score of 87 out of 100 across its model lines.

Consumers Reports remarked that the Tesla Model is roomy, comfortable, and fun to drive, adding that it has low operating costs. The latest top ranking should further boost Tesla’s image as the leader in the producting high-end electric cars.

Read the entire article Tesla Model S tops owner-satisfaction survey at Consumer Reports

When Ram ranked third in the latest Consumer Report’s reliability survey, its brand chief already knew who to blame. Ram, a brand of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, ranked third from bottom partly because of its cockpit technology, according to brand chief Bob Hegbloom.

He noted that the average age of a pickup truck is 11 years old, adding that Ram integrated technologies into its cockpit system with “an individual that may not have had a new vehicle in 10- plus years.” Four of FCA’s brands -- Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Ram -- all lurked in the bottom four of the rankings.

When Consumer Reports surveyed owners of 2014 model vehicles, it found out that balky touch-screens as well as other cockpit-related technology gremlins drew the most complaints among the 17 categories. Other brands earning the most complaints were Cadillac, Ford and Honda.

Read the entire article Ram chief partly blames cockpit tech for slide in rankings

The American pickup war got even tougher as the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel outscored rivals such as the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado and Nissan Titan in the latest test conducted by Consumer Reports. According to the well-known magazine, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel received the first spot among full-size light-duty pickups.

First of all, the pickup made by Chrysler impressed with its average fuel economy of 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, which is far better than its rivals. Consumer Reports said that the fuel economy returned by the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is comparable with a midsized SUV.

For those who don’t know, the vehicle uses a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel engine supplied by Fiat subsidiary VM Motori SPA, that produces 240 hp and 420 pounds-feet of torque. In addition, the turbodiesel engine is bolted to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Read the entire article 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel impresses Consumer Reports, outscores its competitors

Although it received a near-perfect score from Consumer Reports (99 out of 100), it appears that the Tesla Model S failed to impress the well-known magazine in the long-term test. The electric car impressed the magazine with its smoothness, effortless glide and clever yet elegant simplicity, the vehicle bought by Consumer Magazine had several problems.

Driven for almost 16,000 miles and purchased for $98,650, the Tesla Model S saw the first problems with the center screen when it was driven for over 12,000 miles. This means that the driver didn’t have access to many functions of the vehicle but Tesla fixed the problem as the vehicle was under warranty.

After a hard reset, the functions were restored to the car. The retracting door handles also showed problems and were occasionally reluctant to emerge. Consumer Reports were not the only one having problems with the Tesla Model S as the guys from Edmunds also reported problems which included replacing the main battery pack after the car stalled.

Read the entire article Tesla Model S fails to impress Consumer Reports in the long-term test

The BMW M235i received a near-perfect score to top Consumer Reports’ road test reviews. The high-performance car scored 98 of possible 100 points – outscoring costlier rivals Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette. The Porsche 911 Carrera S received a score of 95 while the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray LT3 got a score of 92.

At a price of $50,400, the BMW M235i is around $60,000 less expensive than the 911 Carrera S and $23,000 cheaper than the Corvette Stingray LT3. Consumer Reports said that the M235i features a “classic BMW mold” and offers “tenacious cornering” on the track, while taking on comfort and luxury.

Jon Linkov, Consumer Reports deputy cars editor, told Bloomberg in an interview that BMW M235i is a “totally dual-purpose car” -- one that can be driven to work safely on weekdays and piloted on the track on the weekend.

Read the entire article BMW M235i tops Consumer Reports’ review, overtakes Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette

The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid vowed to return 47 mpg of fuel mileage, as per Environmental Protection Agency city/highway window sticker rating, but it failed to live up to its promise, according to Consumer Reports.

The 47 mpg rating of the 2014 Accord Hybrid makes its most fuel-efficient mid-size sedan in the US, but road tests by the magazine showed that it only averaged 40 miles (64 kilometers) per gallon of gasoline in combined city and highway driving.

That is a 7-mpg difference from what consumers could really get from their Accord hybrid, when the EPA rating was supposed to show the actual fuel economy of new cars and trucks.

Read the entire article Consumer Reports says 2014 Accord Hybrid failed to achieve rated mpg

The Toyota family of vehicles has 11 models included by the Consumer Reports in its list of best used vehicles for the 2004-2013 model years. The list contains the top small cars, sedans and sports utility vehicles that performed well in testing and logged above-average reliability.

In the $15,000-to-$20,000 range, the best small cars to purchase were the 2012-2013 Hyundai Elantra and the 2011-2013 Subaru Impreza, with Consumer Reports saying that they were as spacious and comfortable as larger, more expensive vehicles.

The best sedans were the 2011-2012 Toyota Camry, 2010-2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid and 2008 Acura TL, with their fuel economy, reliability and a comfortable ride being cited as while they were on the list. The SUVs were the 2006-2007 Lexus RX and 2009-2010 Subaru Forester.

Read the entire article Eleven Toyota models are in Consumer Reports’ best used vehicles list

While US carmakers are making a comeback with award-winning vehicles, Japanese and luxury brands still boast of having the best lineups of cars and light trucks in the auto industry, editors of Consumer Reports say. In fact, Japanese carmakers have seven of the top 10 ranked brands rated for overall reliability and road-test performance in tests that Consumer Reports conducted.

On the other hand, the best that Detroit can achieve was 12th, held by Buick and GMC. Likewise, lurking on the bottom five are all Detroit brands. Toyota’s Lexus luxury brand once again topped the list, after receiving a score of 79 out of 100.

Consumer Reports said that Lexus’ car and SUV lineup were "quiet, plush, and very reliable," although they are less engaging to drive than models of some rivals. Lexus was followed by Acura (75 points), Audi (74 points), Subaru and Toyota (tied for fourth place) and Mazda. Completing the top 10 were Honda, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz and BMW and Volvo (tied for 10th place).

Read the entire article Seven Japanese brands land top 10 spots in Consumer Report rankings

The Tesla Model S became the first American car to be named “best overall” pick from Consumer Reports and beat the Audi A6, Toyota Prius and BMW 328i in the independent product-testing magazine’s annual ranking. The reviewers singled out the Tesla Model S for its “blistering acceleration, razor-sharp handling, compliant ride and versatile cabin.”

“It’s truly a groundbreaking car,” Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of auto testing, told Bloomberg in an interview.  Consumer Reports reviewed around 260 vehicles. “You get into it, and it really stands out. It’s the very best car I’ve ever driven,” Fisher said. The top vehicle model ranking for US electric car maker may further boost its profile, expecting sales of Model S to surge around 56 percent to 35,000 cars this year.

Adam Jonas, a Morgan Stanley analyst, remarked that Tesla could almost double its share of the global car market to 1 percent if it could lower battery costs.

Read the entire article Tesla Model S named best overall pick by Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports will not recommend the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, after conducting tests on a Latitude version powered by a 2.4-liter inline-four engine and a Limited variant with a 3.2-liter V-6 powerplant. Consumer Reports described the Cherokee as an "uneven package" and deeming it "half-baked." Consumer Reports said the Latitude was underpowered and "not very fuel efficient."

The influential magazine preferred the Limited than the Latitude because of its advanced active-safety features and infotainment system. The magazine's automotive testing staff found the SUV’s handling an issue, saying that neither vehicle was very agile and the ride was choppy.

Consumer Reports also criticized the SUV’s nine-speed automatic transmission, referring to it as "unrefined" and "unresponsive." The magazine remarked that Cherokee Limited V-6 scored 70 out of 100 points while the Cherokee Latitude scored 56.

Read the entire article Consumer Reports will not recommend 2014 Jeep Cherokee

Tesla Motors Inc. is now one of the top brands, according to a recent survey conducted by Consumer Reports. In December, the magazine surveyed 1,578 vehicle owners asked to rank brand attributes including quality, safety, value, design and technology. The survey found out the consumers rank Toyota as the best brand, followed by Ford, Honda and Chevrolet.

"Consumers are influenced by word of mouth, marketing and hands-on experience," Jeff Bartlett, Consumer Reports deputy automotive editor, said in a statement.

He said that perception can be a trailing indicator, reflecting years of good or bad performance in a category, and it can also be influenced by headlines in the media." The magazine said in November that the Tesla Model S topped its owner satisfaction poll despite a review by US regulators after two crash-related battery fires.

Read the entire article Tesla is 5th among top brands, Consumer Reports poll says

Consumer Reports has placed the 2014 Toyota Camry back to its recommended list after previously dropping the 2013 model sedan in October.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2014 Camry – enhanced with a strengthened frame -- an “acceptable” rating in a new front-end test, prompting the magazine to re-list the sedan.

"The Consumer Reports recommendation is certainly a big thing for Toyota," said Jake Fisher, Consumer Report’s director of automotive testing. He said that the Camry was the fastest vehicle returning to the recommended list. Only 22 passenger vehicles -- two from a US carmaker – received the highest rating of "top safety pick plus" from IIHS. The new test was designed to persuade automakers to improve protection in such front-end crashes.

The only US vehicles receiving the rating were the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ. Honda, including its Acura brand, got the most top picks with six. Another 17 vehicles, including the Camry and the Chevrolet Spark, received "top safety pick" rating.

Read the entire article Toyota Camry barges back into recommended list of Consumer Reports

The Toyota Prius topped the Consumer Reports’ Best New-Car Value analysis for the second straight year. The analysis, which ranks over 200 vehicles on performance, reliability and costs, has the Prius on top after the Toyota unit logged an estimated five-year cost of 47 cents per mile. Rik Paul, Consumer Reports’ automotive editor, said in a statement, that Prius’ 44 mpg overall is the best fuel economy of any non-plug-in car the magazine has tested.

He remarked that while the Prius is not cheap to buy, its depreciation is so low that “it costs less to own over the first five years than its initial MSRP.” Sitting at the bottom of the ranking is the Nissan Armada, which costs consumers $1.20 per mile over five years.

The large SUV also returns 13 mpg and scored poorly in Consumer Report’s annual reliability survey. The rankings are based on their performance in Consumer Reports’ road-tests; on its predicted-reliability score from the latest Annual Auto Survey; and on a score based on depreciation, fuel, insurance premiums, maintenance, sales tax and repairs costs over five years.

Read the entire article Toyota Prius tops Consumer Reports’ Best New-Car Value ranking
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