Reader Question: Is Consumer Reports Reliable?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Chris asks: Is the auto testing/reviews in Consumer Reports reliable?

My reply: CR’s obsession with “safety” (i.e, whether a given car has or does not have whatever electronic nanny technology the writers believe every car ought to have) and the  lectures about gas mileage and C02 “emissions” – combined with their legacy of bias in favor of certain brands renders what they write about cars of not much value in my book.

The automotive press in general is weirdly hostile toward cars and driving, treating both with a kind of supercilious contempt. This is probably a function of the fact that the automotive press is largely populated by urban “hipster/wokester” types who really ought to be writing about smartphones and whether the bus or the train is the best way to get from one end of town to the other.

Car & Driver is the worst – saddest – example  of this transition. It used to be staffed by writers who loved cars and driving, understood engineering and whose work was of value to people who also liked cars and driving, accordingly. Now it is like reading the Communist Manifesto if you like Thomas Paine.

I recommend doing your own caveat emptor and due diligence with regard to cars – and that you follow writers and publications that aren’t hostile to cars and driving.

You’ve found at least one such joint already!

. . . 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. They also push the nonsense that has made new major appliances suck. Energy “efficiency” at the expense of functionality is the main problem with new appliances. Who cares if the dishwasher saves energy when it no longer cleans the dishes and you have to run it twice.

  2. I subscribed to CR for decades, I liked that they did reader polls on the appliances they owned as one way of determining which were most/least reliable. As far as car reviews go….fughetaboutit! They are a giant force behind the saaaaaaafety cult nanny state; they lost me as a subscriber when they gave Tesla a “best car ever” rating. I noticed recently that they walked that back a bit after the self immolating accidents became too numerous to ignore.

  3. WRT Consumer Reports, I noticed a couple of things. One, the Japanese brands, particularly Toyota, can do NO WRONG! Two, one of their radio reviews was suspect years ago, so I’ve always questioned what they had to say.

    For Consumer Reports, it seems like Toyota and Honda can do no wrong; why, their cars are PERFECT! They’re very good, but they’re not perfect. Plus, I don’t think that the domestic brands are as bad as CR makes ’em out to be. Thanks to competition, I don’t think that there are any truly bad cars out there. Though CR pans the Ford Focus, I’m very happy with mine. I wanted a practical, economical car that was fun, and the Focus has been everything I wanted it to be.

    Two, I remember some years ago that CR did a review of a portable shortwave radio that I owned for a couple of years: the Panasonic RF-2200. Their review was TOTALLY OFF BASE! I know, because I owned one; I knew and loved that radio. They couldn’t have been more wrong in their review.

    Ironically, though they took (and still take) advertising, The World Radio & TV Handbook had a much more accurate, on-point review of the radio. For those who haven’t been part of the radio hobby, the WRTH is THE BIBLE when it comes to all things radio; it’s that good! The WRTH’s review of the Panasonic RF-2200 was thorough, accurate, and on-point; what they said jibed with my personal experience with the RF-2200. SO! Just because CR doesn’t accept advertising doesn’t mean that their reviews are accurate at all; take CR’s reviews with a grain of salt.

    Oh, and for anyone wanting to learn more about the WRTH, go here: http://wrth.com/

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