I am shocked that they would push through articles like this drivel.

It is pretty clear that the author banged it out in about an hour. How can I tell?

The article is supposed to be a penetrating analysis into the 10 worst cars on the road today – looking at crash test results, resale value, reliability predictions (from Consumer Reports, no less) and recalls.

On the surface, those should be good metrics, right?

Hardly.

A couple of the metrics used I can live with, like crash test results and resale. But the others are shaky. Since they can be found online without the journalist getting off their duff, as opposed to real research, that tells me it was banged out.

Recalls are misleading – perhaps the JD Power results or something similar pertaining to defects would be better than simply counting recalls. By simply counting recalls and not looking at the number of cars affected, the seriousness of the problem or the usual policy of a manufacturer on recalls makes the metric useless. It penalizes the responsible manufacturers to take the high road and announce recalls because it is the right thing to do. In getting our cars serviced over the years, we’ve argued about repairs and lo and behold, a few months later there’s a recall for the problem we had. Other times there is the “silent” recall – the dealer fixes it and tells you about it when you are getting something else done. So using announced recalls is flawed, in my opinion.

And don’t get me started about the Consumer Reports reliability rankings. They can test a toaster, but I have very little faith in their tests and rankings of cars. First, they irrationally love Hondas and Toyotas. Toyota can produce a turd with doors using rejected parts and Consumer Reports would love it – although CR may be getting sensitive to that criticism finally. There is a lot of bias against American cars and the Korean cars, in my opinion. Second, the reliabilty predictions are just that, predictions.  The reliability data on used cars that are a few years old is a better metric, but many cars offered today haven’t been around for years, so getting that data is difficult. I would rather see data on warranty claims as opposed to a magazine prediction.

I’ll stick to reading between the lines of Car and Driver and Motor Trend, and asking my car-nut brother and my local mechanic what they think. It’s worked so far.

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