When Consumer Reports tests new cars, their staff shop just like consumers. They stop into dealerships and buy cars without giving any indication they intend to test the cars for a major magazine. Rather than receiving specially tuned or improved vehicles, the magazine takes to its test center the same cars ordinary shoppers would buy.
Testing involves both subjective and objective evaluations. Consumer Reports offers a number of short videos explaining their testing methods. featuring their 327-acre facilities. Here’s their explanation of how they test acceleration:
For the first time in six years, two American brands appear on the list of best cars of 2010. The typical criticism of Consumer Reports is that the subscribers overall tend to be more liberal than the “average American,” and this results in a favoring of cars built by foreign-owned companies. For the reliability portion of the ratings of new cars, Consumer Reports relies on subscriber-submitted reports of problems.
It seems to me that if subscribers are in fact more liberal, and there is some kind of correlation between liberalism and ownership of foreign brand cars, there are more opportunities for subscribers to report problems with the cars they own. This should lead to an overstatement of the occurrence of problems in foreign brands and an understatement of problems in domestic brands.
If there is a flaw in my logic, I’m sure someone will point it out.
Here are Consumer Reports’ picks for the best cars of 2010:
|Family Sedan||Nissan Altima|
|Small Sedan||Hyundai Elantra SE|
|Sporty Car||Volkswagen GTI|
|Small SUV||Subaru Forester|
|Best Car Overall||Lexus LS 460L|
|Family SUV||Chevrolet Traverse|
|Sports Sedan||Infiniti G37|
|Green Car||Toyota Prius|
|Pickup Truck||Chevrolet Silverado 1500|
Do you own or plan to own any of these 2010 models? Let us know if you’re happy with your purchase.
Updated April 7, 2010 and originally published March 1, 2010.