Monthly Archives: August 2013

Consumer Reports on Cars

Arg, I have before me one of the most valuable tools for searching for cars -“ConsumerReports New Car Preview 2014” magazine.

That being said there are some problems with the magazine.  Primarily is one that Consumer Reports is beginning to address – which is for such a large decision a car purchase is largely an emotional decision.  This isn’t; however, because people are emotional or can’t make logical decisions.  It is mostly because of the tilted against the car buyer purchasing process.

TPKoC will talk about that more, later in another article.

Even if you approach car buying in a logical manner; however, there are flaws in the Consumer Reports approach to comparing vehicles.

  1. A picture is worth a thousand words; however, two pictures of cars that aren’t comparable because they aren’t on the same scale, same angle, same location/background and, same camera attributes are worthless.
  2. In the spirit of cutting down the work load they only reviewed 285 cars.  The problem is that the same car with a different drive train is a different car and needs to be reviewed separately.  Performance (mpg), performance (speed), ride quality, and, reliability among many other details can change drastically if there is a different drive train.  The same car with a different drive train is in fact a different car and should be treated as a different car.
  3. Organization of content is poorly chosen.  While it may be logical that people search by car manufacturer – it makes far more sense to group by car type and then sort by price – lowest to highest – in each group so that you can perhaps look at the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla next to each other rather than many pages away.
  4. While they do announce that some models had too few responses to give reliability ratings, each article *should* indicate the number of responses by year that ratings were given.  Smaller samples might be suspect in terms of the ending values.
  5. They have a great blurb on the 2014 Toyota Highlander, but the car rating in the car by car section is the old one.  It is a bit inconsistent, as other cars such as the new BMW 4-series has the new 2014 model pictured and rated.

There are some great articles in the magazine – that TPKoC thinks are targeted to educating the public on how to manage and purchase their vehicle.  Since this is in part the goal the The Pirate King of Cars – we find this to be laudable.