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Japanese Rides Dominate Consumer Reports Annual List

By Carolyn E. Price     Feb 28, 2007 in Business
Once again, Japanese cars are at the top of the heap.
If there's an eternal optimist still floating around the offices of Detroit's automakers, it might be wise to keep them away from Consumer Reports' latest overview of the best and worst cars and trucks.
Oops, it's happened again ... not one Detroit vehicle ranked in the magazine's top 10 Top Picks. Toyota Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. have seven of the top 10.
2007's top 10 picks are:
Fun to drive - Mazda MX-5 Miata
Small SUV - Toyota RAV4
Small sedan - Honda Civic
Family sedan - Honda Accord
Minivan - Toyota Sienna
Luxury sedan - Infiniti M35
Midsized SUV - Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Budget cars - Honda Fit
Green car - Toyota Prius
Upscale sedan - Infiniti G35
The top picks are based on "stringent requirements" in three areas: Testing, Reliability and Safety. The magazine has not had an American car on its top picks list since April 2005
"I still think Detroit is trailing,"”said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' auto test center. "While there are some good models in the wings, it's like a cake recipe. You can look at the recipe and you can look at the picture on the box, and it looks really nice. It’s only when you taste the cake when you can see if it’s any good."
Perhaps if the magazine made top picks in the categories of large sports utility vehicle and full-sized pickups, US models might have done well. However, Champion says the magazine did not make picks in those categories because it was still testing several new models in both categories.
Out of the 54 models that were given "top recommendations", Detroit built eight of them. Out of the 137 vehicles that were "recommended", 38 came from GM, Ford or Chrysler. All of Honda's vehicles earned at least a recommendation, as did most Toyotas.
Check out the list of recommended vehicles.
This year, the magazine also compiled a "report card" on each major automaker where they compiled the average score of a company's vehicles in about 50 different tests from handling to headlights. While most import automakers score an average of at least 70 out of a 100, Ford vehicles averages 64, GM averaged 57 and Chrysler was at 51, the second-lowest.
More about Consumer reports, Japanese, 2007