Why Detroit, Dearborn & Auburn Hills Need Consumer Reports

Quick: What’s missing from this list of small hatchbacks: 1.

Quick: What’s missing from this list of small hatchbacks:

1. Honda Fit Sport (manual)

2. Honda Fit (base)

3. Toyota Prius Four


Honda Fit Sport

Or this of family sedans:

1. Nissan Altima 2.5 S (four cylinder)

2. Kia Optima LX (2.4)

3. Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium

Or this one of small sedans:

1. Toyota Corolla (base, manual)

2. Mazda3 I Touring (manual)

3. Toyota Corolla LE

Or this one of upscale sedans:

1. Lexus ES 350

2. Acura TL (base)

3. Lexus IS 250

Or this one of sporty cars:

1. Honda CR-Z EX

2. Mini Cooper (base)

3. Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring

Or this one of small SUVs:

1. Toyota RAV4 (base, four-cylinder)

2. Subaru Forester 2.5X Premium

3. Toyota RAV4 Limited (V6)

How about anything from GM, Ford or Chrysler?

The lists are from Consumer Reports. They are part of the rankings of the Best New Car Values that the organization has published in its latest issue, February 2012.

The metrics include a projected five-year owner cost, road-test score, and predicted reliability.

There are other categories. And in the other categories, there are some U.S. brands making it in the top three (the CR lists are longer; I arbitrarily truncated the lists for purposes here). For example, in Luxury Sedans, Cadillac CTS Premium (3.6) is number 2. In Convertibles Ford Mustang Convertible GT Premium (V8) is number 1. In large SUVs Chevrolet Traverse LT is 1, Ford Flex SEL is 2, Dodge Durango Crew (V6) is 3. In Full-Sized Pickups Ford F-150 XLT (5.0 liter V8) is 2 and Chevrolet Avalanche LT (5.3 liter V8) is 3.

Still, when you look at the categories listed with three vehicles above and recognize them as huge volume segments, when you realize that Toyota was supposed to be a company that forgot about building quality vehicles, when you hear rhetoric coming out of some of the U.S. brands about how competitive they are, and then you spend some time with Consumer Reports (I strongly recommend that you get a copy of the publication even if you aren’t necessarily in the market for a new car because the data is fascinating), you begin to wonder. Really wonder.