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Old 02-29-2012, 07:11 AM   #1
shikataganai
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Default Consumer Reports: Who makes the best cars?

Consumer Reports has an interesting take on this question, graphically depicting who makes the best cars by plotting road test test scores against reliability data:



http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/c...best-cars.html

Quote:
Riding a wave of impressive redesigned models in the last few years, Subaru for the first time has earned the top score in our automaker report cards. Meanwhile, Honda, which had been the perennial winner for the past four years, slipped to fourth place among 13 major automakers, behind Mazda and Toyota.

Our automaker report cards reflect the performance, comfort, utility, and reliability of more than 275 vehicles that we’ve recently rated, providing a perspective on which manufacturers are building the best all-around models. Each automaker’s overall score is based on the average road-test scores and reliability ratings for all of its models for which we have tests.

Subaru’s score of 75, two points higher than last year, reflects better test scores for such redesigned models as the Impreza, Legacy, and Outback over the last few years. The 2012 Impreza, which we just tested, now tops the small-sedan class and is our Top Pick in that category. Subaru’s average road-test score of 82 is the highest in our analysis. Moreover, all of Subaru’s models now have at least average reliability, thanks to fewer problems with the sporty Impreza WRX.

By [sic] contrast, Honda has been hurt by several redesigned models—including the Civic and Odyssey—that didn’t measure up to their predecessors. Honda’s overall score dropped by two points and its average road-test score dropped one point. Honda models, however, are still among the most reliable on the road overall.
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:30 AM   #2
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I hate charts like this that make it show a greater separation along one axis.

Should be squeezed a bit more horizontally so the grid squares are 'square'.

--kC
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:01 AM   #3
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Seems about right. It'd be nice to see the comparison from what this looked like 10 years ago.
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:52 AM   #4
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hm looks familiar



subliminal message?
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:14 PM   #5
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What does better reliability mean? Is it a cost of ownership with expected repairs over a given mileage? Or is it the stupid problems per vehicle that has no real meaning? I hate graphs with no units. Numbers have no meaning with out units.
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrxsubaru View Post
What does better reliability mean? Is it a cost of ownership with expected repairs over a given mileage? Or is it the stupid problems per vehicle that has no real meaning? I hate graphs with no units. Numbers have no meaning with out units.
I rate your post a 173.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrxsubaru View Post
What does better reliability mean? Is it a cost of ownership with expected repairs over a given mileage? Or is it the stupid problems per vehicle that has no real meaning? I hate graphs with no units. Numbers have no meaning with out units.
FAQ: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/c...view/index.htm

1.3 million vehicles. Sample of at least 100 vehicles to be included in the ratings. Weighted by area/severity:

Quote:
Problems with the engine-major, cooling system, transmission-major, and driveline are more likely to take a car out of service and to be more expensive to repair than the other problem areas. Consequently, we weigh these areas more heavily in our calculations of Used Car Verdicts and Predicted Reliability. Problems in any area can be an expense and a bother, though, so we report them all in the Reliability History charts.
Sampling/(self-)selection bias is addressed:

Quote:
Our survey sample is drawn from the population of subscribers to ConsumerReports.org and to Consumer Reports magazine. While all subscribers are invited to participate in the survey, participation is voluntary, and there is always the possibility that those who respond are unique in some particular way. For example, subscribers have sometimes questioned whether those who respond are those who have a complaint to make about their cars.

To address this concern, we conduct a validation test every year. A representative sample of 8,000 to 10,000 subscribers are mailed the same questions about problem experiences with their cars at the same time as all subscribers are asked to complete the main survey. Using a combination of incentives and follow-up mailings, we attain at least a 40 to 50 percent response rate on this validation sample. The validation sample is known to be representative of the subscriber population; by comparing responses from this sample to responses of the main sample, we can assess whether the main sample is representative of the population overall. In more than 30 years we have not found any biases on any of the questions on any of the topics.
Finally, the range is great. In the FAQ they report that the most reliable models can have up to 70% of owners report no problems at all over the past 12 months, while the worst models will have up to 75% of the owners experience problems.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shikataganai View Post
FAQ: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/c...view/index.htm

1.3 million vehicles. Sample of at least 100 vehicles to be included in the ratings. Weighted by area/severity:



Sampling/(self-)selection bias is addressed:



Finally, the range is great. In the FAQ they report that the most reliable models can have up to 70% of owners report no problems at all over the past 12 months, while the worst models will have up to 75% of the owners experience problems.
Thanks for that. Very nicely put.

Although there still is a selection bias coming from the fact that you have to be a subscriber to be in this survey. But still better than anything else out there.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:33 PM   #9
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What? How did Mazda get above Toyota and Honda? That sneaky bastard.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ysidro View Post
What? How did Mazda get above Toyota and Honda? That sneaky bastard.
I've always considered Honda to be the most bulletproof cars around but honestly having owned three Mazdas (86, 91, 07) I'm not surprised by their high standing. Even with the Ford influence their products have remained top notch. Also I think they're good value for the money, nice interiors etc for not a ton of $$.
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woody06967 View Post
I rate your post a 173.
What are you, the East German judge? That was clearly a 177, minimum. As far as I'm concerned, it had the potential to be a solid 180, if it weren't for the unnecessary space in the middle of the second-to-last word "without".

Wait, I'm getting too close to defining a unit. Drat.
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Old 03-01-2012, 12:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shikataganai View Post
Sampling/(self-)selection bias is addressed:
Well, not really. They're saying that those that respond to their survey are representative of their subscribers, but their subscribers are a self-selected group.
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:58 AM   #13
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This graph looked legitimate until I saw Mazda all the way at the top. Cannot be true.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:08 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plunk10 View Post
This graph looked legitimate until I saw Mazda all the way at the top. Cannot be true.
You'll notice that Mazda took a big leap after they discontinued the RX-8.. and after they uglified the MS3 (by giving it that grin) at which point it stopped being the one of the most popular cars to buy and tune badly. The non-turbo Mazdas are extremely reliable and the turbocharged models are reliable for turbocharged cars.

Not to say that the RX-8 was unreliable.. but it was not reliable in the hands of a bad (or dare I say, average) owner.
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Old 03-01-2012, 01:25 PM   #15
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My RX-8 was reliable... once its ECU, injectors, plugs, starter, and battery were replaced under warranty after it flooded. Yes, I had revved the engine to 3.5k or whatever it was for 20 seconds before turning it off, yet it still killed itself quite thoroughly. I loved that car for many reasons, but never quite could trust it after that.
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Old 03-01-2012, 05:06 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bal00 View Post
Well, not really. They're saying that those that respond to their survey are representative of their subscribers, but their subscribers are a self-selected group.
Yes, but it makes them feel good to pretend they dealt with it
Also as has been said 100 times. The buyers of the vehicles bought the vehicles. If people who buy hondas change the oil more than people who buy Fords then it is still not a fair comparison. It would be interesting to see some fleet records or something.



What is the "extra weight" they apply to major problems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CR
Sometimes we include a prediction for a model that has been newly redesigned, provided its reliability history has been consistently above average.

While reliability history is no guarantee of a new car's reliability, by choosing a car that has been relatively problem-free for owners of recent models, you can improve your odds of having a problem-free car.
Basically your standard past performance is no guarantee statement, but I actually am happy Shika posted the link at least now I know more about how they do it, although it is still pretty useless since they don't say the weightings. I wish they would just do a chart with major problems then I could tell how they actually compare.
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Old 03-01-2012, 05:16 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sxotty
I wish they would just do a chart with major problems then I could tell how they actually compare.
They do that as well. Easier to compare numbers than charts of colored circles, unless it's blatantly obvious that some vehicle is awful, etc.
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Old 03-01-2012, 05:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sxotty View Post
Yes, but it makes them feel good to pretend they dealt with it
Also as has been said 100 times. The buyers of the vehicles bought the vehicles. If people who buy hondas change the oil more than people who buy Fords then it is still not a fair comparison. It would be interesting to see some fleet records or something.
That's one factor. Another factor is that what CR publishes will probably influence their subscribers, so there's a risk of setting up a feedback loop.

I mean here they are telling subscribers what the best brands are...and then they send a survey to the same subscribers...
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calamity Jesus View Post
You'll notice that Mazda took a big leap after they discontinued the RX-8.. and after they uglified the MS3 (by giving it that grin) at which point it stopped being the one of the most popular cars to buy and tune badly. The non-turbo Mazdas are extremely reliable and the turbocharged models are reliable for turbocharged cars.

Not to say that the RX-8 was unreliable.. but it was not reliable in the hands of a bad (or dare I say, average) owner.
Synonymous :P
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:59 AM   #20
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Hoop de do for my Subaru
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:59 AM   #21
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Old 03-02-2012, 04:07 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bal00 View Post
That's one factor. Another factor is that what CR publishes will probably influence their subscribers, so there's a risk of setting up a feedback loop.

I mean here they are telling subscribers what the best brands are...and then they send a survey to the same subscribers...
That is actually a very good point and I do believe it has something to do with people's perception of their vehicle's quality.
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:13 PM   #23
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That would actually make an interesting experiment.

Send 100 toasters to people, tell them it came in last in a recent comparison test and ask them to rate it. Then send 100 identical toasters to people and tell them it won the comparison test and it's the best toaster on the market. Have them rate it too and compare the results.

One thing is clear though, if you look at the rankings from CR and JD Power (especially the positions of GM and Mazda), at least one of the two must be doing something wrong.



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Old 03-02-2012, 06:29 PM   #24
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JD Power's data are on problems experienced with (only) 2009 model year cars over the past year. CR's data are on all model year cars from each marque with sufficient responses over the past year.

http://www.jdpower.com/content/study...dy-results.htm

Quote:
The study, which is based on responses from more than 31,000 original owners of 2009 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership, measures problems experienced during the previous 12 months by those original owners. Overall dependability is determined by the level of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.
Also note sample size of 31,000 (JD Power) vs. 1,300,000 (CR). Different beasts, and the disparate results do not surprise me.
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:00 PM   #25
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I was going to post the same JD Power results as bal00 to say that something is REALLY weird with the CR results.

Another point was also made in a CarLounge thread about these reliability results. If you look back 15 years a "reliable" car was down where Chrysler is now and the less reliable cars were around 400.
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