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Consumer Reports trash talks Toyota, Honda

Honda

The Honda Civic has been a perennial best-seller for Honda but has probably taken more fire from CR than any other model the maker has introduced in years.

If the well-regarded Consumer Reports has taken some criticism, over the years, it’s for being too import friendly, but you’d be hard-pressed to tell from the non-profit publication’s latest issue – where it takes the Toyota Prius C and Honda Civic to task as two of “Five Popular Cars to Avoid.”

That could be bad news for the two makers as CR does, indeed carry significant weight among more affluent, import-oriented buyers.  The Civic is a critical model in the Honda line-up but has already taken sharp criticism since its 2011 redesign, while the Prius C is the newest member of Toyota’s expanded hybrid family.

“Just because a car generates a lot of buzz or is a best seller doesn’t mean that it’s a good choice for you,” warns the magazine.

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The two Japanese makers aren’t the only ones coming under fire in the September 2012 issue of Consumer Reports, however.  The magazine also targets three domestic models:

  • The popular Ford Edge crossover;
  • The Jeep Liberty sport-utility vehicle; and
  • The Dodge Grand Caravan minivan.

The magazine notes that all five of the models “may be on a lot of buyers’ shopping lists, but we suggest you steer clear.”  The reason?  Either reliability problems or poor tests in CR testing – or both.

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The Civic has been a perennial best-seller for Honda but has probably taken more fire from CR than any other model the maker has introduced in years.  A primary reason is that Honda “took too many shortcuts” in the redesign of the latest version of the compact model.  The Honda Civic has come under criticism from a variety of other reviewers – including TheDetroitBureau.com – for similar reasons.

Toyota has hoped to score a home run with the 2012 Prius C.  It’s one of four models now sharing the familiar Prius name – along with the bigger Prius V, the Prius plug-in and the original Prius hatchback. But CR editors have little nice to say about the compact entry into the hybrid family, declaring it “suffers from a stiff ride, noisy cabin, slow acceleration and cheap-looking interior trim.”

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As for the Ford Edge, it is faulted for a much-worse-than-average reliability rating, according to recent CR reader surveys.  And the magazine joins the chorus of boos for the crossover’s difficult FordMyTouch infotainment interface.

The Jeep Liberty, meanwhile, garnered one of the lowest scores in recent CR road tests, delivered lousy fuel economy and had a poor ride on pavement that offset its off-road capabilities.

As for the Dodge Caravan, CR did have some nice things to say about it, calling the vehicle, “versatile, comfortable and well-equipped.”  But that couldn’t offset the minivan’s many problems, including a meager 17 mpg mileage rating, squeaks, rattles, problems with its sliding doors, “and sloppy at-the-limit handling.”

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