Toyota hits speed bump in latest Consumer Reports ratings

Toyota
(Photo: toyotaoforlando.com)

It’s a tough year for Toyota at Consumer Reports.

Several of the auto manufacturer’s nameplates lost their “Recommended” status in the latest of CR’s Annual Auto Reliability ratings and rankings, according to The Car Connection electronic newsletter.

“It’s likely the results were met with a collective wince over at Toyota,” wrote Bengt Halvorson.

“While the automaker – and its Lexus luxury counterpart – still ranked above all others in reliability,” Halvorson reported at The Car Connection, “the consumer publication revoked its ‘recommended’ status for the best-selling Camry, as well as the Toyota RAV4 and Toyota Prius V hybrid – all because each of these models earned the bottom-rung ‘poor’ rating in the new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) small overlap frontal crash test.”

“CR’s move to pull any vehicles that are poor-performing in the new test follows the greater emphasis from the IIHS on the results of the new test, which simulates a particularly deadly kind of crash where a car hits a pole or barrier (or another vehicle off-center),” Halvorson wrote. “Out of all the family sedans tested by the IIHS so far, the Camry has been the only model with a ‘poor’ rating.”

Focusing on Toyota’s Prius V hybrid, Antony Ingram at Green Car Reports wrote:

“Receiving a ‘Recommended’ rating from the journalists at Consumer Reports isn’t the only automotive accolade to aim for, but it’s certainly one of the biggest. … Losing that Recommended rating is therefore something to be avoided. It’s also something the Toyota Prius V wagon has failed to avoid following the magazine’s most recent assessment.”

Despite losing their Recommended ratings, both the Camry and the Prius V still were awarded a Top Safety Pick rating overall, thanks to good performances in other tests, according to Green Car Reports.

Three Japanese brands, Lexus, Toyota, and Acura captured the top three spots in the survey, which was conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, reported consumerreports.org. The survey is believed to be the largest of its kind, comprising findings based on CR subscribers’ experiences with 1.1 million vehicles. Consumer Reports uses the survey data to compile reliability histories on vehicles and predict how well new cars that are currently on sale will hold up.

“The top predicted-reliability score went to the redesigned 2014 Subaru Forester SUV, which hadn’t been on the market for very long when CR conducted the survey,” said consumerreports.org. “The Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid got the worst score, and the regular C-Max Hybrid wasn’t much better.”

In other results:

  • Overall, hybrid and electric models proved extremely reliable, with the Toyota Prius, Lexus ES 300h, Toyota Prius C, Nissan Leaf, and Honda CR-Z all earning recommendations.
  • Also of note: The Tesla Model S earned enough of a record for reliability to be put on the ‘recommended’ list – after also earning the organization’s best-ever rating earlier this year.
  • Touch-screen infotainment systems have been a cause of much frustration for new-car buyers, with locked-up screens, laggy responses, and connectivity issues.
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