Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bad cars, even worse reporting

A few weeks ago Forbes ran the article, "The Worst Cars On The Road." In it nine of the eleven vehicles are from either GM or Chrysler. Not good PR for the Government Two car companies.

Looking at the cars listed, however, the news is not as bad as it seems.

The "Worst Cars" from GM are the Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, Chevy Colorado and Chevy Aveo. The Chrysler vehicles to make this list are the Dodge Nitro, Dodge Dakota, Jeep Liberty, Wrangler Unlimited and Chrysler Town & Country.

Basically all the nameplates on this list are pre-bankruptcy vehicles, and given that some of the criteria for this list are value, cost of ownership and fuel economy it's not surprising that the list is dominated by big, heavy, expensive SUVs and trucks. They're old Detroit. Even the Chevy Aveo comes from that model where GM gave up building small cars and sourced cheap, crappy little boxes from partners like Daewoo.

I'm not going to defend the cars on the list. None are great in my estimation and some, like the Dodge Nitro, answer an automotive question that nobody asked. But labeling them as the "worst" is a little over the top.

And that's my other problem with this list, the source of its information: Consumer Reports. Forbes did no original testing for this evaluation and ignored other reliable sources of information like J.D. Power & Associates. They just compiled data from Consumer Reports. Lazy reporting at best.

I know I've been critical of GM and Chrysler in the past and will continue to call 'em like I see 'em, but this list is a hack job that just piles on based on old, biased and specious information.

I don't know why I expected more from Forbes.


  1. I've been hearing more blowback lately about the way Consumer Reports grades vehicles. My problem with CS has been that there's no "passion factor" in how they test. Who do you think is doing the best job of grading the new crop of cars?

  2. Jim, I'm still partial to the auto magazines. Yes, there is a bit of an unholy alliance but for the most part they're staffed by honest reporters who give you their straight opinions of the cars. They share my view that cars should be more than rolling appliances (unlike Consumer Reports). They also tend to spend more time and drive more vehicles than the other sources so they have a broader view of the world. Car and Driver and Automobile are still my go to books, but I'm biased having a personal history with both magazines. Autoblog.com is also a good source of news in the industry.