Posts Tagged ‘consumer reports’

Used Japanese Cars Officially Offer the Best Bang for Your Buck

Posted by Stephen On Friday, March 21st, 2014

Used Japanese Cars

Every year, Consumer Reports puts together a very helpful report of the best and worst used cars at a variety of price ranges. Last year, we saw a fair number of Japanese cars make their way into the top list, but this year the showing is even more impressive. Out of 28 total cars listed, 22 of them are Japanese-made. Of the six remaining, three of them are Korean-made and three of them are American-made.

Conversely, 15 of the 21 vehicles on Consumer Reports’ worst used cars list for 2014 are American-made, with the remaining being European-made. Not a single Japanese car made it onto the ‘Worst’ list.

Remember, these are their words, not ours. There’s no bias here whatsoever; we’re just reporting what they said. So, if there were any doubt in anyone’s mind that Japan makes the best cars – the cars with the most longevity and value – this should effectively change your mind. At least for this year.

Of course, it’s probably no surprise that among the Best Used Cars list, most of them were Toyota’s. 11 of the 21 were Toyota/Lexus, six were Honda/Acura, and the rest were split between Mitsubishi, Mazda, Infiniti and Subaru.

Although you will have to check out the full report for yourself if you’d like to see a detailed breakdown in each category, we’ve provided a bird’s eye view of the best cars below:

Best Used Cars & SUVs <$10k

Small Cars: ‘04-07 Toyota Prius
Sedans: ‘07-08 Hyundai Sonata
SUVs: ‘04 Toyota Highlander V6

Best Used Cars & SUVs $10k – $15k

Small Cars: ‘11-13 Honda Fit
Sedans: ‘09-12 Mazda3
SUVs: ’04-06 Acura MDX

Best Used Cars & SUVs $15k – $20k

Small Cars: ‘12-13 Hyundai Elantra
Sedans: ‘11-12 Toyota Camry
SUVs: ’06-07 Lexus RX

Best Used Cars & SUVs $20k – $25k

Sedans: ‘11 Toyota Avalon
SUVs: ’08-09 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

As you can see, quite a few Toyotas top the charts there. From the older, now-cheap Toyota Prius to the 2011 Toyota Avalon, Toyota has consistently maintained itself as a top contender for both new and used car reliability.

Just to give you a bit more background, Consumer Reports compiled this list based on tests that they’ve done on each of these vehicles over the years. They stated that every car had “above-average reliability for the model years shown,” even when the car was several years old. The other key metric that Consumer Reports required for a car to be listed on their best list was electronic stability control, a feature that they feel is required in order to safely recommend a car to family or friends.

As for the worst list, every car on it demonstrated exactly the opposite – worse than average reliability – except that instead of being unreliable for just one or two model years, that lack of reliability was consistently present every year from 2004 through 2013.

All in all, the dominance of Japanese cars isn’t all that surprising to us. It’s why you really can’t go wrong when you buy Japanese, and now it’s not just us saying that, it’s the most respected consumer reviewers in the industry.

(Of course, a great place to source Japanese used cars is the used car auctions in Japan. Integrity Exports can help you do this.)

Japanese Cars Dominate Consumer Reports’ 2013 Best Used Cars Guide

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, March 14th, 2013

We’ve about covered the now-old-news 2013 Geneva Motor Show to death. While there were several Japanese cars we didn’t get a chance to talk about, we hit on all the really important ones. Today, we’re moving on to something a little more applicable – Consumer Reports’ Best & Worst Used Cars, published earlier this week.

As you might expect, this comprehensive guide from Consumer Reports (they’re good at those) offers buyers their best options at several different price points. CR has the best and worst used cars for a budget under $10k, and then every $5K up to $25K. Each section offers options for different classes of buyer, so whether you’re looking for a small car, sedan or SUV, there’s something for you.

For the sake of this article, we’re going to focus on the “Best Cars” half of the guide. Unsurprisingly, it’s dominated by Japanese cars, primarily from Toyota and Honda. As you continue reading, we’re going to go through each budget’s section and touch on the Japanese cars that made it onto Consumer Reports’ Best Used Cars list.

Under $10k

In the most price-restrictive segment, both the Acura TSX 2004 (sedan) and the Toyota RAV4 2004 (SUV) made the list. The Acura TSX is listed as a sporty budget vehicle with a responsive engine and nice interior. The 2004 RAV4 is listed because it’s the first year the SUV was manufactured with antilock brakes, although CR also notes a very powerful engine.

From $10k to $15k

This section is the most common price point for used car buyers, and as such it has the most options listed. Every single one of them is Japanese. Here’s an overview of which cars made the cut:

* Honda Fit 2011
* Mazda3 2011
* Honda Accord 2006-07
* Acura TL 2005-06
* Toyota RAV4 2006-08
* Honda CR-V 2005-07
* Toyota Highlander 2004-07
* Infiniti FX 2003-04

Lots of options here. They were particularly happy with the 2011 Honda Fit and 2006-07 Honda Accord, both with excellent driving and more-than-adequate interiors.

From $15k to $20k

Japanese brands almost took every single spot at this price point, too – the only non-Japanese car listed was the Hyundai Elantra.

This is where you start getting into the really nice Toyotas that we were all waiting for… The 2010-11 Prius and the 2011-12 Camry are both listed here. The Infiniti M 2006-07 is listed as an alternative to the Camry for those desiring a more luscious interior. The Mazda CX-9 is listed as a highly-recommended SUV for its agility and very spacious back-seating – excellent for a family.

From $20k to $25k

Last but not least, this is typically the price point for buyers who have a budget suitable for a new car, but who want to get the most bang for their buck. These are buyers willing to sacrifice new-ness for a nicer, more luxurious car and marquee. So, the 2007-08 Acura MDX and 2008 Lexus RX both make the cut, along with the 2009 Infiniti G and 2010 Toyota Avalon.

As you can see, Japanese car makers continue to uphold their reputation for excellence. Meanwhile, American brands dominate the “Worst Cars” section of Consumer Reports’ Used Car guide. The only Japanese car in the entire “Worst” list is the Nissan Armada.

So, the too-long-didn’t-read lesson here is this: if you’re buying a used car in 2013, buy a Japanese car. Specifically, buy a used Japanese car like a Toyota or a Honda. Can’t go wrong with either.

Source: Consumer Reports

2013 Honda Accord Back At Number 1 – Consumer Reports

Posted by Stephen On Friday, December 21st, 2012

The world is finally as it should be once again… Honda is back at the top in the US with their redesigned 2013 Accord having claimed Consumer Report’s best in class award for four-cylinder sedans. After a disappointing performance last year, Honda is back stronger than ever with a vehicle to be proud of. It seems as if Honda listened to everything Consumer Reports didn’t like about their previous vehicles and fixed those problems specifically for 2013.

The end result is a feature heavy sedan with good fuel efficiency and a reasonable price to cement its place at the top. The primary contenders that the Accord beat out for the gold were the Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata – two excellent vehicles in their own right. Of course, in Japan, Honda is always playing second fiddle to Toyota, but in the US it has often had the upper hand over the years.

To remind those of you who may have missed it, last year Consumer Reports decreed that the Honda Civic should be avoided like the plague. Their review outlined how the 2012 Honda Civic was cheaply made and ugly, although they said it much more eloquently… They used words like “less agile” and “lower interior quality than its predecessor”. Even though a fully redesigned Honda Civic is not being released this year, Honda did make sure that the 2013 Civic is improved in those certain areas; it has a more spacious interior and an improved chassis.

2013 Honda Accord being tested by Comsumer Reports

Either way, this year there is no question of Honda’s dominance in the Consumer Reports. Jake Fisher blatantly said that “Honda missed the mark with other redesigned models in recent years, but it nailed this one.” In fact, the Honda Accord is good enough to warrant top spots not only for its 4-cylinder model, but for its 6-cylinder model as well. The Accord claimed the top spot in the 4-cylinder sedan category, but it also nearly beat the Camry v6 and Camry Hybrid for best mid-size car, period.

So, what specifically makes the 2013 Honda Accord so appealing to the ever-critical vehicle testing director, Jake Fisher? Here are some of the things he liked:

  •  It’s 2-inches shorter, which makes a big difference in how the car feels on the road.
  • It still offers great visibility, with a thin wind-shield pillar and minimal obstruction.
  • An efficient but powerful new 4-cylinder engine with Honda’s EarthDreams technology, featuring direct injection and a new CVT
  • Best-in-class fuel economy thanks to the improved engine and reduced vehicle weight
  • A very spacious interior for both front- and back-seat passengers
  • Quieter inside the vehicle than he’s been used to hearing in Honda’s past
  • Better steering than he’s experienced in recent Honda vehicles

As you can see, the 2013 Honda Accord is undoubtedly an excellent vehicle, and well deserving of its place in Consumer Reports’ rankings. On top of all the excellent features, Jake Fisher also noted that the vehicle remains fairly affordable compared to its competitors, which is obviously important. It’s always good to hear when the traditionally top-ranked Japanese manufacturers pull off another home run, and the new Honda Accord is just that. It’s fun to drive, efficient, robust and affordable… Definitely a car worth considering in 2013 and beyond. To learn more, just check out Consumer Reports’ video below:

Source: Carscoop