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Japanese cars slip in Consumer Reports ratings

Posted August 28, 2013

Consumer Reports puts cars through more than 50 tests over rough roads, on highways, in braking and emergency handling.

While many Japanese cars score very highly, Consumer Reports says a surprising number haven't made the grade recently.

"One car that really disappointed us was the Acura RLX. This luxury sedan costs $55,000, and it's just not competitive,” said Tom Mutchler of Consumer Reports.

For $16,000 less, Consumer Reports says the Chevrolet Impala delivers a much more comfortable ride and handles better.

"Another Japanese car we don't recommend is the Honda Crosstour,” Mutchler said. “It aims to have the comfort of a sedan, the flexibility of an SUV and the cargo space of a station wagon. The problem is it doesn't really do any of this well."

Some small Nissans also scored too low for a Consumer Reports recommendation.

"The Nissan Sentra is good on gas, but handling isn't agile, it's noisy inside and the front seats are uncomfortable,” Mutchler said.

The subcompact Nissan Versa has those same drawbacks, and it hasn't proved very reliable in Consumer Reports surveys.

Testers also don't recommend Toyota's least expensive car - the Yaris.

"The Yaris is very reliable and fuel-efficient, but it just feels extremely cheap and unpleasant to drive,” Mutchler said.

For the same money, around $16,000, Consumer Reports says drivers are better off with the Hyundai Accent.

Two other Japanese carmakers, Subaru and Mazda, have an excellent record at Consumer Reports' test track. Nearly all of their models are recommended.


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  • charlesboyer Aug 30, 2013

    American cars have come a long way, but I have a very hard time believing that a Chevy Impala is a better car than an Acura RLX. One thing's for sure, the Acura will retain better resale value over the long haul.

  • beef Aug 30, 2013

    It is all political. Now that Democrats have a stake in the success of GM, the leftist Consumers Union helps them out by rating GM higher and trashing the competition.

  • 68_dodge_polara Aug 30, 2013

    We had an accord that had 397,000 miles when the transmission died. I have a crown vic that has 190,000 when the odometer broke and probably has 210,000 on it now it's had it's normal ware and tare issues but has yet to have a engine or transmission problem other than having to replace an intake manifold because it was made entirely out of plastic! Over all I'd say it was a pretty good car but Ford has stopped making it.

  • Myword Aug 29, 2013

    "especially the American junk produced these days." 68_dodge_polara My 2006 Ford has 100K miles and is doing great. But you believe whatever makes you happy.

  • Obamacare for everyone Aug 29, 2013

    kiki, surely you can do better than that. The Accent is quite an ugly car.

  • kikinc Aug 29, 2013

    I drive a 2002 Hyundai. It's outlasted the car I had prior, and before then, my parents had. It has 158,000 miles on it, and it still gets about 27 mpg. When I do opt for a new car, I'll be getting an Accent.

  • 68_dodge_polara Aug 29, 2013

    Acura slipping that's surprising. We've found them to be very reliable and not all that hard to work on compared to the other brands especially the American junk produced these days. Better step it back up, were not driving a Hyundai .

  • nailman5204 Aug 28, 2013

    It's about time that the American people invested in America and let the Japanese buy their own cars.