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The latest Consumer Reports Annual Auto Issue arrived today. The following are some selected highlights.
(Admin, do we not have permissions to post directly to "Related
News and Links"?)

Best Midsized SUV:
Toyota Highlander (nothing new here and, understanding the CR methodology, I have no qualms with them ranking the Highlander over the MDX). "It's as good as the Lexus RX300, but cheaper", Interestingly, CR now includes the following quote in the Best Midsized SUV selection; "If you need to seat seven, consider the excellent Acura MDX". (The relevance is that out of 10 "Best's" awarded, only one other included a reference to another recommendation - the Best Fun to Drive awarded to the Subaru Impreza WRX with the Honda S2000 picked as "also notable".) ((Off Topic - Damn, for a year it's taken all the self control I can muster to keep myself from getting a Scooby Rex, and CR just keeps piling on the accolades, not fair))

Best Minivan:
Honda Odyssey (Again nothing new. I just included as a reference for those that wish to disparage the fact that the MDX shares its heritage with a "minivan". At least it is a damn fine minivan)

Dealership Satisfaction:
Acura around mid-pack with approx. 70% "very satisfied" mean. For reference, Lexus is around 78%, Mercedes is around 74%, BMW around 73%.

Crash Course:
Good comparison of the NHTSA scoring and the IIHS scoring and vehicles that achieve scores that vary wildly from one to the other. (No, no mention of MDX. This was first brought out in reference to a number of pickup's (body on frame) that do well in one test but not the other - Popular Science also has a good article from several months ago on this scoring disparity)

Which Cars are Safer:
CR has created a "Safety Score" to attempt to quantify an overall safety rating comprised of Accident-avoidance (Braking, Emergency Handling, Acceleration, Driving position, Visibility...) and Crash-protection (NHTSA and IIHS scores)
Midsized Sport-utility Vehicles CRSA:
Top rating - Lexus RX300, Virtual tie at VG/E with Acura MDX.
No ratings for MLs or X5s

And now on to the Overall Ratings:
Midsized SUVs (in order)
BMW X5 4.4i (not recommended)
Audi Allroad (not recommended)
Toyota Highlander (V6)
Acura MDX
Lexus RX300
Subaru outback H6 VDC
Volvo Cross Country (not recommended)
Mercedes-Benx ML430 (not recommended)
Ford Explore XLT (V6) (not recommended)
...

And finally Reliability:
Midsized SUVs (summarized)
Acura MDX - 30% better than average
Mercedes-Benx M-Class - 50% worse than average
BMW X5 - 70% worse than average
Interesting note: Each Acura product received an above average rating in it's respective category
Interesting Note II: For those considering the Volvo XC90, both the Volvo V70 and Volvo S80 received below average reliability ratings)

In the Reliability History chart the MDX received all solid reds (much better than average) except for Body Integrity, Power Equipment, and Body Hardware receiving half reds (better than average)

All just food for thought.
 

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I think the key word here is PERCEPTION.

If it is perceived that the vehicle is good...Then the mass thinks it will be good.

But for me as a rule of practice:
Fillet the fish and see how pieces of fish you will get.
 

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Consumer Report

Generally, CR is considered to be credible but "light weight" by many of us. It was somewhat interesting to view the Highlander emergency manuever results vs. the X. As far as I am concerned the X clearly remains a superior product. In fact, I paid less for my X at MSRP than the local Toyota guy was selling his top-'o-the-line Highlander @ 39K. What a rip! I guess CR does not factor the dealer speculation "wild card".
 

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Consumer Reports

I found Consumer Reports helpful when I was doing my initial research on SUVs. I jokingly told a buddy of mine who let me use his copy of Consumer Reports, "they hate everything I am looking into."

I went in with a completely clean slate and was comparing several different SUVs. Consumer Reports made me look into the reliablity issues on the Jeep Grand Cherokees.

It helped me rule out several vehicles and consider the MDX. I noticed they were pretty glowing about anything that had the Toyota badge on it. I looked at the Highlanders and hated them. I think they are the most unattractive vehicle on the road. They look like the old Nissan Station Wagons, really ugly.

So while I tend to take most reviews with a grain of salt, I found Consumer Reports to be pretty helpful and accurate.

MIKEinTN
 
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