Tesla, Lexus triumph in Consumer Reports’ annual rankings

Brake-O-Rama Auto Repairs and Tires mechanics do the best job in making your auto run smooth. We check everything to make sure our customers are happy. We also like to share important auto information we find on the web. Check out this important news for The Consumer Reports’ annual rankings!

By Justin HydeFebruary 25, 2014 12:45 PMMotoramic
  • Last year, Consumer Reports made news with its annual rankings of new cars and trucks by choosing foreign-branded vehicles for all of its top picks, upsetting some Detroit fans. This year, Consumer Reports changed course dramatically, naming an American built and designed car the best overall vehicle for sale today, an honor it hasn’t used in four years.

But it’s not made in Detroit.

The Tesla Model S took top honors based on the magazine’s own testing and reliability surveys drawn from its 8 million readers. Foreign brands once again dominate the brand rankings and individual top picks, with LexusAcura and Audi in the lead. And while there were a few bright spots for the traditional domestic makers — with the Ram full-size pickup scoring Chrysler‘s first top pick in 16 years — they still trail the competition due to reliability scores.

 

 

While reliability for the $90,000 Tesla has been average in Consumer Reports’ surveys, the all-electric luxury sedan scored a 99 out of 100 in its driving tests, with the magazine calling it “a glimpse into a future where cars and computers coexist in seamless harmony.” The last car to win the accolade was the Lexus LS 460L in 2010. Among the other nine top picks, Honda and Subaru claimed two apiece, with Toyota, Audi, Ram, BMW and Hyundaitaking the rest.

Consumer Reports automotive editor Rik Paul said the brand rankings often reflect how well an automaker has designed its electronic systems. Lexus, Acura and Audi “all have full-featured cars, and they are reliable systems that don’t have a lot of problems,” Paul said. Subaru, Toyota, Hondaand Mazda followed close behind.

[See Consumer Reports’ Top Picks for 2014 here]

 

Among Detroit brands, Buick and GMC posted the highest scores, with General Motors as a whole generally performing better than Ford or Chrysler, whose Jeep brand scored lowest among those ranked. Paul said while many individual Detroit models performed well — the Cadillac CTS, the new Chevy Silverado pickup — the magazine either lacked reliability data or the reports it had were discouraging.

For example, the Ford Fusion was one of the magazine’s top-scoring family sedans, and Paul said Ford vehicles on average “outscore Toyota in our testing and are similar to Honda. But what drags Ford down is reliability ratings,” especially with its MyFordTouch in-dash entertainment system.

The survey does have a few blind spots. Several brands — FiatJaguarLand RoverLincolnMini,MitsubishiPorsche, Ram, Scion and Smart — weren’t ranked because Consumer Reports didn’t have enough data to measure their reliability, although the magazine does rate their individual models. Automakers have long said no single ranking has more sway with customers than Consumer Reports, but Jeep‘s status as the lowest-performing brand for a few years running hasn’t hurt its sales, with the WranglerGrand Cherokee and new Cherokee all moving off dealer lots swiftly. Given that Tesla is selling every car it can build, the magazine’s honor can’t increase sales much, but it certainly won’t hurt.

 

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Toyota tops Consumers Reports’ 2014 car-brand perception survey

The auto repair specialists in our Brake-O-Rama Orange NJ location have GREAT INFORMATION ABOUT HOW NEW JERSEY DRIVERS Toyota tops Consumers Reports’ 2014 car-brand perception survey

ConsumerReports.org

By Consumer Reports StaffFebruary 5, 2014 10:00 AM

Toyota, Ford, Honda, and Chevrolet continue to top the rankings in Consumer Reports’ annual Car-Brand Perception Survey, standing out as the leading brands in consumers’ minds. These perennial leaders have a significant advantage in overall score, but several other brands—including Tesla—are moving up the rankings.

These scores reflect how consumers perceive each brand in seven categories: quality, safety, performance, value, fuel economy, design/style, and technology/innovation. Combining those factors gives us the total brand-perception score. While the scores reflect a brand’s image, they do not reflect the actual qualities of any brand’s vehicles. The key word here is “perception,” as influenced by word-of-mouth, marketing, and hands-on experience.

 

For 2014, Toyota has a 25-point advantage over second-place Ford, reflecting a five-point gain over the previous year for Toyota and a three-point improvement for Ford. It could be interpreted that the safety concerns that saw the Toyota score stumble a few years ago have faded, returning the brand to its position as the perceived industry leader.

Honda lost 16 points this year, while Chevrolet seemed to find them, increasing its score by 13 points. The brand to watch is Tesla Motors, which jumped from 47 points last year, to fifth position and 88 points this year. That the remainder of the Top 10 all score 73 or higher is notable; last year there was a wider points spread among the high-ranking brands.

Overall brand perception
Best Worst
Brand Score Brand Score
Toyota 145 Land Rover 4
Ford 120 Maserati 8
Honda 109 Jaguar 9
Chevrolet 105 Rolls-Royce 11
Tesla Motors 88 Scion 17
Subaru 87 Ram 17
Mercedes-Benz 82 Mini 21
Volvo 80 Mitsubishi 21
Cadillac 78 Infiniti 22
BMW 73 Jeep 23

How the scores were calculated
The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a random, nationwide telephone survey from Dec. 6 to 15, 2013, and collected survey data from 1,578 adults in households that had at least one car.

Overall brand perception is an index calculated as the total number of times that a particular make was mentioned as exemplar across seven categories, weighted by category importance, and divided by the total unaided awareness of the brand. (Interview subjects were asked what brands exemplified the traits, instead of being read a list of brands.) That approach compensates for awareness level, ensuring that every brand has an equal chance of leading a category, not just the best-selling or most well-known brands.

Category scores reflect the number of times that the particular make was mentioned as a leader for the particular attribute, again corrected for awareness.

Important factors in buying a new car
This list ranks the seven key factors by how important they are to consumers when buying a new car. The percentage is based on the number of respondents who said the factor was among their top three priorities. For comparison, we’ve included last year’s figures.

Factor 2014 2013
Quality 90 90
Safety 88 88
Performance 83 82
Value 82 83
Fuel economy 81 81
Design/style 70 65
Technology/innovation 68 65

Bottom line
Automakers continue to vie for consumer mindshare and dollars by developing compelling new models engineered to drive sales and profits. As a smart shopper, the key is to look beyond the hype to the virtues that matter most to you and ensure you’re buying a product that truly excels based on real-world tests, rather than merely perceptions or empty marketing slogans.

Copyright © 2006-2013 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.

 

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2014 New Jersey Auto News, GM recalls an additional 2.7 million vehicles

Brake-O-Rama Auto Repairs and Tires mechanics do the best job in making your auto run smooth. We check everything to make sure our customers are happy. We also like to share important auto information we find on the web. Check out this important information to make before buying a car

GM recalls an additional 2.7 million vehicles, reveals more sins of the past

Motoramic
5-15-2014

Nearly four months after first revealing it neglected safety problems in millions of older models, General Motors announced today another massive batch of recalls — five in total, covering eight models built over a decade and affecting 2.7 million vehicles. While GM says none of the safety issues it’s fixing today have lead to deaths, some had been the source of injuries and hundreds of complaints — and in one case, GM had issued a partial fix and recall already, raising new questions about why it waited several years to repair all cars affected.

ALIGNMENT.WP

So far this year, GM has recalled more than 10 million cars and trucks, part of a shakeout stemming from the ignition defects linked to at least 13 deaths and years of foot-dragging by the company. The automaker said today’s recalls would add $200 million to the $1.3 billion it spent fixing old vehicles in the first quarter.

oilchangeWP

The bulk of those affected by today’s recalls: 2.4 million 2004-2012 Chevrolet Malibus, 2004-2007 Chevrolet Malibu Maxxes, 2005-2010 Pontiac G6s and 2007-2010 Saturn Auras. GM says a bad control module could cause the tail lights to either fail to turn on when the brakes are applied or turn on by themselves; the same issue could also cause problems with “cruise control, traction control, electronic stability control and panic braking assist.”

ALIGNMENT.WP

It’s a problem that had generated more than 1,000 complaints from owners and reports of three injuries from crashes. GM had even recalled about 8,000 Pontiac G5s for the problem back in January 2009 — and yet, also told dealers how to fix the problem in all other affected models without a recall. After receiving more than 300 complaints on its own in the years since, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a new investigation into the problem last year.

The other recalls GM announced today include:

— 111,889 2005-2007 model year Chevrolet Corvettes, whose low-beam headlamps can intermittently fail due to a bent wire. Newer models that suffer from the same problem will get covered by an extended warranty. This too was the focus of a NHTSA defect probe.

— 140,067 Chevrolet Malibus from the 2014 model year with 2.5L engines and stop/start technology, where the brake can suddenly require far more force to engage. Four complaints, no injuries.

— 19,225 Cadillac CTS cars from the 2013-2014 model year, where the windshield wiper motor could break if a car’s jump-started while the wipers are blocked by ice or snow.

— And 477 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra light duty pickups and 2015 model year Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs, whose owners are being told to not only stop driving their trucks but have them towed via flat-bed to dealers. GM says it discovered a manufacturing defect at the factory that could cause the front tie rod and steering gear to fail, leading to a crash.

GM’s new safety and recall chief, Jeff Boyer, has said the automaker would move faster to spot and repair problems under his tenure; a similar shake-out of long-simmering issues happened at Toyota following its floor-mat debacle a few years back, when it also called back millions of vehicles. And there are still other lingering problems — like the rusted brake lines in millions of GM pickups — where the automaker remains under investigation by federal safety officials. NHTSA still has four other defect probes open involving GM vehicles. Today’s announcements may be the biggest for now, but they likely won’t be the last.

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A car dealer’s scientific guide to the 10 best used vehicles

Brake-O-Rama Auto Repairs and Tires mechanics do the best job in making your auto run smooth. We check everything to make sure our customers are happy. We also like to share important auto information we find on the web. Check out this important information to make before buying a car

A car dealer’s scientific guide to the 10 best used vehicles
By Steven Lang January 27, 2014 Motoramic

 

 

Consumers often agonize about what vehicle should be their next car. When it comes to older used cars in particular, I have always offered buyers three ironclad pieces of advice:

• Your footwear is going to have a greater impact on your life than the car you drive.

• The driving and maintenance habits of the prior owner will have a far greater effect on a used car’s longevity than the brand. So whatever you choose, make sure you have it inspected before you buy.

The first gets people to laugh. The second gets them to think. But it’s my third tip that’s most important for those looking to buy an older used car:

• Don’t believe the hype.

Cars from prestige brands (especially European ones) don’t necessarily last longer or work better. In fact, they now represent many of the most costly and least reliable vehicles in the used-car marketplace. The exact opposite is true for certain unpopular brands and models. Defunct automakers such as SaturnSaab, andPontiac have certain specific models that can equal — or exceed — the quality of the so-called market leaders.

For well over a year now, myself and a statistician named Nick Larivere have developed a long-term reliability study that you can find here. We now have nearly 300,000 vehicles from across the entire United States, and recently, we highlighted those low quality vehicles that were found to be most defective at trade-in time. You can read about those findingshere.

Now, that same data also reveals the most durable cars and trucks over several years, and with results that defy popular wisdom.

To give you a grasp of how divergent our findings have become versus the usual stereotypes, the Chevrolet Cavalier, a car not generally associated with quality, has registered more trade-ins with over 180,000 miles, and fewer defect issues, than the entire Volkswagen line-up. Other models that are no longer sold as new cars, such as the Buick Park Avenue and Saturn L200, are apparently capable of matching the overall quality of their classes’ top-tier vehicles for thousands of dollars less.

There are plenty of good used vehicles out there that are capable of offering the highest levels of long-term quality and owner satisfaction. However, since manufacturers often sell multiple vehicles over the same platform, to increase reliability and lower cost, for this study we have decided to broaden the field a bit and highlight the ten most successful platforms. This way those less popular models in our study don’t get overlooked.

 

 

1. Lexus LX470/Toyota Land Cruiser

These vehicles are the automotive version of granite. They are heavy as hell, don’t age and will most assuredly squash whatever vehicular bugs and cockroaches are on the road should the Zombie Apocalypse ever take place. The Land Cruiser and LX470 are the best on our list.

2. Ford E-Series

While GM only offered a mild redesign of their full-sized vans back in 1995, and Dodge left the segment entirely, Ford decided to double down by improving the vehicle’s interior design several times over, and then sticking with three engines that Ford has collectively put into over 10 million vehicles (the 4.6-liter V-8, the Trition 5.4-liter V-8, and the 6.8-liter V-10).

The end result is the best-selling full-sized van in today’s market, and one whose durability has been earned the hard way. A true workhorse that is kept instead of curbed.

3. Lexus LS

The LS400, LS430 and LS460 are among the only ultra high-end luxury models that buck the trend of having dubious reliability and maintenance issues upon trade-in. No luxury car in our study, on average, is driven longer with more miles on the odometer, and fewer defects, than the Lexus LS series.

4. Chevy/GMC full-sized trucks and SUV’s

Toyota and Lexus finished first and second in the Manufacturer Quality Index Rating. But guess who finished third? GMC.

With GMC only selling trucks and SUVs, all of which are also sold by Chevrolet, the two have combined to offer outstanding quality and durability that few others can match, which is one of the main reasons why GM trucks have remained so dominant. SuburbansSilveradosTahoesYukons and a long list of other makes and modelsare all part of the GMT platform which has remained at the forefront of vehicle longevity.

 

5. Ford full-sized trucks (V-8 and V-10 models)

 

While Dodge remains a distant third, and Toyota and Nissan have barely made a dent in the full-size truck business, Ford has become Chevy’s equal in the segment, and in certain cases, now the superior choice. The now defunct Ford Excursion holds the title as the third most reliable full-sized SUV in our study (the Land Cruiser and LX are first and second). Meanwhile the Ford F-Series is based on the P-platform which regularly yields that V-8, rear-wheel drive, body-on-frame combination that has made the F-150 the best selling vehicle in America for 32 years running.

6. Toyota Camry / Lexus ES / Toyota Avalon

We found in our year-long study that the Honda Accord has experienced a rash of transmission issues with V-6 models, and the Nissan Altima had severe oil consumption issues with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The Toyota Camry is the only midsized vehicle to remain consistently well above average for the last twenty years (click the chart here.) The mid-’90s to mid-2000s Lexus ES and Toyota Avalons are based on the Camry XV platform which laid the foundation for other standouts from this era, including the Toyota Solara and Sienna. The Avalon is the second-highest ranked car in our study.

7. Toyota 4Runner / Lexus GX470

We should mention that there have been two major platforms for older 4Runners. The older 4Runner was based on the Toyota truck and then later, an overseas model known as the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. In 2003, Toyota decided to offer the North American only 4Runner with it’s very own platform and added a Lexus variant. Both 4Runners are a cut above in terms of long-term reliability. The 4Runner and GX470 are ranked 5th and 8th respectfully while the older Toyota truck rounds off the top ten.

8. Honda S2000

Only 65,000 S2000s were built over a ten year period, and yet they remain neck-and-neck with the Mazda MX-5 Miata as the most popular roadster of the past decade. The S2000 has the distinct honor of being among the few on our list that are exceptionally reliable and fun to drive.

 

9. Toyota Prius

 

While the S2000 has served as a fun car for the enthusiast, the Prius has become the car of choice for planet-lovers and hipsters. Fewer than 4 percent of Prii that are traded-in exhibit any type of serious mechanical issue, and that includes problems with the hybrid battery. While the older Honda Civic Hybrid and Accord hybrid have all experienced substantial battery wear, the Prius remains among the most reliable vehicles in the marketplace by any standard.

10. Lexus GS

It was our hope to make this list a bit more diverse by incorporating platforms instead of single models, since Toyota has so far managed to nail down eight of the top ten slots in our long-term reliability study.

The good news is that this platform based list offers over 40 distinct models to choose from, both imports and domestic, and certain popular media favorites such as the Honda Accord and Toyota RAV4 can no longer obscure major mechanical defects that don’t take hold until after most first owners sell their vehicles. The bad news for Toyota haters, however, is that yet another Toyota product —the Lexus GS — rounds off the list. The GS was based on the Japan-only Toyota Crown and Toyota Aristo for most of it’s life, and it’s the seventh rear-wheel-drive platform to land in the top ten in our list of best long-term reliability.

These rankings will gradually change over time as we are scheduled to get over 600,000 vehicles into our reliability study by the end of 2014, and well over a million by 2015. So feel free to click here for a model by model breakdown. But as it stands today, if you’re looking to buy a used car, a Toyota will likely have the most life left.

 

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10 safety checks to make before buying a car

Brake-O-Rama Auto Repairs and Tires mechanics do the best job in making your auto run smooth. We check everything to make sure our customers are happy. We also like to share important auto information we find on the web. Check out this important news for 10 safety checks to make before buying a car

10 safety checks to make before buying a car

ConsumerReports.org 

By Jeff BartlettJanuary 27, 2014

You need to consider several factors when evaluating a vehicle’s overall safety. They range from how it performs in an emergency-handling situation and how it protects its occupants in a collision to how easy it is to secure a child seat. When comparing vehicles, it’s important to look at all the appropriate variables, including safety-related ratings and features. Below, we list 10 safety checks that are worth reviewing before you make your final buying decision.

1. Insurance-industry crash-test ratings
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a safety-research group that conducts its own series of crash tests. In its frontal-offset crash, the IIHS runs a vehicle at 40 mph into a deformable barrier. Instead of engaging the whole width of the car’s front end, the barrier covers just the 40 percent of the car in front of the driver.

Using a deformable barrier simulates a car-to-car, driver’s-side-to-driver’s-side collision, which is a common form of fatal crash. By focusing the crash on only a portion of the car’s front, this test severely stresses the car’s structural integrity and its ability to protect the area around the driver without collapsing.

The IIHS scores its frontal-crash results as Good, Acceptable, Marginal, or Poor. You can find ratings for all tested vehicles on the IIHS website.

2. Government crash-test ratings
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducts two types of crash tests: full frontal and side impact. Each is scored on a five-star scale, with fewer stars indicating a greater likelihood of serious injury. You can check the scores for all crash-tested vehicles online at www.safercar.gov.

Both the NHTSA and IIHS frontal crash-test results are comparable only to vehicles within the same weight class as the tested car. If vehicle weights are very dissimilar, the results could be very different.

3. Electronic stability control (ESC)
Electronic stability control (ESC) is designed to keep the vehicle under control and on its intended path during cornering, and prevent it from sliding or skidding. If a vehicle begins to go out of control, the system selectively applies brakes to one or more wheels and cuts engine power to keep the vehicle on course. On SUVs, stability control can help prevent a rollover. The IIHS estimates that 10,000 lives per year would be saved if all cars had ESC. NHTSA required ESC as standard from the 2012 model year.

4. Rollover resistance

(Photo: Matthew Fern | Flickr) 

Taller vehicles such as SUVs and pickups have a high center of gravity, which makes them more likely to roll over than passenger cars. (According to the IIHS, SUVs have a rollover rate that is two to three times higher.)

We believe that vehicles that tip up in NHTSA’s test have a potential stability problem and CR will not recommend them, regardless of their star rating. In order for an SUV or pickup to be recommended, it must either have been included in NHTSA’s test and have not tipped up or, if it has not been tested, it must offer electronic stability control.

5. Antilock brake system (ABS)
CR’s auto experts highly recommend getting an antilock brake system (ABS), which is available as standard or optional equipment on nearly all vehicles. ABS prevents the wheels from locking up during a hard stop, something that can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. ABS almost always provides shorter stops, but, even more importantly, the system helps keep the vehicle straight and allows the driver to maneuver during a panic stop.

6. Accident avoidance
A vehicle’s ability to help you avoid an accident is just as important as its crashworthiness. Key factors to consider are braking and emergency handling, although acceleration, visibility, driving position, and even seat comfort (which affects driver fatigue) also play a role. Consumer Reports evaluates these factors on every vehicle it tests.

7. Air bags
By law, every new passenger vehicle comes equipped with dual front air bags. But the sophistication of the systems can vary. Most upscale vehicles and many others now have some version of a “smart” air-bag system, which gauges several variables to tailor the deployment of the vehicle’s front and side air bags. Side air bags are now common for front occupants, and Consumer Reports highly recommends head-protection side air bags where they’re available.

8. Safety-belt features
Three-point lap-and-shoulder belts provide the most protection in a crash, and most vehicles now have them in all seating positions. A few, however, still have only a lap belt in the center-rear position, which allows the upper part of the body to move forward in a crash or panic stop. The comfort of the belts is also important, because some people won’t wear them if they’re uncomfortable.

Many vehicles also include safety-belt pretensioners and force-limiters. Pretensioners automatically take up the slack in the seat belt during a frontal crash, while force-limiters relax the safety-belt tension following the initial impact to prevent chest and internal injuries caused by the belt itself.

9. Head restraints
Head restraints are vital for guarding against the whiplash neck injuries that often accompany a rear-end collision. Restraints need to be tall enough to cushion the head above the top of the spine. Many cars’ head restraints adjust for height. Look for those that lock in the raised position—a legal requirement for cars made since September, 2009. Those that do not can be forced down in a crash, losing effectiveness. Many cars’ rear restraints are too low to do much good, which Consumer Reports notes in its road test reports. The IIHS websiteprovides head-restraint or rear-crash ratings for many models.

10. Child safety

Car baby seat from 1962 (Photo: RichardBH | Flickr) 

Child-safety seats save lives and should be used until a child is big enough to use the vehicle’s regular safety belt. Often, incompatibilities between the car’s seat and the child seat make a good, tight fit difficult and sometimes impossible to achieve.

For some years all new vehicles had a universal system called LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) that made the attachment easier and more secure. But the system doesn’t work equally well in all vehicles. The key is to try out a new car seat in your existing vehicle, or try out your existing car seat in a new vehicle before you buy either.

Power-window switches: Children have accidentally activated a power window while leaning out and have been killed or injured by the window closing on them. The easiest types to inadvertently trigger are horizontal rocker and toggle switches on the door’s armrest, which raise the window when pushed down or to the side. Lever-type switches, which are flush with the surrounding trim and only raise the window when pulled up, are a safer design.

 

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BEST Guide for 10 best used vehicles!

Brake-O-Rama Auto Repairs and Tires mechanics do the best job in making your auto run smooth. We check everything to make sure our customers are happy. We also like to share important auto information we find on the web. Check out this important news for The Guide 10 best used vehicles!

Motoramic

Consumers often agonize about what vehicle should be their next car. When it comes to older used cars in particular, I have always offered buyers three ironclad pieces of advice:

• Your footwear is going to have a greater impact on your life than the car you drive.

• The driving and maintenance habits of the prior owner will have a far greater effect on a used car’s longevity than the brand. So whatever you choose, make sure you have it inspected before you buy.

The first gets people to laugh. The second gets them to think. But it’s my third tip that’s most important for those looking to buy an older used car:

• Don’t believe the hype.

Cars from prestige brands (especially European ones) don’t necessarily last longer or work better. In fact, they now represent many of the most costly and least reliable vehicles in the used-car marketplace. The exact opposite is true for certain unpopular brands and models. Defunct automakers such as SaturnSaab, andPontiac have certain specific models that can equal — or exceed — the quality of the so-called market leaders.

For well over a year now, myself and a statistician named Nick Larivere have developed a long-term reliability study that you can find here. We now have nearly 300,000 vehicles from across the entire United States, and recently, we highlighted those low quality vehicles that were found to be most defective at trade-in time. You can read about those findings here.

Now, that same data also reveals the most durable cars and trucks over several years, and with results that defy popular wisdom.

To give you a grasp of how divergent our findings have become versus the usual stereotypes, the Chevrolet Cavalier, a car not generally associated with quality, has registered more trade-ins with over 180,000 miles, and fewer defect issues, than the entire Volkswagen line-up. Other models that are no longer sold as new cars, such as the Buick Park Avenue and Saturn L200, are apparently capable of matching the overall quality of their classes’ top-tier vehicles for thousands of dollars less.

There are plenty of good used vehicles out there that are capable of offering the highest levels of long-term quality and owner satisfaction. However, since manufacturers often sell multiple vehicles over the same platform, to increase reliability and lower cost, for this study we have decided to broaden the field a bit and highlight the ten most successful platforms. This way those less popular models in our study don’t get overlooked.

 

 

1. Lexus LX470/Toyota Land Cruiser

These vehicles are the automotive version of granite. They are heavy as hell, don’t age and will most assuredly squash whatever vehicular bugs and cockroaches are on the road should the Zombie Apocalypse ever take place. The Land Cruiser and LX470 are the best on our list.

2. Ford E-Series

While GM only offered a mild redesign of their full-sized vans back in 1995, and Dodge left the segment entirely, Ford decided to double down by improving the vehicle’s interior design several times over, and then sticking with three engines that Ford has collectively put into over 10 million vehicles (the 4.6-liter V-8, the Trition 5.4-liter V-8, and the 6.8-liter V-10).

The end result is the best-selling full-sized van in today’s market, and one whose durability has been earned the hard way. A true workhorse that is kept instead of curbed.

3. Lexus LS

The LS400, LS430 and LS460 are among the only ultra high-end luxury models that buck the trend of having dubious reliability and maintenance issues upon trade-in. No luxury car in our study, on average, is driven longer with more miles on the odometer, and fewer defects, than the Lexus LS series.

4. Chevy/GMC full-sized trucks and SUV’s

Toyota and Lexus finished first and second in the Manufacturer Quality Index Rating. But guess who finished third? GMC.

With GMC only selling trucks and SUVs, all of which are also sold by Chevrolet, the two have combined to offer outstanding quality and durability that few others can match, which is one of the main reasons why GM trucks have remained so dominant. SuburbansSilveradosTahoesYukons and a long list of other makes and models are all part of the GMT platform which has remained at the forefront of vehicle longevity.

 

5. Ford full-sized trucks (V-8 and V-10 models)

 

While Dodge remains a distant third, and Toyota and Nissan have barely made a dent in the full-size truck business, Ford has become Chevy’s equal in the segment, and in certain cases, now the superior choice. The now defunct Ford Excursion holds the title as the third most reliable full-sized SUV in our study (the Land Cruiser and LX are first and second). Meanwhile the Ford F-Series is based on the P-platform which regularly yields that V-8, rear-wheel drive, body-on-frame combination that has made the F-150 the best selling vehicle in America for 32 years running.

6. Toyota Camry / Lexus ES / Toyota Avalon

We found in our year-long study that the Honda Accord has experienced a rash of transmission issues with V-6 models, and the Nissan Altima had severe oil consumption issues with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The Toyota Camry is the only midsized vehicle to remain consistently well above average for the last twenty years (click the chart here.) The mid-’90s to mid-2000s Lexus ES and Toyota Avalons are based on the Camry XV platform which laid the foundation for other standouts from this era, including the Toyota Solara and Sienna. The Avalon is the second-highest ranked car in our study.

7. Toyota 4Runner / Lexus GX470

We should mention that there have been two major platforms for older 4Runners. The older 4Runner was based on the Toyota truck and then later, an overseas model known as the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. In 2003, Toyota decided to offer the North American only 4Runner with it’s very own platform and added a Lexus variant. Both 4Runners are a cut above in terms of long-term reliability. The 4Runner and GX470 are ranked 5th and 8th respectfully while the older Toyota truck rounds off the top ten.

8. Honda S2000

Only 65,000 S2000s were built over a ten year period, and yet they remain neck-and-neck with the Mazda MX-5 Miata as the most popular roadster of the past decade. The S2000 has the distinct honor of being among the few on our list that are exceptionally reliable and fun to drive.

 

9. Toyota Prius

 

While the S2000 has served as a fun car for the enthusiast, the Prius has become the car of choice for planet-lovers and hipsters. Fewer than 4 percent of Prii that are traded-in exhibit any type of serious mechanical issue, and that includes problems with the hybrid battery. While the older Honda Civic Hybrid and Accord hybrid have all experienced substantial battery wear, the Prius remains among the most reliable vehicles in the marketplace by any standard.

10. Lexus GS

It was our hope to make this list a bit more diverse by incorporating platforms instead of single models, since Toyota has so far managed to nail down eight of the top ten slots in our long-term reliability study.

The good news is that this platform based list offers over 40 distinct models to choose from, both imports and domestic, and certain popular media favorites such as the Honda Accord and Toyota RAV4 can no longer obscure major mechanical defects that don’t take hold until after most first owners sell their vehicles. The bad news for Toyota haters, however, is that yet another Toyota product —the Lexus GS — rounds off the list. The GS was based on the Japan-only Toyota Crown and Toyota Aristo for most of it’s life, and it’s the seventh rear-wheel-drive platform to land in the top ten in our list of best long-term reliability.

These rankings will gradually change over time as we are scheduled to get over 600,000 vehicles into our reliability study by the end of 2014, and well over a million by 2015. So feel free to click here for a model by model breakdown. But as it stands today, if you’re looking to buy a used car, a Toyota will likely have the most life left

 

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What Are New Jerseys’ Biggest car-buying gripes!

Biggest car-buying gripes

ConsumerReports.org

By Jim Travers3 2-28-2014
Biggest car-buying gripes

.View photo
Listen up, car dealers: When we asked our Facebook followers about what annoys them most when buying a car, we got an earful. And across the board, their biggest complaint was how they were treated at dealerships. By an overwhelming margin, respondents said it was a sales representative who made the experience an unhappy one, followed by the sales or finance manager. Many also complained about having to haggle, about the amount of time it took to close a deal, and about feeling like pawns in a time-consuming game. (See our car-buying advice.)

Here’s a representative sample of their feedback.

Charles: “Why do they still do that ‘get-up-and-go-check-on-something’ rigmarole?”

Jim: “The worst part for me is to do all the homework and have the facts and figures
with me, and still have a sales/finance manager talk to me like I’m stupid!”

Dianne: “Because I am a woman, most dealerships suffer from ‘dumb-broad syndrome’
and assume I know squat. I surprised a few salesmen by knowing more than they did about the car.”

Kelly: “Don’t ever ask me ‘if I am the sole decision-maker’ in my household if I am the
only person at the dealership test-driving the vehicle. No sale for that salesperson!”

Stephen: “Getting the runaround on the phone when calling with an offer based on
Internet pricing. They always say that you really need to come in to talk price, which is a huge time dump.”

The most positive comments came from buyers who did their homework. “I researched the real price of the car,” Kevin said. “Coming from a position of strength and knowledge helped a great deal. And be willing to walk out, and make it clear you will.”

Several also reported good experiences by avoiding the haggling experience entirely, by either buying at a fixed-price location such as CarMax or Costco, or by getting up-front dealer pricing information from a service such as TrueCar or the Consumer Reports Build & Buy service.

This article also appears in the April 2014 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

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Obama Tells EPA To Set Next Heavy-Duty Truck Fuel-Efficiency Rule

Not all U.S. vehicles that burn gasoline or diesel fuel are passenger car and light trucks.

Medium- and heavy-duty commercial trucks make up a small percentage of the traffic on U.S. roads, but they cover more miles and have far worse fuel efficiency than passenger cars.

winter.13That’s why trucks are the focus of the latest environmental initiative by President Barack Obama.

Speaking Tuesday at a Safeway distribution center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Obama instructed Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to develop stricter fuel-economy standards for large trucks.

 

Cummins and Peterbilt 'SuperTruck'Cummins and Peterbilt ‘SuperTruck’

 

Proposal by March 2015

He said the Department of Transportation and EPA will consult with truck manufacturers, large shippers, and other stakeholders to produce a set of proposed rules by March of next year.

The call for additional rules follows Obama’s promise in his State of the Union Address to use executive power to implement his administration’s policies, rather than rely on a combative Congress.

The new rules will follow fuel-economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks passed in 2011.

Those regulations take effect this year, and call for a 10- to 20-percent increase in fuel economy by 2018, depending on the class of vehicle.

 

Semi trailerSemi trailer

 

The next round of regulations will run from 2019 through 2025, bringing large trucks into line with the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) rules for passenger vehicles, which now run through 2025 as well..

Small improvements, big savings

Such relatively small increments can have a large impact.

Trucks rack up far more miles than passenger vehicles–with far worse fuel economy–so they produce a disproportionate amount of emissions.

In his speech, Obama noted that heavy-duty trucks make up 4 percent of traffic on U.S. roads, but account for 20 percent of the carbon pollution from the transportation sector.

Even an improvement from 4 to 6 mpg could result in a savings of 8 gallons of fuel for every 100 miles traveled.

 

AirFlow BulletTruck (Images: AirFlow Truck Company)AirFlow BulletTruck (Images: AirFlow Truck Company)

 

Diesel industry on board

Thus far, makers of diesel engines appear optimistic that they will be able to produce more fuel-efficient trucks that comply with any new regulations.

The Diesel Technology Forum–which represents diesel-engine manufacturers–said in a statement that the industry has already made great improvements to diesel efficiency, and should be able to keep pace with the Obama Administration’s plans.

Over the past decade, the group says, strict new emissions limits have cut emissions from the latest large-truck engines by 99 percent for nitrogen oxides and 98 percent for particulates.

Whether truckers themselves approve of the new measures remains to be seen; many long-haul truckers opposed transferring oversight of heavy-truck fuel efficiency from the DoT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to the EPA back in 2010.

They asked the DOT to intervene and save them from the EPA, which had drafted the proposal for the regulations that take effect this year, because they feared it would raise the cost of new trucks.

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SAFE WINTER DRIVING TIPS FOR 2014 FROM BRAKEORAMA

Brake-O-Rama Auto Repairs and Tires mechanics do the best job in making your auto run smooth. We check everything to make sure our customers are happy. We also like to share important auto information we find on the web. Check out this important news for WINTER DRIVING TIPS FOR 2014!

SLUSH.DRIVING

10 Tips for Driving in Slippery, Slushy, Snowy Road Conditions
A Primer on Winter Driving Techniques

To avoid an accident, here are 10 driving techniques that should be employed when driving in rain, snow, sleet, or hail:

1. Reduce your speed. Wet and snowy roads require you to better control the vehicle, so reduce your speed to where you feel comfortable. Don’t worry if your speed is considerably less than the posted speed limits of the road. Those limits are based on ideal road conditions. It’s best to pace your driving to avoid the need for sudden stops on wet and icy road conditions.

Most importantly, you shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that your four-wheel drive or heavy vehicle can properly handle the slippery or wet roads at normal speed. Often times, these are the vehicles that you see along the side of the road as a result of a spinout. While SUVs, four-wheel drive vehicles and trucks are better in handling various road conditions, you still need to reduce your speed to achieve this performance.

2. Increase the distance length between other vehicles. Tailgating or leaving only one car length distance between you and the car in front of you does not leave ample space for you to react to wet or slippery road conditions. Experts recommend increasing your following distance to four car lengths in rain or snow conditions. In addition to giving you more time to react to you car’s slipping or spinning, it will also help to keep your windshield clear of flying spray or ice from the car in front of you.

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3. Familiarize yourself with how your anti-lock brakes function in slippery conditions. Read your vehicle manual and get comfortable with how you should brake on wet, icy and snowy roads.

4. Gradually accelerate, brake and turn. If you do these things suddenly on a wet or slippery road, you lose traction and could end up losing control of your vehicle.

5. Lift your foot off the accelerator a bit when going under bridges or on overpasses. There could be shady spots where ice and snow may still be present, causing you to spin out.

6. Drive slowly when snowplows are behind or around you. Often times, snow plow operators have to make sudden stops or maneuvers to avoid vehicles stranded in the road or obstacles blocking the road, like fallen tree limbs or telephone wires. And never pass a snowplow that is working in tandem with other snowplows.

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7. Be extra careful driving in very windy conditions. Blowing snow can cause white-out conditions, even during the daytime. Don’t try to continue driving it you can’t see. Pull over to the side of the road until weather conditions improve.

8. Avoid using your vehicle’s cruise control function in snowy, icy, or rainy weather. For safety purposes, you need to manually control the acceleration of your vehicle.

9. Avoid talking on your cell phone when driving during inclement weather. This could distract from focusing all your attention on your driving.

10. Stay as far away as possible from vehicles whose drivers failed to clear the snow from the roof. This could end up flying onto other vehicles, especially windshields, when driving. Remember to clear snow away from your car’s hood and roof to avoid flying blocks of snow.

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Toyota issues stop sale on 6 key models over seat fabrics; recall possible?

Brake-O-Rama Auto Repairs and Tires mechanics do the best job in making your auto run smooth. We check everything to make sure our customers are happy. We also like to share important auto information we find on the web.

2014 Toyota Corolla

2014 Toyota Corolla2014 Toyota Corolla2014 Toyota Corolla2014 Toyota Corolla2014 Toyota Corolla2014 Toyota Corolla2014 Toyota Corolla2014 Toyota Corolla

By Brandon TurkusRSS feedGoogle+

Posted Jan 30th 2014

Toyota has issued a stop-sale order on six of its core models due to concerns about the flammability of certain seat fabrics. The issue rests not with the cloth and leather covers themselves, but with a piece of seat heater beneath them that fails to meet US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for flame retardancy.

There have been no reports of fires or injuries from the affected cars, which include some of Toyota’s biggest volume sellers. 2013 and 2014 CamryCamry HybridAvalonand Sienna models equipped with heated seats are included in the stop-sale, as are 2014 Tundra pickups and Corolla sedans. The exact number of vehicles with the non-compliant materials are still being tabulated, according to The Detroit Free Press.

According to a Toyota spokesman, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been notified, although it remains to be seen if a recall will be issued. Outside of a full recall, though, it’s unclear how Toyota will deal with vehicles equipped with the flammable materials that have already found homes.

In the meantime, Toyota is reportedly developing a fix for those vehicle still sitting on dealer lots.

UPDATE: John Hanson, National Manager, Environmental, Quality, and Safety Communications for Lexus, has confirmed to Autoblog that no Lexus models are affected by this seat fabric issue. We have not yet heard back from Scion, but we’ll update this post as soon as we do.

 

 

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