WASHINGTON -- Automotive experts at Consumers Union complimented Ford Motor Co. and General Motors on the progress their vehicles are making -- but didnt give them much else.
The organizations Consumer Reports magazine today unveiled its list of Top Picks for 2008. Nine of the 10 category winners are import-brand vehicles.
The lone exception was the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab, which got top honors in the pickup category.
The news was worse for Chrysler LLC. In remarks at a meeting with Washington auto writers today, David Champion, Consumers Unions senior director of automotive testing, said Chryslers products lag behind the rest of the industry.
The automakers lineup is in the dumps, he said.
By contrast, Fords lineup, while unexciting, is showing steady improvement in reliability, Champion said.
GM has some attractive new vehicles, such as the redesigned Cadillac CTS sedan and the Buick Enclave crossover, but reliability ratings still lag, he said.
The magazine tests and rates vehicles in various categories and gives overall report cards to automakers. This years top three companies are Honda, Toyota and Subaru. The bottom three are General Motors, Suzuki and Chrysler.
For the first time this year, Consumer Reports calculated vehicles cost of ownership over five years.
Rik Paul, the magazines automotive editor, said the data show that cheaper vehicles often wind up costing their owners more than pricier vehicles. The biggest factor is depreciation, which represents 48 percent of the cost of ownership, he said.
Details are in the magazines annual auto issue, available on newsstands Tuesday, March 4. Some of the information was to be posted at www.consumerreports.org today, but only subscribers can get all of the data online.
Consumers Union calls itself an expert, independent nonprofit organization. It accepts no outside advertising and buys the products that it tests.
This year, a vehicle had to have electronic stability control to qualify as a Top Pick.
The winners by category for 2008, besides the Silverado pickup, are:
- Small sedan: Hyundai Elantra SE
- Family sedan: Honda Accord
- Upscale sedan: Infiniti G35
- Luxury sedan: Lexus LS 460 L
- Green car: Toyota Prius
- Fun to drive: Mazda MX-5 Miata
- Small SUV: Toyota RAV4
- Mid-sized SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe
- Minivan: Toyota Sienna