Consumer Reports magazine said today it will not recommend the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV and Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers because of low scores in the magazine's tests, and panned Ford Motor Co.'s MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch technology.
The magazine also said it will not recommend the Infiniti QX56, a V-8 version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Porsche Cayenne. Those SUVs performed well in testing, but were too new for Consumer Reports to have adequate reliability data to recommend, it said.
The Tahoe, Edge and MKX scored too low in testing to be recommended, the magazine, published by Consumers Union, said in a press release.
“All three of these vehicles have a number of strengths, but each had some notable weaknesses that forced their testing scores to fall below our standard for a recommended SUV,” said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Conn.
Ford says more than 80 percent of Edge buyers are opting for MyFord Touch on their vehicles. MyLincoln Touch is standard on the MKX.
The MKX and the Edge are the fastest selling products in their respective showrooms, Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of global product development, said today.
Kuzak disagreed with Consumer Reports' review that the system is too complicated and distracting. But he said Ford would meet with Consumer Reports and consider tweaking the technology.
“All the controls are in people's hands and on the steering wheel, touch and voice control. Nothing could be simpler or safer," Kuzak said.
"Having said that, we respect Consumer Reports. They're a very respected and influential magazine and we'll work with them to understand their feedback and work to improve it based on their feedback.”
The publication said it only recommends vehicles that have “performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on Consumer Reports' Annual Auto Survey of its more than seven million print and Web subscribers, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.”
Ford has a 48-day supply of the Edge and a 41-day supply of the MKX right now.
“We appreciate the feedback (from Consumer Reports), but we've got to push technology and technology and safety are calling cards for both those vehicles. We're very proud of both those vehicles,” Ken Czubay, Ford's vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said today.
The full tests and rating for all the vehicles will appear in the February issue of the magazine, which goes on sale today.
The reports also are available to subscribers of www.ConsumerReports.org.
The magazine also gave a thumbs down to the MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch technology available on the 2011 Edge and MKX.
A driver can use those control systems to operate the sound system, climate controls and navigation system by means of either an 8-inch video touch screen in the center console or voice commands.
Consumer Reports cited the technology as the main drawback to the Edge and MKX. It said the technology is “a complicated distraction while driving. In addition, first-time users might find it impossible to comprehend. The system did not always perform as promised.”
The Chevy Tahoe, in turn, was downgraded for its “ungainly” handling and long stopping distances. Consumers Reports said the interior fit and finish didn't match the Tahoe LTZ's high price of $57,435 as tested.
GM spokesman Patrick Morrissey declined comment, Bloomberg reported.
“Small percentage” of software woes
In early December, Ford acknowledged that a “small percentage” of vehicles with the control system had software problems. Some problems were the result of consumers not knowing how to perform certain functions. But in other cases software flaws caused the Sirius Travel Link to function incorrectly.
Sirius Travel Link is part of the system's navigation system. It offers sports scores, movie links and other information delivered by Sirius satellite radio.
Bloomberg contributed to this report.