Call it a clash of the titans in the automotive endorsement world.
A panel of auto journalists this month picked the Range Rover Evoque as the 2012 North American Truck of the Year -- a triumph that carmakers crave and are keen to trumpet. But Consumer Reports, the bible of unbiased recommendations for many auto shoppers, says it can't recommend the compact SUV.
The North American Car and Truck of the Year jury includes 50 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada, representing magazines, newspapers, Web sites, TV and radio. But, hey, ignore Consumer Reports at your peril.
The Evoque's test score puts it "near the bottom of its category," said the magazine in a release about the results, which will be published in the March issue.
Consumer Reports admits that the Evoque is a head-turner, accelerates quickly, has OK fuel economy and a "nicely finished cabin."
"But those points don't make up for its many weaknesses," it says.
The magazine criticized the Evoque for a stiff ride, "artificial-feeling steering," cabin noise and poor rear visibility. Consumer Reports also found the Evoque's emergency handling particularly troubling: "When pushed to its handling limits at our track, the tail slid out and the vehicle repeatedly lifted a wheel during our avoidance maneuver."
A spokesman for Jaguar Land Rover said: "Consumer Reports is one of many important vehicle testers, and as such we will review their story closely."