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Old 07-09-2013, 06:38 PM   #31
fjtorres
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Then it is doomed... the bigger companies will strangle it somehow.
So far, the bigger companies (Toyota, Mercedes) are contracting with Tesla for battery packs and/or drivetrains.

"If you can't beat'em, join'em!"

(I'm holding out for the third-gen Tesla; that one I might be able to afford. Of course, if MegaMillions lightning should strike near me...)
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Old 07-15-2013, 12:57 PM   #32
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(For cars, year after year they recommended Toyota Corollas and Honda Civics; safe and bland and economical. Exciting or fun to drive never factors in. Even on the rare occasions they test sports or luxury cars the recommended model is invariably the more practical and reliable one.)

The typical CR subscriber will buy a product and use it until it breaks and not even think of upgrading as long as the old one works. Buying a new reader every year? You don't need them; their job is to save you money, not help you... spend it.

CR fills a very important and necessary role; they are honest, blunt, and no-nonsense and strictly focused on consumer safety. But their reports are not for techies, hobbyists, or enthusiasts.
The last CR review I read was some years ago when they tested small SUVs. Their recommended pick was the least utilitarian of the bunch. Cargo space, towing, off road ability did not factor in at all. Inexcusable in a utility vehicle review.

I also read a snowblower report where they used sawdust instead of snow. Complete waste of time.

Let's not forget their clear bias towards giving some manufacturers good ratings on new unproven models while not doing this for other manufacturers, and their tendancy to ignore some data for years, like Honda transmission issues.

Honest and blunt? I could go on and on with specific examples of their foolishness. But I think the point is made.

The biggest problem with CR is that you have no idea what their ratings mean because they don't release their actual numbers. The difference between a black circle and a red circle is not a tangible fact and in many cases statistically irrelevant. But that's what happens when you relate everything to averages rather than what a consumer should reasonable expect. Many products with black circle ratings are still quite able to do the intended job well. Many are not. Sometimes they will tell you this in the article. Sometimes they won't.

You are certainly right in that their reports are not for techies, hobbyists, or enthusiasts. Trouble with that is that techies, hobbyists, and enthusiasts are the best equipped to know what is to be expected of the product.
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Old 07-15-2013, 02:24 PM   #33
JD Gumby
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The last CR review I read was some years ago when they tested small SUVs. Their recommended pick was the least utilitarian of the bunch. Cargo space, towing, off road ability did not factor in at all. Inexcusable in a utility vehicle review.
Except none of those factor in normal use. There might be exceptions, but most people only need enough cargo space for groceries, don't tow things (*maybe* a light camper trailer, but they could do that in their Honda Civic), and certainly don't go off road (unless by "off road" you mean "well-maintained dirt road" - which, again, even a Honda Civic can do mostly problem-free).

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I also read a snowblower report where they used sawdust instead of snow. Complete waste of time.
Not really. Gives them a good idea of the clearing power and lets them do the report on new models in time for late autumn (ie, a November or December issue), when most people would be looking to buy. Except for emergency replacements, people don't buy snowblowers in February or March (the earliest they could get it out for the magazine if they waited for any amount of snow on the ground where ever they happen to be based).

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You are certainly right in that their reports are not for techies, hobbyists, or enthusiasts. Trouble with that is that techies, hobbyists, and enthusiasts are the best equipped to know what is to be expected of the product.
...and are the ones who have absolutely no need for Consumer Reports and who are not the target audience.
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:35 PM   #34
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Every single time I read a consumer-choice type article about a subject on which I actually have knowledge, I cringe and shake my head. I remember a Choice review of espresso machines here a while back, in which they ended up recommending a rubbish machine based partly on the fact that it had a lightweight portafilter.
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:50 PM   #35
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CR only tests products that they can buy, they won't test something that is shipped to them by the manufacturer.
Yes, making them more legitimate than electronics review web sites (and most newspaper and magazine automobile review competitors).

It's not just eReaders where they only review selected models. The same is true of their articles on bicycles, or laundry detergent, or vacuum cleaners, or just about anything. There are far more products made than they can afford to review.
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Old 07-17-2013, 04:32 PM   #36
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Except none of those factor in normal use. There might be exceptions, but most people only need enough cargo space for groceries, don't tow things (*maybe* a light camper trailer, but they could do that in their Honda Civic), and certainly don't go off road (unless by "off road" you mean "well-maintained dirt road" - which, again, even a Honda Civic can do mostly problem-free).
This was a review of small SUVs. If you don't need that ability, you shouldn't be buying an SUV. It's stupid reviews like that that have destroyed the SUV market, turning it into a bunch of ugly station wagons for people with more ego than sense.

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Not really. Gives them a good idea of the clearing power and lets them do the report on new models in time for late autumn (ie, a November or December issue), when most people would be looking to buy. Except for emergency replacements, people don't buy snowblowers in February or March (the earliest they could get it out for the magazine if they waited for any amount of snow on the ground where ever they happen to be based).

You simply cannot gain much knowledge blowing sawdust in the summer. Sawdust is not snow. Not to mention they are not designed to be operated in 80 degree weather which can have a huge impact on how they run and how smoothly things operate. I'm not sure why anybody would try to argue it makes for a useful review. If they are unable to do a proper review, they shouldn't do it at all. Period. But they do anyway, which is why they have so little credibility.
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Old 07-17-2013, 08:06 PM   #37
JAcheson
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At the risk of walking into territory best covered in other subforums...

Political bias? Can you elaborate?
Basically, they overlooked the shortcomings of front-loader washers because they were more green.

In particular, a lot of the low water usage front-loaders really skimp on the rinse cycle, and compensate by telling you to use less detergent. You can get away with that if your clothes are not particularly dirty, but IMHO it's cutting corners.
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Old 07-17-2013, 08:42 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by JAcheson View Post
Basically, they overlooked the shortcomings of front-loader washers because they were more green.

In particular, a lot of the low water usage front-loaders really skimp on the rinse cycle, and compensate by telling you to use less detergent. You can get away with that if your clothes are not particularly dirty, but IMHO it's cutting corners.
That seems like a stretch to "political bias".
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:43 PM   #39
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Basically, they overlooked the shortcomings of front-loader washers because they were more green.
You must have read different issues than I did.

When the federal government mandated that the machines use less water, Consumer Reports didn't attack the law, but they did pan a bunch of the new washers:

Quote:
In 1996, top-loaders were pretty much the only type of washer around, and they were uniformly high quality. When Consumer Reports tested 18 models, 13 were "excellent" and five were "very good." By 2007, though, not one was excellent and seven out of 21 were "fair" or "poor."
Because of the water standards, the magazine is more important than it used to be in finding an effective washer.
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