And the 10 lowest rated cars are …..

BY GERRY MILES

There are the Razzies, the jazzies and many other names for things in the worst of categories that hold an unwanted place in the American desire to rank so many things.

Consumer Reports, which rates everything from dishwashers to xylophones it seems has released its lowest-rated cars in 10 categories with the overall lowest scores.

Their hope to avoid your purchasing a clunker to replace the one you’re trading away. To paraphrase their report, everything but these vehicles is a better choice.

The Overall Score offers a complete perspective on each model, combining road-test score, reliability, owner satisfaction, and safety, including government and insurance industry crash-test results.

Several of these vehicles are due for replacement this year, and are likely to be carrying significant incentives, or at least have some generous negotiating room. As the maxim goes, great deals are rarely found on great cars. In these cases, falling for a smooth sales pitch and a swell cash-back offer could lead you to suffering years of buyer’s remorse.

To quote the Consumer Reports release; “avoid one of the worst cars of 2016 and other subpar vehicles, check all of our tested vehicles. Better yet, skip right to our 10 Top Picks of 2016 to see the truly exemplary models.”

Remember forewarned is forearmed. Let the buyer beware.

The Lowest-Rated Cars in 10 Categories:
Lowest-Rated Subcompact: Mitsubishi Mirage
Lowest-Rated Compact: Fiat 500L
Lowest-Rated Midsized Sedan: Chrysler 200
Lowest-Rated Compact Luxury Car: Mercedes-Benz CLA250
Lowest-Rated Midsized Luxury Car: Lincoln MKS
Lowest-Rated Family SUV: Dodge Journey
Lowest-Rated Luxury Compact SUV: Land Rover Discovery Sport
Lowest-Rated Large Luxury SUV: Cadillac Escalade
Lowest-Rated Minivan: Chrysler Town & Country
Lowest-Rated Green Car: Mitsubishi i-MiEV

 

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Kia Sorento, Lexus RX, Ford F-150 take Consumer Reports’ top honors

CONSUMER REPORTS’ 2016 ANNUAL TOP PICKS:  KIA SORENTO & LEXUS RX ARE BEST SUVs
Ford F-150 named top pickup truck for first time in 17 years

YONKERS, NY — Seven new vehicles made Consumer Reports’ 2016 Annual Top Picks list—the Mazda MX-5 Miata, Kia Sorento, Toyota Sienna, Toyota Camry, Lexus RX, Honda Fit, and Ford F-150¬—in each of their respective categories.

The redesigned Ford F-150 was named best Pickup Truck, thanks in part to its fuel economy, quiet and spacious cabin, and much-improved infotainment system. It’s Ford’s first win in the category since 1999 and its first overall Top Pick honor since 2012.

Consumer Reports’ 2016 Top Picks list, Car Brand Report Cards and more from the Annual Auto Issue were released at a press  conference today before the Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) in Washington, D.C. For more details and videos of the Top Picks, visit ConsumerReports.org.

 “This year several automakers have really hit the mark with their redesigned vehicles,” said Mark Rechtin, Consumer Reports’ Cars Content Development Team Leader.  “This year’s Top Picks include refreshed models, like the Lexus RX, that have vaulted back to the top of their respective categories after lengthy absences.”

The Toyota Camry notched its fifth Top Pick honor in the 20-year history of the list in the Midsized Car category, and its first in four years. There was a time when Honda Accord had a solid edge over the competition in this ultra-competitive category, much of the past decade, but this marks its second straight year out of the top spot.

Subaru’s Forester and Impreza models are Consumer Reports’ Top Picks for Small SUV and Compact Car, respectively.  It’s the fifth consecutive award for the Impreza, and the second in a row for the Forester. Both are noted for their reliability, ride comfort, and suite of available safety technology.

The Chevrolet Impala repeated as the Top Pick in the Large Car category, proving that an American automaker knows how to make an outstanding car for the masses. The Impala joins the Ford F-150 as the only domestic winners this year.

Consumer Reports’ Top Picks must rank at or near the top of their respective classes in CR’s road-test score. Models must also have an average or better predicted reliability rating based on problems reported by subscribers  for  the  740,000  vehicles  in  CR’s  2015  auto  survey.  Also  taken  into  consideration  is  owner satisfaction, which CR obtains by surveying subscribers about their happiness level regarding the 230,000 vehicles in their garages. Finally, and importantly, Top Picks must perform effectively in crash or rollover tests conducted by the government and insurance industry (if tested).

Consumer Reports’ 2016 Top Picks By Category:

MIDSIZED CAR: Toyota Camry ($24,089-$32,603) The Camry’s no-fuss driving experience – great outward visibility, controls that fall easily to hand, a roomy interior – may not be the most thrilling in its class, but it’s far from plain. The solid Camry delivers year after year of outstanding reliability, which when combined with impressive crash-tests results, make it a near-perfect sedan.

SUBCOMPACT CAR: Honda Fit ($19,025) The Honda Fit is thrifty with fuel, returning a competitive 33 mpg overall, and its nimble handling beats expectations. It has remarkable interior space for such a tiny footprint, with second-row seats that elegantly stow away or flip up to hold more cargo. Road noise does boom in, and its rough ride can be tiring on long drives. Still, its crash-test scores have improved over its predecessor.

COMPACT CAR: Subaru Impreza ($21,345-$22,345) Despite its compact size, the Impreza’s ride and comfort will surprise. It has expansive window glass, lots of interior space for a car of its size, intuitive controls, a suite of available safety technology, great crash-test results, and an available hatchback version to haul bulky cargo. And with the added benefit of superb all-wheel-drive traction, the Impreza is a smart, practical car.

LUXURY SUV: Lexus RX ($51,630-$57,565) Lexus created the luxury crossover segment almost 20 years ago, and its dominance hasn’t diminished since. Though the exterior now features origami styling and a new “Predator” grille, it still boasts a quiet and comfortable cabin, effortless power delivery, a smooth ride, and a tastefully done interior fit and finish. The hybrid version gets an impressive 29 mpg overall.

SPORTS CAR <$40K: Mazda MX-5 MIATA ($29,905) The MX-5 Miata combines lithe, precise handling with a crisp manual stick and a zoomy engine—that gets an enviable 34 mpg—to create the perfect car for the enthusiast driver and weekend racer. It’s reliable, too. With its jumpy, firm suspension, loud cabin, and tight quarters for taller drivers, the Miata isn’t a commuter car. But given a sunny day and a winding road, none of that matters.

SMALL SUV: Subaru Forester ($27,145) The Forester is roomy, rides comfortably, and handles unflappably. Its AWD system routed the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V in CR’s snow-driving evaluations. Fuel economy is among the class leaders. It also has the best sight lines from the driver’s seat of any model on the market.

MIDSIZED SUV: Kia Sorento ($37,915) The Sorento is a great SUV hiding in plain sight. It offers class-above elegance at mainstream prices. It’s a shade smaller than its midsized competitors, but that allows it to be city-friendly while still offering the space and features of a larger vehicle.

MINIVAN: Toyota Sienna ($35,810-$38,201) The Sienna is super-reliable transport with all of the modern features an active, connected family would want. Its spacious and multifunctional interior, with available seating for eight, mates well with the Sienna’s magic carpet ride and energetic powertrain.

PICKUP TRUCK: Ford F-150 ($45,750-$46,755) By eschewing traditional steel body panels, Ford created a pickup that weighs less, enabling it to be quick off the line and fuel-efficient. The cabin is extremely quiet and spacious. The intuitive Sync 3 infotainment system is a welcome update from the MyFord Touch. The F150 has the best predicted reliability of any domestic truck.

LARGE CAR: Chevrolet Impala ($39,110) The Impala is dynamic and comfortable, combining a cushy ride with responsive handling, beating some elite luxury sedans at their own game. The controls are refreshingly intuitive, without resorting to overcomplicated interfaces. There’s enough cabin space to fit five comfortably.

Complete details on Consumer Reports’ Top Picks for 2016, Car Brand Report Cards, Best and Worst Lists and other key findings are available in the Annual Auto Issue of Consumer Reports on newsstands March 1st or visit Consumer Reports’ 2016 Autos Spotlight page on ConsumerReports.org.

Consumer Reports’ testing procedures are the most comprehensive of any U.S. publication or Web site. More than 50 individual tests are performed on every vehicle, including evaluations of braking, handling, comfort, convenience, safety, and fuel economy. Roughly 6,000 miles of general driving and evaluations are racked up on each test car during the testing process. CR buys all its test cars anonymously from dealers. Other reviewers base their evaluations on press cars that are hand-picked by the automakers.

For live coverage of CR’s breaking news, connect on Twitter at @ConsumerReports and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ConsumerReports.

 

Consumer Reports backs forward collision warning in all cars

Automotive safety has made dramatic improvements over the past decades, with seatbelts, airbags, electronic stability control, and sophisticated body structures all demonstrably reducing injuries and deaths. Consumer Reports feels the next critical advance involves forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking. This proven, life-saving technology would have such a positive impact on safety that Consumer Reports has called for it to be standard on all new cars.

That’s why the organization is pleased with today’s announcement by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). At the dedication of IIHS’ expanded Vehicle Research Center in Ruckersville, Va., the safety organization and NHTSA jointly announced that 10 automakers have committed to making automatic emergency braking (AEB) standard: Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo.

Automatic emergency braking systems could drastically reduce rear-end crashes—either in avoiding them altogether, or at least reducing the velocity of the collision. The price-per-car for a frontal-collision warning system is $250 to $400—a fraction of the typical charge for an ambulance ride.

“Forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking is the biggest safety advancement since the introduction of stability control over two decades ago,” says Jake Fisher, director of auto testing for Consumer Reports. “This is such an important safety feature that all other manufacturers should bring it to their vehicles as soon as possible.”

Is your car safe from hackers?

Automakers and NHTSA scramble to protect your privacy and safety

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2015/05/keeping-your-car-safe-from-hacking/index.htm

Picture this: You’re driving along a stretch of road, and an unseen force takes over. The car picks up speed, then swerves—without your touching the accelerator or turning the wheel. You’re no more than a helpless passenger. What just happened? Your car has been hacked.

It’s a frightening scenario. But how real is this threat? Real enough that car manufacturers and security experts from the federal government are taking it seriously.

“Any cyber expert will tell you that you can’t prevent it; it’s just a question of when,” says Mark Dowd, assistant general counsel for Global Automakers, a coalition of car manufacturers working to combat the looming threat of cyber attacks.

Part of the heightened concern about the risk of a car being hacked comes from the increased use of computerization and electronic features in new cars. Systems such as self-parking capability, steer-by-wire, and automatic cruise control give vehicles the ability to partly drive themselves—and that theoretically increases the risk of vital controls being hacked. (Read “Can Your Car He Hacked?“)

As of now, a hack is difficult to pull off. But if carmakers standardize their software and firewalls, and become more uniform, it could attract the attention of hackers.

However, if software engineers with the automakers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have anything to say about it, these attacks will never happen. It’s their task to stay a step ahead of anyone who might seek to hack a car or groups of cars—whether it’s terrorists, tech-pranksters, or someone seeking personal revenge.

At a lab on the grounds of the sprawling Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, Ohio, a team of NHTSA engineers spends their days hacking into vehicles. Consumer Reports was recently invited for an exclusive, behind-the-scenes demonstration to find out what the agency is doing to keep cars safe from a cyber attack. (Watch our video, above.)

NHTSA Electronics Project Engineer Frank Barickman and his team showed us what kinds of hacks are possible—and which are not—using two test vehicles, a Ford Fusion and a Toyota Prius. The cars were chosen simply because they are commonplace, not because they have any particular vulnerability. The project team has uncovered ways to manipulate the ventilation fans, windows, lights, horns, door locks, seat-belt tension systems, instrument panels, brakes, steering, and engines—all while the cars are in motion.

NHTSA’s computer engineers are able to perform their hacks thanks to high-powered engineering talent, intimate knowledge of the car’s software coding, unlimited access to the car, and a hard-wired connection to the car’s control center. Barickman is not aware of any real-world hack without physical access to a car—despite what a consumer might conclude from certain news reports and online videos.

However, NHTSA is using those learnings to determine the extent of what automotive systems could be hacked and how vulnerable these systems are, as well as how soon and how easily these hacks could be performed routinely and remotely. (Read “Your Personal Driving and Car Data Could Be at Risk.”)

In concert with NHTSA, a consortium of automakers is working to combat the threat of cyber attacks, through the planned formation of an industry Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC).

The automotive ISAC also will address the larger issue of consumer data privacy. However, how soon there will be any substantive improvements to car security and privacy has not been publicly stated.

In the interim, what can you do to be as vigilant as possible?

Don’t plug any unknown or unscreened devices into your car’s USB or OBD-II diagnostic port, including thumb drives used to store music. Those are connections that could introduce malware—malicious software that could change or render vulnerable your car’s computer system.

Also, use only a mechanic you trust, because your car’s diagnostic connection is a “vector” where malware could be installed that could allow a gateway for a remote hack. Locate your car’s OBD-II port (typically under the dash on driver’s side) and familiarize yourself with what it looks like. If there’s ever anything unusual plugged into it, or if it looks as if it’s been tampered with, call your dealership.

Consumer Reports will stay on top of this topic as it evolves and will update readers as we learn more.

—Jim Travers

What’s behind automotive warranty programs: Consumer Reports

Consumers can save thousands of dollars on repair bills by taking advantage of unadvertised programs that provide free or discounted service work

YONKERS, N.Y–In its latest look into the world of car maintenance, Consumer Reports found car owners can save a significant amount of money if their vehicle qualifies for what carmakers typically call service actions or customer service campaigns—effectively secret or hidden warranties are rarely announced to the public.

Two examples: Owners of 2006 to 2009 Honda Civics may qualify for a free engine block, or even a whole new engine, if their car has been leaking coolant from a crack in the block. Chrysler minivan owners may notice that the front wheel bearings on models from 2008 to 2010 are subject to premature wear, so dealers will replace them for free during a vehicle’s first five years or 90,000 miles.

Consumer Reports found these “secret warranties” usually originate when automakers discover that some component or system in a given model is failing at a greater rate than expected. They learn about the problems from numerous sources, including complaints to their customer-service departments and reports from dealers. Other tip-offs are an unusual number of warranty claims for a specific problem or a rapid decline in spare-parts inventories.

For more examples visit www.ConsumerReports.org, or check out the Consumer Reports Reliability Guide for Car Owners & Car Buyers. It highlights problem areas in cars from the 2004 through 2013 model years. Consumer Reports’ auto analysts cross-referenced CR’s historical reliability data with public safety recalls and lesser-known manufacturer Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs), extended warranties, and service campaigns to determine the most common problems—and available fixes—for mainstream vehicles from 2004-13. Consumers that own a car or are considering buying a used car, the guide offers detailed information about potential problems to monitor.

Programs that offer subsidized or free repairs are usually presented as a “warranty extension,” since they last for a specified time and mileage. Occasionally, they’re good for a limited number of years from the original purchase date but have no mileage limit.

Such programs are often enacted in the name of good customer service. Sometimes, though, a free-repair program is instituted as part of the settlement of a class-action lawsuit.

At any given time, consumers can find out-of-warranty service actions from many manufacturers. Honda, however, and its upscale Acura division, stand out with a half-dozen or more. Because CR’s survey data shows that Honda and Acura vehicles, in general, are among the most reliable on the road, the company’s high number of service campaigns suggests it’s been unusually generous to customers.

Consumer Reports found that often, when an automaker initiates a service campaign, it sends a notification letter to all known owners. But second or third owners of that car may not receive it. Even among those who do, the letter may be mislaid or mistakenly thrown away. In other cases, though, there is no advance notice, and car owners find out about it only if a dealer tells them or they discover it on their own.

All of the warranty extensions Consumer Reports found are included in technical service bulletins that automakers send to their dealers’ service departments. TSBs usually describe a common problem the automaker has learned about and provide detailed instructions on how the service technician should fix it. However, a small number of TSBs also contain information about special warranties related to the problem or other remedies the carmaker is offering to owners.

Toyota dealers have received TSBs regarding faulty brakes on the 2007 to 2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid, and the automaker is notifying owners of free repairs and offering a fairly generous warranty extension on some brake components. But Consumer Reports thinks Toyota should have issued a recall, and it’s asking the government to take action on that if Toyota does not.

How to Look for TSBs and Secret Warranties:

For car owners that want to know about their vehicle, technical service bulletins can be hard to come by. They can search for free summaries of them at safercar.gov, the government’s auto-safety website. Once there, enter your car’s make/model/year in the “Owners” section, and click on the “Service Bulletins” tab. But be warned, the summaries are often vague. Consumers can order the full TSB text (free up to 100 pages) by mail, though that may take four to six weeks. However, a dealer or repair shop may share them if you ask. You can also purchase current TSBs for your car from Alldatadiy.com ($26.95/year) or Mitchell 1 DIY at eautorepair.net ($25.99/year).

Besides service campaigns, most automakers set aside “goodwill money” to keep customers happy by paying for select out-of-warranty repairs. Consumer Reports advises that gaining access to goodwill money is not a sure thing. To qualify, your car’s problem should be well known to the manufacturer, and it helps if you have a good relationship with a dealer’s service department. Getting angry or making threats is not a great strategy. Document your problem, deal with the service manager directly, and be persistent. If you don’t get anywhere, take your case to the automaker’s customer-service department, which is listed in your owner’s manual and online

Also, go to ConsumerReports.org/carrecalls to check recalls on your car with plain-English interpretations prepared by certified mechanics.

The complete report on Consumer Reports look in to TSB and secret warrantees is available www.ConsumerReports.org starting today or pick up a copy of the November issue of Consumer Reports on newsstands starting October 2nd.

 

Lexus, Toyota, Acura snare top spots in Consumer Reports’ 2013 reliability issue

Audi, Volvo & GMC Secure Spots in Top 10

BY GERRY MILES

In what is an annual make or break day for many automakers, Consumer Reports has released its posting of the most reliable vehicles that will be the consummate reference periodical for most car shoppers this year.

Japanese automakers Lexus, Toyota and Acura grabbed the top three spots while Volvo, GMC and Audi also broke into the top 10.

Toyota’s Camry, RAV4 and Prius V, some of the Japanese makers most popular and top-selling models didn’t make the coveted car collection because the vehicles scored poorly in an insurance industry crash test.

CR survey’s findings are based upon subscribers’ experiences with 1.1 million vehicles. Consumer Reports uses the survey data to compile reliability histories on vehicles and predict how well new cars that are currently on sale will hold up.

Audi moved up four places this year to finish fourth overall—the top European manufacturer in the survey. Three Audis, the A6 sedan, Q7 SUV and Allroad wagon, have “much better than average” reliability.
Volvo, now owned by Chinese firm Geely, jumped 13 places to seventh.
GMC emerged as the top domestic brand, finishing ninth—three places higher than last year.
The top predicted-reliability score went to the redesigned 2014 Subaru Forester SUV, which hadn’t been on the market for very long when CR conducted the survey.
Ford’s C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid got the worst score, and the regular C-Max Hybrid wasn’t much better. Only Ford’s vaunted pickup truck, the F-150, was a recommended model.
In addition to GMC, Buick climbed nine slots to 12th place over last year. All Buicks except the V-6 LaCrosse were average or better. The only dark spots for Chevrolet are the Camaro and Cruze, both of which earned below-average reliability scores.
Japanese brands took seven out of the 10 top spots in the survey. Nissan sank to 22nd among the 28 brands in the rankings. As a group, the nine Japanese brands in the survey still produce a remarkable number of reliable cars. Of the almost 100 models, 90 percent were average or better and almost a third ofthem received top marks. Ten of those highest scorers were Toyotas. Of the eight Lexus models in CR’s survey, six got top marks. All Lexus and Acura models earned an above average reliability score while all Infiniti, Mazda, and Toyota models earned an average or better reliability score.
Two popular models, the redesigned 2013 Honda Accord V6 and the 2013 Nissan Altima, scored too poorly in the survey for Consumer Reports to continue Recommending them. Last year, CR had predicted that both vehicles would have at least average reliability.
Mazda slipped from fourth to fifth. The redesigned Mazda6 debuted with above-average reliability.
Subaru and Scion, which also typically rank well in reliability, were torpedoed by their twin sports cars, the Subaru BRZ and the Scion FR-S, which scored below average. This dropped Subaru to 10th place, from last year’s fifth. Scion, for which CR had only two models with sufficient data, sank from first place to 11th this time.
One of the key problem areas in Consumer Reports’ survey centers on in-car electronics, including the proliferating suite of audio, navigation, communication, and connected systems in newer cars.
Of the 17 problem areas CR asks about, the category including in-car electronics generated more complaints from owners of 2013 models than for any other category. The survey revealed touch-screen infotainment systems have been buggy, with screen freezes, touch-control lag, or a reluctance to recognize a cell-phone, an MP3 device, or a voice command.
Hybrids and electric cars continue to do well. The Toyota Prius, Lexus ES 300h, Toyota Prius C, and Honda CR-Z hybrids, as well as the Nissan Leaf electric car, were among the top models. Ford’s C-Max and Fusion hybrids were the only exceptions.
The Tesla Model S electric car performed well enough in the survey to earn a Recommendation from CR for the first time. CR gathered data on more than 600 2012 and 2013 models. Owners of the 2012 model reported very few problems, although 2013 owners reported quite a few more. Problem areas included wind noise, squeaks and rattles, and body hardware (including the sunroof, doors, and locks).
Of the 31 Ford models in Consumer Reports’ survey, only one, the F-150 pickup with the 3.7-liter V6, was above average. Seven achieved an average score. Ford’s challenges don’t end with the historically problematic My-Touch systems. Several EcoBoost turbocharged V6 models have poor reliability as well. Almost two-thirds of the 34 Fords and Lincolns in our survey got scores that were much worse than average.
Chrysler’s bright spy was the 300 C with above average scores. Jeep’s 2014 V-6 Grand Cherokee received below average reliability.
Hyundai and Kia slipped a bit in the 2013 survey, with Kia ranking midpack and Hyundai slid to 21st place.
Complete reliability report and results for all models are available at http://www.ConsumerReports.org  and in the December issue of Consumer Reports, on newsstands November 5.

Infiniti Q50, LEXUS IS 250 miss mark in Consumer Reports tests

Press Release

YONKERS, NY— Two promising upscale sedans, the redesigned Infiniti Q50 and Lexus IS 250, fell short in Consumer Reports’ tests and wound up near the bottom of the rankings—below competitors from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lincoln, and Volvo.

The Q50 was intended to replace the G37 in Infiniti’s lineup, but it has taken a step back from its excellent predecessor. “The Infiniti G has been one of Consumer Reports’ highest-rated sedans for many years, but after its 2014 redesign and transition to the new Q designation, this car seems to have lost its way,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports.

The Infiniti Q50 posted a “Very Good” overall road test score but still landed near the bottom of the rankings for sporty and upscale sedans. The IS 250 scored merely a “Good.” It was the worst road test score posted by any Lexus sedan in recent memory. Other competitors posting higher overall road test scores include the BMW 328i, Mercedes-Benz C250, Lincoln MKZ 2.0 EcoBoost and Volvo S60 T5.

CR’s engineers and editors found that the Q50 isn’t as much fun to drive as the G37. Handling is mundane, due in part to dull steering. The underwhelming driving experience strips the car of much of its sporty legacy. The Q50 also doesn’t ride well and isn’t particularly quiet. Its new InTouch dual-screen controls are slow to respond, and interior quality is nothing special. On the plus side, the Q50 is very quick, even with the added weight of the optional all-wheel-drive system.

Consumer Reports’ testers found the Lexus IS 250 is neither sporty nor luxurious. CR purchased and evaluated the IS 250 with the small 2.5-liter V6 because that is the model most consumers will buy; the test vehicle is also fitted with all-wheel-drive, a popular option. In that trim, the vehicle’s acceleration lacks punch. Fuel economy is disappointing at 21 mpg overall in CR’s own tests.

The Lexus IS handling is short on finesse, with vague-feeling steering that doesn’t telegraph much feedback. Road noise is elevated and the ride is neither plush nor tied-down. The interior is very tight, even when considered against the modest standards for sports sedans, with a narrow cabin, wide center console and large overhanging dashboard. In addition, the IS 250’s controls now include the fussy, distracting mouse-like controller found in other Lexus models.

Neither the Q50 and IS 250, can be Recommended. Although the Q50 scored reasonably well, it’s still too new for CR to have reliability information. The IS 250 scored too low to be Recommended; CR also doesn’t have reliability data on it because it’s new. To be Recommended, a vehicle must perform well in CR’s battery of tests, have average or better reliability in CR’s Annual Auto Survey and perform well in government and industry crash tests.

Complete tests results for the Infiniti Q50 and Lexus IS250, as well as results of the new Fiat 500L and Nissan Versa Note appear on www.ConsumerReports.org today, and in the December issue of Consumer Reports, on newsstands November 5. Updated daily, ConsumerReports.org is the go-to Website for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on breaking news, and car-buying information. Check out CR’s ongoing Twitter feed at @CRCars.