Consumer Reports had just recently updated their top 10 recommended cars and dropped the 2017 Volt from their list because of reliability issues. I even joined their website to read the details and it's frustratingly vague and doesn't make sense! They list the 2016 Volt's reliability as "Poor", yet all the reliability categories are "good" or better and most are "Very Good" or "Excellent". So how do they come to an overall "Poor" reliability rating?
It's confusing presentation based on the difficulty of ascertaining specific problem areas because of overall high levels of reliability in cars -- they can see significantly more problems in 2016 Volts than in other 2016 cars, but because they survey so many specific issues (engine, brakes, etc.), it's harder to tell what specific areas are causing the problems. See this post of mine in another thread
for a lengthier explanation.
A lot of people, including "The Car Pro" radio show consider the CU reliability ratings to be highly unscientific -anecdotal- and worthless.
I know little about that show or the people who run it. I do know, however, that I have a PhD in cognitive psychology, so I understand survey research pretty well. To be sure, I've never conducted such research myself, but I know more about it than most auto engineers. My own view of CR's research is that it is of higher quality than any other auto reliability research, with the possible
exception of the JD Power surveys -- and those are much less detailed and are not as accessible to the general public. Calling the CR reliability research "anecdotal" brings to mind a quote from The Princess Bride:
"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." The CR research is not
What you want to look at is vetted Owner Satisfaction. This is how actual buyers of the Volt feel about their cars. CR does not vet their sources (anybody can rate a car they have never driven) yet CR still rates the Volt's owner satisfaction to be excellent.
In theory, anybody could rate any car in CR's research. In practice, it's doubtful that people would do so. Why take the time to complete a survey on a car you've never owned? It would be a waste of time. I suppose that, in theory, Manufacturer A might try to sabotage Manufacturer B by doing this, but CR is on the lookout for such things, and my understanding is that they've never encountered evidence of such shenanigans.
CR includes both
reliability and owner satisfaction in its survey. Both are valid and valuable measures, and as you point out, the 2016 Volt does poorly for reliability but does well for owner satisfaction. This may be because new cars are so reliable that, even at poor reliability, a small enough number of Volt owners have problems that it doesn't drag down satisfaction; or it could be that Volt owners like their cars enough to not be bothered by having to take them in to the dealer for repairs.
This brings up my own issue: People tend to pay more attention to CR's reliability ratings than they deserve, simply because cars are so reliable these days. Even the worst of the worst (like Rams and Fiats in the latest CR surveys) tend to be pretty reliable, especially when new. We aren't living in the 1980s, when an unreliable car might be in the shop once a month. To be sure, I'm not saying that reliability is unimportant; but it's just one factor
in deciding what car to buy. Most of us here bought Volts despite obvious problems, like an uncomfortable (or non-existent!) middle-rear seating position. The Volt's advantages outweigh these disadvantages. The CR results indicate another disadvantage -- and perhaps an unexpected and disappointing one, since the previous generation earned an average reliability rating in CR's surveys. This is not
to say that the Volt is junk, though; it's just another issue to factor in when making a purchase decision.
Consumer Reports will include troll data in their surveys.
I have no reason to believe that this is a problem. We aren't talking about a Web site comment area; we're talking about a survey of CR subscribers. If you have evidence that it's a problem, please present it. Otherwise, you're making a baseless accusation.
Note, that I have one of the first 2016 Volts, and one of the most recent 2017s. Both have been literally flawless. Fit, finish, function, nothing was discrepant on the cars so far.
is an example of an anecdotal, which is useless. Another is my own '17 Volt, which had to go back to the dealer -- twice! -- because of a defective USB port. You can see how the disparity between the two anecdotes makes it harder to make a judgment. The point of survey research is to get enough data to begin to see patterns. If owners of Volts report X problems per 100 cars, whereas owners of Prii report X/2 problems per 100 cars, then you're looking at something real. Picking one or two owners' experiences from either data set is uninformative.
How could they have complete data to base any judgments and report on 2017 Volt's that still have over half a year of production. Any data must be related to first year 2016"s.
Yes, the 2016 model year is the latest one in the results that CR recently released. The 2017s are, in theory, mechanically nearly identical to the 2016s, and so should
be similar to the 2016s in most ways, including overall model reliability. Of course, since the 2016s are redesigned, they may have suffered from model year start-up problems that may be ironed out for the 2017s. That's true of any new 2016 model (like the Prius). CR points this out, of course, and leaves it to their readers to make their own decisions based on the available data.
CR polls only their members, not the general public. Since their members have grown up with CR telling them that asian vehicles were superior, the vote that way today. CR spoon feeds their members so that they vote the CR way.
This is nonsense. Buick is the #3 most reliable car brand in this year's survey. Audi and BMW also both make the top 10. Subaru has slipped to #11, and there are other Asian brands below that. Furthermore, your explanation would require that owners of Asian cars selectively forget (or fail to report) problems they've had, and/or owners of cars made elsewhere develop (or make up) false memories of problems that never existed. That's quite a stretch, and you have no
evidence of such a thing happening.
Well, then is a Tesla Model S a good car or bad car?
Consumer Reports has said it's so good, they need a new way to evaluate car quality.
Consumer Reposts said it's so bad, you should not own one.
Consumer Reposts said it's something OK to buy.
I addressed this misunderstanding of CR's coverage of the Tesla Model S in my reply in this thread.[/quote] In brief, you're conflating CR's road-test score (based on their hands-on evaluation) and their reliability data (which is survey research), with an added dollop of the fact that the reliability data for the Tesla has been hovering around a hard cutoff point CR imposes to award a model their "Recommended" stamp; the Tesla fell below that cutoff point for one year, but was above it before and after that year.
"Key feature?" Nonsense. They commented on these issues, but I defy you to provide a quote that makes either the Prius's handling and dash lights or the Bolt's appearance the "key" feature of these cars, in CR's view. In their Bolt video, the comments about its styling were clearly intended as a lighthearted joke.
Consumer Reports says that the key feature of the New Prius are it's excellent handling and very pretty dash lights.
The key feature of the new Bolt is that it does not look like a Tesla Model S. No range test, acceleration test, cornering test, braking, etc. The DO say it handles better than a Nissan Leaf. But everything does. Sort of non-statement.
Furthermore, CR has yet to do a full test of the Bolt -- that will have to wait until they can actually buy one and run it through their full tests, which take months to complete. CR has released a brief video with their first impressions of a Chevy-provided press car, but that is not their full and official review of the car. They wait to do the sort of detailed tests you're demanding until they buy a sample of their own and have the time to run it through those tests. Unlike most auto reviews, CR does not rely on press cars for their full and detailed ratings. Give it a few months, and these details will appear on CR's Web site.