Thursday Snippets II

Here’s an interesting project.

This guy’s planning on turfing the entertainment system in 2002 Saab 9-5 in favour of a Mac Mini installed in the glovebox and a 7″ touchscreen installed in the dash.

No pictures yet, but it’ll be interesting to follow.

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Consumer Reports has done it again.

“It” in this instance is prove its reports are quite worthless in terms of providing a wholly rounded set of data from which consumers could draw legitimate conclusions.

Here’s its top picks for 2007, posted over at Autoblog:

Fun To Drive: Mazda MX-5 Miata
Small SUV: Toyota RAV4
Small Sedan: Honda Civic
Family Sedan: Honda Accord
Minivan: Toyota Sienna
Luxury Sedan: Infiniti M45
Midsized SUV: Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Green Car: Toyota Prius
Upscale sedan: Infiniti G35
Budget Car: Honda Fit

Now, it’s well known that the Japanese make quality motor vehicles, but the best in every freaking category?!?!

Someone from CR has chimed in in the comments area at Autoblog and posted the following:

I have to wade in, if only to address some errors in the list of comments. I work at CR and spent some time talking with Alex yesterday.

Here are some reasons for what people see as issues:

1) The new MDX has not been tested yet. Therefore it can’t be recommended or a Top Pick.

2) A full-size pickup truck test with the Silverado, Tundra, Durango, Titan, and F-150 (including HD versions for the domestics) has not been started. Not all of the vehicles have been purchased. Therefore, no Top Pick.

3) The GTI is not recommended because it does not have sufficient reliability data. It scored very well in our testing. But without reliability data, it can’t be recommended.

So what they’re really saying here is: We’re quite prepared to publish a report on what we think are the best cars in every category without testing a proper variety of options in every category. It’s OK to stack the numbers and provide an unlevel playing field and it’s OK to put it to print despite the fact that worthy competitors in each field may be disadvantaged by NOT EVEN BEING COUNTED.

That, my friends, is no way to run a railroad.

I’m not contending that Saab should be in this list. Not by any means. I know where Saab stands with CR and some of that stance has merit based on historical data. I don’t think they’re entirely accurate, but I understand. It’s just that CR consistently give Saab a bagging and outcomes like this one show just how poor their credibility is when it comes to published data.

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Last but by no means least: It’s the unoffical month of Saab 99 love!!!!

If you’ve got a Saab 99, or if you’ve got photos of one you had in the past, then it’s time to show it off and let the Saab community know what’s so great about this most iconic of Saab motor vehicles.

Please feel free to send your 99 pics and stories to me via email.

Here’s an initial pic: a Cardinal Red 99T that I owned for a brief time in 2005. It was absolutely immaculate but unfortunately it came at a time where I didn’t have the money or the space to keep an extra car and it was the new kid on the block, so it had to go. Now living somewhere in the Blue Mountains in NSW.

And yes, I miss it.

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4 Comments

  1. CR is nothing but bunk. The way they run their statistical analysis would be ripped to pieces if it was used in a court case. It’s nothing but the opinion of their readers, parroted back to them after the readers send in voluntary survey cards, in order to reaffirm their readers already held biases and keep them buying the magazine. CR isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

  2. I found this list from MotorWeek, and it looks a lot more well rounded and less, well, made up than CR’s.

    Best of the Year: Honda Fit
    Best Small Car: Honda Fit
    Best Family Sedan: Saturn Aura
    Best Minivan: Hyundai Entourage/Kia Sedona
    Best Convertible: Volkswagen Eos
    Best Luxury Sedan: Lexus LS
    Best Sports Sedan: Infiniti G35
    Best Performance Car: Ford Shelby GT500
    Best Small Utility: Honda CR-V
    Best Large Utility: Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon
    Best Crossover Utility: GMC Acadia/Saturn Outlook
    Best Pickup Truck: Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
    Best Eco-Friendly: Toyota Motor Corporation
    Best Dream Machine: Jaguar XKR, Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, Porsche 911 Turbo

  3. Consumer Reports is pretty scientific, but the results are filtered in a very ‘one-size-fits-all’ way. That is, they use the same criteria to measure refrigerators, cars and canned tuna.

    If I need a few pointers on appliances, brand of house paint, type of lawn mower, etc. the CR pick is a safe pick. That’s great. If I need pointers on cars, vacations, restaurants, etc. where there is an ‘experience’ to be had, CR is awful. They seem to ignore the qualitative points that highlight orginality and performance and highlight the quantitative points that can be easily compiled – reliability, cargo room, lists of features, etc.

    To add to this problem, they only test a small percentage of available vehicles in any given model year, so in some (all?) cases the lists like the one given are meaningless. How can you say that one is the ‘best’ when you admittedly didn’t include several vehicles because ‘we don’t have enough data’ or ‘we haven’t gotten to them all yet’. So…. you’re telling me that it’s the best so far, NOT necessarily the best, correct?

    One other thing about them that is a bit irksome: their reliability figures can be a little misleading because an inch is as good as a mile. If a car comes back to the dealer for a defective tire, it counts the same as a catastophic transmission failure in the statistics. Saab’s issues with the displays in the 9-3 are a great example of the damage against premium (feature-laden) brands. Additionally, there seems to be a halo effect for Toyota and Honda in particular. I recall reading a comparison of small cars in CR a couple of years back when then the Scion brand was first introduced to the US market. CR ran a report that recommended the xB right out of the gate! Their explanation was that it was built using the same components that are found in the Corolla and/or Tercel (can’t recall), so that was good enough for them. WHA???? You give a brand-new vehicle a pass, yet others ‘don’t have enough data to be recommended’?? Sounds a bit subjective to me.

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