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(Bloomberg)   Consumer Reports denounces the Honda Civic and VW Passat as crapmobiles. Real consumers buy them in record numbers anyway   (bloomberg.com) divider line 84
    More: Interesting, Honda Civic, Consumer Reports, VW Passat, Passat, Hyundai Elantra, Kelley Blue Book, home country, light trucks  
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3343 clicks; posted to Business » on 04 Nov 2012 at 12:52 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-04 08:24:07 AM  
Not sure that means anything one way or the other. People have bought a lot of crappy cars, and they'll keep right on doing it.
 
2012-11-04 09:51:20 AM  
Real consumers are still dumb. The newer Civic isn't as nice as the older ones, it feels cheap but it is cheap.
 
2012-11-04 10:17:02 AM  

dr_blasto: Real consumers are still dumb. The newer Civic isn't as nice as the older ones, it feels cheap but it is cheap.


Which is why I ended up buying an Accord. I was looking at the Civics first.
 
2012-11-04 12:30:35 PM  
*sigh*

Consumer Reports didn't *denounce* the Civic or the Passat.

In Consumer Report's rankings "Recommend" basically means the best of the bunch. They said the cars in question are average, that's all.
 
2012-11-04 01:01:00 PM  
Civics are not what they used to be.

Only time that I ever seen a look they guys on Top Gear look genuinely disappointed (and not snarky and angry disappointed at which they excel, but more like "Why would do that?") was when they reviewed one of the more recent models.

/VWs have always has terrible electrics
 
2012-11-04 01:09:53 PM  
Fiat Town andCountry is a crapmobile, as is anything that used to be Chrysler.
 
2012-11-04 01:10:37 PM  
Ric Romero says people make decisions based on their personal taste and budget.
 
2012-11-04 01:11:43 PM  

dr_blasto: Real consumers are still dumb. The newer Civic isn't as nice as the older ones, it feels cheap but it is cheap.


Yup. The 2012 Civic was built down to a price, thanks to the economy. Even $5k of "extras" can sink a sale anymore. I knew once I saw the updated pricing on those entry-level vehicles we'd be seeing reduced "initial quality" from all but the most image-obsessed marques.

Of course, paying more for "better" is still an option. I just wish Honda would bring back their sports car. The S2000 was a champion of engineering, combined with Honda's epic reliability. Only legitimate criticism of it comes from not having a coupe version. Even today, it's still a superior car to the new Subayota FRB-ZS (I was hoping there would be a turbo option - the S2000 puts more power to the wheels than the BR-Z/FR-S has at the crank, and they weigh the same).

Still, the Civic is their entry-level "first car" intended for college students and people who prefer no-frills transportation. They compete on price and reliability (TCO), not fancy door handles or plush dashboards.
 
2012-11-04 01:15:36 PM  

Pumpernickel bread: Fiat Town andCountry is a crapmobile, as is anything that used to be Chrysler.


We used to use them as our company vehicles. I can corroborate this statement. I can destroy the transmission on a whim, at any point during the van's life, in fewer than fifteen miles...while never exceeding 30mph.

And that's just the most obvious defect. There's a laundry list of things wrong with that vehicle, straight down to the chassis. I haven't tried breaking a Routan yet, but I did test one out and they were no better. Most of the defects are carried over from the T&C.

Absolutely terrible vehicle.
 
2012-11-04 01:18:31 PM  

dr_blasto: Real consumers are still dumb. The newer Civic isn't as nice as the older ones, it feels cheap but it is cheap.


I own a 1997 Civic that refuses to die, and have ridden in a brand new Civic. My older Civic feels more "solid" and responsive than this newer POS.

/ it's like Honda is morphing into GM...
 
2012-11-04 01:18:33 PM  
"The handles on the Hyundai felt cheesy and cheap," said Doll, a 37-year-old mother of three. Whatever you say Doll.
"Everything you touched felt like it was going to fall off. I didn't have that experience with the Passat." You will
 
2012-11-04 01:25:35 PM  

Kuroshin: dr_blasto: Real consumers are still dumb. The newer Civic isn't as nice as the older ones, it feels cheap but it is cheap.

Yup. The 2012 Civic was built down to a price, thanks to the economy. Even $5k of "extras" can sink a sale anymore. I knew once I saw the updated pricing on those entry-level vehicles we'd be seeing reduced "initial quality" from all but the most image-obsessed marques.

Of course, paying more for "better" is still an option. I just wish Honda would bring back their sports car. The S2000 was a champion of engineering, combined with Honda's epic reliability. Only legitimate criticism of it comes from not having a coupe version. Even today, it's still a superior car to the new Subayota FRB-ZS (I was hoping there would be a turbo option - the S2000 puts more power to the wheels than the BR-Z/FR-S has at the crank, and they weigh the same).

Still, the Civic is their entry-level "first car" intended for college students and people who prefer no-frills transportation. They compete on price and reliability (TCO), not fancy door handles or plush dashboards.


massive discounting is helping to move Civics. Honda spends as much on discounting as the domestics these days.

local dealers have been advertising $99 to 129 a month, $1000 due at signing lease deals on Civics for a few months now. I know the Civic is crap, but at that price its hard to ignore.
 
2012-11-04 01:28:42 PM  
Hey, I can build a car on a budget pretty easily. Analog gauges, no electronics, roll up windows/manual door locks, 13 inch wheels and tires,cloth seats w/ manual adjustments, manual trannies and a/c as an option mated to a 1500 cc 4-banger. Done. Why folks think you need all that bullshiat they pile into new cars is beyond me.
 
2012-11-04 01:38:10 PM  
what's the point in owning a car when u can spend all your money on drugs instead?
 
2012-11-04 01:40:57 PM  
I really wanted to buy a Honda Fit, the Elantra Touring provided a lot more cargo space and comparable everything else. If Honda made a Civic hatchback again, I would have bought one of those.
 
2012-11-04 01:44:43 PM  

Jon iz teh kewl: what's the point in owning a car when u can spend all your money on drugs instead?


Yeah. Take a trip and never leave the house. I'm with you. You're kewl.
 
2012-11-04 01:47:29 PM  
BRING BACK THE CRX!!!!
 
2012-11-04 01:49:24 PM  

Kuroshin: Still, the Civic is their entry-level "first car" intended for college students and people who prefer no-frills transportation.


Actually that's the Fit, which is one of the best cars Honda makes right now. Like any economy car it's not the quietest or comfiest ride out there, but damn, is it functional.

The Civic has outgrown its "entry-level" brand but only in name. The fifth-gen (91-95) and seventh gen (01-05) are I daresay some of the best cars ever built, but I was disappointed with the '06 model. It looked slick but for what it offered it was way overpriced. Its noise, efficiency and acceleration weren't any better than the Fit for costing about $6k more; the feel & handling were worse. It was certainly well-built in the sense that I'd expect it to last 200k miles but it's like they cut corners on just about everything else to get the project across the finish line. Reliability is about the only thing it had going for it, but then why not just get the Fit?
 
2012-11-04 01:49:26 PM  
I really like the new Fords, which is something of a minor miracle, as I've been a loyal Honda guy since the 80's and Fords were a waste of money at any price.
 
2012-11-04 01:52:51 PM  

drewogatory: Hey, I can build a car on a budget pretty easily. Analog gauges, no electronics, roll up windows/manual door locks, 13 inch wheels and tires,cloth seats w/ manual adjustments, manual trannies and a/c as an option mated to a 1500 cc 4-banger. Done. Why folks think you need all that bullshiat they pile into new cars is beyond me.


I would probably buy one. I actually don't like all the shiat they put in as standard equipment now. More stuff to break, more expensive to repair, and often harder to repair, if you'd rather do your own maintenance than be robbed by some scumbucket mechanic.
 
2012-11-04 02:05:14 PM  

Pumpernickel bread: Fiat Town andCountry is a crapmobile, as is anything that used to be Chrysler.


For a while there it looked like they were about to be renamed "Why the hell did I buy a Chrysler?"
 
2012-11-04 02:06:09 PM  
People are often far behind the real state of companies/brands.

Back in the early 90s, I bought a Fiat. Everyone was like "WTF dude, they rust like crazy". "Not this one... fully galvanised body". And yes, I sold it nearly a decade later without any rust on it. And it was brilliant.

I've met people who still buy Sony and Mercedes. In the 80s, I'd call that a smart decision. Today, I'd call a Merc a waste of money. My father and FIL have had them and they're less reliable than my Toyota has been. I know people who still think Skoda are like what they were at before the Berlin wall came down.
 
2012-11-04 02:11:34 PM  

forgotmydamnusername: drewogatory: Hey, I can build a car on a budget pretty easily. Analog gauges, no electronics, roll up windows/manual door locks, 13 inch wheels and tires,cloth seats w/ manual adjustments, manual trannies and a/c as an option mated to a 1500 cc 4-banger. Done. Why folks think you need all that bullshiat they pile into new cars is beyond me.

I would probably buy one. I actually don't like all the shiat they put in as standard equipment now. More stuff to break, more expensive to repair, and often harder to repair, if you'd rather do your own maintenance than be robbed by some scumbucket mechanic.


Jesus, not to mention the travesty that is new full size pick ups. This is what I want from a damn work truck: regular/maybe 1ft extended cab, 8 foot bed that will hold a full sheet of plywood on top of the wheel wells, waterproof bench seat/hoseable interior, economical inline six diesel, a/c. No electronic anything, period. I'd prefer a manual, but a reliable 3 or 4 speed auto is acceptable. Should be able to tow a couple yards of concrete, but I don't need to pull a goddamn semi trailer up a 25% grade. Oh, and make it the size of a '70's-80's F100/150, not the size of a goddamn house.
 
2012-11-04 02:16:56 PM  
My father bought a fully-loaded 2012 Elantra and it feels way better than any budget car that I have come across. Maybe the mid-90's ones, but nothing feels like it is going to fall off. (Oh, and it averages 36mpg according to the computer, although he was pleased to hear about them giving out 'free money' due to the EPA lawsuit) My family used to be Toyota people too, but they too have lost their direction. Very bland (blander than they were), ugly styling over the past few model changes (Camry) and a price that is no longer competitive. I would never go near a VW though...how many old VW's do you see on the road compared to Hondas or Toyotas? Hell, I see more Chevy 'Celebrity' cars trudging along than VW's
 
2012-11-04 02:45:17 PM  
If anyone is looking for a small sedan I can vouch for the new Mazda3. It gets great milage and actually has decent handling that isnt twitchy like a Toyota Corolla. It doesnt have a ton of power (more than the rest of the class though), but saves most of it for high rpms, which makes it a bit sluggish around town, but the high rpm power makes it much nicer for driving on the highway.
 
2012-11-04 02:56:02 PM  

Swoop1809: If anyone is looking for a small sedan I can vouch for the new Mazda3. It gets great milage and actually has decent handling that isnt twitchy like a Toyota Corolla. It doesnt have a ton of power (more than the rest of the class though), but saves most of it for high rpms, which makes it a bit sluggish around town, but the high rpm power makes it much nicer for driving on the highway.


I looked at them last year and they only got ~28mpg. Pretty bad for a compact car nowa days.
 
2012-11-04 03:32:00 PM  
I have a 2012 Civic EX Coupe that I bought when they came out in July 2011. I'm irritated at Honda for cutting some corners on the interior materials, otherwise I have no complaints about the car itself.
 
2012-11-04 03:33:56 PM  
I have an '04 Civic, and in a few years when I replace it another Honda really isn't on my list. I'll be looking at Hyundai, Mazda, or Scion. Probably Scion if I can get one for a reasonable price.

The Civic blew a head gasket at 60,000 miles, and apparently they do that early and often. We have an Element and the interior is falling apart.
 
2012-11-04 03:38:46 PM  
When did Consumer Reports stop giving automatic highest praise to the Asian and European brands?
 
2012-11-04 03:59:26 PM  

jobskee: When did Consumer Reports stop giving automatic highest praise to the Asian and European brands?


When Ford and GM finally stopped making shiatty cars a few years ago. I've been renting cars for work regularly for the past five years, and there was a pretty big jump in quality recently for Ford and GM.

For example, I've had a Chevy Sonic as a rental for a week and for small cheap car it was pretty well put together and was actually kind of fun to drive because it had a decent amount of pep for a small car. The Aveo it replaced was a turd on wheels by comparison. The Cruze is also a huge upgrade from the Colbalt. On the Ford side of things, it took them forever before they brought over the really nice Focus and Fiesta designs from Europe.
 
2012-11-04 04:04:04 PM  

dragonchild: The fifth-gen (91-95) and seventh gen (01-05) are I daresay some of the best cars ever built


Having owned an '88 Civic that was damn-near bulletproof and currently own an '02 EX 5-spd sedan that is a little less so, I'm going to agree with you. I marvel at how quiet the little 1.7 liter idles with 160k on it. It sifts smooth and the interior is still in great shape.

The current Civic's issues will hopefully get worked out the same way the '13 Accord's did. But to me, styling wise, they are/will be some of the blandest non-descript cars on the road. Especially next to Ford's new Fusion and the Hyundai Elantra. Ironically the '06 Civic tried too hard to be swoopy and cutting edge but came off as weird and zoomy.

And can someone please tell me what the hell type of barbituates the styling team at Toyota are on? The Corolla is snooze on wheels.
 
2012-11-04 04:07:48 PM  

Mad_Radhu: jobskee: When did Consumer Reports stop giving automatic highest praise to the Asian and European brands?

When Ford and GM finally stopped making shiatty cars a few years ago. I've been renting cars for work regularly for the past five years, and there was a pretty big jump in quality recently for Ford and GM.

For example, I've had a Chevy Sonic as a rental for a week and for small cheap car it was pretty well put together and was actually kind of fun to drive because it had a decent amount of pep for a small car. The Aveo it replaced was a turd on wheels by comparison. The Cruze is also a huge upgrade from the Colbalt. On the Ford side of things, it took them forever before they brought over the really nice Focus and Fiesta designs from Europe.


The new Fusion, while derivative in styling, looks damn nice.
 
2012-11-04 04:11:38 PM  
Had the 2011 Civic coupe and it sucked. Loud on the road, just something not right about it, despite the kinda cool digital speedometer. Traded it for a 2012 Jeep Patriot. Cheaper payments and cheaper insurance.

/Former loyal Honda customer.
 
2012-11-04 05:06:22 PM  

Mad_Radhu: jobskee: When did Consumer Reports stop giving automatic highest praise to the Asian and European brands?

When Ford and GM finally stopped making shiatty cars a few years ago. I've been renting cars for work regularly for the past five years, and there was a pretty big jump in quality recently for Ford and GM.

For example, I've had a Chevy Sonic as a rental for a week and for small cheap car it was pretty well put together and was actually kind of fun to drive because it had a decent amount of pep for a small car. The Aveo it replaced was a turd on wheels by comparison. The Cruze is also a huge upgrade from the Colbalt. On the Ford side of things, it took them forever before they brought over the really nice Focus and Fiesta designs from Europe.


I rented a Dodge Avenger V6 for a week when I was on vacation. 285hp V6. I wasn't too hot on the styling, but I have no complaints about the vroom. And boy could that car vroom.
 
2012-11-04 05:30:41 PM  

St_Francis_P: Not sure that means anything one way or the other. People have bought a lot of crappy cars, and they'll keep right on doing it.


Yep. "Popularity" does not equal "quality" - otherwise, Taco Bell would, indeed, win the Restaurant Wars.
 
2012-11-04 05:43:28 PM  
1997 civic. Something is going wrong with it (very slowly) but for the past 15 years it's been the best car in the world. Sold it to a buddy of mine a few months ago. I'm liking the new car ('06 A4 turbo) but there was something so wonderful and simple about the all-analog system

If there are any mechanic-minded types, the civic makes a metallic sound (like cans rattling) when it's really hot out and the engine hasn't warmed up yet. Mostly happens during acceleration. In the winter, again before warmed up, the car is a little sluggish to accelerate and sometimes the RPMs drop precipitously, like the car is thinking about shifting but shouldn't be (it's an automatic). This happen to anybody?
 
2012-11-04 05:53:43 PM  
i had used 76 and 77 civics. both were great cars. back in the day getting a used car that got 40 mpg was no problem. a neighbor had a vw rabbit diesel that got 56 mpg commuting to work.
 
2012-11-04 06:03:02 PM  

pivazena: If there are any mechanic-minded types, the civic makes a metallic sound (like cans rattling) when it's really hot out and the engine hasn't warmed up yet. Mostly happens during acceleration.


Most likely the heat shield on the catalytic converter is coming loose, causing the thin plate to rattle. I owned a Civic with a similar problem. You can take it to a garage, but for something like this if you've got a buddy who works on cars just pay him to raise the front and tighten the thing. The rattling is partially dependent on plain ol' fundamental frequencies, which change due to temperature. If tightening the heat shield screws DOESN'T fix the problem, get the engine checked out.

P.S. A lot of people think the heat shield isn't necessary and "fix" it by just taking it off; I don't recommend it. No it isn't the end of the world, but the heat shield is there to protect nearby parts, which are more likely to melt and/or catch fire.

pivazena: In the winter, again before warmed up, the car is a little sluggish to accelerate and sometimes the RPMs drop precipitously, like the car is thinking about shifting but shouldn't be (it's an automatic).


This is much more of a guess than the first question's answer, but it could just be that your transmission fluid is more viscous in cold weather. You might want to check the fluid level and top it off just because the transmission is a huge "ounce of prevention = pound of cure" case, but I honestly don't know if this is a sign of a problem.
 
2012-11-04 06:12:35 PM  

pivazena: If there are any mechanic-minded types, the civic makes a metallic sound (like cans rattling) when it's really hot out and the engine hasn't warmed up yet.


Some Civics have rattly exhaust component covers after a while.
Same thing happened to my mom's. I went underneath and bent the piece up and down until it came off. Problem solved.
 
2012-11-04 06:32:34 PM  
Thanks Dragonchild and hotigneous intruder!!

My heroes...
 
2012-11-04 06:37:21 PM  
Not sure what the reviews were for, but the base model VWs are pretty crappy, but step up to the higher trim levels and they get substantially better.
 
2012-11-04 06:43:31 PM  
Sorry to threadjack, but I have an '01 Subaru Forester that begins to wreak of gasoline whenever the temperature drops below 45 degrees. I took it to a mechanic and he said "I can smell it but I have no idea where it's coming from". Any ideas farkers? Having to drive with the windows open in the winter is becoming unpleasant.
 
2012-11-04 07:08:40 PM  

HotIgneous Intruder: Loud on the road


You'd think a loyal Honda owner would be aware that Hondas across the entire line have had road noise problems for years...
 
2012-11-04 07:08:54 PM  
Sorry to threadjack, but I have an '01 Subaru Forester that begins to wreak of gasoline whenever the temperature drops below 45 degrees. I took it to a mechanic and he said "I can smell it but I have no idea where it's coming from". Any ideas farkers? Having to drive with the windows open in the winter is becoming unpleasant.

i'm not a mechanic but i'd say a hose line is weak and in the cold weather it becomes brittle and leaks. farking dangerous as hell if you can smell it while driving. maybe a gasket instead. anyway, i'd say you have a piece of rubber that is failing.
 
2012-11-04 07:10:35 PM  
Tried both.

Nissan Sentra blew them out of the water. Smoother ride than either, gas mileage not much worse than a 4-door Civic with some options on it, acceleration about as good as the worse-gas-mileage Passat. Way less expensive than Honda. Bonus: stock sound system is great. Almost didn't try Nissan--knew nothing about them--but they were awesome.

Worst cars we drove were Dodges. Holy shiat are those bad. Awful interior, poor ride, so-so acceleration. Generally ugly. Not as dirt-cheap as they ought to be considering how bad they are.

Toyota's interiors post-redesign are probably the cheapest feeling next to the Dodge vehicles. Very disappointed. Figured we'd get one, but after driving a couple decided that they needed to be priced a few K lower to stay in the running.

Kia and Hyundai (same thing, sort of) were surprisingly good. Tons of features available that cost $$$ from other manufacturers. Good ride. Affordable.

Honda Fit was cool, but for the price, size, and weakness of the engine I'd expect another 5mpg out of it. Shiat options/trim levels, too.
 
2012-11-04 07:16:21 PM  
I should add that the Sentra was by far the quietest car we drove, aside from whatever Kia's "luxury" level (LOL) car is, which was actually pretty nice (easily better than, say, Toyota's Avalon). Expected VW to win on noise, but no.
 
2012-11-04 07:16:23 PM  

Kuroshin: dr_blasto: Real consumers are still dumb. The newer Civic isn't as nice as the older ones, it feels cheap but it is cheap.

Yup. The 2012 Civic was built down to a price, thanks to the economy. Even $5k of "extras" can sink a sale anymore. I knew once I saw the updated pricing on those entry-level vehicles we'd be seeing reduced "initial quality" from all but the most image-obsessed marques.

Of course, paying more for "better" is still an option. I just wish Honda would bring back their sports car. The S2000 was a champion of engineering, combined with Honda's epic reliability. Only legitimate criticism of it comes from not having a coupe version. Even today, it's still a superior car to the new Subayota FRB-ZS (I was hoping there would be a turbo option - the S2000 puts more power to the wheels than the BR-Z/FR-S has at the crank, and they weigh the same).

Still, the Civic is their entry-level "first car" intended for college students and people who prefer no-frills transportation. They compete on price and reliability (TCO), not fancy door handles or plush dashboards.


No, that would be the Fit.
 
2012-11-04 07:25:17 PM  

debug: No, that would be the Fit.


IIRC the base model (out of two--did I mention how crappy the options were on them?) Fit was pricier than the very cheapest Civic.

If it's not, it's certainly a better car than the base Civic, so it should cost more. God damn those things start off bad. Widest range of quality in a single model that I've seen, all the way from crappy, underpowered, uncomfortable shiat boxes up to nice, comfortable, tricked-out semi-luxury trims that barely even look like the same car. Plus there's a Hybrid version that's nominally part of the same line but looks quite a bit different.

Unless the dealer was lying, the Fit is one of the very few models (maybe the only one?) that are manufactured in Japan and shipped over.
 
2012-11-04 07:49:09 PM  
I'm loving my '13 Altima. Getting 35+ mpg on a 75/25 hwy/local drive. And with the gas situation due Sandy on Long Island it is definitely a plus.
 
2012-11-04 08:01:14 PM  

fallingcow: debug: No, that would be the Fit.

IIRC the base model (out of two--did I mention how crappy the options were on them?) Fit was pricier than the very cheapest Civic.

If it's not, it's certainly a better car than the base Civic, so it should cost more. God damn those things start off bad. Widest range of quality in a single model that I've seen, all the way from crappy, underpowered, uncomfortable shiat boxes up to nice, comfortable, tricked-out semi-luxury trims that barely even look like the same car. Plus there's a Hybrid version that's nominally part of the same line but looks quite a bit different.

Unless the dealer was lying, the Fit is one of the very few models (maybe the only one?) that are manufactured in Japan and shipped over.


Civic Coupe starts at $15,755
Civic Sedan starts at $15,955

Fit starts at $15,325
 
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