Consumer Reports pans MINI…

Drops from #11 to #28 in expected reliability – or something like that…

Some people swear by Consumer Reports – but not me.

I mean, the majority of Consumer Reports writers, reviewers, analysts (and a heckuva lot of subscribers) still live at home with their mothers….

OK, that was uncalled for. They just all still have Sunday lunch with their mothers….

I lost all confidence in them 20 years ago while working in the bicycle business. Used to have customers walk in asking for the specific models CR rated highest in their latest issue. Then I had to explain to disbelieving CR subscribers that the particular model in the mag hasn’t been available for 2 years… which was true. Context-challenged CR reviewer got pegged as a sucker by a bike salesman and got sold an OLD model, tested it, wrote the review, and never bothered to check if it was currently in production… geesh.

OK as a source on which toaster to buy. And maybe on which minivan to buy – maybe….

But worthless for information on enthusiast products of any kind, IMHO. Even for the products that capture reliability/satisfaction data from their reader base, I find that their reader base isn’t a representative cross section of Americans or humans in general (you are likely to have some particular tendencies to subscribe to CR – not 100% of the time, but more often than not). And it certainly isn’t representative of “enthusiasts” or “early adopters”. I filled out my Strategic Vision survey for my new MCSC tonight. There are many questions on there where I said I was “Delighted” or “Very Satisfied” that would register a “Failure” from someone less “enthusiastic” about my car (ride comfort, NVH, etc). Context matters A LOT in these areas. Reasonable convertible owners expect their car to (a) cost more to purchase (b) have more mechanical issues (c) be noisier (d) eventually cost $$$ to replace a top out of warranty if they keep it long enough… so when all these things come true, will I pan the car for low reliability? No. Would someone with different expectations? Probably.

Any magazine that pans Corvettes for going “too fast” or a Lotus because the rear end comes around when you let off the gas in a corner, does NOT share MY context, or understand my priorities… and doesn’t get a vote in my buying behavior…

But for folks who find that CR’s outlook on the world is reasonably aligned with their own, I highly recommend you follow their advice.

I have friends and family who tend to be commerce robots – CR is a key tool in their very mechanical process of choosing to spend money. My household doesn’t work that way… and we have a LOT more fun…

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