I know CR has had a good readership base, but how many contribute to their statistics vs simply read their magazines?
The other thing I take issue with is that in many of the products CR reports on, they may collect reasonable data on a subset of an item's market-perceived performance, but those things can be fairly irrelevant to what I'm looking for in that kind of product (eg ranking DVD players based on power consumption). Similarly, they sometimes do a weighting system that likewise is skewed in terms of what should probably be most important (eg reviewing a stereo system like a washing machine).
A car example of this might be as simple as "reported engine problems" which might simply be reported as a number or frequency of problems without the specifics (too hard to collect and present). So one brand might have lots of DIC failures, another might have lots of HG failures, and another timing belts or something else... and each of these problems has different consequences (cost, road hazard, engine life thereafter etc), so really are not comparable apples to apples. It is only apples to apples to a consumer who is uninformed: "my car broke".
I think if one takes a CR report with some degree of completeness of understanding, then it can serve a purpose. To take the headline "winners" of a CR report blindly and advocate for this can wildly misconstrue the truth.
All that said, I have no interest in ever owning an Accord or a Regal. Are they even really that comparable or target the same markets? I suppose Honda and Toyota sedans have increased their "grandpa popularity" in the last decade, so maybe?
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