Consumer Reports, the leading consumer magazine, looked at its 2014 tests and found five models that were hits and three that were misses in 2014.
The editors of Consumer Reports recently sat down and went through their vehicle evaluations to determine their hits and misses for 2014.
According to the magazine, the auto staff evaluated more than 50 vehicles in their test series. They testers were thoroughly impressed by five vehicles and weren’t nearly as happy with three. Here is the way Consumer Reports saw them:
Restyled for 2014, the MDX is more rounded than the model it replaces. It also does many things well. For example, the MDX is a responsive handler and it is quiet on the road as little noise invades the passenger compartment. A new, smooth V-6 powers the all-wheel-drive SUV. Its mileage – 20 mpg – is best in class.
New for 2014, the 235i is slick and responsive. It features great handling and an exhaust note that adds to the BMW experience. It is one of Consumer Reports’ top-rated vehicles.
Ford Fiesta ST
The Fiesta ST, revived last year by the automaker, is not only fun to drive but it is also very miserly with gasoline as it has a 29 mpg rating. The editors of Consumer Reports praised is slick handling, excellent braking, the exhaust note and the pinpoint steering.
The Mazda3 line presents a bit of a paradox. Normally, the manual transmission gets better mileage than the automatic, but, the Mazda3 automatic is more fuel-efficient, returning 33 mpg, while the manual returned only 32. The mileage aside, the evaluation team uniformly praised its driveabilty, fuel efficiency and affordability.
Revised for 2014, the Highlander was given a top rating by the evaluation panel. The evaluation panel uniformly praised the Highlanders handling, driveability, comfort and efficiency. It achieved 20 mpg in the standard version and a frugal 25 mpg in the hybrid.
Lexus IS 250
Styled like a sleek coupe, the four-door 250 is slow to go and isn’t luxurious. The evaluation panel rapped its mediocre handling, poor mileage and cramped cabin. The restyled 250 plainly left them cold.
Mitsubishi probably wishes this evaluation was a mirage as the evaluation team rapped every aspect of the Mirage. The team said that the Mirage was sluggish and handled poorly. The cabin was noisy and vibration-filled. They rated the driving experience as dismal.
Subaru XV Crosstek Hybrid
About the only positive the evaluation team found was that the Crosstek Hybrid was quieter than the standard Crosstek. They called the marque’s performance half-hearted and noted that it cost $3,000 more than the Crosstek XV. The evaluation team also believe the Impreza hatchback was a better deal.
Marc Stern has spent more than 40 years in and around cars. His work has included answering motorist questions, motor vehicle reviews and evaluation and writing dealers, consumer and industry news pieces. In addition, Mr. Stern has contributed to well-known automotive publications including Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek and Old Cars Weekly, among others.