Consumer Reports’ road testing is one of the most rigorous and punishing automotive tests in the world. Its in-depth and fair minded methods separate the serious contenders from the also-rans, and gives a straightforward view of a car’s real-world performance. Along these lines, the magazine has the unique position of being able to make or break a new car in a way that no other publication has.
Another thing to note of their report card-like rating system, everything from the quality of interior trim to a car’s handling in emergency situations can be summed up in their five-point rating system ranging from excellent to poor.
On certain occasions, cars fall below even the lowest rating, earning a harsh and alarming “Not Acceptable” rating. And from data for the last decade, that’s when all hell breaks loose. During the 1980s and 1990s, automakers has been rushing the release of SUVs to the market to serve the growing demand. Consumer Reports ended up having its hands full warning consumers about the increased risk of rollovers, and fending off lawsuits from irate automakers who felt the magazine’s tests were unfairly biased against SUVs.
But CR issued its fair share of “Not Acceptable” ratings long before the SUV dominated American roads, and history has largely relieved the magazine, as it’s now conventional wisdom that older full-size SUVS are a bigger rollover risk than their smaller counterparts. From microcars to big SUVs, here is a list of 25 cars that Consumer Reports wants you to avoid.
Tesla Model S 2015
It’s now a part of Tesla lore that the Model S wrecked Consumer Reports’ decades-old testing metric, scoring 103 points out of 100 in late 2015. But Tesla quickly fell from grace. Scores of owners reported reliability problems to CR in the following months, which led to it reversing its rating and tagging the EV with a dreaded “Not Recommended” tag. In the years since, the Model S has gotten back into the watchdog group’s good graces, but its historic first impression and subsequent fall from grace will forever be a part of the Model S story.