In a rare Consumer Reports has removed three Toyotas, the Honda Accord V6 and the Nissan Altima from its recommended buy list.
Jake Fisher, director of auto testing for Consumer Reports, said the Toyota models — the Camry, the Prius V and RAV4 — lost their recommended status based on results of a new crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The IIHS tests simulate a 40- m.p.h. crash where the driver-side corner strikes an object or oncoming car. The Toyotas, as well as the Audi 4, did not do as well as other cars in their segment.
This puzzling step embarrasses the automakers in question but perhaps also raises questions over the standard operating procedures of what may be America's most trusted consumer advocate.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Consumer Reports bases its recommendations on its own tests, feedback from subscribers and safety tests by outside organizations including IIHS.
The magazine also removed two other popular midsize models — the 2013 Honda Accord V6 and the 2013 Nissan Altima — from its recommended list because they performed poorly on the magazine’s annual reliability survey.
Toyota said in a statement that the IIHS small over-lap test is more stringent than federal requirements.
“We are responding to the challenge,” Toyota said. “We are looking at a range of solutions to achieve greater crash performance in this area.”
Consumer Reports subscribers continue to favor Asian brands, according to the publication’s annual reliability study, released last week.
Free-Press reporter Brent Snavely noted that three Japanese brands — Lexus, Toyota, and Acura — captured the top three spots in this year’s survey while brands made by the Detroit Three struggled.
GMC was the only domestic brand to crack the top 10, while Chrysler’s brands ranked below average. Ford and Lincoln finished 26th and 27th out of 28 brands. BMW’s Mini brand finished last.