Consumer Reports: No to Chevy SUV, Ford crossovers, MyFord Touch
Kuzak defends Ford's new technology
Automotive News -- January 4, 2011 - 6:00 am ET
Consumer Reports magazine said today it will not recommend the Chevrolet
Tahoe SUV and Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers because of low scores in
the magazine's tests, and panned Ford Motor Co.'s MyFord Touch and MyLincoln
The magazine also said it will not recommend the Infiniti QX56, a V-8
version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Porsche Cayenne. Those SUVs
performed well in testing, but were too new for Consumer Reports to have
adequate reliability data to recommend, it said.
The Tahoe, Edge and MKX scored too low in testing to be recommended, the
magazine, published by Consumers Union, said in a press release.
"All three of these vehicles have a number of strengths, but each had some
notable weaknesses that forced their testing scores to fall below our
standard for a recommended SUV," said David Champion, senior director of
Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Conn.
Ford says more than 80 percent of Edge buyers are opting for MyFord Touch on
their vehicles. MyLincoln Touch is standard on the MKX.
The MKX and the Edge are the fastest selling products in their respective
showrooms, Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of global product
development, said today.
Kuzak disagreed with Consumer Reports' review that the system is too
complicated and distracting. But he said Ford would meet with Consumer
Reports and consider tweaking the technology.
"All the controls are in people's hands and on the steering wheel, touch and
voice control. Nothing could be simpler or safer," Kuzak said.
"Having said that, we respect Consumer Reports. They're a very respected and
influential magazine and we'll work with them to understand their feedback
and work to improve it based on their feedback."
The publication said it only recommends vehicles that have "performed well
in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on Consumer
Reports' Annual Auto Survey of its more than seven million print and Web
subscribers, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included
in a government rollover test."
The full tests and rating for all the vehicles will appear in the February
issue of the magazine, which goes on sale today.
The reports also are available to subscribers of www.ConsumerReports.org.
The magazine also gave a thumbs down to the MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch
technology available on the 2011 Edge and MKX.
A driver can use those control systems to operate the sound system, climate
controls and navigation system by means of either an 8-inch video touch
screen in the center console or voice commands.
Consumer Reports cited the technology as the main drawback to the Edge and
MKX. It said the technology is "a complicated distraction while driving. In
addition, first-time users might find it impossible to comprehend. The
system did not always perform as promised."
The Chevy Tahoe, in turn, was downgraded for its "ungainly" handling and
long stopping distances. Consumers Reports said the interior fit and finish
didn't match the Tahoe LTZ's high price of $57,435 as tested.
GM spokesman Patrick Morrissey declined comment, Bloomberg reported.
"Small percentage" of software woes
In early December, Ford acknowledged that a "small percentage" of vehicles
with the control system had software problems. Some problems were the result
of consumers not knowing how to perform certain functions. But in other
cases software flaws caused the Sirius Travel Link to function incorrectly.
Sirius Travel Link is part of the system's navigation system. It offers
sports scores, movie links and other information delivered by Sirius