I've enjoyed CR tests and yearly reviews since the days when they
thought that an AM radio was a needless luxury. (I'm not kidding - they
were against radios, whitewalls, automatic trans, power
steering.........everyone should have a Rambler or Studebaker Scotsman)
But I stopped taking them seriously when I noticed that their
experiences were nothing like my own......when their charts showed some
years of MGBs were more reliable than others (I had one: none were
reliable and they never changed a thing so how would one year have a
better transmission or heater?) .... and then they downrated one year
Corvette as having worse rust problems than the other. Real experts,
I can give you first hand experience with some "fine German
cars"........first, they are all grossly overpriced here compared to
what they sell for on their home soil - a Volvo sells here for about the
same as in Sweden, but German cars are marked-up about 50% over home
market. Second, the cost of maintenance is ruinous: if you maintained
it the way they Germans recommend, a Yugo would last forever.
I gave-up after one BMW: yes, most of the repairs were covered by
warranty, but why should the brakes, wheels and tires need to be
replaced 3 times in one year? Just one of many problems. It was a 7
series and part of the original sales pitch was the wonderful resale
value........no one would give me much for trade-in and it took over a
year to sell it privately (for nearly 50% less than book value).
My neighbor is lucky: his company provides him with 2 new lease cars of
his choice every 2 years. First, he got a big and a little Benz for he
and his wife. Nothing but woe. Then they got 2 BMWs. Nothing but woe.
Now they have 2 Audis: the V8 and a smaller one for her. They say they
like them better than the other makes and they are less trouble......but
they also have the advantage of not paying for them. And the folks at
the country club are dazzled.
I have 2 '06 Fords: a Mustang and a Five Hundred. Not a lot of
status, but neither has ever had to go back to the dealer even once.
They might not be ideal for a day on the autobahn, but they work pretty
good for driving in the USA>