Newer is always better, right?
That’s why we always look forward to the newest version of the iPhone and iPad. It’s why some guys trade in their wives for younger models. Most importantly, it’s why people wait anxiously for new model-year cars to come out and why we devote blog space every week to highlight the most exciting cars coming soon.
More horsepower, better engines, improved fuel economy, more storage space, a better-tuned suspension, less road noise and other technological advances always seem to make the newest cars so much better than the ones they replace.
Unfortunately, sometimes even the newest cars don’t quite live up to the bar set by their predecessors.
In its annual automotive issue, Consumer Reports awards scores to each new car on the market, and, usually, new models score higher than outgoing ones. This year is a little different, as the magazine calls out six 2011 model-year vehicles that received lower scores than their 2010 counterparts.
Inconceivable? Not for at least one car on the list, which has left car reviewers everywhere underwhelmed: the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta. Other cars that CR calls out are a bit more eyebrow-raising: the Honda Odyssey, Toyota 4Runner, Toyota Sienna, Mercedes-Benz E350 and BMW X5. In most cases, the reasons are a decline in interior quality, handling and increased road noise.
While the magazine calls this a “disturbing trend,” it also makes it clear that some of these cars shouldn’t be crossed off any shopping lists:
Some models, such as the Honda Odyssey, Mercedes-Benz E350, and Toyota Sienna, are still very good vehicles that we recommend. But they don’t quite measure up to the standards set by their previous generation models. Others, such as the current BMW X5, Toyota 4Runner, and Volkswagen Jetta sedan, are clear disappointments.
While clear disappointment wouldn’t be my first reaction if a new 2011 X5 showed up in my driveway, I can’t help but wonder if I’d be happier with a 2010…
What new cars do you think are worse than previous models?