Disappointing Car Redesigns

At Consumer Reports Auto Test, the engineers assess every aspect of the vehicles they test - everything from how well the car handles to how well the interior is laid out.

When a redesigned vehicle is tested, you expect to see significant improvements.

But tests show the Toyota 4Runner, along with five others, doesn't deliver.

Tom Mutchler with Consumer Reports says, "The 4Runner doesn't handle very well. It basically bobs down the road. We'd also like a nicer interior for over 37-thousand dollars. Plus, when you're driving, it's pretty loud inside."

Turns out the redesigned BMW X5 has poorer visibility.

But of the six, the Volkswagen Jetta is the biggest disappointment.

Tom explains, "The Jetta used to be really fun to drive and had a very nice interior. But this car has lost its agility, and the interior looks downright cheap."

Consumer Reports' tests show the Toyota Sienna, the Mercedes E350, and the Honda Odyssey - while still very good performers - are not quite as good as the vehicles they replaced.

Consumer Reports says overall, this is a troubling trend.

Tom says, "Two areas where we often see a decline are in vehicle handling and controls. Now both of these can affect safety, so you want them to get better, not worse."

If you're interested in one of these vehicles, look for an earlier model. An added bonus - the price will be lower, too!

Consumer Reports says not all redesigns are a disappointment. Several new ones tested are significantly improved, including the 2011 Hyundai Sonata, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Kia Sportage.

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