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Since Consumer Reports gets its reliability data from its subscribers, I am wondering if any XC90 owners subscribe. I expect the electronics section will report a lot of issues.
 

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Undoing? Is that why the old XC90 was a very successful, sales-wise, car?
 

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I doubt the first 6 months of electrical software "glitches" of one of the most popular new cars to launch in a loooooong time will be its "undoing", especially since an update is coming sooner rather than later. I don't think a few high-end features or radio glitches (which will be remedied with software, sooner rather than later) is going to overshadow the amazingness of this new model.

As far as Consumer Reports goes, I wouldn't trust them to tell me about car reliability if my life depended on it. Recently than ran an article that basically said HID/LED headlights have NO improvement over halogens, and lights that "turn" to illuminate corners and curves are distracting, annoying and maybe unsafe. REALLY?!?!?! They said you can't see any more with HIDs than halogens. That has to be the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard, and it's totally an out-right lie. If CR can't even evaluate headlights using common sense, don't hold your breath to tell you about your transmission or engine.......my grandma could review a car better than them.
 

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I put no faith in anything Consumer Reports says. The car I am driving now (until the XC90 comes) was dissed by CR. A year later, the same car is rated tops in the J.D. Power reliability and customer satisfaction list.
 

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Many years ago I subscribed and thought I was being smart taking the "scientific" approach to car buying. I tried to use CR ratings to buy several cars over about 10 years with pretty disappointing results.

When I was buying used, I could never find anything available that was on their "best" list. Not even at a premium price. So I ended up buying cars that seemed to be in good condition from reputable new car dealers. I tried to pick brands that had good overall ratings even if the particular year/model available wasn't highly rated. I did try to stay away from anything rated below average. Had great luck with a '96 Maxima (top trim) bought with 72k. Minimal problems and we loved that car. Ended up donating it at 140k after it was involved in 3 accidents and finally starting to rust.

I bought one new car based on ratings, a 2001 Nissan Maxima. It came with a bent rim ($300 because I must have done it myself), had a bad wheel bearing in the first 6 months (warranty), had a paint defect that caused an ugly rust bubble and drip trail on the lower window edge of the driver's side rear door (warranty), and when it was just out of warranty (36k) the fuel filler tube, door, and evap parts in that area were all corroded and had to be replaced ($500). And, by the time the car was paid for after 5 years there were numerous other corrosion issues. I'm sure there were a few other mechanical things I'm forgetting, but the corrosion really was the biggest turn off. Couldn't wait to get rid of it.

Prior to the '01 Maxima I bought a new '9? Saturn SL1, base model 5sp for $12,800. It got horrible ratings, but it was the perfect commuter car and I kept it till 85k. I paid $600 to fix something broken in the transmission around 60k, and that was it outside of tires and brakes. And I loved the Saturn dealer experience.

After the '01 Maxima I bought a new Scion TC. It had excellent ratings, but was so boring (even with a stick) that I traded it in on my '03 XC70.

So now I just buy cars that I really like and if they end up giving me trouble it doesn't bother me as much. And fortunately I have reached a stage of life where there's a little more money in the bank to absorb unplanned car expenses.

I will say that, despite my fondness for Volvos, high mileage examples we owned proved to be very maintenance intensive. And, before Volvos I never ever worried about ruining an engine, but my '03 XC70 had 2 catastrophic timing belt failures. Both were almost certainly due to incompetent mechanics. There just isn't much room for error on the 5 cylinder engines in this regard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I put no faith in anything Consumer Reports says. The car I am driving now (until the XC90 comes) was dissed by CR. A year later, the same car is rated tops in the J.D. Power reliability and customer satisfaction list.
It will be interesting to see what the Initial JD Powers report says after 6 months.
 

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I was buying a used car and I wanted a manual transmission, but needed 4 doors. I finally found a used Acura Legend that I liked. Consumer Reports gave it bad ratings, because the cv joints had bad failure data. I ignored CR and bought the car. The car fairly quickly had a bad cv joint, which I then fixed. it then had another bad one. Over and over.

I won't ignore CR again without VERY good reason.

[Later, when I sold the car with FULL disclosure about the CV joint - the CV joint was already in failure mode when I sold the car, so it wasn't like I could "hide" it, an d I sold the car for below low blue book (as I should have, since it needed repairs), the buyer still called me three months later to complain that the car needed a CV joint and he wanted some money back. Unbelievable.]
 

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I was buying a used car and I wanted a manual transmission, but needed 4 doors. I finally found a used Acura Legend that I liked. Consumer Reports gave it bad ratings, because the cv joints had bad failure data. I ignored CR and bought the car. The car fairly quickly had a bad cv joint, which I then fixed. it then had another bad one. Over and over.

I won't ignore CR again without VERY good reason.

[Later, when I sold the car with FULL disclosure about the CV joint - the CV joint was already in failure mode when I sold the car, so it wasn't like I could "hide" it, an d I sold the car for below low blue book (as I should have, since it needed repairs), the buyer still called me three months later to complain that the car needed a CV joint and he wanted some money back. Unbelievable.]
Many technicians and service employees at a brand can look at CR and find some mechanical issue they say in "chronic"....and they will tell you it's a minor issue and CR has blow it WAY out of proportion. This is based off of real life, not some surveys. Sure, sometimes CR gets it right. But man....they can be so wrong it's pathetic. I filled my CR report out for my S60 and found them to have some very "interesting" questions, ones that lead you almost to answer in a certain way that artificially draw a conclusion. If they ask how many problems have you had with your car, and I answer 10 (and those ten things could be wiper blades, and light bulbs, and door latch out of adjustment), they will say my car is TERRIBLE with 10 problems. And all 10 could have cost $5 to fix and have zero bearing on any real insight to mechanical issues....but according to CR your car had 10 mechanical problems. There rating is ridiculous on many levels. Ever noticed how one year gets a terrible rating on, say, electrial, and the next gets a perfect rating....all to find out on a technically level NOTHING changed in between those two years!?!? How did that happen? Cmmmmmmm

If CR can't tell me HID/LED headlights are better than halogens, then I'm not sure I'm gonna trust them to tell me about CV joins and A/C compressors......maybe they do appliance well, but their cars often are misleading at best.
 

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This, in the end, is likely to be the new XC90's undoing, much as it was with the old - mechanical and electrical unreliability.
My 2006 2.5T AWD XC90 has been a lot more reliable than my mother's 2006 FWD Lexus RX 330. In fact, I haven't had a repair in over 3 years. And recently, the power windows my mother's RX 330 went out--about $800 to repair. It's really been a piece of junk for her. And I'm sure it wouldn't pass the small overlap crash test, like most other Toyota/Lexus cars.

Sounds like Consumer Reports needs to investigate Consumer Reports!
Exactly!
 
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