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Lexus

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Lexus slips, Jaguar and Buick topped list

Lexus found its match; after a long time at being on top of the most dependable nameplate, two nameplates bumped Lexus off the top spot. Lexus of Toyota is no longer on top JD Power and Associate’s dependability survey. For this year’s ranking, two names tied for the most dependable nameplate and these are Jaguar and Buick. According to Neal Oddes who is the director of product research and analysis at JD Power, Buick and Jaguar both lead the industry in name plate performance. This doesn’t mean though that Lexus is no longer reliable. In terms of individual model performance, Lexus and Toyota still do very very well.

Lexus may have lost its number 1 ranking to Buick and Jaguar, but still the nameplate swept the top awards in four segments and Toyota took also five awards.

This annual survey measures the problems experienced by the original owners of vehicles after three years. And if these are the cars that are considered to be most reliable with less issues and problems on the road, then there is also that nameplate that is often associated with a number of issues. Of the 37 brands that were assessed by JD Power Associates, the Suzuki owners reported the most issues.

Most Prestigious Porsche

Porsche logo

America’s affluent population once again named Porsche as the most prestigious car available in the market right now. This is the fourth year that the brand has snagged this accolade. This was based on Luxury Institute 2008 survey on luxury brands. On the survey, eleven auto brands were rated and Porsche topped ’em all. Following the lead of Porsche is Lexus at number 2 and Mercedes-Benz at number three. Luxury Institute surveyed 1,600 American consumers that has an average income of $349,000.00 and average net worth of $3.7 million. Clearly, the intent of the survey was really to talk to the moneyed class and get their take on what is the most desired car or the more prestigious car for them! For this year’s survey, the participants reacted in a positive note on Porsche for its stellar performance reputation.

Porsche has always been known as one of those leading brands in terms of performance and prestige. Most of the brand’s models are best-sellers. For example, there’s the Porsche 911, the Boxter Roadster, the Cayman, the Cayenne and the Carrera GT.

Lexus on the other hand is the luxury division of Toyota Motor Corporation. The brand is often adjudged as the most reliable auto in the market right now. Right now, Lexus is considered as the fourth largest luxury brand in the world by volume.

Lexus LF-A to Compete with Ferraris/Porsches

When it comes to racing cars and fast cars, two names usually stand out. That’s your Ferraris and the Porches. Porsche and Ferrari has a storied racing heritage in between them. It is believed that their rivalry is ignited by the fact that both brands has a racing background and their production vehicles are of comparable performance as well. Now another name is set to enter the fray. Toyota thru its luxury arm Lexus is set to introduce its own racing car, the Lexus LF-A. And to start its development, the Lexus LF-A supercar is set to enter May’s Nurburgring 24-hour race.

Lexus LF-A race prototype - AE

The Lexus LF-A is a concept vehicle of Lexus that integrates the simple elegance of the new Lexus design initiative with the racing-inspired racing. The concept also features sculpted curves and the fluid lines as well. The concept was re-launched in 2007 at the North American International Show in Detroit. When it was unveiled in early 2007, it was announced that the concept car will feature a V10 engine that can deliver more than 500 horsepower. This supercar was unveiled together with the other concept car, the IS-F. Though these two are different concepts, there is actually a similarity that runs in between them. Both used the designation ‘F’ and this label was initially conceived with the project Circle-F where F stands for flagship. The code was initially the name for the Lexus brand. This supercar was initially seen at the 2005 NAIAS; with an intention to be Lexus’ vehicle to traverse new grounds. All along, the Lexus is known for luxury cars but with the development and the introduction of these two cars, it is expected that Lexus is set to take a new direction. The design intention of the LF-A will run thru the lines of L-finesse. The car features a mid-engine and a rear-mounted transaxle and rear-mounted radiators that can allow for an excellent weight distribution. The F logo will be located on each front fender.

A Lexus LF-A prototype is now being tested, and as mentioned one of its intensive development is by way of the Nurburgring track. The prototype is a regular custmoer of the 22km track since the car has been seen in the area in recent months.

Top of the Class

Lexus once more proved to the market why the brand is one of the best. The Lexus LS 460L was cited by Consumer Report as one of the best for 2008. To put the feat of this Lexus model in proper perspective, this Lexus LS 460L is the highest scoring vehicle that has been tested by CR. In fact, this Lexus model garnered 99 points out of the possible 100! Now this is one vehicle is a league in itself owing to the rave reviews that it got from the reviewers of Consumer Reports. The Lexus LS 460L ruled over all the other pretenders on the luxury vehicle segment.

2007 Lexus LS 460L 4dr Sedan

It provides a no-compromise environment of comfort and roominess, coupled with an isolating quiteness. It also delivers quick acceleration and relatively good fuel economy, adds Consumer Reports.

This model was redesigned by the Lexus brand in 2007 is actually the flagship line of Lexus. The newly designed Lexus 460L of 2007 come with a much bigger engine, more gears and more technology in the cabin.  The automatic transmission of the Lexus 460L features eight gears to shift. And more importantly this model coming from Lexus is the first car in North America to feature Toyota’s self-parking technology, released in the Prius (another award-winner in the Toyota fold) for Europe and Japan. A discussion of what this self-parking technology is all about will soon follow in my next blog entry. Now back to the features of this Lexus ace, this highly styled and luxurious model do come in two basic styles, there is the standard and the long-wheel base 460L version. These two versions are fully loaded with standards and options and for a comprehensive listing of options, go check it here.

The LS 460 can also travel from zero to sixty miles per hour in less than 5.5 seconds. Overall, the Lexus LS 460 is built on a sophisticated platform that can maintain a delicate balance between ride comfort and responsive handling.

Hyundai Joins the Big League

HYUNDAI SANTA FE

Give a little space, Honda. This year, a new name is recogized as member of the elite class when it comes to reliability and dependability, at least based on the opinion of Consumer Reports. Based on the ’10 Bests listings of Consumer Reports for 2008, a new name has been ushered into the elite list. South Korea’s Hyundai brand has been ackowledged as makers of reliable and dependable cars.

For two years running, its all about Honda and their reliable cars but not for 2008 as US and Hyundai cars made an appearance on the list. The appearance of Hyundai is more significant as this is the first time that this brand has managed to get the citation from the respected Consumer Reports.  Hyundai’s Elantra SE was named as the top small sedan and the Hyundai’s Santa Fe was named the top mid-sized sport utility vehicle.

But if you notice that I only mentioned two Hyundai vehicles in the top 10 and another 1 from Chevy, its because Japanese car manufacturers still tops ’em all. Japanese car makers sent 7 entries into the top ten of Consumer Reports.  This goes to show that these car makers continued their dominance in the ratings for performance, safety and reliability. And what are these cars and from what manufacturer?  The Lexus 460L is there as the best luxury sedan. Dubbed ‘greenest’ car is Prius that can be powered by gasoline or electricity. Prius’ feat is remarkable as this is the fifth time that this car model was selected on its category. Prius and the Lexus are of course products of Toyota.

Though Toyota sent two in the list, the best cars that are sold in the US market are still coming from the Honda brand. Honda did send one in the list, the Honda Accord but what makes the feat of Honda excellent is the fact all Honda vehicles that are rated by Consumer Reports made it to the list of Consumer Report’s recommended lists.

The citation that has been received by Hyundai is an affirmation that indeed Hyundai has turned serious into producing top quality vehicles. As it can be remembered, the brand’s reputation has been not-so good in terms of quality and reliability. But over time, Hyundai made for the lost ground and found its place now as one of the best. In fact, its reputation is fast approaching that of Honda’s.

Here’s the rest of the top picks, as selected by Consumer Reports for 2008.

  • Best Green Car by Toyota Prius
  • Best Small Sedan by Hyundai Elantra SE
  • Best Family Sedan by Honda Accord
  • Best Upscale Sedan by Infiniti G35
  • Best Luxury Sedan by Lexus LS
  • Fun-to-Drive Pick Up Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • Top Small SUV is Toyota Rav4
  • Top Midsize SUV is Hyundai’s Santa Fe
  • Top-Pick Up Minivan is Toyota Sienna

As mentioned these listings that was created by Consumer Reports was based on reliability ratings, road tests and the ratings in insurance industry and government safety testing.

Aside from the fact that Consumer Reports cited two Hyundai vehicles for their reliability, the publication also chose three Hyundai vehicles for its ‘Most Overlooked Cars’ listing. These Hyundai vehicles are the Kia Rondo and the Optima and the Hyundai Azera.