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New road tests: Compact luxury SUVs, Jeep Wrangler, and Toyota Prius V

Consumer Reports News: January 26, 2012 03:53 PM

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The upcoming March 2012 issue of Consumer Reports magazine features road tests of the BMW X3, Jeep Wrangler, Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Volkswagen Tiguan, and Toyota Prius V. These new or updated models were treated to the full battery of more than 50 tests, and the full results are available now to online subscribers.

The true match up this issue was between the BMW X3 and Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. While the X3 scored an 80 in CR’s road test, the Evoque earned just a 60, scoring near the bottom of its category. The X3 is one of the few SUVs that feels sporty to drive, and a new eight-speed automatic transmission helps bring its fuel economy to a respectable 22 mpg overall on premium fuel. With its unique styling, the new Evoque turns heads, but it has many shortcomings, including a cramped cabin, stiff ride, artificial-feeling steering, and troubling emergency handling.

“The X3 does an impressive job of combining sporty handling, a lavish interior, and surprising fuel economy,” said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center in East Haddam, CT. “Although the stylish Evoque has won lots of accolades in the press, including North American Truck of the Year, our more thorough testing reveals quite a few flaws.”

CR also tested three other vehicles in the magazine’s March issue: The Volkswagen Tiguan which got some updates for 2012 and scored a Very Good test score; the Toyota Prius V, a family-friendly wagon version of the Prius; and the Jeep Wrangler. Despite some recent improvements, the iconic off-roader remains CR’s lowest ranked vehicle with a Road Test score of 20.

The Prius V, X3, and Tiguan are all Recommended. The Evoque and Wrangler scored too low for CR to Recommend. Consumer Reports only Recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on CR’s Annual Auto Survey of its more than seven million print and Web subscribers, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.

Again, these road tests and extended track reports are now live. You may also watch the road test videos, and hundreds more, in our video section.

Jeff Bartlett

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