Glen Head, New York, United States
Consumer Reports has released its 2014 Car Brand Report Cards, with Lexus again reigning at the top and doing so with the same industry-topping score of 79 that it registered in last year's Report Cards. This year, the institute credited its lineup for being "usually quiet, comfortable, and fuel-efficient," noting it's the only brand on the list "to achieve an excellent average overall reliability score." The Car Brand Report Cars list is meant to rank the best all-around vehicles based on CR testing and reliability results tallied by subscribers it surveyed. Each brand included must have sufficient test and reliability data for at least three models, a standard which left out 11 marques including Fiat, Jaguar, Land Rover and Porsche.
This 2014 Brand Report Cars edition is the first of a new format in which sub-brands have been broken out from their parent brands, with Acura using this year to move up the leaderboard into second place with a score of 75 for its "reliable, well-finished and somewhat sporty models." The top three was rounded out by Audi, climbing from eighth to third by scoring a 74 for "well-crafted interiors, nice handling and good gas mileage." Audi scored highest in the road-test portion, its improved reliability aiding its rise. The top nine was completed by Subaru, Toyota, Mazda, Honda, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz.
Ford and Jeep weighed in at the other end of the rankings, Jeep taking the lowest overall score in the road tests and hampered by "a mix of spotty reliability." Ford was sunk by reliability issues with its MyFord Touch infotainment system which consumers found troublesome enough to negate its cars earning "solid test scores" for being "very nice to drive." Perhaps the rumored switch from Microsoft to Blackberry's QNX for the next generation SYNC will help them out. Cadillac's score also took a hit for infotainment reasons after it was the leading US brand last year, the CUE system in the XTS dragging Cadillac to the bottom of all General Motors brands.
We enjoyed the opening season of Seinfeld's offbeat Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee web series, a video serial where Jerry Seinfeld picked up his friends in some of his classic cars and... chatted. It was a simple premise that offered some genuinely enjoyable moments, even if the 'cars' connection was often a bit incidental. In any case, Acura must have felt the same way, as it has just inked a deal to be the sole sponsor for the series' next season.
Acura, you may recall, already enjoys a relationship with the comedian - Seinfeld starred in the company's 2012 Super Bowl ad alongside the NSX supercar concept. So perhaps it's no surprise that it has signed on to sponsor 24 episodes of the series, due to roll out this year and next. Naturally, with any title sponsorship these days, you can expect to see some integration of the sponsor - in this case, Acura says such measures will involve its new 2014 MDX crossover, integrating "short, contextually relevant ads at the beginning and end of the episode."
Will you watch? For a refresher on Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, check out a couple of our favorite first season episodes with Michael Richards and Alec Baldwin by scrolling below.
Acura and Jerry Seinfeld are expanding their partnership as season three of the comedian's web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, prepares to debut. Seinfeld has paired with director Barry Sonnenfeld to create a series of ads for the luxury brand showcasing the new Acura RLX and MDX.
There are eight spots, written by Seinfeld and directed by Sonnenfeld, that seemingly mock advertisements of the 1960s, with a deep-voiced, smooth-talking host highlighting the cars in question. It's all very folksy, Leave it to Beaver style humor. We'd be lying, though, if we said we weren't reminded a bit too forcefully of Dodge's successful range of Will Ferrell ads when watching the eight Acura spots.
"My idea for Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee was to show this certain aspect of the stand-up comedy world in a way that comedy fans would enjoy experiencing as if they were there," said Seinfeld. "There is absolutely no doubt that without Acura's support I would not have been able to continue beyond the initial experiment. And now Acura has enabled me to extend the concept by creating ads that fit the comedy tone of the show."