May 11, 2005

Consumer Reports rates Mini Cooper and Toyota Camry Solara best convertibles

Yonkers, New York – In tests of six convertibles for its June issue, Consumer Reports rated the Mini Cooper and Toyota Camry Solara as its best choices, with “Very Good” road test scores. The cars were rated higher than four competitors from Volkswagen, Chrysler and Ford.

The magazine’s engineers tested six convertibles in two categories: retro-styled sporty cars with manual transmissions and more powerful engines than on their base models, and mainstream, mid-sized cruisers equipped with V6 engines and automatic transmissions.

The Mini Cooper S edged out the Volkswagen New Beetle GLS 1.8T and Chrysler PT Cruiser GT turbo. Both of those posted lower road test scores but were still in the “Very Good” range.

The Camry Solara easily won over the Ford Mustang and Chrysler Sebring, both of which posted “Good” Scores.

In an odd twist, while engineers rated the vehicles high, Consumer Reports cannot recommend the Mini Cooper S or Chrysler Sebring because of sub-par reliability in the magazine’s annual survey of its subscribers. Consumer Reports will only recommend vehicles that have performed well in its test, have at least average predicted reliability based on subscriber surveys, and performed at least adequately when crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.

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