If an automaker pours millions of dollars into a redesign, you expect the new model to be better than the one it replaced. But that's not always true. In the last few years, we've found that several redesigned models scored lower in our tests than their predecessors. Whether because of tightened budgets or new product strategies, it is a disturbing trend, especially because we frequently see declining performance in handling and controls, which can affect vehicle safety.
Some models, such as the Honda Odyssey, Mercedes-Benz E350, and Toyota Sienna, are still very good vehicles that we recommend. But they don't quite measure up to the standards set by their previous generation models. Others, such as the current BMW X5, Toyota 4Runner, and Volkswagen Jetta sedan, are clear disappointments. The models listed below fell the farthest in overall road-test score.
|Model||Current score||Previous score||Areas in which test score dropped|
|Volkswagen Jetta SE (2.5)||60||76||Handling, steering, braking, noise, interior fit and finish|
|Toyota Sienna FWD/AWD||80/79||93/89||Steering, road noise, interior fit and finish|
|Toyota 4Runner||55||66||Ride control, handling, noise, driving position, front access, interior fit and finish|
|BMW X5 3.0||67||77||Controls, shifter, visibility|
|Mercedes-Benz E350||79||88||Steering, ride, fuel economy|
|Honda Odyssey||83||91||Handling, braking, cargo area|
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