The Consumer Reports 2005 Buying Guide arrived in our mailbox today. About halfway through the book, a reasonably good sized quantity of paper is devoted to rating the various vehicles currently on the market.

Each vehicle is assigned a symbol for “Predicted Reliability” and another symbol for how well the vehicle retains resale value. The next field is a brief general comments field. While eating my lunch today, I was scanning through the book and started reading writeups of various vehicles. The writeup for the Ford Excursion is an absolute killer:

Designed to be the largest SUV on the road, the Excursion is a clumsy, fuel-guzzling behemoth with a noisy engine, atrocious fuel economy, an uncomfortable ride, and marginal brakes.

No, don’t hold back, CR. Tell us what you really think.

Maybe someone can ask Ford engineers exactly what they were thinking when they designed a huge vehicle with “marginal brakes.” Did the idea of a gigantic vehicle that has trouble stopping really strike a chord with a focus group somewhere? Was the focus group composed entirely of demolition derby attendees? Didn’t anyone think to run that idea by a lawyer familiar with the concept of liability?

The “Big Vehicle That Can’t Stop Too Well” brought to you by Ford, the same folks who brought you the “Vehicles with Exploding Tires and Rollover Problems.”