The results of AutoPacific's 22nd annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSAs) identify the most satisfying vehicles in the market. An industry benchmark for measuring how satisfied an owner is with his/her new vehicle, VSAs are based on survey responses from over 58,000 owners of new 2017 and 2018 cars and light trucks.
The Kia Stinger is a 5-door hatchback sport sedan that ventures into an area Kia has not gone before. Kia describes the Stinger as “an inflection point that takes Kia to a different level”. Stinger is a rear wheel (or AWD) mid-size car with a long wheelbase, a large interior package and outstanding driving dynamics. Using worldwide design resources, the Stinger provides Kia with a world-class challenger to German sport sedans. The vehicle closest in concept is the Audi A7 hatchback.
Mazda is developing its vehicles to compete against luxury brands. This Mazda Premium strategy will ultimately improve Mazda's image with dealers and consumers. Well done, Mazda Premium products should achieve higher profits per vehicle.
Escala Continues Series of Outstanding Cadillac Concepts Concept cars push design limits to determine if the buying public is ready. Over the past few years, Cadillac has teased the car community with three outstanding concept cars. The Ciel was a 4-door convertible with suicide doors first shown in 2011. The Elmiraj was a stunning coupe shown at Pebble Beach in 2013. The Escala was a highlight of the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance in 2016.
The Ciel and Elmiraj were to be precursors of future Cadillacs. Then the Cadillac CT6 sedan was launched and we learned these distinctive concept cars were just vaporware after all. Concept cars often over-promise the future and production cars under-deliver. This year’s Escala may not be produced, but some of its design cues may find their way into future Cadillacs.
Infiniti QX30 Launched One of the fastest growing product segments is the Luxury Small Crossover SUV (XSUV) category. Infiniti has been a bit late to the party as there are already 33 small XSUVs on the market. Eight of those are luxury brand XSUVs: the Acura RDX has been out since 2013 in its second incarnation, Audi Q3 out since 2014, BMW X1 out since 2014, Land Rover Discovery Sport out since 2016, Lexus NX200t out since 2015, Lincoln MKC out since 2015, Mercedes GLA since 2015, Range Rover Evoque out since 2012. Launch of the Infiniti QX30, while a bit late, pretty much has every brand in the fray.
Infiniti enters the fray with the Infiniti QX30, making it the 34th member in the small XSUV market and 9th luxury brand XSUV. Remember, QX is the Infiniti nomenclature for SUVs whether they are body-on-frame SUVs (QX80) or crossover SUVs (QX70, QX60, QX50). Infiniti cars [...]
Check most of the boxes needed to win in the highly competitive compact car segment and the 2017 Hyundai Elantra does not miss many chances to excel. Following the mantra of "democratization of technology" Elantra has most of the high tech infotainment and technology features available. When you pop for them all, the retail price is $26,750. This is a lot for a compact car of a decade ago, but not bad for the fully loaded Limited model of the all new Elantra. For those not wanting or needing the full equipment load, the starting price is around $17,000.
Bentley Motors of Crewe, England has begun production of the 2017 Bentley Bentayga and vehicles will begin arriving in the United States in May, 2016. Ho Hum, just another SUV for an overstuffed market, right? Not so. The Bentayga is a very, very special piece of work.
The Lincoln Continental was for years the flagship of the Lincoln brand. In the early 1980s, however, the name "Continental" was relegated to smaller, mid-sized Lincolns leaving the flagship to carry Town Car or Mark nomenclature. While Lincoln Motor Company is positioning the upcoming 2017 Continental against middle market competitors like the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Jaguar XF and Mercedes E-Class, it will become the brand's flagship (if you don't count the Navigator). Is Continental good enough to turn heads and get Americans and Chinese buying Lincolns again, check back in 2017.
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA is the highest scoring Premium Compact Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research. Mercedes-Benz wins in its first foray into the front wheel drive premium small car market. While the CLA begins around $30,000, it can quickly get into the mid-thirties and, with the AMG model, move into the $50,000 range. This year, the Audi A3 was not yet on the market to challenge the CLA. It will be interesting to see if Mercedes can keep its top spot when Audi owners weigh in about their new A3 for 2015.
The 2015 Lincoln MKC hit Lincoln dealerships in June 2014 and promises to be the 2nd volume entry for Ford's premium brand after the award-winning Lincoln MKZ. Lincoln is the top brand in AutoPacific's 2014 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research and the MKZ and MKZ Hybrid are the winners of their product categories. The MKC is joining a booming market for smaller crossover SUVs and, based on our brief drive of the vehicle, should do very well in AutoPacific's 2015 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research..