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Audi Freshens 2012 A4 Ideal Vehicle Award Winners and Adds 2013 Allroad

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Audi has launched five models from its 2013 B8 platform – the A4, S4, A5, S5 and Allroad.  The B8 is a mild mid-cycle freshening of Audi’s line of compact sport sedans.  But first to the awards…

Audi A4 Wins AutoPacific 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award: Over one-third of new car and light truck buyers are influenced by awards their vehicle has won.  Owner-based awards are more valuable than most.  For the 2012 model year – the B7 platform – Audi swept AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Awards for the Aspirational Luxury Car Category.  Not only was the A4 the most ideal Aspirational Luxury Car as rated by its owners, the A5 was in second place and the next-step-up A6 was in third place in the category.  These are significant achievements.

In AutoPacific’s IVA research, 25% of A4 owners want more power and acceleration.  About 23% want more passenger room, 21% want easier ingress/ingress and 19% want more daring styling.

A4/S4/A5/S5 Evolve Very Nicely, Thank You: So, the question is whether or not the new 2013 cars have hit their target market as well as their recent predecessors, and do they offset the shortfalls mentioned above?  After a drive of the cars in Colorado during fire season, we can safely say the 2013 versions are equal to or better than the class-winners they replace.

The basic dimensions of the 2013 cars are identical to the 2012 cars.  The styling of the sedans and coupe is very evolutionary with minor styling changes.  Think of the exterior styling change as a moderate “front six inches” with new grille shape, headlamps and front fascia.  The grille has evolved with a more trapezoidal look.   Audi took advantage of this freshening to re-design its LED-accented headlamps and taillamps.  These cues have become a distinguishing Audi design feature. So, Audi did not push the styling envelope with this facelift but remained safe.  (About 80% of A4 owners find the styling of the 2012 model ideal).

The interior of the cars remains an outstanding reason to buy.  Great fit and finish combined with excellent materials selection.   There is a new three-spoke steering wheel, revised instrument cluster and Audi connect with Audi’s controller-based MMI Navigation system is ordered.

Just a Brief Note on Touchscreens and Controllers: The auto industry is all over the place relative to touchscreen navigation systems or controller-based nav-systems.  Audi (MMI), BMW (iDrive), and Mercedes (COMAND) have continued with controller-based systems as have others.  Many mainstream brands continue with touchscreens or have moved to them after wrestling with controller logic.  Oddly, Volkswagen and Porsche – VWAG family members – both use touchscreen systems now.  Volkswagen used a touchscreen and Porsche has moved from a controller-based system to a touchscreen.  Audi engineers say “you will never see a touchscreen in an Audi”.  They don’t like the fingerprints.  So, inside VWAG, the engineers have agreed to disagree.

New Allroad is the Big News: The big news for the B8 launch is the re-launch of the Audi Allroad.  The previous Allroad (1999-2005) was based on the larger Audi A6 and looked more aggressively off-road capable than the 2013 version based on the smaller B8-platform A4.  The Allroad replaces the slow selling Avant wagon in the American lineup with the body of the Avant tweaked to appear off-road capable.  Its ride-height is increased by 1.5-inches.   The expected wheel arch trim is there as are the front- and rear-skid plates.  A roof rack completes the appearance package.

Powertrains Essentially Carryover and Still Outstanding: The B8s are powered by a 211HP 2.0L turbocharged direct-injection 4-cylinder engine.  With Audi’s Quattro all wheel drive system, the 4-cylinder turbo is mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission or 8-speed automatic transmission.  If you select a front wheel drive S4, you get a CVT.  This 4-cylinder turbo engine has always been a delight to drive and is one of the world’s best-regarded engines.

If you want more oomph in the A4 and A5, move up to the V6-powered S4 and S5.  With the S4 and S5 you get a 3.0L supercharged direct-injection V6 engine with 333-horsepower.  Quattro is standard in the S4 and S5.  While the A4 is no slouch on the road or in the mountains, The S-Cars provide effortless performance in any situation.  This engine choice lets you think about a place in traffic you want to be and then without knowing it, you are miraculously there.

So, all in all, the Audi B8 experience is about what you would expect.  Great cars with evolutionary styling, super finesse and outstanding powertrains.


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MINI – Ideal Popular Brand in AutoPacific Research

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AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) for Popular Brands recognizes the brand whose vehicles best hits the targets its buyers demand.  Winning an IVA shows the product planners, engineers and designers of the manufacturer understand what their target customers want and have created the vehicle to best meet their demands.

For 2012, MINI achieves the top ratings from its owners outpointing second place Popular Brand GMC by 31 rating points.  Owners of the MINI Cooper give the cheeky Premium Compact Car a dominating win in its category over the Subaru Impreza WRX.  The all new MINI Countryman outpoints second place Kia Sportage by 78 rating points.  MINI’s bold head-turning styling, combined with premium design cues and efficient, though small, packages yield an impressive score in AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award research.


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Audi – Ideal Premium Brand in AutoPacific Research

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AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) for Premium Brands recognizes the brand whose vehicles best hits the targets its buyers demand.  Winning an IVA shows the product planners, engineers and designers of the manufacturer understand what their target customers want and have created the vehicle to best meet their demands.

For 2012, Audi achieves the top ratings from its owners outpointing second place premium brand Porsche by 15 rating points.  Audi’s A4, A5 and A6 swept the top three places in the Aspirational Luxury Car category.  The Q7 and Q5 were second place in their crossover SUV categories.  Audi’s design DNA, attention to detail and finesse all contributed to this impressive win.


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Mercedes S-Class – Most Ideal Vehicle and Premium Luxury Car

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AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) recognizes the vehicle that best hits the target its buyers demand.  Winning an IVA shows the product planners, engineers and designers of the manufacturer understand what their target customers want and have created the vehicle to best meet their demands.

S-Class Dominates Porsche Panamera for IVA Win: The 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class comes closest to the ideal of any vehicle – car or truck.  In the Premium Luxury Car class, the S-Class out-points the second place Porsche Panamera by 72 rating points.  Having eighty-percent or more of owners rating a characteristic ideal is outstanding.  Getting a score of ninety-percent is even more impressive.  Ninety-percent or more of S-Class owners rate these characteristics ideal:  exterior size, interior lighting, passenger roominess, driver’s seat comfort, ride and handling, tires and ease of getting in and out.  Eighty-percent or more of S-Class owners find these additional characteristics ideal:  driver’s seat visibility, cargo space, exterior styling, wheels, power and acceleration, interior storage features, safety features.

The Mercedes S-Class also won AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Best In Class Premium Luxury Car.

Infotainment System – The Only Close Miss for the 2012 S-Class: The only feature S-Class owners weren’t enthralled with was the infotainment and entertainment system.  With 79% of the respondents saying the system was ideal in the S-Class, this was a close miss.  About 17% of S-Class owners would like more/better infotainment technology than they have now.

You can find an Autobytel review of this IVA award winner at  http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/awards/consumer-s-ideal-cars-revealed-in-2012-iva-awards-112116/

For a complete summary of all AutoPacific 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award results contact karin.turner@vehiclevoice.com and title your email “IVA Results”.  A copy of the results will be emailed to you within 48-hours.


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Dodge Charger – AutoPacific’s Most Ideal Large Car

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AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) recognizes the vehicle that best hits the target its buyers demand.  Winning an IVA shows the product planners, engineers and designers of the manufacturer understand what their target customers want and have created the vehicle to best meet their demands.

Charger Edges Out Platform-Mate Chrysler 300 for IVA Win: The 2012 Dodge Charger comes closest to the ideal of any Large Car.  The Charger is 31 rating points higher than the second place Large Car – the Chrysler 300 – its platform-mate.  Having eighty-percent or more of owners rating a characteristic ideal is outstanding.  Getting a score of ninety-percent is even more impressive.  Ninety-percent or more of Charger owners rate these characteristics ideal:  exterior size, passenger roominess, cargo space, ride and handling and ease of getting in and out.  These also are primary reasons a person buys a Large Car.  Eighty-percent or more of Charger owners find these additional characteristics ideal:  interior lighting, driver’s seat comfort, tires, interior storage compartments and safety features.

A Few Shortfalls – Many Could Have Been Corrected by Selecting Available Options: Charger is an expressively styled car, but about 21% of the owners want even more daring styling than it now has.  Hand-in-hand with this expressive styling comes somewhat restricted visibility.  About 21% of the owners would like better driver’s seat visibility.  Over 30% of the owners want more distinctive wheels than they now have.  Over 30% of the owners want more/better infotainment/entertainment technology.  Of course, with the broad span of the Charger’s lineup, owners could have optioned up to more distinctive wheels and the uConnect information system.  About 27% of Charger owners want more power and acceleration – clearly, they did not opt for the HEMI V8.

You can find an Autobytel review of this IVA award winner at  http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/awards/consumer-s-ideal-cars-revealed-in-2012-iva-awards-112116/

For a complete summary of all AutoPacific 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award results contact karin.turner@vehiclevoice.com and title your email “IVA Results”.  A copy of the results will be emailed to you within 48-hours.


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Acura TSX – AutoPacific’s Most Ideal Luxury Mid-Size Car

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AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) recognizes the vehicle that best hits the target its buyers demand.  Winning an IVA shows the product planners, engineers and designers of the manufacturer understand what their target customers want and have created the vehicle to best meet their demands.

TSX Outpoints Lincoln MKZ for IVA Win: The 2012 Acura TSX comes closest to the ideal of any Luxury Mid-Size Car.  The TSX is 29 rating points higher than the second place Luxury Mid-Size Car – the Lincoln MKZ.  Having eighty-percent or more of owners rating a characteristic ideal is outstanding.  Achieving a score of ninety-percent is even more impressive.  Ninety-percent or more of TSX owners rate these characteristics ideal:  exterior size, driver’s seat comfort, tires, and safety features.  Eighty-percent or more of TSX owners find these additional characteristics ideal:  interior lighting, exterior styling, wheels, ride and handling, interior storage compartments.

A Few Shortfalls – Some Could Have Been Corrected by Selecting Available Options: The TSX is derived from Honda’s European Accord so it is a bit smaller than the North American Accord.  About 30% of TSX owners want more passenger roominess.  About 22% want more power and acceleration – a want that could have been satisfied by opting for the 3.5L V6 engine.   About 15% of the owners want more infotainment/entertainment technology, but 12% would give up available technology for better ease of use.

You can find an Autobytel review of this IVA award winner at  http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/awards/consumer-s-ideal-cars-revealed-in-2012-iva-awards-112116/

For a complete summary of all AutoPacific 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award results contact karin.turner@vehiclevoice.com and title your email “IVA Results”.  A copy of the results will be emailed to you within 48-hours.


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Subaru Legacy – AutoPacific’s Most Ideal 2012 Mid-Size Car

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AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) recognizes the vehicle that best hits the target its buyers demand.  Winning an IVA shows the product planners, engineers and designers of the manufacturer understand what their target customers want and have created the vehicle to best meet their demands.

Subaru Legacy Dominates Dodge Avenger in IVA Win: The all-new 2012 Subaru Legacy comes closest to the ideal of any Mid-Size Car.  The Legacy dominates the second place Dodge Avenger by 51 rating points to win its class.   Having eighty-percent or more of owners rating a characteristic ideal is outstanding.  Achieving a score of ninety-percent is even more impressive.  Ninety-percent or more of Legacy owners rate exterior size and passenger roominess ideal.  Eighty-percent or more of Legacy owners find these additional characteristics ideal:  interior lighting, driver’s seat visibility, cargo space, wheels and tires, driver’s seat comfort, ride and handling, ease of getting in and out, interior storage compartments and safety features.

The Subaru Legacy also was Best In Class in AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.

A Few Shortfalls – Selecting the 6-Cylinder Option Would Offset Desire for More Power and Acceleration, but at a Cost. About 29% of Legacy owners want more power and acceleration.  Only 6% would trade off power and acceleration for better fuel economy.  Owners could have opted for the Boxer 6-cylinder engine that yields 83 more horsepower than the 173HP Boxer 4 that is standard equipment.  This would have sacrificed 6 miles per gallon in city driving and lowest cost 6-cylinder would be about $5,100 more than the base 4-cylinder.   About 32% of Legacy owners want more infotainment technology in their car.  About 22% of Legacy owners want more daring styling than now.  While the conservatively styled Legacy is handsome, it does not turn heads.  Pushing the styling envelope in the next generation Legacy would yield benefits in future IVA results.

You can find an Autobytel review of this IVA award winner at  http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/awards/consumer-s-ideal-cars-revealed-in-2012-iva-awards-112116/

For a complete summary of all AutoPacific 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award results contact karin.turner@vehiclevoice.com and title your email “IVA Results”.  A copy of the results will be emailed to you within 48-hours.


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VW Passat – AutoPacific’s 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award Winner

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AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) recognizes the vehicle that best hits the target its buyers demand.  Winning an IVA shows the product planners, engineers and designers of the manufacturer understand what their target customers want and have created the vehicle to best meet their demands.

Passat Edges Out Kia Optima for IVA Win: The all-new 2012 Volkswagen Passat comes closest to the ideal of any Premium Mid-Size Car.  The Passat edges out the Kia Optima by six points to win its class.   Having eighty-percent or more of owners rating a characteristic ideal is outstanding.  Achieving a score of ninety-percent is even more impressive.  Ninety-percent or more of Passat owners rate these characteristics ideal:  exterior size, passenger roominess and cargo space.  Each of these is a size- or space-related attribute showing that Volkswagen aimed the Passat directly at the sweet spot Americans love – lots of space.  Eighty-percent or more of Passat owners find these additional characteristics ideal:  interior lighting, wheels, driver’s seat comfort, ride and handling, power and acceleration and safety features.

The Volkswagen Passat also was Best In Class in AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.

A Few Shortfalls – Some Could Have Been Corrected by Selecting Available Options: About 32% want more or better infotainment and entertainment technology.  About 30% want the Passat to be easier to get into and out of.  About 30% want more interior storage compartments than now.  About 26% want more daring exterior styling than the Passat presently has.  About 26% want more power and acceleration.  While the visibility from the Passat is pretty good, 21% of its owners want better driver’s seat visibility.

You can find an Autobytel review of this IVA award winner at  http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/awards/consumer-s-ideal-cars-revealed-in-2012-iva-awards-112116/

For a complete summary of all AutoPacific 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award results contact karin.turner@vehiclevoice.com and title your email “IVA Results”.  A copy of the results will be emailed to you within 48-hours.


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MINI Cooper – AutoPacific’s Most Ideal 2012 Premium Compact Car

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AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) recognizes the vehicle that best hits the target its buyers demand.  Winning an IVA shows the product planners, engineers and designers of the manufacturer understand what their target customers want and have created the vehicle to best meet their demands.

MINI Dominates Subaru Impreza WRX for IVA Win: The 2012 MINI Cooper comes closest to the ideal of any Premium Compact Car.  The MINI dominates the second place Subaru Impreza WRX by 62 rating points to win its class.   Having eighty-percent or more of owners rating a characteristic ideal is outstanding.  Achieving a score of ninety-percent is even more impressive.  Ninety-percent or more of MINI owners rate exterior size, interior lighting, exterior styling and ride and handling ideal.  Eighty-percent or more of MINI owners find these additional characteristics ideal:  wheels, driver’s seat comfort, power and acceleration, ease of getting in and out and safety features.

A Few Shortfalls – Most are Related to Size and Style, but Infotainment can be Improved. MINI owners chose one of the smallest cars on the market when selecting their car, but 30% want more cargo space and 26% want more passenger roominess.  About 33% want more interior storage compartments.  About 28% want better driver’s seat visibility than now.  About 28% of MINI owner want more infotainment technology in their car.

You can find an Autobytel review of this IVA award winner at  http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/awards/consumer-s-ideal-cars-revealed-in-2012-iva-awards-112116/

For a complete summary of all AutoPacific 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award results contact karin.turner@vehiclevoice.com and title your email “IVA Results”.  A copy of the results will be emailed to you within 48-hours.


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VW Golf – Wins AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award for Compact Cars

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AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) recognizes the vehicle that best hits the target its buyers demand.  Winning an IVA shows the product planners, engineers and designers of the manufacturer understand what their target customers want and have created the vehicle to best meet their demands.

Golf Edges Kia Forte for IVA Win: The 2012 Volkswagen Golf comes closest to the ideal of any Compact Car.  The Golf edges out the second place Kia Forte by 21 rating points to win this highly competitive class.   Having eighty-percent or more of owners rating a characteristic ideal is outstanding.  Achieving a score of ninety-percent is even more impressive.  Ninety-percent or more of Golf owners rate exterior size, interior lighting, passenger roominess, exterior styling, driver’s seat comfort, ride and handling and safety features ideal.  Eighty-percent or more of Golf owners find these additional characteristics ideal:  cargo space, wheels and tires.

A Few Shortfalls – Most are Related to Size and Style, but Infotainment can be Improved. About 35% of Golf owners want the car to be easier to get into and out of.  Going hand-in-hand with ingress/egress, about 26% of the owners want better driver’s seat visibility.  This may be due to the Golf’s high mix of 3-door hatchbacks that have a longer door, tougher rear seat access and a thick C-Pillar restricting visibility.  About 32% want more interior storage compartments.  While 20% want better infotainment technology, about 12% want the technology in the car to be easier to use.

You can find an Autobytel review of this IVA award winner at  http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/awards/consumer-s-ideal-cars-revealed-in-2012-iva-awards-112116/

For a complete summary of all AutoPacific 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award results contact karin.turner@vehiclevoice.com and title your email “IVA Results”.  A copy of the results will be emailed to you within 48-hours.


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