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Ford Focus Wins AutoPacific 2006 Ideal Vehicle Award for Compact Cars:

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The Ford Focus is the Ideal Compact Car among seventeen other contenders. Focus’ victory comes from solid results across the eleven measurement categories. It did not win every category outright but its strength was derived from its overall numbers. The Focus’ Ideal Compact Car win comes from solid results for exterior size, visibility, cargo space, power and acceleration. Again, it was not number one in every category, but clearly there is strength in numbers.


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Toyota Prius Wins AutoPacific 2006 Ideal Vehicle Award for Image Compact Cars:

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Toyota Prius owners rate the Prius as the Ideal Image Compact Car. Technology established Prius as the class leader, confirming that buyers continue to value high levels of technology in their car. Prius blew the competition away; the closest contender was the Volkswagen New Beetle, twenty rating point’s behind.


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Hyundai Sonata Wins AutoPacific 2006 Ideal Vehicle Award for Premium Mid-Size Car:

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Breaking stereotypes and moving as far from its roots as a namesake will allow, Hyundai is winning over its buyers. Owners of the 2006 Hyundai Sonata were the least likely to call for change in the Premium Mid-Size Car segment. Sonata is the Ideal Premium Mid-Size Car. The Sonata hit the target for ideal exterior dimensions, passenger area and cargo space. Sonata’s class leading IVA performance is testament to Hyundai understanding their customers and delivering on their preferences. Hyundai beats class sales leaders like Accord, Camry and Altima.
Having just driven a Sonata from Hertz during a trip to Detroit, I can attest the Sonata is a very nice car. Not a sport sedan by any stretch, Sonata is a middle-of-the-road Premium Mid-Size Sedan that does its job efficiently and without any stress. It rides a bit soft for my taste, but soaked up the semi-sized potholes on Detroit freeways without much problem. It passed the rental car test with ease. The only downside was the unfortunate selection of seat cloth. Looked like a worn out terrycloth towel. Apparently this was “the Chairman’s” favorite. And who’s going to go against the Chairman?


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Mercury Milan* Wins AutoPacific 2006 Ideal Vehicle Award for Mid-Size Cars:

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The all-new Mercury Milan is a clear winner among Mid-Size Car competition. Milan, the Ideal Mid-Size Car, achieves its category leading performance with near ideal ratings for exterior size, interior storage, power and acceleration, right down to the ideal size of the wheels and tires. *The Mercury Milan also topped its category in AutoPacific’s 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards.
The Milan is a suburban cruiser and commuter car. Not a sport sedan, Milan is best suited for tooling around town in quiet comfort. Milan shows good attention to detail especially in package-related areas like ingress/egress, ergonomics and visibility. While Milan’s owners give its powertrain near ideal ratings, I’d love to drive one with the 50 extra horsepower the 2007 Lincoln MKZ (nee Lincoln Zephyr) is going to get from its new 3.5L V6 engine.


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Mercury Montego Wins AutoPacific 2006 Ideal Vehicle Award for Large Car/Luxury Car – Also Top-Ranked Ideal Vehicle:

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Wow! What a showing in AutoPacific’s inaugural Ideal Vehicle Awards! The 2006 Mercury Montego is thte top ranked vehicle, top ranked car and top ranked Large Car/Luxury Car. In addition to Montego’s top place finish, Ford Motor Company swept the first three places in the awards with the Ford Crown Victoria finishing second and the Ford Five Hundred finishing third. Since all three are in the same product category, only top-rated Montego could win its category award.
Introduced in 2005 as Mercury’s version of the Ford Five Hundred, the 2006 Mercury Montego wins the Ideal Large Car/Luxury Car. Montego owners did not want to change much about their Montego. Owners of the Mercury Montego rated their cargo space and how easily they could get in and out as near ideal. These are attributes big car owners value. The Mercury Montego is the highest ranked individual vehicle with a score of 967 out of 1100, proving that Mercury understands the Montego’s priorities and preferences.


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BMW 3-Series Wins AutoPacific 2006 Ideal Vehicle Award for Entry Luxury Cars:

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For many years the 3-Series has been the bread and butter of Bavarian Motor Works. The larger, fifth generation BMW 3-Series may be the new benchmark in its segment with 3-Series owners requiring little change in the car. Owners found 3-Series comfort and exterior size near ideal. The verdict is in, and the new 3-Series delivers the goods as an Ideal Entry Luxury Car.


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Lexus LS430* Wins AutoPacific 2006 Ideal Vehicle Award for Luxury Cars:

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Since its introduction in 1989 Lexus has become the highest selling luxury brand in the United States. When owners of the 2006 Lexus LS were given the chance to change it, or keep it the same, the results yielded a number one rating for the LS430 in the Luxury Car segment. Lexus anticipated their LS owner’s expectations more effectively than any other in the Luxury Car segment. Lexus LS owners rated their vehicles as having near ideal comfort and interior storage space. *The Lexus LS also topped its category in AutoPacific’s 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards.


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AutoPacific's 2006 Ideal Vehicle Awards Announced

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An “ideal” is defined as an excellent or perfect example. In the first Ideal Vehicle Awards, announced today by automotive research and consulting firm AutoPacific, owners rate their new 2006 model year cars and trucks by how closely they come to their ideal. The cars or trucks that owners would change the least are the most ideal.
Those carmakers that best understand their customers and create the vehicle their core buyer group desires has come closest to the ideal.
The top-rated vehicle and top-rated car is the Mercury Montego in the Large Car/Luxury Car category. In fact, Ford Motor Company sweeps the first three positions overall with the Ford Crown Victoria and Ford Five Hundred in second and third place. The top-rated truck is the Honda Odyssey Minivan.
The top-rated brand overall is Hyundai out-pointing Mercury and Lincoln for the most ideal vehicle honors.
Ford Motor Company and American Honda have three segment winners apiece. BMW and Hyundai have two each.
Of the sixteen Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) categories, Japanese brands have seven segment winners, American brands have four, European brands have three and Korean brands have two winners.
The top-rated product segment is Large Car/Luxury Car confirming that Americans continue to value large, comfortable cars suitable for suburban and highway cruising.
Top-rated 2006 Ideal Vehicle brand: Hyundai
Top-rated 2006 Ideal Product Segment: Large Car/Luxury Car
Top rated 2006 Ideal Vehicles by segment:
PASSENGER CARS:
Premium Luxury Car: Lexus LS
Entry Luxury Car: BMW 3-Series
Large Car/Luxury Car: Mercury Montego
Premium Mid-Size Car: Hyundai Sonata
Mid-Size Car: Mercury Milan
Image Compact Car: Toyota Prius
Compact Car: Ford Focus
Sports Car: Porsche 911
Sporty Car: Acura RSX
SUT, SUV, and MINIVAN:
Sport Utility Truck: Honda Ridgeline
Luxury Sport Utility: BMW X5
Large Sport Utility: GMC Yukon
Premium Mid-Size Sport Utility: Nissan Murano
Mid-Size Sport Utility: Hyundai Santa Fe
Compact Sport Utility: Subaru Forester
Minivan: Honda Odyssey
In addition to identifying segment winners, IVA also establishes numerical ideal vehicle ratings for virtually every passenger car and light truck (except pickups) in the United States market. This results from calculating owner input across 11 specific areas related to a vehicle’s exterior size, passenger roominess, cargo space, driver’s seat comfort, drivers seat visibility, interior technology, power, ease of getting in and out, interior storage compartments and tires and wheels. The 2006 ratings reflect input from buyers and lessees of new vehicles acquired September 2005 through January 2006. Pickup trucks are not incorporated because of numerous body styles included within each pickup line.


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Hyundai Azera First Impression and Test Drive

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If you were to have ever told me that I would actually feel comfortable peering through Korean glass at the road ahead, I would have laughed and told you that it would only be on the off chance I took an unplanned road trip through Seoul.
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However, when the Hyundai Azera won AutoPacific‘s Vehicle Satisfaction Award as top rated car I broke down and decided to take one home for the night, just to take a closer look. My initial reaction was one of surprise as I walked over to a substantial vehicle with contemporary styling and opened the solid drivers door to a plush, high-grade leather interior. This is a Hyundai? I’m used to bland aesthetics and plastic wheel covers, this car actually had decent lines. I was about to realize how quickly a manufacturer could sneak up on my perceptions. The simple fact was that the Azera, Hyundai’s luxury flagship, was going to introduce me to the tenacity of the Hyundai Motor Company, and their fierce determination in this market segment.


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AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Results – Japanese Brands On Top

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The AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards honor products in nineteen categories or segments. Nine categories are cars and ten are trucks.
Overwhelming Win by Japanese Brands in Satisfaction by Vehicle Type
Overall, owners of Japanese brand vehicles rate their cars or trucks at the top of their category in ten of the nineteen categories. Owners of European brand vehicles rated their vehicle tops in two categories – Volkwagen Passat in the Premium Mid-Size Car Category and the MINI Cooper in the Image Compact Car class. The American Big Three had five wins… Lincoln Navigator won it all with the highest rating of any vehicle – car or truck; Cadillac CTS, Mercury Milan, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty. OK, that leaves two winners unaccounted for… those are from Hyundai.
The Hyundai Azera is the top rated car, even beating top class luxury cars like the Lexus LS430, jaguar XJ, BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The Hyundai Santa Fe is the top rated Mid-Size SUV for the fifth time in its six year history… this win comes just months before it is replaced by an all new Santa Fe to be produced in America.
So…
Japanese Brands – 10 with Suzuki having its first ever win
American Brands – 5 with Chrysler Group having zero wins
European Brands – 2
Korean Brands – 2
Check http:/.vehiclevoice.com for the complete listings.


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