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AutoPacific’s 2013 Ideal Vehicle Award Results Are In – Cars

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Background of AutoPacific’s IVAs:  AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Awards for 2o13 are given to brands and vehicles that best meet the expectations of their buyers.  The person driving the car does not want it to be bigger or more powerful or have better info/entertainment systems.  Based on the results of over 52,000 respondents, the IVAs are owner-based awards that can serve to give car and truck buyers an idea of how well manufacturers have designed vehicles with their customers in mind.

As you read through the brief descriptions of the winners’ results you will notice some similarities where owners of most vehicles want change. Visibility  Among all cars about 29% of owners want better driver’s seat visibility.  Too often visibility is sacrificed for swoopy styling.  Roominess  About 24% of car owners want more passenger roominess than now.  Of course, some people bought a vehicle that may be smaller than they like so they want something bigger, but many are also reacting because passenger roominess has been sacrificed for style. Power vs Fuel Economy  Even when talking about today’s high gas prices, owners want good power and acceleration.  About 26% want more power and acceleration and only 7% of the respondents would sacrifice power and acceleration for better fuel economy.  Ingress/Egress  Going with the basic package challenges like roof height vs styling and rear seat room vs styling there is also ease of getting in and out.  About 26% of all car owners want their vehicles to be easier to get in and out of.  Info/Entertainment Technology  Design of the info/entertainment technology is one of the most hotly contested areas of vehicle design today.  Some manufacturers have a good handle on this, but 25% of car owners want more info/entertainment technology than they have now.  These folks are offset by 13% who want their info/entertainment technology to be simpler and easier to use.

With that preamble in mind, here are the Ideal Vehicle Award winners for cars  for 2013…


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2013 Accord – Honda Gets its MOJO Back

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The all new 2013 Honda Accord is Honda’s most important vehicle EVER.  That’s right, EVER!  It comes after lackluster reviews of the latest cost-reduced mind-numbing Civic.  It enters the mid-size car product segment where the oldest high volume competitor was launched as a 2011 model in early 2010 (Hyundai Sonata) and each new model is more impressive than the one that came before it… Toyota Camry, Kia Optima, Volkswagen Passat, Nissan Altima, the coming-soon Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu and next year’s Mazda6.  Each new mid-size entry is better, more finessed, more technologically capable and available with a wider range of features than ever before.  The question is “Did Honda bring their ‘A Game’ to the 2013 Accord, or is it another misstep like the Civic?”

Bring their “A Game”?  Wow, did they!  This Accord is a take-no-prisoners attempt by Honda to reclaim leadership in the premium mid-size car class. With this car, Honda appears to have its MOJO back!


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Chevrolet Corvette – Most Ideal Sports Car in AutoPacific Research

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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.

Corvette Edges Jaguar XK for IVA Win: The 2012 Chevrolet Corvette comes closest to the ideal of any Sports Car.  The Corvette edges out the second place Jaguar XK to win in the sports car class.   (Porsche Boxster/Cayman and 911 scored higher in IVA calculations, but their sample sizes were to small to qualify to be included in the final ratings).  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 Corvette owners rate its exterior size, passenger roominess and ride and handling ideal.  Eighty-percent or more of Corvette owners find these additional characteristics ideal:  driver’s seat visibility, driver’s seat comfort and tires.

The Chevrolet Corvette also was best in class in AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.

A Few Shortfalls – Infotainment and Power and Ingress/Egress: A sports car is all about style, speed and handling and not about practicality.  About 43% of Corvette owners want better infotainment technology.  This may be buyer’s remorse if they did not get a package with the navigation system and Bose audio.  About 36% of Corvette owners want more power and acceleration than they have now.  With a base car with 430HP and 4.2 seconds zero to sixty, they should be satisfied, but sports car owners always seem to want more.  Corvette is extremely low to the ground leading 34% of owners to want the car to be easier to get into and out of.  About 26% want better interior storage than they presently have.  About 24% of Corvette owners want better interior lighting than now.  About 21% would like more daring exterior styling for an already expressively styled car.  Maybe they are thinking of Ferrari or Lamborghini.

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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GMC Yukon XL – Most Ideal Large SUV

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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.

Yukon XL Edges Platform-Mate Chevrolet Suburban for IVA Win: The 2012 GMC Yukon XL comes closest to the ideal of any Large SUV.  The Yukon XL edges out the second place Chevrolet Suburban by 11 rating points to win in 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 Yukon XL owners rate its exterior size, driver’s seat comfort and ride and handling ideal.  Eighty-percent or more of Yukon XL owners find these additional characteristics ideal:  interior lighting, driver’s seat visibility, passenger roominess, cargo space, wheels, ease of getting in and out and safety ratings.

The Smaller GMC Yukon won AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award.

A Few Shortfalls – But None Critical. About 29% of Yukon XL owners want more interior storage compartments.   About 26% want larger tires than now.  About 20% of Yukon XL owners want better power and acceleration.  About 19% want more daring exterior styling than now.  About 17% want better infotainment technology while 9% want their technology to be easier to use.

You can find an Autobytel review of this IVA award winner at  http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/awards/ideal-suvs-pickups-rated-by-owners-in-2012-iva-awards-112117/

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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Ford Flex Most Ideal 2012 Large Crossover SUV

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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 understood what their target customers want and have made the vehicle to meet their demands.

The 2012 Ford Flex comes closest to the ideal of any Large Crossover SUV scoring a close win over the Chevrolet Traverse.  Eighty-percent or more of Flex owners find these characteristics ideal:  exterior size, exterior styling, passenger roominess, seat comfort, ride and handling, tires and wheels, ease of getting in and out and safety features.

EcoBoost Gives Flex a Substantial Performance Advantage, but Only 15% of Flex Owners Bought It: About 25% of Flex V6 owners want more power and acceleration, but only 6% who opted for the 355HP EcoBoost 3.5L V6 want more.  Clearly, EcoBoost provides surprising power without a fuel economy disadvantage.  About 11% of all Flex owners would give up power and acceleration for better fuel economy. So, when it comes to Flex, performance and fuel economy, twice as many owners would take more power and acceleration than would trade off power for fuel economy.

More/Better Technology Wanted: The 2012 Flex is available with SYNC and SYNC with navigation, but not Ford’s new MyFord Touch system.  About a quarter of Flex owners want more/better technology than their vehicle has now.

You can find an Autobytel review of this IVA award winner at  http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/awards/ideal-suvs-pickups-rated-by-owners-in-2012-iva-awards-112117/

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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2012 Chevrolet Corvette Most Satisfying Sports Car

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Best In Class 2012 Sports Car:  Chevrolet Corvette

2012 Chevrolet Corvette Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award

Corvette owners rate the car Best In Class without giving the car top satisfaction ratings in any category.  This can sometimes, but rarely, happen in AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.  It means that Corvette owners consider many characteristics more important than the owners of competing sports cars and when combined with their satisfaction with those characteristics, Corvette’s overall score is the highest.  With a possible high score of 5.0 rating points, a rating of 4.6 or higher can be considered very good.  Corvette owners satisfaction was 4.6 or higher in:  Overall Satisfaction, Exterior Size, Vehicle’s Reputation, Brand’s Reputation, Exterior Color, Exterior Styling, Power and Acceleration, Braking, Handling, Fun to Drive, Overall Quality, and Advanced Powertrain Technology.  Corvette owners value the dynamic qualities of America’s premier sports car and rate its styling near the top of its class.


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2012 Chevrolet Sonic Most Satisfying Economy Car

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Best in Class 2012 Economy Car:  Chevrolet Sonic

2012 Chevrolet Sonic Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award

Owners of the all-new Chevrolet Sonic give the car top ratings in twelve of forty-eight attributes in AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.  Sonic gets top marks for Feel of Interior Fabrics and Materials, Interior Storage, Power and Acceleration, Handling, Ride, Quietness, Controls Have a Quality Feel and Operation, Instrument Layout, Wheel Size and Style, Infotainment Technology, Advanced Powertrain Technology, Collision Avoidance Technology.  With a possible high score of 5.0, Sonic owners rated the car at 4.6 rating points or higher in Overall Satisfaction and Reliable/Dependable.  Characteristically, Economy Cars do not score highly in many attributes, but Sonic has achieved ratings solid enough to win its class.  The lowest ratings by Sonic owners are for Cupholder Design and Size and Rear Seat Comfort.


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2012 Chevrolet Traverse Most Satisfying Large Crossover SUV

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Best in Class 2012 Large Crossover SUV:  Chevrolet Traverse

2012 Chevrolet Traverse Winner of AutoPacific's 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award

Owners of the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse give the Large SUV a photo-finish win over the Ford Flex while giving the Traverse top ratings in eighteen of forty-eight categories in AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.  The Traverse gets top marks for Cargo Space, Vehicle’s Reputation, Brand’s Reputation, Interior Storage, Braking, Fuel Economy, Easy to Use Controls, Cupholders, Tire Brand/Size/Appearance, Wheel Size and Style, Environmental Friendliness, Infotainment Technology, Dealership Experience, Recyclability, Advanced Powertrain Technology, Collision Avoidance Technology, Range and Warranty.  With a possible high score of 5.0 satisfaction rating points, 4.5 or higher can be considered very good.  Traverse owners rated the Large SUV above 4.5 rating points in:  Overall Satisfaction, Seating Capacity, Exterior Color, Reliable/Dependable,  and Feeling Safe While Driving.  Traverse owners, while the highest rated Large SUV for Fuel Economy, are least satisfied with their Traverse’s gas mileage.  Traverse owners rate five characteristics below 4.0 satisfaction rating points:  Fuel Economy, Range, Environmental Friendliness, Recyclability and Price.


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General Motors’ Failures – Kudos for Trying

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General Motors Company (formerly “Corporation”) today is a shadow of its former self.  It sells fewer models through fewer brands since its bankruptcy in 2009.  It is reconstructing itself and building itself into a competitive and profitable car company.  That transformation appears to be going very well.

Over the years, however, General Motors has often tried to be a trailblazer (no pun intended) in new vehicle design and development.  Many of these vehicles failed, but we believe GM deserves a tremendous amount of credit for trying where other companies did not have the creative thought or resources to make a “segment breaking” product.  Here are some examples…


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2013 Nissan Altima Mid-Size Game Changer

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Going on sale in July 2012,  the new Nissan Altima joins the most competitive car class in the market.  Representing the second largest car segment (after small cars), the mid-size car class is critically important to each manufacturer in the class; volume, profits and image are on the line.

It is hard to believe that the AutoPacific 2010 President’s Award Winner, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata, is about to be the oldest major competitor in the class.  The 2013 Nissan Altima joins the new Toyota Camry (new for the 2012MY) and Chevrolet Malibu (2013 Eco model is on the market now) and awaits the launches of the upcoming 2013 heavyweights – Honda Accord and Ford Fusion in Fall 2012.

First seen at the 2012 New York International Auto Show in April, the Altima drew “WOWs” from the media at its unveiling.  The management of some competitors gulped and looked a bit nervous.  Most were very complimentary; the new Altima has gone upscale in a big way without adding much to its price tag.

Traditionally, the mid-size car class has been noted for its relatively bland styling.  That changed with the launch of the 2011 Sonata in early 2010 where over half of the buyers indicated that exterior styling was extremely important in their selection of the car.  Sonata’s swoopy styling broke the mid-size car mold.  The 2011 Kia Optima that followed the Sonata is strikingly handsome in its own Euro-Korean way.  Toyota stayed very conservative with its new 2012 entry and Honda is rumored to have continued its very conservative streak with the next generation Accord coming this fall.  The 2013 Ford Fusion is another game changer in the mold of Sonata and Optima, but even with Fusion’s advanced styling, Altima may have pushed the envelope the farthest.  Nissan calls it “Altimaness”. 


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