AutoPacific today announced its 19th annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSAs), identifying the most satisfying vehicles on 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 66,000 owners of new 2015 model year cars and light trucks.
Maxima remains easy to get into and out of and the interior seems very spacious with good headroom. Like the 2015 Nissan Murano, the Maxima has "floating roof" styling with a black character line sweeping through the C-Pillar. The beltline has a bright character molding flowing to a kicked up rear quarter. Like most newly released vehicles these days, Maxima's headlamps are highlighted by boomerang shaped LED light pipes. Adopting Nissan's new front end DNA, Maxima gets a prominent V-Motion Grille. The boomerang headlamp graphic is repeated in the taillamps. Maxima's coefficient of drag has been reduced from 0.34 to 0.29 for improved aerodynamics. For some, exterior styling of the 2016 Nissan Maxima will be too busy. Others will like the fact that it turns heads.
The 2016 Honda Pilot is now well-styled with modern and contemporary lines. Gone is the BOX shape of the previous vehicle and curvaceous styling that is now more the norm has been adopted. Honda contends that Pilot moves from traditional and rugged (translated UGLY) to modern and refined. We agree. The 2016 Honda Pilot is a very good looker. The key, says Honda, is to keep Pilot's capability and clothe it in a style that makes its buyer feel serene, athletic and smart.
The 2016 Ford Explorer marks the 25th anniversary of the vehicle line. When it launched as a 1991 model, the Explorer redefined what a sport utility vehicle should be. 7,000,000 sales later, Ford is launching a nicely updated product. When the 2016 Ford Explorer launches, most people won't be able to tell the difference from the present Explorer. While the vehicle's sheetmetal ahead of the A-Pillar is all new and the liftgate and taillamps are all new, the differences are subtle to the casual observer. So while the change for 2016 is major, its appearance change is minor.
Fun to drive can be defined an infinite number of ways. The sports car driver will say power and acceleration, braking and handling are the main contributors to fun to drive. There is also the element of sexy head-turning styling ringing the sports car driver's bell. The sport utility driver will add functionality to that equation. A smart fortwo driver may think its quirky styling, minuscule size (even with its funky transmission) add to the fun to drive experience.
The most fun to drive vehicles in AutoPacific's New Vehicle Satisfaction Research - those with 85 % or more of their drivers totally satisfied with its fun to drive characteristics include:
2015 Dodge Charger PursuitWith the demise of the Ford Crown Vic, Dodge has been winning the police patrol car fleet battle. Sure Ford has its Interceptors and Chevrolet is pushing its Caprice from Australia, but apparently Dodge makes a financially attractive pitch for its Charger Pursuit. We've been seeing more and more of them rolling around Southern California as Crown Vics are retired, uh, sent to taxi fleets. With the update of the 2015 Dodge Charger, the Pursuit has been updated as well. You can tell the 2015 Charger is different because the front end styling is clearly different. Other changes to the exterior styling are more subtle and it is a surprise when Dodge execs contend that every exterior panel is new with the exception of the roof and rear doors. Dodge continues with its distinctive LED racetrack taillamp graphic and adds LED daytime running lights to the front.
The Ford half-ton pickup, the F-150, is the top selling vehicle in the USA - car or truck. For the 2015 model year, Ford launches an all new F-150. And it is literally ALL NEW. In most model changes, there are numerous parts carried over from previous generations. The 2015 Ford F-150 is so completely re-done that there are probably no common part numbers with the 2014 model. The body is all aluminum with the exception of a "quiet steel" dash panel (between the engine compartment and the passenger compartment). You can lift the military grade front fender with one finger. The aluminum panels are not welded as in steel bodied vehicles they are riveted and glued. The result is a stiffer vehicle that feels even more robust than its predecessor. Ford says the use of aluminum has yielded a reduction in weight by up to 700 pounds.
The 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid is the highest scoring Hybrid/EV Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. Ford's product development team knew exactly what their target buyers want and designed the Fusion to meet those needs.
In the last year of this generation, the 2014 Ford Mustang is the highest scoring Sporty Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. For a car getting long in the tooth, the fact that its owners rate the car so strongly is a testament that the product development team at Ford listened to their consumers and have satisfied their needs for the past five years.
The 2014 Ford F-Series Super Duty is the highest scoring Heavy-Duty Pickup in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. Ford's Super Duty product development team demonstrates again that they really know what heavy duty pickup drivers want.