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Hybrid, Small Car Owners Least Satisfied With Acceleration

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Satisfied With Acceleration If you are a lucky enough to own a Jaguar XJ, you likely are extremely satisfied with the power and acceleration of your car. In AutoPacific‘s new car and light truck research, 100% of XJ owners are extremely satisfied. Overall, 51% of new car and light truck buyers are extremely satisfied with the power and acceleration of their vehicle. About 86% of sports car owners are extremely satisfied. About 71% of sporty car owners and 70% of aspirational luxury cars are extremely satisfied. At the other end of the spectrum are owners of hybrids and small cars. Only 37% of hybrid owners are extremely satisfied with power and acceleration compared with 40% of small car owners. This might be expected since these products are biased toward maximum fuel economy usually at the expense of spirited driving.

Prius Plug In Hybrid Owners Least Satisfied with Power and Acceleration

Prius Plug In Hybrid Owners Least Satisfied with Power and Acceleration

Toyota Prius owners are least satisfied no matter which Prius is owned. Only 19% of Prius Plug-In Hybrid owners are extremely satisfied with the power and acceleration of their vehicle. Only 20% of Prius c owners are extremely satisfied. Only 24% of Prius v owners are extremely satisfied and only 27% of the Prius are extremely satisfied. Other Toyotas in the bottom twenty include the Matrix (21%), Lexus CT200h (29%) and Scion xD (30%). Ten of the bottom twenty are hybrids in addition to the seven models from Toyota are: Hyundai Sonata Hybrid (24%), Honda CRZ (26%) and Honda Insight (27%). Four economy cars are among the lowest rated: Honda Fit (25%), Nissan Versa (25%), Mazda 2 (27%), Ford Fiesta (28%), Kia Rio (29%) and Hyundai Accent (30%). Completing the bottom 20 are: Mazda CX5, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Mitsubishi Outlander and Jeep Patriot.

How Important is Power and Acceleration? Of course, one of the key questions is how important power and acceleration is to these owners. Overall, 39% of owners say power and acceleration is extremely important to them. So the industry is overachieving slightly having 51% of owners extremely satisfied. Among hybrid owners, only 23% say power and acceleration is extremely important (compared with 37% satisfied). Among small car owners, power and acceleration is important only to 28% (compared with 40% satisfied).


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Women Drivers More Satisfied than Men

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An automotive industry truism is that it is easier to satisfy your grandmother than a young man.  Is this true?  At least the gender portion of the statement is accurate.

Driver satisfaction is a critical measure of vehicle acceptance.  Having a satisfied buyer results in better loyalty, better word-of-mouth, stronger image.  Satisfaction is a central building block of a brand.  AutoPacific has been measuring driver satisfaction since 1993 and it is always instructive to look at the differences between women and men drivers.

In AutoPacific’s annual 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction research, women drivers score 39 rating points higher than men – 674 over 635 in their overall Vehicle Satisfaction score.

Cadillac Tops Satisfaction Among Women While the top four brands in the satisfaction hierarchy are the same – Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Lincoln – the scores given them by women are much higher.  Cadillac up 50 rating points.  Mercedes up 16 rating points.  Lexus up 41 rating points.  Lincoln up 42 rating points.  Interestingly, the rating for Fiat – perhaps the ultimate chick’s car – is at the bottom of the list among women but still higher by 29 rating points than among men.

Infiniti FX - Top in Satisfaction Among Women

Models With Touches of Luxury Score Better With Women In terms of individual vehicles the top twelve satisfying vehicles among women are:  Infiniti FX at 774 (+94 rating points higher than men), Chrysler 300 at 767 (+89 rating points), Lexus ES at 742 (+40), Cadillac SRX (+48), Mercedes C-Class at 735 (+50), Buick Enclave (+57), Honda Crosstour at 729 (+73), Lincoln MKS at 728 (+50), Range Rover Evoque at 728 (+43), Lincoln MKX at 726 (+58), Honda Odyssey at 725 (+40), Lexus RX at 725 (+43).  The lowest vehicle line among women is the Nissan LEAF at 550 rating points.  The highest scoring vehicle among men is the Mercedes-Benz ML practically tied with the Cadillac Escalade.  The lowest vehicle line among men is the Mazda2 at 502.

Women are More Satisfied With a Comfortable Stuff Hauler Women are much more satisfied with Fuel Economy (+8.3%pts), Warranty (+6.9%pts), Collision Avoidance Technology (+6.9%pts), 3rd Row Seat Comfort (+6.8%pts), 2nd Row Seat Comfort (+6.3%pts), Flexible/Changeable Seating (+6.5%pts), Rear Seat Entertainment System (+6.4%pts), Roof Rack (+6.0%pts), Price/Monthly Payments (+6.0%pts), Convertible Top (+6.0%pts).  Many of these attributes are characteristics of vehicle types very popular with women drivers like Sport Utility Vehicles and Minivans.  They want a comfortable vehicle with a good warranty that gets good fuel economy.  They want the interior to be flexible and provide entertainment for their children.  They are more satisfied with an affordable stuff hauler useful with children.


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Two Three-Row Crossovers Take Different Paths

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The model year was 2007.  ‘Crazy’ by Gnarls Barkley was popular on the radio.  Steve Irwin, the famous crocodile hunter was killed by a stingray and minivans were about as cool as Barney.  Two new three-row crossover SUVs entered the market looking to haul families and mass quantities of Vitamin Water from Costco in style and safety.

Posted in: GMC, Mazda

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2012 Mazda5 Sport: A Mini-Minivan for People Who Like to Drive

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Here I am, snaking through the famed Ortega Highway in Southern California in a Mazda, attacking every apex and rowing through the crisp six-speed manual’s gears with an ear-to-ear grin.  Only I’m not driving a Miata or RX-8.  I’m driving a friggin’ minivan.

Now in its second generation, the Mazda5 continues to occupy a unique niche in the marketplace (and will likely continue to do so for the time being now that Ford has canceled plans to bring the conceptually similar European C-Max seven-seater to the U.S.).  Launched earlier this year as a 2012 model, the new Mazda5 doesn’t stray much from the template established by its predecessor, but for the right kind of family, that’s fine and dandy.


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A Rising Tide Lifts All…

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As little as a few years ago, a vehicle in this segment might sit the weekend at AutoPacific, with few takers interested in trading their personal rides for a weekend in an econo-box. But times have changed, and economy compact cars have changed with them. The 2011 Mazda 2 in AutoPacific’s fleet was signed out long before it arrived.
Over the past decade, we’ve seen drastic improvements in vehicles in general, and small cars have improved with the rest of the market. B-Segment cars in international markets have developed past the basic econo-box Americans remember. We are just beginning to see these improvements on vehicles here in the states and the 2011 Mazda is a great example.
Probably the most stylish exterior in the segment, the Mazda 2 has a rising beltline that gives the car a mildly aggressive look. Our Touring model included an upgraded seat fabric with red piping, alloy wheels, fog lights, rear roof spoiler, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, trip computer, and two extra speakers.
On the road the Mazda 2 rivals the Honda Fit for fun, and is certainly more fun to drive than others in this segment, including the Toyota Yaris. Mazda will get stiff competition from platform competition, the Ford Fiesta. In addition, the segment is exploding with activity, including the Chevrolet Spark and Aveo. For Mazda, however, this influx of players will likely increase consideration in the segment overall, which could help the Mazda 2.
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The Future of US Motoring?

Unloading the Mazda over the weekend, a neighbor commented, “The future of US motoring, huh?” While we’re not forecasting a European embrace of the economy compact segment, AutoPacific sees cars like the Mazda 2 increasing in sales over the coming years. More offerings are coming from various players who are hedging that fuel price instability will continue to push consumers towards the segment. While common in Europe, we have yet to see a steady migration of US buyers to this segment. We generally see US consumers temporarily jump to this segment in a knee-jerk reaction to fuel price instability, only to retreat back to larger vehicles when the growth in fuel prices is less volatile.
While we see this reaction when studying consumer segment intention and vehicle sales, we have yet to see what converts to this segment will do over time. There is a lot to be said for the style, comfort, economy and yes, fun, that the Mazda 2 offers. Perhaps vehicles like the Mazda 2 will be more than a fad.


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2009 Mazda CX-9 Wins AutoPacific's Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Large Crossover SUV

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2009_Mazda CX-9.jpgMazda has a real winner on its hands with the CX-9 – a Large Crossover SUV that actually says Zoom-Zoom! The CX-9 is the outright winner in 26 of 48 satisfaction attributes, and is well rated in the rest. Winning attributes of the CX-9 include such important characteristics as:
• Exterior styling and size
• Fun-to-drive, power/acceleration and handling (the essence of Zoom-Zoom)
• Seating capacity and flexible/changeable seating
• Quality, reliability/dependable, durable/long lasting
• Safety features and a feeling of safety while driving
• Operating costs, anticipated resale value and value for money


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2010 Mazda Mazda3: More of a Good Thing

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There are two kinds of automotive manufacturers. Those that focus heavily on building an unemotional, quality appliance and those that believe a vehicle should be more than just basic transportation. Mazda has developed into the latter. The 2010 Mazda3 underscores Mazda’s focus on producing stylish, performance oriented vehicles at an affordable price.
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The 2010 Mazda3 is really the fifth generation of what we now call the Mazda3. It began with the ‘great little car’ – GLC, followed by 323, Protoge’, and previous generation Mazda3. From introduction, the Mazda3 garnered support from the press and consumers alike. Since Mazda relies so heavily on their little C-Segment car, it was imperative that 2010 iteration refine and improve the formula, evolving it rather than recreating it. We’re here to tell you that they didn’t disappoint. They’ve added more performance, more character and more options into the mix. The all-new Mazda3 is even more of a good thing.
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2008 LA Auto Show: 2010 Mazda3 – Next Time, Start a Revolution!

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Once fuel had reach $4.05 a gallon nationally, we watched as truck sales plummeted and small/compact car sales got a little boost. People in the industry began to say that compact cars were going to appeal to more Americans and make up a larger percentage of vehicles sold here in the United States. The trick is said to be selling these small/compact cars for a profit. Up until recently the major domestic automakers had been able to make up to $12,600 profit on Large Luxury SUVs, but selling a small/compact car only raked in about $2,400 bucks. Once you subtract anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 for fixed costs you could actually end up with a negative number. Which means that a solid business case to produce small/compact cars here in the U.S. is not always an easy case to make; other than to help offset CAFE. Although, Mazda seems to be able to make a business case for them, and they sell tons of them!

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Of course now there is talk of ‘premium small cars’ becoming popular with Generation Y and possibly becoming a more lucrative business venture. With fuel prices dropping again to around $2 a gallon only time will tell what the future of the small/compact car will be here in the United States. Still, injecting premium content into a small car may go a long way in appealing to an increasing number of people who don’t think small size should equal skimpy content.


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2009 Mazda6: Moving On Up, But Keeping It Real

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Let’s get the big “a-ha” about the 2009 Mazda6 out of the way first: the Mazda6 has grown up to be a fully respectable member of society, but it has kept almost all of what made the original so appealing to keen drivers. It’s the automotive equivalent of Richard Branson, a man who has evolved to become one of the most admired business leaders in the world while retaining all of the hipness, style, and flamboyance of his youth.
The first generation Mazda6 was always admired by enthusiasts; it was lean, engaging, full of feedback, and just plain great fun to drive. It was a cut-price BMW 3-Series in terms of its drive character. Those qualities, however, made it far less appealing for its primary mission – to serve as a solid family sedan. Despite its entertainment value on the road, it was small and cramped inside, noisy, and felt somewhat like a beer can.

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The new Mazda6 is uncommonly stylish while ticking all the right boxes for mainstream shoppers

The new 6, however, has soundly addressed each and every single one of those deficiencies that made Camry, Accord, and Altima a more amenable choice for many families. At the same time, it has become even more stylish and easily matches or beats the Japanese Big Three sedans in terms of interior roominess, refinement, interior quality, and comfort. In short, we think it’s one of the most – if not the most – compelling mid-size sedans out there. At the media introduction of the 6 that VehicleVoice staff attended, Mazda was so confident of the new 6’s abilities that they had 4-cylinder and V6 samples of Accord, Camry, and Altima on hand for direct comparisons.


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Mazda MX-5 Miata Wins AutoPacific 2008 Ideal Vehicle Award for Sports Car

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A sports car with a timeless, traditional layout, the Mazda MX-5 Miata scored at the top of the Sports Car class in the 2008 Ideal Vehicle Awards. With high ratings for cargo space, visibility, handling, power and acceleration and interior storage, the MX-5 Miata blew the competition away.

Posted in: Awards, Mazda

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