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!
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.
Leaf Edges Chevrolet Volt for IVA Win: The 2012 Nissan Leaf comes closest to the ideal of any Alternative Fuel Car. The all-electric Leaf edges out the second place Chevrolet Volt by 4 rating points to win in this class that is getting more and more competitive. Having eighty-percent or more of owners rating a characteristic ideal is outstanding. Achieving a score of ninety-percent is even more impressive. The one attribute that over 90% of Leaf owners rate as ideal is ease of getting in and out. Eighty-percent or more of Leaf owners find these additional characteristics ideal: exterior size, interior lighting, passenger roominess, wheels, driver’s seat comfort, ride and handling, power and acceleration, tires and safety features.
A Few Shortfalls – Some Minor, Some Basic: About 38% of Leaf owners want better driver’s seat visibility. About 32% want more cargo space. About 31% of Leaf owners want more infotainment technology. About 24% of Leaf owners want more daring exterior styling. About 34% want more interior storage compartments.
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 email@example.com and title your email “IVA Results”. A copy of the results will be emailed to you within 48-hours.
The demise of the personal use pickup has been well documented, what with fuel prices making the urban cowboy think twice about driving a gas swilling truck to get himself (and just himself) to and from the office. And with that, the compact pickup segment has taken a dive as well, since most of those vehicles appealed to the personal use, rather than commercial, user.
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”.
Without question, one of the most buzzworthy topics surrounding automobiles this year has been plug-in cars. Issues like fuel price instability, dependence on foreign oil (or oil of any sort!), and the environment have stirred the imaginations of many people. Could we really rid ourselves of oil-powered transportation? Could America really free itself of its addiction? At the very end of last year, the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf went on sale (retailing at $41,000 and $32,780, respectively, minus a $7,500 Federal tax credit), finally bringing plug-in transportation to the masses and, plug-in fans hope, heralding a new era in automotive history.
Two new, completely different high efficiency cars entered the American car market earlier this year – the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt – and AutoPacific set out to find out how different the owners of those cars were from owners of hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. We also are looking at how satisfied buyers are with the cars and what they would like changed.
Think of these four cars as being purpose-built for their technology. They did not simply adapt their new powertrain technology to an existing vehicle such as the Ford Fusion Hybrid or the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. The Chevrolet Volt is an Extended Range Electric Vehicle. The Nissan Leaf is a pure Battery Electric Vehicle. And the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight are pure Hybrids.
Based on AutoPacific’s annual New Vehicle Satisfaction Survey which has a total of almost 73,000 new car and light truck owner responses to a comprehensive questionnaire about the car buying and ownership experience, the comparison finds some interesting and insightful results.
Leaf and Volt Owners are Dramatically Different from Prius and Insight Owners: Volt owners paid $43,000 for their new car. Leaf owners paid $34,500. Prius and Insight owners paid $25,000 and $21,000 respectively. Given the price points, Volt and Leaf owners are the most affluent with incomes of $150,000. Prius owners have an income of $100,000 and Insight owners have an income of $80,000.
Leaf and Volt owners are much more likely to be male and much more into the technology of their new car. They are very similar to early buyers of hybrids who were enamored with the new innovative technology of their vehicle. The Leaf and Insight owners are the youngest of the group at 53 and 54 years of age respectively. Owners of the much more expensive Volt are 58 as are owners of the Prius.
Leaf owners have the highest level of education. About 90% have a college education. About 70% of Volt, Insight and Prius owners have a college education. Leaf owners are much more likely to be retired (almost 50%). Only 17% of Insight owners are retired. About a third of Leaf owners are in a technical profession as are 20% of Volt owners.
Leaf owners are most likely (24%) to have owned a hybrid before. Prius owners are almost as likely to have owned a hybrid (23%) as Leaf owners. Volt (8%) and Insight (8%) owners are newcomers to the world of alternative fuel vehicles. Volt owners are most likely to have previously driven a compact car (18%) or mid-size car (14%), Insight owners were most likely to have previously driven a compact car (23%) or a mid-size car (23%).
Satisfaction – Volt Wins: About 86% of Volt owners are very satisfied with their vehicles compared with 80% of Leaf owners, 70% of Prius owners and 54% of Insight owners. Among these four cars, Volt owners are most satisfied by a substantial margin. Leaf and Prius owners are about equally satisfied. Insight owners are the least satisfied among the four cars. Out of 48 satisfaction categories in the research, Volt owners are the most satisfied in 38 of the categories… an overwhelming win.
There are no bad cars. It’s been years since I’ve seen a really bad car to be sold as new in the USA. Maybe the not lamented Chrysler Sebring came close before it evolved into the Chrysler 200 for 2011. So, as the new V-Platform Nissan Versa is poised to be launched for the 2012 model year as the lowest price new car available in the USA you wonder if a new car priced so low is a bad car? The answer is a resounding no. But with the Versa and new Hyundai Accent arriving almost concurrently on the market it begs brief comparison.
2012 Nissan Versa Sedan
2012 Hyundai Accent Sedan
The fourth generation Nissan Quest launched for the 2011 model year, marking a dramatic departure from the prior model. The last Quest was developed and conceived specifically for North America (and built here too), riding on a version of the Altima sedan’s platform. While a very able minivan, it never truly caught on. Perhaps its was styling, both inside and out, that was too aggressive or avant garde for traditional minivan customers.
With the latest Quest, Nissan stepped away from the traditional American minivan template and moved production back to Japan, commonizing it with the Japanese-market Elgrand people mover, albeit with revised front and rear styling more in line with American tastes.