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Toyota and Lexus dominate the 2016 Motorist Choice Awards

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MCA2016

LOS ANGELESSeptember 27, 2016 – Notable automotive industry research companies IntelliChoice and AutoPacific today announced the winners of the 2016 Motorist Choice Awards. Now in its eleventh year, this esteemed award recognizes vehicles that deliver the compelling and sought after combination of high consumer satisfaction and lower-than-expected ownership costs over time – meeting the needs and expectations of both the heart and the mind.

The Motorist Choice Awards (MCA), which take AutoPacific’s owner satisfaction data from new car and light truck owners and combine those data with IntelliChoice’s cost of ownership rating methodology, provide a reliable guide for new car shoppers. “Automakers know that car buyers are looking for a vehicle that satisfies both their needs and emotional desires, and they want it at a great value,” said Eric Anderson, Director of Data Products for IntelliChoice. “Every Motorist Choice winner does just that by providing a strong long term value and great ownership satisfaction.”

Toyota Leads with 9 Winning Vehicles

Toyota, who had 6 winning vehicles last year, has the most wins again with 9 vehicles between the Toyota and Lexus brands. All 6 of Toyota’s winning vehicles from last year get repeat wins this year, while the Toyota Prius v HEV, Tacoma and Lexus GX 460 are new additions. “Toyota is really continuing to dominate and doing so across a broad spectrum of vehicle segments,” says Dan Hall, vice president of AutoPacific. Toyota has 3 winning vehicles in the car segments and 6 winning vehicles in the truck segments, expanding their MCA success from SUVs into trucks and minivans.

Winning vehicles came from 10 different brands and 8 different manufacturers. Trailing Toyota, but continuing to dominate in the full-size truck and large SUV segments, General Motors has 4 winning vehicles, 3 of which were winners last year; Honda has 3 wins, including the all-new Honda Civic; BMW and Subaru each have 2 wins; and Volvo, FCA and Mazda have 1 winning vehicle each.

Consistent Performances from 16 Vehicles

Of the 23 winning vehicles this year, 16 are repeats from 2015, spread across 9 brands. “With many vehicle awards we find that the list of winners changes year over year as newly designed vehicles enter the marketplace,” says Hall. “Continuing to perform strong in owner satisfaction and cost of ownership while in
the middle or end of the lifecycle speaks volumes about the importance of designing a vehicle with long-term owner satisfaction in mind.” Of those 16 repeat winners, 3 were all-new in 2015, 1 is all new for 2016, and the remaining repeat winners have lifecycles that extend as far back as 2007 (GMC Acadia).

The 2016 Motorist Choice Award Winners:

PASSENGER CARS:

Category Winner
Luxury Car BMW 5-Series
Aspirational Luxury Car Volvo XC70
Large Car Toyota Avalon HEV
Luxury Mid-Size Car Lexus ES 350
Mid-Size Car Subaru Legacy
Premium Compact Car Lexus CT 200h
Compact Car Honda Civic
Economy Car Honda Fit
Sports Car Mazda MX-5
Sporty Car Dodge Challenger

LIGHT DUTY TRUCKS:

Category Winner
Premium Luxury Crossover SUV BMW X5
Luxury Crossover SUV Lexus RX
Large Crossover SUV GMC Acadia
Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV Toyota Highlander
Mid-Size Crossover SUV Honda CR-V
Compact Crossover SUV Subaru Crosstrek
Luxury SUV Lexus GX 460
Large SUV Chevrolet Tahoe
Mid-Size SUV Toyota 4Runner
Heavy-duty Pickup GMC Sierra HD
Light-duty Pickup GMC Sierra 1500
Compact Pickup Toyota Tacoma
Minivan Toyota Prius v HEV

Each year, AutoPacific performs the broadest and most widely followed vehicle satisfaction survey in the U.S. This results in consumer feedback from more than 66,000 new vehicle buyers on a recently purchased model year 2016 vehicle. Using 50 key attributes covering the entire ownership experience, AutoPacific calculates overall vehicle satisfaction for individual models and vehicle segments and announces its annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSA) based on the findings.

Concurrently, IntelliChoice constantly monitors and updates the cost of ownership metrics for more than 2,000 model trim lines to give valuable insight into the financial impact of ownership over a five year period. This analysis is the foundation of the IntelliChoice Best Overall Value of the Year (BOVY) awards, announced each January.

The Motorist Choice Awards combine complementary analyses from both firms into one set of accolades representing vehicles that earn high marks on both sets of criteria. This methodology provides a superior means of evaluating “Best in Class” vehicles that align consumer shopping patterns with probability for both satisfaction and value.

For more details on these categories and the winning vehicles, please visit http://www.IntelliChoice.com and http://www.AutoPacific.com.

About AutoPacific:
AutoPacific is a future-oriented automotive marketing and product-consulting firm. Every year AutoPacific publishes a wide variety of syndicated studies on the automotive industry. The firm also conducts extensive proprietary research and consulting for auto manufacturers, distributors, marketers and suppliers worldwide. Company headquarters and its state-of-the-art automotive research facility are in Tustin, California, with an affiliate office in the Detroit area. Since 1986, AutoPacific has provided innovative, methodologically sound, strongly implemented research in addition to expert automotive analysis. AutoPacific is nationally known for its annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards and Ideal Vehicle Awards. Additional information can be found on AutoPacific’s websites: http://www.autopacific.com and http://www.vehiclevoice.com.

About IntelliChoice:

IntelliChoice, part of the Motor Trend Automotive Group, is the market leader in automotive ownership cost and car values analysis. Founded in 1986, IntelliChoice is committed to empowering consumers to make better purchase decisions by providing independent and essential automotive information and tools. Through the motortrend.com website, consumers can research, compare and price new cars and the cost of ownership.  Motor Trend Automotive Group is an operating division of TEN: The Enthusiast Network, the world’s premier transmedia network of enthusiast brands.

About TEN: The Enthusiast Network:

TEN: The Enthusiast Network is the world’s premier transmedia network of enthusiast brands, such as MOTOR TREND, AUTOMOBILE, HOT ROD, SURFER, TRANSWORLD SKATEBOARDING, and GRINDTV. With more than 60 websites, 50 publications, 50 annual events, the Motor Trend OnDemand subscription video-on-demand service, as well as the world’s largest automotive and action/adventure sports media platforms, TEN inspires enthusiasts to pursue their passions. For more information, visit enthusiastnetwork.com.


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Why Connect Your Phone To Your Car Stereo

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Honestly now, who pays attention to the type of cup holder or tablet support a car has when interested in getting a new one? All you can think of now is how strong the engine is or if you can use an auto-pilot highway cruising system. But you will eventually want to be able to listen to music or your favorite audio books – so here’s a reason to want to connect your phone to your car stereo using an USB or aftermarket stereo. But…

 

Why Use A Phone Inside Your Car

Besides the previously mentioned reasons, if you’re a serious business man, chances are you will want to keep track of everything going on with your projects. And one way of doing this is by picking up the phone and making calls even when you are on the highway. But because driving and using your cell phone don’t go work together according to the law, one solution is to make hands-free calls. This way, when a customer calls, you can pick up; if your marketing is efficient, calls should be coming in 24/7. And to really learn which advertising channels generate the largest number of calls – and which of them result into new clients and sales – use the call tracking service provided by AddSource. You will get to find out important details such as the tracking of your call quantity, the duration of each call, the date and time of the calls, as well as the number of calls that have been answered or dropped (always bad for business, so look into that stereo built-in Bluetooth option for your car). You will also receive reports of the numbers, destinations, advertising sources and geographical locations of the callers and figure out ways to improve your marketing. The AddSource solutions will enable you to save calls, turn them into the mp3 audio format and listen to your most important calls while driving on the highway.

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Self-censoring of artists

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One thing that every artist worries about is self-censoring their creations. There’s nothing worse than hours of painstaking work having to be taken down or covered because there’s a threat of someone being upset or it being deemed inappropriate.

In the last few years self-censorship has been on the rise within the art community and it’s oddly ironic that a medium that’s supposed to be about self-expression is being limited in such a way.

But why exactly do so many artists have to self-censor themselves in such a way?

Well according to the Director of the Tate Galleries, Sir Nicholas Serota, these artists are taking it upon themselves to cut their work down in order to avoid upsetting their sponsors or the media which could in turn see them losing their sponsorship or worse.

For some artists unless they self-censor they run the chance of having their reputation dragged through the mud so that they can never showcase another piece again.

According to Chinese artist Ai Weiwei the main tool to encourage an artist to self-censor is intimidation as he said in an essay: “Censorship and self-censorship act together in this society to ensure that independent thinking and creativity cannot exist without bowing to authority.”

For example Weiwei regularly has threats of imprisonment from the Chinese Government when he creates an art installation. This has led to either crafting it under a pseudonym or outright removing his art from a show that he spent weeks on.

Then there’s the women artists in Iran who are being threatened with legal action if anything they paint is un-Islamic, for example women not wearing veils or impressionist nudes, so they have to limit what they can actually paint.

In reality we can’t do anything about this. Censorship is part and parcel of our society; it’s always a vocal minority that sways the vote towards banning something in case it causes public outrage or upsets someone.

Trying to change what is considered offensive and inoffensive, especially in art, is quite a minefield. It isn’t as difficult to decide as say something like finding the best bingo site as that’s fairly straight forward, but with art there are a lot of shades of grey as one person’s masterpiece is another’s monstrosity.

Going by current trends it seems that self-censorship in the world of art is on the rise and if it starts to play an even bigger part in our lives it will be detrimental to us all as we won’t be able to experience fine works or be inspired to create our own masterpieces.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Freshening

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USA sale of the 2014 Mercedes Sprinter will begin on September 1, 2013 via 218 dealers in the USA.  161 are Mercedes Benz dealers and the remainder is Freightliner dealers.  About 80% of the 20,969 Sprinters sold in the USA in 2012 were Mercedes.  The only difference between the Mercedes and Freightliner is the grille texture and badging.  Prices are the same.


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Manual or Automatic Transmission? What Enthusiasts Prefer to Drive

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Whizzing around tight corners, while rapidly shifting the gears of a manual transmission is exhilarating! However, reality dictates that I spend most of my driving time mindlessly crawling through rush-hour traffic, so the thought of constantly burying my leg into a clutch while shifting from 2nd to 3rd back to 2nd every five seconds has made me think twice about buying a car with a manual transmission. Driving an automatic now-a-days just seems more convenient for day-to-day driving. And apparently I am not alone here.

VehicleVoice recently surveyed its panel to find out how much of the vehicle-driving population still drives a manual transmission. Looking specifically at enthusiasts (after all, aren’t they primarily the ones driving a stick shift?), the data reveals that, despite a significant portion of our sample claiming stick-shift know-how (89%), only a fraction of them (24%) are actually driving one today.


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2013 Fiat 500e

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Some naysayers are already preparing their eulogies for the electric car. They say that have failed. They say that consumers don’t want them. They say the market’s not ready for them. Our view?  To date, they’ve been a tough sell, but there’s some real progress being made. We’re not ready to start cuing Mozart’s Requiem just yet.

Consider if you will the new Fiat 500e, the Italian brand’s new entry into the electric car segment.  It’s great to look at. It’s fun to drive. It’s quick. It’s well equipped with lots of features. And the whole package incorporates some very convincing and innovative motivators to consider one.

From our point of view, there are two major reasons why electric cars haven’t taken off yet. One is price. Electric cars cost far more than their gasoline powered counterparts. The other is range anxiety. Consumers are (rightly) concerned that electric cars won’t get them where they need to go and that they could be left stranded, with no backup in sight.


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The Little Engines That Could

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Silence is Golden in Slick New VW Jetta Hybrid

There are three key parts to making a successful hybrid…1) great performance, 2) a smooth powertrain, and 3) outstanding fuel economy. VW has done it all and more with their “Serene Hybridness” – the new top of the line 2013 Jetta, the slick and sophisticated Hybrid (starting at $24,995).

By now, most of you know the current generation Jetta…larger car…lower price, with more mainstream appeal than the earlier forays into sports sedan territory. To create the Hybrid, VW started with the new Jetta and added the independent rear suspension and soft touch interior from the Jetta GLI (yes, the “real” Jetta for you sports sedan holdovers). So, we know it feels good to your hands and the road feels comfortable to your bottoms, even when the pavement gets rough. To the naked eye, other than very subtle badging, it looks just like a Jetta.

But, then, the VW engineers (and perhaps some Black Forest wizards as well) came along and added a compact powertrain unit comprised of a 1.4 liter 4 cylinder turbo (150hp/184ft-lb torque) and a 27 hp electric motor, producing a combined output of 170hp and 184 ft-lb through an industry-first, very smooth 7 speed dual clutch automatic gearbox. Those are the numbers…so how does it work? After over 125 miles of highways and 2 lane hills and curves, it works somewhere north of wonderful. This powertrain is silky, free-revving, responsive, quiet, and I dare anyone to hear or feel the transition point between gas and electric operation. You can see it on one of the most clear and easy to understand hybrid system gauges…but the transition is absolutely seamless and soundless. With added insulation and new structural improvements, this is an amazingly quiet vehicle inside. One rest stop short of the end of the drive my overall fuel economy was 47.1 mpg…a tenth better than the VW spec. Then, I got on it harder on the highway, where the electric motor is just along for the ride, and managed to drop it only to 45.2.

The Jetta Hybrid interior is well crafted and maintains a Teutonic look, even as it provides comfort for a wider range of Americans. The seats are firm and supportive in all the right places. The driving experience is biased toward comfort and the smooth, quiet engine is well matched with the softer, but well controlled ride. Steering efforts are well chosen, but I’d prefer more feel/feedback and more response on-center from the electric steering system, but I’d also want that wrapped in a GLI to go hunting for traffic circles. Most buyers may feel quite comfortable as is.

The hybrid wars are heating up, with major entries in different body styles from Europe, Asia, and North America launching every year. For the mainstream buyer who enjoys VW’s German engineering, and is seeking a comfortable and responsive hybrid sedan in the small to midsize range, the new Jetta Hybrid is a delightful answer right now.

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2013 Buick Enclave and Verano Turbo Deliver Style and Power

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There was once a time when Buick was synonymous with stodginess—an aging automotive brand out of touch with contemporary luxury car buyers. Then came the Buick Enclave for 2008 model year, a premium mid-size crossover that gave birth to a more exciting, redesigned Buick, providing styling cues that today’s luxury customers demand. So has been the theme of recent Buick entries and revivals, including its latest premium compact entrant, the Buick Verano. And for 2013 model year, Buick has made notable improvements to both Verano and Enclave.


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2012 BMW M6 Convertible: 4,508 Pounds of Rocket (Rocket Fuel Not Required)

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BMW opted to bring back their M6 Convertible for 2012, and as expected, it offers up more horsepower, better looks, and increased fuel economy.


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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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