Automotive Awards:

Toyota and Lexus dominate the 2016 Motorist Choice Awards



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:


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


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 and

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: and

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 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

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How Important are Automotive Awards?


In the first week of June 2007, VehicleVoice conducted a survey on the impact of awards among over 1,200 VehicleVoice panel members. VehicleVoice is dedicated to tracking this story over time. We feel that our panel members and auto consumers in general deserve the right to the best possible information when they make important decisions regarding the purchase of a new vehicle.
Awards have become a very important component of manufacturer communications to prospective buyers. The idea is that an award or accolade will help get a specific car in the buyers’ consideration set. If a vehicle wins an award will a prospect be more likely to pay attention to the vehicle and then consider it? Well, we ventured out among our panel to learn the answer.
One thing that has never been publicly divulged until now is whether or not buyers actually pay attention to messages using awards as a component of the communication. Based on the results of the VehicleVoice survey, we conclude that awards DO MATTER. While a person might not admit they were influenced by an award, they will admit that they pay attention to them. Which ones do they pay attention to?

Awards Survey Chart.jpg

Awards Have More Impact Than Simple Advertising
Awards are rated stronger than advertising in capturing the attention of the prospective buyer. Among three award categories – awards based on safety ratings, awards based on owner ratings and awards given by enthusiast magazines – all are rated more impactful than advertising on television, in a magazine, direct mail, in a newspaper, on the radio.
Awards Based Safety Ratings Very Powerful
Awards by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Adminstration, i.e. the GOVERNMENT – are extremely powerful. Almost 90% of the respondents indicate that they pay attention to NHTSA Five Star Safety Ratings. A much smaller, but still significant, 67% say they pay attention to ratings by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ratings.
So, safety sells among knowledgeable car owners.
Awards Based on Owner Ratings Have Substantial Impact
Almost as important as safety ratings are owner ratings collected by objective third parties like Consumer Reports, J.D. Power & Associates, AutoPacific, IntelliChoice and Strategic Vision. Consumer Reports is a well-known non-profit consumer magazine that does not allow advertising in the magazine or to use its name in advertising. Power, AutoPacific and Strategic Vision are consumer research companies that collect objective ratings from owners. Each has a different perspective on what consumer information is most powerful. IntelliChoice uses analysis of cost of ownership data to develop scores that show which vehicles are the best values. AutoPacific and IntelliChoice team up once a year to develop an award that combines aspects of both their approaches. Automakers pay fees of varying amounts to use attributions from Power, AutoPacific, Strategic Vision and IntelliChoice in their advertising.
Among the owner-based awards, Consumer Reports’ Top Picks awards are the strongest with almost 80% of the respondents saying they pay attention to the results. J.D.Power has been in the consumer’s eyes longer than the other research companies with about 50% paying attention to some Power award. AutoPacific awards are somewhat behind Power but ahead of Strategic Vision. A manager of a large manufacturer website admitted that whenever she could use an owner-based award on her site, visits spiked substantially.
Magazine Awards Less Important Than Safety or Owner Awards, Ties With TV Advertising
We have all grown up with the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award. Just about every enthusiast magazine has an award of some type. They usually are based on tests by journalists from the magazine. Some are more comprehensive than others. A few just get the editors and journalists together to select the cars and trucks they like best that year. While most have a strong basis in objective engineering-oriented tests, there often is a very subjective tie-breaker not found in the awards based on owner ratings.
Among the magazine awards, Car & Driver’s Ten Best Award is paid attention to by 74% of the respondents followed by Motor Trend by 59%.
Advertising Falls Away Quickly – Awards Help Its Impact
In a result that some communications outlets will not like, VehicleVoice respondents are less likely to pay attention to advertising on television, in a magazine, direct mail, in a newspaper or on the radio. This implies that advertising that also includes an award attribution may be more strongly received than advertising lacking the objective results of a safety-based or owner-based award.

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