AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Awards:

AutoPacific 2016 Ideal Vehicle Award

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AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle AwardAutoPacific surveys new car and light truck buyers annually to determine how satisfied they are with their vehicle and what changes they want made.  Based on this owner research, AutoPacific calculates the vehicles that owners want changed the least.  The people who have purchased the vehicle are the people it was designed for.  The data result in the AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Award.  Every year there are some results that stand out.  The 2016 awards are no different.  Here are some highlights:

•  The top brand overall is Tesla – a one car brand at the time of the research, but that one car is on target with its buyers.  The Tesla Model S is the top ranked Luxury Car.

•  The top popular brand is GMC – for the third year in a row.

•  The most ideal vehicle, overall, is the Volvo XC70.

•  Subaru swept the crossover SUV categories in which it competes with the Outback winning the Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV category, the Forester winning the Mid-Size SUV category and the Crosstrek winning the Compact Crossover SUV category.  That is a very impressive sweep.

Multiple year winners include:

•  Jeep Grand Cherokee – winning the last six years in a row

•  Volkswagen Golf – winning the last three years in a row and six of the last ten years

•  Chevrolet Colorado – for the second year in a row

•  Subaru Outback – for the second year in a row

•  Subaru Forester – for the second year in a row

That Tesla has won so early in its lifetime is a testament to its planning, design and engineering teams.  Maybe Tesla does not have the bureaucracy that bogs down bigger companies and allows it to effectively target the affluent buyers of its first vehicle.

Jeep has been fine-tuning the Grand Cherokee since the early 1990s.  The fact that it has won the Ideal Vehicle Award for six years in a row shows that Jeep really does know what Grand Cherokee owners want.

The string of Ideal Vehicle Awards won by the Volkswagen Golf over the past ten years is impressive.

Finally, Subaru has solved the equation of successful small and mid-size crossover SUVs.  Subaru sales have been steadily increasing and the Ideal Vehicle Award wins show the company understands crossover SUVs.  Of course their “LOVE” advertising and dog-centric messages don’t hurt either.


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Audi Freshens 2012 A4 Ideal Vehicle Award Winners and Adds 2013 Allroad

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Audi has launched five models from its 2013 B8 platform – the A4, S4, A5, S5 and Allroad.  The B8 is a mild mid-cycle freshening of Audi’s line of compact sport sedans.  But first to the awards…

Audi A4 Wins AutoPacific 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award: Over one-third of new car and light truck buyers are influenced by awards their vehicle has won.  Owner-based awards are more valuable than most.  For the 2012 model year – the B7 platform – Audi swept AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Awards for the Aspirational Luxury Car Category.  Not only was the A4 the most ideal Aspirational Luxury Car as rated by its owners, the A5 was in second place and the next-step-up A6 was in third place in the category.  These are significant achievements.

In AutoPacific’s IVA research, 25% of A4 owners want more power and acceleration.  About 23% want more passenger room, 21% want easier ingress/ingress and 19% want more daring styling.

A4/S4/A5/S5 Evolve Very Nicely, Thank You: So, the question is whether or not the new 2013 cars have hit their target market as well as their recent predecessors, and do they offset the shortfalls mentioned above?  After a drive of the cars in Colorado during fire season, we can safely say the 2013 versions are equal to or better than the class-winners they replace.

The basic dimensions of the 2013 cars are identical to the 2012 cars.  The styling of the sedans and coupe is very evolutionary with minor styling changes.  Think of the exterior styling change as a moderate “front six inches” with new grille shape, headlamps and front fascia.  The grille has evolved with a more trapezoidal look.   Audi took advantage of this freshening to re-design its LED-accented headlamps and taillamps.  These cues have become a distinguishing Audi design feature. So, Audi did not push the styling envelope with this facelift but remained safe.  (About 80% of A4 owners find the styling of the 2012 model ideal).

The interior of the cars remains an outstanding reason to buy.  Great fit and finish combined with excellent materials selection.   There is a new three-spoke steering wheel, revised instrument cluster and Audi connect with Audi’s controller-based MMI Navigation system is ordered.

Just a Brief Note on Touchscreens and Controllers: The auto industry is all over the place relative to touchscreen navigation systems or controller-based nav-systems.  Audi (MMI), BMW (iDrive), and Mercedes (COMAND) have continued with controller-based systems as have others.  Many mainstream brands continue with touchscreens or have moved to them after wrestling with controller logic.  Oddly, Volkswagen and Porsche – VWAG family members – both use touchscreen systems now.  Volkswagen used a touchscreen and Porsche has moved from a controller-based system to a touchscreen.  Audi engineers say “you will never see a touchscreen in an Audi”.  They don’t like the fingerprints.  So, inside VWAG, the engineers have agreed to disagree.

New Allroad is the Big News: The big news for the B8 launch is the re-launch of the Audi Allroad.  The previous Allroad (1999-2005) was based on the larger Audi A6 and looked more aggressively off-road capable than the 2013 version based on the smaller B8-platform A4.  The Allroad replaces the slow selling Avant wagon in the American lineup with the body of the Avant tweaked to appear off-road capable.  Its ride-height is increased by 1.5-inches.   The expected wheel arch trim is there as are the front- and rear-skid plates.  A roof rack completes the appearance package.

Powertrains Essentially Carryover and Still Outstanding: The B8s are powered by a 211HP 2.0L turbocharged direct-injection 4-cylinder engine.  With Audi’s Quattro all wheel drive system, the 4-cylinder turbo is mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission or 8-speed automatic transmission.  If you select a front wheel drive S4, you get a CVT.  This 4-cylinder turbo engine has always been a delight to drive and is one of the world’s best-regarded engines.

If you want more oomph in the A4 and A5, move up to the V6-powered S4 and S5.  With the S4 and S5 you get a 3.0L supercharged direct-injection V6 engine with 333-horsepower.  Quattro is standard in the S4 and S5.  While the A4 is no slouch on the road or in the mountains, The S-Cars provide effortless performance in any situation.  This engine choice lets you think about a place in traffic you want to be and then without knowing it, you are miraculously there.

So, all in all, the Audi B8 experience is about what you would expect.  Great cars with evolutionary styling, super finesse and outstanding powertrains.


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2009 Chevrolet Traverse Wins AutoPacific 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award

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ChvTraverse_IVA.jpg“The all-new Chevrolet Traverse delivers what its owners want, evidenced by the Large Crossover SUV winning AutoPacific’s 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award for its class,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, Inc. “Owners rate the Traverse best in class in five of fifteen rating categories and very competitively in the others. Clearly Chevrolet understands what the Crossover SUV buyer wants and has designed the Traverse to hit that target.” Leading Traverse attributes include:
* Power and acceleration
* Interior storage
* Safety features and
* Appropriate level of technology


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2009 Ford F-150 Wins AutoPacific 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award

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“The all new Ford F-150 wins AutoPacific’s 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award for Full-Size Pickups. F-150 owners are also most likely to recommend their truck to friends or relatives — an indication of how confident they are with their truck,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, Inc. “Ford has been perfecting the half-ton pickup for decades and the latest generation of F-150 shows that Ford has not slipped. They understand the pickup buyer more than anyone and they deliver.” Leading characteristics include:
* Exterior styling
* Passenger room
* Technology level
* Handling09F150_KR_78FrtPs_IVA.jpg


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2009 Ford Explorer Wins AutoPacific 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award

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2009_FordExplorer_IVA.jpg“Ford Explorer’s win of AutoPacific’s 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award shows that Ford has designed a Premium Mid-Size Sport Utility Vehicle that is ideal for its buyers. Explorer also won AutoPacific’s 2009 Vehicle Satisfaction Award. The Explorer has been a top competitor in this class for almost twenty years and Ford has become a master in SUV design. Ford clearly understands what these buyers want and have delivered,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, Inc. “In a product segment where buyers value ease of use, generous passenger and cargo space in a good-looking vehicle, owners rate the Explorer above all the rest.” Top-scoring Explorer attributes include:
* Exterior styling
* Ride and handling
* Cargo space


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2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Wins AutoPacific 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award

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“The Ford Explorer Sport Trac — a four-door sport-utility truck — wins AutoPacific’s 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award in the Compact Pickup category. Sport Trac owners give their truck especially high marks exterior size and interior roominess,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, Inc. “With the second-generation Sport Truck, Ford shows they clearly understand what this buyer wants — the ratings prove it.” Leading Sport Trac attributes include:
* Power and acceleration
* Exterior size
* Visibility
* Ease of entry/egress
2009_FordExplorerSportTrac_IVA.jpg


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2009 Honda Odyssey Wins AutoPacific 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award

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2009_Odyssey_205_IVA.jpg“The Honda Odyssey wins AutoPacific’s 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award achieving the highest IVA score of any vehicle measured. Odyssey not only is the highest rated minivan, but also the highest rated vehicle!” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, Inc. “Owners rate the Odyssey best-in-class in seven of fifteen rating categories and very competitive in the others. Clearly Honda understands what the Minivan buyer wants and have designed the Odyssey to hit that target.” Top-scoring Odyssey characteristics include:
* Exterior size
* Passenger room
* Cargo room
* Both ride and handing
* Power and acceleration
* Safety features


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2009 Jeep Liberty Wins AutoPacific 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award

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2009_JeepLiberty_a_IVA.jpg“The Jeep Liberty wins AutoPacific’s 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award for Mid-Size Sport Utility Vehicles. Liberty owners also rated the Liberty tops in AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award research this year. This is an outstanding achievement,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, Inc. “Jeep has been in the SUV business longer than most everybody. They know how to design a great Jeep.” Among the Liberty’s leading attributes are:
* Handling
* Safety features
* Technology level
* Interior lighting
* Wheels and tires


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2009 Kia Sportage Wins AutoPacific 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award

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2009_KiaSportage_IVA.jpg“The Kia Sportage delivers what its owners want, winning AutoPacific’s 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award in the Compact Crossover SUV segment. While winning the Ideal Vehicle Award is a big deal, Sportage also won AutoPacific’s 2009 Vehicle Satisfaction Award. Since both awards are based on owner ratings, this is definitely an outstanding achievement,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, Inc. The Sportage scored particularly well in the following areas:
* Exterior styling
* Handling
* Visibility
* Interior lighting


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2009 Lincoln Navigator Wins AutoPacific 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award

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09Navi_L_7-8Frnt_HR_IVA.jpg“Lincoln started the Luxury Sport Utility category in 1997 with the launch of the first-generation Navigator. The current Navigator’s 2009 AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Award win shows that Lincoln has continued to learn what their buyers want and are delivering it,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, Inc. “In a product segment where buyers value size, glitz and function, Navigator excels.” Areas in which the Navigator scored particularly well include:
* Ease of entry/egress
* Handling
* Exterior styling


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