Award Winner Gets Major Changes After Only Three Years The 2012 Grand Cherokee has been arguably the best affordable “real” SUV on the market since the latest generation was launched for the 2011 model year. The Grand Cherokee was so good that its owners rated it higher enough against its competition to win AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award in 2011 and 2012 AND AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award in 2011 and 2012! This sweep in these tough-to-win owner awards is testament to the excellence of the Grand Cherokee.
Developed in Time of Hardship The 2011 Grand Cherokee was developed during the dark days of the reign of Cerberus Capital Management. Their ownership of Chrysler steered the firm to the bankruptcy courts and a bailout by the U.S. and Canadian government, UAW and CAW. Ultimately, Fiat took control of Chrysler and Jeep and the firm is now prospering. It is surprising that under the eyes of Cerberus, the 2011 Grand Cherokee turned out to be such a good vehicle.
Best Gets Better Like other Chrysler products (Chrysler 300, Chrysler 200, Dodge Charger, Ram 1500), Jeep’s product team has reinvigorated the vehicle but mostly under the skin. The front fascia is new. Taillamps are new. A couple of wheel designs are new. And the interiors are new and much more upscale. Grand Cherokee gets Chrysler’s latest iteration of its excellent and easy to use UConnect system. Gone is the 5-speed automatic transmission replaced by a silky smooth 8-speed unit. A 240HP 3.0L V6 diesel is available for the first time. So, the Grand Cherokee is a substantially upgraded version of the 2011 vehicle. And it works!
Best in Class 2012 Aspirational Luxury Car: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award
The top satisfying car in the Aspirational Luxury Car Class for 2012 is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The C-Class wins not by achieving top scores in many categories in AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award research, but by having a solid performance in most. It is top rated in only one category, Cupholder Design and Size. While this may seem very minor, it is rare for a German vehicle to even think of having a good cupholder. With a possible high score of 5.0 on each of 48 characteristics, owners of the C-Class rated the car 4.7 or higher on several, including: Overall Satisfaction, Vehicle’s Reputation, Brand’s Reputation, Exterior Color, Exterior Styling, Fun to Drive, Reliable/Dependable, Feeling Safe While Driving, Safety Features, and Overall Quality. The lowest satisfaction from owners of the C-Class were in fuel economy, rear seat comfort, cargo capacity and flexible seating.
Best In Class 2012 Luxury Mid-Size Car: Lincoln MKZ
2012 Lincoln MKZ Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award
The top satisfying Luxury Mid-Size Car is the Lincoln MKZ for the second year in a row. The owners of the MKZ gave the car top scores in 11 of 48 attributes contributing to AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award research. The Lincoln MKZ is the top satisfying car in its class in Rear Seat Comfort, Exterior Color, Braking, Ride, Quietness, Interior Lighting, Infotainment Technology (MyLincoln Touch), Dealership Experience, Use of Recyclable Materials (using soy-based seat foam), Collision Avoidance Technology and Warranty. With a possible high rating of 5.0 on each of 48 characteristics, owners of the MKZ rated the car at 4.6 or higher on several, including: Overall Satisfaction, Exterior Size, Vehicle’s Reputation, Brand’s Reputation, Exterior Color, Handling, Ride, Feeling Safe While Driving, and Overall Quality. Owners were least satisfied with Fuel Economy and Driving Range.
The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi was the overall winner in this year’s AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award rankings among 2010MY vehicles, meaning that it not only was best in its mid-size car segment, but was more satisfying to its owners than any other 2010 model year vehicle on the market. Yes, more satisfying than Camry, Accord, or Altima. Heck, it was rated as more satisfying by its owners than Lexus LS460, for crying out loud!
Fending off import competition from Volkswagen and Mitsubishi and domestic competition from Chrysler and GM, the Ford Fusion pulled through a win in the Mid-Size Car segment. The Fusion took top marks for its combination of size, safety, and comfort. Leading characteristics include:
• Safety features, which give Ford Fusion owners a strong feeling of safety while driving
• Interior package was applauded for driver’s seat comfort, storage/compartments, quietness inside the vehicle, instrument layout and audio system performance
• Exterior size
AutoPacific has announced the results of its 2007 model year vehicle satisfaction research. AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award (VSA) is an industry benchmark for objectively measuring how satisfied an owner is with their new car or light truck.
The top ranked brand this year is Infiniti, winner of a close shoot-out between Infiniti, Lincoln, Cadillac and Lexus. The top ranked vehicle and top ranked car is the Cadillac DTS. The top ranked truck is the all-new Lincoln MKX. The Ford Edge also won its category giving Ford’s new Crossover SUVs an impressive outing.
Of twenty-eight vehicles receiving awards (there were three ties among our twenty-five categories), twelve were new this year. Of thirteen car winners three were from Detroit Three brands, seven were Japanese or Korean, three were European. Of the fifteen truck winners, seven were from the Detroit Three and the remaining eight were from Japanese or Korean marques.
GM and Toyota won six awards apiece. Ford Motor Company won five. Hyundai and Nissan won three apiece and Honda won two. No vehicle from DaimlerChrysler (Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler Group) was ranked at the top of a category.
AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction measurement is more valid than counting things gone wrong. How well a buyer is satisfied with the vehicle is the true test of how the product has been designed, engineered and manufactured. Often times, the most satisfying vehicle is the one with the most personality, not the one that is screwed together the best.
“Infiniti wins the Vehicle Satisfaction Award as the top brand in the closest race in years. Strong satisfaction performance by Infiniti cars and trucks has Infiniti winning over strong performances by Lincoln, Cadillac, Lexus and other luxury marques,” says AutoPacific president George Peterson. “The dual wins by Ford Motor Company’s new Crossover SUVs – the Lincoln MKX and Ford Edge – shows Ford was on target when developing these important new vehicles.”
Peterson continues, “The Cadillac DTS is the highest rated car and vehicle overall. The Hyundai Santa Fe was the first Korean vehicle to win AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award – in 2001 – and continues its strong performance for the sixth year in a row. Winning an AutoPacific VSA is testament for any vehicle that their owners are confident they have made the right choice.”
2007 Vehicle Satisfaction Award Winners
Premium Luxury Car: Lexus LS/BMW 7-Series
Aspirational Luxury Car: Jaguar X-Type
Large Luxury Car: Cadillac DTS
Large Car: Hyundai Azera/Toyota Avalon
Luxury Mid-Size Car: Nissan Maxima
Premium Mid-Size Car: Nissan Altima
Mid-Size Car: Saturn Aura
Image Compact Car: Audi A3
Compact Car: Pontiac G5
Economy Car: Honda Fit
Premium Sports Car: Lexus SC
Sports Car: Porsche Boxster
Sporty Car: Scion tC
Large Light-Duty Pickup: Chevrolet Silverado
Large Heavy-Duty Pickup: Chevrolet Silverado HD
Compact Pickup: Ford Explorer Sport Trac
Luxury Sport Utility: Lincoln Navigator
Large Sport Utility: GMC Yukon XL
Mid-Size Sport Utility: Toyota 4Runner
Compact SUV/Off-Road Vehicle: Toyota FJ Cruiser
Luxury Crossover SUV: Lincoln MKX
Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV: Ford Edge/Hyundai Santa Fe
Mid-Size Crossover SUV: Honda CR-V
Compact Crossover SUV: Hyundai Tucson
Minivan : Nissan Quest
In addition to identifying category winners, VSA also establishes numerical satisfaction ratings for virtually every passenger car and light truck in the North American market. Owner satisfaction is measured across 46 specific areas related to a vehicle’s operation, comfort, safety and the overall purchase/lease experience. The 2007 ratings reflect input from buyers and lessees of new vehicles acquired September through December 2006.
In its first year out, the all-new Volkswagen Passat
has established itself as an extremely satisfying Premium Mid-Size sedan winning the AutoPacific
2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award. Passat handily beat segment volume leaders Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata. Passat wins by virtue of its outstanding interior design, use of high touch materials and European driving dynamics.
The all-new Mercury Milan
is a clear winner among Mid-Size competition in the AutoPacific
2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. Combining excellent style, good size and roominess, sporty ride and handling, the Milan provides its owners with a very satisfying experience. Proving the excellence of the Ford CD vehicles – Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln Zephyr – all did very well in their segments.