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.