Ideal Vehicle Award:
The 2017 Honda CR-V goes on sale in December 2016. It’s predecessor, the fourth-generation 2016 Honda CR-V, is on track to sell about 380,000 crossover SUVs in 2016. It is the highest volume crossover SUV and one of the top selling vehicles in the market. In AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award Research the CR-V achieved a score of 690. This is a fourth place showing in the Mid-Size Crossover SUV segment. Nissan Rogue (712), Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester place ahead of the 2016 CR-V. In AutoPacific’s 2016 Ideal Vehicle Award Research the CR-V was tied with Rogue in third place (1134 points). The class leading Subaru Forester (1175) and Mazda CX-5 scored higher.
Each year, AutoPacific surveys new car and light truck buyers to determine what changes they want in their vehicle. It is particularly interesting to compare the changes that owners want to their vehicle when it is just about to be replaced by the next generation. Also, AutoPacific’s research can be measuring stick on how well a manufacturer’s product planners, engineers and designers understand their customers. Using AutoPacific’s research to determine what changes people wanted in their CR-V, let’s see how well Honda did with their update.
Source: AutoPacific – Radar Chart Showing Changes 2016 Honda CR-V Owners want Compared with Competition
Technology – Still a Challenge as With Most New Generation Vehicles: As with many vehicles these days, technology is a love it/hate it affair. About 25% of 2016 Honda CR-V owners want more advanced technology than now. About 30% want the technology they have to be easier to use. The 2016 CR-V has the HondaSensing suite of driver assistance technologies available. The 2017 version expands on that adding a blind spot information system to the affordable EX model. Technology is still an area that requires a great deal of work, and the 2017 Honda CR-V improves on its predecessor. About 25% of CR-V’s competitors want more advanced technology as well. Among competitors, about 34% of 2016 Ford Escape owners want easier to use technology.
Driver’s Seat Visibility – Excellent View: Visibility is a key component in the acceptance of new crossover SUVs. About 29% of 2016 Honda CR-V owners want better driver’s seat visibility compared with 27% for competition. The previous CR-V was very competitive, but AutoPacific concludes the fourth generation CR-V is better. The driver’s seating position is excellent. The hood has been redesigned with more character that gives the driver more reference points in front. Honda has always been generous with glass and it appears the windows are larger. The 2017 CR-V should see better results next year.
Power and Fuel Economy – Going Turbo: About 20% of 2016 Honda CR-V owners want more power and acceleration and about 10% would sacrifice power and acceleration for better fuel economy. About 29% of 2016 Nissan Rogue owners want more power and acceleration. The 2017 Honda CR-V adds a 190-horsepower turbocharged 1.5L 4-cylinder in all but the base LX model. The turbo 4 gets both better fuel economy and acceleration and feels sprightlier than its predecessor. 2017 results should be even better than 2016.
Ride and Handling – Improved Dynamics: About 20% of 2016 Honda CR-V owners want easier handing and a softer ride. This compares to just 14% of the owners of its primary competitors wanting easier handling and softer ride. Honda has improved the ride and handling giving the 2017 CR-V a solid ride with crisp sporty handling. It is not a pillow-soft ride by any means, but gives the confidence that the vehicle will do what the driver demands.
Passenger Roominess – More Rear Seat Room: About 20% of 2016 Honda CR-V owners want more passenger room. This compares with about 24% of competition (about 32% of Ford Escape owners want more passenger room). The 2017 Honda CR-V has 2.1-inches more rear seat legroom while increasing the overall length of the vehicle by 1.2 inches. The rear seat seems much more spacious and the 2017 Honda CR-V should fare even better in AutoPacific’s 2017 research.
Exterior Styling – More Distinctive – Upscale: Looking at the all new CR-V, the at-a-glance impression is “more of the same”. CR-V, however, adopts Honda’s more aggressive and distinctive front end design with a heavy dollop of chrome. The taillights are a blatant evolution of the 2016 CR-V. About 16% of 2016 CR-V owners want more distinctive styling. 23% of owners of the 2016 Ford Escape, for instance, want more distinctive styling. It is probably safe to say that the 2017 changes to the CR-V will move the needle towards the more distinctive area.
Cargo Area – Even Better: 2016 Honda CR-V owners are less likely to want more cargo space than the competition – 14% compared to 28%. The 2017 Honda CR-V adds almost 10-inches to the length of its cargo space. This makes the all-new CR-V even better than before and substantially better than each of its main competitors.
Overall: The 2017 Honda CR-V has incrementally improved in almost every area. The styling is more distinctive. The powertrain more responsive. The interior is larger within a vehicle that is no bigger than before. Combined with Honda’s outstanding ergonomics, the CR-V, as a product, should be able to sell at about capacity especially at the aggressive pricing Honda has adopted.
Competition does not stand still. The Ford Escape has a substantial upgrade for 2017. The Nissan Rogue is all new for 2017. The 2017 research will show which vehicle’s product development team understood its customers the best and executed the product for them.
General Motors is turning out some darn good cars these days and the 2014 Chevrolet Impala is a good example. The 2014 Chevrolet Impala is the highest scoring Large Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. The Impala designers, planners and engineers understood who the target buyer is and developed a vehicle that meets their requirements. The 2014 Impala beat out some very impressive competitors in the Large Car category, such as the Hyundai Azera, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus, Buick LaCrosse, and the Toyota Avalon. George Peterson, President of AutoPacific, says, “When we first saw the new Impala we were impressed with the car’s presence and top-notch execution. Clearly, Impala owners agree and give it AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award for 2014.”
Of the fifteen categories in the Ideal Vehicle questionnaire, the Chevrolet Impala led in five satisfaction categories and was within three percentage points of another three.
The top five highest ratings by 2014 Impala owners are: same exterior styling, same cargo space, same interior lighting, same passenger room, and the same wheels as now.
No vehicle is perfect. Impala owners would like to see better driver seat visibility, more power and acceleration, and simpler technology that is easier to use.
The 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid is the highest scoring Hybrid/EV Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. Ford’s product development team knew exactly what their target buyers want and designed the Fusion to meet those needs. The Fusion Hybrid is at the top of the list against a remarkable group of Hybrid/EV cars such as the Lincoln MKZ HEV, Honda Accord HEV-PHEV, Infiniti Q50 HEV, Volkswagen Jetta HEV, and the Lexus ES 300h.
Ford Fusion hybrid owners are satisfied with their vehicle and do not want it to be changed. Of the fifteen categories in the Ideal Vehicle question battery, the 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid led or tied in four categories and was within three percentage points of another two.
The top five highest ratings by Fusion HEV-PHEV owners are: same exterior styling, same tires, same riding/handling, same wheels, and the same seat fit as now.
Every vehicle has it flaws. Sixty percent of Ford Fusion HEV-PHEV owners would like more cargo space than they currently have. This is due to the hybrid battery pack taking precious trunk room. There is also a split in the information and entertainment technology – MyFordTouch, 16 percent want more advanced technology while 19 percent want simpler technology.
The sixth generation of the venerable Volkswagen Golf goes out with a bang. With the seventh gen Golf coming for the 2015 model year, the 2014 Volkswagen Golf is the highest scoring Compact Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. The Golf designers listened to what buyers wanted and gave them just that. The VW Golf beat out a very impressive group of compact cars such as the Volkswagen Jetta, Subaru Impreza, Fiat 500L, Kia Soul, and the Hyundai Elantra.
For over 85% of 2014 Golf owners the following characteristics are ideal: exterior size, interior lighting, passenger roominess, ride and handling, tires and wheels, exterior styling, and driver’s seat comfort.
There are several things Beetles owners would like changed. Over 21% of 2014 Volkswagen Golf owners want more advanced infotainment and entertainment systems. This is offset by 15% who want the systems to be simpler and easier to use. About 18% of the owners want more cargo room. 25% of Golf owners want the car to be easier to get into and out of.
The 2014 BMW 3-Series GT is the highest scoring Aspirational Luxury Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. The planners at BMW have decided that a sub-niche strategy is good and have developed the “Gran Turismo” version of their venerable 3-Series. The designers and engineers have developed a product that provides owners with 3-Series goodness combined with wagon utility. The 3-Series GT is at the top against some very impressive aspirational luxury cars such as the Audi A5, Audi A4, Volvo XC70, BMW 1-Series, and the Hyundai Genesis. The 2014 3-Series GT also won AutoPacific’s 2014 Vehicle Satisfaction Award. Winning both awards in one confirms that the 3-Series Gran Turismo is a very special car. George Peterson, President of AutoPacific, concludes: “BMW is sub-niching the market with different bodystyles to appeal to a narrower and narrower group of buyers. With the 3-Series Gran Turismo they have provided a very satisfying product that hits the target buyers’ requirements precisely.”
Of the fifteen categories in the Ideal Vehicle survey, the 2014 BMW 3-Series GT leads or ties in four satisfaction categories and was within three percentage points of another three.
The top five highest ratings by 3-Series GT owners are: same exterior size, same passenger room, same tires, same wheels, and the same cargo space. These results confirm that the Gran Turismo buyers, specifically, appreciate the spaciousness and utility the GT bodystyle gives them.
Although the 3-Series GT is at the top there are several things owners would change. Owners would like different interior lighting, have better visibility, a more snug driver seat, more or better interior storage compartments and a different information and technology center.
There is a story to be told with the information and entertainment system. BMW was one of the first to implement the Human Machine Interface (HMI) – or iDrive system. They have continually struggled with their HMI system. While iDrive has improved substantially over the years, for this year seventeen percent of 3-Series GT owners want a more advanced system while twenty-two percent want a simpler one. BMW still has a way to go with their HMI system.
In the last year of this generation, the 2014 Ford Mustang is the highest scoring Sporty Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. For a car getting long in the tooth, the fact that its owners rate the car so strongly is a testament that the product development team at Ford listened to their consumers and have satisfied their needs for the past five years. The Mustang is at the top against some very iconic muscle cars such as the Dodge Challenger, Chevrolet Camaro, and the import brand sporty cars Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Scion tC, and the Hyundai Veloster. For the past five years the sporty car IVA has changed hands between the Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro. It is very interesting that, in the last year of its generation, the Mustang wins for 2014. George Peterson, President of AutoPacific notes, “That Mustang is able to pull off an Ideal Vehicle Award win in the last year of this generation is impressive. The breadth of the Mustang lineup and the design execution has led its owners to vote it the most Ideal Sporty Car.”
2014 Ford Mustang owners are satisfied with their vehicle and do not want a great deal of change. Of the fifteen categories in the Ideal Vehicle questionnaire, the 2014 Mustang led in one satisfaction category and was within three percentage points of four more. This shows how close the scores were.
The top five highest ratings by Mustang owners are: same exterior size, same exterior styling, same tires, same safety features, and same cargo space as now.
No vehicle is perfect and Mustang owners did want several things changed. Mustang owners want a more advanced information and entertainment system, want it easier to get in and out of, and want more power and acceleration.
There is no doubt the all new C7 Corvette has recast America’s sports car in ways that ring the buyers’ bells. The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is the highest scoring Sports Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. The designers, planners and engineers at Chevrolet did an outstanding job listening to what their customers wanted. The Corvette was at the top of its category against some impressive competitors such as the Porsche Cayman, Porsche Boxster, MINI Coupe, Mazda MX-5, Nissan 370Z, and the Mercedes-Benz SLK. The C6 Corvette previously won the Ideal Vehicle Award for the 2012 model year. The Corvette has won AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award for the last three years in a row. George Peterson, President of AutoPacific, says, “Chevrolet has improved the Corvette in all ways. They have achieved a rare one-two win of AutoPacific’s annual owner-based awards. Not only is the Corvette satisfying its buyers, but it is also an ideal interpretation of the iconic American sports car.”
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette owners are satisfied with their vehicle and do not want much change. Of the fifteen categories in the Idea Vehicle survey battery, the 2014 Corvette leads or ties in four satisfaction categories and was within three percentage points or another five.
The top five highest ratings by Corvette are: same exterior styling, same exterior size, same ride/handling, same interior lighting, and same seat fit as now.
Although the Corvette led in its category there are several things owners would change. Owners would like it to be easier to get in and out of the vehicle (they don’t want to crawl out of the driver’s seat with their hands on the ground?), want simpler information and entertainment system, better driver visibility (it’s a sports car, already!), and more power and acceleration (owners of high-powered sports cars always want MORE).
The 2014 Volkswagen Passat is the highest scoring Mid-Size Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. The Passat designers, planners and engineers knew exactly what their customers want and provided it. The 2014 Volkswagen Passat is at the top of the list against an enormous group of very competitive mid-size cars such as the Buick Regal, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima, Chevrolet Malibu, Mazda6, and Subaru Legacy.
Of the fifteen categories in the Ideal Vehicle survey, the 2014 Volkswagen Passat leads or ties in four satisfaction categories and was within three percentage points of three more.
The top five highest ratings by 2014 Passat owners are: the same cargo space, same passenger room, same exterior size, same wheels, and the same interior storage as now.
2014 Volkswagen Passat owners would like more power and acceleration, a more advanced information and entertainment system, more distinctive exterior styling, and better visibility from the drivers seat.
The 2014 Ford F-Series Super Duty is the highest scoring Heavy-Duty Pickup in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. Ford’s Super Duty product development team demonstrates again that they really know what heavy duty pickup drivers want. The Super Duty beat out a very competitive group of heavy-duty pickups such as the GMC Sierra HD, Chevrolet Silverado HD and the Ram HD. The Ford Super Duty has won AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award for its class in three of the last five years. It also has won AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award in three of the last five years. George Peterson, President of AutoPacific, says, “I just drove the 2015 model year of the Ford Super Duty and it is an impressive piece. This does not take away from the win of the 2014 Ford F-Series Super Duty in AutoPacific’s research. Super Duty owners rated it most Ideal Heavy Duty Pickup. But the 2015 model is even better with a substantially upgraded Power Stroke Diesel powertrain.”
Of the fifteen categories in the Ideal Vehicle question battery, the 2014 Ford F-Series SD led or tied in nine categories and was within three percentage points of another two.
The top five highest ratings by Super Duty owners are: same exterior size, same cargo space, same exterior styling, same visibility, and the same seat fit as now.
No vehicle is perfect. Super Duty owners are split on the information and entertainment system, fourteen percent wanting more advanced and 19 percent wanting simpler technology. SD owners also would like more power and acceleration, more interior storage, and more distinctive wheels than now.
For 2015, the Super Duty gets a stronger diesel engine with more power and torque. This will probably satisfy those who want more power and acceleration. An empty F-250 with this new engine feels like a very, very large sports car.
The 2014 BMW X5 is the highest scoring Premium Luxury Crossover SUV in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. BMW designers, planners and engineers understood who the X5 target buyer is and developed a vehicle that meets their requirements. The 2014 BMW X5 was at the top against some impressive vehicles including the Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes-Benz GL, Lincoln MKT, Mercedes-Benz ML, and the Infiniti QX60. The previous generation X5 won AutoPacific’s IVA for the 2009 model year.
BMW X5 owners truly do not want their vehicle changed. Of the fifteen categories in the Ideal Vehicle questionnaire, the X5 led or tied in seven satisfaction categories and was within three percentage points of another two.
The top five highest ratings by X5 owners are: same interior lighting, same ride/handling, same exterior, same safety features, and the same passenger room as now.
Although the X5 led in its category there are several things owners would change. Owners would like more advanced technology, more interior storage, and they would like it to be easier to get in and out of the vehicle.