The last time I drove an “entry level” luxury car that shared bones with some of Ford’s European DNA was my 2002 Jaguar X-Type 2.5 Sport with a manual transmission. Haters can hate but I liked that car because it was more Ford than Jaguar. Before the X-Type I had a 2001 Focus ZX3 and before that I had a Mercury Cougar. The front-wheel drive one that was made in Michigan and exported to Europe. Before that I had a 1996 Contour Zetec 5MT. A 1999 SVT Contour was also in there somewhere. Regardless, I’ve always been jealous of what Ford has offered in Europe. I did what I could to get my hands on the closest thing to a European Ford, even if it wasn’t always the real deal.
The MKZ is the top rated Luxury Mid-Size Car in AutoPacific’s 2011 Ideal Vehicle Research. As the class winner, its owners indicate there is little they would change in their new MKZ with a few exceptions. Almost 30% of its owners want better visibility. About 25% want for the MKZ to be easier to get into and out of. About 20% want better safety features and more roominess. MKZ owners least want to change its ride, seat comfort and handling. MKZ handily outpoints the second place Lexus ES.
Cadillac’s owners’ cumulative scores for each Cadillac model in AutoPacific’s 2010 Vehicle Satisfaction research have given Cadillac a win in the race to be best brand overall. Cadillac outpoints Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Lincoln and Buick (top Popular Brand). This is Cadillac’s seventh win in the past eleven years. Winning so often is testament that Cadillac is selling to buyers who really appreciate their vehicles.
The Cadillac Escalade Luxury Sport Utility Vehicle is the only Cadillac winning its class outright, but the CTS, the STS, the DTS and the SRX scored well enough to move Cadillac into overall leadership.
For a complete list of winners and description of the Awards, click here.
We recently spent a few days with a Lincoln MKS equipped with EcoBoost and its host of technology features. Not industry firsts, Lincoln’s execution is impressive. From headlights that adjust high- or low-beam spread based on conditions to adaptive cruise control and parallel parking assist, these systems work smoothly and confidently. As systems like these tend to get better quickly after their first automotive application, Lincoln should still be commended for putting together a comprehensive and usable package.
If you’re driving the MKS EcoBoost, you have a willing and comfortable partner in a stylish package (assuming you’re a fan of the chrome-laden signature grille, of course); the 355HP powertrain moves the 4300-pound vehicle along briskly. Not only heavy, MKS is big, and feels it. Looking at its specs on paper tells you that, standing next to it tells you that, and driving it reminds you of it all the time. MKS is relatively nimble, but this is not one of those big-but-drives-small kind of cars, a trait perfectly appropriate for what is functionally a modern Town Car. The MKS driving dynamics seem pretty spot on. There’s power, comfort, a compliant but not overly soft ride, and plenty of technology to make being in it as easy as possible. I can’t say sporting. This is not a sports sedan, but offers grace and presence, with the muscle to back it up.
MKS is sized between an Audi A6 and A8, BMW 5-Series and 7-Series, and Mercedes E- and S-Classes, and slightly bigger than the Cadillac STS. Our EcoBoost could boast a nearly $57,000 price tag. While a healthy number, to be sure, in context of the amenities, style, and power offered, the price seems quite reasonable.
“The Lincoln Town Car wins 2009 AutoPacific Motorist Choice Award in the Large Car segment. Owners rave about one of the last body-on-frame vehicles. From 5-star safety ratings to stuffing four golf bags into the trunk, owners appreciate their Town Car. It consistently scored at the top of its class.” – AutoPacific
“The Town Car has low maintenance costs and was ranked first in the AutoPacific survey.” – IntelliChoice
Owner Satisfaction Highlights
• Vehicle and Brand Reputation
• Winning scores for Durability and Longevity
• Feeling Safe While Driving
• Packaging elements, including Cargo Space/Capacity and Forward and Rearward Driver’s Seat Visibility
• Vehicle’s Ride
• Low Maintenance Costs
• Better-than-expected Insurance Costs
“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
* Exterior styling
In the Large Car segment the Lincoln Town Car took top honors. Capturing 29 out of the 48 measurements for satisfaction, owners of this American icon appreciate the generous dimensions and loads of standard features. Town Car excels in areas that lead to a comfortable environment, allowing this stately sedan to age gracefully. Among the areas Town Car earned top scores are:
* Vehicle’s reputation with winning scores for durability and longevity
* Feeling safe while driving
* Several package related characteristics, including cargo space/capacity and both forward and rearward driver’s seat visibility
* Vehicle’s ride
AutoPacific’s 2009 Vehicle Satisfaction Award Highlights Consumer Opinion As Industry Struggles
National Survey Measures Satisfaction with New Vehicles
TUSTIN, Calif. (May 19, 2009) — In the most challenging auto sales market in years, AutoPacific today announced its 13th Annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSA). For the second straight year, Cadillac ranks highest among new car owners, taking the Highest Satisfaction Brand honors even with the turmoil surrounding General Motors and the industry as a whole.
Overall brand satisfaction ratings among Hyundai purchasers jumped 11 positions earning Hyundai 2009 Rising Star honors. This positive move was more than any other manufacturer in the survey. Hyundai scored higher in 40 of 48 rating categories in 2009 compared with 2008. Two Hyundai products took VSAs this year: the Genesis in the Aspirational Luxury Car category and the Sonata in the Premium Mid-size car class.
“These are difficult times, with news of automaker bankruptcies, companies restructuring and dealer closures a daily occurrence,” says George Peterson, president of AutoPacific. “Clearly, the dynamics surrounding the Vehicle Satisfaction Award in 2009 are far different from anything we’ve seen in many years. Winners needed to overachieve to earn their awards.”
Tustin, California, June 30, 2008 –
An “ideal” is defined as an excellent or perfect example. In the annual Ideal Vehicle Awards (IVA), announced today by automotive research and consulting firm AutoPacific, owners rate their new 2008 model year cars and trucks by how close they come to their ideal, as measured by 15 key vehicle attributes. The cars or trucks that owners would change the least are the most ideal.