VSA:

All-New 2017 Honda CR-V – Improved Across the Board

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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.2017 Honda CR-V F34 VV2017 Honda CR-V FV VV

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

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.

 


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Most Satisfying Auto Brands For 2016 – Tesla on Top

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This article was first published on Forbes.com on June 9, 2016

AutoPacVSAlogo450Tesla Tops Auto Brand Satisfaction for Second Year in a Row  Tesla owners are the most satisfied overall among all car and light truck owners according to the results of AutoPacific‘s 2016 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.  The annual study includes over 65,000 respondents for 2016 and covers 273 vehicles sold in the United States.

Tesla owners are almost unanimous in agreeing the Tesla is fun to drive, powerful, eco-friendly, upscale, safe, distinctive and expensive.  These are not people who are really looking for the greenest car around, they want a car that makes a statement and can tear away from almost every other car when the light turns green.  The fact that Tesla has been the top-ranking brand in AutoPacific’s research two years in a row is testament not only to how much Tesla buyers like their product, but at how well the brand has been positioned.  Of course, Tesla today is a one-car brand and that one car has really resonated with its owners.  Things may be different when data for the Model X and Model 3 are included in the years to come.

Other luxury brands trail Tesla.  Cadillac, Lexus and Lincoln are next in satisfaction, then comes a surprise.

Kia Top Ranked Popular Brand  Kia is ranked fifth overall and is the top popular brand in the research.  This is quite a feat for a Korean brand that was just an asterisk fifteen years ago.  Clearly, Kia products are capable of competing with the best.  The Kia Optima mid-size sedan was third overall behind the Cadillac Escalade Luxury SUV and the Mercedes S-Class Luxury Car.  These cost about three times what the Optima would cost.  Kia owners see their vehicles as safe, fun to drive, comforting, a good value from a trusted brand.  While these attributes are above the results for the industry as a whole, they bear little resemblance to the magnitude of the Tesla results.

 Here are the top ten most satisfying brands:
    1.   Tesla
    2.   Cadillac
    3.   Lexus
    4.   Lincoln
    5.   Kia
    6.   Infiniti
    7.   Volvo
    8.   BMW
    9.   Acura
    10.   Mercedes-Benz

 

 


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AutoPacific Announces 2016 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards

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TUSTIN, Calif. (June 8, 2016) – AutoPacific today announced its 20th annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSAs), identifying the most satisfying vehicles in the market. An industry benchmark for measuring how satisfied an owner is with his/her new vehicle, VSAs are based on survey responses from over 65,000 owners of new 2015 and 2016 model year cars and light trucks.

“This year marks the 20th anniversary of AutoPacific recognizing the most satisfying vehicles and providing consumers a way to streamline their search for the perfect vehicle,” says AutoPacific president George Peterson. AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Awards objectively measure owner satisfaction with 50 separate attributes ranging from interior comfort and styling to fuel economy and performance. “VSAs look at the big picture, which includes owners’ experiences with their vehicle’s quality and safety, but also goes deeper into the heart of the ownership experience.”

A Year of Shake Ups

After years of American brands taking the top spot for most satisfying popular, non-luxury, brand, Korean manufacturer Kia has taken over. “Kia has been coming on strong for years and has won many individual vehicle awards,” says Peterson, “but this year they dominated among popular, non-luxury, brands, with a total brand score that is 16 points higher than the nearest competitor, GMC.”

Tesla is the most satisfying premium brand for the second year in a row. “Tesla was new to the survey results in 2015 and won the top premium brand award by a considerable margin (23 points). They hold the top spot this year, though Cadillac has closed the gap considerably with the highly satisfying Escalade and increases in owner satisfaction across their lineup,” explains Peterson.

This year also marks the first year that neither Ford Motor Company nor Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has a winning vehicle. “Over the years, Ford has consistently had high-scoring trucks and SUVs while Lincoln has had several luxury car winners,” says Peterson. “Historically, FCA has not been as strong; however, the Jeep Grand Cherokee was on a 5 year winning streak and had that taken away by the Toyota 4Runner this year.”

Overall for 2016, General Motors receives the most wins with 7, followed by Kia and Nissan each with 4, Mercedes-Benz with 3, and Hyundai and Toyota each with 2 wins. Volvo, Honda and Tesla each take home 1 win.

In a market where vehicles continue to raise the bar for owner satisfaction, AutoPacific recognizes another President’s Award winner this year: the 2016 Cadillac Escalade. This award is given only when the overall score tops the previous high score. The previous President’s Award winners were the 2015 Kia K900, 2014 Mercedes S-Class and the 2010 Hyundai Sonata.

Six All-New or Redesigned Vehicles Top Their Segment

Of the twenty-three winning vehicles, six of them had been redesigned for the 2016 model year, including the Kia Optima, Nissan Maxima, Chevrolet Camaro, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Lexus RX, and Hyundai Tucson. “Product planners hold their breath after the release of a new, or redesigned, vehicle, hoping that all their research, designing and planning has successful results,” says Peterson who worked as a product planner prior to founding AutoPacific thirty years ago. “While six of the winning vehicles were redesigned for the 2016 model year, the Kia Optima and Chevrolet Camaro have greatly exceeded the scores of their nearest segment competitors.”

2016 VEHICLE SATISFACTION AWARD WINNERS

President’s Award (Highest VSA Score to Date): Cadillac Escalade

Most Satisfying Vehicle Overall: Cadillac Escalade

Highest Satisfaction Premium Brand: Tesla

Highest Satisfaction Popular Brand: Kia

 

PASSENGER CARS:

Luxury Car

Aspirational Luxury Car

Luxury Mid-Size Car

Large Car

Mid-Size Car

Premium Compact Car

Compact Car

Economy Car

Sports Car

Sporty Car

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Volvo S60/V60

Nissan Maxima

Hyundai Azera

Kia Optima

Mercedes-Benz CLA

Kia Soul

Honda Fit

Chevrolet Corvette

Chevrolet Camaro

LIGHT TRUCKS:

Light Duty Pickup

Heavy Duty Pickup

Compact Pickup

Luxury SUV

Large SUV

Mid-Size SUV

Premium Luxury Crossover SUV

Luxury Crossover SUV

Large Crossover SUV

Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV

Mid-Size Crossover SUV

Compact Crossover SUV

Minivan

GMC Sierra 1500

GMC Sierra HD

Nissan Frontier

Cadillac Escalade

Chevrolet Suburban

Toyota 4Runner

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Lexus RX

GMC Acadia

Nissan Murano

Nissan Rogue

Hyundai Tucson

Kia Sedona

About AutoPacific

AutoPacific is a future-oriented automotive marketing and product-consulting firm. Every year AutoPacific publishes a wide variety of syndicated studies on the automotive industry. The firm also conducts extensive proprietary research and consulting for auto manufacturers, distributors, marketers and suppliers worldwide. Company headquarters are in Tustin, California, with an affiliate office in the Detroit area. Additional information about AutoPacific and the Vehicle Satisfaction Awards can be found on AutoPacific’s websites: www.autopacific.com and www.vehiclevoice.com.

Contacts

Dan Hall dan.hall@autopacific.com 714.838.4234

George Peterson george.peterson@autopacific.com 714.838.4234

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2014 Infiniti QX80 Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award

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The 2014 Infiniti QX80  is the highest scoring Luxury/Large SUV in AutoPacific’s 2014 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research. Behind the QX80 are some very impressive competitors: the Cadillac Escalade, Lexus LS, Chevrolet Suburban, Ford Expedition, and the GMC Yukon.  This is the second year in a row QX80 has won the VSA for its class.

The 2014 Infiniti QX80 wins or ties in twelve of fifty satisfaction attributes. The QX80 is within one tenth of a rating point in thirteen other attributes. For fifty percent of the satisfaction measurements the QX80 is on top.

The top ten highest ratings by QX80 owners are: vehicle and brand reputation, exterior and interior styling, the overall quality and seating capacity, the perception of reliability and dependability, the vehicles ride, feeling safe while driving, and the exterior color.

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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award

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In the “This is Getting Boring Category”, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the highest scoring Mid-Size SUV in AutoPacific’s 2014 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research. This is the fourth year in a row Grand Cherokee has won the award.  The Grand Cherokee edges out some very impressive vehicles such as the Toyota 4Runner, Toyota FJ Cruiser, Jeep Wrangler, and the Nissan Xterra.

The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee wins and ties in thirty-three of fifty categories. The Grand Cherokee is within one tenth of a satisfaction rating point in ten other attributes. Jeep’s Grand Cherokee led in just over eighty five percent of the satisfaction categories.

The top ten highest ratings by Grand Cherokee owners are: exterior and interior styling, handling and braking, exterior color and size, the feel of the fabrics and materials, feeling safe while driving, the vehicles ride, and that it is fun to drive.

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2014 BMW X5 Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award

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The 2014 BMW X5 is the highest scoring Premium Luxury Crossover SUV in AutoPacific’s 2014 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research. Just behind the X5 is the Lincoln MKT followed by the Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz GL, Porsche Cayenne and the Mercedes-Benz ML.

The 2014 BMW X5 demonstrates its excellence by winning or tying in thirty-seven of fifty satisfaction attributes. The X5 also comes within one tenth of a rating point with seven other satisfaction attributes. For eighty-eight percent of the data, the X5 is at the top.

The top ten highest ratings by X5 owners are: handling and braking, brand and vehicle reputation, fun to drive, safety rating and features, overall quality, the perception of reliability and dependability, and feeling safe while driving.

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2014 Nissan Rogue Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award

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The all new 2014 Nissan Rogue is the highest scoring Mid-Size Crossover SUV in AutoPacific’s 2014 Vehicle Satisfaction research. Finishing behind the Rogue is the Honda CR-V, Jeep Cherokee, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester, and the Mitsubishi Outlander.

The 2014 Nissan Rogue leads its category with twenty-one of fifty wins or ties in satisfaction attributes. The Rouge is also within one tenth of a rating point in seventeen other satisfaction attributes.  Leading in thirty-eight of fifty categories, Rogue demonstrates it excellence in the Mid-Size Crossover SUV category.

The top ten highest ratings by Nissan Rouge owners are: exterior styling and size, the perception of reliability and dependability, the overall quality and handling, seating capacity, ease of loading and unloading cargo, braking, the vehicle reputation, and feeling safe while driving.

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2014 Toyota Highlander Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award

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The all new 2014 Toyota Highlander is the highest scoring Premium Mid-Sized Crossover SUV in AutoPacific’s 2014 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research. The Highlander finished first against some impressive competitors. Behind the Highlander are the following: Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Edge, Kia Sorento, Toyota Venza, and the Dodge Durango.  This is the second year in a row Highlander has won the VSA.  It also won in the last year of its previous model.  Not bad for a “mature” entry.

The 2014 Toyota Highlander leads its category with thirty-one wins and ties out of fifty attributes. The Highlander also is within one tenth of a rating point with ten other categories. This puts the Highlander at the top with forty-one of fifty satisfaction categories – over 80%.

The top ten highest ratings by Toyota Highlander owners are: the vehicle and brand reputation, the perception of reliability and dependability, fun to drive, seating capacity, ease of loading and unloading, durability, vehicle ride, braking, and feeling safe while driving.

AutoPacific’s opinion of the all new 2014 Toyota Highlander is that it is better in all ways than its predecessor, but it follows the Crossover SUV formula pretty closely and does not particularly break any new ground.  One innovative feature is a shelf below the instrument panel spanning the width from the driver’s area to the passenger door.  Also fun are Highlander TV ads featuring Sesame Street characters – a clear attempt to attract families with young children to the vehicle.  “Mom, let’s buy a Highlander!”

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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award

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The all-new C7 2014 Chevrolet Corvette is the highest scoring Sports Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research. Just behind the Corvette is the Porsche Boxster, Mercedes-Benz SLK, Porsche Cayman, MINI Coupe, Nissan 370z and the Mazda MX5.  The Corvette has won the Sports Car VSA for three years in a row.

The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette led in wins or ties in twenty-eight out of fifty. The Corvette was also within one tenth of a rating point for nine other attributes. This put the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette hitting the top of the mark in over seventy percent of the satisfaction categories.

The top ten highest ratings by Corvette owners are: handling and braking, exterior and interior styling, power and acceleration, vehicles reputation and image, exterior color and size, and it is fun to drive.

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2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award

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The 2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is the highest scoring Hybrid/EV Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Vehicle SatisfactionAward research. The MKZ Hybrid finished first against some impressive competitors. Behind the MKZ Hybrid are the following: Buick LaCrosse eAssist, Toyota Avalon HEV, Lexus ES 300h, Infiniti Q50 HEV, and the Kia Optima HEV.  The MKZ Hybrid previously won the VSA in the 2011 model year.

The 2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid led its category with fifteen wins and ties out of fifty attributes. The MKZ Hybrid also was within one tenth of a rating point with nine other categories. This puts the 2014 MKZ Hybrid at the top with twenty-four of fifty satisfaction categories.

The top ten highest ratings by Lincoln MKZ Hybrid owners are: exterior color and styling, overall quality and handling, the perception of reliability and dependability, the safety rating and features, the interior styling, environmental friendliness, and feeling safe while driving.

While price is not one of the top ten satisfying attributes, the fact that the price for the 2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is the same as the V6 model likely goes a long way in creating a warm feeling about the car.  Usually, the hybrid version is a substantial price premium above the gasoline powered models.

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