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Top-Rated Family Cars in the 2017 U.S. APEAL Study

Top-Rated Family Cars in the 2017 U.S. APEAL Study

By Christian Wardlaw, July 26, 2017

Conducted annually, the J.D. Power U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) StudySM assesses what new-vehicle owners like and dislike about the performance, design, layout, and features of their new cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans. Survey respondents have owned their vehicles for at least 90 days.

This data is then summarized as Power Circle Ratings, which are designed to give new-vehicle shoppers a visual representation of a model’s overall appeal, according to the people who own one.

2017 Kia Cadenza front quarter left photoThis buyer’s guide highlights the top-rated 2017 Family Cars from the 2017 U.S. APEAL Study. Each model listed in alphabetical order below receives a Power Circle Rating of 5 out of a possible 5 for overall appeal.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica

The renamed replacement for the Town & Country minivan, the Chrysler Pacifica is completely redesigned for 2017. It retains and improves upon its Stow ‘N Go seating, and adds a long list of family-oriented features and conveniences designed to make family life easier. A 3.6-liter V6 drives the Pacifica’s front wheels.

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica receives an APEAL Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5, and is the award recipient in the Minivan segment.

2017 Honda Accord

In its last year before a complete redesign, the Honda Accord is offered in coupe and sedan body styles, and with a choice between a 4-cylinder, a V6, and a hybrid powertrain. Changes are limited to the Accord Hybrid, which is more powerful, efficient, and technologically sophisticated than ever.

The 2017 Honda Accord receives an APEAL Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5.

2017 Kia Cadenza

Kia completely redesigns the full-size Cadenza for 2017, enhancing its style, improving its materials, and installing new technologies. A 3.3-liter V6 engine powers the front wheels through a new 8-speed automatic transmission, and Limited trim brings a legitimate ambience of luxury.

The 2017 Kia Cadenza receives an APEAL Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5, and is the award recipient in the Large Car segment.

2017 Kia Optima

New hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Optima debut for 2017. The Optima Hybrid is rated to get 42 mpg in combined driving, while the plug-in version provides 27 miles of electric driving range before reverting to hybrid operation. Otherwise, changes for 2017 are limited to content and packaging.

The 2017 Kia Optima receives an APEAL Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5.

2017 Nissan Altima

In its fifth year since its last redesign, the Nissan Altima midsize sedan is offered in standard, S, SR, SV and SL trim levels with a choice between a 4-cylinder and a V-6 engine. Nissan refreshed the Altima for 2016, but makes no changes for 2017 aside from the introduction of a Midnight Edition version of the 2.5 SR trim level.

The 2017 Nissan Altima receives an APEAL Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5, and is the award recipient in the Midsize Car segment.

2017 Nissan Maxima

One year after a dramatic redesign, the Nissan Maxima adds new Midnight Edition, Dynamic, and Medallion option packages. The Maxima features a 3.5-liter V6 engine, a continuously variable transmission, and front-wheel drive, and is positioned as a premium performance sedan.

The 2017 Nissan Maxima receives an APEAL Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5.

2017 Volkswagen Passat

One of the older models in its segment, the Passat is a roomy family sedan with a large trunk and a choice between a turbocharged 4-cylinder and a V-6 engine. This year, Volkswagen enhances equipment levels, especially with regard to driver assistance and collision avoidance technologies.

The 2017 Volkswagen Passat receives an APEAL Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5.

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