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A Wide Array of Brands Produce Models that Delight Their Owners

A Wide Array of Brands Produce Models that Delight Their Owners

By Jeff Youngs, July 25, 2012

A baker's dozen of nameplates produce models that earn the highest scores in their segments in each of the award categories in our 2012 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.

Chevrolet receives three of the 22 segment awards--the most of any nameplate in the 2012 APEAL Study--and also the most APEAL awards for the General Motors flagship brand since 1997. Chevrolet models that receive segment awards include two small models and one large pickup: the Avalanche, Sonic and Volt.

Seven more nameplates included in the study each receive two segment awards for models with the highest index scores in their categories. In alphabetical order, the nameplates with top-ranked models in two segments are: Audi, Dodge, Ford, Kia, Mini, Nissan, and Porsche. Also receiving highest-ranking model awards at the segment level for one model each are: BMW, Infiniti, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen.

In related news, South Korea's Kia nameplate continues to improve its performance in our APEAL Study for a sixth straight year. Audi makes news this year because it is the first year that one of its models, the A8 from the Large Premium Car segment, earns the highest score in the study, at 902 points (on a 1,000-point scale).

It's noteworthy that five of the models receiving segment awards this year for delighting their owners also received segment awards in our 2012 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS), which focuses on problems experienced during the first 90 days of ownership. In alphabetical order, the five models that earn both IQS and APEAL recognition are: Ford Expedition, Kia Soul, Nissan Frontier, Nissan Quest, and Porsche 911.

This year, nearly one-half of the top-performing models in each of the award segments are first-time award recipients in our APEAL Study.

Since the APEAL Study was last redesigned in 2006, all-new and redesigned models have received the highest APEAL mean index scores on average. However, this year, for the first time, freshened and carryover models receive a higher mean index score (789 vs. 781 for all-new and redesigned models).

2012 APEAL Segment Awards--Models with Highest Index Scores
Award Segment (Non-Premium)Highest-Ranked ModelIndex Score*
Sub-Compact CarChevrolet Sonic
Compact CarChevrolet Volt
Compact Sporty CarMini Coupe/Roadster
Large CarDodge Charger
Mid Sporty CarDodge Challenger
Compact Crossover SUVMini Countryman
Mid VanNissan Quest**812
Mid PickupNissan Frontier**770
Mid CarKia Optima (tie) Volkswagen Passat (tie)829
Compact MPVKia Soul**776
Large Crossover SUVFord Expedition**811
Large PickupChevrolet Avalanche
Mid Crossover SUVFord Flex
Award Segment (Premium)Highest-Ranked ModelIndex Score*
Entry Premium CarBMW 3 Series
Mid Premium CarAudi A6
Large Premium CarAudi A8
Entry Premium Crossover SUVLand Rover Range Rover Evoque
Mid Premium Crossover SUVPorsche Cayenne
Compact Premium Sporty CarMercedes-Benz SLK-Class
Premium Sporty CarPorsche 911**901
Large Premium Crossover SUVInfiniti QX56

*Mean Index Score on a 1,000-point scale

**These models rank highest in their award segment in both the 2012 IQS and APEAL Studies.

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