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2014 APEAL Study: Fuel Economy Improves but Remains Unsatisfactory

2014 APEAL Study: Fuel Economy Improves but Remains Unsatisfactory

By Jeff Youngs,

According to the results of the J.D. Power 2014 Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) Study,SM consumers who bought a new 2014 model-year vehicle experienced higher satisfaction with the fuel economy of their vehicles, making it the only study factor demonstrating improvement compared with last year.

One reason for this improvement is that average fuel prices dropped by 3% during the survey period this year, and this savings at the pump translated into a significant impact on the APEAL Study's Fuel Economy index score. Additionally, new-vehicle buyers indicate their cars, trucks, SUVs, and minivans get better gas mileage overall, especially owners who purchased an all-new model as opposed to a carryover model. The owner-reported average in the 2014 APEAL Study rose to 25 mpg from 24.5 mpg one year earlier.

Despite these positive trends, overall owner satisfaction with fuel economy and driving range remains low, and this is one of five areas receiving the lowest ratings in the 2014 APEAL Study. Additional primary sources of owner dissatisfaction are related to:
  • Ease of using the navigation system
  • Third-row seat room and comfort
  • Visibility when reversing or changing lanes
  • Quietness of the heater/AC fan

Analysis of study data suggests that last winter's colder-than-normal temperatures in the Northeast and Midwest regions of the country impacted satisfaction with the heater/AC system's quietness level, and the 2014 APEAL Study finds a slight increase in complaints related to defroster/defogger operation as well as the ability of the climate system to achieve and maintain a desired temperature inside the vehicle.

Additional Research:

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