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Top 10 Most Improved Models in the J.D. Power 2014 APEAL Study

Top 10 Most Improved Models in the J.D. Power 2014 APEAL Study

By Jeff Youngs, July 28, 2014

Each year, the J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) StudySM surveys thousands of verified new-vehicle owners to determine how gratifying their new car, truck, SUV, or van is to own and drive after at least 90 days of ownership.

This year, based on more than 83,000 survey responses, the 2014 APEAL Study identifies the following 10 models as those that have shown the greatest improvement in overall ownership appeal from the 2013 study. They are listed below in reverse order, with commentary about what changed for the 2014 model year and each vehicle's improvement as measured by its overall index score (on a 1,000-point scale).

9) 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 (tie)
One of three Chevrolet models on the list of top 10 most improved, the redesigned Silverado 1500 light-duty pickup truck improved in terms of overall appeal by 29 points. More powerful and fuel-efficient engines debuted for 2014, along with a more modern interior with the latest technology.

9) 2014 Nissan Rogue (tie)
Redesigned and one of the only compact SUVs to offer 3-row seating for up to 7 people, the 2014 Rogue improved its overall appeal score by 29 points in the latest APEAL Study, tying with the Silverado 1500 for the 9th most improved model. Bigger, more fuel-efficient, and featuring more infotainment and safety technology, Rogue buyers like what they get in this vehicle.

8) 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
The Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is the only model on this most improved list that was not completely redesigned for 2014. This past year, Mercedes included its 4Matic all-wheel-drive system on the CLS63 AMG model, and offered a new, higher-performance version of that variant called the S-Model. The CLS improved by 30 points in the 2014 APEAL Study.

7) 2014 Mazda 3
Redesigned for 2014, the new Mazda 3 is offered in compact 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback body styles, with a choice between two fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engines, and in a range of trim levels. Add every option, and the price can climb to about $30,000. The Mazda 3's APEAL score rose by 32 points.

6) 2014 Subaru Forester
Up by 36 points in the J.D. Power 2014 APEAL Study, the redesigned Forester is a hit with compact SUV owners. Key highlights include more powerful yet more fuel-efficient engines, new infotainment and safety technologies, and a larger interior.

5) 2014 GMC Sierra 1500
Similar to the Chevrolet Silverado, and sharing many vehicle components with the Chevy, the redesigned GMC Sierra 1500 light-duty pickup truck improved by 43 points in the 2014 APEAL Study. The 2014 Sierra enjoys the same mechanical, technological, and modernizing updates as the Silverado.

4) 2014 Chevrolet Corvette
Chevrolet redesigned its Corvette sports car for 2014, and this model's APEAL score improved by 47 points. More powerful, equipped with greater levels of technology, and featuring modern styling that nevertheless adheres to key design tenets, the 2014 Corvette Stingray is offered as a coupe or a convertible, each seating 2 people.

3) 2014 Toyota Highlander
With the redesigned Highlander, Toyota improves this model's score by 50 points, the third-largest jump in the 2014 APEAL Study. Engines carry over, but a new all-wheel-drive system, reconfigured interior with seating for up to 8 people, new safety and technology systems, and a simpler approach to standard and optional equipment add up to one appealing midsize SUV, according to its owners.

2) 2014 Mazda 6
Like the smaller Mazda 3, the Mazda 6 was redesigned for 2014, resulting in a 52-point increase in the car's overall APEAL score, second best in the study. Improvements in style, safety, fuel economy, and technology help to make the new 2014 Mazda 6 the most appealing Midsize Car in America.

1) 2014 Chevrolet Impala
Replacing a vehicle that had changed little during the previous eight years, the redesigned 2014 Chevy Impala full-size sedan gained in terms of its size, fuel-efficiency, technological sophistication, and modern style. Offered in LS, LT, and LTZ trim levels with a choice between a 4-cylinder or V-6 engine, the Impala improves year over year by 96 points, nearly double the second most-improved model in the 2014 APEAL Study.

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