Top-Rated 2018 Family Cars in Performance and Design

Christian Wardlaw | Jul 25, 2018

In order to determine what new-vehicle owners like the most and least about their new cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans, J.D. Power conducts the annual Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) Study. The market research firm surveys people who have owned their new vehicles for at least 90 days, asking them questions about the performance, design, layout, features, and other factors.

Based on this data, the company creates Power Circle Ratings to visually summarize the results. Consumers can use these ratings during the new-vehicle selection process, helping people to understand which makes and models are the most and least appealing.

2018 Honda Accord Touring This buyer’s guide highlights the top-rated 2018 Family Cars from the J.D. Power 2018 APEAL Study. Each model listed in alphabetical order below receives a Power Circle Rating of 5 out of a possible 5 for overall appeal.

2018 Chrysler Pacifica

One year after the Pacifica debuted as a replacement for the old Town & Country minivan, Chrysler introduces a lower-cost base trim (Pacifica L), realigns trim levels for the plug-in Pacifica Hybrid version to match gas-engine variants, and offers more equipment at more accessible price points. A sporty new S appearance package also, umm, makes an appearance.

The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica receives an APEAL Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5, and is the award recipient in the Minivan segment.

2018 Dodge Charger

A full-size car with a rakish roofline, the Dodge Charger brings attitude to the family sedan segment. Trim levels range from mild to wild, with V6 and various V8 engines capitalizing on Americans’ love affair with muscle cars. Refinement isn’t the name of the Charger’s game. But appeal definitely is.

The 2018 Dodge Charger receives an APEAL Power Circle Rating of 4 out of 5.

2018 Honda Accord

Honda redesigned the Accord for 2018, eliminating the slow-selling coupe in the process. Trim levels include LX, Hybrid, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring. Honda offers a choice between two turbocharged 4-cylinder engines and a new gas-electric hybrid drivetrain, the latter available in most trims. Equipped with a large back seat, a big trunk, and lots of safety engineering and technology, the new Accord is the most appealing vehicle in its segment.

The 2018 Honda Accord receives an APEAL Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5, and is the award recipient in the Midsize Car segment.

2018 Nissan Altima

In its last year before a complete redesign, the 2018 Altima trim lineup is simplified, important driver assistance and collision avoidance technologies are made standard, and new option packages are available. Every Altima has a 179-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine except for the 3.5 SL, which features a 270-hp V6. A continuously variable transmission powers the front wheels.

The 2018 Nissan Altima receives an APEAL Power Circle Rating of 4 out of 5.

2018 Nissan Maxima

Dramatic styling, a standard 300-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine, and a roomy, driver-focused interior help the 2018 Maxima to earn the top ranking among large cars in the latest J.D. Power APEAL Study. The Maxima is available in SV, SL, SR, SR Midnight Edition, and Platinum trim levels. After making key safety systems standard halfway through the 2017 model year, Nissan carries the Maxima into 2018 without major updates.

The 2018 Nissan Maxima receives an APEAL Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5, and is the award recipient in the Large Car category.

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