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Top-Ranked Cars, Trucks and SUVs in the J.D. Power 2014 APEAL Study

By: Jeff Youngs, 7/23/2014
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The annual J.D. Power U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) StudySM measures how gratifying new vehicles are to own and drive after 90 days of ownership. In other words, it determines a vehicle's overall appeal. Based on the results of the 2014 APEAL Study, the following models receive an award for ranking at the top of their respective vehicle segments. The award recipients are displayed in alphabetical order by make and model.


2014 Audi A8
This year, in the Large Premium Car segment, the Audi A8 ties with the completely redesigned Mercedes-Benz S-Class. For 2014, the A8 lineup expanded with the addition of the 3.0 TDI turbo-diesel model, and Audi installed additional standard features while making 22-way power ventilated front seats, ventilated rear seats, and massaging rear seats more widely available.


2014 Audi Q5
Leading the Compact Premium SUV segment, the Audi Q5 lineup expanded for 2014 to include a new TDI turbo-diesel model designed to get up to 31 mpg and a performance-oriented SQ5 variant equipped with a 354-horsepower, supercharged V-6 engine.


2014 BMW 4 Series
New for 2014 and offered in coupe and convertible body styles, the BMW 4 Series is based on the 3 Series and effectively replaces the previous 3 Series coupe and convertible models. Available as the 428i and 435i with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, the 4 Series is the most appealing Compact Premium Car in this year's APEAL Study.


2014 Dodge Challenger
Among owners of Midsize Sporty Cars, those who buy the Dodge Challenger rate it the most appealing model, ahead of the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang. In 2014, Dodge offered new Hemi-powered Shaker models, additional limited-production variants, and new Scat Pack performance upgrades that don't void the factory warranty.


2014 Dodge Charger
In the Large Car segment, the Dodge Charger ranks highest, ahead of the Chevrolet SS and Kia Cadenza. Changes for 2014 included a new Charger Sport model with all-wheel drive, new Redline package, and expanded availability of big wheels and tires and a sport suspension to less-expensive versions.


2014 Dodge Dart
In the Compact Car segment of the 2014 APEAL Study, the Dodge Dart is ranked highest. For 2014, Dodge replaced last year's turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and dual-clutch automated manual transmission on all Dart models, except the fuel-efficient Aero version, with a more conventional 4-cylinder and automatic transmission. Dodge also simplified the Dart lineup and the method buyers use to option the car.


2014 Ford F-150
In its final year before a redesign that includes an all-aluminum body, the Ford F-150 is the most appealing Large Light Duty Pickup in this year's APEAL Study. Aside from the debut of a turbocharged Tremor performance model, few changes were made to the 2014 F-150.


2014 Ford F-Series Super Duty
Among Large Heavy Duty Pickup trucks, the F-Series Super Duty lineup receives an award for overall vehicle appeal. For 2014, towing and payload capacity increased, thanks to a revamped braking system.


2014 GMC Yukon
The 2014 GMC Yukon is named the most appealing Large SUV, just before a redesigned 2015 model arrived in showrooms. Aside from adding more standard equipment to the base model, the only change was the addition of a new paint color.


2014 Honda Ridgeline
Honda is working on a redesigned Ridgeline, due for the 2016 model year. In the meantime, buyers of the old truck like it well enough that the Ridgeline ranks higher than the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma among Midsize Pickup models. For 2014, Honda added a new SE trim level at the top of the lineup.


2014 Hyundai Accent
The entry-level Accent is the most appealing Small Car in the J.D. Power 2014 APEAL Study, ranked higher than the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic. For 2014, Hyundai added standard features, improved the car's voice-recognition Bluetooth system, and installed new upgrades for upper trim levels.


2014 Kia Soul
Redesigned for 2014, the Kia Soul is the highest-ranked Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle in terms of appeal. Larger and more refined than it was before, the latest version of the Soul offers modern technology and practicality wrapped up in a unique package.


2014 Land Rover Range Rover
Among the most appealing models regardless of price, the Land Rover Range Rover is the highest-ranked model in the Large Premium SUV category in the 2014 APEAL Study. This year, a new supercharged V-6 engine replaced last year's standard V-8 engine, LED headlights are standard, adaptive cruise control is less expensive, and Autobiography models gained equipment.


2014 Mazda 6
Redesigned this year, the Mazda 6 is the most appealing Midsize Car for 2014, ahead of the Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata. Offered only with a 4-cylinder engine, the Mazda 6 can be optioned with several technologies commonly available only on more expensive vehicles.


2014 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
Among Midsize Premium Cars, the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class ranks as the most appealing model, ahead of the Audi A7 and Audi A6. For 2014, Mercedes added 4Matic all-wheel drive as standard equipment for the performance-tuned CLS63 AMG, and debuted a higher-performance CLS63 AMG S-Model.


2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Completely redesigned, the 2014 S-Class ties with the Audi A8 as the most appealing Large Premium Car in the latest J.D. Power APEAL Study. Four variants, including two high-performance AMG models, range in price from $94,000 to $222,000. Next-generation infotainment and autonomous safety technologies highlight the newest family of S-Class models.


2014 Mini Countryman
Ranking higher than the Buick Encore and Volkswagen Tiguan, the Mini Countryman is the most appealing Small SUV in the 2014 APEAL Study. New John Cooper Works appearance packages debuted this past year, and Mini made minor equipment changes, including the addition of a standard 3-passenger rear bench seat, replacing the previous bucket seats.


2014 Nissan Quest
According to the 2014 APEAL Study, Nissan Quest owners like their minivans, and this model ranks higher than the popular Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna for overall appeal in 2014. Aside from new colors, no changes were made this year.


2014 Nissan Rogue
Completely redesigned, the 2014 Nissan Rogue receives an award for ranking highest among Compact SUVs in the 2014 APEAL Study, ahead of the Ford Escape and Jeep Cherokee. It is one of two models in its class to offer 7-passenger seating, and is available with numerous infotainment and safety technologies.


2014 Porsche 911
The multitude of Porsche 911 variants collectively ranks highest for vehicle appeal among Midsize Premium Sporty Cars. This year, Targa, Turbo, and GT3 versions joined the 911 lineup.


2014 Porsche Boxster
The Porsche Boxster ranks higher than the Porsche Cayman and Nissan 370Z among Compact Premium Sporty Cars in the J.D. Power 2014 APEAL Study. One year following a complete redesign, the Boxster received few changes.


2014 Porsche Cayenne
Among Premium Midsize SUVs, the Porsche Cayenne ranks higher than do the BMW X5 and redesigned Land Rover Range Rover Sport. For 2014, a new Platinum Edition debuted at the lower end of the range while a high-performance Turbo S variant arrived as a range-topping flagship model.


2014 Toyota Highlander
Redesigned for 2014, the Toyota Highlander is the highest-ranked Midsize SUV in the 2014 APEAL Study, followed by the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango. The Highlander offers seating for up to 8 people, and a choice between a 4-cylinder, V-6, or gas-electric hybrid powertrains.


2014 Volkswagen GTI
Compact Sporty Car buyers rate their Volkswagen GTIs higher in terms of appeal than do people purchasing the Hyundai Veloster and Mini Cooper. In advance of a redesigned 2015 model, the 2014 GTI was offered only as a 5-door hatchback.

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