2012 APEAL Study Results
Other key findings from the 2012 APEAL Study include:
- Chevrolet receives the highest number of segment awards of all brands included in the study for the Sonic, Volt and Avalanche models.
- Seven brands each receive two model awards: Audi (for the A6 and A8); Dodge (Challenger and Charger); Ford (Expedition and Flex); Kia (Optima in a tie and Soul); Mini (Countryman and Coupe/Roadster); Nissan (Frontier and Quest); and Porsche (Cayenne and 911). The Audi A8 achieves the highest APEAL Study score of any model in the industry in 2012.
- Also receiving awards are the BMW 3 Series; Land Rover Range Rover Evoque; Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class; Infiniti QX56 and Volkswagen Passat in a tie.
- Porsche is the highest-ranking nameplate for an eighth consecutive year. Dodge, Jaguar and Ram achieve the greatest year-over-year improvements, increasing scores by 21, 20 and 19 points, respectively.
- J.D. Power offers the following tips to consumers when purchasing a new vehicle:
- Have realistic expectations about the fuel economy of your vehicle, and remember that the city/highway/combined mileage ranges listed on the window sticker are merely estimates provided by the EPA. Your actual miles per gallon will vary due to many factors, including driving and weather conditions, driving style, tire inflation and the overall condition of your vehicle.
- Know the type of fuel your prospective new vehicle requires, including premium unleaded or diesel, and take that into account when budgeting for it.
- Before you buy, ask your salesperson to demonstrate all of the audio/entertainment/navigation features on the vehicle. Also, have them assist you in connecting your mobile device or portable audio player to the vehicle's communication system or audio interface in order to test for a good hands-free connection and to make sure the system recognizes your commands.
- Although exterior styling is the highest-scoring category in the 2012 APEAL Study and often the most significant purchase reason for many buyers, consider all aspects of a vehicle to ensure that in addition to looking good to you, it also meets your needs. Some vehicles that look good may have design-related issues, such as being hard to see out of, or may not offer the cargo space you desire.
- If you plan to use infant/child safety seats in your new vehicle, practice installing them in the new vehicle before you buy to ensure a good fit and easy installation. Similarly, if buying a vehicle with third-row seats, make sure all cargo, including strollers and sports equipment, fits with the third row in place.
- Many vehicles today with an automatic transmission are geared toward fuel economy. If the vehicle you are considering is equipped with an automatic, make sure during the test drive that the vehicle offers the performance you are looking for. If the transmission has a "Sport" mode, activate it and see if there is a noticeable difference in shift dynamics. Also, check for any hesitation or delay between gears.
- Don't immediately dismiss a particular brand or model because of misperceptions about performance. Today, many new-vehicle models aren't necessarily associated with "performance" but actually offer high levels of owner appeal, and should be considered as well.
About the Study
The APEAL Study examines how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive, based on owner evaluations of more than 80 vehicle attributes. The 2012 APEAL Study is based on responses gathered between February and May 2012 from more than 74,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2012 model-year cars and light trucks who were surveyed after the first 90 days of ownership. The APEAL Study complements the Initial Quality Study (IQS), which focuses on problems experienced by owners during the first 90 days of ownership.
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