Scientists have created a winged pig, government officials in Hell have begun ordering snow plows and road salt, and the full-size 2011 Hyundai Equus luxury sedan toppled the BMW 7 Series and Audi A8 in J.D. Power and Associates’ Large Premium Car segment of the 2011 APEAL survey rankings.
Gathered through 73,000 individuals who each filled in a 228-question survey, J.D. Power ranked cars, trucks, SUVs, and minivans within their segments for customer satisfaction levels after the first 90 days of vehicle ownership. While Porsche finished first in the overall manufacturer rankings, Ford secured the most podium finishes for its products, a huge contrast from its performance in last month’s Initial Quality Survey. Below is a brief rundown of all of the segment winners.
- Subcompact Car — In its first year, the tech-laden 2011 Ford Fiesta fended off the issues that plagued it during the IQS to win its segment. Its platform mate, the 2011 Mazda2, followed and the 2011 Honda Fit hatchback took the bronze medal.
- Compact Car — At more than $40,000, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt certainly isn’t cheap, but buyers loved its plug-in hybrid technology enough to put it ahead of the 2011 Volkswagen Golf hatchback and 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer sedan. Could this be a sign of things to come?
- Compact Sporty Car — With little surprise to anyone following the original “hot hatch,” the 2011 Volkswagen GTI picked up yet another award in its 30-plus-year history. The Mini Cooper ranked behind it.
- Compact Premium Sporty Car — The category name is a mouthful, but fortunately the 2011 BMW Z4 sports car isn’t. Although more expensive and sophisticated than the model it replaced last year, the new car comes with a standard retractable hard top and other newfound luxury features.
- Entry Premium Car — On sale since the 2006 model year, the veteran 2011 Lexus IS sports sedan gives up little ground as far as its customers are concerned, beating out the BMW 3 Series and Volkswagen CC.
- Midsize Sporty Car — Picking up the win in both the APEAL and IQS studies, the 2011 Dodge Challenger might be the most overlooked muscle car on the market, trailing both the second-place 2011 Chevrolet Camaro and unranked 2011 Ford Mustang by a huge margin on the sales charts.
- Midsize Premium Car — The 2011 BMW 5 Series stands alone as J.D. Power’s only midsize luxury car noted. While it has seen lambasting in the enthusiast community for a softer suspension and steering, BMW has made it into a stronger luxury car overall.
- Large Premium Car — Yes, Virginia, the 2011 Hyundai Equus pulled the rug from underneath the BMW 7 Series and Audi A8 establishment. Ask the Germans if this could have happened 20 years ago, and they’d give you a stern “Nein!”
- Midsize Car — The 2011 Suzuki Kizashi sports sedan has been quietly winning over driving enthusiasts for two years now with high-quality materials, refinement rivaling more expensive cars, and a sporty ride and handling. In this survey, the Super Suzuki toppled current automotive media darlings, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata and 2011 Kia Optima.
- Large Car — Redesigned for 2011, the Dodge Charger full-size sedan packs rear-wheel drive, three engine options, and refinement galore to win out over mainstays of the class, the 2011 Ford Taurus and 2011 Nissan Maxima.
- Compact Crossover — Can a 3200-pound Mini really be “mini”? Does anyone care? The 2011 Mini Countryman crossover, the largest Mini model, beat out the 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan and 2011 Hyundai Tucson to prove that big hits can come in small packages.
- Compact MPV — In a battle of boxes, the 2011 Scion xB took top honors against the best-selling Kia Soul. Both knock the Nissan Cube off the list, which won in its first model year in 2010.
- Entry Premium Crossover/SUV — While the Audi Q5 won the segment last year and comes back with perfect scores, the all-new 2011 BMW X3 wins the segment by a hair to deny Audi a repeat victory.
- Midsize Crossover/SUV — The all-new 2011 Dodge Durango, which shares its underpinnings with the much more expensive Mercedes-Benz M-Class, has grabbed recognition in every new SUV contest it’s seen. This win isn’t a surprise.
- Large Crossover/SUV — After taking second place to the Ford Expedition last year, the 2011 Nissan Armada leapfrogs the Ford, as well as the 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe that took second this year, to earn top honors.
- Midsize Premium Crossover/SUV — For 2011, the new lighter, more powerful Porsche Cayenne SUV ups the ante to win out over the 2011 BMW X6 and last year’s champ, the Audi Q7.
- Large Premium Crossover/SUV — Repeating its success from last year, the 2011 Land Rover Range Rover cruises by its smaller Range Rover Sport stable mate and the 2011 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, which flip-flop positions with one another.
- Large Pickup — Taking both the APEAL and IQS, the 2011 Ford F-150 pickup swaps spots with last year’s winner, the Chevrolet Avalanche. Ford’s heavier duty F-250 and F-350 Super Duty pickups follow in third place.
- Midsize Pickup — Since Ford discontinued the Explorer Sport Trac last year, the 2011 Honda Ridgeline picked up the slack in the segment to bolster its position, placing second last year. The second-place 2011 Nissan Frontier moved up a spot, too.
- Minivan — As the sole minivan making the list this year, the 2011 Honda Odyssey comes on board completely redesigned for this model year, taking back the segment title for the first time since 2009.
Source: J.D. Power and Associates