NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The Pontiac GTO, Nissan Armada and Chevrolet Equinox, all brand-new models, debuted at the top of their respective market segments in a major new-car satisfaction survey released Thursday.
|Segment ||Top car |
|Compact car ||MINI Cooper |
|Entry midsize car ||Chevrolet Malibu |
|Premium midsize car ||Volvo S40 |
|Entry luxury car ||Chrysler 300 |
|Mid-level luxury car ||BMW 5-series |
|Premium luxury car ||BMW 7-series |
|Sporty car ||Pontiac GTO |
|Premium sports car ||Porsche Boxster |
| Source: J.D. Power & Assoc.|
J.D. Power and Associates' Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study was based on responses from 102,951 new-vehicle owners.
Surveyed within 90 days of purchasing their vehicles, owners were asked to rate eight different aspects of their vehicle's appearance, design and performance.
This year's survey included 43 all-new or fully redesigned models. That's the most in the study in recent years, the market research firm said.
"Vehicles that engage customers immediately upon first sight tend to keep those customers around to learn more about the vehicles," said Joe Ivers, partner and executive director of quality and customer satisfaction for Power.
"A model launch or redesign is a manufacturer's biggest opportunity to take advantage of this during the model's life cycle," he said.
Among major redesigns, the Chevrolet Malibu and Chrysler 300 both showed dramatic improvements over prior versions. Both topped their respective market categories, entry luxury and entry midsized cars.
The highest ratings were for the cockpit and instrument panel for the Malibu and exterior styling for the 300.
|Segment ||SUV |
|Entry SUV ||Chevrolet Equinox |
|Midsize SUV ||Nissan Murano |
|Full-size SUV ||Nissan Armada |
|Entry Luxury SUV ||Lexus RX330 |
|Premium Luxury SUV ||Lexus LX470 |
| Source: J.D. Power & Assoc.|
Both models also benefited from a boost in engine power over prior versions, showing strong improvements in engine/transmission ratings.
Lexus, Toyota's luxury brand, again ranked highest among nameplates with two Lexus SUVs leading their segments. Lexus' industry-leading overall score was 910 out of a possible 1,000 points.
But that strong performance was not matched by Toyota's other brands. The company's youth-oriented Scion brand scored a below-average 850, and the Toyota brand scored 852, exactly matching the industry average.
In general, the drivers who spent a lot on their cars were the most satisfied -- the top five brands were all luxury nameplates. After Lexus, they were Porsche, Cadillac, BMW and Jaguar.
Among non-luxury brands, Mazda and Mitsubishi showed strong gains. The new Mazda3 and RX8 were particularly responsible for that Mazda's improved ratings, while the Galant and Endeavor helped boost Mitsubishi's overall rating.
Hyundai improved from a below-average 847 last year, when the average score was 850, to an industry-average score of 852 this year, also matching the Toyota and Chrysler nameplates.
Suzuki, which ranked last with a score of 816 last year, improved with a core of 834 on this year's survey. The bottom-ranking brand on this year's survey, Isuzu, slipped from 834 last year to just 810 this year.